I made the poor decision of starting a fanfic in the middle of final exam season for school, so I'm not sure how regularly I'll post. Luckily, I like this fic way, way more than my first one. I hope at least one other person enjoys it.
The majority of the characters in this story are not my own. They've been taken from the Pokemon Series, but I've taken the creative liberty of redefining their roles and personalities.
This fanfiction contains some mild language (the kind first and second graders would get in trouble for IMO). Future chapters will contain mild sexual context, meaning strictly in reference and not actual occurrences.
Spoiler:- Table of Contents:
The sun casts its gleaming light over a tranquil beach which borders crystal clear waters. Not a single wave crashes onto the shore, leaving the sand whiter than ivory and softer than cotton. Pokémon Island is filled with an abundance of life, be it human, plant, avian, and everything in between; only the volcanic mountain, which has been dormant longer than folks can remember, lacks any and all forms of organisms. Not a single cloud floats in the sky on this fine summer midafternoon, and not a single evidence of trouble or danger could be found within the proximity of the beach.
Two young children run across the sand, each footstep moist from the beads of oceanic water dripping downwards, originating at their respective swimming trunks, to their soles. They begin to playfully charge at each other with long, wooden sticks, engaging in battle in a swordfight manner, until the taller boy is able to knock his shorter friend on his back. He adjusts his short, violet, hair with one hand–flicking off some of the collected sand–and offers his other hand to his fallen companion. The boy shakes his wild, jet black hair side to side, sand particles flying about like fireworks.
“No thanks,” he remarks. “I can get up, myself.”
“I know you can, Ash,” his friend replies, grinning, “but the sooner you get up, the sooner I can knock you back down.”
Ash defends himself as he reluctantly accepts his friend’s assistance. “You’re lucky you’re a year older, Paul,” the boy remarks, “but once I get bigger, I’ll be able to teach you a lesson.” Their youthful banter concludes with laughter, after which they continue to horseplay and seek full pleasure at the shore, until sundown.
Later that day, after parting from his closest friend, Ash returns, shivering from his wet trousers, to his home, a petite yet welcoming dwelling located in a more private section of island. He tiptoes slyly into the living room, on the way to his bedroom, when the light is flicked on.
“Young man, you’re old enough to know how late it is!” Ash, alarmed by the scolding, turns to see an older man whose hair and features almost resemble his own.
“I’m s-sorry, Father.” The boy explains in a hushed tone, “I was having so much fun with Paul, and I lost track of time.”
“This is the second time this week you’ve done this, Ash!” His father, donning a black night-robe, crosses his arms. “I knew that kid would be a bad influence for you. What about your studies? What about studying your culture?” he lectures his son, who’s heard this all before, yet remains stricken with fear over a punishment, until a delicately figured lady in a similarly styled, white night-robe walks into the room and widens her eyes at the sight of the little boy’s presence.
“Oh, sweetie, you’re safe,” she cries with relief. “That was all I had prayed for tonight. Thank the heavens our Deity answered my call. Tell me, Ash, are you hungry? Would you like some leftover pasta?”
“Now is not the time, Delilah,” Ash’s father protests.
The woman responds, “That’s nonsense, Aaron. You can punish him or do as you wish tomorrow. It is the middle of the night and our son looks like he hasn’t eaten since lunch,” she embraces her child warmly, but is taken aback by his cold, wet skin. “And he’s freezing! Sweetie, let me prepare you a bath for you to clean up in, and you have some crackers in a meantime.” And in a motherly tone, she continues, “Then when you’re squeaky clean, I’ll serve you some of Mommy’s special soup that’ll warm you up really nicely.”
Ash nods politely and, after hugging both of his parents, carries on to the bathroom. Before Aaron can interject, Delilah swiftly transitions to nagging. “Now honestly, Aaron. Ash is just a child; he was just having fun with a friend; he’s never going to learn the lessons appropriate for living if his home doesn’t provide for him a nurturing and patient environment.”
“I understand, Delilah,” Aaron states, “but he’s already eight years old, and if he’s ever to be your successor, then he needs to be exhibiting adequate signs of responsibility by now. I don’t want my only child to live a life of regret all because he failed to realize his destiny.”
Delilah grabs her husband’s shoulders and kisses him on the cheek, which calms his temperament, after which, she says peacefully, “I will always respect the tough love you show our son, honey. Frankly, I cannot do it, myself, and I think it will help our son grow into a wonderful man.
Aaron looks at her with suspicion, which she addresses, “But just remember one thing: you cannot see his destiny. The path fate has chosen for Ash will be revealed to him, and only to him, when the time is right.”
Aaron finally shrugs the situation off with a heavy sigh of defeat, kisses his loving wife, and strolls away into their bedroom. Before she can join her darling husband, Delilah looks out the window at the starry night, imagining that these celestial bodies are painting a picture for her son’s righteous destiny, secretly hoping to be present for the moment the painting is completed and published into her son’s life. Before she can retire to the kitchen to prepare Ash’s meal, however, she glances at a strange light briefly emanating from the volcano, until it, within mere seconds it fades away. Her peaceful expression suddenly morphs into a worrisome one. “It’s fine,” she claims to reassures herself. “Yet another thing not to be handled until the morning, I suppose.”
Last edited by flamebeam; 30th June 2014 at 4:59 AM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka
Several civilians walk along a street on this casual Monday, the sun shining directly over it as the time approaches noon. Stores and stands line up the sidewalks from end to end. A line of people impatiently await entrance into the popular fan and air conditioning store on this warm summer day, with several water vendors hovering around them. Then, a couple of children run across the road, their father chasing after them with a smoothie in one hand and a grocery bag in the other. A truck abruptly stops inches in front of them, avoiding a vehicular manslaughter case, and the driver shakes his fist wildly at the brats. In short, Downtown is hustling and bustling like it always does this time of day.
As the trucker and father aggressively argue, for what seems to be about everything except for the children at this point, a teenager skates right past them, the wind of his speed knocking the trucker’s toupee off his head. Three larger teens follow pursuit on foot, accidentally shoving the father’s smoothie on his collared, pit-stained shirt. The skater turns around for a brief second, amused at the gaining distance between the ruffians and himself. His spiky, jet black hair and cap defy physics and remain intact as he makes a sharp turn around a corner, almost colliding with a bench but hopping over it in time. After a few blocks, he halts his board in front of a salon and looks at his hand, which is holding a delicate silk scarf. He twists his open-gloved hands to relax his weary wrists until the sound of the salon’s door being opened causes him to fix his gaze on the beauty that just came outside.
Her hair was short and brunette, but it grew elegantly down to her shoulders. Her pearl white smile, even whiter than her smooth, enticing complexion, beamed when she saw the scarf. “Ash!” she cried. “You did it! My grandmother’s heirloom!” She jokes, “You’d make a great superhero if the island ever needed one.”
Ash blushes, momentarily turning away from the girl, the sun’s rays striking down on his tan skin and sleeveless jacket. “You know, May,” he starts, “I don’t see the point of you going to this salon every week. Your hair looks the same every time.”
May smiles, appropriate choosing to take her friend’s comment as a compliment. “Okay, so you got my scarf back from those creeps. Meaning, like we agreed, I owe you whatever you want.” She pivots her foot on the ground. “What will it be?”
Ash smiles back because, for the first time in a while, he knows exactly what he wants.
In a nearly empty diner, a hostess is filing her nails, bored at the lack of business to seat. The only noises that can be heard are the sound of the sizzling frying pan from the open kitchen, and the mastication of a fleet of BBQ wings coming from a booth by the window. The spiky-haired boy, himself, is gnawing at the bones as May looks on with near disgust.
“Do you have to eat like that, Ash?” May asks uncomfortably. “It’s not like we’re going anywhere anytime soon.” He doesn’t respond, but, in embarrassment, looks up after a dot of barbecue sauce splashes onto her face. He stares at her with puppy dog eyes, showing her his feeling of guilt since his mouth is busy at the moment to point it out. She simply laughs it off, and wipes it off, simply feeling happy to finally spend some time with her dearest friend.
“Actually,” Ash starts after processing all the meat down his throat, “I have to visit my grandmother today,” he continues with an eye roll, “among other things.”
May grabs a napkin from its container and draws out a pen from her purse. She practices her penmanship on the paper, as she does periodically every day. At the same time, she remarks, “I gotta say I was surprised when you asked for all that chicken. Does your family not practice Meatless Monday anymore?”
Ash also grabs a napkin, but uses it to wipe his sauce-covered cheeks. “Aww, come on, May. You know I don’t follow that deity nonsense. None of the other kids around here do it.”
“I kinda like the idea of a deity,” May says. “I wish my family had some kind of long-lasting culture to contribute to.”
Ash retorts, “Your family’s religion is money.” She rolls her eyes at this. “It’s basically true. Your family worships it like mine worships Arceus. And while I’m at it, what’s the point of dedicating so much time to some godly Pokémon if Pokémon haven’t been around for centuries?”
May’s natural smile transitions into a frown. Ash, once against guilty from his actions, adds, “I mean, it’s not like I’m anti-Arceus… I’m just not a strict follower is all.”
The girl sighs, unconvinced, and resumes her calligraphy. Ash decides to try once more to convince her of his views. “Trust me; not following religion doesn’t make necessarily you a bad person, and following it doesn’t necessarily make you a good one.” May shrugs her shoulders, clearly tired of this conversation, and resumes her penmanship. Ash, wishing to speak to his friend, a girl he feels he doesn’t see as much as he would like, asks, “So why didn’t you ask your boyfriend to retrieve the scarf for you?”
May’s pen almost slips out of her hand. She looks up, cheeks redder than a fire hydrant, and replies, “Oh, uh… I meant to, but he told me he was busy before I could ask… So I turned to you, my dear friend.” She grins, only this time it doesn’t feel quite sincere.
Her vivid shyness invokes her friend to throw questions at her. “What was he doing?”
May gulps, to which Ash grins. “He, uhh…” she looks down with embarrassment, “he was playing water polo.”
Ash begins to chuckle lively. “Water polo? Not cricket?”
“He plays that on the weekends!” May exclaims, feeling silly about it immediately afterwards. “He’s, uhh, a good guy and all,” she states, trying to persuade Ash as well as herself. “Yeah, he really cares about me, too. And he gets along with my parents, which I guess is a plus.”
Naturally, Ash takes the guy to be a joke. He remarks, “Correction: his money gets along with your parent’s money.” May crosses her arms, obviously unamused. He add, “But hey, people tend to get along when they have the same religion.” She sighs, clearly aware of how hard she’s being teased. Ash doesn’t stop there, however, asking “What about Paul?”
“Huh?” May says confusedly. “What about Paul?”
“Why didn’t you ask him for help today? You know he’s stronger than me. You hang out with him, as much as with me. Heck, the three of us hang out at the tower every Friday. There’s gotta be a good reason why you asked me over him.”
May stares into space. “Oh…I, umm…” She looks at Ash, who’s been gazing at her eyes the whole time. “I guess… I asked you, because I asked you. You came into my mind before he did. I can’t give you an explanation for it. I’m sorry.”
Ash, stunned by her explanation, or lack thereof, looks out the window, even though there’s nothing interesting, but he just can’t face May right now. His palms begin to sweat, his heart races, as they usually tend to do after prolonged exposure to the sweet girl. Eventually, he speaks, “I can give you a reason… You were probably worried about the record he’s been building at the police station, and you knew I’d handle it nonviolently.”
May looks at the opposite direction, towards the diner’s cook oiling the frying pan in the open kitchen, a bit disappointed. “Yeah… you’re probably right.”
Suddenly, through Ash’s window, a black limousine pulls up at the diner, and a trio of girls exiting it and striding towards the entrance of the diner. “Hey, May?” Ash questions, “Isn’t that your friends coming here?”
May, surprised by that query, looks out the window with widened eyes and witnesses the girls, who are dressed from head to heels in designer clothing, checking the soles of their shoes for “concrete germs” and their teeth for caviar stains. She sighs, then grins widely. “Oh boy! I didn’t expect them to come here.”
Ash beings to grin, too, only more naturally and less nervously. “What is it that they call themselves again?”
“Don’t. Say it.”
“The Gal Pals?” he says anyway. May bangs her head onto the table while Ash holds his stomach in laughter.
The sweet socialite stands up and yells, “I’m not the one who named us! They just started calling themselves that! I’ve never supported it!” Before she can continue her rant, the front door is opened forcefully. The girls, marching inside, shriek when they see May and flock to her like geese. The hostess doesn’t even bother to seat them and continues to file her nails. May answers their gathering, “Oh my gosh! Hey, girls! I am sooo happy to see you all!”
The towering, lanky girl immediately notices the skater in the sleeveless jacket, black T-shirt and biker gloves, and actually snorts in disgust. “May, darling,” she starts in her debutant inflection, “what is this thing doing here at your booth?”
The shorter, stout girl adds, “Gee, I didn’t think the stuff they served here would be this grimy.”
The girls snicker like hyenas, but before May can defend her friend, Ash states, “I was actually about to leave. My grandmother won’t wait for me forever.” He stands up, grabs his board, and bids farewell to May, who’s sad to see him go. But before she knows it, he’s already out the door.
The third-girl, whose dark skin and muscular build resembles that of an amazon, asks May, “Honestly, darling, why do you even associate yourself with that indigenous imbecile?”
May, wanting more than nothing to bite her head off, succumbs to her classy upbringing, and offers a more peaceful answer. “He was the only friend I made when I moved here, girls. He was so full of life… And besides, after his mother died, I’ve felt to this day that I need to return the favor.”
Ash rides his skateboard as if he has nowhere to go. Contrary to what he wanted the girls to believe, the malicious treatment he receives from the Gal Pals always puts his mind in a whirl, to the point where he starts to analyze his friendship with May past and present. He reminisces the old days, when they were both eight years old, and they would race in the jungle gym until someone collapsed from fatigue, which they would follow with seesawing and talking. On the days that May would receive her allowance–which was every other day–she would use some of it to purchase ice cream for Ash and herself. Sometimes Paul would tag along, and they’d all end the day by watching the sun set from the top of the Pokémon Island Official Bank Tower.
Nowadays, May’s popularity has skyrocketed to the point where she is mostly around her blueblood boyfriend and superficial clique of friends. She tells me that we’re still as close as when we were young, Ash wonders, but so much has changed in both of our lives, and Paul’s. Maybe we’re all just kidding ourselves.
Deep in thought, Ash is about to skate by an alleyway… when a troublesome foot stretches out of it and makes contact with his shin, launching the teen off his board so that he lands face first on the sidewalk. He turns his body over, so he can learn the identity of this careless person, but that same foot firmly stomps on his chest, causing the poor teen to gag. The culprit glues his foot on it in order to render him immobile.
Ash’s vision clears and he finds on top of him a roughneck youth with even spikier hair than his, a black collared shirt–the collar pointed upwards–and a purple necklace adorning his muscular neck. A scar travels down from his upper arm to the beginning of the lower half, signifying the struggles he’s endured as a townie. He sneers, “You didn’t think you could get away from us, Ashie, did ya?” Two goons enter the scene from out of the dark alleyway and chuckle at their leader’s taunts.
“Gary…” Ash manages to whisper, “That was… May’s scarf… Let me go.”
Gary presses harder onto Ash’s chest, causing him to shout in pain. “NOBODY tells Gary what to do!” He recollects his composure and shows off his crooked smile. “You see, that’s the best part of having no family. I can do what I want and I got my buds to back me up.” He pauses, his stooges grunting in agreement, and then his smile fades away. “So if some spoiled little rich girl can live without some dumb fabric, I see no reason why I don’t have the right to snatch it for myself and sell it to a greedy little pawn shop. Us townies gotta pay the bills, Ashie. And that’s something you don’t understand ‘s’long as you keep piggybacking off your daddy’s lame-o tribe.”
Ash struggles to free himself from his foe’s lock, and then slams his fists on the ground when he cannot. The goons continue to laugh at his failed attempts. “Okay, scholar boy,” Gary teases, “lecture time is over. Time for some punishment.”
“Couldn’t have said it better, myself, punk.”
Gary, stunned by such opposition, turns around to see a tall, muscularly defined teen, with dark violet hair down to his shoulders, wearing nothing but a sleeveless jacket, ripped jeans, and old sneakers, beating the living daylights out of the goons with a long, metal rod. Within seconds, the grunts are unconscious on the ground. Gary chides him, “You think you’re so tough, Paulie? No way can you hold your own without that dumb stick o’ yours.”
“For what should’ve been the last time years ago after I beat it into you, the name is Paul,” he retorts. “And if that’s the way you feel about it,” he compresses adjustable his rod, dropping it on the ground, “I’ll clobber you with my bare fists, chump.”
Momentarily distracted by Paul’s overwhelming confidence and intimidating physique, Gary loosens his foot, allowing Ash to twist it and shove the thug off balance, so that he lands on his head and is knocked out by the impact of the concrete. Paul, who was rearing to fight, relaxes his cut muscles and reaches for his rod in disappointment. “You know,” he says, “I had the guy. Why take the fun away from me?”
He picks up Ash, too, who brushes the dust off his clothes and rubs his aching chest. “I know, big guy,” his friend teases. “Your pretty abs say it all for me. Besides, I know you can’t afford another strike.” He grins at his pal’s choice of attire, which clearly lacks a shirt. “You’ve never been the type to show off. What, did you run out of laundry detergent?”
“As a matter of fact, I did, smart guy,” Paul retaliates playfully. “It was either wash a load or eat supper, and I figured, it being summer and all, my stomach wouldn’t be in pain and I could get a decent tan.” He pats his buddy on the shoulder. “Come on, let’s go.”
Ash jokes, “I don’t have time for the candy store.”
“You’re cute when you try, kid. But I know you’re going to Lady Oak’s. I’ll escort you there, since you’re so defenseless and all.” He grabs Ash’s head and rubs the top of it with his rock-hard fists.
The younger of the duo straps his skateboard on his back and comments, “Yeah, I’m sure it has nothing to do with her good cooking,” and follows his friend to his grandmother’s home. On the way, trivial matters come into conversation, like scheduling a date for the beach, how boring their respective summers have been thus far, etc.
Finally, Paul mentions their long-term goals. “It’s too bad, Ash. If we had a way of ditching Pokémon Island this summer, then we wouldn’t have to go through any more boring ones.”
Ash, who has spoken with Paul since they were children about taking a trip outside of the island, has recently grown hesitant about it. He reminisces aloud, “I remember back in the old days when it was just the two of us.” Paul nods at this. “Then after May moved here eight years ago, we eventually included her in the plan. How cool was it that she was all for it…?”
Paul senses his best friend’s tone as they turn around the corner, where the city has ended and an uphill hike awaits them. “You don’t think she’ll come with us?”
Ash is silent for a moment, but after the urging of his friend, explains, “I dunno, Paul. She’s so much busier now. She’s practically got her own life and her parents run it tighter than a bus schedule.”
Paul responds confidently, “Ash, when are you gonna see that it’s all part of how she was raised? May is by far the coolest girl we’ve ever known, but sadly she comes from the most narrow-minded, stuck up parents this island has ever had. Of course, now that she’s older, they’re gonna manipulate her schedule away from some native deity worshipper like you and a homeless townie like me.” Ash stares down at the fresh blades of grass sprouting on the hill. He knows Paul is slightly ashamed of his life, even though he’d never admit it. “One of these days, May will detach herself from her family.”
“What makes you so sure?” Ash asks skeptically.
Paul briefly halts his hike, taking Ash by surprise. He says, “You and I both did it. She can, too.” Ash expresses doubt on his face. Paul, looking up at the clear sky for something to say, ultimately states, “She will realize she’s too great to be her parents’ daughter, and her boyfriend’s girlfriend.” He pauses shortly. “She’ll realize that she needs a tough man in her life—the kind of man who has withstood all the odds and has provided for himself.”
Ash, aware of Paul’s feelings about May since they were just kids, but never feeling comfortable about them, adds in a joke, “Hey, Paul. You’re only sixteen—barely a man.” He almost laughs at his own quip, but catches himself when he realizes that Paul didn’t hear it.
“You, me, and dear May,” Paul starts, continuing his hike, with Ash following. “We all come from messed up families, but a true family is made up of who you allow to enter your innermost circle of trust.” Ash nods his head, agreeing with Paul’s philosophical statement. When Paul wasn’t struggling to make ends meet or roughhousing, he was reading inspirational text. “We’ll be our own family… together. But for now, let’s visit your current family. We’re here, bud.”
Ash looks ahead, which reveals itself to be a peaceful village full of huts, and a wooden sign that reads “OAK TRIBE.” A large, crimson red tent stands proudly in front of them, and its regal designs indicate that the chief of the village lives here.
Before the teens can enter it, an old, plump, yet healthy woman steps out of the hut, donning a sacred robe that climbs up to her neck and sweeps gracefully to the tongs of her sandals. Within a few observant seconds, she addresses them, “I see you boys have roughhousing at it again. And Paul, how nice to of you to “escort” Ash to my abode. I’ll fix up some soup for you and my grandson, and donate to you a shirt.”
Paul responds politely, “Thank you for you generosity, Lady Oak, but that’s not needed. My clothes will be washed by tomorrow; that I can guarantee.”
“I understand,” Lady Oak replies calmly. “In the meantime, I can’t have you looking like this, so I will gladly lend you some proper clothing.” She finishes with a loving smile, and, combined with the wisdom in her wrinkled face, her gray hair neatly combed and tied back, and her absolute poise, Paul could not resist the offer.
By the time the townie has found a shirt to fit his body and his style, Lady Oak’s soup is finished and consequently served on her ancient rug on the floor–a mere two yards from the stove–where the trio gathers to eat. Ash, who normally jumps at the opportunity to scarf down one of his grandmother’s meals, hesitantly takes in a spoonful of the broth. “I hope you don’t mind that it’s just noodles today, Paul. As you know, the tribes of Pokémon Island practice Meatless Monday as a way to show our faith to our Deity.”
Paul, presenting his well-mannered side, replies, “I will never be ungrateful for your boundless hospitality, Lady Oak. If you are to allow it, I would further appreciate another bowl of your fine cooking.”
Still speaking to Paul, Lady Oak turns to her grandson and remarks, “You could ask Ash for his. He seems to still be full after all the chicken he ate today.”
Ash almost spits out his food and exclaims, “You know?!”
Lady Oak chortles, her sacred garments flapping. She tells the boy, “I can detect the scent of Lou’s BBQ Wings like a bloodhound, my dear grandchild.” She then recollects herself and continues speaking to an ashamed Ash. “I’m well aware that you’re not the most religious member of the tribe. I still have hope for you, but I will not push you into our ways.”
Ash mutters, “If only Father could be the same way.” Lady Oak shakes her head in disapproval. “I’m sorry, Grandmother…I just wish I lived with you instead of him.”
“I know what you want, dear,” she answers, “and while you’re already fifteen, you still do not know what you need.” She pauses to take a sip of the soup but resumes without missing a beat. “When your mother passed on, it left a damaging hole in your family that, after seven years, has yet to be mended.”
“You can talk to him about that, Grandmother,” Ash states, referring to his father. Paul stops eating to more attentively observe the conversation, anticipating wisdom from Lady Oak.
“You are a wonderful boy, Ash,” she resumes. “Your father is also a wonderful man. Did I ever tell you how he broke the pattern forged by our island’s history when, after wedding your mother, my only child, he abandoned his own tribe, the Fir Tribe, to assume life here at Oak?”
Ash groans, but Paul stares with awe. “I’ve heard that story a thousand times, Grandmother.”
“I haven’t,” Paul interjects. “Could you please continue, Lady Oak?”
“Of course, Paul,” she says. “As Ash knows, the Oak Tribe has always been the strongest tribe of the island. As you likely know by now, Paul, we were chosen by our Deity to withhold piece in the island, until it is His time to return to us again.”
“I think I remember Ash telling me that when we were kids,” Paul explains, and then looks at Ash, “you know, before he lost interest in the subject.” Ash just rolls his eyes at his friend’s brownnosing.
Lady Oak continues, “Yes, of course… but over the years he has learnt more about his history, and I doubt he has shared it all to you. For example, did Ash explain to you how the power of the Oak Tribe is controlled by the lineage of the chief?” Paul shakes his head horizontally. “My husband was, at a time, responsible for this power, along with my husband’s father, going as far back as to the day our Deity left us.”
Paul, stunned by this information, turns to Ash. “So that means… Ash… you’re…”
“I’m nothing,” Ash interrupts. “Just a kid who rides a board and goes to school.”
“For now, my boy,” says Lady Oak, “but the time will come for you to realize your potential.” She takes another sip of soup. “Your mother was my only child, for I became barren shortly after her birth—which meant your grandfather had no choice but to instill his power into Delilah, the first female heir to the power of the Deity.”
Ash replies, “I know, Grandmother. And before Mother passed away, she instilled it onto me—not that I’ve tapped into it.”
“Because you do not wish to tap into it,” informs Lady Oak. “You do not study Pokémon history like a scholar. You do not know the ways of our people.” Ash skulks, but this does not cause his grandmother to lose her momentum. “And this is where the conflict arises. Your father changed history by leaving his tribe so that his child could be destined for greatness. He was truly keeping you in mind—before you were even conceived.”
The Lady takes one last sip, and concludes peacefully, “Now, my boy. I see that you are different from any member of the tribe I’ve ever come to know and love. What you need to learn is to accept your culture and embrace it—not by abandoning the culture you’ve adapted into, but by implementing both into one beautifully complex lifestyle. And what your father needs to learn is to accept the differences you have from the tribe—not as a deficit to your potential, but as a means to do something unprecedented with your power. Only by resolving these issues can the two of you co-exist without the need for your mother.”
Ash just stares at his soup, barely touched, and offers no argument. His grandmother is the wisest person he has ever known, and she is, for the most part, the only authority figure he feels he can turn to. Anything he says will neither prove her wrong nor come out respectfully.
After a period of silence that felt like an eternity, Paul asks, “So exactly what kind of power is this?”
“Spiritual power,” Lady Oak starts. “One with such power can connect with other life forms, ward off evil, and purify the most corrupt darkness.” Once again, Paul is in awe. “In our time of peace, the chief’s lineage has been predominantly responsible for keeping piece within the island between all of the tribes. As of late, it has become a more taxing job, what with the secluded wealthy and homeless folk inhabiting this place.”
Paul, almost annoyed by Ash’s indifference, confronts him. “I just don’t get it, Ash. If I had that kind of power, I’d tap so far into it that I would hit oil.”
Ash, who has always been uncomfortable about this subject, merely shrugs. “Power isn’t everything.”
Paul slam his fist on the rug, spilling some of his broth on it. Lady Oak, bearing the patience of a monk, says nothing of the mess. Paul rants, “Power is everything! Power is these rich egomaniacs owning most of the island’s land! Power is the deforestation problem that’s throwing the neighboring tribes into reservations so more of the moneybags can settle down in this ‘economic goldmine!’ Power is me sleeping the last three nights on top of a dumpster because power threw my father in prison and power sent my mother spiraling into drug addiction so power took my home away from me!”
He breathes heavily, then looks at Lady Oak, who remains motionless. He continues, “Nobody understands power except those who control it and those who are hit hardest by it… One day, I will succeed in getting such power.” He whips his hair back, granting his forehead, which has accumulated in sweat, space to breathe. “Philosophy dictates that a confident individual with ambitious goals will ultimately realize them, and it helps if he doesn’t have much to lose, because that means nothing will stop me from realizing my own destiny, the destiny that I’ve declared for myself. And I’ve decided to be destined for power—enough power to change this island–and everyone in it–but I’ll never get that power unless I leave this dump.”
Lady Oak, conveying the same countenance since Paul spilled his soup, waits to make certain that the troubled youth has finished until she gives her own input.
“What you described was not power. This, what you speak of, is greed, bitterness, and vengeance.”
Paul, embarrassed by the way he reacted in front of the person he looks up to, stares down heavily, past the floor, into nothingness.
“True power is the ability to accept the faults of everyone, including your own, and contributing your talents to improving the situation, not the people involved in it. People come in all shapes and colors, which is one of the most magnificent marvels the world has to offer. It is indeed quite powerful to move past the issues that hold you back from happiness, and to dedicate your life to laughter and joy, for yourself and for everyone connected to you.” Lady Oak chuckles, and says to herself, yet loud enough for Ash and Paul to hear, “The elders of all the tribes say Delilah, my very own daughter, was better at this than anyone they can remember.”
Ash, left speechless by two of the closest people in his own life, decides there is purely nothing left to say. “Thank you for your hospitality, Grandmother.” He rises to his feet. “I should really be going now.”
“My dear boy, have you forgotten so soon?” asks Lady Oak, who also stands, leaving a motionless Paul on the floor to himself. “I called you here for a gift.”
She slowly walks to her dresser on the other side of the hut and opens the first drawer, placing her hand in it. When it comes out, a shiny necklace with a round piece is wrapped around it. “This pendant,” she says as she makes her way to Ash, “was worn by your mother every Sunday ceremony. I passed it down to her from my own tribe… I now bestow it to you, so that you can wear it for today.” Ash looks away, refusing to accept the gift. “Ash, I would like for you to wear it when you visit your mother’s tomb today…We both know that today marks seven years since her passing.”
“I know, Grandmother,” Ash states, “just like I know that Father will be there waiting for me.”
“Yes he will,” she adds, “and he will be so happy to see you wearing that pendant in honor of her.”
Before she can further convince him, a man from the tribe enters the hut in a state of tension. “Lady Oak,” he cries, “Poca has gone into labor unexpectedly. We require your wisdom to see to a healthy birth.”
“I understand,” Lady Oak says firmly. She turns to Ash again. “Do you understand?” she reaches her arm out, the pendant hanging by a finger.
Ash, succumbing to his grandmother’s wishes, responds, “I understand, Grandmother.” He grabs the pendant, allowing his grandmother exit the hut so she can tend to her situation.
Paul finally stands up, with his bowl in hand, and explains, “I’m gonna clean up this mess. You go on without me, buddy. Besides, you and your father probably need the alone time.”
Ash only nods at this, grabs his shoes, straps his skateboard on his back, and walks out the hut. While strolling down the hill, the sky beginning to turn red, the blades of grass rustling in the strengthening wind, Ash speaks to himself. “I understand… I understand that no one understands. My father and I… we just can’t co-exist.” Ash grabs the skateboard from his back and rides it down the hill and back into the downtown region. But instead of making a right turn to his home, he makes a left, seemingly on his way to Petalburg Manor.
Hey guys! So I know this is the end of first chapter, but it was actually supposed to be even longer. If you really wanna get a feel of this story's intro, I recommend reading up to chapter 2. I know it's a lot, but hopefully it'd be worth your time. Enjoy!
Last edited by flamebeam; 12th July 2014 at 8:01 PM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka
Here's the rest of the introduction. Not much else to say haha.
2. Wildfire Frenzy
After riding a mile into the island’s meadows, which is enveloped by the lengthening shades of an approaching nightfall, the rebellious native halts his board stands still on a single concrete path leading to a large, white mansion. Three floors of windows stare down at the teen, all of them framed in dazzling silver from the outside. As Ash approaches the golden double doors that rise ten feet, he walks past two long rows of poles that shoot out of the turf of the lawn in place of trees, each waving a banner embedding the Petalburg seal. He can make out two golden door knockers, also bearing the seal. At this time, the sprinklers begin to rinse the flowers planted in the spots of dirt left untouched and a slight breeze sways the cherry blossoms found beside the driveway as if Mother Nature is hypnotizing them.
Before Ash could extend his arm to reach for the knocker, the door opens squeakily, and a tall figure with jade green, neatly combed hair and a purple club polo exits the mansion. Ash, knowing all too well the identity of this blueblood, grits his teeth and looks away.
“It’s late, kid,” the pompous fellow sneers. “Shouldn’t you be doing some kind of ancient nonsense prayer?” Ash stares at the cherry blossoms, by far the most beautiful and natural part of this home, hoping it would distract him from the teasing. It doesn’t stop the wealthy boy, however. “I guess your inbred family didn’t teach you how to speak when a superior addresses you.”
That comment was the last straw for Ash. “You crossed the line, Drew!” he yelled. “How do you expect me to take you seriously when you stoop to such a petty level?”
Drew, unfazed by the remark, asks mockingly, “What will you do about it… bottom feeder?”
Fortunately for him, Ash knows he cannot do a thing. Any harm inflicted on May’s trophy boyfriend would ensure that her parents would keep the two of them apart for good. Frustrated from rejecting his temptations, he lowers his head and walks past his bully to the door. Drew, still looking ahead, past the gates of the mansion, says, “She probably doesn’t want to see a lowlife like you.” And then he adds with a smirk, “She’s had enough of me to last the week.”
Before Ash can turn around and pummel the creep into the ground, a white limousine pulls up at the entrance. “Well, that’s my ride, obviously. This has not been a pleasure.” He flips his hair with his hand and makes his way to the vehicle, without even looking back.
When the limo is finally out of sight, Ash rubs his eyes to remove the water collecting on his lids. He mutters, “There’s no one in this world who gets to me like he does, and I can’t do a thing about it, or risk losing May.”
After collecting himself, he enters the not-so-humble home. The wide room is decorated with portraits and modernist art, leaving little space of the actual wall visible. End tables hold priceless artifacts and pictures of the Petalburg family’s lineage, the majority of them bearing the family crest. A staircase with crystal railing spirals towards the back.
An astutely dressed butler walks into the area from the door on the left, and his face turns pale when he sees Ash at the front door. He stares him down head to toe. “No shoes,” he states sternly.
Ash, puzzled by such a rule, looks at the butler’s hypocritical feet. “Then why are you wearing shoes?”
The butler crinkles his face, his moustache seemingly about to fall off. “Do not question me, you vile rat!”
Before Ash could retaliate, he hears footsteps coming down from the staircase. “That’s enough, Clark,” the person orders. “This is my friend and will be treated as such.”
Ash is relieved to May in all her beauty—someone in this fancy hell who can defend and appreciate him.
The butler quickly runs to May, leading her to almost trip on the stairs, and kneels. “Forgive me, Miss May. It won’t happen again.”
Embarrassed by the treatment, May excuses him, after which he scampers to the next room, but not before giving Ash a vicious look.
“I’ve never been so hated in my life,” Ash jokes. Things are always easier to deal with when May is around. Sensing his tone, she laughs along, and they make their way into her room.
May’s room has never been redesigned, except for the occasional repainting, which is why it still looks like a little girl lives in it. The walls and ceiling are salmon and carnation colored, respectively, a rainbow is etched into her mirror that rests on her bedazzled dresser, and stuffed animals swarm the place like a fluffy coup d’état. The Petalburg princess sits in front of the mirror and brushes her warm, brunette hair. While looking at the mirror, she asks Ash, “So did you to run into Drew?”
Ash, who’s leaning on the wall, almost loses balance at the mention of that terrible man’s name. May, too focused on her hair to notice, adds, “You showed up around the same time he left. Did you guys talk?”
Still upset over the encounter, Ash chooses to lie. “I saw a white limo pull out of the house when I got here. I guess that was Drew, but I couldn’t say for sure.” May shrugs nonchalantly. Ash, normally a grounded and reserved individual, cannot shake his thoughts away, what with the domestic issues addressed by his grandmother in her hut, and Paul’s belief that May will one day abandon her own home. Luckily for him, May’s current errand gives him enough time to collect the right words before speaking up. “May, what do you think about marriage?” he ultimately inquires.
Stunned that such a question came from her friend, May pauses her brushing momentarily but soon resumes and answers, “I like the idea of it—two people dedicating their lives to each other until the last breath…but then again, I think marriage is more complicated that, more than what I can probably understand.” She sighs, “At times, my parents’ marriage to me seems more like a business arrangement.” She puts down her brush, and turns towards Ash and grins. “Is your father still pestering you to date that girl from the Cedar tribe?”
Ash groans. “He makes a weekly chore of it, and it keeps getting worse as I reach closer to sixteen.”
May giggles. “Because that’s the age most of the natives marry, right?”
“Yeah, because it’s tradition,” Ash mumbles, clearly bothered by the idea of it. “The last thing I’d ever do is marry someone at sixteen.”
May chimes in, “If it makes you feel better, my parents keep asking me when I’m gonna get married. Even though I want to continue my education past high school, they want me to settle down.”
“With Drew?” asks Ash, afraid to hear the answer.
May replies, “Umm, I don’t know. Probably. They like him a lot. And it would unite the Petalburg and LaRousse families.”
Ash, unable to keep the tension inside, bursts out another question. “So when do you think we can go on our adventure?”
May gasps. It’s a question that, contrary to what Ash believes, has been on her mind a great deal lately. She answers honestly, “I dunno… Maybe… never.”
Ash moves away from the wall and sits firmly on the bed, facing away from his friend. May grows just as frustrated and almost slams her brush on the dresser. “Ash, you’ve seen what my life has become. I barely have a second to breathe. And if my parents get their way, I’m gonna be married in two years.” She raises her tone. “Married! Meaning I can’t take a year off and journey with you guys like I imagined. It’s not like we’re kids anymore when all dreams were possible. You get molded into a path that you can either follow through with or stay put and go nowhere.”
Ash turns even further away, offering a cold shoulder for her to talk to. “You’re usually not this immature. This isn’t like you, Ash.”
Ash finally retorts, “Me? What about you? The May I know would always dream. Are you a person... or a slave for your parents?”
May rises from her seat and inches her way towards Ash at the corner of her bed. Hoping to change the subject, she exclaims, “Wait a minute, Ash. Did you just come to my house to lecture me? Honestly, I didn’t even expect you this evening. What’s the deal?”
Ash seems to have not heard her. He turns towards May and looks directly into her eyes, and speaks tenderly, trying to maintain his passion. “Do you really think marrying Drew and dedicating your life to him is gonna make you happy…? Do you think submitting to your parents’ wishes is what you were meant for…? Don’t you think… you can do much better?”
May’s eyes begin to water. “I probably c-could. But I’m not strong like you or Paul. I don’t talk back, a-and my image is important to me.” She takes a deep breath and continues. “I hate conflict, which is why I make sure everyone else is happy, and that’s all I’ll need to make me happy, someday.”
Ash chuckles lightly, to May’s surprise. He says, “You think you’re not as strong as me? You’re even stronger; your parents dictate your life whenever you’re not asleep, and they even regulate your sleep schedule, and you put up with it.”
May is dumbfounded, not sure where Ash is going with this.
“My dad tells me to study Pokémon history, or to attend the weekly ritual, or to not eat meat for one day out of the stupid week… and I accuse him of ruining my life.” His head sinks, and May stares at him with worry. “I think I get why you listen to everything your parents tell you. You don’t want to disappoint them. You don’t want to be a giant disappointment, like I am to my father… I’m nothing to him but a disappointment.” Ash’s breathing tenses.
But then, May grabs his hand, and Ash, seeking nothing but comfort, relaxes his arm on her lap. And, extraordinarily, it’s as if her gentle touch completely eased his anxiety. She lays her other arm on his shoulder and reels him in.
“You’re not a disappointment, Ash,” she whispers. “Not at all. You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I don’t know what I would do without you, and I mean it.” She says more strongly, “In no way can I picture my life without you around—which is why I put in so much effort in my predetermined life to make time for you. I—"
She’s interrupted by Ash stroking her lap delicately with his arm. She turns to her mirror, where she sees the rainbow coming to life and flying majestically over the two of them. Her stuffed animals smile jubilantly. Her stomach flutters. Her palms begin to sweat on Ash’s broad shoulder and on his rough knuckles. It’s a brand new feeling to her, one that all her training as a composed lady has not prepared her for, so she goes with it. She puckers her lips lightly and leans in for a kiss.
Ash, feeling all the same things as May, is still thinking clearly enough to realize the consequences of the forthcoming action—not for him, but for the girl he cares for, who already lives in shackles. He decides to go against his heart, which yearns greatly for this maiden’s affection, and speaks up. “To answer your earlier question,” he starts, and May abruptly stops, a mere inch away from his bronze face, “I came here to avoid my father… I-I was supposed to visit my mother’s grave today, because today marks seven years since her death. I ditched her, and my father, to be here with you.”
Visibly heartbroken, May stares into Ash’s eyes and manages to break free from the boy she, herself, yearns for. She kneels on the floor and picks up a stuffed elephant, which she squeezes into her bosom. Tears collecting on her animal, she whispers, “I think you should leave… I’m gonna go for my nature walk, a-and you should leave.”
Ash zooms through downtown on his board, enraged with how he left May. He thinks aloud, “I’m such an idiot! I let myself get too comfortable and I put May in danger.”
He kick-flips high into the air and grinds on a bench, a trick he can only attempt at night when the streets are mostly empty, landing without any difficulty and speeding along like the bench was never there to begin with. A couple of townies from across the street cheer Ash on, but he doesn’t hear it.
“I mean, if her parents walked in, that would’ve been the end of it. No more May—for me or for Paul. And if everything she said was true, then losing me forever would be too much for her to bear.”
Ash flies through the forests, while managing to avoid all the roots on the ground. This is, after all, a path he’s very familiar with. “Besides, if what Drew said was true, she has more than enough intimacy in her life for me to come in and wreck it.”
Frustrated with his relationship with May, and directing all his energy on his skateboarding, Ash is completely oblivious to the dormant volcano as he passes by it. Normally, the mountain’s lack of life provides a sharp contrast to the rest of the island, but tonight, a strange light glows briefly from it, then fades away.
Ash finally returns to his petite, secluded home. The sky is dark blue, almost black, and the air is dead silent. Ash decides to avoid the front entrance and prances lightly to the left side of the house. He lifts a metal sheet that covers part of the side of the house to reveal a hole he had once made from a skateboarding incident years prior. He lifts one of his legs and places it into the hole, which is four feet high—not the most comfortable stretch for a 5’10” youth. He manages to get half of his body quietly into his pitch black room, when the light bulb in it suddenly flicks on.
Immediately, Ash sees an older version of his self, only slightly taller, more wrinkled, and grey streaks striating his spiky hair. The man removes his boulder-sized fist from the light switch and crosses his arms, scowling at the nervous teen.
“Great,” he says, “you’re halfway into the house and halfway out of it, which means you can’t run away this time.”
Beads of sweat drip down Ash’s face while the man addressing him clears his throat, for both of them are expecting the worst.
The man scolds, “Did you honestly think you could get away with this?! Did you think I could forget such a terrible act of negligence you did today?! And it wasn’t to me–not to the father that you so clearly care nothing for, because I’m used to it–but to your mother!”
Ash speaks quietly, avoiding eye contact, “I wanted to visit her with Grandmother, but she wanted me to go with you instead. She even gave me some pendant,” he explains carelessly, even though receiving it secretly meant a lot to him.
He pulls out the pendant from his jacket’s pocket, and the emotional impact of it forces his father to take a seat on his son’s twin-sized bed. Ash places the pendant back in his pocket.
“She would have loved to see you wear it today,” Aaron, his father, says with a hint of nostalgia in his words. But then he shifts his tone back, and starts to scowl at his son. “But instead you disrespect her! Not wanting to go with me is no excuse!”
“Everything is ‘no excuse’ for you!” Ash retaliates. “You can never understand me, and that’s why you’re a terrible listener and a terrible father!”
Aaron appears unmoved by Ash’s declaration. “I don’t understand you? At least I make an effort! I speak to your grandmother about you almost every day because it’s the only way I feel like I can bond with you. You never give your own father the time of day.”
Ash remains quiet, as Aaron suspected he would, who continues. “I hate that I’m used to it, but I am… what I’m not used to, however, is you mistreating your mother. She’s done nothing to you for her to deserve that! How dare you! She would be so disappointed in you, Ash!”
His son tries to bolt out of the room, but his current situation leaves him trapped.
“And I wish that was all you did today, but I ran into Lou earlier and he told me he saw you at his diner, on Meatless Monday!”
Ash clenches his entire body, hoping to seal in all the pain and frustration he is enduring.
“You’ve never shown respect for your culture! You’ve never shown respect for your studies! You’ve never shown respect for me! And now you disrespect your own mother! This is not what I had in mind for you, Ash! You’re becoming a giant disappointment!”
Aaron tries to take back the last comment, realizing he’s crossed the line again, but the damage is done, causing Ash to explode. “I’m a disappointment?! Fine! But so are you! You’re a terrible father and you know it! You need help from your mother-in-law just to understand me! You’ve failed to connect with your only child soon after Mother died! You gave up your tribe for nothing! You’re choices are stupid and so are you!”
Aaron fights through the heartbreaking revelations of his flesh and blood, and asks him strongly, “What about your mother… Why does she deserve this?”
“Because she died!”
Ash’s last words released all the pain he felt, along with an endless river of tears. Shortly after, his shirt was moistened with the emotions he could no longer contain.
“Why did she die?!”
He snivels, wiping his face like he did when he encountered Drew, only this instance is has been far more damaging to his soul.
“Why did she die…?! Why did she abandon me?!”
Aaron, who has spent the past seven years bickering with and scolding his son, is left speechless for the first time since the day his wife died. Eventually, he answers, “Son… I-I didn’t you were feeling this way.”
“Of course not! Mother was the only one who loved me! Not you…! But then she died!” The stress of the situation overwhelmed any catharsis that was possibly comforting to the two of them.
Ash, who is usually so introverted and distant, is unable to handle all of it. He grabs his board and knocks it into the wall repeatedly. After the third strike, a piece of the wall falls and the hole widens, giving Ash enough room to wiggle out of the house.
Aaron doesn’t even bother to stop him, but instead emotionally breaks down on his son’s bed, sobbing over his absent wife and his tortured son, and how he has failed them both. “Delilah…” he prays, “please protect our son.”
A worn out Ash flees into the forest, which appears larger at night, without any idea of where he’s heading, and only thinking about where he’s trying to escape from. Since nothing but trees are within earshot, Ash decides to voice himself.
“I can never go back there! That man is not my family—I mean, he is, but he isn’t.” Ash drops himself on the grass, stuttering a bit. “He’s the family I was born into, b-but not the family I can accept into my innermost circle.”
The boy realizes that this idea is not his own, and, after a moment to think it over, recalls the source. “Paul! He’s so much wiser than I give him credit for!”
Ash begins to pick at the blades of grass surrounding him, systematically plucking them and tossing them, whilst almost entirely forgetting about his father. “Paul is the only family I have at this point. I’d include May, but she must hate me for what I said to her in her room. And the minute Grandmother learns of what I did tonight, not even she would be able to forgive me.”
Ash stands up, grabs his board, and treks through the forest, on his way to downtown to search for his best friend. Even though his mind is usually focused, the emotional impact of his night has caused him to think unreasonably.
“If there’s ever a time for Paul and me to leave, it’s now,” Ash exclaims to the trees, perhaps hoping for reinforcement of his ideas. “Neither of us have anything left to stay for.” Ash contemplates this for a moment, to the point where he stops walking, and then sighs in defeat. “Except Paul won’t leave without May.” But still sure this setback could be resolved, he adds, “I’ll just convince him that May doesn’t want to go. I’ll tell him what Drew told me.”
The wind rustles the leaves off a tree directly in front of Ash’s path. He stares at them for a while. He speaks calmly, “Drew could’ve been lying… In fact, he probably was, otherwise May wouldn’t have…” He stops himself from reliving that tender and passionate moment on her bed, which has become one of his greatest and one of his worst. “Maybe I need to relax,” he concludes.
Life, in all its spontaneity and randomness, can so easily fling people into a crash course they aren’t necessarily prepared for, but cannot avoid. In an ideal world, Ash would realize that May still cares for him, that he and Paul have no reasonable means of leaving the island, and that his unresolved issues with his mother and father must be addressed properly for him to live a happy life. And maybe one day, Ash will be able to fix his daddy issues, get the girl, and explore the world. Tonight, however, was a different night, not fueled by ideality, but by destiny. The Oak lineage was successful in maintaining peace–not only in the island, but in many corners of the globe–for many centuries. But its members were also fortunate to live in a post-tragic time, when peace was only challenged by internal conflicts amongst civilization. An external force had not been encountered and subdued since the rise of Arceus, and before his subsequent departure. It is almost ironic, in fact, how the member of the lineage with so much internal struggle and separation from his culture would be burdened with the largest task in the history of his ancestry. But this is the way of the random universe—spontaneous, like a fire.
Ash was thinking over many things, considering many directions to take from his still position. Suddenly, his sight was no longer the focus of his senses. A burnt smell was carried by the wind and began to dance around the bridge of Ash’s nose. He quickly rotates his head to the right, the source of the smell, and sees smoke rising from a section of the forest quite a distance away. He turns his head again, to the sound of the pile of leaves on the floor floating away towards the mountain. Ash is about to focus his gaze on the distant smoke, when a strange light glows from the volcano summit and quickly fades. And if things weren’t weird enough, the boy then feels a strange pulse in his jacket. Realizing it’s coming from his pocket, he reaches into it and digs out his mother’s pendant, only now it is beating like a heart, and an enveloping white light fades in and out.
“Mother?” the native asks the pendant, unanswered. He reluctantly returns it into his jacket and marches to his right. “Something is going on here,” he declares, “and it looks like I have to investigate it.” His father comes into his mind one last time. “Hmph! Do I even have anything to lose?”
The spiky-haired rebel doesn’t have to walk that far until he starts seeing the smoke more clearly, and the way it diffracts the moonlight. A few more paces, and the smoke began to cloud all sorts of light. Its dark gray fogginess covers the atmosphere, and Ash’s lungs begin to pay the price for it. He coughs so hard, he thinks he’s going to expel his heart. The tree right behind him spontaneously begins to combust, and the alarmed youth hops away before the flames could ensnare him. Sweat begins to form all over his body as the temperature of his surroundings gradually rises. In response, Ash removes his jacket and uses it to cover his mouth and nose in a desperate attempt to cool down and to shield his senses from the life-choking air. I gotta keep going, Ash wonders to himself. Something is wrong, and I think… I think Mother wants me to see it for myself. He trudges forward, flames continuing to pop up around him. It’s the least I can do for her after the mess I made tonight.
Before he knew it, Ash reaches a wide open space of the forest that is surrounded by flaming trees and burnt grass. Ash kneels momentarily, closing his eyes in order to focus on taking in enough oxygen so he can better concentrate on solving this mystery. When he finally stands up again, he notices a mysterious figure lying a few feet from a burning redwood. Ash wipes his soot-covered face to clear his vision, and what lies in front of him almost drives him insane.
Directly ahead, an unconscious May struggles to stay alive. Sweat is dripping all over her face and shoulders, and her torso is involuntarily moving, fighting to take in air from the surroundings. Forgetting all about his own endurance in this situation, Ash drops his skateboard and runs to the girl of his dreams, landing on his knees right beside her. “There’s only one thing I can do,” he cries. “She’ll need mouth-to-mouth.”
Luckily for the two of them, CPR training is one of the very few things from school that Ash has retained, simply because it’s one of the very few things from school that he has found to have potentially useful applications. Ash looks down at the girl, immediately cycling though this feeling of guilt. He knows that May’s life is in danger, but to him, the necessary action feels too related to the uncomfortable events that transpired in her bedroom earlier today. For once, he wishes Drew were around, because in Ash’s tortured mind, this was Drew’s job more than anyone else’s.
At last, the youth shakes the childish thought out of his brain, and refocuses his attention on May. Even when covered in soot, her skin’s beauty was unparalleled. Ash sets his lips closer to hers. If she comes to, he thinks, will she kiss me? His lips are right on top of May’s and, with his trembling hands, he delicately opens her mouth.
But before the boy could resuscitate her, a shot of flames strikes over his head, absolutely incinerating what was left of the wood behind him. Ash, frightened from the near-death attack, looks up to discover the source of it. At the opposite end of the empty space in the forest, an orange-colored chimpanzee, on all fours, growls menacingly at the humans, showing its two top fangs. Despite the raging smoke, Ash’s eyes are wide open. Never before has he seen such a mysterious creature. A swirl of red fur exists on top of its head, and a tiny flame dances on its lower back, only it continues to emit a strange, black shade at the tip.
Ash slowly gets on his feet and tries to inch away from May, knowing that he needs to be away from her to keep her safe. After a few feet of crab walking, the primate, about a foot tall, growls louder, “Chimmmmm Charrrrrrr.”
“Chimchar?” Ash questions out loud. Sadly for him, this triggers the species to pound its yellow midsection with its fists before leaping straight for him for the boy.
Quite the acrobat himself, Ash hops to the side and evasively rolls away when it shoots another spout of flames at him. He turns around to face his otherworldly foe, who starts to jump from tree from tree while repeatedly shrieking “Chimchar! Chimchar!” In the next instant, Ash hears it charging for him from directly behind. So the brave boy ducks, causing the chimp to fly right above him and landing unbalanced.
Ash swiftly approaches the creature, only to be zapped by the dark energy flowing through its dorsal flame, leaving a portion of his skin charred. He winces in pain momentarily until he notices the creature suffering within a static field of dark energy, which only feeds its bodily flames into dangerously large heights. The wind carries embers of the large flame to more distant parts of the forest, creating a panicking forest fire several yards in diameter, and growing by the minute.
Ash realizes the chimp is in danger and needs to be saved from whatever chaos has disturbed its life, which is something he can surely relate to. Thinking on his feet, the boy runs towards where May is lying, picking up his skateboard on the way. He digs into her purse to find what she always carries with her in a nature walk: bottled water. He opens the bottle and lies it on the floor carefully so that the amount that spills on the grass is negligible. Finally, he lifts up his board and uses it to slam on the bottom end of the bottle.
The force of the blow, concentrated by a skinny board, shoots the water out like a gun and, thanks to Ash’s aim, hits the creature directly on its flaming back. It shrieks again, which Ash interprets as a window of time to act. He charges towards the creature, but it jumps high enough to stare the boy down at equal height and, with its superior agility, scratches Ash’s arm with its claws.
The fiery ape’s onslaught continues, but the youth is able to avoid each blow, until it tries one last time, during which Ash manages to flip completely backwards, dodging the attack that instead lands on the ground, creating a tiny fissure. The frightened boy picks up his board again and dashes to May’s spot one last time, this time to retrieve his jacket, which he uses to tie around his injured arm.
“Okay, bud,” he mutters, while climbing on his board. “It ends here!” The creature recognizes Ash’s challenge, once again jumping at the boy’s level, only this time the native jabs his foot on the board’s end, causing it to shoot up and deflecting the animal’s attack. In the next instant, Ash dives straight at the chimp, avoiding its hands and flames, and bear hugs it in mid-air.
But before he could finish tackling his foe, the pendant in his jacket pulsates again, only this time, it suddenly delivers a blinding shock to Ash and the orange creature. The purity of this light somehow succeeds in dissipating the dark aura that surrounded the chimp’s dorsal flame, but the final blow is a sonic blast that sends both of them flying to the ground. Ash and the creature both crash onto the charred dirt, and the former flutters his eyes, fighting to get up, until his vision fades to black.
Ash flutters his eyes again, his vision blurred from just coming to. He sees a mysterious figure leaning over where May was located, and then realizes, Oh no! May! Tears begin to form around his eyes, believing he let her down, that she left him like his mother did seven years ago. When his vision clears up, however, he sees a shirtless, muscular man with long violet hair giving mouth-to-mouth to the sweet girl, until she grabs her chest in wrenching pain, coughing out the toxins in her lungs. “Paul…” Ash struggles to make out before his eyes shut again.
Last edited by flamebeam; 12th July 2014 at 8:00 PM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka
15th May 2014, 2:35 AM
Edits courtesy of my beta reader.
3. The Magic Mountain
Beep! Beep! Beep!
A startled Ash lifts his upper body off of the bed he finds himself lying in. His eyes widen with horror when he notices plastic tubes running into his skin. The lights on the ceiling shine brighter than a solar eclipse, forcing him to blink repeatedly until his eyes adjust.
Ash twists his head to his right, where he sees a machine monitoring his heart rate and blood pressure, among other things, and the source of the tubes. “I’m in a hospital,” he concludes hoarsely, followed by a cough. A shirtless figure with violet hair and a concerned expression walks into the tiny room, which is separated into two halves by a curtain.
“Ash, you’re awake! What a relief!”
The patient squints his eyes, still adjusting to the brightness of the room. “Paul,” he starts, “why are you shirtless again?”
Paul looks down at his sturdy chest, an oblivious expression on his face. “Oh, that? I almost forgot.” He sits on a chair in the corner and explains, “When I found May unconscious and not breathing, I used my shirt to wipe the soot and sweat off her face before I resuscitated her.” He scratches the back of his head sheepishly, “I guess I left it there when I brought her here.”
Ash grins teasingly. “I guess you owe my grandmother a new shirt.” The best friends laugh, but for only a brief moment. Ash, now serious, asks slowly, “So… How’s May?” Paul breathes out of his nose in frustration and points to the other side of the room, beyond the concealing curtain. Baffled, Ash questions, “She’s here? She doesn’t have her own room? That doesn’t seem like something her parents would approve of.”
Paul grimaces. “Her parents aren’t here, and neither is that trophy boy she hangs around with.” He breathes in, ready to add to this, but stops himself, exhaling nothing but hot air. There is nothing for Paul to say, or Ash for that matter. They look around the depressing room they’re in, understanding fully well the irony of an obedient daughter hospitalized without any visits from the people who are supposed to care for her the most.
Ash, suddenly aware of what Paul told him, asks, “Wait, if you brought May to the hospital, then how did I get here? Did you carry the both of us?”
Paul smirks, “Your father brought you here.”
“My father?!” Ash yells as he leaps forward, almost pulling the tubes off of his machine. A nurse who was walking by places a finger on her lips and shushes him.
“He showed up shortly after May woke up,” Paul explains. “As soon as he saw that you were still breathing, he threw you on his back and ran you to the hospital in an instant. Hell, he even beat me here.”
“What about my board?” Ash asks without much thought, which seems to upset Paul.
“It’s under your bed,” Paul says, annoyed. “He snuck it in when the nurses weren’t looking.” And before his friend can inquire further, he persists, “Then he left. He didn’t want to upset you with his presence.” Ash looks down, disappointed to hear something so heartless. “That’s exactly what he told me. Could you believe that?”
“I wish not,” the son says quietly. He realizes where his comrade is going with this.
“When he showed up and saw your unconscious body,” Paul recalls, “he fell to your side and cried. He thought you were dead, Ash, so he cried.”
Ash is now fully aware that his friend is upset with him. “Paul, it’s like you always say. We should choose our own families.” The spiky-haired lad was hoping this would calm his friend, but after playing back what he just said, he realizes just how foolish he sounds.
Paul responds, “Then you made the wrong choice. And let me tell you why. Look at May.” He points to the curtain again. “Her family doesn’t care enough to come here, even though the hospital has called them a half-dozen times.” He points to himself. “Now look at me. My family can’t help me because I don’t have one. They’re either dead or incarcerated.” Finally, he crosses his arms. “But the love your father has for you is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Ash rubs his eyes while Paul takes a deep breath, the both of them caught up with the emotions of their respective domestic troubles. “And you under-appreciate him because he tells you what to do.”
Ash sighs, unsettled by the dump of information he’s received. The man he tried to isolate himself from came through for him tonight, even though they haven’t seen eye to eye in years, even though he accused the man of not loving him. “You’re right. I’ll fix it, Paul. I promise.”
He was hoping his acknowledgment would ease the tension, but Paul continues with his angered tone. “You’ve asked enough questions. Now let me ask you one.” Ash nods nervously. “What happened to May?” The bedridden boy looks at his interrogator confusedly. “Or maybe I should phrase it like this: Why didn’t you save her?” Before Ash could speak up, the bare-chested teen continues, “Your father told me how you got in a fight with him and you ran away. You must’ve run into May in the fire. But instead of saving her, you wind up unconscious on the opposite side of the open field. Why didn’t you save her?”
Thinking back to his experience, Ash recalls the angry, orange chimp with the pyro abilities. For Paul to be asking this, he comes to the conclusion that the creature escaped, making himself the only witness to its existence. Was it a dream? Ash asks himself, but realizes it wasn’t when he sees the scratch marks on his arm that he can barely lift due to the pain. Either way, he knows Paul is too skeptical at this point to believe a single word of the battle he had with the creature, and how the pendant bestowed to him by his grandmother saved the both of them. He looks at the scratches again, but that could easily be explained by running into a sharp branch. In order to avoid being diagnosed for lunacy, Ash lies, much to his chagrin. “I was scared.” He gulps. “I guess the situation was too much for me to handle… so I passed out.”
Paul nods his head in disapproval. “That’s what I figured. I wish you didn’t have to be so weak, though.” Ash sighs heavily, Paul’s words stabbing him like a knife in his chest. “But you can’t help who you are. Like I always say, May needs a strong man in her life, and I am more than willing to be that man for her.”
Desperate to change the subject, the embarrassed teen asks, “What do you think about Pokémon?”
“Huh?” Paul is dumbfounded by such a random question, but quickly regains his composure. Closing his eyes, he replies coolly, “I wish they were still around. Powerful creatures at your disposal to test the strength of your will? Man, things would be a lot different.” He stares at the ceiling with a grin on his face. “I’d be calling the shots on this island. And May’s parents would practically throw her daughter at my arms, whom I’d accept and protect for the rest of our lives.” A hint of drool collects at the corner of Paul’s lips, which he wipes off. “A Pokémon’s power must be out of this world. If only…”
Ash shrugs his shoulders. “I dunno,” he begins slowly. “I haven’t read my scholar books in years, but my favorite thing about them was this recurring theme of friendship.” He explains to Paul, “As long as you expressed genuine care and friendship to your Pokémon, they’d reciprocate it, and I read over and over that a bond like that was like no other.”
Paul rolls his eyes. "Cute stuff, Ash. Real cute." He pauses before continuing, turning away slightly as his eyes take on a thoughtful, slightly distant appearance. "Too bad those things aren't around."
"But—still," Ash suggested, "if one of them were to show up, I'd probably be able to recognize it as a Pokémon." The native is now certain that the creature in the forest was one of these mythical Pokémon—and because he's the only one who knows of its presence, he knows it is his duty, as a member of the Oak lineage, to track it down.
A middle-aged nurse with pursed lips and thick, square glasses abruptly treads into the room, catching the attention of both Ash and Paul instantly. “Mr. Oak Fir,” she reads slowly on a clipboard, thrown off by the surname of native culture, “it’s time for you to leave.”
Paul removes himself from his seat. “Are you crazy?” he exclaims. “He was in a fire. He needs rest and medical attention.”
The nurse adjusts her glasses, seeming uninterested by the situation. “His insurance only covers a few hours of treatment. He can rest at home.” Paul clenches his teeth. “I say that he’s lucky this happened in summer time; he has plenty of time to recuperate before school returns in the fall.” She stares at the patient’s tan skin shrewdly, which glows ever more under the intense ceiling light. “Assuming you even attend school.”
Before Paul could fight back, Ash motions with his hand to cut it out. “It’s fine, Paul. I’m itching to get out of this bed anyhow. And now I can be here as May’s visitor instead of some helpless patient.”
The nurse is unfazed by Ash’s remarks, and instead bears more bad news. “On the contrary, visiting hours are over.” She turns to Paul. “Only family can stay the night.”
Paul growls, snapping, “That’s ridiculous! Her blood family didn’t even care enough to show up. Ash and I are her real family.”
The nurse sneers, replying snidely, "That's not what her papers say. I'm afraid you two have to leave immediately."
"Paul, come on," Ash insists coaxingly. "You can't afford another strike. Let's just go."
Frustrated by the circumstances, the violet-haired rebel turns to Ash, eyes narrowed. “You should at least see her before you go.” He makes his way to the curtain, with the nurse trying to grab hold of him, whom he brushes off like dirt. He grabs the curtain with one arm and pulls it off the rail, causing it to fall gently to the ground. Behind where it once hung, Ash sees the fifteen-year-old girl sleeping soundly, like a princess in a tower, only with tubes running down her nostrils and into her arms.
Tears begin to descend the teen’s face, and, one by one, he removes the tubes from his own arms. The nurse tries to move forward but is blocked by Paul. Ash, revealing his medical gown that flows down to his feet, inches towards the Petalburg princess, all the while feeling the pain of his wounds from his duel with a Pokémon. He kneels at her bedside, stares at the motionless girl, and, unable to keep his shame within himself, looks down in pain as he weeps on her arm. Paul looks away, fighting to force back his own tears. The nurse simply rolls her eyes. Suddenly, the sweet, weary brunette mumbles something borderline inaudible, her lips barely moving.
The shocked boy snaps his head up as he looks at her delicate face, tarnished by the plastic tubes. Paul looks back at his two friends, also surprised by her awakening. May wiggles her fingers and, in one motion, grabs her dear friend’s arm. Ash, in turn, caresses her face. Just like in her room earlier that day, her gentle touch is able to cleanse his pain, both physical and emotional. At last, her fingers come to a stop, and she falls back asleep.
Ash slowly, reluctantly stands up and turns around, his head heavier than stone. He trudges back to his bed, where he picks up his clothes and board—the nurse scowling at the latter—and motions for Paul to leave with him. The nurse proceeds to make a homeless comment, but neither of them hear it.
In the elevator, Paul breaks their silence. “I’m gonna sneak back up here when that sourpuss isn’t looking.” Ash, who changed his clothes back to his previous attire in a bathroom, looks at him skeptically. “I’ll find a way. I refuse to allow May to stay the night alone in this miserable place.” Changing the subject, he asks, “So I take it you’re going back home to talk to your father?”
Ash digs into his jacket’s pocket and pulls out his mother’s pendant, which he places around his neck. “Not yet,” he responds, still holding the sacred heirloom in his palm, gazing at its mystery. “I have to visit my grandmother about something.”
In a nearby village, a dozen huts, circling a much larger, regal hut, stand proudly in the seemingly peaceful night. Not a sound can be heard, for all of the residents have retired to their resting places. An elderly, plump woman, dressed in sacred garments, is meditating at the edge of the village bordering the northern forests, which largely consists of evergreens.
A villager of miniature height hobbles to the woman and frailly speaks. “Pardon me, Lady Oak, but I bring you terrible news.” The tribe chief keeps her eyes closed, the ritual paint on her cheeks sparkling under the moonlight, and raises her hands, clasped together above her head in prayer. The villager, unsure if he was even heard, continues anyway. “It’s about your grandson. One of the weaver’s sons was working in the hospital downtown when he saw him being transported into a room.” He pauses, and his lips begin to quiver, fearing that he will upset his leader, who is clearly trying to concentrate. He removes his glasses and wipes them with his shirt as he concludes, “He was unconscious and soot covered his face. We believe he was caught in that unusual fire in the lower forests.”
“Tell me something, Chobin,” Lady Oak finally speaks up. The fidgety villager rapidly places his lenses on his face again and stands upright for the Lady. “Did you notice a mysterious light glowing from the mountain today?”
Chobin shakes his head left and right, even though the Lady’s eyes have yet to open. “I’m afraid not, my Lady. Do you expect the light to have been an omen for the fire?”
Ash’s grandmother begins to sway her arms left and right, in smooth, intricate patterns that could hypnotize the simplest of organisms. “It appears that the light is an omen for something else, something far worse; the immense fire, and now, my grandson’s hospitalization, are events relating to this ominous threat that has not made itself known to us.”
Chobin takes her words to the heart. He shivers in fright. “No disrespect, my Lady, but how can you be so sure?”
She relaxes her arms on her laps, and replies with a hint of bitterness in her voice, “The last time such a light glowed from the mountains was seven years ago, and illness and death followed.” The bumbling, petite man quaked. He was not expecting such omens to be foretold by his leader. Still, he was unsure what to believe. Forest fires sometimes occur in Pokémon Island, though usually later in the summer season, and people end up in the hospital every now and then. Lady Oak is never wrong about such predictions, but he wants to believe that the events transpiring are not, on the contrary, leading to something much viler.
Much to Chobin’s dismay, the Lady opens her eyes widely and exclaims, “The presence I was sensing; it’s here.” She waves her arm back at Chobin. “Stay back! This visitor is dangerous.”
Out of the shadows of the evergreens, in this lifeless night, emerges a tall figure, like a demon revealing itself to its prey before devouring it. Lady Oak grabs the staff on her side and lifts herself to her feet, preparing herself for the mysterious individual. As he makes his way completely out of the woods, the first feature that strikes the attention of his onlookers is his fiery red hair, short and professionally cut, complemented by an orange-yellow front that is flipped back. His eyes have a cold, brown stare that intimidates a previously motionless Chobin into taking a few steps back. A black material, shaped like a tank top, covers his torso, and appears to be made of protective fabric. His legwear appears to be made of the same material. The man takes one last step with his menacing, black hiking boots and stares down at the old maiden, both with his cold eyes and with his slightly sunburnt, bulging arms and shoulders, which are almost as large as Paul’s.
“Who are you?” questions the Lady, “and what business do you have in our world?” Chobin tilts his head at the mention of “world,” perplexed as to why his leader would phrase the question like that.
The stranger grins widely, revealing most of his teeth in the process. “I’m looking for the one in charge here,” he speaks coolly. “Where I can find this person?” He begins tapping his fingers on his hips, signaling the residents to answer him soon.
Lady Oak, aware that she is his target, speaks more calmly, installing herself into this mind game. “What world have you come from to seek this person?”
Chobin, freaking out over the idea of an otherworldly visitor, addresses the Lady Oak out loud, “But my Lady, how could this human be from somewhere else? Is there something your Leadership can see that I cannot?”
Lady Oak grunts at her underling’s revelation. The stranger remarks innocently, looking up to the sky, “Oh, so you’re the one in charge.” He begins to rub his chin, and, speaking to himself, he says, “I was expecting some large man, so an old woman never crossed my mind.” He looks at her with a sense of appreciation. “I gotta say, I’m impressed that you’re the one who’s keeping these weaklings in line, Grannie.”
Chobin scolds the intruder, “How dare you address the chief like that! You must learn to bite your tongue, you ungrateful ruffian!” The fiery-headed man shifts from his admiration for Lady Oak to a cold glare at the miniature man, causing the poor soul to fall on his bottom in fear.
The Lady, keeping it together for the two of them, responds, “So you were you searching for me, visitor. And you have found me. What next?”
The stranger grins again. “Funny story. I was looking for you because you can point me to the one I’m really looking for: your grandson.”
The tribe leader somewhat expected Ash would be involved in this, as destiny would have it. She states, “I refuse to assist you with this task. Tell me, how did you arrive here?”
He arches his thumb back and points it behind him, to the dormant volcano that has appropriately been the cause for concern for Lady Oak. “That magic mountain of yours sure is something,” he says amusedly, proving the woman’s suspicions to be true. Suddenly, he changes his tone to reveal his true nature. “Now, if you don’t tell me where the brat is, I’ll have no choice but to kill you,” he says calmly, yet menacingly.
Chobin shrieks, but the tension in the air nullifies its effect on the other two. Lady Oak, now certain that the evil within this foe is similar to the evil defeated by her Deity centuries ago, has no choice but to ask, “Were you here seven years prior?” The man is stunned. “Are you responsible for the death of Delilah at that time?”
“Hmm.” The mysterious visitor scratches his head like a child struggling with a school assignment. “The name doesn’t ring any bells…” he then snaps his fingers. “Oh wait! You’re talking about that persistent wench who gave the Boss a hard time.” Lady Oak, usually the last one to lose her cool, clenches her teeth over such disrespect. “Sorry, Grannie. That wasn’t me. But I heard she was quite the beauty, and a tough one at that. Ending her life would’ve been a blast to be a part of, if you ask me.”
“No one asked you, you vile mongrel. Now retreat to your own world! You are not welcome here,” the Lady exclaims.
Her foe laughs wildly at this, so far as to slap his knee. Lady Oak spits on the ground furiously, disgusted by his mere presence. He reaches his hand for his belt and takes out a strange, spherical contraption stylized in red and white hemispheres, with a white button in the middle. He clicks this button and tosses the sphere onto the ground. The sphere opens at its center, releasing a strange red beam that forms into something canine-shaped! The process completes within seconds, and, standing between Lady Oak and the man, a black canine with a red muzzle and underbelly barks harshly at the villagers.
Her eyes widen slightly. “A Pokémon!” the Lady determines. Chobin screeches in terror at the sight of the creature. Lady Oak beckons him. “Go now, Chobin! Leave! Awaken and warn the villagers! This foe is more dangerous than I had suspected!” Chobin, still yelling, flees from the scene to do what he was told.
The fiery-headed man strokes his hair with his hand and responds casually, “I’m glad you can see that about me. So just tell me where the kid is, and I won’t have to kill you,” he says, then concludes maliciously, “or any of your helpless villagers.” Lady Oak slams her staff on the ground and begins chanting an ancient incantation. The man laughs it off. “You’re crazy if you think your primitive culture could harm me.”
She retorts, “You will not kill me. And it would be wise of you to be wary of my spiritual powers.” She admits, “I may not be directly of Oak lineage, but my time in this tribe has given me abilities that would stagger you, you heartless, young fool.”
He smirks, dismissing her threat entirely. “Sorry that I can’t entertain your delusions any longer, Grannie, but you’ve run out of time, and I’ve run out of patience.” His biceps bulge, and a vein in his head begins to pop out of his temporal region. “So you can join your meddlesome daughter in hell! Houndour! Sick ‘em!” The canine barks demonically, a black aura enveloping all the hatred it bears for the world, and it leaps forward at the old woman.
“My grandson will assure your defeat,” she starts, “and if I’m not there to see it, it will be because of my old age, but not from death at the hands of a spineless lackey!” She lifts her staff horizontally and spins it quickly like a fan. Before the corrupted Pokémon could make contact, it is propelled by a sacred shield, leaving its owner baffled. Next, a strange smoke rises from the ground and compromises the man’s vision. When it clears, only he and his Pokémon remain at the scene.
Infuriated by her escape, the man pounds his fist to his hand. “That old witch! She’ll pay for her tricks!” He addresses the canine bitterly, “Destroy the village. I want nothing but ashes to be left.” The Houndour leaps away, blasting the first hut with a sea of flames. The evil man begins to laugh gleefully with excitement. “I’ll find that boy, even it means burning down this entire world.”
Last edited by flamebeam; 28th May 2014 at 7:27 AM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka
21st May 2014, 4:03 AM
Author's Note: Edits courtesy of my beta reader, who, by the way, is working on Chapter 5, which should be done by the end of the weekend.
4. The First Enforcer
Staring at the hill he hiked earlier had previously hiked with Paul, Ash hops off his skateboard and mounts it to his back. Earlier that day, the air was clean, and the atmosphere was inviting. Now, the sky grows blacker as the night progresses, the atmosphere is dead, and the air smells strangely identical to the portion of the forest that had been burned down by the chimp Pokémon. Before Ash can make the connection, his eyes catch a peculiar cloud rising up from the top of the hill. After focusing his gaze a little more, he recognizes it as the toxic black color of smoke.
“Fire!” Ash yells to himself. Without a second to lose, he dashes up the hill, his knees burning from the climb. His pendant swings left and right around his neck, shimmering under the moonlight. When the native finally reaches the village, the darkest scenario that had been running through his mind appears right in front of him. Everywhere he looks, he sees inflamed huts and piles of ashes, tribes-people running around the site frantically to escape the danger without completely abandoning their homes, broad-shouldered men carrying buckets upon buckets of water that is only enough to douse a single fire. Realizing there’s not a minute to waste, Ash scans the area for his beloved grandmother, whom he’d expect to be calling out commands to her people. “Where could she be?” he cries, fearing the worst.
Just as he’s about to give up searching, a woman crying for help runs into him. “I beg of you, young man!” she pleads. “Save my daughter! My neighbors are too frightened to go inside!”
“Inside?! You mean she’s in one of these huts?”
“Please! You must save her! She means everything to me!” The poor woman falls to her knees, grabbing Ash’s legs, and, overcome with emotion, sobs on the concerned teen.
Applying his newfound respect for duty into action, Ash answers her call for help. “I-I’ll do it. Point me to the hut. I’ll do the rest.”
The mother looks up, her face in disbelief at this young man’s answer, who’s much smaller in stature than the men who rejected her. She gasps for breath. “Thank you. It’s that one right there,” she points to her hut, engulfed in fire, a few yards from where Lady Oak’s home used to stand, “but please be safe. You are just a boy.”
Ash, ignoring her warning, dashes to her home, and, within seconds, stands in front of the towering flames. He grabs his board from his back and swings it at the entrance to ward off the flames so that he can go inside. Once in there, the lack of breathable air catches him off guard, causing him to break into a raucous cough. The majority of the hut’s interior is covered entirely in flames. The angered boy clenches his fists, playing over and over in his head his most previous encounter with fire. “That malicious Pokémon,” Ash curses. “It won’t get away with this.”
While the teen is distracted with his rage, a little girl tiredly pokes her head out from under a bed. “Is… that a person out there?” she calls weakly.
He turns to the source of the voice and sees a young native girl with braided hair and soot covering her face. “Yeah!” he confirms politely, yet hurried. “I’m Lady Oak’s grandson. I’m here to save you.” He slowly walks to her, blowing the fire away with his board.
"Yay!" she cheers childishly despite her apparent exhaustion, seemingly unafraid of the fire, which Ash can't help but admire. "I thought you were that scary black dog demon for a second. So that's why I was hiding."
Ash stops momentarily. “Dog demon?” Before he can question her about it, a large block of wood falls from the top of the hut and lands on the bed, almost crushing the girl.
Ash panics. “Quick! Crawl out of there!” The child complies, carefully rubbing her elbows on the ground to dig her way out until she’s able to reach Ash’s extended hand. She grabs it, and the savior pulls her out while avoiding the neighboring flames.
The little girl coughs. “Is my family safe? Did that fire-spitting dog eat anybody?”
“Everyone is fine,” he assures her as he escorts her to the exit, while his mind can’t help but fixate on the bizarre description the girl has offered him. Does this mean that ape Pokémon wasn’t responsible for this? he wonders.
In a split second, another block of wood dislodges itself, this time falling directly above the natives! “Oh no!” Ash cries, but before the girl could look up, he pushes her hard enough that she falls outside of her crumbling home, out of harm’s way. Too late to roll out, Ash raises his board above his head, barely in time to catch the flaming wood. Unfortunately, the mass of it is too much for the boy to bear, so that he has to kneel on one leg to keep his strength up. He grunts under the pressure.
“I can’t shake this thing off!” he gasps, struggling under the weight. “I-I’d fall into the fire if I even tried…” Then, Ash’s ears catch the sound of splintering wood above him. He breathes heavily, struggling to take in enough oxygen for his aching muscles. “The entire infrastructure of the hut is about to cave in,” he admits, “right on top me.” He stares at the exit, only a couple of feet away, imagining a crowd of people gathered outside, including his father, Lady Oak, Paul, and May, all of them waiting for him to come out. Trying to stay positive, Ash muses to himself, “At least Mother is waiting for me if I don’t make it out.”
But he knows there’s still work for him to do. He has to make sure his loved ones are safe, he has to settle his differences with his father, and he has to put a stop to the creatures that have invaded his island.
Just as he’s about to let go of his board to submit to the awaiting inferno, a tiny chimp, out of nowhere, flings itself into the hut and shreds the wood into smaller blocks with its claws. Stunned by his unexpected savior, Ash shouts in bewilderment, “It’s you!” before tossing the remaining blocks off his board and making his way out of the hut.
Outside, the little girl’s mother, with the rest of her family, turns to see their hero escape their home. She runs to him and grabs his hands forcefully. “Thank you!” she cries. “My daughter, my everything, she is still alive because of you…!”
Her husband, who has their daughter on his back, smiles at the teen gratefully. “I apologize that my wife had to turn to you for assistance. I was helping the villagers gather water, but I made a terrible mistake when I forgot to first check if my own family was safe.”
Ash rubs the back of his neck, his cheeks rosy from embarrassment. “No need for all that, sir. I wasn’t just gonna let the kid burn.” From inside the hut, the chimp Pokémon hops out, licking its orange fur while cuddling itself next to Ash, who is surprised by its behavior considering the last encounter they had.
“That’s the monkey that went inside!” exclaims the little girl gleefully. “He saved the big kid who saved me!” She claps her hands in amusement, but her father, who sees the fire burning on its lower back, sets the girl on the ground and urges her to step back.
“One of the creatures!” the man speaks loudly, addressing the rest of the village. “Quickly men! We must destroy it!”
The male villagers, who were preoccupied with their own families and their own ashes of property, run towards Ash’s direction, carrying with them clubs, pickaxes, rakes, and other weapons. The ape begins to growl defensively as the semicircle of combatants slowly close the distance between it and them.
Ash looks at the Pokémon, specifically its dorsal flame, and notices that it burns brightly, pure of any corruption it had previously exhibited. He remembers what he learned from the girl in the hut, about the so-called “demon dog,” and proceeds to order the men, “Stay back! This Pokémon is innocent! Don’t harm it!”
The men look at each other with confused faces, uttering the word “Pokémon?” amongst themselves.
The girl’s father questions the ape’s protector, “You expect us to believe that Pokémon have returned after centuries of absence because it’s coming from the mouth of the Lady’s grandson, and that this one is unrelated to the canine that burned our homes?” Ash begins to flex his arms, preparing to defend the fire monkey, but to his surprise, the man lowers his arms. “Fine, then I choose to believe you.” The other men, once again confused, copy the man’s action.
A miniature man hobbles through the crowd, panting, until he stands face to stomach with the teen. “Ash! What a relief!” he exclaims. “Thank goodness you’re alright! Does that mean you subdued the evil fire man?”
“Chobin,” Ash asks slowly, puzzled, “what do you mean? What man?”
Chobin shrieks, his glasses almost popping off of his nose, realizing his greatest fear is still wandering around the island. “Th-the intruder!” he trembles. “He told the Lady he came from the volcano. Then, he called upon a canine demon to attack us! It burned down the entire village with the flames it blasted through its mouth!” He starts panting again, trying to catch his breath.
Ash absorbs what Chobin has told him solemnly, eyes widening. He realizes the light from the mountain must be related to this human visitor and the Pokémon he brought with him. He looks down at the ape, which is still by his leg, scratching its wavy fur on its head, and wonders how it plays a role into all of this. Aware that time is costly, he questions Chobin fiercely, “Where did this man go, Chobin? I need to know. And I need to know what he looks like, too.”
Chobin bows to the boy. “Forgive me,” he cries, “for after the canine set fire to the entire village, the man called it back to him, but then he found me hiding in the bushes and lifted me with a single arm!” The tiny villager fidgets. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t give your location away,” he breaks into a sob, “s-so I informed him that you were at the hospital…!” Ash shudders. He realizes that his friends, along with the other patients in the hospital, are now in danger. Chobin continues, amidst his emotional breakdown, the rest of the villagers watching intently. “I’m sorry, Ash! He said he would kill me, just like… just like…” Ash rests his hand on his shoulder to calm him. “Just like he did to the Lady!”
Chobin’s hands crash onto the ground, his face blubbering on it like a rainstorm. The rest of the villagers gasp at the man’s declaration with concerned and heart-wrenching expressions towards one another and a series of repetitious whispers.
One by one, they silence themselves and turn to their departed leader’s grandson, who stands motionless, staring at the ground. A single teardrop falls from his face onto the charred dirt like a bomb. He grabs his pendant around his neck with a trembling hand and brings it up to his lips, kissing it tenderly. Then, the tortured boy does something he hasn’t done in years; he kneels on both his knees, clasps his hands together above his head, the pendant in between it, looks up at the black, smoke-filled sky, and offers a blessing to his Deity. The villagers mimic his exact behavior, some of them quivering, the others keeping it together.
Ash slowly picks himself back up and asks Chobin one more time, only in a calmer tone, “What does he look like?”
Chobin stares up at him from the ground, sniveling. “He has fiery red hair, black garments, large, sunburnt muscles and the most malicious stare an individual could ever come across.”
Ash motions towards the chimp Pokémon, who lifts itself up. In the next instant, he’s sprinting across the village with his new friend, until he reaches the hill, after which he whips out his board and shoots down it, back to the hospital.
A displeased Paul, donning a dress shirt, tie, and ripped jeans, stands impatiently in a rising elevator. He adjusts his ruffled shirt collar for the third time in five minutes. While doing so, he notices he missed a button and fixes it just as the doors open. The townie sneakily makes his way into the room he tried so hard to get into, all the while adjusting his messy, violet hair. He pulls back the curtain to see the love of his life asleep on her hospital bed.
The light from outside, previously blocked by the curtain, strikes onto the Petalburg princess’s milky white face, and her head begins to stir, her nose crinkling, her eyes fluttering open. Paul whispers, “I’m sorry. Did I wake you, May? I tried to be as quiet as I could.”
The girl rubs her eyes to regain her vision, and is overwhelmed with joy to see her second closest friend. “Paul,” she whispers, happiness clear in her eyes. “I’m so happy you’re here.” She looks at the time on her monitor. “They let you here this late?”
Paul smiles nervously, “I, uh, had to find my own way here.” His face begins to turn red as he scratches what appears to be a bite mark on his neck.
Fully aware of how one gets a bite mark like that, May crosses her arms, nods her head side to side, and teases, “Oh, I see, Romeo. What’s her name?”
Paul laughs nervously, “As a matter of fact, I don’t remember. I just know her as the receptionist.”
May rolls her eyes. “Why am I not surprised? Another poor girl falls for the wonder boy charm.” She notices her friend’s attire and mocks him, “I see you went all out for her, too. Nice clothes, Paul.”
Embarrassed from the treatment he’s being received, a usually confident Paul clears his throat and explains, “These clothes cost me dinner today… and breakfast tomorrow.” Before May could scold him for going too far in his mischievous ploys, he continues, “I don’t remember her name, but she’s the receptionist of this hospital, and… I did what I had to do to get back up here after they kicked me out.” He looks intently into May’s eyes, “I wasn’t gonna leave you. Not earlier in the fire, not right now, and not ever.”
May’s memories of the night start to come back to her. Her eyes sparkle with gratitude. “You were the one who saved me from the fire, not Ash. You,” she pauses briefly, “performed CPR on me.”
Paul responds with a hint of disappointment, “Oh. So you thought it was Ash. I see. I’m sorry if I crossed any boundaries.”
May giggles, amused. “There’s no need to apologize. Thank you for being there for me, and for being here with me now, whether it’s against the rules or not.”
Paul responds seriously, “May, don’t you get it? I’ll always be there for you.” He kneels by her bed and wraps her soft hands around his own. “I know I have a lengthy history with women in the past, but that means nothing to me. You will always matter to me more than them. I’d skip a hundred meals for you, May, because you satiate my soul.”
May, who’s not at all used to being spoken to in such a powerful way, offers her gratitude with a kiss on her friend’s cheek. However, when she finishes, their eyes meet, only a short distance away. Before Paul can make a move, she looks down and points something out, almost disgustedly. “Your belt isn’t fully fastened.”
Paul, once again embarrassed, stands up briskly to fix it. “May,” he starts, “I swear nothing happened below the belt.” Then he smiles confidently, “I mean, she tried, but I didn’t let her.”
“Sure, Paul. Nothing happened; not this time anyway.” She rolls her eyes again while fluffing her pillow. Paul purposefully knocks his head onto the wall, ashamed that his selfless promiscuity proved to be his undoing.
Before he could fight for a second chance, all of a sudden, the usually constant bright lights from the halls all simultaneously shut off, as does May’s machine. A nurse runs across the halls, his uniform half-burnt, shrieking in fright until he almost collapses on the ground, when a doctor, who was with her patient at the moment, comes out and catches him, surprise and concern on her face. May looks out the hall, failing to make out anything without assistance from the light. Worried, she turns back to Paul. “Hospitals need electricity to run. I wonder what happened.”
“Uh-huh,” Paul mutters, trying to avoid scaring the girl, as he looks outside of the room. Before he can further reply, the lothario boy is distracted by nurses running across the halls in panic, the stomping of the soles of their shoes sounding like knocking a door. He turns to May and states, “I’m gonna check out the situation. I’ll be back when I find out. I promise.” May nods her head in agreement. Even though she’s worried for her friend, she senses that something troubling is happening.
The rebel makes a right turn, out of the room, not before glimpsing at the doctor trying to comfort the panicking nurse. As he walks quietly down the hall, he sees the elderly patients surrounded by a flock of nurses, who warn him to find a room, to which he barely nods. Some patients are by themselves, asleep and unaware of the situation, and their visitors are interrogating the staff. One family after another, they are urged to return into their rooms and, as Paul overhears, to bolt the doors shut. By the time Paul has sneaked to the end of the hall, the entirety of it is empty. Something is wrong and they’re too afraid to tell us, he thinks. Determined to solve the mystery, he continues to explore the floor.
Eventually, he comes across a strange croaking sound around the corner. The boy reaches into his pocket to grab for his weapon, and, leaning against the wall, he slowly turns his head over to inspect the area. However, when he finally has a good look, all he sees is a puddle of water collected on the ground. The piping above it begins to croak, and more drops fall onto the growing puddle. Paul sighs with discontent, expecting some action to relieve him of the tension he felt around May.
Sadly for him, his ears perk up to the distant sound of a young woman yelling. “Help!” she cries in fright.”
“May!” Paul exclaims, and, unlike before, sprints through the labyrinth of hallways, zooming past the concerned staff and their state of pandemonium. In less than a minute, he slams open the door to May's room, where a mysterious man’s presence catches him by surprise. The presence turns to face Paul and stares him down with his cold eyes. His body is almost hidden in the darkness due to his black attire. What strikes out the most to the aggravated teen is the man’s fiery red hair.
“Who are you?” Paul questions boldly. “What do you want with her?!”
The stranger smirks, turning away from a terrified May, completely dismissing the hostility he has received. “Who am I, you ask? Funny; I was just about to ask you the same thing.” He squints his eyes. “Huh, I expected you to at least resemble the old woman, but you two couldn’t look any more different.”
Paul’s eyes narrow in confusion. “Old woman? Look, punk, you might be on the wrong floor. The crazies are put in the next one up.”
To his surprise, and May’s, the man begins to laugh wildly. “That’s actually funny,” he exclaims, slapping his knee in amusement. “I didn’t expect a wit like that from a member of that dumb old lineage.” Again, everyone is left confused, until he analyzes the teenager more closely. “Wait,” he begins, realization creeping into his tone, “you’re not this Ash kid, are you?”
Shocked by such a question, Paul responds incredulously, “Of course not! What business do you have with Ash?” He says threateningly, “Whatever it is, you can talk to me about it.”
The man smirks, once again ignoring Paul. He lifts up a folder to his face, which he was holding against his side, opens it, and checks the information, leading Paul to grow irritated. The fiery headed visitor speaks to the others while still analyzing the folder. “According to this hospital data that I snatched from the ground floor, Ash Oak Fir was checked into this room next to a Miss May Petalburg.” He looks at her. “I’m gonna make a hunch that that’s you, dollface.”
“Don’t talk to her like that!” Paul barks.
The man goes on, looking back into the folder, “It also says that he was found with the girl in the forest fire.” He continues to read, only silently, until he finally closes it and drops it carelessly on the floor. “Well,” he speaks enthusiastically, “it looks like Chimchar did more damage than I thought he was capable of.” Then, he sighs. “But clearly it wasn’t enough to keep the kid bedridden.”
Paul scowls at the man, frustrated with how he’s not being taken seriously. To make matters worse, the stranger turns to May and addresses her. “Something tells me you mean a lot to this Ash kid.” May is puzzled by his statement, wondering where he is going with this. The man concludes, a menacing grin on his face, “I’ll bet that if I snag you, he would come looking after me. It sure would make my job easier!”
May gasps in horror.
“That’s it!” Paul snaps. “I already told you that Ash isn’t here, which is bad news for you because it means you have to deal with me.” He pulls out the steel rod in his pocket and extends it to its longest length, setting himself in a stance ready for combat. May looks on with worry, fearing that there is more to this foe than meets the eye.
The man plays with his hair, laughing at the youth’s actions, and afterwards speaks calmly, hand inching toward his belt. “Look, kid. I’ve had enough distractions today. But I have enough patience to let you walk out, your tail and your stick between your legs, and let me conduct my business appropriately.” Paul glares at him, unamused, to which he responds, “Yeah, that’s what I figured, lover boy. Here, you can play with this.” He yanks a strange spherical device from his belt and clicks a button in the middle of it, releasing a glowing red energy that morphs into a floating white candle with a purple flame lit on top.
“Liiiiitwiiick,” it moans, staring at the purple-haired foe with its yellow eye, the other one being covered by wax.
Paul stares at the strange creature motionless, his lips quivering, his hands twitching, his eyes wide open, trying to process the fact that a floating candle is actually appearing in front of him. Then, Paul recounts his earlier conversation with Ash about mythical creatures. “That must be… a Pokémon!” he gasps, staggering back slightly. The power he yearns for, the power to change his life, the power of Pokémon, is floating right before him—yet in a twist of fate, this unusual creature was destined to be his opponent.
The candle's owner claps sarcastically. "Good! Quite studious of you, boy!" His eyes narrow, voice serious. "Now beat it, or my Pokémon and I will have to do you in for good, kid."
May, overcoming her shock from the existence of a Pokémon upon realizing the position her friend was in, insists frantically, "Run away, Paul!" She looks pleadingly towards him, desperation in her eyes. "This is too dangerous! Even for you!"
Paul continues staring straight at the candle, blatantly ignoring her gaze. “It’s even more dangerous for you, May, and I promised to always be there for you.” Before either she can object further or the stranger could retaliate, Paul, with the speed of a jungle cat and the maneuverability of a dragonfly, swings his rod with full force onto the candle Pokémon—only, to his dismay, his weapon flies right through it, and the creature disappears into thin air.
Paul searches frantically for it, until it reappears right in front of him.
The man sneers, watching the boy's eyes widen. “Litwick! Astonish!” he commands. The candle closes its yellow, haunting eye briefly, but immediately reopens it and emits a terrifying shriek that knocks Paul against the wall. He sinks to the ground, motionless.
May screams for her injured friend. Confident that his point was made, the man presses the device again, calling for the Litwick to return to its dormancy. “Now,” he continues menacingly, “you’re supposed to help me find Ash, right?” He reaches for the girl, who shrieks as a result. He starts to laugh, but freezes.
He twists his body all the way to the left and finds his purple-headed foe leaping into the air, his rod ready to strike him down. At the last second, the fiery headed man shields the assault with his bulging arm, swiftly grabbing the end of the rod with his other hand. “Let it go, you little twerp!” he growls angrily. “You’ve done it now!”
Paul, in absolute fury, responds, “You were foolish to think that something like that could keep me down! Your arrogance will be your undoing! You’re not gonna be able to pull my weapon away from me, so just let it go so I can pummel your pathetic self into dead weight!”
The man laughs brashly, so that all his teeth are showing. “I gotta give it to you, kid,” he admits. “I like your style. You definitely have potential to be something decently strong.” Paul frowns, cautiously awaiting what his enemy will do next. “You know,” the man continues, “the Boss is always looking for more recruits. Let’s say we test this potential of yours, shall we?”
May and Paul look on with confusion, but then, the mysterious foe, still grinning, squeezes tightly on the rod. Next, a dark aura begins to manifest on his end. “What is that?” Paul asks. “What trick are you pulling?” Before he could be answered, the aura pulses through the rod like electricity, and strikes the youth’s entire body. He gasps, pained, and struggles to keep his eyes open momentarily, but to no avail, leaving him paralyzed. As more of the darkness pumps into him, like a poison, Paul’s body ceases to function, and he collapses.
“Paul!” May cries shrilly at the loss of her friend. “Wake up! Paul, please!” The foe, aware how troubling it would be to carry around the girl in her current emotional state, reaches for a different ball in his belt. After pressing the button, a strange Pokémon forms on May’s lap, its emergence being able to silence her. Its red round nature is misleadingly cute, as are its tiny, orange limbs.
“Darumakaaaaaa,” it cries energetically.
“Use Yawn,” its owner orders. The Pokémon obliges obediently, its yawn emitting a strange hypnotic feeling into the air. It proves to be contagious for May, who, within seconds, sways to sleep. Before she falls back onto her bed, the man catches her limp body, lifts it up, and places her over his shoulder, returning his Pokémon to its ball.
The man stares down at the lifeless boy one last time. “I wonder how many other inhabitants of this world are so stupidly courageous,” he jokes to himself before stepping over him and making his way out.
When he exits the building, his question is answered by a boy with raven-black spiky hair, his black gloves in a fist, mounted on a skateboard, and his face wearing a furious expression. “Who are you?” the fiery-headed man asks with interest.
The teen, whose tan arms are flexed tightly, takes a good luck at the girl of his dreams lying unconscious on the shoulders of the man who he believes put an end to his grandmother. He states boldly, “I am Ash of Oak Fir. Who are you?”
The man laughs with great excitement, almost throwing Ash off his focus. When he’s done, he looks at Ash with an evil smirk and answers with energy, “Hello, Ash. How kind of you to search me out.” He smiles contently. “I am Flare* of the Eight Enforcers… and I look forward to killing you.”
*This character was made up years ago, before the installment of the Kalos region. In no way is he related to Team Flare.
Last edited by flamebeam; 31st May 2014 at 4:55 AM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka
1st June 2014, 8:17 PM
My summer program begins tomorrow, so my writing pace will be noticeably slowed down. I hope that's okay. This chapter concludes this arc; I guess I can call it "The Beginning" or something, because it sets up the rest of the fic. Enjoy!
5. Into the Unknown
In the empty streets of downtown Pokémon Island, two individuals who were destined to battle stare down one another, both of their bodies as still as the lifeless air that has blanketed this chaotic night. The tension between these two could be cut with a finger, let alone a knife. “I look forward to killing to you”; these words buzz over and over in Ash’s head, who tightens his brachial muscles to the point where they appear as if they’re about to explode all over the place. An elderly man in tattered clothes and a disheveled beard creeps out of a nearby alleyway to survey the area for the source of commotion that had stirred him, and his eyes widen when he sees the two young men in the middle of the road.
At last, a bitter Ash speaks, eyes narrowed. “Kill me, you say? What is this for you, a headcount? Is this all some twisted little game, where you disrupt people’s lives, going so far as to end some of them?”
He takes a glance at May’s unconscious body, who is resting soundly on Flare’s shoulder. The corrupt man’s light auburn eyes stare ahead with very little hint of life behind them. Ash continues, “And then you take her captive. Was that just a malicious attempt to throw salt in my wounds?” He pauses briefly; he scowls at his enemy. “Kill me, you say? If I were half as vile as you, I’d tear your limbs apart and beat your skull in with them.”
Flare strokes his chin cunningly, eyeing the teen down from head to toe. “I gotta say, a part of me was a bit disappointed when you revealed your innocent-looking self to be my target,” he admits with a grin, “but after that little speech you just gave me, you’re definitely the most interesting person I’ve encountered so far in this dump of an island,” he breathes a sigh of relief, “which means this mission won’t be as boring as I had initially expected.”
Then, with great speed, the devilish man lifts the girl off his shoulder—Ash’s heart ready to sink as a result of what befalls her—but then he hunches over, and gently places her on the side. “But there’s one thing I was right about,” he explains, his back still bent. “This girl means a lot to you, and she was supposed to be my bait for you. Needless to say, that won’t be necessary.” He strokes her snowy white cheek gracefully, which infuriates an already angry Ash, and continues lethargically, “It’s a shame. I went through a lot of trouble to get her, courtesy of that purple-headed friend of yours.”
Hearing this causes the native’s eyebrows to rise to the top of his forehead in pure disbelief. Just as he had predicted in the village earlier that night, after Chobin warned him that this otherworldly foe was headed to the hospital, his friends were without a doubt in grave danger. But sadly, as Ash has just learned, he couldn’t get to Paul in time. “But hey,” Flare concludes, as he begins to lift his top half back up, not even looking at his opponent, “the brat had to learn not to be so meddlesome. I guess he had to pay his life for it.”
And with that grim statement, Ash reaches his breaking point.
He already had a lot in his plate today, between the anniversary of his mother’s death, the internal struggle to keep his feelings for May in check, and the domestic turmoil he endured with his father. The death of his grandmother, according to Chobin, was the tip of the iceberg, and, to Flare’s delight, the news of Paul is an emotional eruption for the teen.
Well aware that his foe is dangerous, Ash wastes not a second. He yells righteously as he skates towards Flare with a fist in the air, prepared for collision—however, using the instincts he relied on in his previous fight, Flare, still not looking at his foe, dodges the teen by sidestepping with great agility. As a tormented Ash skids right by, the enemy extends his sunburnt arm at the same level as Ash’s neck and clotheslines him right off of his board and onto the ground.
“You little punk,” Flare remarks, unamused. “If a sneak attack is your best tactic, then I got half a mind to beat you into a pulp with my bare fists right here.”
But unknown to the man, a tiny figure’s shadow can be seen from the rooftop of a neighboring building by the old man who had been watching the confrontation with awe. A young boy, also in tattered clothes, comes out of the same alley as the man in a dusty blanket and joins him, pointing to the mysterious silhouette. Then, the figure leaps off the building at an extraordinary height and dives itself at Flare. Again, the man’s senses warn him of incoming danger, and he turns his head swiftly to see an orange chimp lift its paw at him. Flare, despite being caught off guard by his speedy opponent, manages to lean back just a bit to try to avoid his attack—but the chimp succeeds in scratching his neck, leading the man to fall on his rear.
This gives Ash the opportunity to pick himself up from the ground, along with his board. Flare does the same, and stares in shock at the chimp, who is loyally leaning upright on the teen’s leg. “Chimchar!” the man exclaims, taken aback. He makes a quick glance at Ash before he addresses the Pokémon again. “So this is where you’ve run off to? To tag team with this twerp?” Finally, he addresses Ash, “What did you do to him?! His aura, it seems… purer. In fact, there’s not an ounce of darkness present. It’s… repulsive.”
Ash smirks, mocking Flare’s previous facial expression. “I saved him,” he states, “from whatever evil stuff you did to him.” He looks down at his new friend, who, at this point, might be his only living friend remaining. “So Chimchar is your name,” he says, while wiping the dust off the pendant around his neck. “Well, how’d you like to help me exact revenge on this creep?” Chimchar responds by growling intimidatingly at the fiery-headed man.
Flare rubs the scratch on his neck with his palm, wincing in pain. He stares angrily at the chimp, but then looks around the area by only moving his eyes, and sees the tiny crowd of town residents that has collected, creeping out of their alleyways and through the windows of their broken down apartments, some watching with excitement, others looking on in horror.
At last, he returns his gaze to his foes, and, again to Ash’s surprise, laughs wildly. “I guess I somewhat deserve this,” he muses. The native, despite being puzzled at his sudden change in heart, nods in agreement. “No, kid. Not because I’ve harmed your precious loved ones.” He explains with a smirk, “I released Chimchar from my team.”
Ash, confused about the meaning of those words, turns to Chimchar for a possible answer, who growls at the mention of his “release”.
Flare adds, “He was too weak for my team—that, I realized a while back.” He pauses to casually stroke his hair with the hand that isn’t covering his injury. “But after this mission was assigned, I realized he could be useful to me one last time.” Then, grinning, he says malevolently, “…So I juiced him up with an abundance of dark energy, enough to terrorize the entire island,” he shrugs his shoulders, “but also enough to kill the little guy.”
“That’s it!” Ash interrupts, smoke blowing out of his ears. “I can’t take any more of your stories. You’re remorseless and… just pure evil. You deserve no sympathy from anyone, which is why Chimchar and I will take you down!”
Stunned by his words, Flare draws a blank face, but quickly regains his bravado. “You think I’m pure evil?” he questions. “Kid, you have no idea what that even entails. Not that I’m trying to defend my actions or anything, but all I’m really guilty of is completing missions and having fun with them.” He sneers, “Don’t they teach you in school to enjoy whatever profession you take up? Or is this world too uncivilized for education?”
Ash squeezes his gloved fists tightly while vigorously rotating his wrists. “Oh, I bet you think you’re mad,” Flare goes on, once again scratching the wound on his neck. “But just like evil, true anger is something you’ve yet to understand.” He grabs one of the spheres attached to his belt. “Ironically, kid, you’re gonna learn a lot these last few minutes.” The vein in his temporal region bulges outward. “Right to your last heartbeat!”
Chimchar, without any commands, lunges itself at his former owner. But before he can reach him, Flare presses the button on the sphere to release a round, red, energetic Pokémon. “Darumaka!” he commands. “Block the attack with Flare Blitz!” In mid-air, the previously cheerful Zen Charm Pokémon cloaks itself into raging hot flames, with a tinge of black in the center, before it charges at the chimp, knocking it back harshly so that it lands at Ash’s feet.
“Chimchar!” Ash cries. “Are you okay?” He picks up the injured chimp, who is able to shake off the blow.
“He won’t be for long, and neither will you,” Flare cuts in, as he points to his own Pokémon. Then, to Ash’s shock, along with all the civilians watching in awe, Darumaka begins to glow an intensely blinding white. Ash is left confused, wondering how a Pokémon corrupted by the mysterious, evil energy at hand could go glow so purely. But then, the shape of the figure begins to morph and grow in size, at about two-thirds of Ash’s height. When the transformation is complete, a large, ape-like creature stares manically at Ash and Chimchar with its black, ringed eyes as it bites into the air with its spiky, carnivorous teeth. It shakes its tan fists madly as it stomps its tan feet on the ground, causing minor tremors that startle the homeless bystanders. Some of the townspeople begin to flee as a result, carrying what they can with them in their knapsacks.
“I’ll be nice, kid,” Flare remarks sarcastically. “You can have the first move… against my Darmanitan.”
Ash continues to gape at his new foe. “I don’t know what to do,” he admits aloud to himself as he shivers in fear.
“Chimchar! Chimchar!” his ally catches his attention.
Ash nods, amazed with himself that he can understand the chimp. “You’re right, I can’t give up.” He asks Chimchar, “Do you think you can use one of your fire attacks from before against that Pokémon?” Chimchar cries out loud in approval as it stances itself and takes in a large amount of breath, preparing to release powerful, searing flames… However, when the chimp fires, only tiny embers shoot out of its mouth.
“Hah!” Flare taunts enthusiastically. “You honestly expected a little Pokémon to pull off a Flamethrower, especially after you purified the magnificently dark power out of his system? Show ‘em how it’s done, Darmanitan! Fire Blast!” The giant ape stomps its feet on the ground before an intense fire is released through its mouth. The large flames easily douse Chimchar’s embers and knock the chimp to the ground, where it struggles to pick itself back up.
“Oh no!” Ash yells. “Chimchar!”
Flare laughs maniacally, the vein on his head still visible. “Surely you now realize you took on way more than you could handle! But it’s too late to change your fate, kid!”
Ash grunts. He knows the situation looks grim, but, determined to put a stop to the plague that has inflicted so much damage in one short night, he thinks to himself, I was able to defeat Chimchar all on my own in the forest. Maybe I can take down this Darmanitan, too. He looks at the exhausted chimp one more time. It’s my only chance at this point!
So before he can admit defeat and grovel, as Flare had hoped for, the reckless teen mounts his board and rides directly at Darmanitan. “You fool!” Flare yells. “Darmanitan, stomp your feet on him! Crush his bones!” The giant ape spreads his arm in front of himself to grab Ash, but the native dodges. Darmanitan lifts his foot above the boy’s head and is about to drop it on his skull, when our hero leaps off his board—which is crushed into pieces by the Pokémon’s strength—and, stretching his limbs wide open, he grabs onto his foe’s bushy, flaming eyebrows. His gloves, luckily, protect him from the incredible heat as he holds on for dear life like a rodeo clown.
Flare scratches his head in disappointment. “Great; another idiot in this world who cannot possibly comprehend the limitless power of a Pokémon.” He speaks to Ash, who struggles to hold on, “You may have found a way to stop Chimchar’s rampage, but I can assure you that Darmanitan is beyond the strength of any mortal… But if you wanna keep kidding yourself, then so be it! Use Rollout to shake ’em off!”
The Blazing Pokémon begins to roll itself like a giant, red and tan bowling ball, so Ash picks himself up and desperately attempts to keep balance by running in place (rather comically) on top of the creature.
Frustrated by his foe’s determination, Flare pounds his fists together and lets out a high-volume scream that disturbs the entire neighborhood and frightens the remaining spectators away. “Darmanitan!” he pleads, his vein ready to burst open. “End this! Roll into the hospital, now!”
Ash panics at that command; the giant ape complies and rapidly changes its direction, which almost throws the boy off his back. Before he can regain his balance, the Pokémon crashes into the hospital, which sends Ash flying off, several feet into the air. The teen lands brutally hard on his back, shouting at the extreme pain from the impact. Naturally, tears begin to rush down his face in response to the unbearable discomfort.
His fit of rage simmered, Flare recollects himself, snickering heartily at his fallen foe. “Finally, things are running smoothly.” He turns to his Pokémon, eyes narrowing and vile thoughts swirling in his evil mind. “Finish this off, Darmanitan. Crush his chest with a Hammer Arm! I wanna see him flattened like a pancake for all the trouble he’s given me.”
The Flaming Pokémon marches slowly at the helpless native, who can do nothing but blink his eyes and stare at the moon, which once again glows brightly now that the smoke from the village has subsided. This causes him to smile faintly, until he shuts his eyes and prepares himself to greet his loved ones on the other side. Finally, Darmanitan reaches Ash, and lifts a single fist into the air, which is covered in dark static. At last, he swings his arm down onto his target, just as Flare commanded, and just as Ash was waiting for to end his misery…
But before the blow can connect, a pure white light suddenly, yet intensely, glows on Ash’s chest, originating from his pendent. The pendant begins to pulsate, and, as Darmanitan’s fist approaches it, a sacred shield blocks the attack. Flare immediately recognizes it as one similar to what he experienced earlier against Lady Oak, which, just as before, leaves him baffled. The shield emits a powerful shock that runs through Darmanitan’s entire body until, ultimately, it bounces the giant ape away several feet back, so that he crashes into a building and is unable lift himself back up.
Flare absorbs the scene with complete disbelief. “Impossible!” he claims. “How could their cheap magic continue to thwart me?” He looks up, past the skies. “Boss!” he yells. “Why did you send me here without telling me about this… this insanity?!” He then mutters to himself, “That coward! How dare he keep something like this from me! Who knows what else this boy and his family are capable of? I can’t afford any more risks… it’s time to waste this island and make my escape.” Next, he takes out a switch from his back pocket and, without hesitation, presses the button on it.
Kaboom! A loud explosion occurs in the Oak Village, followed by screaming residents, which are soon muffled by a strange, red-violet cloud that slowly starts to spread without any signs of stopping.
“The island should be consumed within an hour,” the man declares, and then looks at May, who is still sleeping on the floor, “which should give me enough time to hike back up the magic mountain with her.” After returning Darmanitan to its ball, Flare hurriedly picks up the girl on his shoulder and prepares to move out. He looks at Ash’s unconscious body one last time before catching a glance at the ominous cloud located at the top of the distant hill, where the Oak Village used to stand mere seconds ago, and states, “I’m letting you off easy, kid. It looks like the darkness will mark the end of you, instead of me.” At last, he briskly hikes away, ignoring the civilians of this world in pandemonium.
~~~“I can’t believe it!” a little boy with spiky, jet black hair shouts. “It’s a skateboard! You got me one!” he grabs the tiny board with both of his hands to show to a petite woman, who takes great pleasure in his glee. Suddenly, the boy changes his tone, asking, “But didn’t you and Father say a skateboard was too much money?” Before the woman responds, he adds, “Wait, is that why Father has been so busy, Mother? Was he working more so you can buy me one?”
His mother hesitates to speak, and instead looks around the room, colorful balloons invading the ceiling, confetti tossed all around the floor. On the wall, a portrait of herself embracing a man resembling her son—the two of them dressed in ceremonial attire— reads “Delilah and Aaron, forever bonded.” She eventually says to the boy, “Oh my, you are quite intelligent for a five-year-old.” She corrects herself, “Sorry; six-year-old.”
Delilah takes a seat on the sofa and motions her son to sit on her lap, which he does. She explains soothingly, “Your father and I didn’t plan on getting you a skateboard, Ash, which is the truth. And you know I’d never lie to you… But when we saw you skate around the park with the rental, we agreed that you were very talented for your age.” She rubs his nose, forcing the boy’s eyes to involuntarily shut themselves. “We also saw how passionate you were with the skateboard. And lastly, we want you have to more than your father and I had while growing up.”
Ash interrupts politely, “But Mother, don’t you and Father always say that there a few things in life every person is mehn-tidaled to? Does that mean I am mehn-tidaled to a skateboard?”
Delilah can’t help but giggle at her son’s linguistic fumble. “Oh, sweetie,” she starts, “I think you meant to say ‘entitled.’ And no, you are not entitled to a skateboard; you’re entitled to living, respect, equality, and other things that no human should live without.” She rubs Ash’s hair gently. “Your father and I believe that it is important for everyone to pursue what they are passionate for. It is the passion you showed for skateboarding, dear, that convinced us to get you one. And it was your father’s idea to take extra shifts at work so we could afford it.”
Ash looks up at his mother in surprise, and questions, “It was Father’s idea? I would never expect that.”
“Believe it, Ash,” she replies with a grin. “Your father is a wonderful man, which is why I chose him to be your father in the first place.” Ash chuckles. “He loves you very much and would do anything for you. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes, like when he constantly tells you to read, but why do you think he does that?”
Ash answers, “It’s so that I learn and protect our family’s culture.”
“True,” Delilah says, “but also because he believes those books will benefit you a great deal in life, just like it has for me. And look at how smart it has made you—you can read and write better than all the other children in your class.” She hugs her child tenderly. “You have the potential to represent all the tribes of the island, Ash, to everyone living here who has forgotten about us, and to others anywhere the universe calls you. You can change a lot of lives, as I, myself, try to do whenever I work.”
Ash takes this all in, nodding at every word her mother speaks, beginning to appreciate the family he’s been destined to be a part of, as well as his father’s methods, so that all he has to say is, “This is the best birthday ever, Mother. I’m gonna go read a chapter right now!”
The boy hops off of his mother’s lap and tries to run to his room, but before he can enter, Delilah appears right in front of him, as if she teleported there, which frightens the poor child. “Ash…” she begins, but her voice carrying an echo. “There’s one more thing I want to tell you… that I didn’t seven years ago… that I would’ve told you, if I were still alive.”
Terrified of the situation, Ash looks around, but notices the house and his surroundings slowly fading away. He also notices a pendant now hanging around his neck.
“Always follow your passions… I understand your scholarly texts have not inspired you as of late, but your friends and family have pushed you so far today. As long as you remember what, or whom, you’re fighting for, you will persevere.” Ash tries to reach out for his departed mother, but the distance between them grows after every failed attempt. “You are of Oak lineage, meaning you hold the power to be something incredible for the good of mankind. Channel your passions, and that power will be awakened.”
“Mother!” Ash cries, suddenly restored to his teenage self. “D-don’t leave me… again.”
Delilah smiles. “I have never left you, my dear child. Nor have I ever lost faith in you. I love you, Ash—more than I ever thought was possible.” As her last words echo into her son’s ears, the spirit fades away, and everything around Ash turns to black.
In the darkness, our hero suddenly begins feeling a sickening, jerking up and down motion. As his eyes flutter open, Ash notices trees passing by his peripherals at great speed. I’m moving, he ponders in a daze, yet my legs aren’t moving…. Finally, his vision is restored to normal, and he identifies his mysterious transportation to be a tall man with spiky, black hair striated with grey streaks.
“Father…” Ash barely makes out.
“You’re finally awake,” the man notes, still dashing like the wind. “I’m impressed; those herbs I used on you could knock out a horse for quite some time. You have a powerful will, son.”
“Herbs?” Ash questions. “Why did you give me herbs?” He looks around and sees Chimchar running alongside his father with great determination. He tries to rub his head, but something blocks his fingers. “My hat! It’s back! I didn’t even realize it was missing until now.”
Aaron chuckles. “Yes, I forgot to return that to you in the hospital.” He adds, more serious, “And when I found you this time around, you were lying unconscious outside of that very building, next to this Pokémon accompanying us. Your back was terribly bruised. Luckily, I had some medicine at hand that exhibits anti-inflammatory effects, enough to numb your whole body from the most severe pain.”
Ash barely hears his father’s herb expertise, as he is focused on the hospital, and how the middle-aged man felt the need to leave after bringing him there. Ready to have the long-awaited talk, Ash starts, “Father… this is the second time you’ve rescued me tonight… even after all the problems between us, like earlier today, for instance—”
“This isn’t the time for that,” Aaron interjects, to Ash’s surprise. “The peculiar clouds are slowly engulfing the entire island, and I bet you the volcano summit is where we have to go to stop this.”
Puzzled by his father’s words, Ash looks to the sky for answers. “Peculiar clouds? But there’s not a cloud in sight.”
“You’ll see it when we get higher up in the mountains,” Aaron explains. “It started off as an explosion in the Oak Village—which happened to be where I was going when I saw black smoke rising from there, from our house—when this ominous cloud began to consume everyone, so that they seemingly disappeared.” Ash doesn’t respond, but simply stares ahead into nothingness, for he is longer surprised by such extraordinary events after the night he has had. “I started running there when I saw you outside of the hospital, along with a strange redheaded man fleeing with what looked like your friend, May.” The man pauses to dodge an overgrown root on the ground and continues his rapid footing. He concludes with a question, “You mind explaining all of that, son?”
The boy lets out a quick sigh, releasing all tension in his numbed body. “According to Grandmother, we have visitors from another world terrorizing the island. I was caught in a Pokémon battle with the man responsible, and he was dangerously close to killing me,” he grabs his beloved heirloom around his neck, “until Mother’s pendant saved me, for the second time today.”
For a moment, everything is silent, as Ash watches his father wipe a tear from his eye, probably produced as a result of the mentioning of his departed wife. “Like I told you back at the house, I’ve been visiting your grandmother more often,” he finally tells Ash, “and she’s warned me multiple times of a strange light that had been glowing and fading away numerous times these past few nights. She said the light came from the dormant volcano of our island, which is the direction this visitor was headed with May.”
He pauses again, but this time it wasn’t because of the trees, or any other outside interference. “Ash, my dear son. The light; the cloud; that man; this Pokémon—it all seems to connect to you. I knew you were always destined for great things… I just never expected them to be so terrifying.”
Before Ash can comfort his worried father, a black canine leaps at the two natives, leaving an unsuspecting Aaron to fall on his side, simultaneously dropping his son. Chimchar yells furiously at the ambush, while the canine barks demonically at his foes, its body emitting a black aura.
Aaron is the first of the two to pick himself back up, but slowly. “I r-recognize that Pokémon from your books,” he declares. “That’s a Houndour!”
Ash eventually flips himself back up, the effects of the herbs beginning to wane. “Stay back, Father!” he warns. “These Pokémon are all dangerous. Let Chimchar and I deal with it.” He curses at the ground. “Flare must have left it here to slow us down.”
Aaron gives a slight grin. “Then you better not let him get away with it, son.” He spreads his arms as far apart as possible and bends his knees, directing his stance at the Houndour, to which Ash drops his jaw in surprise. “I’ll keep this beast occupied, Ash. You and your Pokémon friend go on ahead.”
“No! Absolutely not!” Ash demands. “We’re gonna do this together, Father. I won’t leave you behind.”
“Ash,” his father responds, “you are the chosen hero. It’s your destiny to save us.”
“Destiny, shmestiny!” the boy protests. “You know I don’t believe in that stuff. But what I do believe in is that our enemy is absolutely vile! He killed Grandmother and Paul, Father…!” Ash stutters, “I d-don’t want him to t-take you away from me, too.”
Before he could express his feelings further, the Houndour pounces at Aaron, who locks arms with the Pokémon and furiously wrestles with it on the ground. Ash tries to jump in, but his father motions him to back away. “Ash, leave! Promise me that you’ll defeat whoever is responsible for this, that you’ll save May… and that you’ll come back for me.”
Ash looks intently at his noble father with great admiration, who, within one night, has become his greatest hero. “I promise.”
Aaron urges him to run off. Ash quickly flexes his sore muscles, then bolts with Chimchar up the mountain.
As he makes the climb, he instantly stops, spotting, to his horror, a dense, red-violet cloud covering all of the Oak village, all of downtown, and half of the island. Shaking off his state of shock, he continues ascending the mountain, briefly twisting his head to the right to see Chimchar running alongside him, his final loyal comrade, whom the boy beckons to hop on his shoulder. The chimp complies, and the duo, already sharing a special bond, at last reach their destination: the summit.
A fiery-headed man, hearing the native’s footsteps, turns around, and his eyes open widely when he sees Ash and Chimchar stand before him. “Impossible!” he exclaims. “You were badly injured… and Houndour—”
“Already taken care of, Flare.” Ash smirks, just like he did before.
Flare smirks back. “I guess I didn’t give you enough credit. I’m impressed, kid.” He strokes his professionally cut hair, ignoring the teenaged girl resting on his shoulder. “Too bad it’s already over. Once I’m out of here, that cloud will consume you like it has to everyone else you love.”
“Before I defeat you once and for all,” the boy begins confidently, “at least answer me this one question.” Flare raises his eyebrows, staring directly into his foe’s gleaming eyes. “Why did you kidnap May once again? You clearly did everything you could to prevent me from getting up here. So why kidnap someone you knew I would hunt you down for?”
Flare continues to stare at Ash, as if he’s ready to engage in battle, but instead replies coolly, “The girl serving only as bait might have been a bit of a white lie. If you absolutely must know, I suppose I can tell you exactly what my mission was in this world.”
The visitor shuts his eyes shortly, and then, robotically utters, “To enter the portal into the new world, neutralize the Oak lineage—by any means—and retrieve ‘the maiden whose heart is pure.’”
Ash is left baffled at the last objective of his enemy’s abnormal assignment. Flare explains, “My suspicions about her were first aroused when I read your medical report. You were badly wounded… yet you suddenly picked up the energy to walk out of there, and I highly doubt this barbaric island has that kind of advanced medicine. So my guess is that this girl fixed you up somehow.”
Ash thinks back to the last thing he did before leaving his hospital room, which he remembers as a one-on-one moment with May, where they briefly comforted each other.
Flare continues, “My suspicions were largely confirmed after climbing up here.” He points to the side of his neck where he was attacked by Chimchar, where there’s barely a mark to show for it. “As you can see, my wound has nearly faded away.” Ash looks at it, amazed at its unnatural recovery rate. “But the most consistent and disgusting evidence,” Flare remarks in a low-toned bitterness, “is that grotesque purity in her heart that I can’t stop sensing!”
Suddenly, a light begins to radiate within the dormant volcano. “It sickens me!” Flare concludes coldly—after which he carelessly tosses the maiden off his shoulder and into the glowing hole.
“May!” Ash shouts, rushing towards the girl of his dreams in a desperate attempt to save her. But before he can reach the center of the volcano, Flare clicks on one of his devices, and a massive, blue creature with blank eyes appears, creating a psychic barrier that bars the boy from coming any closer.
“That looks like… Darmanitan?” Ash says, uncertainly.
Flare smirks. “It’s called Zen Mode, kid,” he teases his foe. “And don’t worry about your girlfriend; I didn’t kill her.” He points to the hole, grinning at the helpless native. “She’s gonna be really useful to Shadow. Now, sadly for you, this is the part where we bid farewell… forever. My ever so loyal Pokémon will make sure you don’t get past his barrier.” He snaps his fingers cockily at Ash. “But hey, you fought the good fight—or as good as a simpleton from this world could possibly do.”
Ash clenches his fist, absolutely displeased with Flare’s behavior. “You say May sickens you? Well you sicken me, Flare! You don’t even have the courage to fight me. You’re just gonna leave your Darmanitan, and Houndour, to die here without a care in the world!”
Flare is about to bite back, but maintains his composure. “Boy, you really have the nerve to lecture me, kid,” he retorts, then narrows his eyes. “I already told you: I’m a man with a mission. As long as I get it done and experience some fun out of it, everything and everyone is an accessory.” He turns away from the boy. “It’s been real, kid.” And he jumps into the hole, disappearing just like May.
Ash pounds his fists onto the ground in frustration, failing at the moment to keep his promise to his father. Meanwhile, he turns his head to see Chimchar clawing and shooting embers at the barrier, but otherwise failing to penetrate it. Our hero looks at his pendant once again, which immediately reminds him of the peculiar dream he recently had. “Mother,” Ash speaks softly, “you’re always here for me, right?”
Out of the blue, Ash walks proudly to the chimp Pokémon, staring at it with an unprecedented fire burning in his eyes. “Chimchar, I must confide to you,” he admits with great confidence in his voice, “that there is nothing more I am passionate about… than saving everyone I love!” He extends his hand to the chimp. “If you help me, I promise we can do it.”
The chimp, struck in awe at his friend’s newfound valor, shakes the boy’s hand firmly, and still holding onto it, takes in a very deep breath. Ash rubs the pendant vigorously with his other hand, and, to everyone’s surprise, when Chimchar exhales, an enormous, white fire shoots out, hotter and more powerful than the sun’s surface, completely decimating the barrier!
Frightened by such an incredible power, Darmanitan, still levitating, flees into the hole. Ash cheers at their brief victory via dancing around with the chimp. Finally, he looks below him at the swirling hole in the volcano, grabbing Chimchar’s hand once more. He reflects on those remaining behind—Lady Oak, Paul, and his father, Aaron—and, knowing his journey is just beginning, thrusts himself, and his ally, down the volcano, into the unknown.
Last edited by flamebeam; 4th June 2014 at 8:08 AM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka
30th June 2014, 2:55 AM
6. Dawn of a Storm
The stained ceiling of the room lacks any decoration or coloring. The only noticeable variations are the small cracks that have formed at its corners, likely from water damage. Nothing can be heard within the proximity, except for long, sharp whistles and squeaks from an unknown origin.
Ash weakly lifts his head up, off of his feathery, worn out pillow, at last able to take in his surroundings with his new view. His attention is immediately caught by another whistle, which is coming from a faulty radiator. He wipes the sweat off his forehead, now understanding why it’s so stuffy in this room. But how did I get here? the boy wonders.
He twists his head the other direction and notices Chimchar on the ground, snoozing soundly on a throw pillow. His clothes are pressed and folded neatly on top of the adjacent chair. While curious as to how his clothes got there, he checks under his blanket, expecting stark-nakedness, only to find pajama bottoms covering his legs. As he attempts to lift himself further up from his mysterious resting place, a sharp pain shoots up his back and momentarily paralyzes him. Ash lets out a sharp, brief cry over the unexpected severity of his condition.
Almost instantly, the door to the room is slammed completely open, and an elderly woman with gray, stringy hair that reaches her shoulders, wearing a very traditional blouse and skirt, rushes into the room, her eyes widening when she sees the boy conscious and animated. “Kaaaaaarl!” she calls out, holding that one syllable for what felt like eons. “Git over here! The kid’s all wakened up.” She steps closer to Ash to make room for her incoming husband—an aged man with folds on his face as deep as a valley and a bald, dusty head, wearing a thin, flannel shirt and worn out overalls.
“Ah can see it for mahself, Hana,” the man responds to his weary wife. “Wadaya reckon we do with him now that he’s up?”
“…Where am I…?” Ash questions slowly, massaging his temple in the hopes of easing the headache that has slowly crept up on him, most likely from overexerting himself. He lies back down in order to avoid further suffering.
“Oh, dear,” Hana frets, her jowls drooping resultantly. “I’ll git him some milk, Karl. You keep him some company.”
As the woman trudges out of the bedroom, the man slides a chair towards himself so he can sit down. “Can you tell us yer name, son?” he asks.
The boy continues to rub his head. “It’s… Ash.” Suddenly, it all starts coming back to him: the forest fire, his grandmother’s death, the battle with Flare—from where he received his back injury—, May’s capture, and the mysterious Pokémon Island landmark that introduced this threat—the same landmark that he jumped into, beside his new friend, Chimchar, chasing after his foe to save the girl of his dreams. Ash turns to the Chimp Pokémon again, whose tuft of orange fur sits neatly combed on his head, and whose dorsal flame is all but vanished. “Are we… in a volcano?”
Karl lifts his eyebrows quite a distance up, his crow’s feet visible under his tired eyes. “A volcano?! What in tarnation?” He coughs hoarsely, clearly having strained his frail vocal cords, and continues in a lower range, “Boy, are you trahyin' ta tell me that you come from a volcano, 'cause there ain't none of 'em 'round 'ere!”
Before the man could learn anything further about his house guest, Hana returns with a tray holding a pitcher of milk and a glass cup full of the beverage next to it. Ash stares at the glass with great admiration, suddenly realizing how dry his mouth feels. “Go on, now,” the woman croons. “Have as much as you want. You gotta bring up yer strength if you wanna get up outta that bed, ya hear?”
“You be careful with ‘em, Hana,” Karl suggests. “That boy just asked me if we were at a volcano. Now I don’t know much about psahcology but sounds to me like his brain is a few eggs short of a carton.”
“Oh, hush now!” Hana protests. “His injuries must’ve affected his thinkin’.” She sets the tray down on Ash’s lap. “I read in one of ‘em newspaper articles that yer back is related to yer thinkin’. So we just gotta fix his back to fix his thinkin’.” She directs her dialogue to Ash. “So you drink all this milk here to help get yer back bones strong, ya hear?”
Ash nods awkwardly at the overbearing couple. He begins to reach for the glass of milk, but stops short of picking it up. He uncomfortably scratches his itching chest, probably due to the straw shirt he was wearing.
But then he realizes something that greatly upset him—he wasn’t wearing his pendant.
“N-no!” the teen gasps. Struggling to relive his recent memories, he eventually remembers his encounter with Flare at the volcano summit. He knew he had his pendant then, because it helped Chimchar break through Zen Mode Darmanitan’s barrier… But now he’s worried of the possibility that it dropped after jumping into the volcano.
“Where is it?!” Ash shouts frantically, allowing the tray to tilt over, the pitcher and glass spilling a large puddle of milk all over the bed sheets and floor. “Where is my pendant?! Please, I need it!”
Hana almost falls back, frightened by the boy’s chaotic outburst, but is fortunately caught in time by her husband. “Oh dear! Oh dear!” she cries. “Karl, he almost harmed me! What do we do?”
“I’ll git mah barrel, Hana!” the man assures, referring to his prized hunting weapon.
“I need my pendant!” Ash demands wildly as he lifts himself back up, ignoring the immense pain from his back. “I need it now! I need my mother! Give me my pendant, please!” Beads of sweat fly down his face, quickly collecting on the collar of his itchy shirt. Chimchar, at this moment, wakes up, startled by his friend’s worrisome behavior.
“The necklace!” Hana exclaims. “Karl, he wants that necklace I was polishing.”
“Well, go git it! I’ll make sure he doesn’t hurt himself.” Karl leans over the boy in an attempt to comfort him while Hana rushes out of the room, only to quickly return with a shiny necklace that she tosses to her husband, who places it on the boy.
As soon as it’s around his neck, Ash slowly begins to settle down. “My pendant…” The pain from his injuries, previously ignored due to his panic, finally induces a deliria that manipulates the room to spin around in his mind, until he ultimately drops back to his pillow and passes out.
Hana breathes heavily, her husband guiding her to his chair so that she could recollect herself. “Oh dear, Karl…” she mutters while sitting down. “I wonder where this boy comes from, and what brings him here now.”
Tossed like a doll against a sturdy tree, located in the center of a thick, marshy forest, a half-awake May rubs the back of her brunette head to feel for bruises. She flickers her eyes open, only to be overwhelmed with the incredible scenery that surrounds her.
Tiny rodent and avian Pokémon scurry about, chasing even tinier insects—some of them familiar to the Pokémon Island resident—to prey on. A few yards away, a cyan lake glimmers brightly, carrying with it a pristine fragrance, thus captivating the girl’s senses. A giant catfish Pokémon shoots out of the lake’s surface, like a dolphin in the ocean, and plops back into it with great force, the splash of its collision leaving behind drops of falling water that reach as far as May’s forearm. The moisture is enough for the Petalburg princess to shake off her grogginess, allowing herself to breathe in the pure, natural air, far purer than anything she’s ever experienced back home.
The girl is ready to break into tears over the unbelievable beautiful scenery… until a branch of berries are rudely tossed to her—almost scratching her usually soft but currently dirty and rough skin—by a man with fiery-red hair, cut short and professionally, and black attire. He crosses his sunburnt arms on his chest so that his biceps bulge out.
“Eat that,” he orders the girl unsympathetically, stomping around in his hiking boots. “You need the energy. I can’t have you slowing me down.”
May stares at her small portioned snack, all the while recalling her capture from Pokémon Island’s hospital, where Paul fought valiantly to protect her with his life, sadly in vain. She grinds her teeth, angered by the situation she’s trapped in. “Just kill me already, Flare,” she mutters. “I have nothing to live for.”
It has been about half a day—from last night until this morning—since she had woken up from her Yawn-induced slumber, after which Flare had explained thoroughly to her how she was no longer in Pokémon Island… or how “Pokémon Island” was no longer. And all of its inhabitants, as Flare claimed, are never to be seen again. This new world was to serve as May’s new home, and everything about her past is wiped from existence. Her future used to predict an early marriage, a large inheritance, and no worries. Now it holds a lifetime of involuntary servitude to the people responsible for her former life’s destruction.
Flare offers another one of his signature smirks and replies, “You know I can’t go off killing you. You’re much too important for Shadow, which is why I’m under the strictest orders to make sure I deliver you carefully and undamaged.”
“I’m not a delivery package!” May retorts, though still adjusting to these wild emotions that she’s spent so many years suppressing.
Before Flare could further toy with the girl, his attention turns to a vibrating pulse in his pocket. He pulls out an earpiece through which he can make out a feminine, robotic voice saying, “Report, Commander 01. I repeat: report, Commander 01.”
“Speaking of orders,” Flare starts, sighing, “I’ve gotta talk to the guy who assigned them to me now. So eat your berries and keep quiet.” He moves a distance away from the maiden to answer the call privately in a formal tone. “C01 speaking.”
“You barbaric imbecile!” a devious, deep, lively voice barks at the fire-type expert. “Your mission was simple; all you were ordered to do was neutralize the Oak lineage and retrieve the girl.”
“But Boss,” Flare pleads, “that’s exactly what I did. I’ve barely left the girl out of my sight. And that kid and his grannie are long gone—an entire world away.”
“Sadly for you, my incompetent subordinate, you’re only half correct,” the voice harshly states, his inflections signaling an abundance of rage. “Commander 03 has detected multiple otherworldly entrances shortly after you arrived here with the girl.”
“What?!” Flare looks back at May nibbling lifelessly at an Oran Berry without little effort or care. After making sure she’s preoccupied, he looks away and pounds his fist on a nearby tree in complete frustration, softly replying, “How is that possible, Boss?”
“It’s simple, if you have the mental capacity to understand it,” his leader sneers. “C03 was able to perfect his detection equipment while you were doing who-knows-what in that forsaken island. As you know, any entrance from one world to another produces a specific energy field that lasts for a few days, which he can pick up in seconds. Because of the circumstances of your assignment, he was expecting two consecutive, overlapping fields, produced by yourself and the girl.”
“Do you think my Pokéballs could’ve contributed any additional fields?” Flare asks as he checks out his belt of spherical contraptions containing his Pokémon.
“No, you fool! The Pokéballs seal your Pokémon’s life forms, making that theory entirely implausible.”
“Boss…” Flare begins carefully, slightly afraid of the consequences of upsetting him, “if you’re trying to tell me that twerp escaped that dump of an island, then let me finish the job. I’ll make him pay for not giving up back at his innocent little home.”
“I expect screw-ups like this from you, C01,” the voice snaps. “Your work is sloppy; you focus too much on thrill and not enough on efficiency. If this trend of yours does not begin to curve into the opposite direction, then I will demote you to the most menial Shadow occupation my secretary can find for you. It would be something that even you could perform.”
Flare tries to defend himself. “Boss, if you’ll let me explain, I did what I could. I tried to be efficient. But it also didn’t help that I didn’t know what I was getting into.” He clenches his teeth. “That persistent family had these unusual powers that kept getting in my way. So I used my judgment and left the kid to the cloud,” Flare concludes, referring to the peculiar, red-violet cloud that consumed the entire island.
“Silence!” the voice commands.
“But Boss, I’ll finish hi—.”
“He’s not the only one who escaped.”
“What…?” Flare’s mouth hangs wide open. Once again he turns around to take a peek at May, who is now staring at the lake, as she did before.
The Boss explains, “C03, through his equipment, detected not one, but five additional fields after yours and the girl’s.”
This time, Flare has nothing to say.
His leader continues, “C04 already identified one of them to be your Darmanitan, which you so carelessly left behind.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” Flare murmurs. “I was… trying to be more efficient with my resources.”
“Then it’s quite clear that you do not understand efficiency,” the voice remarks. “Now, if you want to provide any use to our organization, then use whatever underdeveloped brain power you can spare to deduce which of the remaining four fields is the hero. The fields came in roughly two pairs: one pair simultaneously came to existence, almost a second after Darmanitan’s field; the next field was made a short time afterwards, followed closely by the last one.”
After a moment of thinking it over, Flare answers in a serious tone, “The kid must’ve found a way to penetrate Darmanitan’s barrier. He probably used Chimchar to do it, too. They’re most likely responsible for those two force fields.” He scratches his chin. “As for the last two, I can’t say for sure what caused them. Hell, maybe a couple of giant boulders fell in or something.”
“The energy fields result from otherworldly life forces, you hopeless simpleton!” the Boss exclaims. “And now I’m hearing that these additional entrances could have been prevented if you didn’t let the hero purify your Chimchar?!” The vein on Flare’s head slowly begins to reveal itself, signaling his dwindling patience. His boss continues, “Nonetheless, those last two fields are not as much of a concern to me. At this moment, what matters is delivering the maiden and eliminating the hero. The rest of your mess can be cleaned up in due time.”
“Understood, Boss,” Flare replies. “I suppose I can drop the girl at a rendezvous point and waste the hero, like I intended to do in the first place.”
“No,” his leader states coldly, “you’ve caused enough trouble as it is. I’m sending someone with a true sense of competence.” He pauses, seemingly to think it over. “Given that it’s only been approximately half of a day since his arrival, the hero cannot be too far from where he created the energy field. I’ve already detached Commander 07 to locate and eliminate the target.”
“Commander 07?!” Flare gasps, catching the attention and curiosity of his previously distracted captive.
“Indeed. Do not question my leadership,” the Boss responds coolly. “I’m transferring you to a call with her this instant so you can give her as much intel of the hero as possible. Then you are to resume your current mission of delivering the maiden, which I expect you not to screw up.”
Flare answers in frustration, “I sure wish somebody could’ve given me intel.”
But instead of a response or any further scolding from his cold-hearted superior, the call is interrupted by static, followed by the sound of a woman transmitting through the earpiece. “C07 speaking.”
In a distant sector of the swampy forests, a tall woman with long, wavy, cerulean hair in a navy-colored, elastic uniform equipped with many combat-based devices—and a crimson red cape to add the finishing touch—awaits an answer, while surveying the area with some kind of detecting stick.
In her earpiece, a disheartened man addresses her, “So I guess you’re gonna go after this kid, huh?”
“Well, what do you expect, Flare?” she retorts. “It’s not the first time I had to clean up your mess.”
“You know what, Storm?” Flare barks. “I hope that kid takes you for a ride you won’t be able to handle.”
“That’s very immature of you to wish something like that for a fellow commander,” Storm responds coldly, still using her detector. “But it’s a good thing for me that I don’t come across those ‘rides’.” On the other side of the call, Flare can’t help but crack a smile at his co-worker’s confidence. She continues, “Now tell me what you know so I can finish this before sunset.”
“For starters, he’s about a couple of inches shy from six feet tall, he’s tan, spiky black hair…” The fiery-headed man looks at a Pokéball, the one that once held Darmanitan, recalling how close the Blazing Pokémon came to destroying Ash. “But you gotta stay away from the pendant he wears around his neck… It’s bad news. Even without it, he would do literally anything to not die.”
“If you’re so infatuated with the boy,” the woman sneers, “then maybe I’ll leave some of him alive for you.”
Ignoring her jab, Flare concludes, “As long as he doesn’t have any other tricks up his sleeve, it’s safe to say the kid’s a goner if he’s up against you. He has no experience with handling Pokémon, and his back is probably still injured from our last fight.”
“Normally, I’d be worried if my target has successfully evaded defeat from a fellow commander,” Storm says, “but he was only fighting you.” Flare rolls his eyes on the other side of the call.
Then, the detector Storm was using starts to beep, and she begins to chuckle malevolently while indecently dismissing her call. She concludes to herself, “He’ll probably regret coming here after a minute against me… but instead of showing mercy, I’ll make him drown in his sorrows.”
Birds of all kinds, Pokémon and animal, swarm the lush, vivacious forest, overwhelming Ash as he strolls about, dressed from head to toe in his previous, personal attire, intrigued by the vastness and complexity of these woods.
Waking up that morning, Ash had noticed how much stronger he felt. He lifted his pendant off of his itchy chest and offered it an adoring kiss. Once again, he noticed his hand-washed clothes still folded on the chair beside his bed.
The boy stood up—for the first time in over two days—and dug through a nearby dresser to pick out a towel. After stripping down to nothing but said towel (all the while shuddering at the thought of how those strange clothes got on him in the first place) he searched around the noticeably empty house, which was decorated with creaking wooden furniture, oil-painted portraits, and rugs made of cowhide.
Eventually, he found the bathroom. As he showered, for the first time in a long time his mind was clear and at ease.
With Chimchar behind him, the teen, after digging into the breakfast laid out for him in the room he had been occupying, left the house fully clothed and made his way outside, where he saw the old woman who had nursed him back to health milking cattle, in what appeared to be an old farm.
Ash pauses momentarily to pay particular attention to a single tree from which a unique humming can be heard. He stares deeply at it, specifically the hole that has been artificially carved into it. Before he can hypothesize the method of the hole’s formation, a giant ladybug Pokémon buzzes out of the tree, followed by two, tinier ladybugs, the trio crying a mixture of “Ledian!” and “Ledyba!” as they fly to other foliage, seemingly searching for food.
The foreign boy can’t help but grin at the liveliness of his surroundings. Every corner and crevice of the forest contains remarkable specimen that piques his interest. In a spontaneous burst, the passion he exhibited as a child when he first studied these magnificent creatures has reawakened. “This place,” he reminisces aloud. “They called it… Novus.”
“A girl?” Ash questioned, while lifting buckets of freshly squeezed milk and placing them into cold storage.
Hana, still churning udders, explained, “Yes, a girl. She was a funny lookin’ one, I’ll give ya that, but she found ya all passed out two nights ago, out in the forests, and brought ya here at the crack o’ dawn so you can get better, ya hear?” She fanned herself with her wrinkled, callused hand, then gave another bucket to Ash and hobbled to the final cow. “We warned her that we couldn’t help ya ‘cause we were busy gatherin’ our products for sale, so what she did was she took the courtesy of deliverin’ our bags o’ rice to the market up a little ways north.”
Ash hauled the buckets of milk one by one into the large freezer room, with Chimchar looking on from the corner in boredom. When he was all caught up with his load of work, the teen had proceeded to ask, somewhat naďvely, “So you're saying that you almost chose to take care of agricultural goods rather than me?”
Hana was forced to stop at such a bold inquisition. “Now, look here, son,” she rebuked, the folds of her forehead compressed. “I figgered a stranger like you would at least know that tough choices like that are a common thang with us strugglin’ folks here in the Novus region.”
Having sat down, Ash takes quick glances around while playing with his hat, struggling to adjust to this new world he’s entered through the dormant volcano of his home island. Chimchar decides to rest against him, rubbing his head on his friend’s lap, until a tiny army of ants march across his feet, completely capturing his focus so that he chases after them with great enthusiasm. Ash observes the degree of interest this incredible Pokémon expresses over something so simple, yet so different from everything the youth grew up around.
“This world and I… we don’t mix.” He sighs, while taking out a leather pouch from his sleeveless jacket and looking at it carefully. “Did I really expect to adapt to something as different as this… Novus world?”
From a distance, an old man limped slowly into the farm, towards Hana and their peculiar houseguest, leading the old woman to gasp in shock as they ran over to support him. Before anyone could verbally express their concerns, the man took a seat on the dirt and bitterly spoke, “It’s this darn leg o’ mine, Hana. It gave out on me not too far from the path.”
“Oh dear, Karl!” Hana cried. “How are we goin’ ta deliver the eggs to the market? Without them, we won’t be able to pay the mortgage.”
Ash, standing over the old, troubled couple, gazed at them with great concern, as well as with guilt over having become a liability for them these past couple of days. “Why don’t I deliver the eggs for you?” he offered hesitantly.
The couple glanced at each other nervously. Then, Karl takes out three leathery pouches from his overall pockets, each containing four eggs. “It would save our home if ya did, son.”
Still sitting, rubbing the pouch with his thumb, Ash speaks up again, “I should’ve never offered to deliver these for them.” He shrugs his shoulders in discontent. “I know it’s important to them, but what good am I? I don’t know the first thing about this world…this mysterious place that the volcano brought me to.” He sees the fire chimp climbing trees, scoping out the endless shrubs, woods, and bodies of water in the vicinity. The pressure of the situation slowly builds up in the tortured teen’s head.
“If I can’t follow these simple directions to the market without an anxiety attack, then how do I expect to rescue May?” he asks himself. He closes his eyes to hide this odd world from his vision—a world whose beauty captivates the boy, but whose complexity discourages him from the daunting task he has set out to overcome in following the girl of his dreams here. The change in his life gradually serves to change his level of determination, for the worse. Before Ash knows it, he spends an entire hour resting up against that tree, ignoring his responsibilities, awaiting just what it is that fate has in store.
Luckily for the anxious teen, fate answers when his ears catch an all too familiar sound for someone who grew up on an island—the crashing of waves.
“How is that possible?” he wonders aloud, shifting in confusion. Then, the dirt below him begins to dampen, causing the boy to instinctively jump up from the ground. Another crash is heard from a distance, and the flow of water to Ash’s feet follows. He turns to Chimchar, who is also puzzled by the commotion, and almost as if by telepathic communication between the two, the chimp agrees to leap onto Ash’s shoulder from the tree he was playing on, as the duo ventures deeper into the forest.
The adolescent rests his hands in the pockets of his sleeveless, black jacket, which are holding the three pouches of eggs for him, as he wades into the shallow puddle of swirling mud. He turns his head back for a moment, looking at the direction he’s supposed to go to deliver the goods. “As soon as I figure out what’s going on,” he murmurs to himself seriously, “I better make sure I do what I said I’d do for the old couple.”
As he turns back around, a giant wave climbs over him, which he narrowly avoids. Chimchar, naturally afraid of the excessive surge, hops off of his friend’s shoulder and runs ahead, Ash following suit.
“Chimchar, wait up,” he exclaims.
After running through the few lingering upright trees, Ash finds himself in a cleared out zone bordering a rushing river, with a woman on the water, who is standing on a whale-like creature. In between the two people, Chimchar, on all fours, growls at the stranger, as if he recognizes her.
Before Ash could ask who she was, a jet of water dynamically propels itself towards the boy, knocking him off his feet as he lands hard onto the wet ground. He weakly picks his torso up, while rubbing his sore back, and finds a skeletal Pokémon with a brown shell and gray chest menacingly scratching its scythes against each other, deducing that it is the source of his assault.
The woman orders emotionlessly, “Kabutops, stand down.” The Pokémon speedily retreats to the riverside, while its master hops off of a spherical whale Pokémon and onto land, eyeing Ash’s chest. She mordantly remarks, “That’s a shiny pendant you have there.” Ash quickly glances at his precious heirloom, then vigilantly eyes this unfriendly stranger. “Judging by your other characteristics, it’s safe to assume that you’re the hero I’m looking for.”
“H-hero?” Ash climbs to his feet, confusion clear on his face.
The woman rolls her eyes in agitation. “I can’t believe Flare wasn’t able to finish you off.” She slowly advances towards her target, taunting him with her devious glare. “You don’t even have a clue what’s going on, do you? What, you think that hothead grabbed your girlfriend to spite you?” She tosses her radiant, cerulean hair to the side. “You’re hardly that important—just a nuisance I’ve been assigned to take care of.”
Ash begins to clench his fists, his mind returning to the anger he felt outside of the Pokémon Island hospital, against his most powerful foe to date. “You work with Flare?” he sternly questions.
The woman scoffs, “That’s what you took from what I said? You’re even denser than I had assumed, so let me put this in a way that you should be able to comprehend.” She forcefully opens her arms wide, the wind of the rapid river lifting her elegant, crimson cape to her neck. “I am Storm of the Eight Enforcers, and I will be the last person you ever meet. How that makes you feel is of no concern to me.”
“I’m already sick of you Eight Enforcers!” Ash snaps. “Now tell me where May is, so I can rescue her!”
The villainess continues to toy with him. “Huh, well look at that: the hero wants to play… ‘the hero.’”
Before Ash can explode on her, Chimchar rushes to his side, the two of them ready to beat the answers out of their foe.
But much to their surprise, Storm becomes pleased with their hostility. “Good,” she muses approvingly. “Cutting to the chase is what I do best, unlike Flare. And it’ll make up for the day and a half I’ve wasted searching for you, especially after my detector failed to specify your location beyond this river.” She tosses out a Pokéball, and a blue seahorse with cream-colored scales is summoned from it. “Anyway, I’ll make this quick and painful.”
Unable to tolerate any more of Storm’s taunts, Ash starts. “Chimchar!” he pleads. “Burn that Pokémon to a crisp!” The chimp complies, hurriedly taking in a breath, but, unlike before at the volcano, releases tiny embers against his foe.
“That’s almost humorous,” the woman mocks. “Seadra, counter with BubbleBeam!” The Dragon Pokémon shoots out a stream of bubbles that douse Chimchar’s cinders. Ash and Chimchar dodge the leftover bubbles right before they hit them, so that they instead land on the ground, the impact flinging mud all over the field.
“Chimchar! Attack Seadra with your claws!” Ash cries. The fiery primate rebounds from the defensive to an agile, offensive lunge.
But, surprisingly to Ash, Storm tosses her hair again, without even giving another command. Instead, Chimchar connects on the seahorse, and the boy shakes his fist in the air in celebration, though rather prematurely.
Because after that, next thing he sees is Chimchar rolling around on the dirt, his skin slowly becoming a sickly violet.
Stunned by the unusual change in his friend, Ash interrogates, “What happened to Chimchar, Storm? What did you do?!”
Storm stares amusedly at the suffering chimp. She answers, “Seadra’s ability is Poison Point. When Chimchar scratched her fins, a nullifying poison made contact with his skin. And just as I had expected, the weakling isn’t able to handle it.”
Ash grits his teeth. “Another one of those abilities. First there was Zen Mode, and now…”
“What are you murmuring about?” Storm barks. “If you’re not going to retaliate, then I’ll start ending this.” She places her hands on her hips. “Are you going to retaliate?” Ash crosses his arms and looks away, struggling to come up with a way out. “I didn’t think so. Seadra, use Twister!”
Suddenly, a mystical wind begins to flow around Seadra’s tail, which now glows a corrupt, black color. But before Ash can further analyze this darkness, the seahorse elegantly swings its appendage, and a powerful tornado shoots out, aimed straight for the hero.
But as Ash braces himself from the blow, Chimchar desperately jumps in hopes of deflecting the tornado, but is instead caught in it. Eventually, the tornado reaches Ash, and the two of them are tossed around in the vortex. The boy fights to open his eyes in order to find his friend, but the speed of the winds are too much for him to withstand. At last, the tornado flings its victims and afterward dissipates, as Ash finds himself lying on the ground, his head over the rushing waters of the river. In the middle of it, he can make out Chimchar lying unconsciously on a triad of rocks.
“Chimchar!” he shouts.
“Still conscious, are we?” Storm hisses, and she takes a few more steps towards her foe. “I hope you understand this means even more pain for you.”
Ash urgently attempts to dive for Chimchar, but his motion is immediately halted by a strange force and subsequent pain. He looks at his ankle, which is now caught within the hooks of a blue grappling hook.
“You’re not going anywhere,” his foe says, holding the other end of the hook, which appears to have come from her combat-based uniform. “I told you I was ending this. Kabutops!” The Shellfish Pokémon rushes over. “Make good use of those scythes of yours; slice his leg off.”
The former fossil scratches its scythes playfully against each other until it positions one of them a few inches from Ash’s meaty leg.
“I… refuse to die,” Ash whispers to himself.
As Kabutops raises his scythe, prepared for an incision, the teen pulls one of the pouches out of his pocket and throws it at the Pokémon’s face, momentarily distracting it, and baffling its owner.
“What’s the meaning of this?!” Storm demands furiously.
Ash only continues his childish assault, this time friskily pulling the eggs out of the other two pouches and tossing them at Kabutops and Storm. Finally, the Shellfish Pokémon has had enough of the antics and jumps in for a counterattack, but Ash uses the time and freedom he’s gained to nudge his ankle off of the hook, all the while removing his pendant and, in one motion, smacking his opponent with it.
Just like the other times, the pendant reacts with the darkness in the Pokémon, releasing a shockwave of light that blinds Storm and sends Kabutops shooting into the forest. When the light clears, Storm surveys the scene, but fails to find Ash or Chimchar.
She grimaces. “That rotten kid; he’s as persistent as Flare suggested.” She rapidly locates Kabutops and returns it to its Pokéball, also doing the same with Seadra. Finally, she hops onto the whale Pokémon who has remained still the entire time in the river. “Wailmer!” she urges the whale. “Surf down this river! We have to make sure he isn’t left alive.”
At the mouth of the river, which spills via a waterfall into a tranquil lake, a teenaged girl with long, dark blue, straightened hair, wearing a short, black skirt, black boots running up to her knees, and a black hat with a pink Pokéball styled on it, casually tosses pebbles into the water, while a small penguin Pokémon runs around, crying “Piplup! Piplup!”
The girl, slightly annoyed, is about to tell the penguin to settle down, when the corner of her eye catches a figure at the top of the waterfall. Upon closer inspection, thanks to her perfect vision, she recognizes the figure as a body caught by the rocks at the top. But then, the rocks give way, and the person begins to fall to his demise.
She gasps in panic. “Hurry, Piplup! Save that kid with a Whirlpool!”
The light blue, tiny penguin lifts its arms up and opens its beak widely, a vortex of water emerging from it, which it tosses towards the bottom of the waterfall. Fortunately, the whirlpool is able to cushion the landing for the boy, who appears to be holding a Pokémon. Piplup valiantly drags the duo to the shore, where the girl decides to take a closer look, until she realizes something about this person.
“This boy,” she starts, “is the one I saved two nights ago.” She lifts up the unconscious teen’s arms and discovers a badly poisoned Chimchar shaking on his chest. Speaking to Piplup, she wonders aloud, “What do you think could’ve happened to them?”
While contemplating this mystery, another individual, this time a woman, rides down the waterfall with her trustworthy Wailmer. The woman scopes the area, noticing the young girl at the shore. “You there,” she addresses her coldly. “Have you seen a boy and his Chimchar around here? It’s urgent that I find them.”
The girl stares skeptically at this mysterious woman, paying close attention to the weapons and devices she holds at the waist of her attire. With her guard up, she responds, “Sorry. He hasn’t shown up.”
But it was too late to avoid the truth; the woman, while atop her Wailmer, immediately recognizes her motionless enemy lying a few feet away from her. Naturally, the woman purses her lips, and, aggravated, responds, “I suggest you refrain from any more lies, girl. Now kindly remove yourself from my way so I can deal with my business.”
The girl doesn’t budge.
“Look,” the woman scolds impatiently, flipping her cerulean hair back, “I’m all for female empowerment, so I really don’t want to fight you.”
The girl interrupts, “Then I guess that’s something we have in common; we women should be sticking together.” Still, her tone is adversarial, implying opposition.
The woman concludes slowly, “Then for the last time, back away… Let me handle my business… Nothing needs to get messy.”
The girl looks hard at the stranger, searching for the woman’s true character, which seems to be buried deep behind the façade she’s presenting right now. Once again, she turns her attention to the boy she’s saved once before, and turns back to stare even more firmly at the woman.
Finally, the girl brazenly snaps, “Get lost, lady.”
The woman’s eyes widen tremendously, a fury budding deep within her essence. “How dare you!” she screams, as a mysterious, dark aura forms around her chest, which, after a little concentration from the woman, is maintained and disappears. “The nerve of you to speak with such audacity! Who do you think you are, you ignorant child?!”
The dark blue-haired teenage girl motions her Piplup to prepare for battle. “Call me Dawn,” she responds confidently, “up to the moment of your downfall.”
Last edited by flamebeam; 3rd July 2014 at 4:33 PM.
Conquest: A Fan Fiction
Credit to Brutaka