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Praxiteles
24th November 2005, 3:24 PM
Whee, this is my first fic in the forums! I do get rather noobish at first, but bear with me; the later chapters become satisfying enough. And remember this:

NO SPAMMING!

Also, a few points to remember-

1. Be as brutal as you like in your criticism, as long as you have a suggestion that could make my writing better. For example, saying my fic sucks and telling me what field to improve my writing in earns you 3 cookies, but just saying it sucks and nothing else will earn you 6 cookies that cause you to die a horrible death due to the wonders of radiation.

2. This fic is currently rated PG for minor violence (nothing even the most squeamish reader can't take) and has no spoilers unless you've been sitting under a rock since the beginning of time.

I think that's all, so I'll stop blabbering and get to business.



The Upholder of Duty


"May it be an evenstar
Shines down upon you;
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true.
You walk a lonely road;
Oh, how far you are from home..."
- May it Be, Enya


Chapter 1: Of Mysteries And Prophecies



Pyrocomende the Salamence looked like a ghostly spectre as she nursed the Pokémon egg in her lap. It was a cold night, and cool breezes frequently wafted throughout the dark cave that she had come to consider her home, so the to-be mother was on her guard, ceaselessly protecting her child from the cool air currents that got stirred up as a result of some complicated formula her own mother had once taught her in her childhood. It was a widely known fact that heat was essential for Salamence embryos. If even a little bit of cold reached them, it could reduce or even wipe out the ancient Dragon energy residing inside their bodies. And though it is true that this powerful asset continuously swells inside any normal Dragon–Type with a stable diet, having less of it would slow down the production of energy; and if the Dragon possessed none, he wouldn’t even be able to make any of it.

What on earth am I thinking of? Pyrocomende snapped out of her thoughts. She couldn’t afford getting lost in thought that easily; she had to stay alert. Although she was aware that mothers experience aimless mental wandering for a while after laying the egg (usually the phenomenon wore off after the egg hatched), she was still alarmed by the fact that, at any random moment, she could start involuntarily thinking about Pikachu and her neighbours and whatnot. She could already see the more visible effects of post-egg fatigue; the eyes under her fire red eyebrows – which stuck out rigidly – had dark circles, her neck (that had a ring of four long spikes and two short ones arranged geometrically at the nape) had a dull, continuous ache; the wings, shaped like the blades of axes, were getting slightly harder to flap, and she always felt tired. The doctors were a bit baffled about why there was nothing abnormal about her long tail, but still, they assured her that everything was going to go back to normal in a few weeks.

Probably.

Suddenly Pyre (as the pregnant Salamence was often called) heard noises of activity. The creak of the back door, a series of footsteps. She readied herself for battle, anticipating rouge Pokémon, and then, out of the darkness of the residential hallway, which led to every house in the cave, a large, familiar figure entered.
“Tempicon!” Pyre exclaimed. “Don’t scare me like that!” Tempicon was the name of Pyre’s life mate, or ‘husband’ as some Pokémon call it, and a proud member of the Salamencian military’s Alpha Force, a collection of some of the world’s best Salamence.
“Sorry, I didn’t know,” Tempicon apologized, then continued, “but that’s not important. I just received an order from General Atmos. He says that our forces are holding their ground against the Ninjask invasion, but there have been too many casualties. He’s sending Beta Force as reinforcements into the battlefield, and since I doubt you’d be able to keep our egg nice and safe while you charge into legions of ninja–bugs that move at the speed of light, he has decided on taking a volunteer from Alpha Force. A volunteer who just happens to be me.” He said all this casually but quickly, as if he wanted to get it over with as fast as he could.
Pyre looked at him reproachfully; she knew from experience that going out there could be fatal, and anyways, she wouldn’t mind some company in the loneliness of the cave.
Tempicon sighed. “Don’t blame me, you should have seen the speech he gave before he asked us if any of us at Alpha wanted to take your place! It was simply impossible to refuse!” He marveled for a moment about the massive amount of energy that went into laying and taking care of a Pokémon egg, for the sole cause of Pyre’s immaturity was fatigue.

“It’s all right, I didn’t mean to make you upset! I forgive you.” Pyre said.

“Wow, the great Pyrocomende finally forgives and forgets,” Tempicon teased. “You got disoriented by my good looks, didn’t you?”

Pyre smiled. This was what she loved the most about her life partner, the fact that no matter what situation, he would never completely lose his exuberance.

“Anyways, I have a lot to do and very little time, so, if you’ll excuse me, Your Highness…” Tempicon trailed off, then strode back out of the residence.

“Good luck in the battle!” Pyre called.

“Thanks!” shouted a faint voice from the other end of the hallway.

Pyre settled back down into her seat. She truly worried for Tempicon. He had gone to fight a very dangerous battle, as was often the case if you picked a fight with a horde of Ninjask. But the Salamence army hadn’t done that; the Ninjask had come to the cave on their own. No one (save for the Ninjask themselves) knew why they did it, but two days ago there had been six Ninjask trying to enter the cave. When they were refused, they attacked Delta Force. While Delta Force called for reinforcements, more and more Ninjask started appearing from seemingly nowhere, until it was full-scale war. She tried asking around, but no one seemed to know why the Ninjask were so keen on getting inside the cave – and why had she been calling it ‘the cave’ so much? She very well knew that it was called Serafoculaton! Worried both about the situation outside Serafoculaton and the condition of areas inside herself, Pyre shifted in her chair and hoped the battle would continue smoothly. It was going to be a very long night.


*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*

Fen was bored. Very bored. He had been waiting inside an alcove – no, a niche – on the inner wall of that godforsaken cave for Weng knew how long, and that too cramped in with his annoying partner-in-war, who couldn’t help but keep his mouth in motion – no matter what sound came out. Trying to cover Fong’s mouth with his wings but only succeeding in amplifying his partner’s whispered hisses of I’m-so-bored-I’m-so-bored-I’m-so-bored and so on, he wondered when the guards at the main entrance would get called into battle so the duo could slip into the inner rooms.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


A few hours later, Pyre woke up to the sounds of movement. She heard the distinct rustle of wings, a rustle that was so silent and rapidly beating that it would be inaudible to most Pokémon, but to Pyre, it was as clear as day. She pondered over what the creature could be until she heard what was unmistakably a whisper.

“Can we come in now, Fen?” said the voice.
“Be quiet, Fong, or she’ll hear us!” hissed another. Apparently there were two.
“I think she already did!”
“Don’t be stupider than you already are, and stop speaking!”
“Why do we have to hide like this? It’s cramped!” wailed the first voice.
“I’m telling you, shut your mouth! We need to have the element of surprise!”
“Why?”
“So if we find she’s not the one, we can make a smooth exit, idiot!”
“Oh, I see.”
“Yeah, you see. You see nothing! I’m not supposed to have to tell you that this is the right time to come out!
“Sorry!”
“No time for sorries, we’re coming out on one! Three-“
“Well, how else could I say I’m sorry?”
“Just leave it! Two-“ He was getting quite loud now.
“Oh, all right.”
“ONE! AND ACTUALLY DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME!”

Two Ninjask burst into the room, their golden stripes gleaming in the dim firelight.

“Hi, I’m Fen!” said Fen.
“And I’m Fong!” exclaimed Fong.
“And we’re Duo No. 600!” they chorused.
“Man, we really need to get a better introduction,” Fen groaned.
“Not to mention a cooler duo name,” added Fong

Pyre interrupted their conversation. “What do you want?”

They ignored her. “Fen, can you see the egg? Oh, wow, it’s right there. And it’s so shiny! Let’s get it and get out of here!” Fong blathered on.
“Idiot! That’s what I’m doing! Let me concentrate so I can do a good Focus Energy!” replied Fen.
“Oh, okay. But why are you starting to glow red? It’s scaring me!”
“That is the Focus Energy, dimwit! Now shut it so that I can Slash really good!”

Pyre felt a pang of indignity. That was her egg, the future victim of Fen’s Slash! She couldn’t let this happen!
As Fen delivered the striking blow, a blur of red and blue appeared in front of him, and before he could do anything to stop himself, he felt his clawed arms hitting toughened Salamence skin.

The attack didn’t even leave a scratch.

Then, out of nowhere, another Ninjask came into being. It was a perfect copy of Fen, but it was translucent, as if it were a ghost. The Fen-ghost raised its arm, its body radiating a sort of phantom energy, and Slashed Fen in a ground-quaking Counter attack, sending him tumbling into the opposite wall. Enraged, he started darting around the room, stopping for only a moment at one of four points on the room before moving again to the next one, and continuously increasing his speed – until it seemed like there were four copies of him circling Pyre.

The very same Salamence Fen was using Double Team (or Quadruple Team) on was baffled at what attack to use. She tried to shoot Flamethrowers at the Fens, but most of the time they simply dodged it, and in the other times her attack actually went through them. Throughout her efforts, her skin grew more and more irritated, as if she had a growing rash. She ignored it though, and continued trying attacks at the copies, but to no avail. The irritation increased until it was painful and almost unbearable, and only then did she figure out what it was.

Fen was very pleased. He had started a Fury Cutter Flurry, a technique he had invented himself. That move, coupled with Double Team, was almost foolproof, unless he was subdued or Knocked Out before he could finish it, and since Pyre neither showed any signs of using a decent move nor looked like she could take much more of his attack, he was almost certain he would win the battle.

Then, Pyre was struck with an idea. She knew she could perform it, and it would be just the thing she needed to gain the upper hand and possibly win the battle. It was fixed – she would do a Lock On, a move which she had been neglecting for a while because of the uselessness of it, but was now starting to seem very useful. Determined to protect her child no matter what, she reared back her head and sent an almost invisible chain of ectoplasm at the Fen in front of her. It passed straight through the duplicate and disintegrated. She was not surprised; out of the four copies, three could attack but not be attacked, and one physically existed. It was that one copy that she needed to attack in order to attack Fen, and it was probably the key to defeating him. Every fibre of her being screaming in pain, she tried Lock On again.

It was her third try when she hit gold.

The third chain connected with the real Fen and latched on, having no plans to release its bond until the next move was played. And it did. Pyre made no hesitation in sending a Hyper Beam after the Lock On. The attack swerved as Fen tried to dodge it, the phantom chain its guideline, and struck Fen straight on, making him fall to the floor, unconscious.

However, the Hyper Beam exhausted whatever little energy Pyre had remaining and left her on the edge of consciousness. Barely able to stay awake, she saw Fong coming out of the little crack in the wall he had been hiding in for the duration of the battle, walk across the room until he reached the egg, stop to do a war chant that went something along the lines of I did it, I did it, I’m a hero, I’m a hero, and start a Headbutt on the egg. He stopped again, then muttered, “Hey, that feels weird,” and abruptly went completely rigid. He then said, “What’s… happening to me?”

Pyre could see what Fong meant. His eyes were starting to become hazy, and he stopped flapping his wings, struggling as if unable to. All of a sudden, the whole cave was filled with a female voice. It was alluring yet repulsive. Beautiful yet disgusting. It started speaking in ancient Alakazam about life and death, male and female, about the dualistic world all living things lived in and the perfect, harmonious balance it symbolized, and then it started singing.

“If ever the world should come to harm,
And everyone have to come to arm,
The Protector will make Hope flags unfurled
And resolve and restore peace to the world.

“If The Protector should come to harm,
Perhaps some noble deed gone wrong,
Into activation will come a charm,
A charm that conquers… Fen and Fong!”


Even before the last strains of singing had died out, a shadow figure appeared above them. Disguised by the darkness of the room, it was difficult even for Pyre to see. While Fong hazily returned to consciousness, Pyre squinted up, trying to discern the shape of the figure. But, as hard as she tried, the Salamence’s eyes just couldn’t comprehend it. It seemed that the creature – could it be called a creature? It was so shapeless – was simply beyond the scope of seeing, hearing or smelling, as she soon figured out. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, it dived headfirst into the two Ninjask, gruesomely but cleanly hacking them into two equal halves. But the Ninjask did not bleed – they did not bleed like normal creatures did, anyways – they seemed to bleed a blinding light, which quickly engulfed them and made it impossible to see – anything. When the light died down, there was nothing there – just an empty block of air where Ninjask used to be.

The creature then turned to Pyre.

“Are you from the Atmocomende clan?” It spoke without a voice, as if it was not a living thing that was saying these words. “Born of the couple that seemed to die twice and be reborn again? Did the song that just played talk about a charm or spell and speak the names of the ones who put your egg in danger?”

“Everything you said is true, but why do you want to know?” Pyre asked wearily through half-closed eyes. She wasn’t lying; it was physically impossible for Pokémon to forget their own clan, her parents did experience all that (although she would rather not think about that, those times had not been very pleasurable), and she definitely hadn’t imagined the events that had just happened.

“I am bound by duty to keep the information you seek secret, but if I truly am right, then I’ve finally found the answer to the prophecy. After your egg hatches, send him as far up the Path as you can, then, on the dawning of his Almicon Pahos, come to my home in Desert Island, immediately south of the Glalie Province and east of the Volcano Sea – Salamence! Salamence! Don’t go yet, I have matters to discuss with you!”

Pyre didn’t care. She was about to faint and escape her pains for the amount of time it took to find and revive her, and she was more than willing to. But just as the comfort numbed her injuries, she felt a Sitrus berry being forced into her mouth, and she was roughly thrown back into consciousness.

“As I was saying,” the creature continued, “at the evolution before Almicon Pahos, give him three Enigma berries. Bear in mind, the only way to keep his growth proper is to follow what I said. If you ever fail to, and you see the consequences of your actions, get him directly to me. Only I will be able to help him.”

It started to turn back into the shadows.

“Remember, three Enigma berries at Betalcon Pahos and a visit to Desert Island at Almicon Pahos. If you do not follow my instructions, you and your son will have to come to me or pay for your ignorance.”

“Wait! Don’t go! There are so many questions left unanswered!” Pyre called, but the creature paid no attention. Within a moment, he was gone, seemingly having melted into the wall, leaving Pyre with only a memory and an uneasy sense of foreboding as she drifted into unconsciousness.



Tell me what you think!

bLASTOIse_MAsTer
24th November 2005, 3:34 PM
is this ur first? cuz this is really good. great deescription and length and i really was able to understand the story. good job!

mindripper
24th November 2005, 6:25 PM
Some mistakes first, mostly to do with flow and the like:


Two Ninjask burst into the room, their golden stripes gleaming in the dim firelight.

I really feel that you should add more to this description. It does have an impact, and cannot stand as a paragraph on its own.


It was fixed – she would do a Lock On, a move which she had been neglecting for a while because of the uselessness of it, but was now starting to seem very useful

I do not know if this is the best way to get your point across. I want to be pleasantly shocked, and by divulging the aces up your characters' sleeves, are you not impeding your story's own value? Just my opinion.

Besides those two mistakes, and some niggling spelling errors which I will not correct, but will instead ask you to use a spell check on, I felt that this work was reasonably well done, and if done correctly, with improvements made in all areas, could turn out to be a good read for people who follow it. Good luck.

Praxiteles
25th November 2005, 10:04 AM
bLASTOIse MAsTer: Thanks! *gives two normal, radiation free cookies* But really, although this is my first fic, it's not the first story I've written, as I've said; I did have some practice writing stuff for school and for fun (though I've forgotten most of the stuff I learned through experience when I got bored with writing).

mindripper: See, that's the stuff I was asking for when I wanted constructive criticism. *gives the three cookies he promised* I'll fix those things whenever I get anything better.

Also, spelling errors? I put it through the spell check about three times before I posted the chapter, and I fixed everything. Still, there must be some mistakes. Can you point them out?

Xiang
25th November 2005, 1:26 PM
I'm impressed. This is one of the few first fics that had promise and showed true effort on the forum. Lately I've been seeing n00blike fics, but yours is...

Anyway, down to business. Mindripper covered it. XD But I'm a nitpicker today, so....


Pyrocomende the Salamence looked like a ghostly spectre as she nursed the Pokemon egg in her lap. It was a cold night, and cool breezes frequently wafted throughout the dark cave that she had come to consider her home, so the to-be mother was on her guard, ceaselessly protecting her child from the cool air currents that got stirred up as a result of some complicated formula her own mother had once taught her in her childhood. It was a widely known fact that heat was essential for Salamence embryos. If even a little bit of cold reached them, it could reduce or even wipe out the ancient Dragon energy residing inside their bodies. And though it is true that this powerful asset continuously swells inside any normal Dragon – Type with a stable diet, having less of it would slow down the production of energy; and if the Dragon possessed none, he wouldn’t even be able to make any of it.

What on earth am I thinking of? Pyrocomende snapped out of her thoughts. She couldn’t afford getting lost in thought that easily; she had to stay alert. Although she was aware that mothers experience aimless mental wandering for a while after laying the egg (usually the phenomenon wore off after the egg hatched), she was still alarmed by the fact that, at any random moment, she could start involuntarily thinking about Pikachu and her neighbours and whatnot. She could already see the more visible effects of post-egg fatigue; the eyes under her fire red eyebrows – which stuck out rigidly – had dark circles, her neck (that had a ring of four long spikes and two short ones arranged geometrically at the neck-to-head joint) had a dull, continuous ache; the wings, shaped like the blades of axes, were getting slightly harder to flap, and she always felt tired. The doctors were a bit baffled about why there was nothing abnormal about her long tail, but still, they assured her that everything was going to go back to normal in a few weeks.

Probably.

Suddenly Pyre (as the pregnant Salamence was often called) heard noises of activity. The creak of the back door, a series of footsteps. She readied herself for battle, anticipating rouge Pokemon, and then, out of the darkness of the residential hallway, which led to every house in the cave, a large, familiar figure entered.

“Tempicon!” Pyre exclaimed. “Don’t scare me like that!”

Tempicon was the name of Pyre’s life mate, or ‘husband’ as some Pokemon call it, and a proud member of the Salamencian military’s Alpha Force, a collection of some of the world’s best Salamence.

“Sorry, I didn’t know,” Tempicon apologized, then continued, “but that’s not important. I just received an order from General Atmos. He says that our forces are holding their ground against the Ninjask invasion, but there have been too many casualties. He’s sending Beta Force as reinforcements into the battlefield, and since I doubt you’d be able to keep our egg nice and safe while you charge into legions of ninja–bugs that move at the speed of light, he has decided on taking a volunteer from Alpha Force. A volunteer who just happens to be me.” He said all this casually but quickly, as if he wanted to get it over with as fast as he could.

Pyre looked at him reproachfully; she knew from experience that going out there could be fatal, and anyways, she wouldn’t mind some company in the loneliness of the cave.

Tempicon sighed. “Don’t blame me, you should have seen the speech he gave before he asked us if any of us at Alpha wanted to take your place! It was simply impossible to refuse!” He marveled for a moment about the massive amount of energy that went into laying and taking care of a Pokemon egg, for the sole cause of Pyre’s immaturity was fatigue.

“It’s all right, I didn’t mean to make you upset! I forgive you.” Pyre said.

“Wow, the great Pyrocomende finally forgives and forgets,” Tempicon teased. “You got disoriented by my good looks, didn’t you?”

Pyre smiled. This was what she loved the most about her life partner, the fact that no matter what situation, he would never completely lose his exuberance.

“Anyways, I have a lot to do and very little time, so, if you’ll excuse me, Your Highness…” Tempicon trailed off, then strode back out of the residence.

“Good luck in the battle!” Pyre called.

“Thanks!” shouted a faint voice from the other end of the hallway.

Pyre settled back down into her seat. She truly worried for Tempicon. He had gone to fight a very dangerous battle, as was often the case if you picked a fight with a horde of Ninjask. But the Salamence army hadn’t done that; the Ninjask had come to the cave on their own. No one (save for the Ninjask themselves) knew why they did it, but two days ago there had been six Ninjask trying to enter the cave. When they were refused, they attacked Delta Force. While Delta Force called for reinforcements, more and more Ninjask started appearing from seemingly nowhere, until it was full-scale war. She tried asking around, but no one seemed to know why the Ninjask were so keen on getting inside the cave – and why had she been calling it ‘the cave’ so much? She very well knew that it was called Serafoculaton! Worried both about the situation outside Serafoculaton and the condition of areas inside herself, Pyre shifted in her chair and hoped the battle would continue smoothly. It was going to be a very long night.

*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~*

Fen was bored. Very bored. He had been waiting inside an alcove – no, a niche – on the inner wall of that godforsaken cave for Weng knew how long, and that too cramped in with his annoying partner-in-war, who couldn’t help but keep his mouth in motion – no matter what sound came out. Trying to cover Fong’s mouth with his wings but only succeeding in amplifying his partner’s whispered hisses of I’m-so-bored-I’m-so-bored-I’m-so-bored and so on, he wondered when the guards at the main entrance would get called into battle so the duo could slip into the inner rooms.

*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*

A few hours later, Pyre woke up to the sounds of movement. She heard the distinct rustle of wings, a rustle that was so silent and rapidly beating that it would be inaudible to most Pokemon, but to Pyre, it was as clear as day. She pondered over what the creature could be until she heard what was unmistakably a whisper.

“Can we come in now, Fen?” said the voice.

“Be quiet, Fong, or she’ll hear us!” hissed another. Apparently there were two.

“I think she already did!”

“Don’t be stupider than you already are, and stop speaking!”

“Why do we have to hide like this? It’s cramped!” wailed the first voice.

“I’m telling you, shut your mouth! We need to have the element of surprise!”

“Why?”

“So if we find she’s not the one, we can make a smooth exit, idiot!”

“Oh, I see.”

“Yeah, you see. You see nothing! I’m not supposed to have to tell you that this is the right time to come out!"

“Sorry!”

“No time for sorries, we’re coming out on one! Three-“

“Well, how else could I say I’m sorry?”

“Just leave it! Two-“ He was getting quite loud now.

“Oh, all right.”

“ONE! AND ACTUALLY DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME!”

Two Ninjask burst into the room, their golden stripes gleaming in the dim firelight.

“Hi, I’m Fen!” said Fen.

“And I’m Fong!” exclaimed Fong.

“And we’re Duo No. 600!” they chorused.

“Man, we really need to get a better introduction,” Fen groaned.

“Not to mention a cooler duo name,” added Fong.

Pyre interrupted their conversation. “What do you want?”

They ignored her. “Fen, can you see the egg? Oh, wow, it’s right there. And it’s so shiny! Let’s get it and get out of here!” Fong blathered on.

“Idiot! That’s what I’m doing! Let me concentrate so I can do a good Focus Energy!” replied Fen.

“Oh, okay. But why are you starting to glow red? It’s scaring me!”

“That is the Focus Energy, dimwit! Now shut it so that I can Slash really good!”

Pyre felt a pang of indignity. That was her egg, the future victim of Fen’s Slash! She couldn’t let this happen!

As Fen delivered the striking blow, a blur of red and blue appeared in front of him, and before he could do anything to stop himself, he felt his clawed arms hitting toughened Salamence skin.

The attack didn’t even leave a scratch.

Then, out of nowhere, another Ninjask came into being. It was a perfect copy of Fen, but it was translucent, as if it were a ghost. The Fen-ghost raised its arm, its body radiating a sort of phantom energy, and Slashed Fen in a ground-quaking Counter attack, sending him tumbling into the opposite wall. Enraged, he started darting around the room, stopping for only a moment at one of four points on the room before moving again to the next one, and continuously increasing his speed – until it seemed like there were four copies of him circling Pyre.

The very same Salamence Fen was using Double Team (or Quadruple Team) on was baffled at what attack to use. She tried to shoot Flamethrowers at the Fens, but most of the time they simply dodged it, and in the other times her attack actually went through them. Throughout her efforts, her skin grew more and more irritated, as if she had a growing rash. She ignored it though, and continued trying attacks at the copies, but to no avail. The irritation increased until it was painful and almost unbearable, and only then did she figure out what it was.

Fen was very pleased. He had started a Fury Cutter Flurry, a technique he had invented himself. That move, coupled with Double Team, was almost foolproof, unless he was subdued or Knocked Out before he could finish it, and since Pyre neither showed any signs of using a decent move nor looked like she could take much more of his attack, he was almost certain he would win the battle.

Then, Pyre was struck with an idea. She knew she could perform it, and it would be just the thing she needed to gain the upper hand and possibly win the battle. It was fixed – she would do a Lock On, a move which she had been neglecting for a while because of the uselessness of it, but was now starting to seem very useful. Determined to protect her child no matter what, she reared back her head and sent an almost invisible chain of ectoplasm at the Fen in front of her. It passed straight through the duplicate and disintegrated. She was not surprised; out of the four copies, three could attack but not be attacked, and one physically existed. It was that one copy that she needed to attack in order to attack Fen, and it was probably the key to defeating him. Every fibre of her being screaming in pain, she tried Lock On again.

It was her third try when she hit gold.

The third chain connected with the real Fen and latched on, having no plans to release its bond until the next move was played. And it did. Pyre made no hesitation in sending a Hyper Beam after the Lock On. The attack swerved as Fen tried to dodge it, the phantom chain its guideline, and struck Fen straight on, making him fall to the floor, unconscious.

However, the Hyper Beam exhausted whatever little energy Pyre had remaining and left her on the edge of consciousness. Barely able to stay awake, she saw Fong coming out of the little crack in the wall he had been hiding in for the duration of the battle, walk across the room until he reached the egg, stop to do a war chant that went something along the lines of I did it, I did it, I’m a hero, I’m a hero, and start a Headbutt on the egg. He stopped again, then muttered, “Hey, that feels weird,” and abruptly went completely rigid. He then said, “What’s… happening to me?”

Pyre could see what Fong meant. His eyes were starting to become hazy, and he stopped flapping his wings, struggling as if unable to. All of a sudden, the whole cave was filled with a female voice. It was alluring yet repulsive. Beautiful yet disgusting. It started speaking in ancient Alakazam about life and death, male and female, about the dualistic world all living things lived in and the perfect, harmonious balance it symbolized, and then it started singing.

“If ever the world should come to harm,
And everyone have to come to arm,
The Protector will make Hope flags unfurled
And resolve & restore peace to the world.

“If The Protector should come to harm,
Perhaps some noble deed gone wrong,
Into activation will come a charm,
A charm that conquers… Fen and Fong!”


Even before the last strains of singing had died out, a shadow figure appeared above them. Disguised by the darkness of the room, it was difficult even for Pyre to see. While Fong hazily returned to consciousness, Pyre squinted up, trying to discern the shape of the figure. But, as hard as she tried, the Salamence’s eyes just couldn’t comprehend it. It seemed that the creature – could it be called a creature? It was so shapeless – was simply beyond the scope of seeing, hearing or smelling, as she soon figured out. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, it dived headfirst into the two Ninjask, gruesomely but cleanly hacking them into two equal halves. But the Ninjask did not bleed – they did not bleed like normal creatures did, anyways – they seemed to bleed a blinding light, which quickly engulfed them and made it impossible to see – anything. When the light died down, there was nothing there – just an empty block of air where Ninjask used to be.

The creature then turned to Pyre.

“Are you from the Atmocomende clan?” It spoke without a voice, as if it was not a living thing that was saying these words. “Born of the couple that seemed to die twice and be reborn again? Did the song that just played talk about a charm or spell and speak the names of the ones who put your egg in danger?”

“Everything you said is true, but why do you want to know?” Pyre asked wearily through half-closed eyes. She wasn’t lying; it was physically impossible for Pokemon to forget their own clan, her parents did experience all that (although she would rather not think about that, those times had not been very pleasurable), and she definitely hadn’t imagined the events that had just happened.

“I am bound by duty to keep the information you seek secret, but if I truly am right, then I’ve finally found the answer to the prophecy. After your egg hatches, send him as farther up the Path as you can, then, on the dawning of his Almicon Pahos, come to my home in Desert Island, immediately south of Virc-Dho and east of the Volcano Sea – Salamence! Salamence! Don’t go yet, I have matters to discuss with you!”

Pyre didn’t care. She was about to faint and escape her pains for the amount of time it took to find and revive her, and she was more than willing to. But just as the comfort numbed her injuries, she felt a Sitrus berry being forced into her mouth, and she was roughly thrown back into consciousness.

“As I was saying,” the creature continued, “at the evolution before Almicon Pahos, give him three Enigma berries. Bear in mind, the only way to keep his growth proper is to follow what I said. If you ever fail to, and you see the consequences of your actions, get him directly to me. Only I will be able to help him.”

It started to turn back into the shadows.

“Remember, three Enigma berries at Betalcon Pahos and a visit to Desert Island at Almicon Pahos. If you do not follow my instructions, you and your son will have to come to me or pay for your ignorance.”

“Wait! Don’t go! There are so many questions left unanswered!” Pyre called, but the creature paid no attention. Within a moment, he was gone, seemingly having melted into the wall, leaving Pyre with only a memory and an uneasy sense of foreboding as she drifted into unconsciousness.

Overall, it's pretty good.

Praxiteles
26th November 2005, 2:15 AM
Burakki: Welcome to the thread! Thanks for the compliments, and, though I don't like to brag, I agree, there have been too many n00b-like fics around lately.

BTW, I'm actually going to check everyday, not the every-other-day routine I was talking about.

Kiyohime
26th November 2005, 4:55 AM
I mostly skimmed (Bad Scrap. Bad! XD) but I HAD to leave a comment, as this is deserving of one. ^^

I LOVE FEN AND FONG. XD I love the dialogue, how they interact...your characters have so much personality, it charms me. You truly have skill, so I'm posting this to encourage you to keep doing your best. ^^ *shakes hand*

Praxiteles
26th November 2005, 2:46 PM
Scrap: *shakes hand* Really? Wow, I never knew I could impress someone that much with my fic! And BTW, I agree. Despite being their creator, I couldn't help XDing whenever I read Fen & Fong's dialogue.

Don't expect much of that personality distinction in the next chapter, but look out for a host of new characters in the 3rd.

Shadowcat
30th November 2005, 7:49 AM
It's quite a good fic. But as Mindripper said, you lack description. That's all. You need to describe the Pokemon much better than you did. That's what you did not do right in this fic. For the rest, it's okay. But not extremely good. Try to add some description for your next chapter.

Hip-Hop Master
30th November 2005, 10:25 PM
(I skimmed through it too. Bad mustang *slaps*. BAD BAD MUSTANG)

Urgh....This is one of the best first fics I've ever read/skimmed through. Pretty good. Fen and Fong are teh best. *mutters sumthin' bout talents and why he doesn't have 'em* *waits for cookis*

Praxiteles
14th December 2005, 1:22 PM
Nooooooooooooooooooo!

My fans have been waiting for me, and I've let them down!
Anyways, sorry for not posting earlier, some things came up. (A team of evil ;106; infiltrated my house and Mega Puched me. Darn those ;106; ! I'm soooooo sorry, I haven't done very much on the chapter, but as I said: some things came up. (see above) Anyways, new reviewers! Yay!

xXSapphireXx: Thanks for the advice! I'll try to put more descriptions into the next chapter. Actually, I was thinking of making this an introduction chapter with the real meat being in the rest of the story, so I cut off on detail. But I've decided now that that would be pointless. I'll keep this in mind!

Hip-Hop Master: You skimmed too? It's okay, I appreciate a review regardless of how it was caused. Thanks for the compliment, I never thought my fic could be on someone's list of best fics! (btw, talents? I don't think I'm talented at this! Also, sorry, you don't get a cookie yet. Get me some good advice and you'll soon get one, like almost everyone else - Hey, I didn't give some to xXSapphireXx? I'll get 'em now! *pulls out cookie box*)

Praxiteles
27th January 2006, 11:58 AM
*Sighs* So much writing, so many misfortunes...
I've been trying to finish the chap for a long time, but every time something's gone wrong. Even my keyboard gave up on me for a while when I was moving to my new house, but finally, I'm back on track. You don't need to wait much more, I'm nearing the end of the chapter, but I was just coming by to post this so everyone knows I'm alive. As always, stay excited for the next chapter!

Praxiteles
29th January 2006, 6:49 AM
Here it is, what you've all been waiting for! Sorry about the sucky dialog, I can't do small children very well.


The Upholder Of Duty


Chapter 2: The Path



The next morning was one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Taillow and Pidgey sang their songs as Pokémon of every shape and size imaginable went through their daily routines. Two Teddiursa twins raced across the Meadow Route, their Ursaring parents keeping close behind them to ensure their safety; a family of Zigzagoon started their daily berry foraging; and there was not a trace of the events that had ensued the night before. But all was not well; a Salamence lay in one of the innermost rooms of Serafoculaton, the mountain cave that linked the Meadow Route (which led to the Northern Forest) to the Mountain-foot Passageway (the route which led to Sableye Island). The Pokémon seemed to be alive, for her chest could be seen heaving up and down, but the breaths were shallow, and she was not making any movement other than her inhalations. She wasn’t left to herself, though; a Shelgon from the other room had passed by on a morning walk, and, stopping sharply as she reached the open door of her room, had taken a fearful glance at the state of the room. On seeing the scene inside; the large impression on the other wall, the cluttered state of the usually neat books on the antique bookcase, the energy radiating from the walls of the place, and most of all the unconscious form of Pyre lying on the floor, she had taken a piercing scream and a call for the neighbouring Chansey and the security guards, who arrived at the scene almost immediately.


*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*

Pyrocomende opened her eyes blearily as she tried to bring into focus the blur of shapes and colours before her. A Shelgon, apparently the one who had found her, was calling her name repeatedly, and, on closer inspection, could be recognized as her friend Traynalcon. Croaking a weary I’ll live to the overexcited Belticonian, she turned to a worried-looking Chansey leading a group of tough security Salamence. The Chansey exclaimed, “She’s awake!” to the others, and then continued tending to Pyre’s injuries, all the while saying, “You should be lucky I was around town, or you’d have to wait at least four weeks until my cousin Aracia came around. The people of Serafoculaton can reduce an entire Ninjask horde to whining, pleading wretches, but they can’t even heal a broken neck.”

For some reason, the Chansey’s last statement seemed odd to Pyre, and it must have showed on her face, for then the caring (albeit strange) nurse Pokémon said, slightly irritated, “What, you thought us Chansey can’t even rejoin a severed spine? For your information, we’re working on much more worthwhile topics, like reproducing a brain for when the original gets damaged, curing all sorts of Arohen Crimayan, healing a…” She continued, speaking more and more complicated words until Pyre could not comprehend any word she said.

“But anyways,” she continued, “you should get to the infirmary. Can you walk? Here, let me lend you a hand.” She started to help Pyre get up and was soon joined by the guards, and together they made their way to the hospital wing, the Chansey telling Pyre that her name was Ajia along the way.


*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*

A week later, Pyre was released from the infirmary, fully healed except for a few bandages and a wing splint. However, she was not completely well. The recent experiences had proved to be very unsettling, and for a long time she spent most of her time brooding on what the mysterious Pokémon had meant by his words. Why did he ask me such irrelevant questions? What was the prophecy he was talking about? And, most importantly, what is he going to do when – if – I do as he told? Questions raged through her mind, and, try as she might, she couldn’t answer any of them.

The situation was not helped by the event that happened next. Two days later, on a day that should have been a happy, peaceful time, General Atmos came up to Pyre in the recreation room when she was trying to distract herself from her problems and told her news that put her into even more turmoil.

“Pyrocomende Atmo,” he said, using Pyre’s full name as he often did, “it is with great sadness that I tell you this information. I truly believe that your husband, Tempicon Bios, was a great Salamence. He saved the entire of Serafoculaton numerous times. He never hesitated to risk his life for his fellow comrades and the countless innocents living in this mountain cave. And he maintained a cheerful and kind attitude for all his life. And so it was when he entered the darkness.”

Shock filled Pyre. He’s dead! It can’t be! Tears flowed down her cheeks as she tried to digest the news put in front of her. “Tell me how he died,” she said, knowing that every word of the General’s reply would pain her but also aware that it would be an abomination to remain ignorant.

General Atmos’ next words were as dramatic as the first. “He died with honor in battle, sacrificing himself to defeat the foe. Halfway into the battle, a Tyranitar appeared at the back of the Ninjask, and we saw a true slaughter, one the likes of which even I had never seen before. With three Fissures, he killed one-fourths of our forces. Then Tempicon came up to challenge him, and the resulting battle was a breathtakingly heroic one. But right at the last moment, the Tyranitar distracted and Fissured Tempicon like a coward, when Tempicon’s back was still to the Tyranitar. The brave Salamence had a choice then. He could either Fly out of the Fissure and Run, which would allow the Tyranitar to overtake our cave, or he could Earthquake the Fissure so that it rounded back on itself and make the ground underneath the Tyranitar fall away, thus killing both him and his enemy. He decided on self-sacrifice.

“All that was left to do then was mourn his loss, for most of the army either fled or surrendered after they found their leader had fallen. Sure, we had won the war, but we had lost one of the most important members of our army, and for that we were truly saddened.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before? Don’t I mean anything to him?” she exclaimed, allowing her emotion to colour her voice.

“We did not know if he was truly dead until just recently,” was his calm reply.

And with a flourish, he exited.

The next few days were one of the worst times of Pyre’s life. She spent most of her time in a depression, staying inside her room with the door closed. She felt as if she was not living, but functioning, no, existing, as if a part of her very soul had been torn away from her. She spent her time thinking of how she would live without him, how she would bear her sorrows without him. Sometimes she remembered happy times she had shared with Tempicon, and she would become even more distressed. She felt terrible for a long time until Fate finally gave her a consolation.

On January 1st, 9000 BC, a Bagon was born.

At first the signs were subtle, only a few cracks on Pyre’s egg, but like the growth of a fire, the egg started glowing brighter and brighter, until the entire room was filled with multicoloured light which moved and changed into shapes that were too abstract to recognize but so beautiful that one could only gaze in wonder. Pyre, though, quickly snapped out of her trance and opened her energy reservoirs, for there was a science to all the beauty, and that was the fact that, like other eggs, Dragon eggs had a store of energy in them (in the other cases, an albumen; in this case, a collection of pure, slightly refined energy) and, after hatching, the excess power was released in the form of light. Therefore, it was only logical that the mother would try to regain as much of the spent energy as she could to recover from the stress of pregnancy. Pyre soon realized how ingenious the system was; she felt an amazing sense of well being as vast amounts of energy flowed into her reservoirs, and she felt as if the world was just a bit quieter when the light faded away, the energy in the egg exhausted.

Already exhilarated by the first phase, she forgot everything when she looked at what was left of the egg. Happiness and motherly delight filled her as she gazed upon her son, already thinking of what to call him. The Bagon Growled in such a cute and love-filled manner that Pyre had to embrace him with her neck, as was the Salamence custom to showing maternal love to a younger Pokémon. Her son cooed, and she said, “There’s so much for us to do and so many bridges to cross. I can’t wait to start your lessons and guide you through the path. But what should be your name?” A whim told her to use a large, special name, for she felt that the young Gamiconian in front of her was special. She thought about it for a moment, then asked the Bagon, “What about Cembercon Seraphim? Or Pyroken Serafoculus?” Strangely, she felt a growing fondness for the second name, and a dislike for the first, but the two feelings did not seem to come from her but a foreign source. Only then did she remember about the mental link all Salamence mothers had with their children, and realize that her child wanted to be called Pyroken Serafoculus. “All right, as you wish,” she said. “I give you the name Pyroken Serafoculus. Dragonfire.”


*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*

Having a child rejuvenated Pyre. She felt as if she was whole again. As if Dragonfire had restored a part of her, and she had a purpose again: to guide her son through each Pahos as he faced it, and to help him reach heights even more glorious than Tempicon’s or hers. Bagon children grew fast; a trait that came from the old times when even the toddlers had to sleep with one eye open, and as a result, the Salamence system of learning started early. Consequently, Pyre could start Dragonfire’s theory lesson only half a month after his hatching.

“Come around, come around,” she said, calling to Dragonfire as he tried to see just how hard it was to Scratch a stone in two. “It’s time you started the Pahos Guaidara.”

She already knew Dragonfire’s reply: “What’s the Pahos Guaidara?”

“It means Path Guide. You want to grow up to be a great Salamence, don’t you?”

He Growled an enthusiastic affirmative.

“The Guaidara will guide you through the Path. I had it when I was your age, and look what I’ve become! A complete bazark!”

They both laughed at the joke.

“Let’s start, Mommy!” he said impatiently

“All right, let’s start. Today you’ll have your theory, and tomorrow we’ll improve your battling. So, what should I teach you first?”

She thought for a moment, then decided, “First of all I think you should see Serafoculaton. There are a lot of things you can do once you step out of the residential area.”

She then led Dragonfire out of the room, at which point they saw a long hall with doors on either wall. There was a glowing strip on the roof, which gave the effect of water, and would have been almost indistinguishable from water had it not glowed with a different colour every few seconds. The decorative light cast shades onto the walls and floor, which were made of a special stone that reflected the light in such a beautiful way that anyone passing through would have to stop for at least a few seconds to admire it unless they had seen it many times before. Pyre had done that, but Dragonfire had not; and so he was transfixed by the light for a while until Pyre said, “There are much more glorious things in our home than that. Just think, if that’s so beautiful, what the other treasures would be!”

At that, Dragonfire snapped out of his trance and said, “I’ll race you to the exit!” excited by the prospect of seeing the rest of the cave. He started running down the hallway, and Pyre caught up with him with some difficulty, impressed by his speed.

The Bagon still reached first, then eagerly opened the door at the end, closing it just as quickly as a strange odour filled the room. Pyre was accustomed to the smell, but Dragonfire was not, and he started coughing from it. He started crying, weeping with a tone of worry, “The people inside are having to breathe the smell, Mommy, we have to do something!”

It was then, when she was comforting Dragonfire, saying that it was perfectly safe and that it actually helped you after you breathed it for some time, that it struck Pyre that Dragonfire’s response was not like other small Pokémon. Instead of crying because he himself was shaken by the Ascerda gas, his first thought was about the other ones who he thought were being harmed. It was a very small incident and an awkward one at that, yet Pyre still thought it meant something. Most probably, she would just have to wait and see.

“So, Dragonfire, ready?” she asked after telling him to take long, deep breaths so that the gas could flow freely through his body.

“Let’s try it again!”

“All right.”

They opened the door again, and after a few small coughs, started looking around. The scene was magnificent. Delicate gold veins decorated the long, flowing marble walls adorned with a tapestry for every ruler of Serafoculaton in order as Pokémon of all three Pahos went on with their business. There was a Salamence sculpting a mound of molten diamond on a silver platform; a Shelgon frustrated as she tried to manipulate a Gildara, one of the oldest Salamence puzzles ever created, using only the Psychic ability she had inherited from her father; a group of tiny Bagon about Dragonfire’s age that were playing hide-and-seek using the tall gold pillars that stood on all four corners; and a group of stone Pokémon doing a play on the main stage, given life by the skill of a Shelgon who had learnt how to twist the purpose of his hereditary Synchronize ability and could make the sculptures follow what he did.

“This is the Main Hall,” Pyre explained. “If you want to meet people, watch the show there, on the stage,” she motioned to the moving sculptures, “or just do something, this is the place.”

She led Dragonfire to the middle of the hall, where Traynalcon was trying to calm herself after watching the climax of the play in front of her. She introduced Dragonfire to Traynalcon and vice versa, at which point Traynalcon said, “Oh, this is your son? He’s so cute!” She tried to extend a leg outwards, but soon gave up, saying, “Oh, you’re so lucky! I always wanted a child!” and becoming more and more excited all the while. After Traynalcon started visibly hopping around, Dragonfire cast a worried gaze at Pyre, and she explained that the Shelgon had a blood sugar defect and that it had not been cured without the end result of causing her to become a bit hyperactive at times.

After a few pleasantries, Pyre led Dragonfire to more rooms, each not much less glorious than the Main Hall. There was the Dining Hall, the Recreation Room (which was met with much enthusiasm by Dragonfire), an area sectioned off with compressed air, which, according to Pyre was the construction lot for a place called the Hydracomende gardens, and finally, a door at the side of the Main Hall, at which she stopped, saying, “Now, I want you to pay what I’m going to show you the utmost attention and respect. This is the only way known to the Salamence that will let you evolve through the Pahos and become great. Only those who have taken this seriously have been able to master it, including me. So, do you promise?”

“I promise,” Dragonfire vowed, trying to be as solemn as he could with his juvenile voice.

“Then let’s enter.”

Inside was a large room with many Shelgon and a few Salamence practicing various moves. At the front of the room was a series of large steps (each the height of a large Salamence and as long as the room itself) which were divided into three groups by way of colour. Various Pokémon were approaching different steps and disappearing like an image seen through rapidly thickening smoke, only to reappear a usually long while afterwards on the step immediately higher than the one they were originally on. After the first twelve steps was a bronze Shelgon who kept in front of it a strange stone which glowed both sky-blue and fire-red at the same time, then, after the twenty-fourth step, a silver Salamence holding in its wings another stone of the same type but one, perhaps, that grew more brightly than the first, and finally, at the topmost step, a light blue typhoon with a fire in its eye upon which hovered a third stone.

“This is the Pahos,” said Pyre in a low whisper. “Through it I have achieved greatness, and so will you. There are thirty-six steps, divided into the Gamicon, Betalcon, and Almicon Pahos. Every step transports you to a dimension higher than the one below it, which is when you have to either solve a logic puzzle (which tests your mental ability) or battle a Pokémon. It then leaves you on the next step. And that is the way you progress through the Path. The stone with the Shelgon is the only way that can evolve a Bagon into a Shelgon and bring a Gamiconian to Betalcon Pahos, the Salamence’s stone can evolve a Belticonian into an Almiconian, and the third stone has never been reached before, so we can only speculate what it would do. All of them are arduous missions, ones that require a great amount of skill to be mastered. This is your future, Dragonfire. This is the Pahos. Look well.”

Praxiteles
4th February 2006, 3:06 PM
Hello, all. I just wanted to come and make everyone excited for the next chapter. I haven't done much on it, but that's because I had to make some decisions with the storyline.
Also, I started the book 'Fun With Voices' (no, I didn't, I just put some certain decor into the story so It seems more realistic)! I'm taking more time with this chap, but that's only because I want to make it really good. So If I don't make the deadline, whoever's interested in what I can do will hopefully be patient.

Ready to serve,
Dragonfire

Praxiteles
12th February 2006, 10:37 AM
Here it is, the chapter that's really good!


The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 3: The Power of Dragons


A cruel chuckle snapped Dragonfire out of his reverie. His gaze shifted upwards, gaining him the view of an ominous vise clouded by an aura of darkness. His foe was flawless, bespeaking power that was near invincible, but just by those eyes, those terrible, hollow, blood red eyes, he knew that inside, the creature was mutilated.

What do you mean by this? he thought, projecting his demand into the shadow-creature’s mind. He did not feel like the two-Marged Gamiconian he truly was; instead, he felt a strange energy surging through his veins, exciting yet horrifying him. Two scarlet wings shifted on his unconscious command, and something registered in his mind: He was a Salamence.

My purposes are mine and for no none else. If you wish to disprove this, perhaps a duel will suffice, though I cannot guarantee the probability that you will be alive, sane, or conscious enough to have the words register in your mind when I tell you, or any combination thereof. The creature was almost certain this alone would be enough to make this bothersome Salamence succumb to his desires. Even if he was foolish enough not to, it would just have to-

We shall duel, was his reply. I will not be taken down like a coward.

The statement surprised the darker of the two. The mere sight of me makes the bravest of the bravest quail in fear, it thought to itself. I would think he was smart enough to manage not invoking my wrath, but he tries to do just that? Strange…


Very well. Let us battle.


All of a sudden, the scene transformed. What had seemed like a dreamlike psuedo-void gave way to a world of pure chaos; it seemed as if the weaver who had created the very fabric of the universe had erred badly and, as a result, absolutely nothing was as it should have been.

Averting his gaze from the surroundings, Dragonfire concentrated on his enemy. The creature struck unexpectedly, catching him off guard, but Dragonfire managed to dodge the Shadow Ball coming his way, given ample time when the creature paused to let the ethereal Ghost energy gather in front of it. He retaliated with a Bite, summoning a pair of jaws, which he attempted to bring down on his foe, and all the while acting on pure instinct, as he had never used Dark energy before, and his opponent’s Light Screen deflected the attack almost lazily.

I do hope that’s not the best you can do, the creature said, meaning it. It had wanted a challenge, not a pathetic weakling.

The next moment Dragonfire let out a cry as an overwhelmingly strong electric current rushed through his body, jarring him and causing him to collapse in spasms. When it finally abated, Dragonfire was just conscious enough to acknowledge the fact that he had been subjected to an unnaturally intense Shock Wave, so intense in fact that it had not just paralyzed him but left him at the edge of consciousness or even life.

As the creature approached him to deliver the final Slash to the throat, Dragonfire was just awake enough to see him emit a triumphant c -




Dragonfire the Bagon woke up from his sleep as his mother called his name. He rubbed his eyes, trying to get his mind to work as he tried to figure out the dream he had just had. It was weird; he’d been able to see everything so clearly, and he even knew what the other thing – creature – whatever-it-was was thinking. That was definitely wrong.

“Dragonfire,” his mother said again. “Time for breakfast. You look all feverish, did you have a bad dream?”

“Yeah, I did!” And he told his mom all about it. The story, the strange parts in it – everything.

“Well,” she said after she heard it, looking as if she honestly had no idea what it meant, “I don’t know what this is. I definitely never saw anything like this – ever. I’ll have to think about it.” All the while, she kept a puzzled expression, but somehow, when Dragonfire took a close look at her eyes, he got a feeling she was hiding something. Any way, he didn’t press her.


*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*

After breakfast, Dragonfire asked his mother when he would have his second lesson. He was really excited about learning how to battle, so he was a bit disappointed to hear that they were going to follow the official routine, which involved doing four lessons a week (or one lesson every other day) starting on Sundays. That particular day was a Monday.

“But there’s a lot to do already,” she said, trying to cheer him up. “The Hydracomende Gardens are finished. You’d love to play around and get some friends, wouldn’t you? You can go there in an hour, after the safety curfew is over.”

And he went. They were a wonderful sight, the Gardens; they seemed to be not just some gardens, as they were called, but a full-blown forest. Still, they were prettier than any jungle, and they seemed to be made for Pokémon to play, take a nice walk, or just relax in them. Here and there there were subtle paths that let whoever was inside them navigate but still kept the effect of a natural forest, then there were little clearings where, as Dragonfire figured, Pokémon could hold mock battles; ‘sparring matches’, as a Bagon told him. Even the roof had been changed to make it look like the sky instead of just a stone roof, and, along with the trees and the other residents of the Gardens, the scene was beautiful.

Dragonfire was walking aimlessly, taking in the scenery when, out of the blue, another Bagon appeared right in front of him. He was naturally freaked (he didn’t take well to surprises), and he instinctively threw a claw at the Bagon in a Slash. The poor Gamiconian just barely dodged the attack as it zoomed up at him, and they both fell on the ground in a heap.

“Oh. I’m so sorry, I didn’t know what I was thinking, I…” Dragonfire babbled while the other one tried to say something. On and on he gibbered and on and on the stranger attempted to speak. Finally, giving up, the Bagon yelled, “IT’S OKAY!”

“Oh. All right. But why did you scare me like that?”
“I was only playing around, silly.”
“Hey, don’t call me silly, it’s rude!”
“Well… Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry. My name’s Agnos. What’s yours?” Agnos looked just about the same age as Dragonfire, only a bit taller and sturdier.
“I’m Pyr- Pyro- Well, my real name is a bit hard to pronounce, but you can call me Dragonfire.”
“Hi, Dragonfire! Would you like to play with us?”
“Us? Are there more?” And Agnos took him to the nearest clearing, where a whole group of Bagon was ‘sparring’. When the two entered the clearing, the others stopped to watch Agnos and Dragonfire, and Dragonfire’s host announced:

“Everybody, this is Dragonfire!”

Most of the others said hi.

“Dragonfire, let me introduce you to my friends. This is Pahicon,” (he pointed to a cheerful Gamiconian, who chattered back, “You know Mrs. Hathyoken? I’m her son!”; ) “Croyaliton,” (which was another Bagon who tried to hold himself with as much dignity as he could (which wasn’t very much anyways) and only inclined his head,) “’Gloomy’, as we like to call him,” (this one said sarcastically, “I’m honored,” and brooded in the corner, which got a “Don’t worry about him; he’s pretty good once he gets to know you,” from Pahicon; ) “and Carmeliton.” Carmeliton was probably the most normal Pokémon in the group.

Dragonfire hadn’t looked in a mirror a lot, so this was the first time he was seeing a Bagon up close. He looked at all of them. The body was rather simple, with a spherical head that held up a snout about the same size as the head itself; the snout could have been called a mouth as well, for its entire lower portion was separate from the upper one and was basically the lower jaw. Bagon had no noses; instead, they breathed through small gaps in their scales, and seemingly sprouting from the Bagons’ foreheads were the three well-known tube-like stone protrusions (which were fused with the skin and themselves) that covered the head and ran the length of their necks until they curled outwards at the nape. Their hands were actually small stubs, and the legs bulged with the muscle that had accumulated as a result of the Bagon habit of running before they jumped off of cliffs or rammed into boulders. The whole body was sky blue, except for the lower surface of the snout and the underbelly, which were burnt yellow, and the protrusions, which were, of course, the color of granite.

“May I be as arrogant to ask, do you know how to spar?” Croyaliton asked, trying to look imperious (but failing big-time, in Dragonfire’s opinion).

Dragonfire shook his head.

It was Carmeliton who spoke this time. “Well, you basically battle, except you never hurt your opponent, and the match ends when someone gets touched or ‘downed’ by his enemy’s attack ten times. You know some moves at least, don’t you?”

Dragonfire said yes (an apprehensive yes, but a yes all the same), and Carmeliton told him he’d do fine, then.

The Bagon then assembled in a formation, with two Pokémon on either end of the clearing, and one line each on the two sides. Then Pahicon said, “I want him for our team.”

And this started the quarrel.

The five argued on and on and on. Even when Croyaliton tried to calm them with a compromise, they only argued more. Starting to get seriously annoyed, Dragonfire thought about how to fix the situation, and then his mind came across something so stupid, it almost made him laugh.

Not even thinking, he did it.

“QUIET, ALL OF YOU!” The place turned silent. “Now, I’m going to pick whatever team I want, and that will have to be the strongest team. Pick one from each team, and whoever can beat me fastest can have me.”

Instantly, the two sides started arguing again.

Dragonfire seriously considered sneaking out that moment, but he decided he would at least try his hand in sparring. He quieted them again, then chose one person at random from each team. After he was done, he concentrated on his opponents. He’d chosen Agnos from the left team and ‘Gloomy’ from the right. Both way stronger than him.

Wonderful.

As soon as he faced Gloomy on the ‘Arena’, he started panicking. How am I supposed to defeat them? Why in the name of the Lati did I even agree to this? I haven’t even sparred before, ever!

Then, his foe attacked. Dodging out of the way, Dragonfire started moving around the place. He attacked him again, and the attack missed once more. After a third lunge, ‘Gloomy’ stopped.

“Dude, just use some attack already!” he called out.

He resumed trying to hit Dragonfire.

After the fourth one, Gloomy was really starting to get irritated, so Dragonfire decided he should attack. While he was looking in his mind for a type of energy, he raised his arm. It took him a minute and some effort, but finally he found it. The energy looked just like a memory, except there was absolutely nothing there but beige. He quickly pictured his arm in that weird place, and he noticed satisfied that his claws had started glowing white. Then he brought down the hand, and to his joy, he found that his Scratch managed to down his pessimistic opponent once. Even more to Dragonfire’s delight, he was able to dodge Gloomy’s next move, and hit him again. This continued for a bit, until Dragonfire had downed his enemy six times, and he had been downed only four times. Then, something happened that Dragonfire could only describe thus:


Without so much as a thought, he stumbled across a certain memory he would never forget; one that appeared so surreal, he had difficulty believing it. He seemed to be trapped in the middle of a world of chaotic fire from which he had no escape; it was a world of terrible, scorching fire that consumed everything in its cyan-indigo blaze, even the skies. Great masses of flame flew overhead as numerous figures loped about, all set alight with fire. He saw, to his horror, Bagon, Shelgon (from which he could make out the figure of Traynalcon), and countless Salamence, and he gasped as he saw the great figure of his mother. She began moving towards him, but Dragonfire darted away from her, horrified, until he stumbled and fell, and realized that he was burning as well. He yelled in frustration until Pyre caught up and uttered four simple words:

“Be calm, my son!”

And he returned to reality, still feeling thrilled and slightly dazed.
Then, as if it had waited until after the phantasm, he felt a great heat arise in his chest, which followed its way up his larynx and filled his mouth. Unbidden, he opened his considerably fearsome maw and released a strange substance. It seemed to be as ethereal as vapor, yet it glowed with the brilliant heat of fire and flowed in intricate lines akin to molten gold. It slowly drifted towards his opponent until it swarmed around and over him, covering him with fiery golden mist, which condensed into flame. Truly shaken, Dragonfire could only watch as his fire enveloped the hapless Bagon, evidently giving him excruciating pain, until –


“What do you think you’re doing?” A beam of ice covered the flames that was just cold enough burn the fire out but was temperate enough to melt before it touched him, and the completely shaken Bagon in front of Dragonfire started wobbling, until he fell, dazed. Agnos ordered someone to get him to the infirmary, driven by his quick thinking.

Then he turned to Dragonfire.

“Do you realize you could’ve killed him? At the very least, he’s going to have really bad burns! Did nobody tell you Dragon flames are deadly on their own type?”

Dragonfire’s honest answer was no, but he only apologized, saying it was on accident and that he didn’t even know he could do that. Unfortunately, Agnos didn’t want to forgive him, for some reason. Dragonfire was almost starting to get afraid that he’d do something, but then Carmeliton intervened.

“I think it’s best that we all go home,” he said coldly. “It’s getting dark.”



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


At dinner, Dragonfire told his mom about what had happened. Just when he started describing his attack, his mother interrupted him.

“It looked like fog?” she asked, wanting to confirm. “Turned into fire? Are you sure that memory had purple fire?”
“Yes, mom, I already said all of that.”

And she gave a great whoop and picked Dragonfire up with a sweep of her tail.

“Do you know what you did? You’ve just learned Dragonbreath! I can’t believe it! You learned it already!”
“But what’s so great about that move, Mommy?”
“What’s so great? What’s so great? It means that you’ve got the Gift! I knew it from the start, as soon as I noticed your scales were colored differently, but I can’t believe it! You’ve got the Gift! You’re going to get through the Pahos much quicker than the others, because you have the Gift!”

Dragonfire had never seen his mother so excited before.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The next day, Dragonfire and his mother set out for the Pahos room. He was thankful that he didn’t have to pass by Agnos or any of the others, and by the time they’d reached the place, he was in good spirits.

“All right, let’s start with a few exercises first,” said his mother when they found a good spot. “First of all you should practice focusing your mind so when you find your energy, you can immerse yourself in it. First, picture complete darkness.”

Dragonfire did so easily.

“Done? Good. Now, picture your hand, or your head, or any part of your body in that darkness, and focus on that completely. Don’t think about anything else.”

This was more of a challenge. Dragonfire could picture it faintly, without much conviction, but when he had to really concentrate on it, he had a bit of difficulty. Whenever he tried to focus on it, his mind would start wandering to some other thought. He realized that his mind could concentrate on things that needed a lot of thought, but not on matters like this. These were just too simple.

“Well, you can practice this more afterwards. Right now I’m just telling you these exercises. Here’s another: You keep observing things about your energies, until you’ve found as many qualities possible that energies have which your normal memories don’t. This is my favorite one, because, with this, you learn how to search your mind for a reserve of a different Type of energy than the ones you already know, or, if you’ve found all of them, a different move. You can practice this later as well.”

“Now, on to the main part: the battles. We’ll only spar; I don’t want anyone getting hurt this early on. You know how to spar, don’t you?”

After no more than a yes, they started, Dragonfire’s mother excited because she wanted to know just how talented he was at battling, and he himself because he wanted to hone his skills, especially since he had the ‘Gift’.

Even before the first down had happened (which was done by Pyre, of course), Dragonfire knew he was badly outmatched. Even his fastest hits never touched his mother, landing instead on the floor or in the air. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t touch her as she twisted with the grace of a Gardevoir and the speed of a Persian. His mother stopped after a while and said:

“It’s time you learned the feint attack.”
“Isn’t it the Faint Attack?” Dragonfire asked, not very sure about anything.
“That’s something else,” was her reply. “The feint attack isn’t a move, exactly, but you can use it with any other attack. What you basically do is, you pretend to attack from one side, but as soon as the opponent braces him or herself, you attack the other side. It’s a dirty trick, but you can do it as long as you’re not using a very strong move.”

They resumed their battling after that, and Dragonfire did pretty well, since he’d learnt the feint attack; and by the end, he’d figured out a few tricks himself, like using a really weak Dragonbreath on his hands to make them move faster (which, according to his mother when she saw this, gives some special things the speed of a Dragonite), and how to shatter any barrier without Brick Break.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Later that night, Dragonfire lay in his bed, thinking about what had happened. He would have to apologize to Agnos and the others. He knew that staying angry with them for making such a big deal out of it or keeping away from them in fear wouldn’t fix anything. He would have to make up. He smiled; this was one of the things that his mother had said he had that not many others did: his ability to think clearly. He didn’t really think it was like that; he only found the most logically right thing to do and did it. Or maybe that was exactly what ‘thinking clearly’ meant. Either way, it wasn’t so great. And the same was for his battling. His mother kept saying that he battled so well it almost frightened her, and that she really thought he’d get better than her with practice, but he almost never managed to down her, and his battle with Gloomy had proved that he couldn’t even control his moves. Still, he wondered if he would get higher than his mother in the Pahos. It was highly unlikely, but maybe it would happen. Only time would tell.


What do you think?

Praxiteles
13th February 2006, 10:18 AM
Uh, a review, anyone?

Dark Latios
14th February 2006, 3:03 PM
Reviewing as requested!

So, I just got to reading all three chapters last night (very thouroughly mind you), and I thought it was pretty darn good for a first fic!

I've never seen Salamence used in fics unless of course it was a powerful trainer's pokemon (which is way over-used). I'm glad to see how you used it for its own story.. You made it seem like pokemon are people and have their own civilizations. I love the idea! ^^

Fen and Fong were interesting characters.. I was kinda sad to see them go so early in the story.. But i guess there was a need for that because otherwise Dragonfire wouldn't have been born.

Anyway, on to overall reviewing!

Description: Pretty good for a first time.. Some parts needed more as mindripper pointed out; but other than that it looked fine to me!

Length: Fine. Didn't see anything wrong. :P

Plot: Nice and interesting. I loved reading about the Salamence's ways of training and so on. And the prophecy makes me want to read more and see what happens.

So, since I have some time.. *Subscribes to thread*

~DL

Praxiteles
14th February 2006, 4:53 PM
I think I'll start replying the way most authors do...

DL: Can I call you DL? Anyways...


So, I just got to reading all three chapters last night (very thouroughly mind you), and I thought it was pretty darn good for a first fic!

^_^ Thanks! (great, I'm using smilies now... (which I've vowed against for no offensive reason)) As I said, it's not my first story. Also, what time zone are you in (you posted this at 8:33 in my time zone)? I just feel a need to know the time zone of whoever subscribes to a thread of mine.


I'm glad to see how you used it for its own story.. You made it seem like pokemon are people and have their own civilizations. I love the idea! ^^

I always knew Pokemon are sentient; it was just one of those things that were obvious to me. And I knew sentient beings usually have civilizations. So that was one of the things that came unbidden to me, since I never thought Pokemon were anything like animals in intelligence.


Fen and Fong were interesting characters.. I was kinda sad to see them go so early in the story.. But i guess there was a need for that because otherwise Dragonfire wouldn't have been born.

Well, Fen and Fong's only purpose was being a tool*. I guess I should've let them go on, but now that I did that to them (I despise the Nincada line), I don't think I'll change anything.

In any case, thanks for the review, and especially the subscription!

*A tool (in my vocabulary) is an insignificant character/event that triggers a more important event or the appearance of a more important character. I guess I just got carried away doing this certan tool/s.

Dark Latios
15th February 2006, 2:27 PM
My timezone is central I believe.. (It's 8:23 AM now)


(I despise the Nincada line)

Yay! I'm not the only one. :3

Praxiteles
22nd February 2006, 7:54 AM
Yeah.. they're the first wild Pokemon that actually require you to make a conscious effort to battle with while fetching moderately good experience. All the ones before require you very little work but still give good experience.

Anyways...

Progress: This time I'm actually introducing one of my favourite characters in the plot I've made for now (which comprises of six chapters. Unbelievable!), and it's a bit hard, tring to get it just how I want it. But believe you me, it won't be any worse than the others, so you can stay excited!

Praxiteles
1st March 2006, 5:03 PM
Yes, I notice that I said I was going to post a chapter per two weeks, and that I'm way past the deadline, but I want to be forgiven. My Annual Exams have just about started, and I'm probably spending every waking moment studying for them. As a result, I have done little on the chapter. But hopefully this will be regarded with tolerance and patience... or else...

Praxiteles
11th March 2006, 11:02 AM
Just here to tell you that my exams are about to end, and the severe case of Writers Block I have is going along with it. Also, I've borrowed an idea from Dragonfree to use here. If you have any questions to ask to the characters or to me, interview away!

EDIT: I've already double-posted, so I don't think I'll triple-post. Progress is moving at a swift clip, and, though I won't tell when I'll put it up - I never do - I'll have it up by the end of the week. And it's good - I thought on it, and I know now exactly how to make the character. Stay excited!

EDIT: Again? I'm almost done with the next chapter, just one more part to put. It'll take two days, at the most.

EDIT: Just when you thought I'd have posted a chapter already, I get Writers Block. AGAIN. You'll have to wait a bit more.

Ashban
24th March 2006, 2:58 PM
Woah. This story is awesome. I know I haven't read that many but
I really like this one. I can't wait for the next chapter.

Praxiteles
26th March 2006, 3:45 AM
Ashban: I'm glad you liked it. You have given a decent length, but I would like you to tell me why you liked it. Is the spelling and grammar good? Or did you like my description? I want you to elaborate.

Sike Saner
29th March 2006, 10:16 PM
Okay, I am officially hooked to this. ^^ I just love how much thought and detail have gone into the culture of these Dragons, complete with what is a very lovely native language for them, including very cool character names and Draconic terms for the evolutionary stages of the Bagon line. I also like the Pokécentricity of this piece. It's just great fun to enjoy a non-human perspective and setting. ^^

I really liked that dream sequence at the beginning of the third chapter; that was very eerie and lovely. And oh, yes, because I must mention this part, too: The Fen and Fong scene. XD Dang, that part was funny.

So yeah, I'm liking this. Dragons make for very interesting subject matter, indeed. ^^

Saffire Persian
30th March 2006, 2:30 AM
Well, after making you banner, you could imagine I was quite curious as to what your fic was. XD So I read it - well, the first chapter anyway. And I am impressed. I very much like Pokémon POVs and its nice to see the Salamence species fleshed out nicely - though for some reason, the military units "Alpha Force" and "Beta Force" didn't sound quite like I expected. I dunno - it doesn't sound quite dragonish, and more 'humanistic' if you know what I mean.

That, however, is just being a bit nit-picky on my part. I, too, liked Feng and Fong.. The Ninjask made quite a pair, even if they were idiots. Funny idiots, yes.

Your prose was quite good, and it flowed very well, I didn't have any trouble understanding it; however, in the first chapter, I noticed you tended to 'cluster' dialogue together instead of double spacing. I'd ask if you do not continue 'clustering' dialogue together, as it kinda draws me away from reading for some... odd reason. 0_o. It's a forum pet peeve of mine.

Also, a spelling mistake here:
farther up the Path as you can,

farther should be far . Otherwise, quite error free and an interesting read.

Praxiteles
30th March 2006, 12:25 PM
Yay, reviews!

Sike Saner:


Okay, I am officially hooked to this. ^^ I just love how much thought and detail have gone into the culture of these Dragons, complete with what is a very lovely native language for them, including very cool character names and Draconic terms for the evolutionary stages of the Bagon line. I also like the Pokécentricity of this piece. It's just great fun to enjoy a non-human perspective and setting. ^^

First of all, I have to say this, I was actually thinking about you reviewing this morning. For some reason, I had a really strong feeling that I was going to get good reviews from well-distinguished authors. And then here you are...

Anyways, thanks for the compliments! I'm planning to reveal a bit of this later on, but it's not so much as a spoiler than just an interesting piece of trivia, so I'll say this: Their native language is really the root of other Greek and Latin toungues. When humans stumbled across Pokemon (not going into details here), they were basically prehistoric, with no substantial language of their own. Then, whoever found their respective Pokemon settlement or species adopted the tongue, and the rest is history, as they say. With a bit of logic, it's possible to figure out what the names mean, and, if you like doing it, you'll soon get a taste of fully structured Basia Linguaian...


I really liked that dream sequence at the beginning of the third chapter; that was very eerie and lovely. And oh, yes, because I must mention this part, too: The Fen and Fong scene. XD Dang, that part was funny.

So yeah, I'm liking this. Dragons make for very interesting subject matter, indeed. ^^

So it gave the desired effect? Quite assuring; now I know I fulfilled my purpose.</medievalaccent>

Saffire Persian:


Well, after making you banner, you could imagine I was quite curious as to what your fic was. XD So I read it - well, the first chapter anyway. And I am impressed. I very much like Pokémon POVs and its nice to see the Salamence species fleshed out nicely - though for some reason, the military units "Alpha Force" and "Beta Force" didn't sound quite like I expected. I dunno - it doesn't sound quite dragonish, and more 'humanistic' if you know what I mean.

Thanks. It's stuff like this that lets me know I've done the desired effect. Now you look at it, though, about the military sections, it does sound a bit humanistic. As I said before, I was trying to make it sound like the Greek root language, but maybe I should make a derivation of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. As 'Phonikes' became 'Phoenicians', perhaps something of my invention should become Alpha. I'll think on this.


That, however, is just being a bit nit-picky on my part. I, too, liked Feng and Fong.. The Ninjask made quite a pair, even if they were idiots. Funny idiots, yes.

Strange how I was actually trying to have Fong as the idiot and Fen as simply the irritable one...


I noticed you tended to 'cluster' dialogue together instead of double spacing. I'd ask if you do not continue 'clustering' dialogue together, as it kinda draws me away from reading for some... odd reason. 0_o. It's a forum pet peeve of mine.

It's not that odd; I get annoyed looking at clusters as well. I just wanted a system of single spacing and double spacing, so I wouldn't make it all chaotic. But if anyone other than me thinks it's not that great, I'll happily do it.


Also, a spelling mistake here:

farther should be far . Otherwise, quite error free and an interesting read.

Bleah. Ebil error XD. I'll be sure to fix it; thanks, both of you.

Praxiteles
3rd April 2006, 5:45 PM
Next chappie! I have to warn you, though, this one has a lot of italics. They might irritate your eyes. Now, Sike is kind enough to give Visine in her fanfic, but I'm not responsible for any damage caused. :3 Also, as to the reason why there are so many italics in the first place, I've made a system. If, at any point, the narrator is enveloped with magic, and he/she is surprised by it, the stuff will be italic for the time he/she is in the range of the magic. Most of the time the voice is affected, but not all the times, no, I'm not doing Shipping, and yes, this is a part-fantasy.


The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 4: Xir'clai

“Barzak, barzak, barzak…!” went Dragonfire as he made his way to the clearing. “I can’t believe I actually decided to do this!” What was the problem? The last night he was all bold about it. Not even a single bit of dread. And now…

“I so hope they’re not here! Maybe I won’t have to apologize to them That is, if they let me apologize in the first place. That Agnos was so furious; I thought he was going to actually use one of those Ice Beams on me for a second.” Of course, he was only thinking in his head. It would be even worse if the others caught him talking animatedly to himself! But he needed to relax. He could only function well if he didn’t think of any of that, only ‘suppose that just you or maybe me are around, and you want to impress ‘me’’, according to his mother.

“Barzak, where am I going?” In his thinking, he’d wandered off somewhere in the Gardens, and he had no idea where to go. Another concern to add on his list… But he still had to relax, stay calm, collected, keep a cool head, think logically, do a lot of things that were seeming impossible at the moment, and, above all, panic…

“NO, no, no, no, no, I don’t have to panic. It’s all mental, of course, they’ll all be really forgiving and all… probably… plausibly… possibly… NO, no, no, no, no, not unlikely, really unlikely, I mean most probably, or… do I…?”

Yes, he did. And his mother meant it as well when she said that he had a knack for thinking clearly. He had to get his thoughts out of their disarray. He wasn’t behaving like he was supposed to. He wasn’t taking this ‘scientifically’, as his mother had told him when she talked about how his mind accepted information and how it was a good asset of his. It was time to just concentrate on getting to the others. He could think about what they’d do later. Wasn’t that what he’d been told to do?

Still, he was quite nervous, and by the time the next event happened, he was like a coiled spring waiting to be released. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by some kind of translucent, spherical barrier. It wasn’t rigid, but, when Dragonfire tried to touch it, the film-like material stretched. He put some force, and it stretched tighter, until he hit a dead end: it had a limit. He started panicking, hitting it again and again, until it abruptly faded.

He nearly loosed off a Dragonbreath when it happened.

An enormous thump shook the ground, and before he could restrain himself enough to see that it was only Agnos, dropping from a tree, he let out a thin strand of Dragon fire that nearly singed the tree it went at. He was almost relieved for a moment that it was only Agnos, until he decided that it being only Agnos would be incorrect.

And then Croyaliton followed, who made matters worse by deciding to voice that he still didn’t trust Dragonfire.

“Why have you darkened our doorstep once more, kind sir?” Of course, it was made milder by the fact that his choice of words was horridly inappropriate, but it was a threatening statement all the same.

“All I want to say that I apologize for the mistake I made and I am truly sorry that I didn’t restrain my powers.”

Hey.

That was easy.

“You are sorry? Is that all you will say? Outrageous!”

Or not.

Croyaliton ranted a bit more, until Agnos silenced him with a raised hand.

“It’s okay! By the looks of it, that was the first time he used Dragon Energy. You remember what you almost did when you first learned Dragon Rage?” He pointed vaguely to a clearing to their right, where, if Dragonfire looked closely, the grass was shorter with traces of some black, sooty material, and the trees on the edge seemed slightly pruned. Dragonfire didn’t even want to think of what might’ve happened there.

“Yes, but-“

“But nothing, Croyaliton, can’t you just forgive him? He didn’t do any damage, did he?”

To Dragonfire’s enormous relief, Croyaliton stopped trying to argue. He still had a rebellious look on his face, but at least he wasn’t saying or doing anything. Good enough for Dragonfire.

“Well, if you’re forgiven now,” Agnos continued, breaking the silence again, “I guess we can do the ceremony? That is, if Dragonfire wants to become a part of our group. Do you, Dragonfire?”

He thought it over. Sure, these Bagon were a bit… different, but he had to join some group. Otherwise, what would be the point of coming here? He wasn’t sure how the others would take his coming back, but he had a good feeling about this. At the end, he decided –

“I do.”

“All right! Then, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get everything ready for the new member ceremony. I’ll be back in a while.”

He quickly left.

Croyaliton then turned to him. Dragonfire looked away; he was getting tired being the object of Croyaliton’s rants. He felt something on him, wasn’t sure whether it was a grin or a glare, and then…

“I see you are a part of our group now. Let me welcome you, then, and spread the news to the others. Come!”

And they went off again, Dragonfire politely protesting (or, in other words, trying excuses that got lamer by the moment), and Croyaliton insisting just as politely, still in that weird little mood swing.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


After a large amount of supposedly ‘scared’ (“It’s sacred, not scared!” Agnos would say) rituals, things finally simmered down, and the others even let Dragonfire spar a bit more. When he showed some of the moves and tricks his mother had taught him, everyone else got just as inspired to show off their own styles, and the sparring match soon turned into one of those ‘Beau Comperl’ his mother had mentioned once. At the end, Dragonfire had to admit, he had a lot of fun.

The afternoon of that, Dragonfire told his mother what had happened. She congratulated him, of course, when he said he was friendly with the others again, but she was the most interested when he mentioned the moves they had used.

“Did you say Carmeliton used a combo? Already? I need to speed up your lessons!”

“But it’s not like I’m lagging behind or anything, am I, mom?”

“Oh, no, you’re going at a pretty good speed, actually. It’s just…”

“Just what?”

“You know…”

That was when he caught up on it. “Friendly competition?” he half-asked, half-said.

“We all like to be better, don’t we?” she said weakly. “Moving on.

”It’s time you started learning the course designed for young Gamiconians, I think. What you have to do is understand the basic story of the Great Legendaries. Then you can move onto bigger things. We’ll start with the Clanetai Duo, then the Regi, followed by the Lati, and finally the Elemental Trio. All of us here know all the Biokens – the different stories of all the Legendaries - by heart, so I’ll tell them to you, like my mother did for me. Unless you want to do something, I say we start?”

“All right, Mum.”

“Then let’s start.”

“Magerni fere, bhav transcommercus, Bioken Clanetoken!”


The next moment it became pitch-dark. Tiny lights that seemed to be those ‘stars’ he had been told about twinkled far off in the distance, and every few minutes a fiery rock-like thing would fly just a bit away from them, until it got so far, you couldn’t see it. It always had a glittery trail behind it, which set it apart from other rocks, and it seemed to appear and reappear again and again. Of course, Dragonfire didn’t take well to surprises, and he tried to move away. He would have succeeded, as well - if he even had a body to move. He seemed to be in a dream, where he could see and hear, but he didn’t seem to actually exist. He was just - there.

“Having a good enough view from here?” chuckled a familiar voice.

“Mom!” he said, surprised that he could even speak without a mouth.

“I used the Bhav Trancommercicorn, so you could see the Bioken Clanetai a bit more realistically. Having fun?”

“Not exactly.”

A laugh. “Let’s start.”

“Long, long, long ago, there was once a Pyrotlae. It -“

“What’s a Pyrotlae, mom?”

“One of those, over there.”

As if for effect, the strange rock came to them and slowed down so much Dragonfire could have sworn it was stationary.

“Anyways, the Pyrotlae used to circle the world – or, in other words, our Clanetai (which is something for another time) – and give us light when it was night. The moon hadn’t come yet – another thing you’ll learn later - so this was the only thing between a pitch-black night, and us, and, of course, we were grateful for that. We basked in its glow for a long time, until something very strange happened. We never knew what it truly was, but it seemed to drive all of us mad, and random Pokémon would just come up and do horrible things.”

The scene changed to one that was closer to home, yet just as alien as the last one. There was complete chaos as Pokémon of all sizes and shapes were pitted against each other, using whatever they had on them – no matter how desperate – to maim the other.

After Dragonfire had seen enough, it changed again, to one of a gray, crescent-shaped creature made entirely out of stone and possessing two glowing red eyes.

“Then, one day, one of those Lunatone that I’d told you about ran home from his stargazing – I already told you they like to do that a bit too much – ran up to the top of his cave, and let out what could have been the greatest Cosmic Power ever managed. Stars half a Region away glowed as brightly as if they had been two feet from you. Stuff as desperate and massive as this used to be the basic sign language for ‘URGENT MESSAGE!’ back then, and within minutes all those of importance in this place were arriving, already ticked off that the Lunatone had woken them up or disturbed them in their work. They only came here because there could be a slight chance that this was big, but what the Lunatone had to say was big, indeed.”

Just like his mother’s narration, the stars began glowing, each at least as brightly as the sun, until night was turned into day. Dignified-looking Pokemon soon started coming.

“According to the uncharacteristically jumpy Lunatone, the Pyrotlae they had come to know and love was starting to approach the world as it orbited it. If the Lunatone was correct, the Pyrotlae would reach the outer boundary of our home in seven days. Fifteen minutes later, it would crash.”

And the fiery rock still stood out in all the light, blazing a trail through the night sky.

“This was a very pressing matter. Things like these were – and still are - not to be taken lightly, so the first thing the authorities did was verify if even the Lunatone was right, or if they were only going on a wild Pidgey chase. So they went to the Central Mountain, where they’d set up a telescope made entirely out of Solrock and Lunatone. It was basically a tower of the great things. The topmost one would use its telescopic eyes to get as good a picture of the Pyrotlae as it could, then pass the picture over to the next one, who would zoom it in even farther, and repeat the process.”

A telescope just like the one described by his mother appeared, giving a bizarre appearance as the Pokemon that consisted it hovered with their back to the ground or another one of them, making a vertical line.

“Silly humans never got the hang of it; they kept saying that the picture would get blurrier and blurrier the more they zoomed. Maybe if they’d figured out that the trick was to use the complex brain of a Psychic and the telescopic vision of a Minclanetai like Clefairy or just Lunatone, they might’ve gotten anywhere.”

“What actually happened to the humans, mom?”

“That’s something for another time. Anyways, we’re getting off topic here.”

“Oh, sorry, mommy.”

“It’s okay, actually. All I want you to do is stay put until I finish this lesson. So anyways, the telescope I was talking about. Well, when the picture reached the bottom Solrock, it was so zoomed in that the smallest of motions could be clearly seen. And so, after careful study, they found that…” She trailed off.

“They found that…?” Dragonfire had never liked suspense.

“…That the Lunatone was correct. That their beloved Pyrotlae was swiftly approaching them, and that it would meet its end exactly seven days and fifteen minutes later. No one knew what would happen; such a thing had never happened before. Some declared that it would be the end of the world; others thought it would be a boon to all things living; but no one knew for sure.

“Well, that’s enough for one lesson. We’ll continue from this point next time.”

And after a quick muttering of bhav nruter, they returned to the real world, Dragonfire still trying to make his mom say just a bit more before they left.




*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Hardly had Dragonfire settled down after that lesson that he and his mother heard someone knocking on the door. Dragonfire reached first, to the little wonder of his mother, and was greeted, upon opening, by an overexcited Pahicon, who was barely able to put out a coherent word, forcing Dragonfire to wait patiently on the doorstep until he calmed down. After a bit:

“Dragonfriar, I mean Dragonflier – Dragonfire! Come over to the commons! I think someone’s arrived! They were all talking about some Gaudy-something family moving over here. Turns out someone whose name starts with T – Torched Chicken or something – missed while he was practicing his Ember and set their home, the Insect Forest, to fire, so the family’s taking refuge here! Come and see!”

Dragonfire looked towards his mother for permission, but Pahicon was already pulling him by the hand, so he quickly left for the winding passages that led to the commons – through the long residential hallways, down to the second door to the left (once they reached the Main Hall), and into the commons, where almost everyone was already sitting or pacing, some murmuring excitedly. Dragonfire had seen the room already, so he didn’t stop to look at the wooden fireplaces and walls (made from such a material in order to make a cozy sort of feeling), the soft, embroidered rugs on which tables rested, or the overfilled red couches, stuffed with a soft, spongy type of clay that was springy, in a way. No, what he really noticed was the anticipation in the air.

“They’re coming in here, aren’t they?’ murmured one of the many assembled there.

“Yeah, escorted by General Atmos, they say,” another murmured back.

But all the whisper was quickly silenced by a wave of motion. The door was opened, and out came four figures that continued along the main path.

None of them had to weave through the many Pokemon there; everybody was already out of their way. Some even saluted. Dragonfire guessed a few military men were in there as well, but he did it vaguely; he was too stuck up on the Pokemon coming through the path.

Before him was a very elderly yet fierce-looking Salamence, who he decided was the General. But this wasn’t whom he was paying his attention to. Just behind General Atmos was a family of three Pokemon.

He couldn’t help but stare.


Two were of the same type, even though one was taller and the other around half a foot taller than the Salamence escorting them. They portrayed a delicate white face (their most prominent feature), cut almost in two by a triangular-shaped lock of bright sea-green hair that came down to a few inches above the mouth. At the back, the hair separated to two vague bunches, curling gracefully forward. The light crimson-pink eyes seemed to be covered partly by the hair, although Dragonfire thought it most likely that it was simply the shape of the semi-elliptical orbs. The face jutted out towards the back in three large spikes on both sides, yet this bizarre addition did not look misplaced; rather, it seemed to enhance the beauty, grace, and ethereality of the Pokemon. The chest had, protruding from it, a cherry red feature that stuck out on both sides like some ethereal spirit, frozen in time while passing through. Two vaguely curved triangular stretches of emerald covered the lower torso, reminiscent of a light robe. Several petals of white draped the long, slender legs.

Trailing the two was a tiny, childlike figure, toddling along on her wide, stubby feet, her eyes obscured by a helmet-like formation with a solitary pink horn. Anyone would have labeled the Pokemon adorably innocent, but, as the minute creature passed by Dragonfire, a quick meeting of the eyes revealed her true colours. Somehow, Dragonfire knew the mind behind those cherry eyes. It was quick and effective, calculating and cool, emotionless and nonchalant. At a glance, Dragonfire knew she was quite a one.

He could have never been sure, but the Pokemon shuffling past him seemed to think similar for him.


“Whoa! Holy barzak, that was…” Carmeliton, who had appeared next to Dragonfire without him knowing, could only mutter.

“What’s her name? The small one’s?” Dragonfire asked.

“The Ralts? Oh, she’s called Xir’clai.”




As always, read and review. And I'm sorry about the length; I was getting frustrated for a while.

Sike Saner
4th April 2006, 2:16 AM
Fwee, and here enters Gardevoir and Ralts, Pokémon I'm always glad to see. ^^ Xir'clai....Frell, I love that name. *_*

The storytelling sequence in the middle was really cool. A giant telescope comprised of a large number of Solrock and Lunatone - that is quite an image. O_O

There was also some nice humor in there, too:


But he still had to relax, stay calm, collected, keep a cool head, think logically, do a lot of things that were seeming impossible at the moment, and, above all, panic…


“All I want to say that I apologize for the mistake I made and I am truly sorry that I didn’t restrain my powers.”

Hey.

That was easy.

“You are sorry? Is that all you will say? Outrageous!”

Or not.


After a large amount of supposedly ‘scared’ (“It’s sacred, not scared!” Agnos would say) rituals

Praxiteles
4th April 2006, 10:37 AM
Crapus fugit! It's a review!

Sike Saner:


Fwee, and here enters Gardevoir and Ralts, Pok้mon I'm always glad to see. ^^ Xir'clai....Frell, I love that name. *_*

Of course. I just had to put them in there. They're just so...

Actually, Xir'clai, unfortunately, doesn't mean anything, if you get obsessed with stuff really easily. I was just trying for a name that befitted her 'true colours', as I said it.


The storytelling sequence in the middle was really cool. A giant telescope comprised of a large number of Solrock and Lunatone - that is quite an image. O_O

Yep. That's my idea of school.

*is stared at*

Oh, no, not the telescope. The Salamence style of teching. It's effective, but it doesn't leave you with horrible mental scarring. Fun.


And I decided there should be some sort of humour in almost every chappie. It gets dull, otherwise.

The Pokemon Master
20th April 2006, 1:58 AM
Here's a review for you, as promised. :D

Time for my starting review, I guess. *rolls up sleeves* This is why I like to get a review in on the first Chapter/Prologue, because otherwise there's a lot of information to go through, which results in a really long review. Oh well, hope you don't mind. ;)

Characters/Pokemon

Pyroken Serafoculus/Dragonfire: Obviously the main character in the story, you've done a terrific job of bringing his character into the open, describing the way he reacts, his general attitude, and everything else about him. He has been developed quite well throughout the Chapters he has been in, and I love his view on what goes on around him. Great character, and I personally can't wait for his opinion on evolution when it happens.
Pyrocomende Atmo: Great mother character, her grief and protective nature in the first couple of Chapters showed through very clearly, and I like the competitive edge she's gained since Dragonfire joined the other Bagon. I also like the methods of teaching, and I think that she knows a lot more than she lets on (I also like the way you pulled the story out of her mind, so now we won't know too much). Wonderful character, same as Dragonfire!
Tempicon Bios: The strong father who valiantly dies in an attempt to save his family and his home. I loved the way he acted in the first Chapter, and I kinda wish he hadn't died. Very good work in describing his death, though, it was a very clear picture of the post-death military report, and it did give a vivid picture of how exactly he did die. Poor guy... but a great character, for the short time that he was in the story.
Fen and Fong: Why did they have to die? I really wish they'd stuck around, they looked like a great part of the comedy for the story. You know, they almost reminded me of Team Rocket, from the anime, except that they were actually pretty good at what they did. Although I really did hate them for trying to kill Pyre and her egg. On the whole, two marvelous characters, despite the fact that they died in the same Chapter they were introduced.
Shadow Figure (???): Hmm. This guy sounds like some kind of guardian figure, and there isn't really much to report on him, seeing as he appeared and disappeared so quickly. However, he seems extremely powerful, and I get the feeling that we'll see him again.
Traynalcon: A hyper Shelgon = funny picture. I loved the way she got portrayed in Chapter 2, though I hope she'll show up some more. She did show a calmer side, though, when Pyre was found badly hurt. Great side character, though!
Ajia: Chansey are so much fun, though I really never thought of them as supersmart or anything. Great way of showing the nurses of the world, though (or at least one of them)!
Atmos: The general is a guy that I'm not too sure about. He seems kind enough, but he also seemed just a little too calm when reporting the death of Tempicon. I dunno, I just get a bad feeling about him...
Agnos: The ringleader of Dragonfire's little group seems like a nice enough guy, and at least he's forgiving. Haven't really seen too much of his character yet, though, so further judgement shall have to await.
Pahicon: Seems like the kind of person who's always in touch with everything, trying to get to know everything, and probably just tries to get to know everybody he (or is it a she? You haven't said yet) meets. Like Agnos, though, haven't seen too much of him yet, so I'll wait before I judge him.
Croyaliton: Everybody needs at least one pompous guy in their group, otherwise it's just no fun. His mood swings are interesting, and I like the guy a little already. His personality is pretty well expressed already, so, unless more is revealed about him later, I think he's a funny little guy.
Gloomy: Sarcasm appreciated! I feel sorry for him, though. Getting blasted by a Draginbreath in the middle of a sparring match was probably unexpected. Hope he doesn't have any lasting burns, or he won't be very happy (not that it seems like he usually is anyway)...
Carmeliton: He's the most normal in the group, but we don't have much on him and his personality yet. Reserving judgement...
Xir'clai: Hmmm... This little Ralts seems interesting. She apparently is powerful already, if Dragonfire's first impression is accurate. Also, she seems like the type that remains aloof from everyone, so she might turn into a villain of the story. Otherwise, though, there isn't much on her, just Dragonfire's impression. Once again, hmmm...


Plot

I like the way you've made Dragonfire a "Chosen One", it's quite unique. I think you could probably manage a bit more description in some places (some of the Pokemon we've seen, for example, could definitely use a bit more character development), but for the most part, description is good. Sometimes, though description of a single scene gets to be a little long, which bores me (sorry, but I had to point that out). I haven't seen any villains yet, though, so the story is obviously going to go on for some time (that's a good thing, just so you know. I like long stories). Your writing style is engaging, and I'm glad for that. For the most part, the Chapter length is great, too, which is also really good. I really like the story, and can't wait to read more.


Grammar

Really, I can't find anything to complain about here. There are maybe one or two minor mistakes in the Chapters, but the only ones I've noticed were already pointed out. Good job!


Summary

Marvelous fic, keep it up!


By the way, I really hope you have the next Chapter up soon. I'm not kidding, I really like this story.



Until we meet again...
;150;

Praxiteles
21st April 2006, 7:10 AM
The Pokemon Master:

Thanks for the review. Don't worry, I don't dislike long reviews. Quite the opposite, actually.

I'll get to the notable parts; I want to finish the chapter by today. They're mainly plot bits


Fen and Fong: Why did they have to die? I really wish they'd stuck around, they looked like a great part of the comedy for the story. You know, they almost reminded me of Team Rocket, from the anime, except that they were actually pretty good at what they did. Although I really did hate them for trying to kill Pyre and her egg. On the whole, two marvelous characters, despite the fact that they died in the same Chapter they were introduced.

Seeing as so many people resent their death... I won't say any more.


Traynalcon: A hyper Shelgon = funny picture. I loved the way she got portrayed in Chapter 2, though I hope she'll show up some more. She did show a calmer side, though, when Pyre was found badly hurt. Great side character, though!

Oh, you'll see more of her around. And not just for comic relief...


Ajia: Chansey are so much fun, though I really never thought of them as supersmart or anything. Great way of showing the nurses of the world, though (or at least one of them)!

Bear in mind that this is quite obviously a different time, one where Pokétechnology is far more advanced. Chansey are the main doctors, so they'd have at least unraveled that much about the mysteries of the living being.


Atmos: The general is a guy that I'm not too sure about. He seems kind enough, but he also seemed just a little too calm when reporting the death of Tempicon. I dunno, I just get a bad feeling about him...

I hope I mentioned that he is a very old and experienced General. God (or at least I) knows how many people he's lost in the throes of war. After a few close casualties, a heart is hardened considerably. And, of course, he was always trained to be calm and collective in the direst of situations. He will have another role, but he most likely will not become a villain.


Agnos: The ringleader of Dragonfire's little group seems like a nice enough guy, and at least he's forgiving. Haven't really seen too much of his character yet, though, so further judgement shall have to await.


Xir'clai: Hmmm... This little Ralts seems interesting. She apparently is powerful already, if Dragonfire's first impression is accurate. Also, she seems like the type that remains aloof from everyone, so she might turn into a villain of the story. Otherwise, though, there isn't much on her, just Dragonfire's impression. Once again, hmmm...

You'll get more on them in the next chappie. Just keep in mind their first impressions as much as you do their second.


Gloomy: Sarcasm appreciated! I feel sorry for him, though. Getting blasted by a Draginbreath in the middle of a sparring match was probably unexpected. Hope he doesn't have any lasting burns, or he won't be very happy (not that it seems like he usually is anyway)...

Well, the Chansey hasn't left yet, so he'll be fine. In fact, he'll be almost fully healed by the next...

I'll have to go now. I'm getting inspiration, you see...

EDIT: NEXT CHAPPIE! Man, Agnos's gonna hate me for this...





The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 5: Lithic Madness




The Taillow chirped. The Zigzagoon ran about. The flowers bloomed.

The trees smoked.

It was another day at the Hydracomende Gardens, and the morning shone in all its light. The sun wasn’t the only thing that shone, though.

All the members of Agnos’ group had learned their clan’s signature Dragon-type move by now, and they weren’t exactly disappointed to use them. While some, like Agnos and Croyaliton, had already practiced their moves lots of times, most of the group was utterly unpracticed, and the clearing had to suffer a lot of misfiring. Pahicon, in fact, almost got crushed when someone managed to uproot an entire tree while trying to make a Twister.

They decided not to use those moves very much after that.



“You’re all going to lose! I just learned Cut!”

No one really paid attention to Carmeliton there. Dragon-type moves weren’t the only type they’d learned; only he thought Normal-types were anything special. Even ‘Gloomy’ (whose real name, apparently, was Kashiton) only gave a halfhearted “Good for you!” when Carmeliton repeated that. Going to more productive matters, Agnos started organizing everyone into groups for the sixth round. Someone had to take charge, didn’t they?

This time, Dragonfire was matched up with Pahicon, and Croyaliton with Kashiton. Agnos was the Sparmaster, so he only battled the winners. So far, no one had ever managed to beat him and become Sparmaster himself, even though everyone tried. The closest anyone had ever gotten was a score of 9 – 9, but Agnos still managed to down Croyaliton at the last moment.

The round started. Pahicon, apparently, who had been using before a strategy of dodging and weaving, with a few swipes of the claw in between, decided to try brute force this time. Poor guy still had no luck. He tried a headlong charge first, but even then, Dragonfire did a rather impressive Faint Attack, disappearing in a blur of smoke and shadows, and reappearing behind his opponent to place a firm paw on his shoulder, as much to keep him from crashing into a tree from the momentum as to allow his Normal-type energy-laced claws to touch Pahicon and down him. It was quite witty, in Dragonfire’s opinion, and the others seemed to think so too.

Fifteen minutes and five downs later, that was still the smartest maneuver done in that round.

By that time, Dragonfire had noticed the Ralts from the other day. She’d wandered here, and, having had nothing any more entertaining to do, had sat down on a log in a deliberately dignified sort of manner.

The two Bagon in front of her did another headbutt, not aiming straight for each other but trying to sideswipe their respective challenger by spreading out their claws. They had no result whatsoever, and only managed to get so off-balance that they fell flat on their face.

Xir’clai in front of them was still waiting to be impressed.

“Though, I wonder when you’ll figure out to do more than dodge and swipe with your claws. It’ll probably be your golden day…” Her voice was sweet and melodious, even if her tone and intent was obviously not.

The pair stopped and turned to their addressor. “What did you say?” they asked in unison.

She ignored their veiled threat while still answering their question. “I mean, one of you tries that and the other does the exact same thing? Wow. Impressive.”

Pahicon tried a comeback.

“You keep saying all of that, but can you really do anything better?”

Didn’t work. “Why not? I was getting out of practice, anyways. Bring it on.”

By that time, Agnos was starting to get on top of it.

“Is this a challenge? Agnos, Sparmaster of… this group… against Xir’clai, groupless Nomad?” But a condescending look from the offending Ralts already answered the question.

At that, Dragonfire and Pahicon cleared the ‘arena’, and the other competitors were quick to take their place. Dragonfire sized up the two, something he’d already learnt to do. Agnos. Master of many moves, quick-footed, powerful. Xir’clai. Moves unknown, speed evidently sub-mediocre (seeing from the feet), strength just as unpromising.

This would be fast.


Agnos was doing the same, and came up with similar results. The kid was a weakling. It would probably be heartless to even go easy on her.

Oh, well. She needed to be brought back down to earth, anyways.

He started by charging up his Cut so he could clear away the shrubbery. It helped increase visibility, and, secretly, he wanted to show off a bit as well. He’d decided to do this with style.

Xir’clai was still not impressed, something Agnos noticed.

He aimed his Cut at a pair of boulders, and, much to the amazement of the group hacked it cleanly in half. A quick glance told him Xir’clai’s reaction.

She was yawning. It was a fake yawn, but a yawn all the same. Agnos couldn’t believe his eyes.

Whatever. He was here to battle, not to impress a snot-nosed little brat, anyways. Especially since the brat was a weakling in the first place.

A straightforward run, more to test Xir’clai’s dodging ability than to actually do any damage, started the match. Thankfully, she was fast enough to avoid something that obvious. A bit hyperactively fast, actually. A closer look revealed that she’d already taken off with a Faint attack, and was now appearing and disappearing all over the place.

Whoa, there! Lay off the coffee, dude…

But he was getting a bit apprehensive. Just what was the Ralts planning? He started turning round and round, fearful that she’d hit anytime, and then –

Out of nowhere, a blur of white and green covered his entire view. He scratched out, but the Ralts disappeared in a haze of black smoke, and if he’d noticed, he’d have seen that his Scratch had nudged a large rock to the side. But all that came to his eyes was that emerald figure, everywhere and nowhere, at the very brink of flight, tempting him to find it. He sent random Cuts and Scratches in a thousand directions, caught in a mad frenzy of swipes, until the weight of a claw landed on the back of his neck, and a single, cynical voice spoke.

“Down already? I’d have thought you’d survive just a bit longer, but I guess I shouldn’t overestimate a Bagon.”

Agnos said nothing. He knew there were nine other rounds, and he planned to make her pay dearly for that in the time he had.

He finally looked up. What he saw completely amazed him.

All around him were huge formations, made by all the rocks, soil, and other elements around the clearing. They were shaped like single-legged tables, and were wide enough at the top to hold both Agnos and Xir’clai at the same time. The Ralts had apparently maneuvered him so strategically that he’d formed those. Or something else had happened.

What was important was that now he was obliged to battle on those tables. His opponent had already teleported to the nearest one, and he knew that if he stayed on the ground, he’d have an enormous disadvantage. So he had to mimic what the other did.

They took their places on either side of one of the platform. Agnos lunged at Xir’clai, but she simply backed up. He tried again, and the same happened. Puzzled, he kept trying, until they were both face-to-face in one side. He made one last try, and she jumped up. This continued for several tries, and the Ralts jumped up higher and higher, completely freaking Agnos out. What in the name of the Lati was going on? She jumped again, and this time she disappeared in midair, coming to rest at another ‘tabletop’.

It was then that he figured out what she had done, as the platform tipped precariously from side to side.

The tabletop tipped too far, and it came off its holder. Suddenly, Agnos found himself tumbling into space, the large disk of rock coming behind him. He connected with the ground, just hard enough to hurt, but gentle enough to leave him with considerably less than a broken bone.

Still, bruising yourself right on the face is never very pleasant.

And, as to add insult to injury, Xir’clai swooped down for another downing.

And so it continued. Agnos caught on quickly, even managing to stabilize a tabletop for a while, but Xir’clai caught him off-guard for another down. It was a bit of a wonder, therefore, how the score came to be 9 / 9. For all the dexterity and wit this new one had, it seemed that Agnos was still not hopeless.

It was the last platform in the group; all the others had been toppled. Agnos was faring well. He’d decided to grab her foot every time she attempted to jump, making it a very handy position for a hard, cold Seismic Toss as he slammed her flailing body against the tabletop. She had decided to tire of the strategy as well, so Agnos swiped on and on, and the Ralts tried her best to hold her ground while dodging her opponent’s move, but it was simply not working. Soon, he had her against the edge; the smallest of missteps and she would be tumbling down, Agnos (and, along with him, bitter defeat) not too far away. One last feint, and victory would be his.

The last Cut was especially charged up; Agnos wanted as much pain to the Ralts as possible as long as no injury came. That last fall had hurt. A lot. So it came along at the speed of light, gaining momentum, until –

Nothing. The cut passed straight through thin air, and Agnos found himself in the midst an aura of smoke. Drat! How could he have missed it? At the exact moment he loosed it, she simply Faint Attacked away. But there was something more. If someone had teleported with a Faint Attack, the next move had to be offensive, and it had to immediately follow the first. He looked around to see what she was planning, and found her just in the middle; there was no other position where she would have such an advantage. A beam of light pulsed down, cutting straight through her center. It expanded at the bottom, like a glass bell in the making, and slowly permeated her very essence. She was invisible, now, locked in the midst of the light, when two arms broke from the aura. They started spinning faster and faster, as the light slowly whittled away to reveal the blur of red, white, and green that had one been recognizable as Xir’clai. Agnos knew this was a Rapid Spin; he also knew that it was one of the weakest moves ever. Then, the red protrusion at the top started giving off a scented, pink mist that spread all throughout the place, helped by the other move Xir’clai had used. Agnos didn’t think it was anything dangerous, so he breathed freely. He was partly right. It may not have been dangerous in his standards, but in a way, it was much more dangerous than anything he had ever seen.

He hadn’t noticed it before, but he had to admit Xir’clai was undeniably very pretty…


Dragonfire sat at the edges of the clearing, watching all of this with a gaping mouth. No on had ever been able to defeat Agnos before, and even then they had been easily driven over. Something like this… This Ralts had moves even Pahicon didn’t know.

And by the time they got on the last rock-thing, Dragonfire was completely lost. It seemed like nothing was as it would be, as if every known rule about the world changed just for her. He thought that when the last few moves were played, he had seen everything, but now…

This was something he had no idea about. Agnos seemed to be staring at her with a dreamy expression, even grinning, if he wasn’t mistaken. As Xir’clai twirled around, it got closer and closer, obviously about to attack, but Agnos did nothing. There was no other way out of this, and Xir’clai was obviously not feinting, but he just stood there, dumbfounded, as if someone had glued him there. The Ralts slowed down, stopping, and then did something just completely unpredictable. She seemed to brace herself and come down to Agnos. She was not even the slightest bit on her guard and was walking in a very strange manner, but this weirdness was nothing compared to what she did next. Coming to the side of the apparently paralyzed Agnos, she actually kissed his cheek. Stranger still, Agnos became very dizzy and confused when she did this, and the smallest hint of a Cut by Agnos landed on him himself!


Agnos fell to the ground, completely lost as to what was happening, and why he felt that way. Dimly, he acknowledged something on his neck, and a voice said, “There. Now will you get it? You guys suck, and anything else is just meant to raise your self-esteem. Doubt you even knew what that move was.”

“But wha…” Agnos tried to ask. Xir’clai got what he wanted to say.

“That was an Attract, you idiot. It’s supposed to make you think I’m pretty, which I am, thank you very much. It keeps you from trying your pathetic excuses for attacks on me. I used a Sweet Kiss to confuse you even more than you normally are, too. Makes my job quicker.”

“Great…”



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


“Remember, Dragonfire, you have to match the types to Faint each Lithus; it’s just like those games of Comperl Gildara,” Dragonfire’s mother said, reviewing one last time before Dragonfire’s first Logic Pahos. “The best strategy is to take many weak Lithi at a time and make them all infiltrate the opponent’s forces at different points. That way, you can pave the way for the stronger ones, and weaken the defense surrounding the Litharc.”

Dragonfire nodded. He’d gone through all of this; it was just like his favourite board game. He’d be warring against the Pahos, on a gigantic grid full of different sculptures that differed in rank. He and a sculpture called the Litharc would take the most important position at the extreme of either side, and the first one to Faint would be the loser. Of course, he’d have his own personal army. He’d be protected first by an array of strong Lithi, or other, less important sculptures, and there would be many weak Lithi around the perimeter. The object of the game would be to use every Lithus strategically so that he somehow got a Lithus that knew a move with a type stronger than the Litharc’s into the inner perimeter of the enemy’s forces. Then it would be simple matter to use that move and Faint the Litharc. It still wouldn’t be that easy. The game would be turn-based, so if a Lithus got close enough to the Litharc, it would still have to wait for the enemy to move before it could do anything else. And that one turn could be enough for the enemy to Faint the Lithus. And there was the fact that the enemy had its own forces. He’d also have to defend himself from being Fainted.

Just like war.

Shaking himself from his thoughts, he turned to face the first silver-gray step. This was his first step on the journey to Pahotic enlightenment! He could barely contain his excitement.

“Ready? Then it’s time to start. I could force you into the next dimension, but it’s much better if you’re doing your best as well. So, if you don’t need any more time, start by thinking about flying.”

“Huh?” Dragonfire wasn’t sure what that had to do with anything.

“Just trust me. Close your eyes and think about how it would feel to fly with the wind blowing along you, as free and unrestrained as you are. Concentrate on your desire as hard as you can, and let it completely control your mind.”

If Dragonfire had been thinking about anything else, he’d have seen a golden mist come over him as he stood in front. But all that was in his mind was that one primal desire.

Then, as quick as the wind that he visualized, the hard, rocky ground underneath his feet became soft and almost fur-like, and the semi-darkness in the cave was replaced by bright sunshine.

He had reached the 5th dimension.

Before him lay an immense grid that could have only been described as a battlefield. Surrounding him were at least a dozen stone Lithi, gleaming dully in the bright sunshine enveloping the grassy field in which they were situated. Far in front of him were even more, placed exactly in the opposite direction. Lines of high foliage differentiated the field into an elliptical grid, with one Lithus or Litharc placed on each square, and some blocks unoccupied. In front of him, forming a semicircle was an arc of Lithi, which were further surrounded by another arc of even more Lithi, making an effective fortress.

The same was for the opposite side, and Dragonfire could see such formations all around him for other travelers of the Lithi. He could even pick out Agnos, along with some others of the group. Xir’clai was a fair distance away, watching it all. She looked to be lost in thought.

The familiar bugle sounded, signaling the beginning. Dragonfire’s Lithi were made of black marble, so he’d go first. Both a bit apprehensively and a bit confidently, he ordered one of the smaller Lithi, a Zigzagoon, out of its initial stance. He didn’t mean this as an offensive of defensive; he just wanted to see the tactics of the enemy.

His mother had always told him that there were three kinds of players: the offenders, defenders, and adapters. Offenders went all out, using almost all of their forces to infiltrate and defeat the enemy in hopes of Fainting before they themselves were Fainted; defenders adopted a tactic of letting the enemy attack and weaken their own forces before going on the offensive. Adapters saw what the enemy was first, and then chose their style based on their circumstances. They often changed their tactics with the turnout of the battle. Dragonfire personally thought that being an Adapter was the wisest method.

In front of him, one of the Sentret to the right moved forward, and it took Dragonfire a moment to catch on. His opponent was making the Kashter Fortress, a formation invented by the legendary Bioton Kashter. His mother had told him that the best way here was prevention over cure, and that it was better to break up the formation first. Taking heed, Dragonfire moved a molten, snail-like Slugma in front, clearly daring the plant-dinosaur Bayleef (that was about to move) to continue making the Fortress in the risk of getting a nice hard Flamethrower in her face.

The opponent decided that it wasn’t worth it.

The next tactic was to try somehow endangering Dragonfire’s Slugma without ruining everything. The enemy inconspicuously moved a Wartortle to the right for a good angle, and Dragonfire couldn’t see what the point was. He advanced a Whismur for an offensive, and a very intimidating Ursaring soon backed up the Wartortle, taking the chance. Dragonfire was stuck, now; he had to sacrifice his Whismur for his ignorance. The consequences would have been even worse if he didn’t. And then, the Ursaring, seeing a chance, Slashed his Slugma into oblivion. Dragonfire groaned. Keep it up, he thought to himself. You might even last a full two turns doing this…



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Everything was going well. The opponent had fallen for Dragonfire’s supposed sacrifice, and now nothing separated him from victory. There was a catch, though. He still had five others, but none of them knew any move that could work. He had thought that Fainting the Litharc would be a piece of cake, but only then did he learn that it was a Dratini. There was no Ice-type anymore, and he obviously didn’t have any other Dragon-type. It seemed that Dragonfire would be the one to attack with a Dragonbreath, which continued to be the strongest and most practiced move he had. He had to brace himself and go straight in the midst of war.

So he rose from his position and made his way to the required place. The Litharc turned to see what he was doing, seemed to go into deep thought, and then raised his index finger to the sky, signaling for its move to be skipped. It seemed to have become resigned for defeat. So, Dragonfire accessed the familiar, fire-enveloped energy he had used so many times, and allowed it to take over him.

Incidentally, a Bagon was doing the exact same thing, at the exact same moment.

And even more incidentally, a single limit broke, far, deep underground.

Suddenly, all the Lithi rose up from their graves, and went completely mad, shooting blasts of fire, ice, and water, slashing, ripping, destroying everything in their path. It was utter pandemonium as all travelers were signaled to come through a newly opened portal at the very front. All sorts of Pok&#233;mon ran as fast as they could, trying to escape the severely malfunctioning, crazed figures of stone that had once been Lithi, and three creatures were the only who lingered for more than a second. The first was Dragonfire, who was caught in a draconic trance, having stayed for long in his Dragon high, seeing some vision that only he knew of. The second was Agnos, doing the same, and the third was a small Ralts, transfixed in a web of white light, oblivious of her surroundings.

Behind the three, the last panicking traveler entered the portal, and it closed before any others could come in.

They were trapped.




*~~~~~~~~~~*^*~~~~~~~~~~*



Yayness! As always, read and review!

Sike Saner
21st April 2006, 7:00 PM
I LOVE XIR'CLAI.

I just do. Frell, she entertains me. ^^ Like her moves, like her style, like her lines. Very cool character, she is.

Highlights:


Pahicon, in fact, almost got crushed when someone managed to uproot an entire tree while trying to make a Twister.

They decided not to use those moves very much after that.

That made me smile.


Then, the red protrusion at the top started giving off a scented, pink mist that spread all throughout the place, helped by the other move Xir’clai had used. Agnos didn’t think it was anything dangerous, so he breathed freely. He was partly right. It may not have been dangerous in his standards, but in a way, it was much more dangerous than anything he had ever seen.

He hadn’t noticed it before, but he had to admit Xir’clai was undeniably very pretty…

XDDDDD Awesome! Awesome! Attract = One of THE single most entertaining moves in existence.


Coming to the side of the apparently paralyzed Agnos, she actually kissed his cheek. Stranger still, Agnos became very dizzy and confused when she did this, and the smallest hint of a Cut by Agnos landed on him himself!

And Sweet Kiss is another such entertaining move. XD


That was an Attract, you idiot. It’s supposed to make you think I’m pretty, which I am, thank you very much.

LOVE. THAT. RALTS! ^____^ Those lines were just terrific.

Praxiteles
22nd April 2006, 7:45 AM
Let's get down to it...

Sike Saner:


I LOVE XIR'CLAI.

SAME HERE. It's very heartening to see that one of my favourite characters does turn out to be likable. Me happy today!


XDDDDD Awesome! Awesome! Attract = One of THE single most entertaining moves in existence.

Though, I have to say, it's not so entertaining for the one at the recieving end. Poor Agnos... well, he needed to be brought back down to earth anyways XD.


LOVE. THAT. RALTS! ^____^ Those lines were just terrific.

Yay! That didn't turn out to be a complete mess! Me happy again today!

I wonder when I'll stop replying to EVERY SINGLE REVIEWER individually...

Well, thanks for the review, anyways!

The Pokemon Master
24th April 2006, 5:17 AM
I agree: That Ralts is just great. She's condescending to every last one of the poor Bagon, just because she's a Psychic Pokemon (and has plenty of moves to back it up, too). I just think it's hilarious. Wonder what happened to them all at the end there, though... hmm...

Until we meet again...
;150;

Praxiteles
25th April 2006, 12:43 PM
I agree: That Ralts is just great. She's condescending to every last one of the poor Bagon, just because she's a Psychic Pokemon (and has plenty of moves to back it up, too).

The thing is, she's a complete mirror image of me; you can't call her original, exactly. I have exactly the same habit, and exactly the same insults. She may be my favourite character, but that doesn't mean I like her, exactly... if you get any bit of that complete nonsense...


I just think it's hilarious. Wonder what happened to them all at the end there, though... hmm...

Until we meet again...
;150;

At the end, well, they're trapped, and they have to find a way out. You'll be relieved of that cliffhanger at the next chapter, where I tell you what happens next.

Lumo-umbra syrnchos...
Pyroken Serafoculus

Saffire Persian
25th April 2006, 11:13 PM
Saffire is falling behind, eh?

Well, I read chapter two - and did Pyre really get a broken neck? Because if that was so, moving her and having her walk herself would be very, very stupid. 0_o Not to mention, technically, she shouldn't be able to walk, even if the Chansey can fix a broken spine, they'd end up killing her first.

And if they could fix a broken neck so easily (if that is so.. maybe they were just saying stuff) she still has a wing splint? XDXDXD

Anyway, as I get that out of the way, I liked Dragonfire's dialogue with his mother. ^_^ It was very, very cute.


“So, Dragonfire, ready?” she asked after telling him to take long, deep breaths so that the gas could flow freely through his body.

“Let’s try it again!”

“All right.”

^_^ That was just cute. Awesome job, and I WILL catch up.

Praxiteles
26th April 2006, 12:02 PM
Saffire Persian:

You're falling behind? No, I'm speeding ahead. I just started to come out of my fortress of procrastination. Anyways...


Well, I read chapter two - and did Pyre really get a broken neck? Because if that was so, moving her and having her walk herself would be very, very stupid. 0_o Not to mention, technically, she shouldn't be able to walk, even if the Chansey can fix a broken spine, they'd end up killing her first.

And if they could fix a broken neck so easily (if that is so.. maybe they were just saying stuff) she still has a wing splint? XDXDXD

Leh? Where'd you get that from? o.O *goes to check*

Oh, yeah, it might have sounded a bit confusing. Let me clear things up.

Pyre suffered only a broken wing and a dash of cuts and scratches. Ajia was saying the Serafoculaton infirmary alone couldn't fix (strange how I was about to type 'break' here) a severed spinal cord because, as I said, Chansey have advanced far more in medical sciences than most living creatures, and that's (in a cliché type of manner, like a surface wound is for paramedics) just about Healing 101 for them. They can do much more serious things now; the only thing as advanced as they are is the advent of viruses and diseases. I never meant to assert that Pyre herself had anything worse than a fractured wing. Also, Ajia never said it takes two seconds to fix a neck, she just said that it only takes a newly hatched Chansey to do it with. Easy, but time-consuming. Very fun.

Also, remember, this is very obviously a different time than in the RPGs and Animé. What you know about Pokémon may not apply here.


Anyway, as I get that out of the way, I liked Dragonfire's dialogue with his mother. ^_^ It was very, very cute.

Unless I'm wrong, I really can't keep up the cute dialog for long. Tell me, later on, if the transition's alarmingly too sudden. It's been bearing on my mind for a while.

Pyroken Setika Katois...
Pyroken Serafoculus

Praxiteles
16th July 2006, 7:03 AM
On to the next chapter! Inspiration for description of meteor fire courtesy Christopher Paolini, Eldest.





The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 6: Unspoken Links


It was a tranquil day in the three dimensions; one where all someone wished was to take a nice nap surrounded by the grasses, with the barricades of the valley shielding the sun – and yet failing to prevent a hazy kind of warmth that lingered in everything. Fortune had favoured the many residents of Western Hοέν, or, to some, Hoèn, and if one had looked across the dimensions, the consequent shock would be even more.

For not all were as lucky as the survivors of a Ninjask storm, and not all could rely on the order of that world. Only an element away, there were three very four-dimensional beings trapped in a land they had known for very little, and certainly not mastered.

As would have been apparent, the Ralts had soon risen to the very top of things.

“Get into the Trihe’a,” ordered Xir’clai, who had well woken up at the less than sweet sound of what looked to have once been a colossal granite Rhydon horn missing her by a hair, “that’s our best chance!”

Of course, she got no more than a blank stare in return. Still, seeming not to have time for a lecture on battle mechanics, she cut to the chase.

“Agnos, come to the other one’s side. You, go over there. And do not, under any circumstances, let someone reach the inside of this triangle! Understand?”

There is a state where one is so hopelessly lost in something that he or she completely ignores the possibility of argument and complies to someone else’s orders as easily as the Wurmple to the Pinsir. It seemed to be that this was the most deeply Dragonfire would ever explore that realm.

Xir’clai went on. “We have to defend ourselves until someone comes back here. And that means that we have to stay together! If even one of us gets separated, we’ve already lost. And WATCH FOR FLYING DEBRIS, AGNOS!”

Simultaneously, two things happened. There was a flash of white and green, and in an instant Xir’clai had Agnos pinned down; and at the same moment, a large piece of marble embedded itself into the ground an inch away from Agnos’ arm.

Going back to her position, Xir’clai sighed. “This is hopeless…”

Dragonfire exhaled. It was just another battle lesson. All that had happened was that Dragonfire’s mother had used that ‘magic’ of hers to make him think that all that was happening. He was not going to be hurt. All he had to do was calm down.

He wished he could say that.

Then, all of a sudden, a voice called out in his head. Whichever way you go, there’s an equal chance of you dying. What’s the use of agonizing over it?

At first, it scared him. He had never thought so frankly or resolutely before. And yet, it was impossible to deny the reason behind it.

And from that, a steel settled in his veins, giving him a determination he had never felt before. He would fight, and he would survive; either that or pass off straight-backed and proud. There was no other alternative left in his mind.

A Slugma approached Dragonfire, one of the few who had managed to keep their wits. He received a look of challenge in return.

Bring it on.


Unwittingly to them, three large slabs of matter were approaching the three at a blinding speed. Everything in their way moved away, but they were true to their path.

Dragonfire backed, charging his Twister…



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Pyrocomende was frantic by the time she reached the Pahos room. She couldn’t believe that her son was trapped. What had come over him? The world was a confused mass of moving shapes.

Without knowing it, she made the announcement, gathered up a half-made search party consisting mainly of her, Traynalcon, General Atmos (who was, as Pyre had known for long, Agnos’ father), and Xir’clai’s mother, a curiously calm and collected character named Escaraen; and charged into the first step.

Pyre breathed a sigh of relief.

Things had settled down; there was still hope that the three had survived the brief moment of anarchy –

Hope is not the term to use, Pyre thought, forcing her brain to believe it. They did survive. They have to!

Out of the corner of her eye, Pyre noticed a rather of an oddity: three triangular pieces of rock, forming a pyramid. But this was no time to dally, they had to work! Quickly, they moved across the wasteland of fire and rock, looking in every nook and cranny, yet moving along in long, determined strides. The smallest niche, the subtlest crevice failed to escape their jaundiced gaze as they paced along with the ever-growing thrill of despair, driving them another step, until they had scanned the entire field thrice. It was then that Traynalcon noticed the pyramidal curiosity at the entrance, and it certainly managed to catch her visage. Pyre was about to give her a small lecture on the values of time, when she noticed what had captured Traynalcon’s attention.

There were voices, knocks. They were faint, but unmistakable. Someone was trapped inside the pyramid!

“Do you think they heard us?”

“Who is it, anyways?”

“I don’t care. We’re getting out of this madhouse, and we’re doing it now!”

“But what if they’re mean?”

“Could you two just shut your mouth for one second and help me blow this wall to oblivion? It’s already cracking.”

“Whoever’s over there, move away!”

The small gathering came to an unspoken agreement, and gave the talking pyramid some space. It certainly did not look like the three inside needed help.

Instantly, one wall crumbled, and Dragonfire, Xir’clai, and Agnos came stumbling out, just in time to escape the rest of the rapidly imploding sides.

“Dragonfire! You scared me!” Pyre began breathing again. She reached out to neck-embrace her precious son, oblivious to General Atmos and Traynalcon, who were both in a similar state of mind. A small bit of attention would have revealed that Escaraen was the only exception, but everyone else had eyes only for their own flesh and blood.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Dragonfire’s mother had wanted to cancel the studies, but he himself insisted on having them, so it was decided. It amazed his mother, sometimes, the recuperative powers of the young.

They found a good spot in the living room and settled themselves down; and Dragonfire’s mother quickly uttered the words, whisking them off to another world.


What greeted them was a familiar scene: the Pyrotlae, growing ever closer, and all the characters of the grand play, their faces growing proportionately tighter with anticipation.

“So, let’s resume our little journey, shall we?

“I think you can easily tell where we left off. Can you?”

Dragonfire was anything but hesitant. “The Pyrotlae was about to crash and they were wondering what it would mean and - “

“Okay, okay, don’t hurt yourself. So, it finally arrived, bringing all the world’s best hopes with it. Which is to say that it went well.”

Dragonfire felt as if he could breathe again.

“It was... No, I think I should let the vision do the talking.”

Out of the sky, a fiery red mark made its way, and soon became a distinct ball of matter with a trail of blazing fire. The faces of the various watchers and bystanders grew more and more anxious, some of them backing even farther than what had been predicted as the closest safe distance. It seemed to gain speed as it flew closer, and suddenly, a flash of earth and fire, it hit the ground.

The resounding quake was bigger than anything Dragonfire had ever seen before.

As the Pyrotlae made impact, it sparked the growth of an ever-expanding, circular crater, and what was more, before each section of earth conformed itself to the basin, it attempted to rise a few feet before sinking down. The result was a wave that seemed to flow like ripples in a pool, and everything on it was flung into space, often coming violently down into anything but terra firma. It approached for what seemed like hours, until it finally stopped in the region of thirty yards short of the bystanders.

Nothing could have prepared Dragonfire for what happened next.

The meteor ignited another ring into action, but this one was, in fact, a wall of fire, and as it went, it laid down not ashes but water in its footsteps. On closer inspection, the fire itself seemed unearthly, as if from a world made of nothing but reflections seen in water and invisible energies that permeated everything. The fire eventually died down about a fourth of the way to the crater, but the very essence of its ethereality seemed to continue, leaving nothing but bountiful, fertile green in its path, something that was, in fact, the only way to even suggest at its definition in words.

It burnt itself out exactly at the crater’s lip, making a clean contrast: the Oasis, and the Desert around it.

Dragonfire was speechless. ”What happened? There was the crater – and then there was that –“

His mom laughed to herself. “You know, this was exactly my reaction when my mom showed it to me. I learnt then how a picture can be worth a thousand words.”

Dragonfire had no reply.

“So, it happened – quite a lot happened, actually – but the thing was, not much happened after this. They waited for days at this spot, waiting for something eventful, but they had absolutely no results. After a while, they just had to shrug and get on with their lives.

“Then, after most people had forgotten that anything eventful had happened at all there, the local townsfolk saw lights coming out from the very place. In an instant, the ones who still remembered dusted off the cobwebs and rushed to the place.

“By the time they reached it, the lights had died down, but what they saw was equally bizarre.”

The very earth seemed to rush back as Dragonfire came to a spot close enough to discern just what was so bizarre.

The consequent sight was positively uncanny. The Pyrotlae itself, now a glowing mass of dark blue crystal, hung suspended a few feet above the surface of the lake, and the lake itself was again suspended many yards above the ground beneath it, floating in midair like water in the midst of oil. Fey ethers ran freely, unleashed from their material chains, and the essence that seemed to have made the Oasis permeated the air, the sky, the trees, the rocks; everything.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The lesson had not so much drained the energy out of Dragonfire than made him even more excited, so he was delighted when Agnos agreed on a spot of last-minute sparring at the Gardens.

It was a good bout; Agnos was kind enough to teach some of the others how to make and perform a combo, and Dragonfire managed to invent some very good ones. Who’d have thought, for example, how well a simple Multiple Faint Attack would spread Dragonbreath throughout the whole arena, leaving the opponent no room to dodge?

But perhaps the most remarkable event that night happened near the end.

Halfway through a match, an unexpected guest arrived.

“Hi,” Xir’clai said awkwardly.

“Oh, hello,” replied Agnos in a similar manner.

“I’m… well…” She seemed to be struggling with something.

“It’s not that hard, you know,” Dragonfire interjected, rather freaked out.

“Oh, all right!” she ejaculated. “I’m sorry for those insults… and – and everything else I did. Are you happy now?”

“Oh, yeah, we’re just fine.”

“Err... Could I join you?”

There was little objection to that.

“By the way, what’s your name?” It was apparently directed at Dragonfire.

“You can call me Dragonfire.”

“All right, Dragonfire, Agnos, let’s begin!”

They had to admit, each of them had a good time.





*dodges pitchforks* Yes, yes, I know, how could I have done such a sin and all. I'll have to make up for the lack in size of these chapters.

Oh, by the way, something to mull over.


Pronunciations:

Comperl Gildara: com-PAIr (same as that of compare) gill-DA-rah

Kashiton: KAU-shih-tun (All instances of tun rhyme with ton)

Croyaliton: KROy-luh-tun (The luh, in fact, is a curious sound that is difficult to transcribe. It’s a combination of luh and leh, seeming to be Mightyenian in origin, which for reference, influenced the ancient human Celts and Goths. Oddly, Salamence tend to keep away from tribal Mightyena, so this name is an oddity.)

Escaraen: es-KAh-ray-en (In the Gardevoir’s native accent, this word is spoken keeping the tongue out of close contact from the roof of the mouth, with the exception of the k sound.)

Traynalcon: Trè-nai-kaun

Pahos: PAA-hös

Pyrocomende: pie-roh-koh-MEN-day

Xir’clai: ZUr-klaè (Same as Escaraen, and the zur rhymes with cur.)


Of couse, these aren't all of them. I'll post more in a while.

Sike Saner
16th July 2006, 6:39 PM
A Slugma approached Dragonfire, one of the few who had managed to keep their wits. He received a look of challenge in return.

Bring it on.

Cool. ^^


Fey ethers ran freely, unleashed from their material chains

I love that line. It’s just gorgeous. *_*


Who’d have thought, for example, how well a simple Multiple Faint Attack would spread Dragonbreath throughout the whole arena, leaving the opponent no room to dodge?


That is a neat move. o_o

Oh, and Escaraen = cool name. I’m enjoying practicing the pronunciation for that and the other things for which you provided pronunciations (that was a very cool thing for you to do, btw ^^).

Praxiteles
17th July 2006, 10:25 AM
Here we go.

Sike Saner:


Oh, and Escaraen = cool name. I’m enjoying practicing the pronunciation for that and the other things for which you provided pronunciations (that was a very cool thing for you to do, btw ^^).

Oh, most of the things here just came spur-of-the-moment, if you know what I mean. And, I guess, a lot of it was inspired by the two fantasy trilogies in my top-ten list: LOTR and the Inheritance trilogy.

The Pokemon Master
29th July 2006, 11:54 AM
Ah, don’t worry about a short Chapter. It happens to everyone eventually, and I think long breaks without writing discourage length. At least I know that I’m guilty of not writing much for the last… oh… about a month or so. So don’t worry about it.

Anyway, it was indeed refreshing to read some more of this story, and I’m glad to see that everyone got out of that mess unharmed. And another mysterious lesson is revealed… Anyway, it’s good that Xir’clai has decided to become friends with the Bagon (or possibly not). About the only thing I’m beginning to become suspicious of is the Gardevoir. Which might include their little Ralts daughter or not, I’m unsure as of right now. Wonder if their story was really true or just made up…

Anyway, another great Chapter, and I hope to see the next one soon.

Until we meet again…
;150;

Praxiteles
6th August 2006, 5:13 PM
Yayness!

The Pokemon Master:


Ah, don’t worry about a short Chapter. It happens to everyone eventually, and I think long breaks without writing discourage length. At least I know that I’m guilty of not writing much for the last… oh… about a month or so. So don’t worry about it.

Thanks for that, Pokemon Master. In any case, I've made amends in this one.


About the only thing I’m beginning to become suspicious of is the Gardevoir. Which might include their little Ralts daughter or not, I’m unsure as of right now. Wonder if their story was really true or just made up…

Oh, I was waiting for that. The Gardevoir do have an interesting origin, though I'm not revealing anything more.

Newest chapter, fresh from the oven! (Seriously. I just finished it two minutes ago.) If you want plotty goodness, you'll love it.






The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 7: Reminiscence


Light. Blinding strobes of multicoloured radiance flashed along the edges of Dragonfire’s wavering vision. His unfocused eyes attempted to dilate as he uttered nonsensical words, lost in the delirium of intense fever. The lights died down.

A brief paroxysm. He entered a golden hall with others of his kin moving about their daily business. Everything appeared stretched out, hazy, unfocused. His sight shifted, a reel fast-forwarded. He was in a circular clearing, faced by a bluish blur. Everything melted away to a land of pure fire, rejuvenating him for the brief moment it existed, before falling away again. Cyan mists of flame emanated from his orifice – was it truly that large? The scene shifted once more.

A homely room with fireplaces and stuffy couches. The gigantic gates opened, allowing a beam of semicircular light to blind ones accustomed to the hazy dimness of the room. Four silhouettes appeared against the dazzling glow, making way with their mere grandeur. The scene flashed again. Two small, indistinct creatures were battling spectacularly in an extraordinary landscape. Another flash. Chaos ruled a ruined land tyrannizing three smaller creatures. More haziness. Numerous trials, and moments of sheer joy in between. Sky-blue, grass-green blurs, with interludes of purest white, all sharing the same innocent, inescapable elation. A journey to other lands, one of the greater of his milestones. A sculpture holding an incandescent sphere, the very that kindled his flame, only one blinding step ahead. A long struggle, and finally, sweet triumph. He reached out an arm, his heart a turbine, and the tip of a paw made contact with the stone.

Inconceivable agony.

A wave of pain wracked his body, sending out shock waves of radiance. He fell to the floor and rolled into the foetal position, and a growth began forming over him. The granite formations on his head expanded and stretched, enveloping him all the while, and four searching limbs had barely time to break free before the structure hardened, the lights faded, and all was silent once more.

But the pain did not end.

It took a trice to see that something had gone horribly wrong, and he was rolled into the infirmary. There was a long discussion, and he found himself in the embrace of a familiar one once more. Then he was carried through the cave and out.

If he had not lost his senses with the pain, he would have seen something of the world outside his mountain cave. But he lived in a dream within his dream, and blinked in and out of consciousness inside his unconsciousness.

On one of his more conscious moments, he passed over a long stretch of plain, with a basin and a gigantic lake off into the distance. Traveling east, their path was inevitable, and soon his mother, carrying him, was soaring over the basin. About at the center –

Abstract images whizzed past his eyes, confusing his weakened form another step. A flash of fiery scarlet. Emerald waves. A blur of gold and sallow. Quaking russet. In his mind, he began jogging over rocky, uneven ground, growing more frantic as he went, until he was sprinting at full speed, there was a brief incline (he would conquer it, it was no great task), and open air, he was free, in the sky, he was touching the heavens, and then –

What goes up must come down.

Half maddened with euphoria, he realized that he had led himself over a treacherous cliff, and the miasmas were retreating from his outstretched, despairing hands.

Everything came flashing back.


I toiled to the rhythm of the life all around me, working slowly but determinedly. This was always the hardest phase of my journey to the earth; it would always be. Slipping through solid crystal with naught but starlight was never an easy task. The very laws of nature would have to be altered. At such an immense scale, dexterity would be the last to come, and not only would the required law have to be warped, but many others around it. Already I could see the first effects; colourless droplets from the lake, some still holding their flotsam and debris, were rising into the air, having broken free of gravity’s restraints, and energies were escaping their various forms and whipping through the air in fractions of a second, absolutely unrepressed.

I had already sensed the attention of the nearest settlement, though I did not fret; the old legends still lived, terrifying the locals into their distance, and I would be long gone before any more curious happened to chance upon me. What I focused on was my duty for this fourth of a month that I had on terra firma; there was much to be done and too little time to be wasted. Soon (alas, it seemed soon to my cosmological standards, though it may have been more than but a moment to some), I was free, and my influence was full and absolute.

I journeyed through the land by night, seeking the receiver of my gift. It did not take time; his celestial aura contrasted like an oak blossom in a winter-thicket on a foggy night. It was a silvery-sapphire Metang, hovering in the middle of a clearing in the forest. I disguised myself and walked up to him.

I tried the farmer guise, one of the more effective ones. “Now, wouldn’t you spare a bit of bother for an old farmhand like me? The crops haven’t grown well this time around – no; I doubt anything’s grew well this time around.”

His reply was predictable. “Do you truly believe, fool, that I would lend my vittles to a shady stranger appearing in the dead of the night? Trouble some other unfortunate.”

“Oh, I knew that one coming before it came. Well, what do you say to an offer – a scratch of parley, if you want?”

“I require nothing and will never. Should you leave me be, or should I make you my preferred target for a Metal Claw?” Despite this, it was evident that he was beginning to see the first traces of interest.

I whittled some more out of him. He was as I thought him to be – cautious, wary; unwilling to risk one inch of his steel for someone else. He was young, inexperienced, but he would learn, after he would discover the gift I would impart in him. I would have little part in this; I had only time to supervise the tender beginnings of the plan. After I left, he would be truly alone.

I suddenly changed my shape to a rather more intimidating one – in a fraction of a second, a fully grown Ursaring was looming impressively on the Metang. I went for a loud, booming voice.

“Would you never risk your pathetic form for another more unfortunate?”

“No.” He was still unabashed. Rather bemused, in fact.

“THEN PAY!”

In an instant, a pillar of glowing effervescence struck him, and the Metang fell to the ground. He would awake, but simply not as he had ever been.

I exited the clearing. My job was done.


The first rays of sunlight began shining over him, and he emerged from his stasis. What had happened? He’d been hit by that light – there was crushing pain – and then he had simply blacked out. He rose into the air, wondering about the instability he had now. His dominant side had tipped him slightly to the right, and it was not a pleasant feeling.

Curious, he looked down to see if anything was wrong.

Then it hit him. My arms are scarlet!

He whipped through the trees and reached a nearby watering hole. His own reflection sickened him.

His powerful arms were now mere threadlike appendages, coloured cobalt-crimson. The remarkable horn on his forehead was stubby and ruby-tinted. The imposing spikes on either side had morphed into useless, gaudy, earlike projections. He was robbed of his elegance, his power. It seemed as if his very personality had been tainted.

He had never felt this way in his life.

He zipped across the forest with blinding speed, letting out a mangled roar of sorrow and desperation. Stealth was nothing now. My life is over, he thought. If any wish to take me, then let them!

It was mid-afternoon when it happened. A group of wandering Kadabra came upon him. They were obviously suffering the Plague.

“What an oddity, Org,” one of them leered.

“Who cares? Let’s see what he bleeds!” The group cackled, and they all attacked his mind, all at once. He allowed them entry; this would be a quick death, but, out of pure instinct, he struck back.

He could never recall what happened next.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The main of his life afterwards passed in a flash. He did not know how he found his gift, or why, but his mission in life was clear. He would be the solution to the crisis; he would heal all of the Plague, leaving them with pure thoughts.

What if his appearance was tainted? No matter; a book was never dictated by its cover, and he was experiencing further changes in his physique that only improved the situation.

What if his idyllic life was lost? It was nothing: there was a greater cause now; it would give him peace.

What if this would only put him in greater danger? It would not; for every life he saved, an additional life would come to him.

What if he would certainly die? This was nothing to lose sleep on; he had already earned the gift of eternity.

He seemed to come out from the blue and back in; he would stay at a settlement long enough only to cure it, and then he would pass like a ghost. Wherever he would go, the Pyrotlae would shine on him like a spotlight. Many began to call him A’parimaha, angel from the stars.




Pyrocomende mulled over the recent events. How could this have happened? Dragonfire was fully healthy one moment, albeit a bit tired, and the next moment, as soon as he touched the Betalcon Paholith, his key to the next stage of his life, he simply collapsed. Pyre had once met with a wandering Blissey during her adventuring days and learnt much, but even the vast arsenal of the Healers could not begin to comprehend an illness like this. It was beyond thought. As she waited in the infirmary, hopelessly pondering the predicament, her thoughts went back to the encounter before Dragonfire’s birth. At the evolution before Almicon Pahos, give him three Enigma berries. The only way to keep his growth proper is to follow what I said. If you ever fail to, and you see the consequences of your actions, get him directly to me. Only I will be able to help him.

Following them had seemed folly once, but as they taunted them, repeating over and over in his mind, they did only to drive her last resort to the topmost priority.

Finally, she was set. She would take Dragonfire to the Desert Island, and then –

She would leave all to fate.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The sun shone brightly on azure skies and cobalt seas, accentuating the rises and dips of the ocean waves. Pyre’s destination was a rather peculiar place that she had only heard of. It was a fairly large island off the coast of the Ocean Cliffs, where the beach sands seemed to stretch on, until it became clear to all its travelers that they would have cross an unforgiving desert. Then, curiously, the sand would turn suddenly to rich humus, and, as the weary adventurer would look up, he would see the bountiful canopy of a beautiful oasis-forest with clear, cool streams and sweet fruit. Strangely, no one who had ever wished to tame the undefiled land had come back.

In fact, no one, well-wishing or not, had ever come back.

Trying to drive the thought from her mind, she looked starboard, twisting in her flight while keeping Dragonfire safely nestled between her wings. There was nothing but endless water. However, as she looked forward, she though she could barely see the tip of the island. Hope surged in her once again, driving her forward at double the speed. Within an hour, she was there.

Resting her tired wings, she landed somewhere well into the desert. There was yet more to do, and she had no time to do it in. Carefully securing the Shelgon she was carrying, Pyre began the last step of her journey.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The desert was utterly unforgiving. Dunes of rolling sand puffed erratically, showering the air with tiny grains of sand, which sometimes escalated to full-blown sandstorms. The only visible thing other than the sand was a collection of Lati hewn out of sandstone, which Pyre seemed to pass almost periodically. There were occasional towers of the same material as the statuettes. She, of course, ignored them; her destination was to the very centre.

She had walked past about the third of these towers when it hit her.

I’m walking in circles! She was not passing several sculptures; there was only one, and somehow, she ended at the same place she started. It was an endless cycle.

This was obviously a well-made puzzle, and the solution was somewhere within the space she was given. She stopped. There was a sculpture to her right. Pyre examined it; there was nothing. Perhaps the tower might prove more yielding. She walked some more, and the next, fortunately, turned to be the tower. Out of curiosity, she turned her gaze to the pinnacle of the tower. Sure enough, there was a tan, (rudimentarily) bird-shaped figure. She realized that the sculpture was the very top of the tower itself, and at fixed intervals, the tower would emerge out of the sand. She had little time to waste; if the tower plunged into the sand while she was in it, she would most certainly be buried. Thankfully, there were large windows in every floor; in case of an emergency, she could fly out. She stepped inside.

The view inside was an architectural marvel, filled with spectacular works. Alternating carvings of onyx and marble were placed at regular intervals. Arches peppered the rich staircase, covered with tiny gem shards that caught and refracted the light into an infinity of rainbows. At the centre, a stunning image of Jirachi cast in gold gazed profoundly at the enterers. Two intertwining helixes of stairs, joined at regular intervals by a silver bridge, rose to the very top, where there was a silvery platform. Taking care to avoid the bridges connecting the stairways, Pyrocomende flew straight up to the platform.

A peculiar device stood at the top.

Two helixes, resembling the stairs, rose up from the metal floor, made of numerous blocks that were arranged into a complex figure. At their feet lay several more of these blocks. The helixes were suspended into the air on a pedestal, and there were many other platforms like it.

She soon realized her part in the puzzle. One block was missing from the middle of the figure. Seemingly, she would have to find the required block. Before she could take more than a step, a piece of verse burnt itself into her mind. It was in the Ancient tongue, but she could easily translate it, albeit rather hurriedly in her situation.

Blocks infused with elements four
And miracle of life
Need but a spark, no, nothing more
To serve the end of strife…

This was certainly something new. Apparently, if she sent electricity through a block, it would do something. Armed with new hope, she took one of the blocks nearby and put it on a pedestal. It rose to a place about halfway in the air and hovered there. Carefully placing Dragonfire far from the platform, she braced herself and charged a Thunderbolt. All in a sudden, the pent-up energy was released, and a substantial amount of electricity zipped from her to the block. It disappeared, leaving a curious, unmarked flame drifting in its place. The flame made an odd sound, showing signs of life, and as Pyre gazed at it, pondering its purpose, it vanished, leaving the block once again.

The block, incidentally, was scarlet.

Following her theory, Pyre took a deep cobalt block and did the same with it. Success. A rudimentary drop-like creature looked out at Pyre, pulsating, transparent. She took a jade block, and it yielded a single leaf.

She then directed her attention at the main puzzle. It required change, but to cause that, she would first have to see what it was. She tried another Thunderbolt.

What came took her aback.

What was before her was a very oddity of nature, and it seemed to warp Her laws. Utter chaos ruled the space around it. She dismissed it with her thoughts.

Obviously, the result would have the power to control something. But what? She had no answer.

Frustrated, she tried a different angle. The poetry talked about ending strife. What would end strife in a desert?

Water.

Progress!

What brought water?

Rain.

What governed rain?



The weather.

The missing piece of the puzzle was sky! Shaking, Pyrocomende took a baby blue block and placed it into the empty slot. A beam of electricity followed.

A light grey, windswept sprite gazed back at Pyrocomende with bright, spotted eyes. Three spheres were fused into its base, forming a triangle. The being looked up at the skies, and soon beautiful droplets of cool liquid were coming down in torrents. The creature bowed to Pyre, and vanished.

The miracle of life.

As if by magic, the tip of a forest could be seen into the distance. The oasis was only an instant away, and hope with it. With renewed vigour, Pyrocomende took her son and departed.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The forest was indeed perfectly opulent. Rivers of cool water ran through the oaken halls, filled with life of every shape and size and colour. It would have been a sight to see, had not Pyre other matters to deal with.

In fact, a tribe of Breloom had her hostage under the impression that she meant harm. It was all a ploy! There was no one here; she had been led into a trap. She burnt with guilt for not having seen it before.

The tribe chief looked heatedly at Pyre. “Execute the wretch, and take it from my eyes!”

It was in midswing that a Swellow happened to come upon the area. The entire procession froze.

He was a magnificent one, with imperious beak and remarkable bosom. If he was their savage chief, Pyre had only rage for him.

The Swellow shaped-shifted to a formless – something, it was unsure what. It seemed strangely familiar.

Her thoughts went to the encounter before Dragonfire’s birth. It was not a ploy at all!

“Did you like my welcoming party?”

shadowlight
6th August 2006, 5:38 PM
This was a great chapter
It was very detailed
I wonder what the shapeless thing

Sike Saner
6th August 2006, 9:54 PM
But he lived in a dream within his dream, and blinked in and out of consciousness inside his unconsciousness.

I just like the choice of words there. It’s one of those lines that stands out due to being cleverly constructed, like a good lyric.


“I require nothing and will never. Should you leave me be, or should I make you my preferred target for a Metal Claw?”

I love the way that Metang spoke, especially those lines there.



Wow. That chapter was downright gorgeous. So much rich imagery - rich, yet not stifling or confusing. Very well done.

It was all I could do not to just go and quote the entire opening section - it was very lovely, and contained one of the best evolution scenes I've read to date. What was really great about Dragonfire's evolution was that it was subtle; instead of overtly telling that he evolved, his change into a Shelgon was cleverly described.

I'm not always good at interpreting things, admittingly, but from what I gather regarding the Metang scene, what was portrayed there was a cool, original depiction of the origin of Deoxys, given that his arms were scarlet and cobalt, and he was called the "angel from the stars".

Now I find myself wondering about the last couple of scenes - the double-helix shaped puzzle that Pyre encountered makes me think of DNA and thus of Deoxys, while the shape-shifter that Pyre encountered at the end of the chapter makes me think of the shape-shifter who transformed that Metang into Deoxys. Hmm...

This chapter brouhgt with it a lot to think about. The plot thickens, indeed. ^^

Praxiteles
7th August 2006, 10:51 AM
shadowlight:

Thanks for the compliments. If you read the entire fic from chapter 1, refer to the bottom of this post.

Sike Saner:


Wow. That chapter was downright gorgeous. So much rich imagery - rich, yet not stifling or confusing. Very well done.

Thanks for that! I was actually fearing it would be a bit overdescriptive. But it seems to work.


What was really great about Dragonfire's evolution was that it was subtle; instead of overtly telling that he evolved, his change into a Shelgon was cleverly described.

I was trying subtlety in the entire of Dragonfire's hallucinations, in fact. Rest assured that it required a lot of thought; I had a Plot Block for a while until I had this idea, one that could fit in everything impoertant without being overly long.


I'm not always good at interpreting things, admittingly, but from what I gather regarding the Metang scene, what was portrayed there was a cool, original depiction of the origin of Deoxys, given that his arms were scarlet and cobalt, and he was called the "angel from the stars".

You know what?

You're completely right. That Metang is Deoxys. Actually, his metamorphism was rather gradual; at first, he looked downright ugly. Can you guess who "I" was?


while the shape-shifter that Pyre encountered at the end of the chapter makes me think of the shape-shifter who transformed that Metang into Deoxys. Hmm...

Oh? I must not have made it clear enough. To all others who don't know:

That shapeshifter is the creature that came to Pyrocomende in the first chapter. I thought I'd made it obvious enough, but I see I might have to do some editing.

Chatara isr psycolia...
Pyroken Serafoculus

The Pokemon Master
9th August 2006, 6:15 AM
The plot thickens! I must admit, the first part was a little unclear and even confusing, but I think I got the main points: Dragonfire evolved without the proper specifications being met, which caused something to go wrong (as signified by his incredible pain). Also, there is apparently a red Metang flying around, healing a Plague of some sort. This shape-shifter seems to be having a hand in nearly everything, hm? Wonder what he’s got planned for Pyrocomende… Anyway, great Chapter as usual. I noticed a couple of mistakes, though…


A sculpture holding an incandescent sphere, the very that kindled his flame, only one blinding step ahead. A long struggle, and finally, sweet triumph. He reached out an arm, his heart a turbine, and the tip of a paw made contact with the stone.I think a word is missing between those two. Perhaps you meant ‘thing’ to be in there?


He fell to the floor and rolled into the foetal position, and a growth began forming over him.Typo, or is that how it is spelled where you come from? The American spelling lacks an ‘o,’ I know that much.

Just a couple of minor mistakes in an otherwise wonderful Chapter. Even in the blurry parts, the description was amazing. Can’t wait to see what that shape-shifter has in store…

EDIT: Didn't see the massive spoiler before I posted, please forgive my ignorance. Looking back, though, my description is mildly amusing.

Until we meet again…
;150;

Praxiteles
9th August 2006, 10:11 AM
The Pokemon Master


The plot thickens! I must admit, the first part was a little unclear and even confusing, but I think I got the main points: Dragonfire evolved without the proper specifications being met, which caused something to go wrong (as signified by his incredible pain). Also, there is apparently a red Metang flying around, healing a Plague of some sort.

You got most of it right. I'll reveal, though, that your timeline is rather jumbled.


I think a word is missing between those two. Perhaps you meant ‘thing’ to be in there?

I believe the sentence is correct in very archaic English. Still, I'm a bit unsure.


Typo, or is that how it is spelled where you come from? The American spelling lacks an ‘o,’ I know that much.

That's how the British spelling system goes, as far as I know.

Sarvfecta enposia isr...
Pyroken Serafoculus

shadowlight
9th August 2006, 2:41 PM
shadowlight:

Thanks for the compliments. If you read the entire fic from chapter 1, refer to the bottom of this post.

That shapeshifter is the creature that came to Pyrocomende in the first chapter. I thought I'd made it obvious enough, but I see I might have to do some editing.

Chatara isr psycolia...
Pyroken Serafoculus

I sort of meant what kind of creature or how it came to be but thank you

The Pokemon Master
10th August 2006, 10:57 AM
Heh, I was actually just following the story's line of revealing the information, which happened to come in that order. Nice to have it confirmed that the Metang incident happened before Dragonfire's accident, though...

And I apologize for correcting you on those counts (I was wondering whether or not to include them, as a matter of fact). I'll try to take those things into account next Chapter...

Until we meet again...
;150;

Praxiteles
12th August 2006, 4:36 PM
And I apologize for correcting you on those counts (I was wondering whether or not to include them, as a matter of fact). I'll try to take those things into account next Chapter...

Oh, don't be sorry. Where'll I be if I actually do make a mistake and you don't hunt it out? Best to keep seing tigers and always be running away than miss the actual one in the bush.

There's a lot of confusion, so I'll make it clear, even though this goes on the spoiler side. Mr. Swellow at the end of Chapter 7 and the shapeshifter in Chapter 1 are the same thing, but the shapeshifter in Dragonfire's vision in Chapter 7 is a mystery character, who has a few clues you can seek out and use. Hopefully, that removes a few veils.


I sort of meant what kind of creature or how it came to be but thank you

Oh, that's what you were wondering? All in good time, son, all in good time.

Of course, I don't mean the son part. Hell, you're probably older than me!

EDIT: I checked, by the way. You are older than me.

Praxiteles
16th October 2006, 5:07 PM
New chappy! Apologies for the length; I just didn't want to force myself while I was in such a good mood.




The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 8: A Taste of Paradise


It was not long before the entire forest was abuzz with activity. The stranger who had come at the nick of time to save Dragonfire so long ago was now as willing as he had promised, and upon hearing what he had no doubt feared for one third of a lifetime, ceased to beat around the bush.

“I wonder, at times, how I actually hoped circumstances would be different. How long has Dragonfire gone without aid?”

Pyre hastened towards the same manner. “A day or so. Can you help him?”

“Pyrocomende, my entire purpose in life is to keep him whole. Through all odds, if the slightest chance exists of his recovery, I will hold it with all my might.”

Pyre refrained from asking how he knew her or her son’s name. “Come with me,” he said, ordering more than requesting, and they began to journey west, where the trees grew thickest.

Very soon, as if one hour attempted to make up for five, they reached an indiscriminate clearing, and the stranger finally stopped.

“We have arrived.”

“What do you mean?” Pyrocomende could see nothing but the dense grass of the clearing and the trees of the forest around it. It was slightly noteworthy that the branches of a gigantic sycamore grew over the entire clearance, forming an oddly glittering green roof, but there was nothing truly worth mention.

“Open your eyes, Pyrocomende. You are deeper than this.”

“I don’t – “

As she strained to look, Pyrocomende began to see small paths through the trees, and familiar forms in the vegetation all around them. Was that a door in the oak tree so near them? That sycamore so closely resembled a column… Why was it all so vague?

Suddenly, as if they had traversed worlds, everything became startlingly lucid. This was a dwelling! The sycamore was actually a vast living pillar, which held up a great ceiling made of a million emerald leaves that focused the light into many shifting, pale jade beams. The trees made walls of living wood, and some of them actually contained smaller rooms inside them. It was a gigantic oaken palace, and Pyrocomende had only realized its existence halfway inside.

Her wonder must have seemed evident, for the obvious owner of the entire mansion turned to her and gave a knowing smile.

“I knew you would appreciate it. I think I will show you around sometime. But now is not the time. We have a matter on our hands much more pressing than the architectural exploration of a Salamence with nothing better to do. Oh, yes, I am a Salamence in most regards, though my true form may imply the contrary. But we must get moving!”

They made their way through various smaller rooms (these having ceilings formed by the branches of the surrounding trees) into a fairly large hall, whose centerpiece was a great giant of a tree with many low-lying branches that swooped down in pairs, each couple cradling a bed of soft leaves. All the other leaves were oddly varying, from the smallest ferns to the largest banyans, and berries of every shape, size, and colour crowded the remaining space which the tree could call its own. Remarkably, every single leaf and fruit and petal and branch had some kind of recognizable medical value.

Immediately, the stranger took Dragonfire from Pyrocomende’s arms and lay him down, legs up, on one of the leaf-beds nearest to them. Without further talk, he went to a branch filled with giant banana leaves and burnt red, elongated fruit which Pyre recognized as Nanab berries, and began to cull the required herbs. While he was doing this, Pyrocomende could faintly sense a telepathic conversation carried out between her host and someone else inside the palace, but it was short-lived. The culled medicine soon went in small packets into a wooden bowl formed by a single upright root.

While an overhanging branch poured boiling water into the bowl, the crystal door opened, and a Chansey came bustling in, looking very tense and beginning to talk before she had even opened the door.

“Where is he? Oh, I knew this would happen. I should have done something while I was staying at Serafoculaton! Now what do we do?” As she tried to match the creature to her memories, Pyrocomende realized that the Chansey was indeed right – this was a motherly old character called Jivati who had come to Serafoculaton shortly before Dragonfire’s evolution. What is the world coming to? Pyrocomende vaguely exclaimed to herself, wondering how many random wanderers would turn out to be associated in currents as deep as these.

The stranger immediately got on top of it. “Jivati, calm down. I am preparing some Nanab packets for him; I need you to help me with some tasks. He has developed a high fever, but it can be controlled by ordinary means before I finish preparing the actual medicine. Kindly tend to him. And Pyrocomende, call me Cartavah.”


So began Pyrocomende’s stay at Cartavah’s ‘forest-manor’ (“I named it Virdia,” said Cartavah upon enquiry). Virdia was a beautiful structure, with an orchard, infirmary (which Pyrocomende had already seen), recreation hall, many large abodes made in the trees themselves, and a million natural wonders which could leave anyone speechless. Quite a few residents lived in its oaken halls; Pyrocomende even encountered a great cheery Ursaring once, lingering in the aroma of the gardens. It seemed that the great place was an entire city in itself.

If it had been any other who had taken care of her offspring, Pyrocomende would have spent day and night by Dragonfire’s side, worrying and praying. However, either by the magic in the air of the forest, or the care of Cartavah and the Chansey by his side (or, perhaps, a combination of both), Dragonfire began to recover soon after his first dose of the ‘medicine’ (Cartavah refused to explain any further). Within a week or so, Dragonfire was both conscious and alert, albeit chiefly bedridden, though he could do most mundane tasks if need be. Which left mother and son to explore the wonders of Virdia as deeply as they wished.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Dragonfire woke to the song of the Taillow, and raised his head up from the soft little leaf-pillow. It was just another beautiful morning in Cartavah’s place, and he felt happy as he hadn’t been for a long time after his disease. Jivati was just by his side, protective as always, though he’d gotten used to that by now. His only complaint was the fact that no one let him out of his bed for too long. Dragonfire felt even more energetic than before; why did they say he needed rest? Still, they knew best, he guessed.

“Good morning, dear,” Jivati chirped from her post beside his bed. “Here, let me help you up. How’s your arm? Has it stopped aching?” She hurried over to the stove, where Dragonfire’s breakfast was cooking, and ladled some strangely coloured berry porridge along with a fair amount of cornmeal cakes onto one of Virdia’s specialized disposable leaf-plates. “Here, eat up,” she said, “didn’t I tell you it’d help your immunity?”

While Dragonfire tried to eat the foul thing, his mother, who was just over at the side, strode to his bed and wished him good morning.

“Cartavah told me you’ll be just about recovered by next week, Dragonfire. Aren’t you excited?”

Despite all of Dragonfire’s years, his mother still treated him like a child. Why? Well, his mom just said that he’d always be “my little Dragonfire”, no matter what.

“That’s great, mom! But how long will I have to stay in bed?”

Cartavah himself answered this time, coming into the infirmary. “As long as you like, Dragonfire. Which means – “

“I’m free?” asked Dragonfire eagerly.

“Free as the wind,” was the reply. “Incidentally, Pyrocomende, would you come with me? There is an urgent matter which we must discuss.”

The two Salamence stole away quietly, going out into some other room. As they exited, Dragonfire had a very strong urge to follow. You idiot, you’ll get caught, he reprimanded himself, but he still couldn’t shake the urge. He alternated between both arguments, trying to convince himself first that he would surely be seen eavesdropping, then that a bit of listening in wouldn’t harm anyone, until he was hardly able to find a comfortable position on his bed. Finally, deciding that it didn’t do any harm and that the curiosity would consume his mind anyways, he got up, telling Jivati that he was going for a bit of exploring (it was half-true; he was going out to explore the truth), and quickly exited, almost before Jivati finished telling him to be careful and to not get lost.

Dragonfire went a tiny distance out, and stopped, trying to hear, with his newly advanced hearing, where they had gone. He was in luck; he could hear his mother’s excited whispers, and a low, fast-paced stream of words whose accent seemed close to Cartavah’s coming from the third door on his left. What was so annoying was the fact that he could almost hear the words, but he was still just out of range. Dragonfire tried creeping closer, but, suddenly, his mother spoke something so loudly that he could have picked it up from the infirmary if he was listening. Bad luck. The word was cut short in the middle, and his mum soon resumed her whispering.

Dragonfire strained to make out what she had almost said. It definitely began with a ‘T’, that was for sure. But as for the rest… It could possibly have started with the letters ‘te’, but nothing more could be determined.

His reverie was broken as he saw the door open, and he quickly snuck back, explaining to Jivati how he decided to explore sometime later. It looked to be through the translucent crystal of the infirmary, as his mother and Cartavah exited their room, that they hadn’t suspected a thing. But before Cartavah moved out to the main hall, it seemed impossibly that he actually looked through the one-way crystal door straight into Dragonfire’s eyes.

Of course, he couldn’t say for sure.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


Golden beams of light filtered through the treetops as the sun gave its glorious farewell to the forest and all of its inhabitants. It was a great, meaningful evening; a star had already begun twinkling through the cerulean sky, winking past the streaks of majestic saffron that still lighted the world. Dragonfire had never been poetic before, but he could not help taking this as a sign of the stasis where both phases coexisted for a blinding moment, and the prediction of what was yet to come. Perhaps his sudden musings were a result of his evolution; he couldn’t tell for sure.

The hour had indeed come of their departure from this fair place; it had been bearing down on his mind for a while, but he’d never imagined how hard it would be to tell Virdia and its owner goodbye. Thankfully, Cartavah had decided to do it himself. Before they got ready to leave, he’d invited them to a walk and showed them a sunset no other place could have provided. It had left them speechless.

After a long pause, Cartavah spoke.

“Pyrocomende and my dear Dragonfire. Goodbye, for now. My heart and my duties are with the forest; you belong in Serafoculaton. But know now that farewell is only the beginning; all paths intersect, and no thread is left untied in the end. We will meet again. And, in the meantime, if you are trapped in sunless woods or houseless hills, take this and remember fairer lands, and your prayers will never go unheeded!”

A warm breeze blew through the darkling lands, and, floating down like an ephemeral snowflake, a single Sitrus flower made of the most brilliant emerald came to rest in front of them. Cartavah picked it up and handed it to Dragonfire. “When shadows call, this token of the fair evening will bring you light. Keep it safely.”

Pyrocomende then visibly begin sobbing, and, suddenly, to Dragonfire’s incredible surprise, she buried her face in Cartavah’s warmth and started to weep. “Tem – “ – it was that same ‘te’ word, yet again! – “Cartavah, I… I was so worried when Dragonfire got ill; what would I do if I lost him! And now, when you… oh, God, thank you for everything!”

There was something about her half-concealed eyes which betrayed some other reason for her sorrow. But for now, Dragonfire was content simply to drink in his last evening on the fairest land in the world.

The last rays of the setting sun faded away, but an ethereal light still permeated the clearing in which they stood, mirror to the distant points enlivening the night sky.

Sike Saner
17th October 2006, 12:46 AM
Dang, was that a gorgeous setting for a chapter or what? I want to go to Virdia... *_*

Cartavah is cool (and I love that name), and I am strongly possessed of the notion that he and Pyre go back further than either of them is letting on to Dragonfire - perhaps only as far back as their discussion in that room that Dragonfire tried to eavesdrop on (the matter of what, exactly, they might have been talking about has got me rather curious, by the way), perhaps further, but at any rate, I can't shake the feeling that they're keeping something from the Shelgon. Exactly what connection the two might have, I can't seem to guess, but I'm patient. I'll simply wait and see whether I'm right or wrong about this.

Praxiteles
17th October 2006, 4:58 AM
Dang, was that a gorgeous setting for a chapter or what? I want to go to Virdia... *_*

I've got this odd curse that forces me to write only the places I want to see, which I'll never see... Glad to know I'm not alone on this!


Cartavah is cool (and I love that name), and I am strongly possessed of the notion that he and Pyre go back further than either of them is letting on to Dragonfire - perhaps only as far back as their discussion in that room that Dragonfire tried to eavesdrop on (the matter of what, exactly, they might have been talking about has got me rather curious, by the way), perhaps further, but at any rate, I can't shake the feeling that they're keeping something from the Shelgon.

That is one big sentence. Anyways,

Yes, you're right; Pyre and Cartavah do go back further than you could ever imagine. You'll know soon enough in any case. Or maybe not...

shadowlight
17th October 2006, 11:24 PM
The way you detailed Virdia was really good.
It makes me want to go there,
I wonder what that Tem word is and how it will affect the story.
I liked this Chapter alot.
I can't wait for the next one.

Praxiteles
22nd October 2006, 3:45 PM
Thanks for the review, shadowlight! I see Virdia seems to be rather popular.

Anyways, here would be Chapter 9, the Upholder of Duty! (Yes, I know, I'm on a roll...)

PrS (PreScript): I'll clarify right now, before anyone gets confused. Agnos, Xir'clai and Dragonfire had become best friends before the 7th chapter and after the 6th. They are absolutely inseperable, so don't be surprised if they show large amounts of dedication to each other..




The Upholder of Duty
Chapter 9: Bravery and Cowardice


It was quite some time before Dragonfire and his mother finished flying the distance between Virdia and Serafoculaton, and so, although the whole thing was rather clipped, Dragonfire had his first taste of flight.

He loved it.

Oftentimes, after his final ascension to the Pahos Almiconia, he would try to describe the wonders of flight in all their majesty. “The sheer joy of all of it leaves me speechless,” he would say, and “I feel free, as if I could do anything without worry or responsibility,” would be another attempt at putting it into words, but in the end, he would always decide that no word or sentence in the history of language could truly describe such a marvel. He’d try to remember exactly how he felt, again and again, but the joy of a Salamence at the highest peak of the world is an inexpressible one, and he would retire to simply enjoying it, the only truly inarticulate happiness he knew.

For now, he merely waited, excited, for the day when he would finally end the last (and longest) road of his life, and would be able to experience the joy of flight. What majesty he would have, what freedom and splendour! Even Pyrocomende noticed his immediate eagerness to training, renewed with this adventure.

When the two of them reached the great silver gateway to the mountain-cave, Dragonfire took a moment to digest all that had happened to him since his evolution. Nothing had changed; his mother was just the right amount of cheerful, as always, Serafoculaton had not become any different, and even he himself felt relatively unchanged, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something drastic was about to happen very soon, something which would change his life in more ways than he could ever imagine. He remembered Cartavah’s words, how he made it seem certain that Dragonfire would have harder times, and he felt an immediate compulsion to training himself to the highest degree, becoming hardy enough to thwart the world’s greatest trials. Perhaps he should start – no, he had to, there was no other choice other than total –

Dragonfire steadied himself. Pyrocomende had told him many times how his personality would be strongly affected after his evolution. She’d told him that he must follow his heart, but never be overwhelmed by his intuition. Dragonfire wasn’t going to let this advice go to waste. Repeating the words in his head like a mantra, he calmed down, and entered the door he had only passed once in his life.

In front of his was a welcome sight: a large, well-grown Bagon beamed at Dragonfire, a very anxious and a very relieved and a very delighted grin on his face.

Agnos was beside himself with happiness. “Dragonfire! Come over here, I knew you’d be able to weather through it!”

But before Dragonfire had a chance to reply, he was ambushed by a long, slender, white and green figure which had apparently taken no time in greeting and given Dragonfire a full-bodied embrace. Xir’clai’s relieved words reached what was left of Dragonfire’s muffled ears; they were beautiful. Gone was the sarcasm, gone was the devil-may-care tone, gone were her jokes and her sardonic comments; the Kirlia’s voice was a melody of pure, untainted feeling, and to hear a Kirlia sing of her true emotions was a splendid sight.

Even if Xir’clai didn’t refrain from calling Dragonfire by his least favourite (and her own most favourite) nickname, Drakefire, which drew a painful amount of attention to Dragonfire’s flightlessness… The whole thing had become a symbol of affection, anyway.

After the two travelers had settled, and the success of their expedition had been reported to the proper authorities, Agnos and Xir’clai invited Dragonfire to some celebratory battling. He had evolved, after all.

“Come on, Drakefire,” Xir’clai insisted, “it’ll be fun! No safety guidelines, no Sparring rules, just pure, unrestrained battling. You know you want to…”

Dragonfire did indeed, but he couldn’t help pointing out a few inconsistencies. “Where are the others?” He was referring to the other members of the sparring group. “The three of us can’t be paired.”

“Then we’ll just battle singly,” replied Agnos. “Every man for himself! And lady,” he added, noticing Xir’clai’s glower.

Ah, that was what Dragonfire loved. Untamed, anarchic battle! He could hardly wait. The three of them made their departure immediately.

When they arrived, Agnos made no hesitation to officially begin the match: essentially, he’d count loudly to one, while a series of rocks shaped themselves to form the number he ejaculated, courtesy of Xir’clai’s psychokinetic abilities. The presentation, however, was no significant detail; the actual battles were fast-paced and fiery beyond belief. A thrill ran through his veins; surrendering himself to his element, Dragonfire completed the transformation…


They were actors in an epic play; they were deadly, and elegant, and majestic, and graceful beyond wildest imagination. Xir’clai began her dance, her beautiful, lethal, terrible dance, with a strangely humble step: she fell upon one knee and began to pray, stone-still in a serene trance. The only observers of this seemingly harmless scene of the play knew fully well to guard their complacency; there was more to this than what met the eye. Xir’clai was clearing her mind of unnecessary thought, focusing the whole of her being into the task which met her then. Experience had long taught them the dangers of Calm Mind, and so, making sure to block each other from their respective minds, Agnos and Dragonfire began their tenacious maneuvers aimed at clouding their (for the time being) common opponent’s wits. Agnos’ tactic was satisfyingly amusing: a stray, misleading thought wandered aimlessly around the three of them before drilling its way into Xir’clai’s mind. Perhaps the only purpose it knew in its simple existence was to be as unmovable (and obvious) as possible. To no avail; the offended Kirlia simply flicked aside the Confuse Ray’s efforts to replace that integrated, essential mental function with some mundane thought which it managed to dig up from Xir’clai’s memory reserves. It was well-known that a Psychic’s mind was his or her home turf; here, they were impeccable.

Dragonfire tried a relatively new approach. He had recently surmised that, though her mind was an impregnable fortress, it was bound inside a fragile shell. By reminding Xir’clai of her physical responsibilities in the battle, he would effectively force her to wrench her mind from her meditations and concentrate on tasks with significantly less danger to every living being within a twenty foot radius. For this reason, he rolled into a Defense Curl, and, while Agnos was attempting to jumble the meanest thoughts in Xir’clai’s mind, Dragonfire synchronized himself with the element of rock. A largish pebble was soon rolling down the straight line from Dragonfire and Xir’clai, plowing through the earth and freeing larger boulders in its path. Before long, Dragonfire struck the Kirlia in a halfhearted tackle: it was a paltry attack, but using Rollout did take a lot of patience. On his fifth try, Dragonfire would have fruit.

He tensed his muscles and signaled for the cells on his bonelike shell to harden even farther, half to brace himself for Xir’clai’s retaliation, and half in preparation for the next swing of Rollout, so that his toughness would give him both the necessary weight and force to attack well. This time, he embodied a newly accessible full-out boulder, and came down with more force. Strangely, Xir’clai did not even move through all of it; not even an eye flinched. Dragonfire used Harden and then Rollout for the third time, but even then, there was no sign. Twice more, Dragonfire repeated his procedure, but even as he felt her reach the last of her stamina, a painful gash covering the length of her arm, there was only silence. Had Agnos outdone himself and occupied Xir’clai in a mental battle so fierce, the Kirlia was oblivious to her physical troubles? He did seem particularly tenacious that day.

Suddenly, in one graceful move, Xir’clai rose up to her full height and corkscrewed to the air, and, as she landed, the Kirlia was engulfed in a pyre of wraithlike, demonic black flame, spreading throughout the clearing and swallowing Dragonfire whole. Abominable whispers spoke horrible words of retribution and vengeance, filling Dragonfire’s mind with ghastly images which jarred him whole, yet disappeared in a trice. Phantom thoughts zoomed in and out of his mind as a searing pain shot up his left foreleg; the very wraiths of the forest gathered and coalesced to form a giant, heaving mass –

It was over. Xir’clai and Dragonfire stood on opposite ends, winded, as the remnants of the fire disappeared before Agnos’ awestruck eyes. Dragonfire noticed in his reverie that Xir’clai’s arm had almost completely healed, while an identical slash ran down Dragonfire’s leg where he had felt the pain. Various other bruises and cuts could be felt all over his body. However, Xir’clai was not done yet. As if to add insult to injury, an unobtrusive mental tendril stole its way into Dragonfire’s intelligence; before he could ward it off, it quickly noted his physical enhancements and left. Soon, Xir’clai’s skin had visibly hardened.

Dragonfire knew this well to be a Psyche Up: with a tiny thought, Xir’clai had copied Dragonfire’s hard-earned defensive augmentations and used them for her body. It would be much harder to physically damage her now. Then, to add to her defenses, while the Bagon and Shelgon were both yet to piece together their wits, a semitransparent membrane began to form spherically around her. Over it came another layer made of solid crystal jewels. The Barrier and Light Screen appeared in the nick of time; just as the last sparkling gem formed out of thin air, Dragonfire delivered his Dragon Claw, barely scratching the outer wall; and Agnos brought what looked to be the entire contents of a nearby lake, complete with algae and underwater residents, crashing down in a great wave upon the clearing and devastating whatever could have remained standing.

The wave passed through the Barrier like a ghostly brew, but it did little more to the coloured bubble inside than push it safely out of the torrent’s way.

Xir’clai emerged from the chaos unscathed.

Dragonfire then turned his attention to Agnos; allowing the blood of his ancestors to flow through his formidable (yet usually hidden) claw, he sprung up, ready to slash the Bagon. But Agnos nimbly leapt out of the way, and then, finding relatively safe ground, seemed to brace himself. From him emanated an arc of crackling electric current which made dull contact with Xir’clai’s body, conveying an electric spark into it. The Thunder Wave seemed to work well: the Kirlia’s once-nimble movements became clumsier by the second, until every movement seemed to cost her, and every step was a totter. But then, just as Agnos made ready for an Ember and Dragonfire, in turn, prepared to jolt Agnos with a fiery Dragonbreath, a very odd thing happened.

A blinding white light struck through the both of them, silhouetting their form, and began to change their very shape. Before Dragonfire’s unbelieving eyes, their dazzling outlines shifted, moving through the spectrum, and began to equalize, the Kirlia positively Bagonlike, the Bagon growing taller and more slender. For an eternity of a moment, the shapes seemed to become exact duplicates, their very rhythms following; then, they differentiated and reverted back to their original selves, the light fading away. This time, both Xir’clai and Agnos possessed that peculiar spark.

Of course! How could both of them have forgotten? Xir’clai’s race had acquired the Synchronize ability long ago. To Agnos’ misfortune, if Kirlia were affected with any suffering, the offender would gain the same disease. Agnos was now every bit as paralyzed as Xir’clai was.

It seemed that Agnos was still not ready to give up. Stumbling, he ambled over to where the Kirlia was, took one hard stare at her, and dropped down at her feet, unconscious.

“Err… Agnos?” Xir’clai said, slightly concerned. “Are you okay? You kno – “

Suddenly, the Bagon rose up with unexpected ferocity, sent crackling voltage running through his paws, and slashed Xir’clai with all his might, knocking her into a tree two yards away. Dragonfire had to laugh to himself. Good Agnos! He had known all along how events would unfold. Agnos had simply forced Xir’clai to paralyze him, and used the combined elements of surprise and of the electricity blocking his movement to his advantage in a Façade attack.

Xir’clai rose up groggily from under the ravaged oak tree and, before anyone could stop her, she wove another Barrier and Light Screen. Her feet left the ground, and she came to rest in a perfectly still slumber at the very centre of her walls. The Kirlia was using Rest; recuperating before she rejoined the fray, and there was simply nothing either of her opponents could do. Agnos and Dragonfire finally met.

They came in a frenzy, sending a flurry of lightning-fast Dragon Claws which rained down like a storm of knives upon either enemy. It was their greatest Claw match to date, a tempest of godly daggers caught in a cyclone of fiery passion, deadly, wrathful, glorious. Little outmatched their sandstorms of fiery Dragonbreath; few could have danced with more rage and elegance as they did. The match continued for what seemed like ages, until – at last! – Agnos’ foot met an unmovable rock, and he stumbled, off his guard for the blink of an eye.

Dragonfire took the chance.

In an instant, he had Agnos pinned down. Raising a foreleg for the final blow, he tapped into his reserves of Dragon energy…

A blur of viridian and white filled his vision, and Dragonfire felt himself being knocked off his enemy. Xir’clai, fresh from Rest, bounded and glided in her graceful dance as she rose ever and anon farther from the ground, until it was clear that her weightless leaps would escalate to full-out flight, and the final steps of her deadly dance would be as the wind, in all its speed and grace. The two onlookers simply watched, mesmerized, unheeding of their battle, as the trees around them shifted as if seen through a heat haze, and changed.

Three sights greeted them at once. A hall of wood-spirits, gods and goddesses, lords and ladies, nymphs, embodiments of fertility itself seemed to blend into the air as they danced to the very rhythm of the woods. A fantastic landscape of floating lakes, icy warrens, rock sculptures of every abstract figure possible, a thousand phenomenon so conceptual, they defied definition: a universe wholly different from their own blazed out at them, daring them to disprove or explain it in any mortal manner, knowing it was impossible. A single Kirlia leapt to the skies, and began dropping down into a small clearing between two onlookers – were those creatures in the clearing truly them? – twisting into a dozen graceful poses as she fell like a stricken flower, still containing fragrance and beauty, but soon to be blown away by the merciless forces of nature. Immortals weaved a fair path through the great hall; a great breath of wind formed itself into a face of cunning and wickedness; the Kirlia came level with the trees and slowed her madcap fall, stretching into the last, glorious pose –

The two illusions shattered like stricken mirrors as an excruciating blast of pure Psychic energy burst forth in cold fury, shaking the very fabric of space and sending ripples through the very air. It was cut short, however – in a blinding moment, the great stasis Xir’clai had achieved with time itself was broken, and she fell to the ground, winded, a heaving mass.

Xir’clai had failed to perform the very last step of her great dance, something she had been practicing since her evolution. The Kirlia was yet to perform the whole dance in its entirety without fail or falter. This time, though, she had come very close.


As they huddled together to share their respective Recover fields, the two dragons made sure to congratulate her for that.

“Oh, yeah, I’m good,” she joked, “and you two were terrible. Come on, admit it!”

“That we’ll never do, Xir’clai,” Agnos replied, grinning.

“What was that, by the way, Xir’clai?” Dragonfire asked, referring to the devilish flame which had almost swalloed the two of them whole.

“The fire?” Xir’clai clarified. “That was a delightful little move called Pain Split. It forced us to share our pain and brought both of us to a level of equal injury. You like it?”

Just then, Carmeliton from the official group came running over. The Shelgon seemed very agitated.

“Come over here, you three,” he managed to let out, “I’ve got something very important to tell you!”

Barely missing a nervous paw, Agnos, Dragonfire and Xir’clai walked over to where Carmeliton was.

“You’ve got to do something!” he exclaimed. “Carmeliton has been kidnapped, and nobody’s making any move! I asked my mother about this, and she said that they’d do something in due time, but it’s been a week now and even my mom is getting nervous.”

Xir’clai was the first to digest this appalling piece of information. “What can we do?”

“Tell your mom to get them to do something, Dragonfire! I know Mrs. Atmo is pretty important. They can’t ignore her.”

“We’ll go right now,” Agnos said, and it was agreed.

When they arrived at Dragonfire’s house, his mother was sitting thoughtfully in the living room, seeming strangely distant. When she heard that something was wrong, however, she immediately returned to earth.

“Mrs. Atmo, Croyaliton’s been kidnapped, you see,” Agnos said, feigning calm.

At this she relaxed visibly.

“Oh… Um – yes, I know all of this,” she said. It was evident that Dragonfire’s mother was unsure of what to say and how to say it.

“Then why aren’t they doing anything, mom? We can’t just sit here!” Dragonfire shouted, more offensively than he had meant to be.

At this, Pyrocomende gave a mortified look. “Err… well, you see – “

Suddenly, a look of conviction came across her face, and her tone became once again steady.

“No, I can’t hide the truth any longer. You deserve it, all of you. It’s not even my secret.

“No one is daring to rescue Croyaliton because they’re scared, Dragonfire, they’re scared of going out there, and facing the danger of the unknown. You have to understand, no one had ever passed the great gate of Serafoculaton for at least a century before I did. And even I was met with a lot of warning words when I told about my decision to the authorities. They’ve been cooped up here so long that they honestly don’t know how to survive outside Serafoculaton. And neither do you.”

Suddenly, she stood up. “All of you, promise me that you won’t go looking out for him. We have enough lost lives already.”

Her voice broke again this time, but it remained a tone of adamant. And so, Shelgon, Bagon and Kirlia placed a hand on hers and took the oath.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The night was a restless one for Dragonfire. He knew that if he didn’t do something, Croyaliton could be lost forever, but he had promised not to go… It was like before, when he’d alternated his two sides before eavesdropping, except this time, it was much worse. Finally, sensing no other solution, he stood up to his full height and stole his way quickly through the secret back door, and headed for the Hydracomende Gardens.

On his way there, Dragonfire sent a weak Psychic signal to Xir’clai’s mind. He had learnt how to do this long ago; it was a secret form of communication which called Xir’clai into attention, who could then forward his thoughts to someone else or begin a conversation with him.

Soon, a foreign presence entered his mind; he let Xir’clai in.

What did you wake me up for? an irritated voice thought in his head. It’d better be important…

Dragonfire allowed the aggravated Kirlia to read the thought he had next. Yes, Xir’clai, it’s very important. I need you to meet me in the Hydracomende Gardens, in the secretive clearing we use sometimes. And bring Agnos, too.

Why – Xir’clai began to wonder, but Dragonfire was already shutting his mind to her. Fine, Drakeball, she contributed, and left.

Within a few minutes, all three of them were assembled in a small, unobtrusive clearing behind a great dike of a hill. No one could have overheard or seen them there.

“I have something that I ought to tell you,” Dragonfire began. (He ignored Xir’clai’s sardonic mutters of “Really? I could’ve never guessed!”) “I’m leaving to rescue Croyaliton, and I need you two to do a favour for me.”

As soon as Dragonfire finished the first clause of his sentence, well-expected objections met his ears.

“What?”

“You can’t do that!”

“What about your promise?”

“Are you out of your mind?’

“Yep, he’s finally cracked…”

Dragonfire silenced these with a raised paw.

“It’s not just to rescue Croyaliton; I feel it in my blood. I have to adventure, you see…” From then on, he waxed eloquent about the unidentifiable feelings within him, letting out his heart to his two best friends. He didn’t care if the entire forest could have heard him, or that Xir’clai was intruding in his mind and discerning his true thoughts; he simply needed to relate them. He added Cartavah’s last words at the end of it all (“When shadows call,”), and then he was done.

Xir’clai took one deep breath, and sighed.

“Well, it looks like nothing’s going to make you back down now. We’ll just have to…“

“Be good friends and cover up for me?” Dragonfire supplied hopefully.

“Try again,” Xir’clai refuted.

“Do nothing, just stay here?”

“Nope,” she said.

“Dragonfire, we’re coming with you!” Agnos burst out.

“But – “ This wasn’t going according to plan; he was supposed to go alone! But then, seeing his friends’ eager faces, he couldn’t just turn them down. He weighed and reweighed both sides, calculating their wisdom; and he couldn’t believe his results. Finally…

“All right, we’ll go together. But be quiet, both of you! I need to get something from my house first, and then we’ll go.”

Picking up the emerald rose which Cartavah had given him before his departure, Dragonfire, Agnos and Xir’clai bade their last farewell, and slipped off into the night.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


FunFact™ 1: Did you know, kids? I'm Barney the Purple Dinosaur! Just kidding...

Jokes aside, this is my longest individual work yet. It sets the record at a nice 9 ½ pages and whopping 3,756 words, with a weight of 57 KB in Word 2003. Don't mean to brag, of course.

FunFact™ 2: This also sets the record as my most heavily revised chapter. That's not exactly saying a lot, since I hardly revise, anyways, but it is a funfact.

EDIT: I made a nice addition to the first chapter. It's right at the top. Check it out!

Sike Saner
22nd October 2006, 8:15 PM
You mean, you’re not Barney? Awwww… XP

Anyway, FRELL. O_O That battle was righteous, every action displayed gorgeously. There were also a few nifty surprises in it, as well, such as Agnos faking unconsciousness and Xir’clai’s Synchronize coming into play (I knew Kirlia could have it and I always wtach out for it in-game, but for some reason, I never expect to see it in fanfiction, so that was cool).

I also really like the way that the freindship between Dragonfire, Xir’clai, and Agnos has developed. And I love Xir’clai’s little name for Dragonfire. “Drakeball”…XPPPP

Highlights:


Suddenly, in one graceful move, Xir’clai rose up to her full height and corkscrewed to the air, and, as she landed, the Kirlia was engulfed in a pyre of wraithlike, demonic black flame, spreading throughout the clearing and swallowing Dragonfire whole. Abominable whispers spoke horrible words of retribution and vengeance, filling Dragonfire’s mind with ghastly images which jarred him whole, yet disappeared in a trice. Phantom thoughts zoomed in and out of his mind as a searing pain shot up his left foreleg; the very wraiths of the forest gathered and coalesced to form a giant, heaving mass –

Best depiction of Pain Split EVER.


It seemed that Agnos was still not ready to give up. Stumbling, he ambled over to where the Kirlia was, took one hard stare at her, and dropped down at her feet, unconscious.

“Err… Agnos?” Xir’clai said, slightly concerned. “Are you okay? You kno – “

Suddenly, the Bagon rose up with unexpected ferocity, sent crackling voltage running through his paws, and slashed Xir’clai with all his might, knocking her into a tree two yards away. Dragonfire had to laugh to himself. Good Agnos! He had known all along how events would unfold. Agnos had simply forced Xir’clai to paralyze him, and used the combined elements of surprise and of the electricity blocking his movement to his advantage in a Façade attack.

Ha ha ha, good one, Agnos! ^^


A hall of wood-spirits, gods and goddesses, lords and ladies, nymphs, embodiments of fertility itself seemed to blend into the air as they danced to the very rhythm of the woods. A fantastic landscape of floating lakes, icy warrens, rock sculptures of every abstract figure possible, a thousand phenomenon so conceptual, they defied definition: a universe wholly different from their own blazed out at them, daring them to disprove or explain it in any mortal manner, knowing it was impossible.

Pretty…*_*


A single Kirlia leapt to the skies, and began dropping down into a small clearing between two onlookers – were those creatures in the clearing truly them? – twisting into a dozen graceful poses as she fell like a stricken flower, still containing fragrance and beauty, but soon to be blown away by the merciless forces of nature.

“Like a stricken flower”…I just adore that.


With Croyaliton needing rescue, it looks like the start of something rather interesting about to happen. I look forward to seeing where this is leading. ^^

shadowlight
23rd October 2006, 2:46 AM
Good Chapter
I was wondering is it Drakeball or Drakefire that Xir'clai calls him or both
Either way I like the names
They're going on an adventure
Are they going to come back after they find Croyaliton or are they going to keep going somewhere else
I can't wait for the next Chapter

Praxiteles
23rd October 2006, 6:25 AM
Sike Saner:


Anyway, FRELL. O_O That battle was righteous, every action displayed gorgeously. There were also a few nifty surprises in it, as well, such as Agnos faking unconsciousness and Xir’clai’s Synchronize coming into play (I knew Kirlia could have it and I always wtach out for it in-game, but for some reason, I never expect to see it in fanfiction, so that was cool)

Whee; my frst decent attempt at a Pokèmon battle worked? Whee-he-he-he-- *get slapped by purple Tyranitar* *stops*


I also really like the way that the freindship between Dragonfire, Xir’clai, and Agnos has developed. And I love Xir’clai’s little name for Dragonfire. “Drakeball”…XPPPP

Hmm, the friendship was something I'd been planning for a long time. "Drakeball." I had no idea what exactly got me to write that, but I guess it worked! To those who don't know, a Drake is a type of flightless dragon. I knew Xir'clai would absolutely love bringing that into attention every time she said his name :P


Pretty…*_*

Did you notice the reference in there? I'd hidden that rather well, but it's not hard to find.


“Like a stricken flower”…I just adore that.

It's not completely mine, to be honest... The idea came from a description of Èowyn in the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I believe it was either Aragorn or Gandalf who said it.


With Croyaliton needing rescue, it looks like the start of something rather interesting about to happen. I look forward to seeing where this is leading. ^^

You have no idea...

This is actually the beginning of some real plotty goodness; you'll learn the whole objective of the story preetty soon.

shadowlight:


I was wondering is it Drakeball or Drakefire that Xir'clai calls him or both

Well, the official nickname is Drakefire. But Xir'clai does like to get creative sometimes. Drakeball (XD) is one of those examples.


They're going on an adventure
Are they going to come back after they find Croyaliton or are they going to keep going somewhere else

Ah, there, you hit upon a very important plot point. I won't let anything else out...

Thanks for the reviews!

Phentasis reltasis muno est...
Pyroken Serafoculus

The Pokemon Master
29th October 2006, 3:14 AM
And I finally get here to review! Sorry I didn't get to this earlier...

Anyway, to start you off, no mistakes in Chapter 8, but in Chapter 9...


“What was that, by the way, Xir’clai?” Dragonfire asked, referring to the devilish flame which had almost swalloed the two of them whole.Umm... I'm fairly sure that it's spelled "swallowed", even in Britain, but you're the authority on that.


“You’ve got to do something!” he exclaimed. “Carmeliton has been kidnapped, and nobody’s making any move! I asked my mother about this, and she said that they’d do something in due time, but it’s been a week now and even my mom is getting nervous.”And I know that you meant "Croyaliton" here.

Sorry about that, I know you said it was the Chapter you'd reviewed most, but that's the negative part of the review...

Anyway, I really enjoyed the last couple of Chapters. They were extremely well-written, as always, and I enjoyed watching Dragonfire recover. I also think... scratch that, I'm certain I've got Cartavah figured out...
But I'll wait for Pyroken Serafoculus's nod to put it here, in case it isn't meant to be revealed yet.

Xir'clai's evolution was a nice surprise, and that little group seems as well-knit as they can get. An amazing job on the battle, by the way. Absolutely fantastic. And this kidnapping is bringing the plot into an entirely new stage of development (though Dragonfire will have to return, if only to evolve into a Salamence). Wonder what awaits them beyond the sanctuary...

Great job, keep it up, and I eagerly anticipate the next Chapter!

P.S. FunFact™: The Chapter Part I've been working on for so long is currently over twenty pages long on Word (9,606 words, and my current record-setter for length). The file size I can't tell you, because I keep the entire thing in one file. Don't mean to brag, of course. ;) Or put you down, either. I just couldn't resist when I saw yours.


Until we meet again...
;150;

Praxiteles
29th October 2006, 8:30 AM
The Pokemon Master:

I'm so sorry for not reviewing your fic in return. I'll get to it as soon as possible.

Anyways,


Umm... I'm fairly sure that it's spelled "swallowed", even in Britain, but you're the authority on that.


And I know that you meant "Croyaliton" here.

You got me on both points there :D I'll edit them.


Anyway, I really enjoyed the last couple of Chapters. They were extremely well-written, as always, and I enjoyed watching Dragonfire recover. I also think... scratch that, I'm certain I've got Cartavah figured out...

Can you PM your theory to me? I'll check it and see if it's fit for the public.


Xir'clai's evolution was a nice surprise, and that little group seems as well-knit as they can get. An amazing job on the battle, by the way. Absolutely fantastic. And this kidnapping is bringing the plot into an entirely new stage of development (though Dragonfire will have to return, if only to evolve into a Salamence). Wonder what awaits them beyond the sanctuary...

Oh, you'll be in for a surprise at some points...


P.S. FunFact™: The Chapter Part I've been working on for so long is currently over twenty pages long on Word (9,606 words, and my current record-setter for length). The file size I can't tell you, because I keep the entire thing in one file. Don't mean to brag, of course. Or put you down, either. I just couldn't resist when I saw yours.

WHOA!!!11!!1oneoneone1 That really is an accomplishment. As I said before, I'll get to reviewing your fic...

Refero infinitus...
Pyroken Serafoculus

The Pokemon Master
29th October 2006, 10:37 AM
PM'd as requested! And take your time in reviewing my fic... it's a bit long. Only on Chapter 9, but it's long. And I don't know how many times I keep saying this, but please forgive me for the Prologue. I know it's terrible, and I keep wanting to fix it, but I never seem to have the time. Apart from that, it is an Anime-based (just a heads-up in case you dislike the Anime) trainer fic... but I'll let you read the story instead of telling you all about it.

*inhales*

Ok! Back on topic, and something I forgot to mention earlier, I wonder what Agnos and Xir'clai's respective parents will have to say about them haring off on an adventure? Not to mention Pyre?


Until we meet again...
;150;

Praxiteles
20th June 2007, 9:37 AM
It's been a long time since you updated The Legacy Continues, hasn't it?

The issue of their escape will certainly affect Serafoculaton, but I won't deal with it for a time. Rest assured, however, I will eventuallu have to get down to it.

Yes, the Upholder of Duty treks on! Chapter 10!






The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 10: A Stiff Glass of Reality


Unanimous agreement had made it clear that it was very unsafe to stay near the entrance of the mountain-cave of Serafoculaton for long, for fear of discovery, and so Xir’clai had immediately begun planning their swift departure. However, as Agnos had explained so succinctly by breaking into an energetic sprint before abruptly dropping to sleep, they had seen enough that day; it was best to leave business to tomorrow. Thus, the three adolescents had found a secure knoll to hide behind, and done what had been so wrongfully denied to them through the entire day.

The next morning came off to a satisfying start, seeing as it was very comfortable to lie in the grass with the morning sunshine playing over Dragonfire’s face – he even noticed vaguely that it was slightly dangerous to have such a staggering amount of vigilance and invulnerability, but cared little. It was nice to just lie there, without a care, starting his own adventure. Sometime when the sun began to come about a quarter of the way up, however, a rude voice interrupted his ‘adventuring,’ shouting at him for being such a Slowpoke.

“Dragonfire,” the voice of a falsely happy Kirlia whispered in his ear, “you can sit there if you want, but it’s actually starting to be noon and WE SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET GOING!”

Of course, after the first strains of that melody, sleep wore off unusually fast. Dragonfire opened his eyes to see Agnos in a similar state, wondering how such quantities of light could exist in the universe. Xir’clai, however, was behaving very queerly: while her cynical brooding had held on to immortality, her dancing among the sunny flowers seemed to tell a different story. Psychics, Dragonfire mused; never try to understand them. Though the tendency of Kirlia to rejoice on sunny days was hardly an obscure theme among any culture, it was surprising to see that instinct could override such a determined bad temper.

Her stride was not the only thing that was affected, as the Shelgon soon realized.

“This sounds idiotic, I know,” the Kirlia seemed to sing; “and it goes completely against my whole nature, but I can’t help feeling such a strange feeling…”

Dragonfire suddenly had the urge to remark scathingly. “I believe you’re experiencing a rare nervous disorder called happiness,” he muttered.

“Oh, shut up,” she snapped good-naturedly, and, though Dragonfire could see no signs of insanity, the faint outline of a fully-formed Drowzee seemed to appear out of thin air, lift a leg, and kick him squarely in the rear, sending him rolling down the small hill that they were on.

Xir’clai went on as if nothing had happened, but Agnos stood there, his mouth glued to the grass.

“What?” the Kirlia asked, turning to face him.

“Did a Drowzee just kick me in the backside?” Dragonfire called from the distance, slightly stunned.

“I saw a Kadabra, you know,” Agnos cried back.

“Oh, that was me,” Xir’clai answered, completely unperturbed. “You see, when a Kirlia attacks Psychically, he or she often makes little rips in the material of the universe, insignificant – repairable – but bizarre enough while they exist.”

That did not seem to comfort Agnos.

”They give rise,” she continued, “to certain visions of other places in the universe, heavily edited by the mind to make them more acceptable.”

“Whatever you say,” replied the two, trying to erase the incident from their minds.

Despite their early start, the companions were heartened by the good weather and the prospects of adventure, and they made quite a distance. Large quantities of map work was essential to Serafoculatonian training, so they knew exactly where they were going. It was only when they exited the field just before their former home and entered the main road that they had their first major check.

The mountain-cave looked horizontally on the road running from the north to the south of ?o??, and so did they, coming straight from the main entrance. Thus, they were at a fork in the road; to the north (and eventually to the east), the road led to the great Purtas Forest, which, from the legends, seemed to rival even Virdia in beauty. South and then east was the path for a series of fairly large cities, made for those strange folk who preferred buildings to caves or forests. Directly in front of them was a mass of highlands and woods, no places for civilized creatures to hike through. Granted, a pass had been attempted connecting this and the Great Road of H-, but the ambitious Dugtrio had long given up, and the only good that came out of it was a nice alcove for a small settlement that found the unfinished cul-de-sac at its end appealing.

Recalling History lessons was always so very fun…

“Okay,” said Xir’clai, turning to face them both and picking up a stick to use as a pointer, “we all know the geography. To the north is forest, and to the south, as far as the eye can see – “

“We can only see maybe a mile or so, you know,” Agnos interrupted. “And the closest city is at least four miles away.”

“The mind’s eye, idiot ball,” Xir’clai snapped. “Not the actual eye!

“Anyway, we have no idea where the kidnappers could have gone, so we’ll just have to get an idea.

“Dragonfire,” she shot: “what’s the major reason for most kidnappings?”

“Uh… I don’t know,” the affronted Shelgon mumbled. “To sell, as slaves?” He put his hand to his mouth, horrified that he had said such a word.

“Exactly. And Agnos, which way would our typical kidnapper go, if they wanted to sell our typical kidnap victim? Even you can get this.”

From the looks of it, Agnos wasn’t quite as sure of himself as Xir’clai estimated. Eventually, however, he ventured a guess. “South?” It looked very much as if he had picked at random.

“Well, obviously!” was the reward for his luck. “Have you ever compared the population density of a single city to a forest? Literally thousands of Pokémon live in our very own Serafoculaton, while the entire population of the Insect Forest, before it burned down, was less than eight hundred, despite all its Bug-types. In a city less cultured than Serafoculaton, they would have a gigantic black market to work with.

“For that matter,” the Kirlia muttered, falling into a ramble, “we will have to see that forest soon. It comes right in our way, after we get past Litaham City. Won’t that be fun?”

Her two companions slowly steered the conversation back to its proper direction.

“So, bottom line, we head south, and check every seedy alley we can find in every city we come across?” It suddenly occurred to Dragonfire that this could be a very long trip.

“Basically,” Xir’clai replied coolly, daring him to challenge her decision.

“Sounds good to me,” he said, and they were off again.


Despite all the stories Dragonfire had learned about journeys, hiking to distant towns was not quite as exciting as he had thought it to be. There were no hostile highlands, no dark ravines through which they would heroically fight their way; plain grassland stretched on for miles, framed on one side by low-lying beaches looking out to the sea, and deep woods and higher slopes and cliffs on the other. Dragonfire started to wish they had to plow through the forests to their left, if only to add a bit more challenge. While the scenery was nice enough, it became very boring after a while.

Few Pokémon traveled in the northern parts of the road, and thus most encounters with any form of life was when woodland creatures came to the edges of their lands to watch the curious sight. Some civilized beings did have business with these lands, however, and most were friendly enough to enliven the adventurers with talk, for the brief period that they met. Xir’clai was the only one who had spent any amount of time outside Serafoculaton, and even she was little acquainted with the folk around the West Road of H-. Thus, whenever a party of travelers met the three Serafoculatonians, the two groups fell into a state of mutual fascination for each other.

Night fell, and, from the estimates of the last Pokémon they had met, the companions had managed a fourth of the way to their first destination, Litaham City. The problem of food had been bearing dwown on Dragonfire’s mind for a while now, but he soon saw that he had nothing to worry about; while they had nothing to cook food with, not even skil.l, improvisation served them well. Possessing the woodland skill of her kind, Xir’clai was quick to find edible plants and berries from the woods, and Agnos easily gathered a pile of wood and set it to fire with a deft Ember. Using a pot that the remarkably resourceful Bagon carved out of a thick fallen branch, and the cobbled-together memories of their respective parents’ cooking, the three of them managed something of passable resemblance to berry stew – at least, if berry stew was no more than a collection of over-ripe berries, boiled in Aspear juice and spring water. Even if they had actually known how to prepare them, spices would take too much time to make, so they had settled with Cheri berries, ground to a paste.

The amazing nutrition and virtues of wild berries, however, was unaffected by the onslaught of bad cooking and assorted enemies of food, and half a dozen plump Sitrus berries in succession banished all the weariness of a full day’s march. Indeed, the food was rather more than even Agnos considered enough, and all three of them were ready for a last Sparring match before they retired for the night.

Choosing a small clearing in the woods (it suddenly struck Dragonfire that these ordinary forests could hardly compare with the brilliance of the Hydracomende Gardens), they decided on a casual match, lasting very briefly and using lesser, weaker moves. Boring as the match might have been, it was undeniable that they needed to conserve their energy for their next march. It was vaguely noticeable that this part of the woods was unnaturally quiet, so that every footfall seemed like an earthquake.

The entire procession was rather uneventful. Agnos, as always, focused alone on brute strength, while stealth seemed to serve Xir’clai the best, and Dragonfire chose an unremarkable median. The resulting noise was monumental in the usual brooding silence of the forest, and the fire and commotion could have been seen from miles around, laid-back as the match was.

As the last Downs were exchanged between Xir’clai and Agnos, making Xir’clai the winner, a strange sound seemed to rebound through the clearing and the forest around it, low-pitched and unearthly. It seemed untouched by wholesome influences, and unsettling in its bizarreness, like a creature so very alien to this world that it seems appalling. In a sudden crescendo, it abruptly rose in volume and pitch, until it faded out of hearing.

From out of the surrounding darkness, seven creatures emerged, which few Serafoculatonians had seen and Dragonfire had only once heard of – Lunatone. Their wide, blood-red eyes were dilated in alarm, and an aura of fear itself emanated from their eerie forms.

Who dares to disturb the Crescent of our existence? sounded through the woods, coming from everywhere and nowhere at once.

The travelers were rooted to the spot, jarred out of speech, as many voices rose out of the dark.

This land has not been defiled for five centuries…

Who will deny the Forest its quiet…?

Unlucky fools…

Disturbers of peace…

You have not spared us your anger…

We shall not spare you our wrath!

Like a pebble on a placid lake, the spell of silence was broken, as seven roars of confusion screeched in their minds simultaneously, stunning all but Xir’clai. She resisted the attack valiantly, finding the strength in her to yell, “Stop!”

Why should we desist? the woods replied, though the attack paused, as if almost bemused.

“We didn’t mean to disturb you!” Dragonfire cried. The haze of agony was lifting.

Intention may be higher than action in your pitiful culture, they seemed to sneer, but such weakness means nothing to our species…

We are of a higher kind than you mud-dwellers…

“That’s a step too far!” Agnos suddenly yelled, breaking through their resonating voices. “I’ll show you mud-dwellers!” And, as if a straightforward agreement to violence were not enough, he attempted to blast the Lunatone to flames, failing miserably, of course.

All possibilities of peace were gone now, and the three had no choice but to battle it out. They were expert fighters, weren’t they?

Agnos rushed at the nearest opponent, his claw raging with dragon fire, as Dragonfire began piling Hardens by instinct, and Xir’clai ordered her thoughts, in a practical edition of Calm Mind. A great swarm of shooting stars began to fall from the sky, as seven metallic meteorites pelted the ground about each Lunatone, surrounding it with an eerie aura, unrecognizable to all three of their opponents. Great piles of Confusion threads began forming beside Xir’clai, ready for her bidding, and she began shooting orders at the Bagon and Shelgon, her advanced mind working furiously.

Light Screens whizzed around the seven Lunatone, warding their every move; a sizable chunk of a nearby lake began rising in answer to Agnos’ calling. Dragonfire felt the familiar surge of energy as cyan flame animated his form, flowing from him to the air around him, filling it with his command and his power. Twister air could become very unmanageable, especially when he set it idle for any length of time; but he had to wait for the correct phase in Xir’clai’s plan before he could let it free.

All of a sudden, the Kirlia’s Confusion armada slipped past the cage of Light Screen, assailing the Lunatone, and the matrix of barriers drew close, forming a flawless dome around the Lunatone; Agnos’ great force of water welled around the barrier, and the fiery wind manifested in twin Twisters, taking command of the liquid and roaring to bypass the Light Screen and get at their foes. Xir’clai readied herself to break the dam and release the hurricane…

In a single moment, the Psychic threads feebly evaporated; the Lunatone wrenched command of the Light Screen from Xir’clai, and a screeching burst of Confusion incapacitated the three, as the wrath of the Twisters faltered and died out, scattering the lake water. In the shrill blast of mental agony, the companions were shown their own stupidity: the Light Screen had never been strong enough to bother them, and Xir’clai’s Confusion had never truly assailed the Lunatone – in the wilderness, their expert battling skills were nothing. Through the haze, Dragonfire could see Xir’clai still working – what was she up to? Any more battling was useless – before Agnos and the Kirlia huddled around his withdrawn form, and a golden light engulfed him…









Oh, nearly forgot: For those curious about such things, I shall post, every once in a while, something of the cultures, languages and geography of this verdant region of Dragonfire's, and this is the first, hopefully, of many to come.



A brief note on the languages of Serafoculaton:

The main, informal language of the mountain-cave is the Common speech, first developed by the Unown in an attempt to unify the many races of the world. It is a very simple, useful tongue, and it is rarely avoided in all but the most important or sacred cases. Like all cultures, the Salamence have created their own unique dialect, which I have represented using the general American way of speech. Even so, being a very adventurous species, the Salamence accent has mingled well with other Pokémon, and thus rarely does Dragonfire see a parlance of the Common speech overly different from his own.

The median language is the Alakazam tongue, used often in formal occasions, though it has now passed out of usage, most likely from the lack of said formal occasions. During the time of the Upholder of Duty, it was heard most often during natural occurrences which were enhanced by the Alakazam in their prime: behind such events as important births or deaths, or astronomical alignments, or the anniversaries of great events, a continuous chanting or singing can be heard by those even slightly Psychically inclined in the speech of the Alakazam.

Highest of the Salamencian tongues is the Lingua Basia. It is a very strange tongue, whose full extents have never been classified by any mortal. It seems to be genetically fused in to all Salamence, and springs forth in the form of a sentence or small rhyme in their highest or most desperate times. The words are apparently the verbal embodiments of the very concept of their subject, and thus hold great power in this world, as a sentence made in this language invariably comes true. (The one instance in which these words are used lightly is while naming Bagon in this tongue.) The humans modeled many of their ancient languages out of this; which explains its similarity to ancient Greek and Latin.

Sike Saner
22nd June 2007, 9:12 AM
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how much I like Xir’clai as a character, but her actions in that chapter warrant mentioning that again. I’m referring particularly to her little Psychic attack on Dragonfire’s Shelgon rump. XD The manifestation of the “ little rips in the universe” that came with it… that was funny, especially what Dragonfire saw; there is just something very amusing about the image of someone getting a swift kick in the backside from a Drowzee. XD

The Lunatone were awesome. o.o I love the image of several of them all together in one place, hovering there and being wonderfully eerie… ^^ (You know, for that matter, I think there’s just something I find very potent in general about the mental image of a floating creature with large, eerie eyes. o.o Lunatone, Claydol, Glalie… things like that just seem to have this really cool, slightly unsettling presence. I love them. ^^)

And the battle that followed their appearance was great, too. I thought that the attacks were visualized quite well, and really liked the language used to describe them. The technique used by the Lunatone at the start of the battle was one whose depiction I particularly liked (Cosmic Power, was it?); Dragonfire’s dual Twisters were another.


The next morning came off to a satisfying start, seeing as it was very comfortable to lie in the grass with the morning sunshine playing over Dragonfire’s face – he even noticed vaguely that it was slightly dangerous to have such a staggering amount of vigilance and invulnerability, but cared little. It was nice to just lie there, without a care, starting his own adventure. Sometime when the sun began to come about a quarter of the way up, however, a rude voice interrupted his ‘adventuring,’ shouting at him for being such a Slowpoke.

“Dragonfire,” the voice of a falsely happy Kirlia whispered in his ear, “you can sit there if you want, but it’s actually starting to be noon and WE SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET GOING!”

I like her particular brand of motivation. XD


“This sounds idiotic, I know,” the Kirlia seemed to sing; “and it goes completely against my whole nature, but I can’t help feeling such a strange feeling…”

Dragonfire suddenly had the urge to remark scathingly. “I believe you’re experiencing a rare nervous disorder called happiness,” he muttered.

Dragonfire’s line there is classic. XD I love it.


“Oh, shut up,” she snapped good-naturedly, and, though Dragonfire could see no signs of insanity, the faint outline of a fully-formed Drowzee seemed to appear out of thin air, lift a leg, and kick him squarely in the rear, sending him rolling down the small hill that they were on.

Again, that image is severely funny. XD


Agnos rushed at the nearest opponent, his claw raging with dragon fire, as Dragonfire began piling Hardens by instinct, and Xir’clai ordered her thoughts, in a practical edition of Calm Mind. A great swarm of shooting stars began to fall from the sky, as seven metallic meteorites pelted the ground about each Lunatone, surrounding it with an eerie aura, unrecognizable to all three of their opponents. Great piles of Confusion threads began forming beside Xir’clai, ready for her bidding, and she began shooting orders at the Bagon and Shelgon, her advanced mind working furiously.

Light Screens whizzed around the seven Lunatone, warding their every move; a sizable chunk of a nearby lake began rising in answer to Agnos’ calling. Dragonfire felt the familiar surge of energy as cyan flame animated his form, flowing from him to the air around him, filling it with his command and his power. Twister air could become very unmanageable, especially when he set it idle for any length of time; but he had to wait for the correct phase in Xir’clai’s plan before he could let it free.

All of a sudden, the Kirlia’s Confusion armada slipped past the cage of Light Screen, assailing the Lunatone, and the matrix of barriers drew close, forming a flawless dome around the Lunatone; Agnos’ great force of water welled around the barrier, and the fiery wind manifested in twin Twisters, taking command of the liquid and roaring to bypass the Light Screen and get at their foes. Xir’clai readied herself to break the dam and release the hurricane…

In a single moment, the Psychic threads feebly evaporated; the Lunatone wrenched command of the Light Screen from Xir’clai, and a screeching burst of Confusion incapacitated the three, as the wrath of the Twisters faltered and died out, scattering the lake water. In the shrill blast of mental agony, the companions were shown their own stupidity: the Light Screen had never been strong enough to bother them, and Xir’clai’s Confusion had never truly assailed the Lunatone – in the wilderness, their expert battling skills were nothing. Through the haze, Dragonfire could see Xir’clai still working – what was she up to? Any more battling was useless – before Agnos and the Kirlia huddled around his withdrawn form, and a golden light engulfed him…

Yes, I quoted the entire battle. The whole thing was terrific to read; I found it all very easy to visualize, and said visuals were awesome. ^^

I also very much appreciated the information given about the languages after the chapter. ^^ It still amazes me how developed and creative the setting of this story is, constantly revealing fascinating new details.

Praxiteles
23rd June 2007, 9:44 AM
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how much I like Xir’clai as a character, but her actions in that chapter warrant mentioning that again. I’m referring particularly to her little Psychic attack on Dragonfire’s Shelgon rump. XD The manifestation of the “ little rips in the universe” that came with it… that was funny, especially what Dragonfire saw; there is just something very amusing about the image of someone getting a swift kick in the backside from a Drowzee. XD

Indeed, these matters were developed very early in the story, almost immediately after their escape from Serafoculaton revealed itself to me. I had to nearly reorder my thoughts once I resumed this chapter after the hiatus, in case I missed some long-thought-out nuance of this event.


The Lunatone were awesome. o.o I love the image of several of them all together in one place, hovering there and being wonderfully eerie… ^^ (You know, for that matter, I think there’s just something I find very potent in general about the mental image of a floating creature with large, eerie eyes. o.o Lunatone, Claydol, Glalie… things like that just seem to have this really cool, slightly unsettling presence. I love them. ^^)

The details of that encounter, however were spur of the moment. It just struck me then how an imposing creature like Lunatone could both emphasize the companions' overconfidence in challenging it, and give an added sense of fear to the reader, which I realised I needed for that battle.


And the battle that followed their appearance was great, too. I thought that the attacks were visualized quite well, and really liked the language used to describe them. The technique used by the Lunatone at the start of the battle was one whose depiction I particularly liked (Cosmic Power, was it?); Dragonfire’s dual Twisters were another.

Ah, that whole plan asked for a large gob of wholesome inspiration and skill. I'm glad it worked out well. And yes, it was Cosmic Power, though the Lunatone hardly needed it.

Well, thanks for the review as always; I hope I can continue at a good pace without sacrificing progress on another fic.

Praxiteles
19th September 2007, 6:44 PM
I guess I couldn't continue at a good pace without sacrificing progresson another fic. :/ Anyway, onwards we go! Here is perhaps the most shakily written chapter yet, but I hope it gives sufficient satisfaction to uphold the levels I've created for these sort of things.






The Upholder of Duty

Chapter 10: A Stiff Glass of Reality


“So, what do we do now?”

Dragonfire looked up to see both of his companions watching him expectantly. How did he know what to do?

“What? Oh, well, er… I don’t know. Plow on to Litaham city, I guess? I mean…“ The Shelgon felt awkward. He knew nothing of leadership or journeying; why were they asking him?

“We don’t even know where we are,” lamented Agnos, for the thirty-sixth time.


The sudden, overwhelming challenge thrust upon Xir’clai in their last battle seemed to have set her mind into a heightened state, and awakened a hereditary technique lying dormant there: Teleport. (“After all,” the Kirlia had remarked bitterly, a while later, “all we can do is run.”) Beset by the force of septuple Confusions, instinct had taken rein over the Kirlia’s mind, and she had blasted the three far away from the Lunatone.

Unfortunately, she had not found the time to aim.


Somewhere in the middle of some unnamed, godforsaken forest, Agnos and Xir’clai fell silent, most likely trying another vain attempt to find their bearings telepathically together. Dragonfire stared broodingly into their campfire. He very dearly wanted to get something accomplished, or at least try, but it was impossible to set himself into motion. Compared to wild standards, their battling was pitiful, but would they truly progress at all even if they redoubled their Sparring? And was it worth the danger to try and engage some of the forest savages into battle? The Shelgon didn’t know what spur-of-the-moment thought had brought him out of the safety of Serafoculaton in the first place, but it was certainly not welcome in his mind.

His reverie was interrupted, once again, by Xir’clai. “What do you think, Drakeball?”

“What?” It wasn’t lack of attention which caused Dragonfire to ask this time; he certainly didn’t remember the Kirlia saying anything before this.

“What?” the Psychic echoed. “Oh, yes, Agnos and I were discussing in our heads exactly what you were whining in yours about. We will have to eventually train ourselves to the normal battling standards, you know.”

“Xir’clai,” Agnos explained, “was suggesting we head to the outskirts of the woods, where there are just Taillow and Zigzagoon and Pokèmon like them. A lot of them can gladly pick a fight, though, if anyone’s willing to battle them.”

“And no,” said the Kirlia, “we aren’t so pathetic that we can’t handle a few Wingull.”

“Get out of my head!” Dragonfire yelled, as any rational non-Psychic-type would do if a Psychic had picked up two of his private thoughts in quick succession with her Telepathy.

“Well, you’re just radiating irrational despair; I can’t really block you out, can I?”

Dragonfire shot an exasperated glance at Agnos. Few appreciated the suffering a Pokèmon endured, living with natural telepath. The Bagon failed to sympathetically return the glance, leaving a very irritated, slightly nonplussed Dragonfire back in his brooding silence. Agnos had gained a newfound attachment to Xir’clai after her split-second maneuver out of their match with the Lunatone.

Finally, Dragonfire relented in his determined lack of logic. “About the suggestion… I don’t think we should stay at one place for a long time. We need to get to Croyaliton as soon as possible, remember. How about we zip to the nearest peaceful forest community we find, get a bearing on where on earth we are, and continue? Except,” he added, his mind reluctantly falling into motion, “we could stay near the borders of the wilderness, so that the sort of Pokèmon you were talking about challenge us from time to time.”

There was a period of great, profound thought on the matter, and then a unanimous acceptance of the idea of screwing it all and just doing what Dragonfire had said, whatever it was.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


“Down,” Agnos said in a bored voice, as another battle-obsessed Taillow fell before his claws. The companions had found a workable supply of weak, warlike Pokèmon to challenge them in the thick of the forest, but civilization and actual intelligence still eluded them, and thus they decided to try and find their way out of the forest and contemplate the scenery from a more open place.

“You know, maybe we should look for more challenging battlers than these,” Dragonfire offered.

‘Shut up,” the disgruntled Taillow offered back as he limped back to his dwelling.

“No, but really…” the Shelgon persisted, once their temporary enemy had dragged himself out of hearing range.

“I think that’s getting very, very obvious by now,” Xir’clai agreed.

“But it’s fun to beat them up!” Agnos protested, then relented before one of Xir’clai’s looks (and, perhaps, the ominous Alakazam materializing threateningly from her either side). Dragonfire attempted to exchange another exasperated look in sympathy with the Bagon, but failed for the second time in that day.

“How much have we progressed this training session, really?” Xir’clai called out very loudly and pointedly, attempting to bring order to the assembly. “Maybe we should keep track of that. You know, record just how our skills improve over time.”

“Already doing that,” Agnos chimed, surprising the Kirlia, which seemed to be his intention. “You’re right, Dragonfire, we really aren’t progressing at all with these weaklings.”

“Oh, great Latias above, thank you dearly for granting your wisdom to this hopeless cause…” There was, perhaps, a note of genuine sincerity in Xir’clai’s jest, but it was lost in the bout of snickering which followed, and Agnos’ own somewhat dominating opinions on the matter. Dragonfire waited patiently for the Bagon to finish explaining his outlook somewhat physically, and could not resist laughing out loud when he failed to do so due to the overwhelming amount of Barriers Xir’clai had suddenly piled upon herself.

The Shelgon was half-tempted to join in the impromptu Sparring match when Xir’clai suddenly seemed to remember her element, and the sort of civilities which were expected by those who dwelled in it. She proceeded to very civilly incapacitate Agnos with a well-placed Confusion, turn, with infinite dignity, to the stretch of forest still remaining before them, and wait patiently for her companions to follow.

The trauma to his mental faculties seemed to snap Agnos out of his fascination for Xir’clai. Rising shakily, he grumbled for a few minutes about Psychic-types and sheer insanity, then finally paid back to Dragonfire the stockpile of exasperated looks which had been growing throughout the day. Ah, the Shelgon said to himself, relieved, the Agnos we all know and love.

Not so much love, admittedly, but still… echoed Xir’clai’s thoughts, rebounding through Dragonfire’s head jarringly. A bout of insane, irrational happiness very abruptly bled through the telepathic link, overflowing from her mind, and the Psychic shouted slights at both of her companions before sprinting lightly off into the woods.

“MUST WE LOSE ONE TO GAIN ANOTHER?” was the general opinion of both of those who were forced to attempt to catch up with her.

Eventually, however, after many such incidents contributed to dispelling boredom and despair, the inevitable finally reported for duty, and Dragonfire and his dysfunctional companions began to near the forest border. They sprinted quickly through the ever-lightening jumble of trees, faster as it became clear that freedom was coming at last, and then stopped in their tracks as the trunks before them finally cleared out.

Before them was a land completely unrecognizable by any of their memories. They were still looking horizontally at a shore-side route; but a fairly steep cliff quickly rose up to border the inner side of the road leading to their left, and, after running purposefully forward for a sizable distance, the route itself maneuvered a ninety-degree turn, hugging the similarly shaped cliff, to lead to the direction opposite to the one they were facing.

It had been so long since their last lesson in cartography and angles of perception that trying to make sense of all of this taxed their minds rather heavily.

“Dragonfire,” Xir’clai shot, “how often are Serafoculatonian maps updated?”

“Huh? Oh, I don’t know. It depends on how far the place is from Serafoculaton, I guess. They usually don’t keep them outdated any more than a century, though.”

“A century?” was the incredulous reply. “All right, well, you wouldn’t have very major geographic changes in a century, correct? It usually takes billions of years to form a cliff or raise a mountain.”

“I – I guess…”

“Where are we?” Agnos suddenly blurted, with his trademark shrewdness.

Xir’clai ignored him. “Unless… it wasn’t a natural change. This could be something we know very well, but… but…”

The Kirlia’s voice sank, trailing off to seemingly fruitless mental pursuits.

“We’re never going to find out, are we?” Agnos continued, and Dragonfire agreed despondently. The Shelgon’s prior brooding was returning twofold, and it seemed to latch on to Agnos and Xir’clai with equal ferocity. How on earth had he ever accepted the idea of this suicidal journey, and why had he let his friends join in the fruits of his stupidity? A sudden, paralyzing wave of despair fell over him, blocking out all thought; and if a passerby had cared to look their way at that moment, he may have marveled about the expertness of the three burdened sculptures which stood to the path to the forest.



*~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~*


The campfire stood up from the gloom around it with a near unbreakable certainty, glowing brilliant cyan. Cyan with dragonfire, cyan with the spirit of the Salamence… How dearly Pyroken Serafoculus longed for the fire of the Dragons of Serafoculaton! The only fire in all this gloom was their own weak spirit, barely lighting the center of the bleak clearing where they rested.

Not one of the trio had seen the benefit in moving forward at all after their supposed defeat, and thus they had set up rudimentary camp close to the forest border itself, expending just enough energy to get them through the night. Dragonfire alone, seemingly, felt the urge to talk in all the stifling silence, and his desire eventually grew greater than he could hold inside him.

“Er…” he signaled, casting about for a subject not already canvassed out of all its taste by their internal voices; “How are you… what do you think… I mean…”

The looks Agnos and Xir’clai chose as reply did little to assist him in this task. Eventually, however –

“You know, I just noticed, but I couldn’t help wondering… my Twisters, they seem to be getting more and more controllable even though I barely use them nowadays. Isn’t that weird, you know, I just don’t practice but they still improve, it’s like getting a continuous flow of dragonfire, not me, but the fire itself,” – he laughed nervously – “without having to recharge, you know what I mean? I mean, it’s like…”

This outburst of incoherence elicited such looks from his companions that conversation was, this time, completely thrust from his mind. Several minutes of awkward silence ensued, at the end of which Agnos finally obliged.

“My dad said skill at making Twisters usually grows on its own or something.”

Though the taut silence could not be completely freed by this one statement, a faint hint of ease was discharged into the atmosphere. It was enough for Dragonfire to work with.

“Really,” he continued, “did he say why?” The Shelgon began with the first idea which entered his mind, desperately.

“I don’t really remember. There was something about occasional stimulation causing continuous growth, and this apparently happened only with that one move.”

Dragonfire proceeded with another pause, in which he tried, once again, to look for things to say. He opened his mouth, and Agnos chose that very time to add on to his previous statement.

“Oh, and he said there were exceptions, but he didn’t tell me which ones.”

“Oh,” Dragonfire blurted. “Cool.”

The silence threatened to return with full force, looming over them with greater menace than ever before. It pushed back their defenses, defeating their feeble army of words, gaining to within a hair of their central fortresses –

“My Teleport’s like that, too,” Xir’clai suddenly blurted.

“Really?” Agnos ejaculated, surprised that the Kirlia would talk about herself so openly. She immediately remembered her usual guards, and a tiny flush crept up the sides of her face from her prior mistake as she covered it up.

“I thought we were gone for sure back then, Xir’clai,” Dragonfire said fervently. “If it wasn’t for your thinking, we could have died.”

“Yeah,” Agnos agreed, though with a bit of uncertainty, “that was really good thinking.”

Xir’clai immediately cocked her head to the side. Her expression (or, rather, the aura she could not help but exude) was one she often employed when she had picked up something objectionable with her telepathy

“I know I’m the cause for most of our problems right now,” she said, with a hint of irritation, “but I did the best I could under the circumstances. You know that, right?”

Agnos suddenly looked mortified. “I never blamed you for any of this – “

“Say that to someone who isn’t a telepath,” the Kirlia replied rather unpleasantly, though she seemed unsure as to whether she meant offense at this stage.

“All I’m saying is that if you could have given a little more thought…”

“Yeah, right, as if that really was the time for thought-out, reasoned decisions. It was life or death – “

“How much would a second’s thought have cost us?”

“ – life or death, and there was only so much I could do – “

“Just a second’s thought!”

” – with seven expert Confusions bearing down on me as I tried simultaneously to discover a hidden technique in my mind – “

“You’re the Kirlia here, your mind must be much more complex than ours – “

“ – AND NOT ONLY THAT, BUT I HAD TO SAVE YOUR USELESS HIDES – “

Dragonfire had been stunned into silence before this, but he suddenly noticed the towering bonfire before him, flaring with every emphasis on Agnos’ words, and the shrill burst of slight psychic pain which pulsed in rhythm to Xir’clai’s exclamations. Recognizing danger, he intervened.

“STOP IT, BOTH OF YOU!”

Both arguers realized their faults with a jerk, and, chagrined, fell into their own bitter thoughts. All four eyes looked to the ground beneath them, but, in a sudden rush of instinct, Dragonfire forced them into contact with his own.

Agnos was the easier to coax.

It was no use to try and talk to him privately, so Dragonfire said it out loud: “I know Xir’clai can be exhausting, I know how she can play on the strangest of things, but remember that inside, she’s like every one of us. Yes, you do think she didn’t do right when she Teleported us out, but everyone thinks that somewhere deep inside. You need to learn how to let that remain inside you, so it doesn’t come out and affect the way to behave. It doesn’t matter that a part of you hates her for not aiming, just don’t let that part control you.”

The words seemed to come and go as if they had a mind of their own, and left a peculiar memory in Dragonfire’s mind, so alien that he was not sure whether he had even spoken them. And yet, inexplicably, they carried the whiff of new opportunity, as if they were only the first hints of a whole new world.

Agnos blinked, stunned. He raised his downcast head, seemingly so affected by this display that his bad temper was dispelled for the moment.

Xir’clai was next. “You did good, Xir’clai. It doesn’t matter what others say, that was some wonderful thinking, and” – he locked his eyes with hers, impressing the truth of his words with indubitable fullness – “there was nothing more you could have done.”

The sudden altered state of consciousness expended itself, but the deed was done. Bewildered, unsure, defenseless, Dragonfire, Agnos and Xir’clai would see this dark journey to the end.










Grim determination... Read, appreciate, and review on!

//Mix\\
19th September 2007, 11:57 PM
Hi! Just reviewing, returning the favor, ya know. :)

Unique, unique, unqiue. Uniiiiiiique. I LOVE how you actually focus on the Pokemon, instead of just throwing them in as trainer-sidekicks. Woo, Pokemon! They actually seem like real people to me, and that is AMAZING, cause it's so hard to give Pokemon archetype-free personalities. Your word choice is stupendous, your description fantastic. I love the way you write. One thing: there was so much conversation, I pretty much forgot where they were and what they were doing. Throw in a few more actions. ^^ And the argument at the end was really passionate. I liked it!

A few things I couldn't resist commenting on:


“What? Oh, well, er… I don’t know. Plow on to Litaham city, I guess? I mean…“ The Shelgon felt awkward.

Pshh, those Shelgons and their awkwardness. :P


“What?” the Psychic echoed. “Oh, yes, Agnos and I were discussing in our heads exactly what you were whining in yours about. We will have to eventually train ourselves to the normal battling standards, you know.”

Haha, I have discussions in my head too. Usually with myself, though... o_o


Get out of my head!” Dragonfire yelled, as any rational non-Psychic-type would do if a Psychic had picked up two of his private thoughts in quick succession with her Telepathy.

“Well, you’re just radiating irrational despair; I can’t really block you out, can I?”

Ack. I'm glad I'm not friends with any Psychic-types. They must be annoying.


“Oh, great Latias above, thank you dearly for granting your wisdom to this hopeless cause…”

LATIAS PWNS LATIOS!!! La la la la la...

Sike Saner
21st September 2007, 1:40 AM
Ooh... Xir-clai and Agnos got into an argument there--I get the feeling that in intervening, Dragonfire prevented the two from breaking into a full-on fight. o.o Heh, Agnos should be grateful that at least Xir'clai's unaimed Teleport didn't send them someplace worse. Imagine if they'd materialized over an erupting volcano, or at the bottom of the ocean, or in space... XD

That chapter contained quite a few humorous moments, the Taillow scene being a prime example. XD The amusing moments and character interactions were what I liked best about that chapter. :)

Highlights:


“We don’t even know where we are,” lamented Agnos, for the thirty-sixth time.

Heh, he's become quite the whining traveler. XD And speaking of whining...


Oh, yes, Agnos and I were discussing in our heads exactly what you were whining in yours about.

I like that line. XD


“And no,” said the Kirlia, “we aren’t so pathetic that we can’t handle a few Wingull.”

“Get out of my head!” Dragonfire yelled, as any rational non-Psychic-type would do if a Psychic had picked up two of his private thoughts in quick succession with her Telepathy.

Humor involving Psychicness. I love it. XD


There was a period of great, profound thought on the matter, and then a unanimous acceptance of the idea of screwing it all and just doing what Dragonfire had said, whatever it was.

XD Awesome.


“Down,” Agnos said in a bored voice, as another battle-obsessed Taillow fell before his claws. The companions had found a workable supply of weak, warlike Pokèmon to challenge them in the thick of the forest, but civilization and actual intelligence still eluded them, and thus they decided to try and find their way out of the forest and contemplate the scenery from a more open place.

“You know, maybe we should look for more challenging battlers than these,” Dragonfire offered.

‘Shut up,” the disgruntled Taillow offered back as he limped back to his dwelling.

The defeated Taillow responding to that was a great touch. XD


Rising shakily, he grumbled for a few minutes about Psychic-types and sheer insanity, then finally paid back to Dragonfire the stockpile of exasperated looks which had been growing throughout the day. Ah, the Shelgon said to himself, relieved, the Agnos we all know and love.

I liked the way Agnos was behaving there. XD Also, I really liked that bolded part. :D

Praxiteles
21st September 2007, 5:46 PM
New reviewer! *tosses jynnan tonnyx all round*

Mix:


Unique, unique, unqiue. Uniiiiiiique. I LOVE how you actually focus on the Pokemon, instead of just throwing them in as trainer-sidekicks. Woo, Pokemon! They actually seem like real people to me, and that is AMAZING, cause it's so hard to give Pokemon archetype-free personalities.

Yes, Pokècentric fics have always been a theme of mine. I suppose that when you actually focus on the Pokèmon themsleves, it's very easy to give them unique personalities, although I haven't avoided archetype entirely, for deliberate purposes.


One thing: there was so much conversation, I pretty much forgot where they were and what they were doing. Throw in a few more actions.

Hrm, mediocre dialogue-handling has also been a recurrent theme of mine. I suppose I shall have to just take constructive criticism such as yours and work from there...

Sike Saner:

I really have to thank you dearly for being such a commited reader to my fics. :D You haven't missed one chapter since you arrived here! *pats back*


Ooh... Xir-clai and Agnos got into an argument there--I get the feeling that in intervening, Dragonfire prevented the two from breaking into a full-on fight. o.o Heh, Agnos should be grateful that at least Xir'clai's unaimed Teleport didn't send them someplace worse. Imagine if they'd materialized over an erupting volcano, or at the bottom of the ocean, or in space... XD

Mental image: Dragonfire, Agnos and Xir'clai appearing back in Serafoculaton, surrounded by the angry faces of everyone who had spent a lifetime keeping them safe inside. XXD

Yes, pressure (and tempers will rise as the group gets into more and more pointlessness and trouble. I look forward to it. :P


That chapter contained quite a few humorous moments, the Taillow scene being a prime example. XD The amusing moments and character interactions were what I liked best about that chapter.

More and more character interaction, also, is what I look forward to. Although, as one can forsee, humour has left the building, and won't return for a while now.