Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 93

Thread: Ashes of Johto (Sacred Fire #1) [PG-13]

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco

    Default Ashes of Johto (Sacred Fire #1) [PG-13]

    This is the first in a three-part fan fiction series. I hope that you will read, comment and enjoy this fanfiction.

    Twilight has fallen on a world in which humans and Pokemon are now bitter enemies. Only five Pokemon trainers remain to try and rekindle the fire of a dead world. This is their story.

    Ashes of Johto (Sacred Fire #1)

    Chapter 1
    Eben Village, Not Far from Ecruteak City


    It was dark, too damned dark. Kim Saitou had always been a little afraid of the big, bad black, even if she would never admit it to anybody but herself. Machinery hummed all around her, only adding ambience to the menacing black instead of relieving it, every footfall a thud that rang in her ears. Behind her walked eight men wearing heavy armor, each of them toting a high-powered rifle. It was dark, but they could see everything.

    “I’ve got something,” one of the men whispered, a village fellow named Stephen. He adjusted his night vision goggled and panned his head slowly about the sterile looking control center. “Yeah, that’s them alright. I count forty, maybe fifty Magnemites. They’re draining the power again.”

    “God damnit, I knew it,” Kim sighed and disabled the safety on her rifle. “Safeties off and rifles up. On the count of three, we fire three volleys into that swarm. Then we pick them off when they scatter. Watch for machinery. You know the drill.”

    There were murmurs of acknowledgement, followed by eight nearly simultaneously clicks as the militiamen prepared to fire.

    “Three… Two… One… Okay, go!”

    Kim pulled her trigger, and the oppressive darkness was cut by three successive muzzles flashes and tracer flares. The flashes illuminated the buzzing Magnemites, several of which exploded spectacularly as they were dinged by the whizzing projectiles. The rest scattered and surrounded the party, buzzing and crackling as they powered up to attack.

    “Lights, Stephen! Now!” Kim shouted, and was momentarily dazzled as Stephen hit the emergency restart, bringing the Ecruteak Power Plant back to life. She felt her hair stand up as one of the Magnemites surged over her head, hissing and buzzing as it spat electricity at the party. Stephen turned and knocked it out of the air with a well-timed burst of gunfire, causing it to burst in a shower of sparks and hit the ground with a tin thunk.

    “Everybody okay? Anybody hurt?” Kim yelled over the din, and she said a private thanks as she was greeted with lively cursing rather than screams. The Magnemite cloud came on strong, but they hadn’t reckoned with Eben’s band of seasoned exterminators. One by one, they shuddered and dropped to the ground as they were neutered by well-aimed tracers.

    The Magnemites were almost all gone when Kim felt her rifle begin to shudder in her hands, then jam. She shrieked involuntarily as a passing Magnemite shocked her neck, then found herself ogling her rifle as it slid across the floor and vanished into the next room. Seven more rifles narrowly missed bashing her across the head as they followed Kim’s weapon into the shadows.

    Then the world started to dissolve, fragmented, and finally burst into shards of glass that drove themselves deep into Kim’s brain. She was dimly aware that the rest of the party was writhing on the floor next to her, their hands clapped to their ears as they tried to drown out the terrible, metallic shriek that threatened to burst their eardrums. Through the haze of pain, Kim saw a shiny, cycloptic bulk hovering above them, its terrible squeal distorting the air around it, their rifles held captive by two quivering magnets.

    It started to descend, that one eye narrowed. The metallic shriek dimmed a bit, and that was all that Kim needed. Before she knew it, she was out the door and into the next corridor.

    Running… Running… Running…


    Three candles stood burning on a bedside table, the only illumination for a house that, like the rest of its neighbors in Eben Village, was completely powerless. They were the villagers only refuge from the dark and the prowling Pokemon in the forest around them. Without the candles, or the power plant, Eben was a tomb.

    The candles lit softly on the face of a man who lay sleeping nearby. His hair was tussled ebony, a patchy black beard sprouting haphazardly on a somewhat boyish face. Four Pokeballs lay on the table, three were the standard red and one was a pitch black. His jacket and hat hung over a simple oaken chair.

    The man opened his eyes slowly, then jerked awake with a start as he realized that he wasn’t alone. Rubbing his eyes, he groped about for his Pokemon as he grunted, “Who’re you, whaddaya want?”

    His watery eyes started to focus, and he realized that he was looking on a haggard old man with a snow-white beard and watery eyes, hardly a threat. Nevertheless, his pulse began to quicken again as he realized that the oldster was holding his Pokeballs, “Where am I?”

    “This is Eben Village, and I am Elder Saitou,” Saitou grunted. “You have been asleep for nearly twelve hours, James. We were beginning to worry.”

    “How do you know my name?” James asked warily.

    “We found your trainer card in your personal belongings,” Saitou gestured distractedly to James’s pack, which lay in a heap on the floor. “As for yourself, we found you laying near the edge of the village. I assume that you made the acquaintance of our local Gengars.”

    “Yes, I believe I did,” James rubbed his head, blearily recalling the laughter, the moving shadows and the blinking red eyes. He had tried to fend them off, but there had been too many.

    “Well, you are safe among friends, James. You are welcome to stay here as long as you need. I’m afraid that travelers are a rare sight these days. But first, we would very much like you to explain these,” Saitou held up James’s Pokeballs. “I’m afraid that these are far rarer than the passing traveler these days. In fact, I thought that there were no more trainers in this region, not since all of the Pokemon went wild some years ago.”

    “There are a few of us, but just a few,” James said carefully. “The Pokemon listen to us when they won’t listen to anybody else.”

    “That is a remarkable gift,” Saitou nodded as he handed James his Pokeballs. “But I’m sorry to say that very few people in this village will trust a Pokemon trainer. Eben used to be home to a champion trainer, but he left this area a very long time ago. I doubt if I will see him again in my lifetime. In any case, now that you are awake, would you mind coming with me? Many of my colleagues would very much like to speak with you.”

    “Give me a hot meal and a second to get dressed, and you have a deal.”

    Saitou smiled and nodded, “I will be waiting outside, young friend.”

    * * *

    When James was finished dressing, he followed Saitou from the small house where he had been sleeping to a somewhat larger, two-story house that was nestled in a grove of trees nearby. Candles glowed in every window, and sometimes James caught glimpse of round faces peering out at him from the safety of the houses before vanishing again.

    They stepped together onto the wooden porch of the old rambler, and Saitou rapped briskly on the door. It opened as if by its own accord, its well-oiled hinges generating hardly a whisper compared to its creaky, wooden brother. When James stepped inside, he found himself facing a circle of stern looking old men and one disheveled looking woman sitting about the rambler’s well-furnished living room. Saitou guided James to a chair, then quickly fetched him a cup of coffee as the rest of the elders settled in. The woman stared at him fixedly.

    “Welcome to Eben Village,” one of the elders said in a voice barely louder than a whisper. “I am Elder Fujiwara. What is your name, boy?”

    “My name is James Chambers, and I’m a Pokemon trainer,” James said edgily, self-consciously removing his hat as he did. That woman was starting to make him nervous. He wasn’t the only one who was edgy either. The current of the room seemed to shift with the words Pokemon trainer.

    “There aren’t any more Pokemon trainers,” said the woman from her armchair. Saitou tried to pass her a cup of milk, but she pushed it away. “Pokeballs are useless, we should know. Pokemon only attack now, they are our enemies.”

    “And your name is?”

    “Kim Saitou,” Kim narrowed her eyes. “Don’t get smart with me, kid. You’re either a liar, a traitor to the human race, or both.”

    “Please excuse my daughter,” Elder Saitou said apologetically. “She had a rather nasty run-in with what we believe to be a Jibacoil last night. In fact, that’s partly why we asked you to address the council. We were wondering if you had any fire or fighting Pokemon that could assist us.”

    “Is it alright if we saw your Pokemon?” One of the elders piped up eagerly. “I trained Pokemon as a youth, but it’s been many years since I’ve seen one in captivity.”

    James looked around and saw that the other elders were nodding eagerly. He felt something slide into place in his mind, and it occurred to him that these elders weren’t afraid of him at all. They were actually excited to meet him. He stood slowly and plucked the four Pokeballs from his belt.

    “Everybody… Come on out!”

    The candles were overwhelmed by the particle flashes from the Pokeballs as James’s Pokemon appeared before the startled spectators. First an Umbreon, its gold rings flashing in the night as it curled itself around James’s legs. Then a fully-grown Pidgeot, which tucked its wings painfully about its sides. A Scyther followed with a high-pitched cry. Then, finally, a Cyndaquil, which quickly hopped up to James’s shoulder.

    “These are my friends,” James said awkwardly, aware of the eyes that had fallen on him, particularly the burning blues that belonged to Kim Saitou. “I’m sure they would thank you for your hospitality.”

    “You have a fire-type,” Elder Fujiwara said breathlessly, his eyes wide. “Truly, our prayers have been answered.”

    “I’m afraid that we’re going to have to ask for your help, trainer,” Kim said reluctantly. “We have an exterminator squad to clean out the power plant when the Magnemites become a serious drain, but our rifles are completely useless against that Jibacoil.”

    “Have you tried flamethrowers?” James asked sincerely as he fed a few scraps from his pocket to the Cyndaquil perched on his shoulder. “The commando units in Saffron City use them to keep the Kanto Power Planet clear.”

    “We’re a small village, and we only have what we can afford from the government, which isn’t much,” Kim said pointedly. “And even if we could afford flamethrowers, that Jibacoil’s magnet pull renders most metallic weapons useless.”

    “I see,” James recalled all of his Pokemon save his Cyndaquil and regarded the elders seriously. “My Pidgeot has injured its wing, and I was looking for a village that would offer me medical assistance and a place to sleep for the night. Will you help me?”

    “Yes, of course we will, Mr. Chambers,” Elder Fujiwara said gravely. “In fact, I believe we already have.”

    “Then your problem,” James nodded to his Cyndaquil, which squeaked. “Is now our problem.”

    NEXT: The Power Plant
    Last edited by Hrist[ALT]; 20th January 2007 at 2:56 PM.

  2. #2


    Great job Hrist I liked it alot.

    Credit goes to Northern Lights

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Chapter 2
    Eben Village and the Power Plant

    The road to the Ecruteak/Eben Power Plant, little more than a dirt path flanked by brambles and shrubbery, ran through dense underbrush and thick clumps of trees, where stray branches waited to scratch exposed skin and insects clung to anything and everything they could.

    James had protested returning to the power plant that night. The elders had gone out of their way to impress upon him the danger of going into the forest after nightfall, so it seemed much more prudent to him that they wait until daylight.

    “It doesn’t work that way,” Kim had said tartly as they pulled together their supplies. “The Magnemites return to their dens during the day, and they’re next to impossible to find. Oh, we’d find a few, but they would always be back that night. It’s best to wait until they’re all out in the open.”

    And so they did. Kim walked just behind James, keeping sight of the trainer and his Umbreon by the moonlight as she brushed away a few beetles and hitched her pack higher on her shoulder. The rest of the Eben Extermination Squad followed just behind, armed with a motley collection of pistols that they kept deliberately pointed toward the shrubs lest a pack of Mightyena decided to try and take their dinner.

    “I didn’t know that there were Mightyena indigenous to Johto,” James had commented when Kim brought them up during the briefing. “I’ve only seem them in Hoenn.”

    “They used to belong to Hoenn trainers, but they went wild when the bells tolled. You can find them watching all of the paths in Johto now,” Kim said icily. “They’ve been known to drag off full grown men.”

    Kim saw what appeared to be a slight shiver run down James’s spine, and felt momentarily pleased with herself for getting under the trainer’s skin. Emboldened now, she asked, “Do you always have to keep those things out of their Pokeballs?” She nodded toward the Umbreon at his feet and Cyndaquil, which was perched squarely on his shoulder.

    “Yeah, I do, actually,” James shrugged apologetically. “Sorry.”

    “Well I wish you wouldn’t,” Kim pressed on. “We don’t like Pokemon around here. Nobody trains Pokemon anymore. Nobody can train Pokemon anymore. You’re just going to bring other Pokemon here, do you want that? Are you just trying to show off?”

    Kim was expecting another one of James’s half-sarcastic responses, maybe a lame one-liner or another apology. Instead, he glanced over his shoulder, and she was struck by the hurt that was reflected in those glimmering emerald eyes. She glared back, struck unexpectedly dumb by that look.

    She knew that it was unfair to suggest that nobody could train Pokemon anymore. There were Pokemon trainers out there; their own Jeff Hibiki was one of them. But as much as she tried to be rational and contain her anger, she couldn’t help being angry every time she looked at that smug jerk and his Pokemon.

    “What the hell are you doing here anyway? What have you got to gain by helping us?”

    James stroked Cyndaquil’s head as he spoke easily, his eyes now mercifully turned away from Kim’s, “Like I said to the elders, I want a warm bed, dinner and medical attention for my Pokemon. My Pidgeot sprained its wing on the way here, and it looks like it’s in a lot of pain.”

    He flashed those eyes again, and Kim turned her attention to her boots. She didn’t want to admit that they affected her, “And how was your Pidgeot injured?”

    James chuckled a little, though it struck Kim as oddly hollow. Maybe it was because the laughter didn’t reach his eyes, which were now expressionless. ”We were on the way to Indigo to meet an old friend when we got hit in the air by a Fearow. I don’t know how far we fell before we hit the canopy and fell into your forest. I had been walking for almost two days when your Gengar got me.”

    Kim mulled this over for a moment, realizing that the story sounded about as hollow as James’s laugh. It seemed that he was leaving out details, but she couldn’t quite figure out why. So she asked the first question that came to mind, “So who’s the friend?”

    “The what?”

    “You know,” Kim said slowly. “The friend that you were going to meet. Are they another Pokemon trainer, or something?”

    James suddenly stopped, any trace of false good humor draining away in less than a second. His expression hardened, and he suddenly looked ten years older than he actually was. When he spoke, Kim couldn’t help flinching a little at his voice. It was as if the anger started at James’s toes and rose all the way up past his heart and into his voice, which was just as flat and hard as his eyes.

    “Yeah, he’s a Pokemon trainer alright. I haven’t him seen since the bells tolled, but I’ll never forget his face. I’ve tracked him across Kanto, Orre and Shinou. I see him in every one of my dreams, every single night. His name is Takeshi Miyai, and he’s the man I’m going to kill.”


    James and Kim didn’t say much after that. Kim only trailed after the trainer, lost in thought, hardly even paying attention to the painful scrapes and scratches on her hands from the brambles or to the low howls of nearby Mightyenas. James’s admission had shocked her into introspective silence, and now she could only silently brood as they steadily made their way to the power plant.

    She found that her gaze kept wandering to that Cyndaquil on James’s shoulder, though she did her best to look away, and with it came an accompanying pang of guilt. She had been a Pokemon trainer herself more than ten years ago, and a Cyndaquil had been her first Pokemon.

    Parents, friend and elders had been waiting outside her house with drums and banners, and they cheered when she appeared at the door. Kim was to have been the first trainer since Jeff three years before, and Kim’s parents were especially proud that their only daughter was going on a journey. They followed her all the way to the train station at Ecruteak, wishing luck, passing advice and offering congratulations.

    When the train had arrived and she was preparing to climb aboard, her mother had pulled her aside and tied a russet scarf to about her neck. They hugged for a moment, for a second almost indistinguishable with their long black hair, dark complexions and brown eyes, then Tara Saitou looked at her young daughter and said, “You’re so young, I hardly want to let you go. You know that we love you, and you can always come home if you’re in trouble.”

    Tara had leaned forward and given Kim a kiss on the cheek, leaving her with the faint impression of cherries and rosemary. Then she was on the train, waving goodbye to her friends and family and overcome with such deep homesickness that she cried for the first half-hour of the long trip to New Bark Town.

    Her first Pokemon had been a Cyndaquil, and she had never forgotten its sleek black fur, its long nose or the way that it squeaked when she stroked its back. It had ridden on her shoulder just like James’s did now, and though she had loved all of the Pokemon that she caught along her road to the Johto League, she had loved Cyndaquil best of all.

    Before the bells tolled, the bond between men and Pokemon had been a remarkable one. That bond had been forged over the course of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years. It was the bond of trust, the bond of friendship, and the common bond of life. But as hundreds of thousands of trainers discovered the day the bells tolled in Ecruteak City, that bond had proven to be as flimsy as a lengthy of mangy rope.

    But weak as it was, cutting that bond had also cut away a piece of the human spirit. Like jilted lovers, men would probably never be so trusting again, and Kim was no exception.

    She would never train Pokemon again. She hated Pokemon.

    Lost in thought, Kim almost collided with James as he abruptly came to a stop and pointed up at a tall shape that loomed out of the darkness, “That’s your power plant, right?”

    Kid skidded to a halt, blinking stupidly, then refocused and took stock of her surroundings. It was the power plant alright, just as they had left it. She nodded to Stephen and the rest of her compatriots, then pulled a Kawashima revolver from her belt and spun the chamber, “Yeah, that’s the place. There’s a maintenance door around the corner that we use to get in. Stephen’s got the key.”

    The party crept around the corner of the power plant, wary of any unexpected encounters with Magnemites or their big brothers Magneton and Jibacoil. The path was clear though, and Kim shined a light on the door as Stephen inserted the old-fashioned skeleton key into the lock and turned the handle.

    The door gave way with a click, and the Exterminators crept in one by one. James was about to follow, but Kim reached out a hand and stopped him. She glared up at the much larger trainer, jabbing a finger into his chest, “Don’t even think of getting in our way or trying to play hero. It’s none of my responsibility if you happen to get hurt in there.”

    James only rolled his eyes and pushed her out of the way, his Umbreon uttering a short cry of disgust (Umbreon!) as they plunged into the darkness. Momentarily disarmed, Kim hesitated, then vanished into the power plant as well.


    The fighting commenced at 3:17 that morning, its beginning marked by a spark some distance from Eben Village as the power plant’s lights sprang to life. The Eben Elders filed out of the rambler to gaze thoughtfully at that strange beacon, a cool wind stirring the wispy grey hair on their heads as they watched.

    At the edge of the village, the guards who kept watch around the perimeter with automatic rifles turned their attention to the power plant as well, a few of them bowing their head in prayer for the combatants out on the hill. They knew better than anybody that, the longer the lights remained off, the better the chance that the Mightyena packs would grow bold some night and start to attack the village.

    Only the emergency power had been activated in the power plant, so the candles were left to retain their lonely vigil over the village. Occasionally small, round faces would be mirrored in that glass, children who were awake far past their bedtime so they could get a glimpse of the distant battle.

    Kara Suzuki, an eight-year-old girl who was known for trooping around behind Kim with an air rifle and pretending to shoot rogue Pokemon, was among those children peering out the window toward the power plant. In her imagination, she saw a cloud of Magnemites exploding and spraying shrapnel as Kim fired, their single eyes dimming as they fell to the ground like so much chunk.

    “Boom! Pow! Kabaam!” She whispered as she clutched the window sill, her eyes like twin orbs. After twenty minutes, her mother appeared and put her back to bed, admonishing her that young Exterminators needed their sleep.

    The Ecruteak Power Plant glowed for nearly on hour atop the hill, but the lights never came on in Eben. Instead, the Elders and the guards could only look on faintly as the light on the hill first dimmed, then went out. They were alone.

    “They have failed,” Elder Fujiwara croaked sorrowfully. “That Jibacoil was even too strong for a Pokemon trainer. It won’t be long before our village is once again under siege by the Pokemon in the forest. It may be time for us to seek refuge in Ecruteak City.”

    There were murmurs of agreement, but Saitou wasn’t paying attention. Instead, he hurried to the perimeter guards, his heart hammering in his chest, “Quickly, we must gather together our remaining fighters and make for the power plant. They will be hurt!”

    A rescue party quickly assembled at the edge of the village and started for the power plant, leaving the Elders to numbly consider the future of Eben, if there was one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    Great fanfic Hrist, I can't wait for Chapter 3 to know what the outcome of the battle was.
    I am challenger of the Orre Pokémon League, which can be found under "PBR Battles"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Forum in Sig (lulz <3)


    Amazing, I never really read fanfics, but this story will certainly change that. Subscribing to this

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Awesome. Can't wait to see what happens next. Again, have never really bothered with fanfics but i came here thanks to Miz's sig and wasn't disappointed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Western Australia


    Great story. It'd taken me a long time to come up with a decent People vs Pokemon storyline, nevermind an okay one. Good job, and keep up the good work. I can't wait to see more of this.
    [P] [E] [@] [R] [L]
    Score: 10868 || Pokedex: 249/338/493 || Fossils dug: 53 || Time: 159:45
    Tower Team: Infernape, Hippowdon, Cacturne
    Currently trying to evolve: Buneary, Snorunt, various Eevees
    [Bastiodon is STILL MY BISHIE.]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    I appreciate the responses. ^^; I'm glad that people are noticing this fic so far. I'm a little perplexed as to why some people gave me a low star rating but posted no review though. :P

    Well anyway, there's a new chapter coming soon.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Some graphic descriptions of violence follow

    Chapter 3
    Burning Loam

    One year after the bells tolled in Ecruteak City, three-hundred villagers in Loam were murdered where they stood. They were hanging out windows, packed in alleyways, and stuffed into dumpsters which had become impromptu sarcophaguses. Many had tried to run, and these were the people who had suffered terrific burns across their entire body. The skin had crumpled like paper, their faces mummified masks of agony.

    A stage had been set up in the center of town, but its strong, cherry wood supports had been burned away, leaving it to lean at an awkward angle, a half-scorched banner reading, “LOAM THANKS…” No one but the dead knew who Loam had to thank, and they had very little to be thankful for now.

    The corpses were already moldering under the sun, and Sheriff Rick White found that he had to put a handkerchief over his nose to keep from retching. The pungent aroma of the dead mingled with the charcoal smell of roasted buildings and roasted flesh was overwhelming.

    Wiping sweat from his brow, temperatures had soared to nearly 100 degrees that day, he saw his deputy wading through the piles of corpses, his face the color of curdled milk. White kept the handkerchief over his mouth until the boy arrived, then carefully folded it and tucked it into his pocket, “Poor *******s in this village walked into some kind of massacre, kid. I’ve never see anything like this.”

    White stuffed his hands in his pockets and strolled to the stage as a crowd of investigators took pictures of the bodies and the village and took notes on legal pads. He had been dispatched to Loam when villagers in the nearby Agate City had noticed smoke on the horizon and reported a possible Pokemon attack. Looking around Loam, he realized that it was meant to appear to be exactly that, but kill crazy as the scene was, there seemed to be a patient edge to it.

    “This wasn’t the work of any amateur, that’s for damn certain,” White muttered as he came to a halt over a badly burned boy with matted black hair, a thin face and a narrow chest that was slowly rising and falling, his breathing a labored rattle. It looked as if he had taken a fire blast in the chest, what was left of his shirt was a black and twisted mass, much of it fused to his skin.

    But leaning over the boy (he couldn’t have been older than 13, White mused), the burns weren’t what caught his attention. Even the fact that the boy was still alive fell to the wayside. It was the Pokemon tugging at the kid’s arm that kept Rick’s attention, “Hey Mike, get over here, will ya?” White called over to his deputy, then pointed at the Cyndaquil. “Isn’t that the damndest thing you’ve ever seen?”

    “Looks like the Cyndaquil belonged to the kid,” Mike the deputy said. “I thought all the Pokemon trainers were gone, Mr. White.”

    White shook his head and stood, “Thought that too, kid. Get the medics over here so that we can get this kid to a proper hospital. If he lives, we’ll have plenty of questions for him.”

    The Cyndaquil went on licking the boy’s face as the two men signaled for the medics, then went back to their investigation. One of the medics tried to kick the Cyndaquil away, but it only squeaked and quickly returned to its trainer’s heel. It would remain there, perched steadfastly on his gurney as they began the long drive back to the Agate Hospital. Looking at it, one could almost wonder if maybe there weren’t a mote of sanity left in the world after all.


    Daybreak gradually stole into Eben Village, at least temporarily extinguishing the candles while beckoning timid villagers from their houses. The mood was lighter this morning, no Pokemon had come in the night to snatch away their babies, and for that they were profoundly grateful.

    Many were anxious for news of the rescue party that had been dispatched early that morning bearing torches, flashlights and what weapons could be spared from the village armory. They were relieved to hear from the elders that the rescue party had returned with the Exterminators safely in tow, and that they were now resting comfortably.

    James awoke to find himself on the second floor of the Elder’s rambler, his clothes, Pokeballs and pack in a disheveled pile on the chair. Umbreon had been asleep at the edge of his bed, but now it looked up and regarded him with intelligent red eyes before chirping, “Umbreon!

    James patted the Umbreon about the head, flattening its ears as he did so, then rose and did a few pushups. He was wearing only faded black sweatpants, standard sleepwear, which revealed a chest crisscrossed by terrible pink and white scars. James twisted once, then twice, and cracked his back, then reached into his bag and pulled on a faded black t-shirt.

    “Come on Umbreon,” James said after he had finished pulling on a pair of jeans and shouldered his bag. “We’ll see how Pidgeot and Cyndaquil are doing, then I think it’ll be about time for us to get moving toward Indigo.”

    Umbreon chirped once in acknowledgement (Umbreon!), then leapt down gracefully from the bed and padded out after James. The pair found the elders in the dining room, conversing in low tones as they took breakfast from a simple spread of sliced fruit, toast and fruit juice.

    Elder Saitou saw James, and immediately beckoned for the trainer to sit down, “Ah excellent, I’m glad to see that you’re up and about after last night’s adventure. How are you feeling, son?”

    The truth was that James didn’t feel so hot, but he kept that to himself. The battle in the power plant had taken more out of him than he cared to admit. But he didn’t say so. Instead, he helped himself to orange juice and began scraping some butter over toast as he spoke, “I feel fine. How are Cyndaquil and Pidgeot doing?”

    James had asked about Cyndaquil by rote, he didn’t need the elder telling him that the battle had taken a lot of the fire mouse. They had fought the Jibacoil near the power plant’s primary bank of generators. It had been swathed in a blue corona and surrounded by a swarm of buzzing Magnemites when they found it, clearly angered by the Exterminator’s intrusion..

    One of the Exterminators had thrown the emergency switch, prompting the Magnemites to pounce, and a pitched battle had ensued. Kim and the rest of the Exterminators defended themselves with pistols and baseball bats while James released Scyther to help Cyndaquil and Umbreon. The battle had gone in their favor at first, but then the Jibacoil had entered the fray, and things had immediately fallen apart.

    The Jibacoil once again swept up their pistols, then proceeded to wreak havoc on the scattered Exterminators with powerful discharge attacks. Scyther and Umbreon had tried to team together to beat the Jibacoil, but they had been quickly sent reeling back to their Pokeballs. That had left Cyndaquil, and even its strongest flame attacks had proven ineffective against the Jibacoil’s shiny steel bulk.

    “We’re just not strong enough,” James had thought, dismayed, as he recalled Cyndaquil and the would-be Exterminators beat a hasty retreat. Cyndaquil had been with him for a long time, but it had somehow remained quite weak even as the rest of his Pokemon steadily became stronger. After ten years, it hadn’t even evolved to Quilava, despite James’s best efforts.

    “What am I going to do with you?” James had sighed after one particularly dispiriting training session. “I know that you’re my most loyal Pokemon, but I need you to be able to battle. How much longer can you be a liability?”

    James had later apologized to Cyndaquil, but it had seemed to take his harsh remarks quite personally. Its flame attacks began to piddle out pitifully, and it became even more prone to huddling behind James, squeaking in terror, in the face of dangerous situations. When the Gengar in the forest had attacked, Cyndaquil had refused to even come out of its Pokeball.

    Saitou munched thoughtfully on a strawberry for a moment, then said, “Your Cyndaquil will be fine. It suffered several nasty shocks, but it is resting comfortably. As for your Pidgeot, our physician had a look at it this morning, and I’m afraid that the news isn’t good. It suffered a fractured wing when it crashed and it may not fly for several weeks.”

    “How long were you planning on staying with us, young man?” Elder Fujiwara croaked. “I understand that your expedition last night to the power plant was not successful.”

    James shifted uncomfortably. He was already starting to regret making that promise to the elders the previous night. He badly wanted to get back on the road to Indigo, but the injury suffered by Pidgeot meant that he wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon. Besides, his personal honor dictated that he say, even if the earlier promise had been a little rash, “No, it wasn’t a successful mission, and it looks like I’ll be staying until Pidgeot is able to fly again. I’m afraid I don’t know how much I can help in the power plant though. Umbreon and Scyther have a lot of trouble getting past Jibacoil’s defenses, and Cyndaquil is too weak.”

    “We’re sorry to hear that,” Saitou said, and he sounded it too. When a potential savior quite literally falls out of the sky, only to turn out to be an amateur trainer with a motley selection of Pokemon, one can’t help being a little disappointed. The elder went on, “The Jibacoil has proven to be too much for both our best Exterminators and a Pokemon trainer. It won’t be long before the Mightyena packs begin raiding our village in the night once again.”

    This statement prompted a low moan from a few of the elders, many of whom suddenly didn’t seem so interested in breakfast. The mood was punctuated by one elder shaking his head and saying, “We all knew that this would happen. This forest hasn’t been safe for many years. We must move within sight of Ecruteak City.”

    The china and silver on the table jumped as Saitou brought his fist down with a heavy thud, “We’ll do no such thing! These woods were home to my father, and his father’s father, and I swear that it will be my daughter’s home too! Now stop acting like cowards and put your heads together! We have suffered worse than this in the past ten years!”

    There was a shamed silence as the elders settled down to do as Saitou said. It was Elder Fujiwara who spoke first in his wavering voice, “I think it’s time that we called home Jeffrey Hibiki.”

    “The champion?” Saitou asked, a disbelieving note entering his voice. “He hasn’t been back since the bells tolled. We have hardly any idea where he even is.”

    “He said he would be in Blackthorne City,” Fujiwara replied steadily. “That’s where we must begin our search.”

    Spirited discussion followed, with the elders dividing between those who thought they should search for the champion, and those who thought he was dead as a doornail. James sat feeding oranges to Umbreon, mostly forgotten as the two sides argued back and forth. Finally, he piped up with the question that had been at the back of his mind since he arrived in Eben, “Who’s Jeff Hibiki?”


    Jeff Hibiki had been Eben Village’s first successful trainer in more than 100 years, the village’s pride and joy when he left four years before the bells tolled as a tall, gawky-looking twelve-year old with eyes a brown so deep that they looked black. Even at that young age, villagers remarked on his almost supernatural pose. They were certain that, where other Eben trainers had failed, Jeff would quickly and easily succeed. And they were right.

    With the help of Chikorita, his first Pokemon, and a Sentret that quickly evolved to Furret, he had bested Faulkner in a pitched battle in Violet City for his first badge. Word quickly spread through the surrounding communities that a novice trainer had bested a powerful gym leader, and his notoriety quickly grew.

    Jeff’s Pokemon collection steadily grew over the years, and he grew along with it. He had reached six feet by the time he was fifteen, his red hair thin and matted. In person, he came off as shy and a little bit clumsy, but there was no denying his skills as a trainer or the affection that he shared with his Pokemon.

    Jeff made it to the Johto League in his first year as a trainer, and Eben Village almost exploded with excitement. Friends and family called almost daily to wish him luck, banners were strung throughout the village, and delirious villagers saluted him with a celebratory feast and numerous kanpais. Jeff didn’t make it past the league’s qualifying round, he was bested by a well-trained Charizard, but he would be back. He was the runner-up two years later, riding an incredible streak that finally ended at the hands of a formidable Dragonite. It was his last tournament, and as it turned out, the final Johto League tournament as well.

    As Saitou would later attest to James some years later, Jeff was in Eben Village when the tolling of the Ecruteak bells signaled the end of the friendship between trainers and Pokemon. When the ghostly chimes filled the air, they could be heard as far away as Hoenn and Orre, he stood from his perch at the edge of the village and stared out toward Ecruteak Village.

    “It’s all over,” he had said in a breathless, abnormally choked voice. Unbeknownst to Jeff, hundreds of thousands of Pokemon were bursting from their Pokeballs and turning on their trainers, but his own Pokeballs remained silent. He then gathered up his pack and hurried out of the village, his whereabouts unknown for more than a week.

    When he had returned, the sixteen-year-old looked as if he had aged ten years. He brushed away the terrified villagers who begged him to tell them what had happened and went into the elder’s rambler, where he stayed for more than an hour. When he returned, pack and Pokeballs in hand, he spoke only to his mother.

    “I’m going away,” he had said, holding her tight as he did. “Nothing’s the same anymore.”

    “What happened, Jeff?” Jen Hibiki had asked, tears gathering in her eyes. “Why is everything different? What happened to the Pokemon?”

    Jeff said nothing else, only mouthing one word before kissing his mother goodbye and vanishing into the woods. Attempts were made to contact him in the ensuing years, but it seemed that the champion had left Eben Village forever.

    “Nobody knows exactly where he is now,” Saitou told James ten years later in the bedroom of the rambler. “He told the elder’s that he was going to Blackthorne City to train, but who knows if he’s moved on since then. It’s been a very long time since he left.”

    As Saitou spoke, he saw a change come over James, the same change that Kim had seen in the forest when she had asked about his ‘friend.’ His eyes hardened, his demeanor was suddenly tinged with steel, and he looked considerably older than his twenty-three years, “Jeff was right, the world is different now. It was thrown out of balance when the bells tolled, then it was burned with the rest of Loam.”

    Saitou took a step back. There was something about the young man that was like biting on tin foil, something intangible that couldn’t be easily discerned but could be felt in the pit of the stomach. He knew then that James represented the click of the gears falling back into place, the rare man who was the right person in the right place at the right time.

    The elder cleared his throat, a little cowed even his old age by James’s penetrating green eyes. Falling to his knees, he put his nose and hands to the floor in a deep, formal bow, “James Chambers, our village is in danger. You may well be the last Pokemon trainer in the world besides Jeffrey, and that makes you our last hope. Will you go to Blackthorne City and find our champion?”

    James was silent for a very long time, his right hand playing over Umbreon’s ears. Then he said, “I’ll go. You have been nothing but kind to me and my Pokemon, and I’m grateful for that. I’ll bring back your champion, and we’ll drive the Jibacoil out together. But you should know that I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this because I have unfinished business, and when this is all over, your champion will help me take care of it. This is for Loam.”

    “Bless you, trainer,” Saitou said, not looking up. “I don’t care why you’re doing it, only that you will do it. When will you…”

    Saitou never finished his sentence. He only heard the click-clack of footsteps on the stairway. James was gone.
    Last edited by Hrist[ALT]; 27th January 2007 at 1:26 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Forum in Sig (lulz <3)


    And it begins, I'm excited .

    Like always, this chapter is very well written, easy to understand, and extremely engaging.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Quote Originally Posted by Megamiz View Post
    And it begins, I'm excited .

    Like always, this chapter is very well written, easy to understand, and extremely engaging.
    Introductions are done. We're on the move.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludicolo_kid View Post

    Even better, i've added a five star rating and that's brought it up to 4 overall. In all seriousness, probably my favourite fan-fic i've ever read. Now we have a story on us, and it looks like it's going to be an awesome ride.
    That's really nice ludicolo kid, and thanks for the rating. Other people are rating now too, and that makes me happy.

    Now if I could just get some more reviews. *review hungry*

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Even better, i've added a five star rating and that's brought it up to 4 overall. In all seriousness, probably my favourite fan-fic i've ever read. Now we have a story on us, and it looks like it's going to be an awesome ride.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Standing still



    This story is very good. I'm telling you, this is one of the best fics I've read. It's good enough to actually make this lazy bum review. Hahaha. Anyways, the story's very discriptive, easy to understand and it has a the rare human v.s. Pokemon storyline, and the best part is, it's actually good. The spelling was very good too, I haven't noticed any mistakes, but that may be due to my quickness in reading. Ok, well, that's about it. You've done a great job and I hope to read more. Good luck, I'm too lazy to write too much more.

    Coming Soon....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Chapter 4

    When James left Eben Village the day after his encounter in the power plant, he returned to a world that had become as fragile as an egg shell. A new normality had come to reign in the ten years since the bells tolled, a normality tinged with a horror that seemed to poison the lives of every man and woman.

    Cities were fortresses and villages were armed to the teeth. Thieves and vagrants haunted the major highways, and there was always the risk of a Pokemon attack. Travelers always went armed, but that often wasn’t enough. Roadside ditches were littered with corpses, grisly signposts that served as ample warning for anybody foolish enough to chance the open road.

    A base sort of justice prevailed in Johto. Five years after the bells tolled, an earthquake so powerful that it was off the scale obliterated Cianwood City, sending hundreds of homes and buildings sliding into the sea. Investigators discovered that an abnormally large Steelix was responsible for the devastation, its powerful scales had been large enough to influence the tectonic plates beneath Cianwood. In retaliation, hundreds of Steelix and Onix had been rounded up and either burned or thrown into the sea. This ritual of retribution was repeated almost every day, in every city, in every region.

    The new normality ensured that any attempt at routine would be hollow, even darkly comic. There could be no humanity in the ashes of Johto, only a dim, scrabbling existence that tried to pass itself for life, but only came off as tragedy. It was to this world that James Chambers returned, a world where no light could shine and no candle burn.

    * * *

    When James was a mile out of Eben Village, he cut back to the forest path and quickened his pace. Walking the main road meant that he risked chancing upon highwaymen, but Kim’s talk of the Mightyenas had spooked him a bit, and he felt better battling robber gangs than packs of vicious Pokemon.

    James was still getting to know the Johto region; he had only stepped off the magnet train from Kanto a month ago. He was a native of Orre, far more at home in the harsh, arid heat of the desert than the humid Johto, replete with its ancient temples and suspicious natives.

    Thoughts of Johto naturally aroused thoughts of the man he had been hunting for ten years, Takeshi Miyai and his cabal of murderers, the Red Dragon Clan. In his mind, their faces stood out in stark relief as Loam burned in the background, everything down to the tiniest detail engraved in his mind.

    But it was Miyai who was at the forefront, the man known in the closed circle as Masamune Miyai, the man that James was going to kill.

    A twig snapped, and the hair on James’s neck involuntarily bristled. He had become aware of his pursuer a half mile back, but had chosen to do nothing about it. He had hoped to lose them by cutting to the road, but now it looked he was going to have to take care of them before they got any bright ideas. Still walking, he whispered to Umbreon, “Use your agility and take care of whoever is following us. Be quick about it, and don’t take too long. They might be armed.”

    Umbreon chirruped and vanished, its agility suddenly so great that it defied the naked eye. A suddenly, stiff wind ruffled his hair, and he looked up. What he saw made him stop dead, the breath whistling harshly in his chest. A Pokemon was standing on the path, its skin wet and bespeckled with white, a violet cloak of flesh (or was it fur?) waving behind a blunt head that appeared to bear a tall crown. Looking at the Pokemon, he felt a chill that went straight to his bones. James had come upon the legendary Suicune of the North Wind.

    Few humans dared hunt or look upon a legendary Pokemon, imbued as they are with power that men can only dream of. They can be the purveyors of good fortune, or the watchmen of fate. They are the rulers of earth, water, ground, fire, time and space. Suicune had been a Pokemon who had perished in an unfortunate fire, only to be reborn in the service of Ho-oh, the golden phoenix. Now it stood before one of the few Pokemon trainers left on earth.

    James could feel the weight of all nature pressing down upon him, dozens of memories flashing through his head all at once. Masamune addressing the Red Dragons, the massacre in Loam, the tolling of the bells, his first capture, even his unfortunate encounter with the Gengar in the forest near Eben. Through all of this, he saw a woman that he had never seen before in person, but nevertheless knew. Her hair was a deep ebony, her face pale, pointed and sad. A powerful wave of emotion rushed over him as he looked at that sallow face. He knew that he was looking at his mother.

    Then the memories passed, and James was looking at Suicune once again, his legs rubbery in the face of its radiant power. His mouth worked up and down for a moment, his voice useless, before he finally found the strength to speak, “We meet again.”

    A crash and a scream startled him out of his reverie, and he turned to see Kim Saitou being dragged out of a cluster of bushes by Umbreon. James felt his legs move automatically to help Kim, but as he did he threw a vain glance behind his shoulder. The road was empty; Suicune had vanished as quickly as it had come. Shaking his head wearily, James turned to extract Kim from Umbreon’s jaws.


    Pidgeot was resting in Ms. Nakashima’s cellar, its wing tucked away in a sling, when it received an unexpected visitor, a curious little girl. None of the villagers had had the venture down to the cellar after James had left, leaving Murakami, the village physician, to care for the fractured wing as best he could. But children are remarkable in that, for a few years at least, they are prone to none of the prejudices so ingrained in adults.

    So it was that, despite her mother’s stern warnings to the contrary, Kara Suzuki ventured into the cellar to satisfy her child’s need to see the big bird for herself. Mrs. Suzuki had warned her that the Pidgeot would peck her eyes out if she got too close, so she kept to the stairway and sat staring open-mouthed at the feathery curiosity.

    Pidgeot ruffled its feathers and regarded the intruder beadily, its head-feathers standing proudly aloft. It was a big bird, and it had grown strong after years of toting its master around on its back. Pidgeot was a brave fighter, but its confinement to the basement had rendered it somewhat jumpy. So when Kara edged a little closer to get a better look, it jumped back and hissed.

    Kara nearly fled at this. Gasping with alarm, the girl turned and was halfway up the stairs before Pidgeot settled down again. She halted and peeked under the banister to find that Pidgeot was staring up at her, blinking furiously. Slowly, but surely, she worked up her courage again and made her way back down the stairs to sit amid the dirty laundry and knickknacks inherent to basements, this time a little further from the stairway.

    Pidgeot cooed, ruffled its feathers, then cocked its head. Leaning forward, it hop-skipped forward and cooed again. Kara’s eyes were like saucers. She had an overpowering urge to flee, but that was counter-balanced by childish fascination. Standing up, she stood on her tip-toes and patted Pidgeot on the head, as a man might pat a dog. The feathers were coarse, but somehow soft as well. Pidgeot did nothing, only blinking and bouncing slightly as the child ran her fingers through the striped head-fingers, her grin widening.

    In that moment, a bond that had been long ago broken was partially remade. A human and a Pokemon had become friends, something precious and more than passing rare in the ruined world that they shared. Like many children before her, Kara had become the bearer of small miracles.


    After uniting on the path, James and Kim walked in silence for some time. Umbreon padded along at James’s side, its tail held primly aloft, its job finished. Eventually, James sat down on a comfortable looking rock and pulled out a sandwich that had been prepared for him by Saitou’s wife. Cutting it half with a combat knife that he kept in his bag, he cut it in half and offered Kim one side. She looked at it for a moment, then shook her head, “Sorry, I already ate.”

    “Suit yourself,” James shrugged, then quickly devoured his half of the sandwich of the lettuce, mustard, cheese and onion sandwich. When he was finished, he carefully rewrapped his half and put it back in his bag. “Gotta finish them quickly or they’ll go bad. Anyway, I suppose that I should ask why you were following me.”

    Kim shrugged guiltily, “Dad told me to help you. He said that the paths were too dangerous for anybody to walk alone, so he asked me to catch up with you. I guess it’s safer to travel in pairs.”

    “Uh huh,” James said slowly as he digested the story. “Well, I’m sure that there’s some truth to that, but it’s not the whole truth. Since when are you so concerned with my safety? I thought you didn’t trust Pokemon trainers.”

    Kim’s expression darkened, her temper starting to rise, “I don’t need to explain myself anymore than I already did. Just accept that I’m here to help, and leave it at that.”

    “Well, I don’t know,” James shrugged. “Guess I’m just worried that you’ll try to drown my Pokemon while I’m sleeping or something.”

    “You think that I’m capable of that? Why kind of person do you think I am?”

    James frowned, then reached into his pack again and unwrapped the other half of the sandwich. Kate rolled her eyes as the trainer chewed quietly, obviously deep in thought. Finally, he looked up from the sandwich and said, “I think that you’re a very angry person, Kim, and misplaced anger makes you capable of more than you think.”

    That was too much for Kim. Rising, she slung her pack of her shoulder and made an obscene gesture at James, “You don’t want my help? Fine! I didn’t want to be here in the first place! I have better things to do than to follow around sleazy trainers like you!”

    She turned to leave, but what James said next stopped her short.

    ”I bet you used to be a Pokemon trainer,” he said, his eyes lowered. “It must have been rough to have all your friends turn their backs on you when the bells tolled. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like. Tears you up inside, I guess, makes you want to turn your back on the world and make your own way. A lot of people are like that around here, probably the reason that things are so bad these days. There are too many people being angry at the world, not enough people out there trying to make things better.”

    Kim stared at the Pokemon trainer, a little of her anger becoming guilt, but just a little. She wanted to say something witty in reply, but all she could come up with was, “What makes you so special anyway? Why didn’t your Pokemon turn their back on you?”

    James shrugged, “I can make a few guesses, but that’s all. I suspect that the answer is over there,” he pointed toward Mt. Mortar, which dominated the horizon, “in Blackthorn City.”

    “You want to talk to Jeff?”

    “More than anything in the world,” James said as he zipped up his bag. “I’ve been searching for other Pokemon trainers for a long time, you know. I followed rumors in Kanto and Shinou, but there was nothing. So here I am in Johto, and lucky me, not only is there as Pokemon trainer in Blackthorn, but Miyai is rumored to be hiding out near Indigo.”

    “Yeah, lucky you,” Kim said wearily.

    James smiled a little and shouldered his bag, gesturing to Umbreon as he did, “Well, lunchtime’s over, time to get back on the road. We’ll be at Mt. Mortar by tomorrow morning, and that’s when the real fun will begin. You coming, Kim?”

    “Yeah, I’m coming, I guess.”

    James waited for Kim to catch up, then they were headed down the path together. Just above them, Mt. Mortar loomed like a powerful sentinel, ready to bar their passage. Up there, beyond the icy reaches of the mountain peak, Blackthorn City waited.
    Last edited by Hrist[ALT]; 31st January 2007 at 2:41 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Shameless I know, but I just wanted to show off the Ashes commercial

    Enjoy ^^

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Forum in Sig (lulz <3)


    ZOMG a spoiler of Jeff Hibiki !!!! *SWOONS*

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Wow cool commercial. I'm frequently disappointed as i check once every hour or two to see if a new part is up!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    I expect a new part to be up today or tomorrow.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Birmingham, UK


    This really is a good story. I'm loving following it along. Love the concept.

    I hope the effort and current level follows into the rest of this story. I can see it going far.
    Well done.


    "Writing doesn't require drive. It's like saying a chicken has to have drive to lay an egg." ~ John Updike

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Chapter 5
    Memento in the Mountains

    James was wrong in his estimation of the distance to the base of Mt. Mortar. It would be two days before he arrived with Kim at the bottom of the misty mountain, heads craned back as they tried to glimpse the path through the mountains. Twilight had fallen, and that prompted the Pokemon trainer to nod toward the safety of the trees, “Well, we made it, but it’d be best if we made camp near the edge of the forest and started out tomorrow. We’re not making very good time, but safety is more important, I think.”

    “Are you sure that you want to make camp near the forest?” Kim asked warily. “The Mightyena packs will be there, and you never know about the Gengar. It might be better to camp closer to the mountain.”

    James seemed to digest that for a moment, then shook his head, “I’d rather not sleep out in the open. There’ll be Pokemon in the forest sure, but out here, there’ll be vagrants and who knows what else. There might be Ursaring in these mountains.”

    Kim hesitated for a moment, not wanting to give into a Pokemon trainer that she still didn’t especially like, but finally she decided that James’s reasoning was sound and relented, “Fine, we’ll camp in the forest, but put your Pokemon away. I don’t want their scent attracting any hunters during the night.”

    She felt a brief surge of nasty triumph as James shrugged and pulled his black Pokeball from his belt, “Suit yourself; return Umbreon.”

    Umbreon gave a brief, protesting cry as a red beam lanced from the Pokeball and converted it to energy, then snapped back into the device like a careless rubber band. Deactivating the Pokeball, he returned it to his best and nodded toward the forest, “After you, Kim.”

    Kim threw him a dirty look, but started from the mountain without comment, James just behind. They made the short trip back to the edge of the forest in silence, a situation not uncommon over the course of their brief journey together. James had plowed straight through the forest path over the past two days, only rarely stopping for a break to nibble on his supplies and ration out food to Kim and his Pokemon. He had occasionally spoke to the omnipresent Umbreon at his side, but he had spared few words for Kim.

    She got the impression that he had rarely spoken with other humans over the course of the last ten years, instead reserving conversation for his Pokemon and possibly himself. She imagined him plowing through Shinou, Kanto and Orre, his head down and his face set in the same expression of uneasy concentration. That image probably wasn’t far from the truth.

    Once the pair reached a suitable clearing at the edge of the forest, James dropped the gear with a grunt, “Do me a favor and get the cooking supplies out of my pack. I’m going to find some fire wood.”

    Flicking on a flashlight, he quickly vanished into the brush, leaving Kim to fumble through his pack for the cooking utensils. Muttering quietly, she dug out the spare flashlight and quickly found a packet of powdered soup, but the ladle was nowhere to be found. After rummaging a little further, her hand closed on something that felt a little like the leather binding around one of the village ladle handles. She pulled it out of the pack with a quick tug, then let out a sharp, involuntary gasp as she saw what it was.

    She was holding a dagger with a short, but nevertheless dangerously sharp blade encased in an ornate, ebony scabbard. A crimson Gyarados twisted about on the knife’s leather-bound handle, its teeth bared in a ferocious grimace. What looked like a small pendant depicting the scales of a dragon surrounding a Pokeball hung from dagger’s handle by a silver chain, the blade itself was flawless silver with a wicked edge and a blood channel that parted the dagger down the middle. Kim hadn’t been out of Eben Village in many years, but she had traveled enough to recognize it as a dagger belonging to one of the nearby assassin’s guilds, the sort that had emerged as a dangerous regional power in the aftermath of the bells.

    Heart pounding in her ears, she replaced the dagger and quickly arranged the cooking supplies, only barely finishing by the time James returned with an armful of fire wood. She kept her head down and said nothing as he dumped it in an untidy heap on the ground and set to building a fire pit.

    Kim steeled herself for a tense confrontation, but to her surprise, James quickly relieved her of that burden by raising the subject himself, “You’re probably wondering about the dagger in my pack.”

    Somewhat disarmed by his unexpected words, Kim could only nod. James smiled as he finished building the fire pit and pulled out his lighter. As usual, very little of that smile made it to his eyes, “It used to belong to a member of the Red Dragon Clan, one of the assassin’s guilds in Orre. I keep it with me as a reminder that old Masamune is still out there, and I have a job to do.”

    “How did you end up with the dagger?”

    “I’d rather not go into that tonight. It’s a long story.”

    James backed away as one of the dry twigs he had gathered caught and quickly spread, the fuel burning and the flames steadily rising. He sat staring at the fire, deep in thought, as Kate opened up her canteen and filled one of their pots with water. Tearing open the soup packet, she stirred the powder into the water and moved it over the fire, “Hope you like dry potato soup. I can add some leeks and carrots if you’d like.”

    “Yeah, that would be great, thanks.”

    Kate set to cutting up a carrot, her eyes turning up to the trainer as she did, “So what are you thinking about now?”

    “Oh, just something that I saw the other day,” James shook his head. “I think that it’s a Pokemon, and I’m pretty sure that it’s been following me since I left Orre. I’ve seen it at least three times, twice in Kanto and once here in Johto.”

    “What kind of Pokemon is it?”

    “I don’t know,” James lied. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. And it always moves so fast that I can only catch a glimpse of it. I’m pretty sure that it’s the same Pokemon though. I recognize the coloring.”

    Kim thought about that for a moment as she held the soup over the fire and stirred the contents with a wooden spoon, “Well, maybe you’re meant to catch it, Mr. Pokemon Trainer. Have you ever considered that?”

    “Yeah I’ve thought about that,” James admitted. “But like I’ve said, I’ve only ever caught a glimpse. Not enough time to even think about ordering an attack, really.”

    “I guess,” Kim said as she finished stirring the stew, adding a dash of salt and pepper before ladling it into two bowls and offering one to James. “Now eat your soup before it gets cold. There’s more in the pot if you want second helpings.”

    James laughed and took the bowl, “Thanks Mom, I appreciate it.”

    Kim waved the ladle threateningly, laughing a little despite herself, “Don’t get smart with me. I’ve got a ladle, and I know how to use it.”

    They dug into their potato and leek soup with a vengeance as the last of the sunlight drew back over the horizon and vanished. In Eben Village, they would be lighting their candles again the darkness. Here at the base of Mt. Mortar, James doused the fire and they curled up in their respective sleeping bags to drop off to sleep, the fire guttering away to nothing as the moon rose high into the night sky.


    What Kim didn’t know, was that the dagger tucked away in his pack had not been taken from the body of a dead Red Dragon member, as she thought, but had in fact always belonged to James. An ornate Gyarados tattoo spiraled up from his thigh to his calf, and much like the terrible scars he bore on his chest, the tattoo would bind him forever to the Red Dragon Clan and Masamune Miyai.

    James received the dagger the day he made his first Pokemon capture. He had been a smallish eleven-year-old with a mop of scruffy black hair then, earning him the affectionate nickname “scrub” among his peers. Two weeks before, he had received the binding tattoo of clan membership along with his first Pokemon. Now he stood on the Orre Plateau overlooking the barren scrubland, bouncing a Pokemon thoughtfully in his hand.

    Something stirred in the wind, and he turned to see a Pidgeotto light on the skeleton of a tree that poked stubbornly from the sand. When it saw James, it cooed and flapped its wings in challenge.

    “You want a battle, Pidgeotto?” James smirked. “Well, that’s why I’m here. Okay Cyndaquil, come on out!”

    He threw the Pokeball with a grunt, and it burst open to reveal the fire mouse, which squeaked. James deftly caught the Pokeball on its return and minimized it, “This is our first real battle, Cyndaquil, so do your best. Start out with a tackle attack!”

    Cyndaquil squeaked, and James was pleased to see the flame on its back roar immediately to life. Seemingly non-plussed by this display of power, Pidgeotto quickly launched itself from the tree and struck Cyndaquil hard as it tried to run up to a tackle, leaving the Pokemon to squeal in pain as it swept back into the air.

    James grimaced sympathetically, then pointed at the Pidgeotto, “Shake it off and use your fire spin like we practiced, Cyndaquil!”

    Cyndaquil recovered its feet and seemed to be getting ready to loose a gout of fire, but the Pidgeotto struck fast, forcing the Pokemon to dodge with a squeak. The bird rounded about in the sky for another cry, squawking furiously, but this time James was ready, “Smokescreen Cyndaquil, quick!”

    The Pidgeotto suddenly found itself in a haze of choking black smoke, unable to spot its prey. It wheezed and hit the ground with a thump, then flapped awkwardly to its feet and tried to use a whirlwind attack to blow away the smoke. Seeing his opportunity, James shouted, “Now’s your chance Cyndaquil, tackle it!”

    James yanked an empty Pokeball from his belt as Cyndaquil charged and hit the Pidgeotto with a satisfying crack, stunning the bird further. The Pokeball soared through the air and opened to strike the bird with a pencil-thin line of red light, converting the Pokemon to energy and drawing it into the trap within. It hit the ground with a thud, shuddered three times, then beeped and was still.

    James stood stock still for a moment, quivering, lost in the moment. Then he cried out in triumph and ran forward, cradling Cyndaquil under one arm while holding Pidgeotto’s Pokeball in the other, “We did it, Cyndaquil! We did it! Our first capture!”

    Cyndaquil squeaked happily, and the pair danced around in circles for a moment before a heavy hand fell on his James’s shoulder. He turned to find himself in the shadow of an older man with a stern, lined face, a cascade of white hair slipping down to his shoulders, his eyes twinkling. Masamune Miyai smiled approvingly, “Nice capture, kid.”

    James thought he would burst with pride at the rare praise, “Did you see everything? Did you see that move with the smokescreen?”

    “Yes, I saw everything,” Miyai said kindly. As he spoke, he kneeled and pulled a dagger from his jacket, the same dagger that Kim would find in James’s pack 11 years later. “I’m proud of you, kid, it won’t be long before you’re running missions with Kanya and the rest of the clan.”

    “You think so?”

    “Yes, I think so,” Miyai nodded. “So I want you to have this. It’s the initiate blade, carried by every member of our clan. Take it, honor it, and never lose it. You are part of this clan, son of the Red Dragon’s first family.”

    He offered the blade to James, who took it into both hands, eyes wide and shining with pride. Miyai stood, smiling, hands in his pockets as James admired his new weapon. His reverie was broken by a tap on his shoulder. He turned to address the newcomer, a man sharp cheekbones and narrow eyes, “Masamune, Kanya is on the line for you. The mission is successful.”

    Masamune immediately seized the mobile phone from the man’s hands and turned, “Thank you, Kuro. Hello Kanya, did you get it?”

    As Masamune stepped away from the group to have his conversation with Kanya, Kuro wandered over to James, who was still admiring his gift. He kneeled down and glanced over James’s shoulder, “Hey Akira, old Masamune finally gave you a knife, huh?’

    James carefully slipped the dagger into his belt, then beckoned Cyndaquil to his shoulder, “Yeah, he did. Do you have one too?”

    “Course I do, everybody has one,” Kuro said, reaching to his belt to show James his own dagger. “I shouldn’t be surprised that you got one so fast, you being Masamune’s favorite son and all. Anyway, congratulations, huh? Come on back to the house with me, and we’ll celebrate with some sake. I think Masamune will be on the phone for a while.”

    James nodded, and the pair started back to the compound, chatting happily, excited about the events of the day. As he walked, James Chambers believed that he would always be Akira Miyai, loyal son of the Red Dragon clan and child of Masamune Takeshi Miyai. One day soon, he would be fighting alongside his brothers, ready to die in the name of the crimson Gyarados that served as their clan’s standard.

    But fate has a funny way of reigning in on our strongest expectations and our dearest wishes. Just two years later, he would lie burning with the town of Loam, latest victim of the father he loved so much.

  21. #21


    There's no denying it: this is one of the best I've read. Ever. I'm adding this to my favorites list right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hrist[ALT] View Post

    Kim waved the ladle threateningly, laughing a little despite herself, “Don’t get smart with me. I’ve got a ladle, and I know how to use it.”
    That's probably one of my favorite sentences of all time now.

    Can't wait for more!

    -F.S. out
    The SPC Lives.

    If for some reason you need me, e-mail or click the above. I'm done here.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    This gets better and better. It has a very good plot, and is written in a good descriptive way that draws you in and makes you want to know what will happen next.
    That's great, thanks a lot. =) It's interesting to me too!

    I <3's me a new twist
    Yeah, that was one of the big ones. But there are bigger ones to come, of course.

    I hadn't suspected him to be a member of an evil guild, and much less like it. Also, making him the son... You're very good
    Glad it was unexpected. It had been in the cards from the beginning, in one way or another.

    That's probably one of my favorite sentences of all time now
    lol, I'm glad you liked it. =)

    Chapter 6 is about half done. I need to revise a bit of the first part, then finishing writing the second, third and fourth parts. It's a long one. :P

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Chapter 6
    Meet Ursaring

    The hour had grown late in James and Kim’s campsite, the sliver of a crescent moon providing the only illumination as the pair lay easily in their respective sleeping bags. Sometimes, Kim would thrash about in her sleep or mumble, once almost rolling into the dead embers of their fire.

    After one such episode, her eyes popped open, and she found herself staring at the cloudy crescent moon, shivering a little at the brisk air from the mountains. Something stirred next to her, and she came fully awoke, realizing with a start that they were not alone.

    The newcomer grunted and wuffled as it pawed through their packs, evidently looking for food. James’s clothes and personal effects were strewn across the ground, the dehydrated fruit and soup packs lay ignored nearby. Apparently frustrated by the lack of fresh meat, it turned to Kim, its hot, rancid breath washing over her face as it pawed at her sleeping bag. She lay dead still, afraid even to reach for her gun, lest she provoke a deadly attack.

    It continued to investigate the area around her sleeping bag for a terrifying minute and a half, though to Kim it might as well have been a hundred years. She could feel its heavy footfalls around her sleeping bag; and its shaggy fur against her neck. At one point, it even put its damp nose against her cheek, and Kim thought she would scream. Her nose itched from the thing’s dandruff, and she realized with rising horror that she was about to sneeze.

    It was coming though, she could feel the inexorable balloon swelling in her chest, and there was nothing that she could do about it. The sneeze rushed out of her nose with a muffled whump, her body shaking a little from a combination of the sneeze’s force and pure nerves. The intruder jerked away, then whapped her across the cheek with a heavy paw. Stars exploded into Kim’s vision, and she felt blood oozing down her cheek from its claws. Dazed, Kim was nevertheless able to struggle to her pack and yank out her revolver and her flashlight.

    She flicked on the flashlight, and her mouth dried out as she illuminated an Ursaring on its hind legs, its paws spread wide as it bared its teeth and roared. Kim fumbled with the safety of her gun as it fell back on all fours and advanced, ready to tear out her throat with one swipe of those deadly paws. It was actually over her, its cloying breath filling her nose and mouth, when Umbreon hit it with a stunning tackle attack.
    Kim quickly scrambled out of the way as the Ursaring grunted and fell on its side, claws windmilling in the air. Umbreon landed on all four feet, illuminated only by the glowing rings in its fur as it bared its teeth. James was standing nearby, still holding Umbreon’s Pokeball as he ordered another attack, “Confuse it with your agility Umbreon; don’t let it catch you!”

    The Ursaring spun away from Kim to strike out at its new foe, but Umbreon was already gone. It darted about the campsite, a blur of golden ebony that abruptly struck again as James ordered a quick attack. Wounded and angry, the Ursaring reared back and delivered an explosive gout of flames that narrowly missed Umbreon and erupted in a shower of sparks as it hit the fire pit.

    Umbreon quickly regained its feet as James yelled and shielded his face against the brilliant flare from the fire pit, then sprang at the Ursaring with another tackle attack. Temporarily blinded by the spikes, the wild bear Pokemon lashed out with sharp claws and scored a lucky hit, knocking Umbreon to the ground with a squeak.

    Kim had raised her gun now, taking careful aim at the Ursaring’s back as she yelled, “I’ve got a clear shot, James! Get out of the way and let me drop it!”

    “Don’t be stupid, I don’t want to kill it!” James retorted as he produced a Pokeball from his pack. “Umbreon, double team!”

    The camp suddenly filled with five, ten, twenty, thirty Umbreon, all of them lunging at the confused Ursaring. It struck with another fire blast, which struck a nearby boulder and set it glowing with the heat, but was nevertheless a clean miss. The mirror images vanished as Umbreon sent Ursaring sprawling with a clean hit between the golden ring on its chest.

    James heaved his Pokeball, the Ursaring roaring feebly in protest as its final moments of freedom passed and it was drawn into its digital prison. The Pokeball shook three times, and was silent. James and Kim only stood there, the nearby boulder still glowing from the Ursaring’s fire blast. Kim could see the tension in James’s expression. Finally, he walked over and picked it up, balancing it carefully in his hand as he knelt next to Umbreon, “Well Umbreon, looks like we have new addition to the family.”

    Umbreon chirruped and circled spun around twice in a tight circle before sliding over and sniffing at the Pokeball. Kim stared distrustfully at the Pokeball, her eyes narrowed, “What are we going to do with it?”

    “We’re going to keep it, of course,” James said, rolling his eyes, as if Kim was the class dunce. “Pokemon are hard to catch. Trust me; I’ve been traveling for years now, and I’ve only managed to catch and raise two Pokemon. This Ursaring fell right into my lap, we’re keeping it.”

    With that, James tucked away the Pokeball at his belt, and the conversation was over. Kim would see Ursaring again sometime later, though on terms she would never expect.


    A familiar scene was waiting for Dr. Murakami when he headed down the steps to Mr. Nakashima’s basement the following morning in Eben Village. Pidgeot was there, its wing held securely in a sling, and so was a large, rather clumsily poured bowl of Pokemon feed. The old doctor would have dearly loved to have known who was leaving the food for the Pidgeot. Most of the villagers were afraid to go anywhere the basement, and major manufacturers had stopped producing Pokemon feed years ago, for obvious reasons. That left the doctor with a mystery, and Murakami was a sucker for mysteries.

    Putting aside his misgivings for a moment, he knocked away the feed with his foot as he walked up to Pidgeot and patted it on the wing, “Hello Pidgeot, looks like your visitor was here again last night. Well, let’s have a look at that wing, shall we?”

    Humming quietly to himself, Murakami carefully removed the cast, revealing Pidgeot’s injured wing. He was a 67-year-old physician who had lived in Eben Village his entire life, leaving only to attend eight years of medical school in Goldenrod City and the occasional seminar. His colleagues privately called him the village quack, the old man with the shock of grey hair and large spectacle who emerged from the wild only once a year. Despite this, he was widely regarded as an excellent physician, and frequently received calls from locales as far-flung as Saffron City. Pokemon medicine was rather outside his expertise, but in this case, Eben Village had little choice.

    Murakami moved Pidgeot’s squawks of pain as he moved the bird’s wing up and down to test its flexibility, then pulled out a roll of fresh bandages re-splinted the bird’s wing. All the while, his mind was on that feed bowl. Was it poisoned feed? He had to find out, and he would early the next morning.

    * * *

    Dawn broke over Eben Village, three days after James and Kim had set out for Blackthorn Village, relieving the village of another tense night by candlelight. The guards went home to get to sleep, their pistols tucked under their arms, a few of them waving to Dr. Murakami as he sat on his porch, watching the Nakashima house across the road. Murakami had a feeling that Pidgeot’s visitor would appear in the early morning. There were too many people during the day, and nobody went out at night.

    Elder Saitou ambled down the path, head down, out for his morning walk. He paused and waved when he saw Murakami, “Hello Kazuhiro, it’s going to be a fine day, wouldn’t you say?”

    “Yes, I think so, Takuya,” Murakami grunted. “Enjoy them while you can, winter isn’t far off, and my bones tell me that it will be a long one. Now, stop pretending that you’re out exercising and join me for a cup of coffee. Maybe you can help me solve a mystery that’s been bothering for two days now.”

    Saitou chuckled and climbed the steps to Murakami’s porch. Pouring himself a cup of still-hot coffee from the nearby pot, the elder pulled up a chair and settled in next to the doctor, “And what mystery do we have today?”

    “The mystery of the clumsily-fed Pidgeot,” Murakami said dryly. “The past two days that I’ve arrived to check up on the young man’s Pidgeot, there’s been a bowl of Pokemon feed there.”

    Saitou raised an eyebrow, stroking his beard as he did, “And where’s the harm in that?”

    “There is no harm, really,” Murakami admitted, “not unless they are poisoning the bird, which I doubt since it’s the picture of health outside of the fractured wing. I’m curious because the villagers treat that Pidgeot like it has the plague, and why wouldn’t they? We’ve been under attack by Pokemon for better than 10 years now. But there’s somebody here who isn’t afraid, and I want to know who, so that I can shake their hand.”

    “I see,” Saitou said, then set to watching the path with no further comment. It was well known that Murakami, an amateur Pokemon researcher who had occasionally corresponded with Professor Elm before the bells tolled, had nothing but disdain for those who feared Pokemon.

    The day we stop running is the day we begin to make amends, Murakami often said.

    It was an hour before Saitou spotted the renegade caregiver dragging an oversized bag of Pokemon feed behind her. He stifled a laugh and pointed, “Well, there’s your mastermind, Murakami.”

    Dr. Murakami’s eyes twinkled behind his spectacles as little Kara Suzuki struggled up to the Nakashima cellar doors, then dropped the oversized bag of feed to yank at the handle. A moment later, she was headed down the stairs, the huge bag bouncing behind her. Saitou started to rise, but Murakami stopped him, “No Takuya, let her think that nobody knows. Let this be a private moment.”

    So the two elders remained there on the porch, sun warming their faces as they fondly recalled better days, chatting well into the afternoon. Finally, Murakami rose to perform another checkup, content that there was one spark of decency still left in the world, manifested in the little girl who every morning dragged the oversized bag of Pokemon feed to the cellar for her friend Pidgeot.


    While Murakami and Saitou sat reminiscing, James and Kim were back on the road to Blackthorn Village. James had said little about the Ursaring, only once releasing it so that it could be fed with the rest of the Pokemon. It was docile enough as it snacked on the last of their apples, but there was also a restless edge to the bear that made Kim nervous. She was secretly glad when it was back in its Pokeball and they were on their way over the mountains.

    The terrain around Mt. Mortar was rough, with a winding mountain road proving to be the only reliable away through the pass. The air grew progressively thinner as they wound their away around dead trees and huge boulders. Kim would occasionally see the odd Geodude as they walked, but the path was otherwise bare of Pokemon. It was just as well, she mused, since any Pokemon they encountered would almost certainly prove to be hostile.

    Umbreon was there, once again trotting obediently at James’s side, and so was Cyndaquil. But this time, Kim didn’t say anything. After the encounter with nearly-disastrous encounter with Ursaring, she wouldn’t quibble with the protection offered by James’s Pokemon. With the thinning air came increasingly brisk temperatures; so at 1 PM they stopped and James dug out a heavy, winter jacket, “Did you bring anything, Kim?”

    “No,” Kim admitted. She was a little ashamed to be so ill-prepared, but James only tossed his jacket to her without comment and pulled out a lighter jacket. She tried to give it back, but James ignored her and opened a rice triangle instead. Later, they would camp in that mountain pass, neither of them sleeping very well as they gazed up the starry sky and shivered at the cold.

    Kim finally asked a question that had occurred to her before, but had never come up, “James, where were you when the bells tolled?” She was thinking of the stories of Jeff, of how he had been there in the village when the bells tolled, then simply up and left.

    James was quiet for a long time, his face only a dim outline in the dark. Finally, he said, “I was in Kanto with my dad that day. We had made the catch of our lives, everybody was celebrating, and then the bells tolled.”

    “What did you catch?”

    “That’s a long, complicated story.”

    “Was your dad a Pokemon trainer?”

    “Yeah, still is, in fact,” James said quietly.

    “What was he like? I really don’t know much about you.”

    More silence. Kim thought she caught a hint of pain in James’s voice when he spoke again, “If you want to be technical, he wasn’t my father. He adopted me out of an orphanage when I was less than a year old, I never knew my real parents. It didn’t matter though, I idolized him. I think the thing that I loved about him the most was that he had a sense of humor. You would never have guessed it looking at him, but he was a pretty funny guy, my dad.”

    “Where is he now?”

    “The last time I saw him was just about ten years ago,” James said softly. “And that’s also a long story.”

    Kim left it there. They lay in silence under the clear stars, still shivering, each reflecting on their family. Kim thought about her Takuya and Tara Saitou, the Eben Elder and the Pokemon trainer, kind parents who had nevertheless expected only the best from their daughter, and often received it.

    James fell asleep thinking about the Red Dragon Clan, the only family he had ever known. The family he had loved, and the family he had betrayed.

    * * *

    The next day, James and Kim halted near the summit of Mt. Mortar, looking down upon Lake Rage and, not far beyond that, Blackthorn City. James was smiling a little as he pulled out his canteen and sipped some water, “Not far now, Kim. We’ll stop at Lake Rage for some business, then it’ll be another day to Blackthorn City. But first, I want to give you this.”

    He removed Ursaring’s Pokeball from his belt and tucked it into her hand. She flinched, expecting it to burst from its prison and attack, but the Pokeball was still. Before she could speak, James said, “When you asked where I was when the bells tolled, it made me realize that there aren’t many Pokemon trainers left in this world. It’s time that we got some fresh blood in this club.”

    Kim stared warily at the Pokeball, half wanting to throw it over the edge of the cliff. Instead, she tucked it away into her bag, “It’ll never listen to me. Pokemon won’t listen to anybody but you and Jeff.”

    “Oh, I think it’ll listen to you eventually,” James said patiently. “I caught that Pokemon, and now I’m giving it to you. Take good care of it Kim, you’re being given something very rare – A second chance.”

    With that, James started down the mountain side toward Lake Rage, the newly minted Pokemon trainer trailing uncertainly. The next day, they would be lakeside, and in Lake Rage’s pristine water, they would wash away their sins.
    Last edited by Hrist[ALT]; 12th February 2007 at 8:03 AM.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Thanks Iota, that's very kind. Hmm, I would be really happy if I got a nice, long review...

    Anyway, while I finish up the next installment, I put a little taster for you at the top of the Ashes commercial:

    Not as sharp as I would like, but I still think it looks pretty cool.

    EDIT: Hooray for rank up, though I'll miss being in the fire gym :P

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    San Francisco


    Funny how much a chapter can change over multiple rewrites. I think I'm happy though. =)

    Chapter 13
    Old Promises Now Kept

    There was no resistance when Stephen and the rest of the Exterminators opened fire from the cover of the tree line. Stephen’s revolver jumped in his hand as he squeezed the trigger, its booming report mingling with a dozen others as the Mightyena near the den disintegrated in an explosion of blood fur and blood.

    Less than ten seconds later, a dozen large Mightyena had emerged from the mouth cave, barking and growling. Stephen nodded, and the pack ranks were decimated by second rattling fusillade of bullets. But this time, the Exterminators were forced to dive out of the way as three of the Mightyena retaliated with deadly shadow ball attacks.

    Stephen winced as one of the deadly balls of dark energy sizzled past his head, and the hail of bullets from the Exterminators thinned out. That was all the room the Mightyena needed. They became ragged grey blurs as they charged the bushes, one of them latching onto an Exterminators throat and dragging him into the open, where he was quickly torn apart by the Mightyena that had come to reinforce the pack.

    Stephen made a strangled cry and fired over and over again into the swarm of Mightyena, the other Exterminators following suit. One, twice, three times, then had to duck and reload. As he jammed several more bullets into the old revolver’s chamber with shaking, sweaty hands, it occurred to him that they had accidentally stumbled upon a network of Mightyena dens. How else to explain the dozens of attacking Pokemon, far more than that of an average pack?

    Apparently realizing the same thing, his temporary XO Asami Igawa crept up next to him and shouted, “We’ve stirred up a Beedrill nest here, Stephen. Do we retreat?”

    Stephen threw her a hard look, then slammed shut the chamber of his revolver and opened fire once again. Realizing that she had given her answer, Asami shot two more Mightyena in quick succession and thought to herself, We’ll be lucky to get out of this alive.

    Gesturing wildly with his free hand as he fired, Stephen tried to direct his six remaining fighters to spread out in a flanking maneuver, but the attacking Mightyenas only shot the gaps and attacked from all sides. Another fighter fell, his legs jerking convulsively as a Mightyena bit through his head with a savage crunch attack.

    There was a grey blur out of the corner of Stephen’s eye, and his arm abruptly went numb. The Mightyena hung there for a moment, growling and trying to scratch at Stephen’s eyes, before he brought around his revolver and shot it point blank. It went down in a bloody tangle, and Stephen ducked reflexively grabbed his arm.

    He didn’t see the second Mightyena behind him until it was almost too late. It was in midair, its black nose quivering with lust for the hunt, when it was struck by a heavy stone and sent careening off course. He spun, his head already light from loss of blood, and was able to spot the brown robes of the elders interspersed throughout the trees. They had come with women and teenaged boys bearing farm tools, slings, rocks and clubs.

    But the most dangerous weapon of all was Pidgeot. It burst from its Pokeball and immediately collided with a half dozen Mightyena with a ferocious quick attack, the pain from its wing forgotten as it pecked and clawed at the yipping canines. Several middle-aged housewives, their towels cast aside for weapons, waded in wielding shovels and hoes joined in to hack the survivors to bits.

    Stephen lay there cradling his bloody arm, stunned by the sudden route. He was startled by a hand on his shoulder, and he was surprised to see Dr. Murakami kneeling next to him to tie a thick bandage around his arm, “Sorry Stephen, but I have a Pokemon to command, so I’ll have to make this quick.”

    His vision fading fast, Stephen nevertheless lifted his revolver and grinned. Eben Village was finally fighting back.

    * * *

    Back at the Blackthorn Gym, James wandered aimlessly to the basement, his mind in turmoil. Once, he had believed that Suicune was watching him and him alone. But Kim had shocked him with her admission that she had seen Suicune as well, and now he was forced to wonder how much he really knew. Was she meant for Suicune instead? And if she was, then why was he being lead on like this?

    Think of the first time you saw Suicune.

    You were running

    As he walked, the corridors seemed to become cold, forbidding and wet. In his mind, it was night in the Viridian Forest, and he was once again fleeing the Masamune’s Red Dragon compound in the cold rain. He had gone to the kitchens on the pretext of finding a midnight snack and slipped out the loading dock exit, his precious cargo stowed securely in his bag. He knew that it was only a matter of time before they realized Masamune’s prize was missing, and he had to put as much space as possible between himself and the compound in that time.

    His feet sloshed through the mud, muddying his black slacks and sending painful vibrations through his numb legs. The air sobbed in his throat, but he kept running. He knew that if he could somehow make it to Saffron City, he could catch a train to the Orre Region and hide in the rugged desert.

    For just a moment, his legs gave out in the cold rain, and he stumbled to his knees. He picked himself up from the mud, then froze as a new sound reached his ears over the pounding rain. He could clearly hear panting, and it was coming this way. Ignoring his throbbing lungs, James dragged himself back to his feet and willed his legs to move.

    It was too late. A terrific pressure fell on his back as a Mightyena brought him back to the wet ground and growled wildly as it tore at his bag. James yelled and tried to pull himself away, but a second Mightyena joined the first a moment later.

    “That’s far enough, Akira! Sturm, Drang, let him go!”

    The two Mightyena backed away for a moment, and James spun around to find himself staring up at the narrow eyes and sharp features of his adopted brother Kozuka Kuro Miyai. From either side, he heard other footsteps, and he knew that Kanya and his sister Yumi were there as well.

    Yumi stared down at her brother with her one good eye, the other had been burned out of his head by an errant fire blast, and sneered, “Where did you think you were going, Akira? Did you really think you could take our prize and not have us know about it? I thought Dad trained you better than that.”

    Shuriken Kanya Miyai, smallest of the four siblings, spoke next, “He’ll be here any minute, and he’s pretty angry, Akira.”

    “Very angry,” Yumi agreed.

    “Why’d you do it?” Kuro asked softly as Sturm and Drang growled and struggled at their leads. James felt momentarily ashamed at the hurt in his brother’s voice. Of all his siblings, he had always been closest to Kuro.

    “Because nobody should have that kind of power!” James yelled out. “Not even Dad!”

    Kanya shook his head, “That’s not for you to decide, kiddo. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but the power that you’ve got in your pack there is in our bloodlines. We are *meant* to have it.”

    “Then why did the bells toll when we finally got it! Why is Ho-oh angry!”

    Kuro opened his mouth to respond, but his words were drowned out by a loud, long howl. All four of them looked around wildly, startled by the power and fury behind that sound. Yumi and Kanya pulled Pokeballs from their belts, and James saw a word that he couldn’t read form at his sister’s lips.

    Then a shadow moved in the corner of James’s eye, and there was a burst of movement. Suddenly, Sturm and Drang were converging with Kanya’s Staraptor and Yumi’s Pupitar, all of them preparing to attack. As they approached the newcomer, they were blasted by a sudden wave of arctic wind and forced to fall back, their trainers cursing. Dazed, James saw that the wind had turned the rain to ice, and now they were peppering the attacking Pokemon like bullets.

    James struggled to gain his bearings and focus in on their attacker. But when he did, he found himself stumbling back and screaming, his clothes soaked through from rain. They were battling Suicune of the North Wind.

    Yumi ordered a sandstorm, and the podlike Pupitar tried to oblige with a blast of sand and grit. But the storm dissipated almost immediately as Suicune was surrounded by a corona of crackling blue energy, and the rain began to pound even harder. James was digging for his own Pokeballs, but then the world wavered and went out of focus as Suicune’s terrible roar filled the spaces between the rain, and all four Pokemon abruptly returned to their Pokeballs.

    When James looked up again, his three siblings were all unconscious, and Suicune was regarding him sternly. His hair and clothes were soaked, his heart still pounding. After almost a minute, he said, “I’m sorry Suicune! Please let me make it right! Please!”

    Suicune seemed to consider the plea, and the world became hazy.

    Back at the Blackthorn Gym, James swerved around the corner and found himself look at a fully stocked bar complete with dozens of bottles of liquor. Whistling quietly to himself, he hopped over the counter and began to peruse the stock. He finally settled on an old Vermillion Brandy and helped himself to a glass.

    Settling down on one of the stools, he stared off into space, remembering. After his wild plea, the world had gone white, and he had awakened in a Saffron City hotel bed. His clothes were dry and, more importantly, his belongings were intact. He had checked his pack, and sure enough, Masamune’s prize had still been there. He had held it in his hands for just a moment, marveling at the power within, then carefully replaced it and slipped out without paying.

    James was startled from his reverie by a hollow thunk as a Pokeball was placed in front of him.

    “That’s yours,” Jeff said as he and Kim took stools on either side of him. “Though I should probably keep it now that you’ve gotten into our liquor stock, that stuff doesn’t come cheap you know.”

    “Well, you left it lying around. Can’t blame a guy for being tempted.”

    “Suppose not. Since you’ve already got a bottle open, I suppose we’d all better have a glass huh?”

    James shrugged and pulled down two more glasses, “Hope you like brandy.”

    * * *

    Kara Suzuki heard the shooting at the mouth of the cave and sat up, her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open. There had been a crowd of Mightyenas watching over her and her friends (a boy named Yuki and a girl named Mai), but now they were gone, evidently to investigate the shooting.

    The old woman who had been with them, Kara didn’t know her name except that she was a nice lady who had once given her sweets, had been taken away by several of the Mightyena. She hadn’t said a word when she had been dragged away, but Kara had seen that there were tears on the old woman’s face. She had been scared then.

    So, when the Mightyena were gone, the little girl reached down deep within her and found the courage to grab her friend’s by their hands, “C’mon! We hafta go!”

    Yuki, a pale boy with a round-face and tiny eyes, shook his head frantically. When Kara tugged at his hand, he only tucked himself into the corner and began to cry. Big, wet tears rolled down the boy’s face, and Kara had to take turns with Mai calming him down, even though they were on the verge of tears themselves as the gunfire and the howls of the Mightyenas got louder.

    Finally, still rubbing his eyes fitfully, Yuki allowed himself to be taken by the arm by the two girls and lead into the heart of the den. It was dark and smelly, and the cavern seemed to twist and turn. Sometimes, they would come upon the bones of small animals and even humans, and when they did Mai would let out a tiny scream and cling to Kara, who would in turn hold tight to the both of them.

    After a while, Mai stopped and pointed wildly. They were quite literally looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. The children raised a spontaneous cheer and began charging toward the light, only to shriek as a growling and barking Mightyena abruptly appeared. Its eyes were like two bloody stars and its muzzle was pulled back in a vicious snarl, its ragged black hackles standing on end.

    Only dimly aware of what she was doing, Kara put both arms out to protect her friends and screamed, “No! Go ‘way!”

    Yuki and Mai were doubled up in hysterics now, with Yuki screaming pitifully. The Mightyena advanced, and now Kara felt powerless to stop the tears as well. Then the light suddenly went out behind it, and it became every bedtime monster, every creature in the dark and every nameless fear. She heard it slavering in the dark, and she screamed.

    But as she screamed, the light suddenly burst back into full brilliance, and the Mightyena was yipping and howling. Kara gaped as Pidgeot buffeted it with a wing attack, dodged the shadow ball it launched in response and hissed. The Mightyena managed to latch onto one of Pidgeot’s legs, only to recoil with a yip of pain as Kara threw a rock that connected solidly with its ear and drew blood.

    Suddenly tears were forgotten as Yuki and Mai began hurling missiles of their own. Rocks of all shapes and sizes hit the Mightyena from a variety of directions, finally forcing it to slink back into the den oozing blood from a dozen wounds.

    Pidgeot hop-skipped over to Kara, and she patted its beak like she had when feeding it in Nakashima’s basement. She saw that it had tucked its wing away at an awkward angle, and leaned in to hug it, “Does it hurt a lot?”

    Pidgeot bowed its head and flexed its wing a few times to show the extent of its injury. Murakami’s cortisone shot had allowed it to fly for a short time, but there would be consequences. The wing that should have only needed two weeks to heal would now require at least a month.

    Sometimes though, sacrifices were worth making. Pidgeot, Kara, Yuki and Mai made their way together out of the den, toward daylight and freedom.

    * * *

    James didn’t want to say it, but he was glad that Jeff and Kim had decided to join him in the basement bar. He sat stewing in his brandy for a while after serving them their drinks, aware that he should apologize, but too proud to come right out and say that he had been wrong to give them such a hard time in Claire’s study.

    The first lesson of his childhood had been, “A silent man is a great man.” In the last ten years, it had become easy play things close to the vest, never going into too much detail about his past or his mission. But then there was his second lesson, which had been, “Silence is a virtue, but falsehoods are not.”

    He had learned the second one the hard way. As a child, probably not much more than five years old, he had broken one of Kuro’s toys and lied about it. The words were barely out of his mouth before Miyai slapped him and sent him away to his room. He had been given additional tasks while his siblings were given the day of, and they had crowded around the table to watch and laugh as the favored son was forced to clean out the stalls, scrub the floors, wipe the dishes and feed the Pokemon.

    Needless to say, he never lied to Miyai’s face again.

    Man, what’s happened to me, James wondered. If the truth was such a virtue, then why had he become a habitual liar? He had lied to everybody he had ever met since his flight from Masamune’s compound about his past, up to and including Kim, Jeff, Claire and Morty. For a moment, he felt ashamed to have so completely forgotten what his father had taught him, even if he was determined to kill him at all costs. There were certain universal truths, and they were not dependent on the man or woman who uttered them.

    So when the appropriate moment came and he had made his way to his second glass of brandy, he stopped their conversation and said, “Guys, I just wanted to apologize for earlier. You know I was angry over that battle, and I said some things I didn’t mean. I hope you understand.”

    Jeff nodded, “Apology accepted.”

    “Yeah, it’s okay.”

    James sensed a note of unease in their voices, but decided to press on, “You should know that I have seen Suicune. I’ve seen it in nearly every region for ten years now. The only guess I can make is that it’s following me.”

    Kim frowned and swirled her drink about in her glass, “Why did you lie to us James?”

    “Well, you know, when you spend alone ten years alone on the road,” James shrugged. “You get to being a little too secretive for your own good.”

    “Do you have anything else you want to tell us?”

    James hesitated, his hand unconsciously going to the leg with the Red Dragon tattoo. He thought about the dagger in his bag, and his reason for fleeing from Masamune in the first place. He could tell them everything, like he had when Leon had trapped him by pointing out the same tattoo he was considering now, and it would probably go a long way toward clearing the air between them.

    But in the end, it was too much too soon. He finally settled on a compromise, “Yeah, there’s more, but I’d rather not go into it now.”

    He saw Jeff and Kim exchange a look out of the corner of his eye, and elected to ignore it and take a swig from his brandy. They had all the information they needed for the moment. Now it was up to them to decide what to do with it.

    Finally, Jeff said, “There’s a lot of work ahead of us, James. I don’t know how much you’re holding back, but for now I guess that doesn’t matter. What we all need to know is whether you’re willing to work with us or not. Will you help us?”

    James drained his glass and swished it around in his mouth for a moment. A hundred ideas pounded through his head at once, and they mingled with memories of Eben Village, the day the bells tolled, Masamune and Kanya. He wanted to get up and go back to hunting Masamune. He wished that he had never made that promise to twice damned promise to Elder Saitou. But down deep, he knew that he would agree to help Jeff, Kim and the rest of them restore balance to the world. If not, then why had he agreed to help Eben in the first place? Or Loam?

    It was because, when you got right down to it, he was a good guy. You just couldn’t help the way you were.

    Setting his glass down on the table, James said, “If I say yes, then will you help me settle my business with Miyai?”

    “If you’re with us, then we’re with you.”

    James looked from Jeff to Kim, his eyes shadowy as ever, then smiled and extended both his hands. Jeff took one, and Kim took the other, and they held them there in a three-way handshake for almost a minute. Sitting on that stool with friends he hadn’t known a week ago, James found himself thinking of an equilateral triangle. For the moment, they were three equal but opposite points united for a common purpose. He wondered how long it would last.

    When they finally broke away, Kim returning to her drink and James making to pour himself one more, Jeff reached for the Pokeball that had been sitting on the counter the whole time. He handed it to James and said, “That’s yours, you know. You might want to open it up and see what’s inside.”

    There was a twinkle in Jeff’s eyes as James took the Pokeball and hit the release. As the initial burst of light steadily coalesced into a Pokemon, James found himself squinting against what felt like doubled vision. It seemed like he was looking at Cyndaquil, but it seemed a great deal bigger in addition to having sprouted a second flame on its tail (and since when had Cyndaquil had a tail?)

    Jeff was grinning like a proud parent, “It evolved after our battle, right when Kim went to get you. It looks like it was ready for a while, but it just needed a little extra push. Congratulations.”

    James had had enough brandy that he had to squint at first his Pokemon, then Jeff, to make sure that he wasn’t lying. After ten years of waiting, it didn’t seem possible that it had finally happened, but it had. James slid unsteadily from his chair and gave his new Quilava a hug. Nothing more needed to be said.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Posting Permissions

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