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Thread: Pokemon Revolution: Advent Phoenix (Rated T)

  1. #326
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    Hurrah. New chapter.

    Actions looking good as ever. A little fight scene, little fluff ype thing between Ivanna and Elrik.

    He grunted as he caught the full breadth of Madeline’s palm with the left side of his head to a laughing remark of, “You’re making fun of me!”
    Back in the old days, Travis would have gotten a nut-buster instead of a slap.

    “Yeah, yeah, I know, don’t remind me. I guess things change, people change, because…shit happens, right?” she commented flippantly.

    Travis looked up at her for a moment and repeated, “Yeah…shit happens.”
    Better than Emo-Travis, at any rate. At least he's lightened up.

    Question time:

    1. Who are the Mystics?
    2. Will Lorca be joining up as well?

  2. #327
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    Y'know, if memory serves, PR: J ended one year ago. It is truly amazing how far you've come in terms of writing ability (I notice more philosophical and poetic stuff nowadays) and the plot of the sequel. Way to go EM1! *FFVII Victory Fanfare*

    Anyway, cool chapter. I'm not sure if the disclaimer was necessary, but that's coming from a person who just watched Band of Brothers today. Lots of blood (or corn syrup and food coloring) in high def... Oh, and you can't forget Marauder What's-his-face getting sliced in half by Lance. Lovely imagery for one with a macabre -- twisted -- imagination.

    Glad to see Sheridan in action. The guy seems like a good captain so far, but considering his sword connected with dire and deadly consequences, who knows. It'd would be extremely ironic if he were the one to lose himself as opposed to Woodson. On that topic, "dire and deadly consequences" is probably good enough to make into a meme, or something. Something along the lines of "hail to the Revolution" and "large, FLAMING axe[s]." *sigh* Good times, good times...

    Even though he was there only long enough to prove how leet he is and give Alex something to chew on, I'm glad Steven made an appearance. I kept on wanting to make Alex look like his brother, so now there is some sort of faintly illuminated difference in the back of my mind. I'm unsure how I'd like to predict the whole Alex-Myrin relationship. It could be going purely for fluff value, but the last time I blew off a potential plot twist (he might grab some artillery from Carona or something), the characters came back and changed a certain character completely. Yeah, might as well leave it like that. I hate spoiler boxes...

    Last up on the list of good things to ramble about is Nate. You can't help but love Nate, and including him (as well as his significant other) instantly scores you a point in the game of Win. I find it funny that you mentioned not giving up on Nate after his main conflict was resolved only to include him in the next chapter. Or was that just a blatant lack on insight on my part? Either way, kudos all around for bring him into the fray. I pray that it will be epic indeed.

    Enough rambling from me, -Oath

    PS: ...because every post needs one. Kind of sad to see that Madeline has matured beyond attempting to render the heroes impotent upon getting the slightest bit ticked off. I suppose that Kenjiro (miss the guy) did get it when they first arrived, albeit in a round about way... Meh, just one (or more) less thing(s) to feel sorry for. *turns to feeling bad for Elrik and Ivanna*

  3. #328
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    This was a really great chapter. I like how you put some more charecter development into the story. There really wasn't enough Travis and co in this chapter for me but you ,ade up for it with other charecters.
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  4. #329
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    It's hard to believe that Advent Phoenix has just had its first birthday. *throws cupcakes into the air*. I'd like to thank all of you for your support, encouragement, and critique over the last year, and for longer for those who were with me back from the PrJ days. I'm writing to tell you that I'm not dead...just slightly under the weather and getting over a mild case of writers' block. If anyone doesn't know this, I turn 18 this Sunday. I'm hoping, what with a less busy weekend this week than I had last week, to get Chapter 32 up by then.

    I'm also brainstorming for Maverick Heart and such...fun times. So, I'll see you guys later. (BTW, where the hell did Saber go? No one's seen her in weeks.)

    Later, all. HAIL.

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  5. #330
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    Happy birthday man. Going to vote in the elcetions?

    Saber is back, she posted yesterday in her fic. Hurrah.

  6. #331
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    Happy birthday. (catches a cupcake)

    I know this might sound dumb but what is maveric heart?
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  7. #332
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    Maverik Heart is the last in the Pokemon Revolution trilogy. It's also the only one that doesn't have Travis as the main charecter, and is set in a new region which was created by EonMaster One.

  8. #333
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    I thought it sounded familiar.
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  9. #334
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    Thanks, xXPorygonXx.

    Well, it's April 5, and I've got some news that will probably disappoint you.

    Most likely, I won't be able to get a Chapter up this weekend. Writers' block has been making me its you-know-what for the past few days and has slowed my progress to a near-crawl. Expect the next chapter sometime in the coming week. I'm just having a bit of trouble right now. Part of it is that my dorm room's been on the active side lately and I've had severe trouble concentrating...although I admit taking long showers has helped. Random, yeah, but...somehow, it works. I think that's what I'll do.

    Thanks for your patience.

    - EM1. HAIL.

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  10. #335
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    Awww.... bummer. Oh well, now that I'm online, guess i'll wish you a enormous HAPPY BIRTHDAY, man! Take it easy, and chillax... we can wait.

    I think...

    L@er!
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  11. #336
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    Wooooah deeejay, guess who's back: the original football 'skins hater >=P


    Anyway, I do have to apologize about forgetting about this fic XD Well, I picked up on this a couple of weeks ago and holy snapsz, it was one helluva (700+ pages?) read. I had to pull an all-nighter a few times because it was that good.

    My first and only problem with this is the sheer amount of pairings (or love triangles) you have.     Spoiler:- Pairings:
    And there's probably many more. I'm surprised you didn't manage to pair that old woman in Vendanturf XD

    Nothing much more to say that hasn't been said except you keep on chuggin' dem chapters out man so I can get give you a smexy review

    Dibs on first review...


    Divinity_123

  12. #337
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    Divinity_123...how's it going? I haven't seen you in ages.

    Thanks to everyone who wished me well for number 18. Feels good to be 18...I guess. I can register to vote now and that's pretty important to me...but I don't much feel like smoking or renting out any adult films - against my beliefs and all that.

    Anyway, I'm glad you figured those out so quickly, but I'm kind of surprised that you're surprised at the number of pairings. BTW, you missed a couple - MattxMariah and NatexAvril.

    Anyway, I've got no problem with this, seeing as a lot of these pairings are holdovers from PRJ. TravisxKatrina, ShiroxMadeline, NatexAvril, AngelxCrescent to name a few.

    Besides, PRJ had just as many.

        Spoiler:- Pairings::



    I'll tell you this, enjoy yourself while you actually know for sure who likes each other and who doesn't...

        Spoiler:- A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE:


    Well, that's it. (Wink) I've got a movie to see, so I'll catch you guys later. HAIL.

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  13. #338
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    Hey, EM1 here.

    Could I ask you guys to give me a little bit more time? I've got my ideas together for finishing the chapter but I haven't actually been able to do it. Among other things, I've had to deal with a monumental 15-page research paper that I have to turn in on Monday, so it might not be until then that I can finish my stuff, because it'll be at that point that everything calms down just a bit. Depending on my progress and how much I procrastinate with my paper, I might be done sooner.

    Anyway, sorry, guys. I plan on giving you the best quality I can, but sometimes school just loves to get in the way.

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  14. #339
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    Don't worry about it man. Get your school work in line first, because that's what will carry you farther in life. After you catch a break, then you can write pokemon fanfiction. You're not disappointing anyone either by not sticking to your "every other week" thing. Heck, Saber just took a bit longer than two months to get a chapter out, and Dragonfree isn't all that frequent either.

    Good luck with that really huge research paper, -Oath

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    hi im new but anyways i read ur last fic and it was awesome and im reading this one and i have to say IT ROCKS IT SHOULD BE MADE INTO AN ANIME!!!!!

  16. #341
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    Um........okay, thanks.

    Hey, everyone - just wanted to let you know what was up. I finished my paper (the first of many) and all that great stuff and I've made some progress on the new chapter. I still have some work to do, and the network at my school has not been cooperating. This is a rough patch for me as a writer, so just hold on for a little bit and I promise you guys I'll get you a chapter.

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  17. #342
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    Seriously dude, take a chill pill. I can sympathize cause i'm in the same boat as you. The rest of your fans can sympathize with you because they know you never let any of them down. You do what you gotta do and God be with you.

    Cause He's there for us all.

    Peace, man.

    L@er.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
    PROJECT C-SQUARE STATUS = 100.00% Complete (11-12-2010, ca. 2:40pm GMT)
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  18. #343
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    Default Chapter 32! About freakin' time!!

    *gets up from the table and stretches*

    Whew!

    First of all, let me just thank you guys for your patience with me over the last few weeks. You guys rock. Seriously. This was probably the hardest chapter that I've ever written just in terms of motivation. There were seriously a couple of nights when I thought of closing up shop as a fic writer because life, writers' block, and network problems just kept getting in the way of this chapter. But I think that now that I've gotten through it, I'll be able to push on toward the end and really get to some serious scribing come next month, when I leave school for the summer and (obviously) have a lot more time on my hands.

    I guess it could be argued that, in terms of content versatility, this might be one of my better chapters. But I'll let you guys be the judge of that.

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

    Chapter 32: The Gambit, Successful

    July 7, PA 2013 – Petalburg Woods, Hoenn


    “Kuh…” a red-haired soldier dressed in black with silver armor looked down at the one unprotected portion of his torso as it began to bleed, the victim of a well-aimed but desperate sword strike. He looked up into the eyes of the man who had just slashed him. The green orbs looked almost regretful…and the green orbs were the last thing that this soldier saw before he slumped to the ground…for all intents and purposes, dead.

    Sheridan Hadley and Kelvin Woodson watched as their would-be attacker fell prostrate before them, taking in a few heaving, ragged, short breaths before finally exhaling…

    …and expiring.

    “Damn,” Sheridan whispered ruefully, setting his stance at ease. So this was what it felt like…to take a life in war. He had been reasonably sure that he wouldn’t like the feeling, but as he turned the dead soldier over onto his back and gazed at his face as the pale, pasty, chalky look of death began to overtake it, watching it made his stomach turned. “He was young…maybe only our age.”

    “I’m sorry…” Kelvin sighed. Sheridan stood.

    “It couldn’t be helped. It was either him or you,” Sheridan said, staring blankly ahead. “I wonder if he had a family – maybe even a big family, like me…”

    Sheridan broke into a run. Kelvin, taken by surprise, had to sprint as well to catch up.

    “Where are you going?” he asked the young Captain, whose eyes were dead set and laser-focused ahead of him.

    “The longer we take to end this war, the more we’ll all lose to it!” Sheridan snarled breathlessly. “I’ve had my first taste of death…and I don’t like it one bit.”

    Kelvin Woodson gasped, trying his best to keep up with his Captain and friend. Before long, they had encountered a rather heavily forested area. At this, Sheridan began to slow down, creeping cautiously (although at a decent clip) through the woods. Woodson followed him, staring at a flickering light in the distance – a light which represented a more literal picture of the ‘flames of war.’ The diversion had been successful. The few men in the unit that were carrying bows had a special task – to set those arrows alight and to unleash them upon the unguarded camp once it had been cleared out by Sheridan’s diversion. This rather simple plan had been proposed by Creon, much to his master’s delight.

    But Sheridan knew...one of his commanding officers wanted nothing less than the head of the opposing unit’s General; from the rumors he had heard, that had been the very reason that he had been promoted. Obviously, Prince Elrik thought it much too risky to send in a man that had a well-documented grudge against General Ludwig. Perhaps, Sheridan thought, he thought it too risky to send in a commander as important to the cause as the ones in his close circle…

    One of Sheridan’s green eyes glinted as he caught a flash of light to his left…

    Far from the sword connecting directly, the shock of being assailed without warning was almost enough to make Sheridan’s heart stop all on its own. With a sudden rush of adrenaline came unnatural quickness, and it was with this unnatural quickness that Sheridan managed to block an incoming sword from the left and slightly behind him. He stomped on the soldier’s calf area with one of his boots and heard something snap as his would-be attacker cried out in immense pain.

    Meanwhile, Woodson was having problems of his own. He had been standing slightly behind his Captain when an Imperial soldier came flying out of the bushes to his right. He swiftly and promptly cut the man down and blocked a second attacker that had obviously hoped to deal the blow whilst his comrade had Woodson occupied…

    Sheridan ducked another sword as he suddenly found himself double-teamed. Thinking quickly, he made himself small and rolled under a pincer attack from both sides, causing the two comrades to clash blades. Meanwhile, he went for the sword of the soldier whose leg he had just broken and rolled to his feet with it in one hand and his own blade in the other. The two Imperial privates he was fighting took exception to Sheridan’s little bit of trickery, and both charged in tandem, swords raised high and swinging wildly. Carrying two swords of his own, Sheridan nevertheless was required to dance and weave a bit to avoid being quartered by his twin assailants…

    Woodson clashed blades with his second opponent. Each held his sword high above his head, growling into his enemy’s face. The Imperial soldier lowered himself slightly, trying to get leverage…

    WHAM.

    Woodson took the opportunity to bring a knee up into the unarmored portion of his opponent’s unguarded torso, striking the man right in the diaphragm and making him double over in pain, dropping his weapon to the ground. Woodson turned and walked away as the man took one final look at him and slumped to the rough ground below, passing out from a lack of air.

    “WHOA!!” Sheridan dodged right as a charging Imperial sword nearly took a chunk out of his face. He responded by attacking the other with a sword motion that looked rather like an aggressive block, knocking the man’s sword arm away. Laying a slash with each blade into the man’s chest armor, he felled him.

    Woodson saw one remaining soldier, charging at the back of Sheridan, who hadn’t yet found the time to turn around. Swearing through his teeth, Woodson broke into a run, his sword raised…realized he would not make it there in time and reared his sword arm back…

    Sheridan turned around…

    And found himself face-to-shocked-face with an Imperial soldier. Blood was starting to pour forth from the man’s open mouth, and as Sheridan looked into the infantryman’s eyes, he knew that the soldier was already dead; all that was left for him to do was to hit the ground, which he did soon after…

    …With a short sword protruding from his unprotected back.

    Sheridan looked at Woodson and sighed.

    “I know – I don’t like it, either,” Woodson commented. “But you told me to watch your back, and that’s exactly what I was doing.”

    “Thanks,” Sheridan answered sincerely. “At least we didn’t have to kill all of them…the other two should survive, hopefully…”

    “Yeah…” Woodson mused. “Let’s go.”



    “Ah…that was great…” General Ludwig sighed in relief as he emerged from the forest to the main part of camp. “Now, it’s time to grab my sword and exterminate some sorry rebel – what the…”

    Ludwig shouted a word that rhymed with “duck” – very loudly, in fact – as he opened his eyes and saw that several tents in his encampment were covered in flames. Coming down the hill, he surveyed the sea of fire with the most shocked of facial expressions. “What…what the hell happened?! This is a (same word) disaster!”

    He began to walk down the middle of the smoldering camp. His nose was inundated with the smell of smoke, and sweat tricked down his face, so hot were the flames around him. He heard a whizzing sound…

    He let out a loud, strangled groan as an arrow pierced his armor and hit him square in the ribs. Looking up through the darkness and flame into the shadows, he witnessed two young men – both armored and both armed – enter his encampment.

    “General Ludwig,” one of them – a youth with strawberry-blond hair that could have passed for a mere child – said authoritatively. Ludwig caught a glimpse of the gleaming shield on the boy’s right wrist.

    “A bit short on quality soldiers, your people,” Ludwig said, drawing his sword. “After all, this is the second time they’ve sent a mere boy to do a man’s job. In any case, I’m going to kill both of you.”

    “That’s where you’re wrong,” Sheridan Hadley stepped in front of Woodson. “It is we that will take you… ‘General.’”

    “Really?” Ludwig questioned incredulously. “You and what army?”

    Sheridan remained silent, but did raise his eyebrow in a rather noticeable manner, as did Woodson, whose face showed an unmistakable smirk. Ludwig snarled, his eyes darting to the left. Over a flaming tent he saw the undulating outline of a soldier pointing a bow at him.

    “Your troops have been scattered,” Sheridan told him. “Give up now if you want to keep your life.”

    “I have a better option,” Ludwig spat.

    Sheridan’s eyes narrowed.

    “I’ll take yours!!” the veteran General snarled, sword waving in the air and prepared to strike as he broke into a full run straight at the young resistance Captain.

    “Captain!” Woodson shouted, but Sheridan quickly cut him off.

    “No! I can handle this.”

    General Ludwig approached quickly. Sheridan steeled himself.

    Sheridan grunted under the shock of Ludwig’s initial strike as he blocked it. The Imperial General swung powerfully – that was for sure. Ludwig swung again, and Sheridan managed to block, albeit while buckling a little against the force of the strike. Sheridan blocked a third strike and rose immediately afterward, swinging his right hand around at Ludwig.

    Ludwig, who hadn’t seen the punch coming, was hit in the face immediately by the targe on Captain Hadley’s right hand. He groaned and staggered backward, his head having been turned by the force of Sheridan’s blow. Ludwig looked back up to see Sheridan coming at him with a gleaming sword.

    As Ludwig blocked and their blades bounced off each other, a ringing sound was audible throughout the entire camp. Sheridan tried to cut Ludwig from below, but Ludwig blocked the strike. The force of Sheridan’s slash, however, was enough to knock Ludwig’s sword arms into the air, giving Sheridan the opening that he needed.

    Ludwig saw Sheridan’s attack coming. He leapt backward just as the steel blade of Sheridan’s broad sword rent the space which Ludwig’s belly had occupied a second prior. This created a momentary lull in the action; A rosy, fat tongue emerged the maw of General Ludwig and licked up the trickle of blood that had been dripping from his lips ever since young Sheridan had clouted him with the shield moments earlier.

    “Southpaw, eh?” Ludwig commented. “Sneaking a punch in there with your right hand when I wasn’t paying attention to it…pretty creative.”

    “There’s more where that came from…” Sheridan answered.

    “Let’s see, then,” Ludwig replied menacingly, lowering himself into a battle stance again. This time, Sheridan came on the offensive. Ludwig barely blocked the initial blows as the young man opposing him moved himself and his sword with the fluidity of a placid creek, and yet the ferocity of a raging waterfall. Sheridan had just begun to see this situation in a different light. If Prince Elrik won back his throne, he would no doubt usher in an age of peace, and Sheridan would likely lay down his sword someday. As little as he cared about being remembered, he realized the facts – if he was successful, he would indeed be remembered. A hundred years from now, when he…and Woodson…and even the Prince…were all long gone, those some three or four unborn generations from this day would read his name in history books as the one who struck one of the first blows in bringing a reign of tyranny to its knees. Would his father be proud if he saw this?

    Ludwig let out a hiss as a gleaming sword narrowly missed bisecting his rather prominent nose. He leapt away, giving him a chance to catch his breath. Very luckily for him, Sheridan had also been in need of a blow at the same time and therefore did not charge again, at least for the time being.

    “Damn it…” Ludwig muttered very softly to himself. “Fights just like Viktor…”

    “What was that?!” Sheridan yelled.

    “None of your business,” Ludwig snarled.

    “You just said ‘Viktor’,” Sheridan replied impatiently. “Did you know my father?”

    “So you are his kid…” Ludwig said loudly. “Still a pain in my *** after all this time…”

    “Where is my father?” Sheridan yelled. “You know where he is, don’t you?”

    “Even if I did…” Ludwig grunted. “I wouldn’t tell you a damn thing. But I wouldn’t worry too much…”

    Ludwig lowered his sword.

    “Your father betrayed his country, as did you,” Ludwig laughed. “The two of you will meet on the other side soon enough.”

    Sheridan ducked away from Ludwig’s incoming sword. The latter looked at the young captain with eyes that bore no kind of reason whatsoever.

    “And after that…we’ll retake Rustboro. Then we’ll party and have a damn good time,” Ludwig announced, his eyes glinting. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure your family’s invited as well.”

    Sheridan’s teeth might have been eroding, as hard as he was gnashing them together in rage. Ludwig released a short but very sharp laugh, and this sent Sheridan over the edge. He charged at Ludwig, swinging his sword wildly and not looking at all like the calm Captain that had been at the helm of this small force thus far. Ludwig returned with blows of his own, all of which Sheridan blocked without much effort. Sheridan tried to run the enemy General through with his blade but missed as Ludwig stepped to the side with a chuckle.

    “CAPTAIN!” Woodson yelled in worry.

    Sheridan whirled around quickly, driving his fist (and the targe attached to his forearm) into the face of the middle-aged Imperial officer for the second time. Flecks of blood burst forth from Ludwig’s face once again. Quick as lightning, Sheridan whirled around with his sword. On pure instinct, Ludwig rolled away. Sheridan attempted to leap upon him but missed and turned around immediately, putting his back to Woodson, who had been looking on this whole time.

    “Woodson! Sword!” Sheridan whispered all of a sudden. Woodson barely heard him and began to fumble around his waist whilst Ludwig charged, his own weapon prepared to strike his younger nemesis. As Ludwig drew closer, Woodson managed to extricate his weapon from its sheath and tossed it calmly toward Sheridan, whose free hand gripped it for only a half second – a half second that seemed like an eternity – before launching it the other way, right at Ludwig’s face.

    Ludwig skidded to a stop as a flash of flaming light missed his blond-curtained head by inches. He turned around and let out a yell…

    With a precise, controlled slash, Captain Sheridan Hadley ended the duel. Ludwig stumbled and fell backward as the two halves of his now-destroyed chest plate fell away from him. As he hit his back, his sword sprang forth from his hands and slid along the ground, gleaming with the reflection of nearby, dying flames. Ludwig’s dirty-blond curtain of hair was disheveled as he sat up, put his hand to his chest in shock and removed it. A coughing gasp escaped the veteran soldier’s lips as he saw on his hand a stain of scarlet, matted against the pinkish-white of his palm.

    “You…” Ludwig growled.

    “You’ve lost,” Sheridan said. Ludwig’s hands clawed at the ground as he let out an enraged snarl.

    “Good shot!” Woodson yelled excitedly, which only served to make Ludwig madder.

    “Defeated…by a mere boy…” he hissed. “I won’t be shamed like this…”

    He rose from the ground very quickly and appeared to throw something as he lunged at Sheridan…

    Sheridan screamed as the grit of dust mingled with ashes covered his face, enough of it entering his eyes to cause much discomfort. He fell to his knees trying to shake it out. Ludwig’s eyes searched the ground for his sword. He took one look back up at Woodson, who was approaching with his own sidearm out, knew that he would not find his blade in time to kill the young Captain, and decided to cut his losses…

    Woodson reached Sheridan just as Ludwig had taken off running in the opposite direction, completely unarmed.

    “Captain!” Woodson yelled. “Sheridan, you alright??”

    Sheridan, still on his knees, shook his head very quickly and gradually opened his green eyes. His normally strawberry-blonde hair and healthy face had been rendered grayish by the dust and ashes that had covered it, giving him a look something like a strapping but fatigued…zombie. Helped by Woodson, Sheridan got to his feet.

    “Where’d he go?” Sheridan asked.

    “Took off,” Woodson answered.

    Sheridan swore, letting out a sigh of disappointment. He looked around at the damage that the attack had wrought. Burning remains of cloth tents smoldered and smoked, peppering a sea of fine ashes. Many of the flames had died off, leaving nothing else than smoke. The little grass that had been in this clearing had been completely burned away, and Sheridan could see one or two nearby trees that had (literally) fallen victim to the flames that accompanied this battle.

    …And in the center of the camp, one lone flag with a green, serpentine dragon bearing a silver crown against a black background, frayed and broken…

    Defeated.

    “Where is everyone else? Don’t tell me we’re the only ones left…” Sheridan muttered.

    “Well, you’re the Captain,” Woodson commented. “Call them.”

    Sheridan inhaled, got a whiff of dust, coughed twice, shook his head in discomfort, and looked up at the sky, which was tar black peppered with little specks of astral white here and there. And the moon…the great moon shone high above them, struck through with stratus clouds of a dark gray as a rare chill wind blew them inexorably toward the east…toward Petalburg and points beyond. Sheridan yanked something from his belt – a small, silver tube of sorts – and blew.

    A loud, shrill tone rent the night air. Woodson’s hand hovered near his ear as he squinted in discomfort at the frequency, which might have been high enough to scare a small Growlithe or Houndour back in Rustboro out of its slumber.

    Sheridan ceased to blow after about ten seconds (which seemed more like ten minutes to Woodson, who was nearby). After this, the Captain and his underling and friend looked at each other. Woodson, removing his hand from his ear and placing it on his temple, was the first to speak:

    “Great Almighties, that’s awful,” he grunted.

    Sheridan looked over his shoulder and smiled as he saw a young man with black hair clad in silver armor over a green outfit emerge from the trees.

    “But effective,” Sheridan commented.

    One by one, they began to come out – some jogging slightly, some limping, some walking, some trudging in three-man tandems with two bodies sandwiching and supporting that of an injured teammate, an injured brother. Some were keeping close tabs on black-clad soldiers in their company…captured enemies whose fledgling careers in causing mayhem and destruction had been brought to an end in the most merciful way possible, considering the circumstances…some with dirt on their faces, others, blood. Some came to him black eyes, burn marks, cuts, scrapes…many looking like they had seen a five-second glimpse of hell itself…

    …but most came to him with smiles on their faces. A dozen…two dozen…somewhere close to four dozen.

    “I’ll be damned,” Woodson gasped. “We won. We actually won!”

    “The Almighties were with us this evening,” Sheridan commented.

    “Most of us,” one soldier commented. Sheridan’s eyes found that soldier rather quickly – it was the first one that he had seen, a young swordsman with short, black hair. With a shamed look on his face, the soldier informed Captain Hadley, “Four of us…won’t be returning.”

    Sheridan’s heart sank and he sighed heavily. In the ensuing silence, he asked loudly, “Does anyone know their names? Anyone?”

    Silence for another second – suddenly Sheridan lost his temper.

    “These men died like heroes, and I will see to it that they are remembered!!” he shouted, a fierce look seizing his bright, green eyes. “I’m asking – no, I’m ordering you – give me their names!”

    “Roren Maynard,” a nearby soldier said with a bit of a strained voice. Sheridan turned slightly to his left. One of the soldiers who had to be propped up by two comrades had spoken. Judging by the awkward angle of his limp foot, his injury had to be some sort of ankle fracture. “He was with our group when we were ambushed. When I got hurt…he stayed behind to cover our escape.”

    Sheridan nodded mournfully.

    “Iamri Olavica,” another soldier said. Sheridan didn’t bother to look to find him – Woodson did. “He emigrated here as a boy years ago from Carona, far to the northwest.”

    “John Peter Rodell,” a third soldier said. “He died fighting along the shore of the lake. He killed two and disarmed two more before he fell to an archer’s arrow.”

    “Gerard Schneider,” a fourth soldier carrying a bow said. Sheridan’s heart sank again – he recognized that name moreso than the other three. “He fired the first arrow to attack this camp…but he was also the first to be seen.”

    “…Can we recover any of them?” Sheridan finally asked.

    “All but one,” the very first soldier said. “Rodell fell into the lake…but I do know where his sword is.”

    “…Retrieve it,” replied Hadley. To the remaining soldiers, he said, “Well done – all of you. You have fought bravely and you have been rewarded…with victory.”

    “Victory!!” the inexperienced but nonetheless eager Woodson raised his fist into the air. This was followed by cheers and tired but jubilant shouts that rang through the nighttime air. Sheridan Hadley looked on in silence, the loss of the few still fresh in his mind. He understood – this was a war. People would be lost on both sides. That was why he had to win…and continue winning.

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  19. #344
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    ~~~ *** ~~~

    July 8, PA 2013 – Near the Sand of Khalid, North of Mauville City

    The sun rose red and raging over the foothills of central Hoenn, slowly but surely banishing Night along with its shrinking shadows. Even at this early hour, the temperature was already at or above a balmy seventy degrees, signaling that the morning would be a prelude to a very warm summer afternoon.

    With a slight grunt of effort, Travis stuffed what appeared to be a large cloth into his one-strap backpack. Inhaling and taking in the mild morning air, Travis let it out all at once with a pleased sigh. Katrina, who had been slipping her feet into her white flip-flops, popped back into sight again, beaming broadly, her pink hair shimmering in the morning sun.

    “We head into Mauville today,” Travis said simply. With a sigh, he added, “This is gonna be interesting.”

    “All we need to do is stay away from anybody in armor, right?” Travis and Katrina looked up to see Shiro and Madeline approaching them. “All…five hundred of them…”

    Katrina looked up at the sky.

    “It’s a dark red,” she commented. “I think I read somewhere that a red sky in the morning was a bad omen…something about the shedding of blood.”

    “Geez, you mind creeping me out a little bit more?” Madeline asked with a nervous laugh. “Never knew you were that superstitious.”

    Katrina laughed. “I’m not superstitious, I’m just – ACK! Hey!!”

    She squealed shrilly and broke out into giggles, for Travis had just playfully clawed a particularly ticklish area of her waist when she wasn’t paying attention. Meanwhile, Shiro’s aureate irises had rolled toward the sky in an expression of obvious annoyance. This gesture was all the more completed when Shiro proceeded to grunt a four-letter word under his breath, turning around and making his way back in the other direction. Madeline, of course, began to follow him, shouting worried.

    “Hey! What’s going on??” she asked.

    “…Forgot my – Luke’s – whatever. I forgot the stick,” Shiro groaned.

    “Oh…whoops,” Madeline grimaced. “We’d better find it before a wild Machop gets a hold of it. Can you give us five minutes?”

    “Sure, go ahead,” Travis replied. Madeline ran after Shiro, who was already making his way back toward the small hill upon which they had camped. That left Katrina and Travis by themselves for a second time.

    “Can you remind me why we camped separately again?” Katrina asked.

    “We’re a lot easier to find out here in the open,” Travis answered. “Chances are, the Imperials already know you’re with me, but they’re not counting on us traveling in a group of four. We’ll probably be able to set up one camp once we get across water toward Fortree, but with the security…”

    Katrina had a look of concern on her face.

    “You’re really worried, aren’t you?” Katrina asked seriously.

    “Not for us, no,” Travis sighed. “But the Prince…I left him so he wouldn’t depend on me so much. I wonder how he’s doing?”

    “I’m sure he’s fine,” Katrina said. “He loves Hoenn and wants to see his father’s kingdom survive. But there’s another reason, too…”

    “What?” Travis asked.

    “He reminds me a lot of you,” Katrina said. “I mean…how you were when we were little. You were really mild-mannered and gentle – maybe too much. You were likable, but you never stood up for yourself. But when someone you cared about got hurt…”

    “You mean…Ivanna?” Travis asked curiously.

    “Ivanna wasn’t originally Commander, you know,” Katrina said. “She got the title from her father, Izaak. She really looked up to him. Everybody did – he was a good guy…maybe except for the fact that he was a little overprotective and that’s why Ivanna and Elrik never got together until now, but…”

    “What exactly happened?” Travis asked. “I know from some of the soldiers that her father was caught and executed.”

    “Not until after they tortured him,” Katrina replied with a blank look on her face. “They cut his head off…and sent it to Elrik and his supporters in a box.”

    An expression of mingled shock and disgust seized Travis’ eyes. “That’s…”

    “…really jacked,” Shiro’s voice interjected the conversation for the second time as he and Madeline returned, the former carrying the three-piece rod in his hand. “Damn it, this Edgar dude’s even more of a douche bag than I heard he was.”

    “Uh…question,” Katrina asked.

    “Shoot,” Shiro replied flippantly.

    “What is that?” Katrina said, gesturing toward the weapon in Shiro’s hand.

    “This? Oh, it’s called a san….something. The word pretty much means ‘three-piece rod’,” Shiro replied. “It’s kind of rare ‘cause it takes a lot of skill to wield one. Hell, I don’t know what I’m doing half the time.”

    “Why don’t you keep the normal staff you had, then?” Katrina questioned.

    “Oh, I’m testing this,” Shiro said. Travis and Katrina raised their eyebrows in confusion. “Okay, let me start from the beginning. The Blackthorn Clan was and still is a warrior clan.”

    “Figured as much,” Travis replied.

    “So, every son or daughter born into the family by blood learns some sort of martial art at a pretty young age. That’s probably the one family tradition my mom actually kept,” Shiro added with a wry smile. “Anyway, Luke has been at Blackthorn City for about exactly a year now, and it was time for him to choose a weapon to train with. You guys know Luke – he takes pride in being the oddball. So he chose this weapon…after being asked three times.”

    “Okay…so why do you have it?” Travis asked.

    “Basically, they didn’t have any of these left in the city because nobody used them,” Shiro commented. “So, when Luke told him that he wanted one, they had to make one for him. Just as they finished the first one was when Madeline and I swung through, asking for a lift over here to Hoenn.”

    “So, that’s how you guys got here…” Katrina remarked.

    “They want me to test it and see if it’ll hold up on a long journey. Meanwhile, Luke’s training with my – well, Mom’s – rod, because you have to master a rod with one piece before you do a rod with two or three pieces,” Shiro explained.

    “Makes sense,” Travis commented.

    “Okay…enough of that…” Shiro said. “Here’s hoping we don’t have to use it anytime today.”

    “Right…” Travis uttered rather distractedly. “Do we have everything now?”

    “Yeah, I think so,” Shiro replied.

    “Okay…let’s go,” Travis said with a smile.

    They set out toward the south, Travis leading the way with a hopeful smile on his face, hand-in-hand with his dear sweetheart.

    Trailing behind them and walking at Shiro’s shoulder, Madeline couldn’t help but marvel. Even though she had known him for well over two years now…talking to him was something like meeting someone new. He no longer wore the careworn visage or the constant expression of distrust that she had known him for when they were first introduced. Something better had sprung up in its place, like a seed at last sprouting into the great oak that it was always destined to be. When she had first met him, there had been so much disparity between his experiences and theirs. He had wisdom, knowledge, and experience that did not commonly accompany boys his age. In fact, for the sake of health and sanity, they very well should never do so. He simply wanted to be a boy, but expectations seemed to follow him wherever he went. As for her, nobody expected anything of her. She was a girl raised poor in the slums of Cherrygrove with a junkie mom and an absent dad. She wanted to grow into a woman and be special - part of something bigger than just the circumstances that she had been so unjustly dealt. She was the card player, her life was the wager, and it seemed, as it is in all gambling situations, that the great House of the world had rigged the deck for her failure.

    This same time two years ago – when both she and Katrina were twelve going on thirteen – the latter was the second girl that Madeline had ever looked up to. The first had been her own sister, Yoshina. With a mother who was an effective wreck, a missing (and later deceased) sister, and no friends to lean on, Katrina seemed like the perfect model for what a twelve-year-old girl was supposed to be. She had always heard talk about growing old gracefully. It wasn’t something she’d needed just yet, at the mere age of twelve. Where she was, she wanted to learn how to grow up gracefully, and to her, Katrina seemed to be the best example available to her…ironic, as Madeline would later find out that she herself was indeed older by about four months. Katrina, as Madeline saw her (and as most people saw her, in fact), was strong-willed but decidedly feminine, beautiful, well-shaped, in tune with her emotions and not afraid to show them, while seemingly not as prone to random mood swings as other girls her age. Madeline, by comparison, was short, scrawny, and awkward. Neither her childish face nor her flat form showed Katrina’s maturity. Her temper was horrible, and, for any offender of the male variety, her outlet was nearly invariably a swift kick to said offender’s defining organs. The list of boys and young men she had felled was quite large, almost embarrassingly so. She could not suffer humor at her expense, for she had been so accustomed to such humor being malicious. Her one protective instinct had been toward her brother, whom she eventually found didn’t need her anymore. She had been a walking, breathing, living (but not really) identity crisis.
    Shiro watched him, too. Every time he looked at him, or said something to him, he couldn’t help feel guilty. Truth be told, the reason he had left New Bark Town in the first place was because he felt powerless – powerless to help heal his wounds, powerless to undo any of the damage that he had suffered. If Shiro had only known then how much his support really mattered to Travis…

    Katrina, in his estimation, was the one that had changed the least out of everyone. Ever kind, patient, caring, with a strong will and a bit of a stubborn streak – that was Katrina in a nutshell then and now. She loved Travis with all of her heart – that was obvious. Why else would she pour her entire being into ensuring his full recovery? Why else would she stay with him when no one else would?

    Travis wouldn’t have wanted so many eyes on him. In his own eyes, after all, it was because of them – and mostly because of her – that he was still alive. To attribute his recovery to his own strength of will – at least in a complete sense – would reek pungently of an untruth and would be, frankly, a very arrogant statement to make.

    “What’s today’s date?” Katrina asked.

    “Er…” Travis uttered, the victim of a momentary brain lapse.

    “The eighth – July 8th,” Madeline replied instead. Lengthening her strides to match those of Travis, she commented, “Your birthday’s coming up pretty soon, isn’t it?”

    “Yeah,” Travis replied. Madeline was indeed right; Travis would turn fifteen on the 28th, nine days before Madeline herself celebrated a birthday. Shiro, with a late-June birthday, was the oldest of the four, and Katrina, who was born in December (thirteen years to the day before Travis’ baby sister), was the youngest.

    “July 8th…It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Hoenn almost two months already,” Katrina remarked with a smile. “Speaking of birthdays, at the rate we’re going, we should get to Fortree right as the Festival of Stratus starts.”

    “Festival of what?” Shiro asked.

    “I was reading up on it while we were still back in Lavaridge,” Katrina answered, looking over her shoulder. “To make a long story short, it’s the anniversary of the first settlement of Fortree.”

    “The very first settlement? How long ago was that?” Shiro asked.

    “That’s just it,” Katrina replied, raising a finger in indication of something important. “Fortree’s one of the oldest cities in Hoenn. Next week is its 500th birthday.”

    “Five hundred years?” Shiro repeated.

    “Anyway, from what I read, every year’s festival’s really exciting. They’ve got traditional foods that they make only for the occasion, aerial shows of Bird Pokémon – usually the city’s Gym Leader puts them on – and they’ve even got dances,” Katrina said, the excitement audible in her voice.

    “Sounds fun,” Madeline commented.

    Meanwhile, three feet in front and three feet below, Angel and Crescent were having a conversation…in a loose sense of the word.

    “<Crescent, you’ve been really quiet this morning,>” Angel commented. “<I mean, quieter than usual. Is something going on?>”

    “<…>” Crescent responded with a sigh instead of words.

    “<What does…>” Angel imitated Crescent’s sigh and facial expression, “<…mean? You don’t want to talk to me?>”

    Crescent sighed again. “<Sorry. My mind’s just somewhere else right now.>”

    “<What’s wrong? You know you can tell me,>” Angel answered, nuzzling up to Crescent as they walked. “<You can tell me anything.>”

    “<I’d rather not,>” Crescent said rather curtly. “<I don’t want you to worry about me.>”

    Angel fell silent for a moment as Crescent continued to avoid her eyes as he had been doing for the entire conversation. There was a long, awkward silence – there had been a lot of those lately.

    “<Well, I’m here,>” Angel finally said plaintively. “<Don’t forget that,>”

    “<Yeah,>” Crescent answered with such lack of focus that it robbed Angel of what little desire she had to continue the conversation. She sadly fell into step with Travis and the others, leaving Crescent to walk on his own. The nice weather – the sun, the breeze – should have made her feel happy. After all, Travis was happier than he had been since he and Katrina had first started going out. Back then, she had just evolved from an Eevee and didn’t exactly know what was going on when, in the days following that great event two years ago, she felt sudden urges to jump, to dance, to laugh for no good reason. She knew now that she had been able to sense Travis’ feelings. She no longer felt the constant worry and stress that seemed to radiate like a merciless cold from his very innards. She felt it instead, from Crescent. So frustrating it was to have a small ability to read minds and yet not be able to know what the one she loved was thinking. If he only knew what she was thinking...maybe then, everything would be a bit better.


    Northern Zephyr Sea, The Selma

    The shoulder-length locks of copper hair at the back of his head awoke, roused into motion by a gust of wind from the south. He felt this breeze strike his back and then wash over him. He felt around his chin, where a short, prickly stubble had begun to grow. The two months of this adventure had aged him more than any other occurrence in his relatively short life…he supposed with his slightly wilder look that he fit in here more among young pirates and such. His original intention was to help the Prince in Rustboro, but it was obvious that things there were already under control.

    The truth was that Kenjiro Kazaki was not one for courtesan life or for the trappings of knighthood. He had always lived life as a vagabond whose steps were unbridled, whose methods were left to his own choosing, and whose wanderings simply took him where the wind blew, all in an attempt to survive. He was not used to fighting for anything else – anyone else – other than himself.

    Then he met her. He could still remember it, as clearly as if it had been yesterday. She had been a fugitive, on the run from those who wanted to control and overpower her, all in the name of some religion that was one part cult, one part martial arts dojo…and one part brothel. It still sent a chill up his spine to this day to think what would have happened to her if she had not managed to escape. She would have been, at worst, dead, and at best, permanently scarred from the ordeals she would have been forced to endure.

    He, on the other hand, had been a mercenary – a man trying to eke out some sort of a living with his fighting skills, for those were the only skills he had been taught in any useful quantity. It just so happened, fortunately for him, that his appearance onto the stage of Hoenn coincided with what could turn out to be the most chaotic act in the epic of the kingdom thus far. Just as he had reached adulthood, King Elvanan had succumbed to illness, setting off the chain of events that had unraveled and eventually brought him to where he stood today. As enormous of a tragedy as the good king’s death was, Kenjiro couldn’t help but wonder if it had become the best thing that had ever happened to him. If King Elvanan were still alive, his two sons would not be fighting over the kingdom. If that were the case, he would have never been in the employ of Prince Elrik. In turn, he would likely have not been in Petalburg City that night, meeting with Elrik’s spies…

    He heard footsteps behind him and knew almost instantly who they belonged to. He turned around and saw a young woman with hair of a blood red. Several strands of her hair shone of a silvery white. While Kenjiro’s outfit had changed (now a simple, dark-gray collared shirt that was ornamented with a shoelace-like formation of strings where the shirt separated to show part of his muscular chest, along with white pants), hers was still the same. She still wore, as she always did during daytime, the tunic that he had bought for her seventeenth birthday, as well as the form-fitting pants she had worn when they had initially met. A combination of constant exposure to sunlight as well as a significant decrease in stress had restored the color to her face, rendering it with a rosy tinge that served to make her look overall even more beautiful than she had looked before.

    “You didn’t wake me up,” she said.

    “Sorry, Reivyn,” Kenjiro muttered, not meeting her silver eyes. “You looked so peaceful sleeping that I didn’t want to bother you.”

    Reivyn smiled.

    “There was a battle in the woods last night,” Kenjiro said after a long silence.

    “A battle?” Reivyn repeated. “Who won?”

    “I’m not sure,” Kenjiro replied. “I just heard a lot of yelling and saw smoke.”

    “Do you think we won?” Reivyn asked. “I mean…our side?”

    “Maybe,” Kenjiro answered. “Probably…unless the Imperials decided to set fire to their own camp.”

    “Oh…” Reivyn stood alongside Kenjiro and leaned over the railing. “I never noticed before with all the fighting, but…there’s something about the sea that’s really beautiful. When it’s calm…it’s easier for me to be calm.”

    A smirk crossed Kenjiro’s lips.

    “Huh?” Reivyn looked straight at Kenjiro, sounding affronted. “Why are you laughing?”

    “I don’t know,” Kenjiro replied. “I guess…I guess I was thinking the same thing about you.”

    Reivyn’s cheeks soon matched the color of the majority of her hair. “D-do you mean that? That I’m…beautiful?”

    “Yeah…” Kenjiro replied without even really thinking about it. “I mean…I guess I do…”

    Reivyn laughed and leaned against Kenjiro’s shoulder, laughing.

    “You never used to say anything nice…to anyone. Maybe because…” she commented.

    “You never laughed, either,” Kenjiro replied. “You were…”

    “Too afraid,” both said simultaneously. They stopped and looked at each other. Reivyn smiled and slid her arms around Kenjiro, releasing a giggle as she did so.


    Mid-afternoon found Travis and the others not only inside Fortree City, but nearing the ferry dock at the eastern end of the city. At the end of a concrete and stone platform was a small ship, colored a stark white that stood in contrast to the clear, blue water. Surprisingly, the soldiers that Travis had thought would be in the city were not all concentrated in one area, and didn’t seem to have time for a group of children and Pokémon just passing through. Fortunately, the other three did a rather good job hiding Travis’ sword, which would have given them all away nearly instantly. The Pokémon also served as a good cover, giving them more of the appearance of the average group of young Trainers traveling together.

    At last they arrived at the pier – Travis and Katrina first (the latter wearing her shades), followed by Shiro and Madeline. Standing at the singular entrance to the pier was a pair of guards armed with spears. Clad in black accented by silver chest plates, pauldrons, and helmets, they must have been quite warm indeed on this eighty-five-degree afternoon.

    “Excuse me, sir,” Travis put on his best, most polite voice to get the Imperial soldiers’ attention. Both men looked at him, or at least in his general direction. Their eyes were hidden by their helmets. “When does the ferry go through to get to Fortree?”

    “It doesn’t,” the soldier answered robotically.

    “It doesn’t?” Travis repeated in half-surprise, half-annoyance, all while trying to keep his voice as polite as possible.

    “The ferries have been shut down,” the soldier replied. “Recent security measures.”

    “Security? Is something wrong?” Travis asked in an effort to extract more information from the soldier.
    “Don’t you read the newspapers, kid?” the soldier replied in annoyance. “One of our camps was attacked by those rebels. General Ludwig’s unit sustained losses – not counting deserters and turncoats – and the General himself was injured.”

    Travis could hardly dare to believe what he was hearing. It took everything he had not to blow his cover and burst into laughter right there in the face of the enemy. Behind him, Shiro and Madeline smiled at each other.

    “That’s too bad,” Travis said, “but we really need to get across. We’re on our way to Fortree.”

    “That’s too bad,” the soldier mimicked, “but we really can’t let you kids through – and even if we could, there aren’t any boats even moored in the harbor.”

    “What do you think we are – blind??” Shiro exclaimed from the back, trying to push his way in front of Travis.

    “Calm down,” Travis said rather loudly, stepping in front of Shiro and blocking his path. Whispering through his teeth, he added, “My point is to avoid causing a scene.”

    Shiro stayed silent for a moment and then drew back, swearing under his breath.

    “Okay, so you’re basically telling us that there’s no way in or out of this city?” Travis questioned.

    “That’s basically it, yep. Sorry,” the soldier sounded as if he wasn’t sorry at all.

    “Sure, whatever,” Shiro called over Travis’ shoulder.

    “Leave it,” Travis sighed, turning around with Katrina and walking away from the pier. “Let’s go.”

    Shiro and Madeline followed…and as soon as they were out of earshot of the guards, Shiro let them have it.

    “Damn it!” he groaned. “What the hell are we gonna do now?”

    “Go back to the Pokémon Center and figure out a different way, I guess…” Travis sighed. “We’re lucky those guys didn’t notice me as it is – you realize how many double takes I’ve been getting since we stepped back inside the city?”

    “Didn’t notice,” Shiro said sourly, looking back at Travis, who was now shrinking behind him along with Katrina and Madeline as he walked out of frustration, eventually leaving them all behind. After several seconds, Shiro hit something – or something.

    “Gah!” he groaned, stepping back and looking up ever so slightly into the face of a man. Just taller than Shiro, he stood six-foot-one or so, and was dressed rather well. The most distinguishing feature of this man was the shock of grayish hair that sat atop his head, despite the fact that this man must have been thirty at the extreme oldest.

    “Whoops,” the man said, kneeling down and picking up what looked like it could have been a mobile phone off the ground. Standing up to his full height and looking straight at Shiro, he laughed, “Guess that’s what happens when your life’s programmed into a cell phone. Sorry about that. I’ll try to watch where I’m going from now on.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” Shiro said, a bit shocked that someone that exuded such an immediate air of importance would be apologizing to him after an incident like this.

    “Shiro!” he turned around to see Travis, Madeline, Katrina, Angel, and Crescent all running toward him. Travis had been the one who yelled. “What were you doing, taking off like –”

    He stopped dead in his tracks when he got a look at the man, who surprisingly had the same reaction when he saw Travis.

    “What?” Shiro asked. “What happened?”


    “These guys are with me. I’ll take responsibility for them. That sound good?”

    “All right – if you say so.”


    Fifteen minutes later, Travis and the others, incredulous at their luck, were sitting in a room inside the boat that they had seen moored in the harbor – a boat that happened to be a yacht that belonged to the current Hoenn League Champion, Steven Stone. Travis, with Angel sleeping in his lap, was seated at a rather large, wooden table along with Katrina, Shiro, and Madeline. (Crescent, who had been increasingly aloof in the last few days, sat in a corner.) From the looks of this place, it appeared to be used mainly for dining. Steven, however, didn’t seem to have any designs on eating right away, which was just as well, because Travis wasn’t hungry.

    After a long silence that was about the second most awkward silence that Travis had ever had to sit through – the most awkward one was at a dinner table in Blackthorn Castle two years ago when Shiro’s young uncle, Lorca, had to introduce his nephew, Shiro, and his friend (and now wife), Marcia, to the Blackthorn family upon their arrival – Steven leaned over the table and said, “Travis DePaul. I’ve wanted to meet you for some time now. I wish it was under better circumstances…”

    “Same here,” Travis replied.

    “You’re probably wondering why I’m in this part of Hoenn, aren’t you?” Steven asked. “I just got back from Rustboro – and good thing I went, too.”

    He began to recount what had happened to his brother, Alex, and chronicled the happenings in the Royalist camp for the last couple of days. It was under his voice that Travis found out many things – the condition of Alex Stone, the victories of the Emerald Knights, and even the fact that Steven was indeed a closet Royalist (those who supported the Prince and the Kingship as opposed to Edgar’s new Imperium), on their side and on the side of Prince Elrik in the conflict. Surprisingly, the conversation never switched to Pokémon, as would be expected for several Trainers of varying levels of achievement and experience in the same room. The three hours between shores passed like a bit of a blur – an informative blur, but a blur nonetheless. The whole experience left Travis and the others with a feeling of encouragement.

    Before the fact that he had just had a glimpse into the head of the most important person in Hoenn outside of the court had hit him, Travis and all of his friends were standing on the opposite shore, walking along the small beach with Steven Stone steps ahead of them. Daylight was still broad at this time of year, giving them perhaps another two hours of safe travel until they would be forced to camp for the night.

    After some time, Steven turned around.

    “You said you were headed to Fortree, right?” he asked.

    “Yeah,” Travis said in confirmation.

    “I think I’ll go on ahead. I think it’s safer for everyone if we’re not seen with each other. Aside from blowing our cover, I don’t want to hurt your reputation by making everyone think that I’m giving you special treatment,” Steven replied.

    “Makes sense,” Travis nodded. Even if Steven had agreed to accompany them, Travis would have turned him down for the same reason.

    “Well, I guess this is where I let you guys go,” Steven said, turning around and walking back past them. “I’m staying here for another couple of days to gather information, but I’ll be up in Fortree for the Festival. If I don’t see you then…I guess it’ll be in Evergrande, right?”

    “Definitely,” Travis said confidently.

    “You keep fighting the good fight, then,” Steven said, beginning to walk away from them. “Oh, and Travis…”

    “Hm?” Travis looked up at him.

    “Don’t think that you’re making a mistake by sticking to Pokémon Training right now,” Steven admonished him. “Now that we’re at civil war, the people of Hoenn need the League more than ever. The people cheer for their Champion or their favorite young prospect without worrying about the carnage that the next day might bring. There aren’t any Imperials or Royalists in those stadiums – just Hoennites enjoying the thrill of competition. Whatever you do…don’t lose yourself to this war.”

    “I won’t make that mistake again,” Travis said, a fierce gaze in his eyes that told the story more than the calm determination in his voice. He grasped Katrina’s hand, almost as if by his strong grip he had sworn specifically to her. “Never.”

    Steven’s eyes closed.

    “Tournament’s in September, right?” Travis questioned, his eyes glinting. “You’ve got two months.”

    “Don’t worry. I’ll be ready,” Steven replied, finally taking his leave, leaving the four humans and two Pokémon on the beach by themselves.

    “Fortree, Mossdeep, and Sootopolis,” Travis recited. “The last three badges are at those Gyms.”

    “Well, what the hell are we standing around here waiting for?” Shiro exclaimed. “Let’s rock!”

    “Let’s get inland. Then, tomorrow, we can start some real traveling,” Travis replied.



    They did travel for another hour or two just as they had planned. This placed them slightly north of the beach, on something of a lightly forested plateau. The land was much flatter here than what they had encountered in the area of Lavaridge, making travel much easier and much faster.

    For now, however, travel had ceased, as they had finally run out of daylight. They ate their dinner, but not without tension – it had become markedly obvious that Crescent and Angel had not talked for nearly the entire day, and this trend continued into dinner, where they would commonly converse and share the same food affectionately. By contrast, Hotshot and Sparx had been let out to eat as well and were all over each other, only serving to double the awkwardness of the situation. If Travis had remembered correctly, the two had paired off about this time two years ago.

    In any case, dinner ended, and Travis slipped off by himself. He gazed at the twinkling stars in the clear night sky as he lay on his back in the soft grass, under the sound of only the wind and a few nocturnal Pokémon uttering their cries to the moonlit heavens.

    “Want some company?” Katrina’s voice asked.

    “Sure,” Travis said. Katrina laid down next to him. He turned his head to face her as his nose rubbed against hers and their eyes locked upon each other.

    “Suddenly, it’s like you don’t worry anymore,” Katrina finally commented. “What happened?”

    “I just decided not to,” Travis explained. “I know I’ll come out on top at the end, so I don’t need to think about what might happen if I don’t.”

    “That’s all?” Katrina asked.

    “That’s it,” he answered. “Simple, huh?”

    “Yeah,” Katrina replied in a whisper, kissing him. “Simple.”


    Miles away, Nathaniel Elm gazed from the sunroom balcony at the same night sky. His mane of shoulder-length, black hair looked ever the same, as did his choice of clothes.

    “Nate…” the boy’s burgundy eyes opened and he looked over his shoulder to find his blonde, middle-aged mother striding toward him, holding what looked to be a telephone. Smiling, she said, “It’s for you.”

    Katherine ruffled her son’s long hair, winked, and went back into the main part of the house. Nate grinned and put the receiver to his face.

    “I thought I just got rid of you,” he said wryly, looking straight across the street at a lit window, where a form was no doubt looking back at him from the other side.

    “You’re not going to believe this,” Avril’s voice was slightly garbled over the phone, but very nearly as sweet and vivacious as it was in person. “I know you just got back, but…hear me out.”

    “I’m here. What’s going on?” Nate asked.

    The answer he heard would surely change the face of things.

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  20. #345
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    Oct 2005
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    Sweet...

    Though it may be four thirty a.m. in my part of the world, i'm shall not rest until thy grand work in thoroughly scutinized (for the wait we endured) and praised (for sticking in there and keeping it together)...

    I'll be back...

    Quite the chapter, quite the chapter. Was it just me or did this seem a little shorter than usual? Though the sword fight blew me away. TOTALLY...AWAY.

    Talk about your lucky breaks... Travis and co. meeting Steven helped out loads, though not much for Angel and Crescent. Now to add to the egg mystery, we have a new mystery concerning NatexAvril. Could it be...

    NO grammar problems to report this time, mon capitaine, but one problem did occur:

    Mid-afternoon found Travis and the others not only inside Fortree City, but nearing the ferry dock at the eastern end of the city.
    I’m a little confused here... weren’t they initially heading for Mauville Harbour?

    Other than that, you've now pushed me into a crazy as hell waiting phase once again. No one does that better than you, buddy.

    Give it up!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 24th April 2008 at 8:45 PM.
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  21. #346
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    Dec 2007
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    I liked the fighting part in the first bit of the chapter. It really drew you into it.

    There some real plot devevelopment and You ended with a real clif-hanger.

    The only mistake I saw was this:

    After several seconds, Shiro hit something – or something.

    I think you ment Someone.

    A really enjoyable chapter and the wait wasn't all that bad compared to some caughharrypottercaugh =)
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  22. #347
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    Jul 2006
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    w00t, new chapter! And what a chapter it was... Definitely one of your better ones, in my opinion. Sheridan's sword fell right into a guy's chest, apparantly; that was the first blood of the war. That brings me to point number one to shower with praise: Sheridan v. Ludwig. It was really nice to see characters that don't have supernatural spirit gun powers beating up one another, and you took the opportunity and ran with it. This is one of your better fights, for sure. Also, lol @ Ludwig running away after all the bravado he put on.

    Next up on the list would be the current state of affairs over at camp Kenjiro. I, for one, didn't see him joining the pirates coming at all. I'm unsure whether or not to call it a plot twist, as he isn't really doing anything yet, but I know this isn't the last we'll see of him. Furthermore, you have my thanks for assuring our pillaging friends a spot in the climax, or at the very least somewhere close to it.

    Third, even though Travis and Co. didn't get involved in much action this chapter, there was character development in very noticeable places. The effects of emo-Travis' death are beginning to shine, and the summary Madeline and Shiro gave was most enlightening. As a final point: the origin of Shiro's new rod are explained! Hooray!

    After a long silence that was about the second most awkward silence that Travis had ever had to sit through – the most awkward one was at a dinner table in Blackthorn Castle two years ago when Shiro’s young uncle, Lorca, had to introduce his nephew, Shiro, and his friend (and now wife), Marcia, to the Blackthorn family upon their arrival – Steven leaned over the table and said, “Travis DePaul. I’ve wanted to meet you for some time now. I wish it was under better circumstances…”
    *sigh* Good times... good times...

    Meanwhile, he went for the sword of the soldier whose leg he had just broken and rolled to his feet with it in one hand and his own blade in the other.
    So he breaks the guy's leg and steals his sword? How on earth is the poor soldier supposed to live that down. Sorry, I just find that rather funny...

    As always, keep up the good work, and try to never let thoughts of quitting enter your head. At least not until AP is over with :P, -Oath

  23. #348
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    Nov 2006
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    Illinois
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    Good to see a new chappie. Sorry to hear that you considered giving up...how bad was the writer's block?

    No problems with grammer, only confusing thing I saw-

    “Kuh…” a red-haired soldier dressed in black with silver armor looked down at the one unprotected portion of his torso as it began to bleed, the victim of a well-aimed but desperate sword strike.
    -was this. Seemed a bit confusing to read.

    Other than, interesting development so far, can't wait to see what happens next.

    ~xXPorygonXx

  24. #349
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    Apr 2008
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    Wow I've been readin this for a long time but just recently joined....AMAZING.Along with a couple other Fics it inspired me to make a Fic of my own, to join Serebii, and to not give up on pokemon. It is my favorite fic.

  25. #350
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    A therapist's Sofa
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    996

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    Seems like an epidemic, well if you can call two people an epidemic, so I'll give you the same(ish) speech I gave to Saber.

    If you can't find a reason to write, think to us the humble readers, if we be not inspiration much then think of the starving africans you see in those donate two pounds a month adverts, how would they feel if you just gave up eh. Disappointed and hungry thats what. And all the abused animals in the RSPCA adverts, they will be casting shame upon you. Look up and be happy. The sun will shine again my friend.


    Hopefully that sorts that.

    Anywho, the chapter was ver awesome. Especially the camp raid, It just makes sense that battles in forests are just better than say on barren wastelands. Gives a nice background to a horrific scene.

    And yay for convienient plot twists, reminds me of a fic I once read.
    "Blaine, why do you want to trade me a Magmar?" "For plot advancement."
    Yes I would say this has been one of the best chapters yet, it had a kind of pernache about it. Gave it some Style, a bit of class.
    Skogsrĺ

    Gardenia never liked the Old Chateau, but what if the Old Chateau liked her?

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