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

  1. #76
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    Thanks for the replies guys. Reviews have been a little slow both here and IGN, but that's life I guess. I'm glad to hear your thoughts.

    I definitely wanted to show James's more sensitive side. He's been a real jerk lately, to the point where he actually left the group in my first draft, so I'm glad to see him a little less cranky.

    Only two chapters to go for Part 1, how about that huh? And there's still quite a bit that you don't know...

  2. #77
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    Chapter 14
    End of the Beginning

    The Exterminators marched back into Eben with dozens of villagers at their back as the sun began to fade behind their backs, the procession victorious but solemn. The area Mightyena packs had finally been extinguished, but it had carried a heavy toll. More than a dozen villagers and exterminators lay dead, many of them ravaged beyond recognition by the vicious Pokemon.

    Kara rode on her father’s shoulders all the way back to the village, Pidgeot hop-skipping just behind with Yuki and Mai, the two of them taking turns riding on the injured bird’s back despite Murakami’s admonishments. Pidgeot didn’t seem to mind, bearing the added burden without comment.

    Those who had stayed behind, the too old and the too young among them, were on hand to greet the returning Exterminators with cheers, handshakes, tears and flowers. Even Pidgeot was greeted with warm ruffles of its head feathers and pats on its healthy wing. Tomorrow, they would bury their dead and look to the future. The Mightyenas were dead, but they were still without power, and the world remained a dangerous place. But even knowing that, Eben’s candles would burn a little brighter than before.

    In the meantime, attention turned toward the departed travelers James and Kim. It had been a week since they had left Eben, and what the journey lacked in length it made up for in danger. Nobody knew for sure whether they would return, but as Elder Saitou would tell a gathering of the elders a few days later, there was no reason to give up hope yet. Lookouts began regular runs through the Eben forest, each hoping to be the first to catch site of the travelers returning with the village champion. Prayers were said, and extra candles were lit. Everyone contributed to the vigil in their own way.

    Then, one day, two weeks after they had gone, one of the lookouts caught sight of a flash of orange. He rushed back to the village to report that a huge Arcanine was bearing two men and a woman toward them at that very moment, and there was a surge of excitement through the populace. Once again, they hurried to prepare for returning heroes. James and Kim had returned with Jeff Hibiki, the champion of Eben Village.

    * * *

    James wasn’t sure he had ever shaken so many hands in his life. Every time he had turned around, there was a new villager ready with another handshake, another congratulations and even gifts. Now he was lugging a backpack filled with sweets, flowers and a stuffed Pichu, the latter a gift from a smiling Kara, as he looked around for Pidgeot.

    He found it just outside one of the non-descript homes, its wing neatly bandaged. It had several gifts of its own, and James couldn’t help lifting an eyebrow as he looked over the assortment of stuffed toys and homemade Pokemon food that had been placed at the bird’s feet.

    Pidgeot saw him from several feet away and squawked, its feathers ruffling happily as James strode up and gave it a hug around the neck. He had missed Pidgeot, and he was glad to see it in relatively good health. Pidgeot gave James an affectionate nip on the ear, and he laughed and let go, “How’re you doing Pidgeot? Looks like they’re feeding you enough, huh? Pretty soon you’ll be too fat to fly.”

    Pidgeot seemed to regard James beadily for that comment, but he knew that it was just an act. Seeing Pidgeot again lifted a few weights from his chest that had been there since he had left, mainly feelings of helplessness and isolation. Being back with Pidgeot felt like being back with family.

    Smiling, James held up his three Pokeballs for Pidgeot to see, “Hey, I’ve got some Pokemon that have wanted to see you for a while now.”

    He hit the releases, and Scyther, Quilava and Umbreon all emerged in a burst of crimson light. Scyther and Quilava immediately hurried to Pidgeot in a burst of Pokemon chatter while Umbreon remained at James’s side, its red eyes closed and its tail curled haughtily about its legs.

    Quilava seemed to be showing off to Pidgeot. It lit its flame and spun around to model its new tail, then blew tiny gout of fire into the air. Pidgeot chirruped approvingly, and Quilava looked deeply pleased.

    As he watched, James felt the hairs on the back of his neck prickle, and he turned to see an older gentleman with a shock of grey hair and large, round spectacles wearing a brown overcoat step up to the doorstep. Realizing that he was probably standing on the man’s property, he started to back up, but he held up a hand to stop him.

    “No, don’t worry, you’re not disturbing anything,” he said in a voice that had none of the quaver of old age. “I assume that this is your Pidgeot?”

    James left his Pokemon for a moment and said, “Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, I don’t think we’ve met.”

    “Kazuhiro Murakami, I’m the Eben physician. And your name is James Chambers?”

    “Yeah, that’s right.”

    Murakami grunted and settled creakily on the doorstep, “Then it’s a pleasure to meet the trainer of this excellent, well-trained Pidgeot. You might have heard that it was a great help to this village about one week ago, and we’ll always be in its debt. And in yours, I suppose, since you have returned our champion to us. Your fortunate arrival has likely saved us twice over.”

    James blushed and raised a hand to stop him, “I’m only here to help, doc. You wouldn’t have anything if not for Kim and Jeff.”

    “Rubbish, it’s good manners to accept your praise graciously, Mr. Chambers, so do so,” Murakami snorted good-naturedly, his eyes twinkling behind his steel-rimmed spectacles. “You are a good man, and we are please to have you as an honored guest here in our village. Never forget that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a bit of a lie down. It was a pleasure.”

    James nodded and mumbled his thanks as Murakami headed inside. When he was gone, he headed back toward Pidgeot, turned and regarded the house one more time, then shook his head and continued.

    Yeah, right.

    * * *

    Jeff spent the rest of the afternoon and that evening in private consultations with the elders, leaving James and Kim to wander together through the village. Kim had been working hard with Ursaring over the past week on their way back to Eben, and the effort showed in its increased willingness to follow her orders. On the other hand, its appetite remained undiminished.

    “No, no! That’s not for eating!” Kim had cried at one point as she tried to pull Ursaring out from the dumpster by the scruff of its neck. For its part, Ursaring was content to sniff about for its meal, seemingly oblivious to the efforts of its erstwhile trainer. It also had a habit of frightening all the village children save Kara, who only patted it cheerfully on the nose and offered it some of her ice cream. Ursaring ate the entire cone in a single slurp.

    “Better make sure it doesn’t get out of its Pokeball during the feast,” James had joked on their way to the homecoming celebration that had been scheduled for the evening of their arrival. “It’ll clear the table and still have room enough for a return trip to the dumpster.”

    Kim rolled her eyes in disgust, “Yeah, it’s all stomach that one.”

    The feast turned out to be a magnificent affair, even prepared on such short notice. James and Kim tucked in with a will, the rest of the village joining in after several hearty toasts. Four tables had been laid out in the centre of the village, and they had been loaded for bear with a variety of curries, homemade breads, fresh fish, several huge salads and alcohol brought from Elder Fujiwara’s private stock.

    James heaped the delicately steamed fish onto his plate together with a batch of white rice and bean curry, his stomach rumbling violently as he poured himself a large glass of Vermillion brandy. When Kim passed, her nudged her and nodded toward a plate piled with a peculiar variety of bread that had somehow been stuffed with vegetables, “You should try that one.”

    Kim frowned, “Why?”

    “Because I made it myself.”

    “Really? I didn’t know you could cook.”

    “Well, what do you think I ate when I was on the road for ten years?” James smirked proudly. “It’s called a pocket sandwich, and it’s an old recipe from Orre. You ought to try it out, I think you’d like it.”

    Kim took two with some trepidation, she had never really imagined James as a cook, but she was surprised to discover that it was delicious. The lettuce, cobb and the tangy sauce made for an outstanding taste experience, and she found herself going back for seconds.

    They sat eating with the villagers past dark, all of their Pokemon (save Ursaring, who was digesting his meal from the dumpster) lounging around on the grass around the tables and happily accepting scraps from curious diners. When the sun sank beneath the horizon, gasoline lanterns perched atop tall poles were planted into the ground into the site, illuminating the group and even warming them a little against the increasingly cool autumn night. Leaning back a bit on his wooden bench, his insides pleasantly giddy from the alcohol, James would later recall that evening as one of the best in his life

    Three hours later, the food had largely been cleared and the villagers had drifted off to either go to bed early or get away from the chill. James was still there with Kim, picking his teeth with a toothpick as he expanded at length on proper Pokemon training techniques. His face was cast with an eerie glow from Quilava’s fire, which had been lit to keep them warm.

    A light hand fell on his shoulder, and he turned to find Jeff standing there with a solemn expression on his face, “Hey guys, it’s meeting time.”

    “You missed the feast Jeff,” Kim said, rising to put a hand around his waist. “Where have you been all day?”

    “Don’t worry about me, I was just telling the elders where I’ve been for the last ten years,” Jeff’s mouth curled up into a smile. “Now come on, we have to decide what to do about that Jibacoil.”

    * * *

    All of the elders were waiting in the main dining room of the village rambler save Elder Iwamura, who was still mourning the loss of his wife to the jaws of the Mightyena pack. Stephen Suzuki was also there with the surviving Exterminators, and he took a moment to give Kim a quick hug when she walked into the room. As James took a seat at the table, he thought about the scene just two weeks ago in that very room, where he had learned about Jeff Hibiki for the first time.

    Now Jeff was there in the flesh, and they could get down to the business of saving Eben Village once and for all. The champion sat down and carefully folded his fingers into his lap before commencing in his usual reedy overtones, “We’re going tomorrow night to clear out the Eben Power Plant once and for all. If we’re successful, this village will never be threatened again.”

    “Sounds great, what’s the plan, boss?” James asked with a trace of snark in his voice. Kim elbowed him in the side, and he made a low ‘oof’ noise and gave her a dirty look.

    Jeff continued as if he hadn’t heard James, “We will work with the Exterminators to raid the power plant. Once we’re inside, they will distract the Magnemite and Magneton swarms while we find the Jibacoil. When it comes out of hiding, we’ll capture it.”

    Silence descended upon James’s bold pronouncement. The elders and the Exterminators seemed unfazed, but James and Kim exchanged uneasy looks. James knew from personal experience how hard it was to capture a Pokemon these days, and he had a feeling that Jeff knew it too.

    He decided to pipe up, “Well that’s great and all, but how are we going to do that? It’s not only extremely powerful, but it’s almost impossible to capture a Pokemon in the wild. I’ve been traveling for ten years, and I’ve got what, four Pokemon to my name?”

    Jeff smiled thinly, “Maybe you should have tried harder.”

    “Oh yeah? And how many do you have, champ?”

    A dark cloud passed over Jeff’s face for a moment, and James was momentarily taken aback. But then it was gone, and Jeff said, “I have seven.”

    “Jeff, do you really think we can capture it?” Kim asked.

    “If we work together, I think we can,” Jeff said, his eyes passing from James to Kim. He cleared his throat, obviously a little nervous in the middle of the large group and said. “This will be the first time we’ll really be working together, guys. We all have our different ideas of how things should be done, our different agendas. But I’ve always believed that the bells tolled because humans and Pokemon grew too far apart. If we can’t come together in common cause, then do we have any hope at all of remaking our friendship with Pokemon? No, we don’t.”

    James shook his head, a bitter smile playing at his lips. He had heard words like those before, even if they had been in an entirely different time and place. They come from Masamune’s mouth, and he had intended them for the family. He couldn’t help tasting the irony as he said, “Well, if you put it that way, guess we’d better get started huh?”

    * * *

    The next day passed quickly for the trainers and the Exterminators. James spent most of the day catching up on his sleep. Kim trained her Ursaring while chatting with Jeff and Stephen, Kara picking dandelions at their feet and putting them in Pidgeot’s feathers. James rose later that day and disappeared into the kitchens to prepare a light meal of miso soup and rice, which the crew ate stolidly, with little comment.

    Darkness fell, and it was time.

    James had his three Pokeballs and a spare pistol, while Kim loaded up with two of her own pistols and Ursaring. Jeff lead Arcanine out onto the grounds and waved toward Stephen and the Exterminators, “No problems, Stephen?”

    Stephen shook his head, “No problems. By the way, this is Taka,” he clapped a nervous looking young man who couldn’t have been older than 16 on the shoulder, “he joined the Exterminators a week ago.”

    There was a murmur of greetings, nobody was feeling particularly friendly or talkative, though Kim took the time to shake his hand. There was a last minute mulling over details, then the procession started off down the trail toward the power plant. Behind them, face old and young peered out from the windows to silently wish them luck, the candles that illuminated their faces burning bright.

  3. #78
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    Sorry for not reviewing in a while. I love the story still, but I'm slightly busy. I need to PM you a question, since obviously you can't answer it on here.

    Please keep writing, the story is amazing.

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

  4. #79
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    I love it. One more chapter to go. You don't how cool it is to put some good music on and just relax and read a couple of chapters.

  5. #80
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    Wow. Never expected they''d be trying to catch it... Wonder who get to keep it?

    Also, you can change its name to Magnezone, since it actually has a name now...

    Unless, of course, you don't feel like it. XD
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  6. #81
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    Since they called it Jibacoil in the beginning, I'm sticking with it here I think.

  7. #82
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    Epilogue coming soon after this, and that will be the end of part one of the Sacred Fire trilogy! Whoo!

    Chapter 15
    Three for the Road

    The light went on in the power plant at a quarter to eight, and just like before, the people of Eben Village stopped what they were doing and turned to watch from their windows and doorjambs. A few said a small prayer for the Exterminators and trainers out there on the hill.

    Less than a minute later, the light went out.

    The party had arrived at the power plant twenty minutes earlier, the Exterminators having already drawn their guns. The backdoor had been knocked off its hinges during their last encounter, and now it lay scorched against the power plant’s wall. James kicked at it, remembered his flight from the plant two weeks ago, the crazed swarm of Magnemites and Magneton at his heels.

    Stephen put a hand on James’s shoulder and moved the smaller man gently aside, then turned to address the attack party, “Kate and I will go in first, standard formation guys. James and Jeff, you just stick behind us. When the Magnemites attack, make your way past us and find the Jibacoil, alright?”

    There were a chorus of “alrights” and “yeahs,” and Stephen nodded and started into the Magnemite den. Kim followed just behind him, then the rest of the Exterminators, and finally James and Jeff. Just two weeks ago, there was no question that Kim was the leader of the Exterminators. It seemed that a little time off could mean a big difference. But he supposed that Kim would be leaving Eben to become a trainer anyway, so it was just as well that Stephen take over the Exterminators now.

    It was dark in the power plant, just like last time, and James felt the familiar crawling sensation over his neck and back that told him he was being watched. Flashlight beams swept across the complex’s walls and ceiling as they walked, the Exterminators braced for a sudden Magnemite rush. But there was no attack as they made their way into the auxiliary control room, only silence.

    James heard Kim breath a sigh of relief and say, “Alright Stephen, get the emergency lights. It’ll be easier when we can see them.”

    Stephen nodded once and opened one of the control boxes. He pulled down hard on the lever, but the expected hum of power and flash of light never came. Stephen pulled twice more on the switch, then gave up in disgust, “Looks like we’ll have to switch on from the main control room.”

    “Wait a second,” James whispered tensely. “I hear something.”

    A low buzz had reached his ears. The other Exterminators heard it as well and took aim with their pistols, only to drop them as the buzz became an earsplitting screech. Hundreds of Magnemites swarmed from the walls as the party dropped to their knees clutching their ears, their eyes screwed up in pain. James fumbled in his for a pair of earplugs Stephen had given him earlier and stuffed them into his ears. The rest of the group did likewise.

    Now the screeching lessened as the party found itself surrounded by a wave of blue lightning, the Magnemites buzzing loudly. One of the Exterminators tried to squeeze off a shot, but electricity arced out and struck his unprotected arm, which caused him to yelp in agony and drop his pistol.

    Jeff wasted no time, “Arcanine! Take care of them!”

    There was a blur of orange and black out of the corner of James’s eye as Arcanine swept past him, its body suddenly enveloped in fire. A piercing howl reached his ears as the fire lanced out in all directions to strike the hapless Magnemites and send them crashing to the ground, their shiny metal bodies scorched and fused from the heat.

    Seeing his chance, James grabbed Quilava’s Pokeball and tossed it, yelling, “Quilava! Help him out!”

    As Quilava leapt forth and the Pokeball leapt back into his hands, James heard a yell and a second Pokeball buzzed past his ear. Quilava had already lit its flame and was bouncing from Magnemite to Magnemite as Ursaring burst onto the scene, the bear Pokemon rising to its hind legs and roaring triumphantly.

    A pack of Magnetons entered the fray and were almost immediately downed by a heavy fusillade of bullets as the Exterminators stood back to back, the muzzle flashes from their pistols combining with Quilava and Arcanine’s fire attacks to cast the entire scene in an eerie orange glow.

    Kim was huddled with the Exterminators, her finger twitching relentlessly on her gun’s trigger as she periodically yelled out orders to Ursaring, her old fear of Pokemon now forgotten. For its part, Ursaring seemed to be doing fine on its own as it clubbed three or four Magnemites at a time with its heavy paws or scorched them with a vicious flamethrower attack.

    James started heading toward the exit, his voice almost lost in the chaos, “Come on Jeff! We’ll let Kim and the Exterminators handle these guys!”

    Jeff nodded once, and the pair careened down the corridor toward the main control room, Arcanine and Quilava hard at their heels. As they went, more Magnemites poured out of the vents toward the beleaguered defenders. The battle was heating up.

    * * *

    The power plant’s central control room was situated right below the main generators, which towered above bank after bank of control panels. They were all silent when James and Jeff burst in with Arcanine and Quilava, the muffled sound of battle in the auxiliary room down the corridor lending the room a dull hum.

    James’s flashlight tracked over the control banks, which were partially illuminated by Quilava’s glow, trying to find the breaker that would kick in the emergency generator and at least get the lights back on. Jeff found it first, his flashlight coming to a halt over a red control box bearing the legend EMERGENCY.

    Jeff trained his flashlight on the box as he walked over, and a moment later the lights flicked to life as the emergency generator spun up to full power. Dazzled by the sudden burst of light, James had to rub his eyes, “Nice job Jeff.”

    He was about to suggest that they look around for Jibacoil when there was a snap, and the main control room was plunged back into darkness. He could see Jeff fumbling around for a control panel, his face half-illuminated by Quilava’s flame. Squinting against the darkness, he asked, “What happened?”

    Jeff paused and said, “Jibacoil and the rest of the Magnemite are draining too much power from the plant. There isn’t enough power for the lights.”

    “Well, guess we’ll have to find Jibacoil in the dark then.”

    Jeff nodded, and the pair began to sweep their flashlight beams back and forth across the steels walls and silent reactors. As they fumbled through the dark, neither of them saw the cycloptic glowing eye or heard its steady hum as it began to power up amid the reactors.

    James felt the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end as the air began to crackle with electricity, and turned to see lightning arcing up and around the reactor. One of them struck near his foot, leaving a black scorch mark and forcing him to jump back.

    “James!” Jeff cried.

    Jibacoil rose slowly from its nest in the power plant core, its shiny steel bulk enveloped in a haze of static electricity. A pack of Magneton and Magnemite rose with it, and they quickly swarmed out and away to surround the two trainers.

    Jeff didn’t waste any time, “Arcanine! Heat wave!”

    For a moment, James could see the entire control room clearly as flames exploded in all directions, scorching the Magnemites and causing them to drop to the ground with hollow clinks. Then the light was gone as Arcanine was hit with a dozen thunderbolts at once, its fur standing on end as the electricity arced in and out of its body.

    Quilava was only visible as a silhouette as it ignited and left a trail of fire in the air as it struck Jibacoil just below the eye and sent it careening backward. Behind it, fire had exploded almost to the ceiling in a protective circle as Arcanine recovered from the shock and crouched back onto its haunches, its teeth bared in an angry snarl.

    Two Magnetons and a dozen Magnemites had been trapped in the circle, and Jibacoil had been lost from view. Unable to penetrate the powerful heat around them, they were forced to send out bursts of futile electricity at the trainers and their Pokemon in an effort to break away from the firestorm

    “Now Arcanine! Fire Blast!”

    “You too Quilava! Go!”

    Arcanine and Quilava loosed their fire blasts at almost the same time, the powerful flames merging to explode in a powerful blast of wind and heat that scattered the panicked electric Pokemon and forced the trainers to shield their eyes against the falling embers.

    Quilava suddenly squealed in pain as the Magnemites and Magnetons clattered to the ground like so much junk, the blaze on its back and tail abruptly extinguished as its long body jittered and jumped. The Jibacoil had risen above the guttering fire, an umbilical cord of electrical energy linking it to James’s screeching fire Pokemon.

    James simultaneously felt his heart leap and his stomach convulse, and he yanked both of his remaining Pokeballs from his belt, “Go and help Quilava!”

    Umbreon’s golden rings glowed against its obsidian fur and Scyther’s emerald wings beat furiously against the air as the two Pokemon emerged in midair to collide with Jibacoil. James heard a whistling snap, and it seemed as if both Pokemon were performing a trapeze act as they flew backward, blue lightning still sizzling across their hides. They collided with one of the walls and slumped to the ground, and a moment later Quilava joined them.

    James didn’t stop to think. He charged forward blindly, his finger convulsively pulling the trigger of his gun, not even aware that he had forgotten to click off the safety. Jeff was yelling something, but it was lost in the click of the locked trigger and the loud roaring in his ears.

    All reason was replaced by madness as he threw the pistol, which struck the Jibacoil with a hollow clang and dropped to the floor, then leapt at it to pummel it with his fists. He wanted to tear it apart with his own hands.

    “Those were my friends! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!”

    The chant was abruptly cut off as 5,000 volts of electricity surged through his chest and spread through his extremities. His forward momentum ceased, and the Jibacoil was suddenly shrinking rather than growing.

    In the half second before his brain’s breaker circuit cut in and he lost consciousness, James could feel his muscles convulsing and firing randomly, a dozen random pictures flashing through his mind. He saw his Quilava as a Cyndaquil, and it occurred to him that he had never gotten around to apologizing to it for his behavior.

    I’ll have to do that, he thought dizzily.

    Then everything was dark.

    * * *

    Jeff saw James fly through the air and slam against one of the control panels, blue electricity arcing across his arms, legs and hair. He was jerking wildly when he hit the ground, his hair standing on end. A moment later, he was still. Jeff wanted badly to go to him, but Jibacoil was already charging up for another attack.

    He turned slowly, his eyes turned downward and his jaw working against his teeth. It was time for him to do the job that Kim and James had recruited him for. He said a silent apology to James for not doing a better job of protecting him as he pulled another Pokeball from his belt, “Espeon! Let’s get going!”

    Espeon had been with him almost as long as Arcanine. He hadn’t wanted to call out it against steel-type Pokemon, but Jibacoil had proven to be extremely powerful and he wasn’t sure Arcanine could handle things by itself. He thought about calling out his other Pokemon, but then he remembered James’s Umbreon and Scyther flying through the air and decided against it. This battle would require teamwork more than sheer numbers.

    Espeon emerged to stand next to Arcanine, its twin tails swishing lightly as it crouched with a quiet mew.

    “Arcanine! Flamethrower! Espeon! Morning Sun!”

    The antennae atop Jibacoil’s dome crackled and buzzed as the darkness was erased by Espeon’s expanding corona of light and Arcanine loosed a long ribbon of flame. The fire burned away part of its outer shell and Jibacoil emitted an electronic scream of pain, then retaliated with a thunderbolt that caused the fire to detonate.

    Espeon backed away to protect itself, but Arcanine went on the attack, the creamy tufts of fur around its head and front and back paws streaming behind it as it deftly dodged the electric attacks. It sprung into the air with a burst from its powerful back legs, its four legs spread in the air as it launched a fire blast at the Jibacoil below. As the brilliant burst of fire hurled toward its intended target, Arcanine tucked its legs in tight and burst into flame as it connected with its own attack and streaked toward its target like a dazzling four-point meteor.

    The dazzling morning sun that sparkled in all directions from Espeon illuminated Jibacoil like a spotlight as Arcanine’s flare drive exploded against the Jibacoil and drove the steel disc to the ground with a hollow clang. Jeff felt a momentary surge of pride as Arcanine pinned it there and slowly reduced the Jibacoil’s shell to twisted slag with another flamethrower, remembering how long he had worked with it on that particular attack before his last Johto League tournament. It hadn’t worked very well on Salemence, the old dragon was too quick and sly for such treatment, but Jibacoil had proven to be one big floating target.

    He had just pulled out an empty Pokeball when Arcanine’s fire abruptly went out and it was sent hurtling into the air through another explosion. Jibacoil rose shakily from the ground, its formerly shiny steel bulk badly burned and twisted, but apparently serviceable.

    Espeon’s burst of light was beginning to fade now, and Arcanine was laying unconscious near James’s Pokemon. Jeff lowered the Pokeball, his heart sinking. It had taken the Jibacoil only a second to turn the battle 180 degrees against him.

    Who had trained it before it went wild? How could it have turned away two powerful fire type Pokemon without batting that terrible cycloptic eye?

    Jibacoil was still rising up higher toward the ceiling. Jeff had to take a step backward as long tendrils of electricity lanced out from its antennae to hit the ground and ceiling as well as the dead reactors and control panels. He realized with mounting horror that it was powering up for its most powerful attack.

    He was about to release his remaining Pokemon when it abruptly detonated in a burst of electricity and light that shattered every remaining control panel and sent a terrible, whining hum into the air. Lightning lanced out in every direction to gouge out holes in the ceiling and floor and Jeff’s arm instinctively went up to shield his eyes as his coat swept backward, his hair stood on end and his neck and arms tingled from the electricity. The Jibacoil’s hum continued to build to an earsplitting shriek as its internal batteries ran up to full power and began to overload

    Jeff heard Espeon screeching, and he crawled to it, dimly aware that the crash of lightning and thunder was not Jibacoil’s. The machine Pokemon was jittering and smoking as it was permeated by an awesome surge of electrical energy, far more than it was ever designed to handle. Its circuits popped and sizzled, its eye spun around wildly, and its antennae snapped and exploded.

    Jeff called back Espeon and made his way toward James, not daring to look at the source of the incredible energy and not needing to. His mind ran wildly back to the day ten years ago when he had gone with Morty to the burned-out tower to find out why the bells had tolled, and what they had found there.

    Like that day, his head filled with a curious giddy joy, to the point that he wanted to leap up and start dancing. He could clearly see Ho-oh descending upon the Tin Tower in his mind’s eye, the balance of the world restored and man’s bond with Pokemon remade. Ten years later, he remembered what he had been fighting for.

    Then the vision faded and he was snapped back to reality, the lightheaded happiness replaced with what seemed to be a hundred klaxons and sirens that were pounding him at maximum volume. He buried his head in his arms and begged silently for it to be over, for the terrible electronic squeals of pain to end and the blinding light to fade. When it finally did, he turned slowly toward the center of the room. The Jibacoil was lying in a silent heap near one of the reactors. Jeff saw that it had been badly damaged, but not destroyed.

    The door behind him opened, and Kim charged with the Exterminators, Ursaring at her side. She looked around wildly at the shattered control room, James and his unconscious Pokemon, and finally at Jeff.

    ”What the hell happened here! Why was the door jammed?”

    Jeff picked the empty Pokeball from his belt and squeezed it reflexively, “Raikou was here. It pointed me in the right direction.”

    Without pausing to wait for Kim’s reply, he hurled the Pokeball toward the Jibacoil, aware that his journey had finally begun.
    Last edited by Hrist[ALT]; 5th May 2007 at 10:57 AM.

  8. #83
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    Amazing. Utterly amazing. I'm still a bit miffed that Jeff caught it, but I suppose Kim will get something else sometimes soon.

    Can I just ask a quiestion with an obvious answer. Why didn't Kim help them? Was it just because she was needed to take out the Magnemite and Magneton, or did Jeff think she was too inexerienced?

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

  9. #84
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    Kim was with the Exterminators holding down the Magnemites and Magnetons in the other room.

  10. #85
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    Yes, but I'm asking why. Was it because they needed help, or because she was inexperienced?

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

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    They needed help and she was the nominal leader of the Exterminators.

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    Transition

    One week later, Jeff left Jibacoil’s empty Pokeball on Elder Saitou’s desk and strode out the door into Eben Village. It was a chilly day, and as he bound up his coat close against his slight frame, he gave silent thanks that Stephen was on track to have the power plant up and running by the end of the month. Jeff had placed a call to Morty in Ecruteak City, and a dozen technicians had been sent to help. Eben Village was no longer alone.

    Jibacoil had been captured and left to defend the power plant from further intrusions. It was probably buzzing about even now, harassing electrical workers and periodically draining the plant’s makeshift batteries. It had proven surprisingly receptive to his commands, which reinforced his suspicion that it had belonged to a powerful trainer before going AWOL, and hadn’t seemed to mind its new task. Its presence meant that Eben would never again have to worry about power outages and Mightyena packs, and for that Jeff was grateful.

    James was recovering in Dr. Murakami’s house with his Pokemon, all of whom had suffered severe electrical shocks from Jibacoil’s vicious attacks. Underneath James’s bandages, pinpoint burns that looked Braille dotted his skin where the electricity had arced in and out of his body.

    He was awake and talking to Kim when Jeff walked in, and he waved weakly, “Hey Jeff, come to see my suffering?”

    “I’m here with flowers from your biggest fan,” Jeff held up several buttercups for James, who raised an eyebrow. “The last of the year, fresh from the fields.”

    “Tell Kara thanks for me,” James said dryly as he stuffed the buttercups into an empty vase and Kim stifled a laugh.

    Jeff took a seat next to James’s bed, where he was momentarily blinded by the sunlight pouring into the room. He reflected that it would be winter pretty soon, and that meant that it wouldn’t be long before Salamence went to ground. He would have to finish the hunt for his old friend soon, or face going into battle with the Pokemon he had.

    Jeff glanced at James’s Pokemon sleeping in the corner, and asked, “So how are your Pokemon doing?”

    “They’re all doing great. Even Pidgeot will be up and about in about a week.”

    “That’s great,” Jeff smiled. “Take good care of those Pokemon, James. Once upon a time, I lost a Pokemon I felt very close to. Same goes for you Kim. How’s your training with Ursaring going?”

    Kim rolled her eyes, “He loves me as long as I have snacks to spare for him. You just have to watch out when he gets hungry.”

    “Are we leaving soon, boss?” James piped up. “It’ll be getting pretty cold out there before too long.”

    Jeff paused a moment to think about it. Raikou, Suicune and Entei were still out there, and he had a feeling that the three of them were meant to try and capture them with Morty and Claire’s help. Where the three legends could be hiding was anybody’s guess, but it didn’t seem as if they were ever too far away.

    He glanced up to speak, and caught a peculiar look in James’s eye. For a moment, it seemed as if there had been something that he had wanted to say, and Jeff mentioned it.

    James shrugged, “Well, I know you’re ready to go looking for Suicune and Raikou, but I’ve got my own business to take care of.”

    “Is it more important than capturing Suicune, Raikou and Entei?” Kim asked pointedly.

    “Well, actually, yeah,” James said quietly. “It’ll be a lot harder than you think, for one thing. It’s pretty complicated.”

    Jeff looked at James carefully, his eyes narrowed. Secrecy were James’s M.O., and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Heaven knew that he had a few secrets himself. But James had managed to take secrets above and beyond the next level. He hesitated a moment, then said, “James, if this has to do with Suicune, Raikou and Entei, then I think that it’s about time you tell us everything you know.”

    James frowned, “I’ll think about it, but there’s a lot you won’t like hearing.”

    Kim put a hand on James’s shoulder, and he jerked a bit, “James, if we’re going to do this, we can’t keep anymore secrets. We won’t judge you.”

    There was a long moment of silence, then James finally said, “I didn’t think that I could ever trust anybody again after what happened in Loam. I’ve only ever told one person the whole story, and he’s long since dead.”

    “Then I think it’s time for a little catharsis,” Jeff said, and Kim nodded.

    James looked from Jeff to Kim, one a tall and awkward-looking former Pokemon champion and the other a short, former Exterminator who had started training again just two weeks ago. They made an odd group, but for the first time in a long time, James felt like he had a family again. Pretty soon, they would leave Eben Village to begin the hunt for Raikou, Suicune and Entei. And somewhere along the line, Masamune Takeshi Miyai and the rest of his old family would have to die.

    It all started now.

    James began to tell his story.

    Epilogue
    Three weeks earlier

    Two men stood in the ruins of Kanya Miyai’s house, both clad in heavy black jackets and armed with an array of pistols and Pokemon. One was an athletic-looking man with a clear face and sharp features, the other an older man with neatly trimmed, shoulder-length grey hair. The latter was holding a katana blade in one hand and a violet Pokeball in the other, a Master Ball.

    Takeshi Miyai looked down at his dead son and felt sorrow. The child he had once taken into his clan and raised as his own, favored son was now trying to destroy his own family. Kanya’s throat had taken a knife in the throat, and his dead Staraptor lay in a pile of feathers nearby.

    “Did he say why he was doing this?” Takeshi asked gravely. “Did he leave any kind of note?”

    Kuro shook his head, “I talked to Kanya just before he died. He said that he had spoken with Akira just before their first battle. He said that we would all soon be dead.”

    “Then he’ll be coming for us next on his misbegotten little quest for vengeance,” Takeshi said evenly, desperate to hold back the tears and avoid showing weakness. “You’ve told Yumi to be careful?”

    “Yumi will be fine, Dad. She’s got Cipher and Team Snatch at her back. I’m worried about you. He might be coming for you next.”

    “If he comes for me, he knows what will be waiting for him,” Takeshi said, glancing back into the shadows as he did. There was something stirring in the darkness there, something big. “Come on, we have work to do. I want you to start tracking Akira. Kill him if you can, but be careful. I don’t want to lose any more children than I have to.”

    ”And what about you?”

    “I’m going back to Ecruteak City. It’s almost time to try one more time.”

    The pair turned and left, their boots crunching through shattered glass and fallen beams. A moment later Entei of the Volcano emerged from the shadows to follow them, its great shaggy head lowered in submission as it padded after its master. They walked together into a land where the flames of hope guttered, but had not yet been extinguished. They walked into the ashes of Johto.

    -----------------------------------

    Thank you for reading the first installment of the Sacred Fire trilogy! I would appreciate any reviews you can give of the entire story! I've been working hard on this for about four months now, and I sincerely appreciate your support!

    James, Kim and Jeff will return in...

    Sacred Fire: Storm, Wind and Fire
    There are secrets in the desert as the hunt resumes. Can James defeat his sister and take the weapon he needs to capture Entei? Will Jeff and Kim succeed in finally defeating his 'old friend?' It's all in the next installment!

    Special thanks to ludicolo_kid, Evan Turner, Iota, Burninator and Megamiz for their continued support of this fic! There will be more Sacred Fire soon!

  13. #88
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    Where did my amazing wall of words rate go? Damn lag.

    Simply amazing. Thanks for the mention. The bit where Raikou comes in was my favourite part of the whole thing. I have been hooked on this since day 1, and I hate how you leave a hook at the end of every chapter, though love it at the same time.

    The idea is awesome. The writing of it is better. The way you slowly unravel things is really good, I honestly don't have a bad word to say about it. I will remain to be a fan of the series, and I love how some things were resolved at the end of the book, though at the same time you can still see there's a looot to come.

    Really, you rock.

  14. #89
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    Awesome, but we should be thanking you. You put my two <3s, action packed katana dueling and Pokemon into one story . Fictional stories do not get any better than that IMO.

    I find it odd that James mentions a hunt for Raikou and Suicune, but not Entei. However Kim happens to mention Entei. Did James know something at that point that Kim didn't? Or was Kim implying that in any case, even if they were already captured, the dogs had to be in possesion of the protagonist?



  15. #90
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    Okay, Raikou to the rescue AND a new Jibacoil watchdog? Plus Pidgeot finally nearing a full recovery? These past two entries made me happy, as they not only resolved the problems in an exciting way, but they did it without being overwhelmingly positive. It was a perfect end to the first part, and I cannot wait to see part 2.

    Oh, and I'm happy to report that not once in these two sections did I notice a grammatical error. This was the only thing I ever really had to complain about before, so if this keeps up, you'll only get praise from me.


    The Grammar Nazi approves.

    On the "book" as a whole:

    This is without a doubt one of the most interesting fics I've ever read. You've done an amazing job of moving the plot forward, of developing the characters (those that we saw long enough of to develop, anyway), and of driving us through a range of emotions for every key character, James and Kim in particular. We got an excellent opportunity to see into the hearts of everyone, and see who they really are.

    The description, as well, was in every way worthy of note. To put it briefly, a lot of fics either don't go far enough into detail to give us a real eye into their mind, and those that describe every movement so much that it no longer flows, and everything seems to be moving in slow motion. You have managed to hit the perfect balance that authors strive to reach.

    One more thing... You didn't make us hate James. Did you ever read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? You'll know why I'm really glad you didn't leave us as angry at James as Rowling left me (and everyone I know who read it) supremely p*ssed at Harry.

    Thank you so much for providing us with such a great story. It has made my day on several occasions (made my days?) to have something to read that stimulated my imagination in this way.

    When you get the next part started, could you please drop a link to it here? As we're all subscribed to this one, it would be a great help.
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    Old members rejoin! New members welcome!


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  16. #91
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    ^ Echoing everything there. Lol I was talking to Miz on a forum about how great it is and I think I've got you 3 or 4 new fans. This is the only fic on these forums ever that I've liked enough to read beyond the first few chapters.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megamiz View Post
    I find it odd that James mentions a hunt for Raikou and Suicune, but not Entei. However Kim happens to mention Entei.
    Think about where Entei is right now, and James's association with Miyai, and you'll have our answer.

    And lol, I want to see this forum.

  18. #93
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    I knew that...>_>...but does Kim...

    CB Colosseum , the forum...although its just a bunch of SPAM, with less Pkmn wisdom.



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