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Thread: Pokemon Revolution: Advent Phoenix (Rated T)

  1. #226
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    Default Chapter 23

    WARNING: This chapter, while good, contains major dosages of flashbacks. Therefore, if you didn’t read PRJ (or at least skim it), you might be a bit lost.

    Chapter 23: A Destiny Accepted

    June 19, PA 2013 – Verdanturf Town

    “Hey! Long time no see!” Travis said loudly into his end.

    “You’re telling me,” Shiro’s voice came loud and clear through the old videophone’s speaker. Travis coughed for a moment, which was met by, “Dude, are you okay?”

    “I’m fine,” Travis grunted. “This thing’s full of dust – I don’t think it’s been used since before I was born.”

    Shiro laughed.

    “Madeline! How are you?” Katrina exclaimed to the girl through the wires to the next continent. “I’m loving what you did with your hair!!”

    “Thanks,” Madeline replied with a smile, sweeping her few blonde bangs out of her eyes. “How are you?”

    “Could be worse,” Katrina replied.

    “Um…is Matt with you guys?” Madeline asked. “Have you seen him anywhere?”

    “Well, he’s not with us, but he is here in Hoenn,” Travis said.

    “Really?” Madeline looked like the knowledge of what Travis had told her had made her day.

    “Yeah – actually, he was one of the first people I saw after we got here,” Travis answered.

    “Your hair…Matt’s is a lot like it now, come to think of it,” Katrina commented.

    “Can’t say I’m surprised,” Madeline answered wryly. “He’s been trying to imitate me since we were babies. Wouldn’t think he had that much fashion sense, though. How does it look?”

    “Not bad, actually,” Katrina said. “Oh – you know he has a girlfriend now, right?”

    “He might have mentioned that the last time we talked. You guys beat her in the Golden Moon Tournament when we were all here in Goldenrod,” Madeline said.

    “Yeah…” Travis sighed nostalgically. “That was…two years ago tomorrow, wasn’t it?”

    “Sure was,” Shiro replied.

    “Which reminds me – happy birthday, Shiro,” Travis said.

    “I won again, if you were wondering,” Shiro said.

    “Really? Congratulations,” Travis replied. Shiro was a skilled skateboarder – skilled enough to compete in the Junior Regional Tournament…and win…three times in a row.

    “It’s no big deal,” Shiro sighed. “Not anymore, anyways. I put on a show for the fans, but it’s been a little bit flat ever since last year when Richter moved up to the pros.”

    Richter was (if Travis remembered correctly) about sixteen or seventeen years old now, and had been an ongoing rival of Shiro’s ever since he had started competing.

    “Speaking of which, I’ve got about five pro teams wanting to sign me,” Shiro added with a grin. “By this time next year, I’ll probably be on one of them. That means I get to travel and skate – my two favorite things in life, if you were wondering – except, now, I can get paid for it. Can’t get much of a better deal than that, right?”

    “Can’t argue with you there,” Travis laughed.

    “So, how’s life in Hoenn?” Shiro asked.

    “Well, we’ve both got four badges, so I guess life could be a lot worse,” Travis answered, being careful not to give too much away.

    “So I guess you heard, then, if you’ve been battling in the Gyms out there…” Shiro muttered.

    Travis raised an eyebrow.

    “Something about a guy getting blasted into an electric fence just to win the match,” Shiro said.

    “Yeah – who’d do something like that?” Madeline echoed.

    Travis and Katrina looked at each other, astonished at exactly how fast news could travel. Shiro figured the body language out immediately:

    “Wait a sec…that was you??” Shiro questioned incredulously.

    “Yeah…a couple of days ago,” Travis replied.

    Shiro leaned in toward the screen. “Let me get this straight – you got yourself blasted and electrocuted for the sole purpose of winning a Gym match?”

    “Yeah – that’s pretty much how it happened,” Travis answered calmly.

    “I’ve seen some crazy stuff before, but, dude…that’s bad-***. I mean – that’s just, you know…seriously…bad-***,” Shiro said, sounding as if he was at a loss for words. “That’s some…bad-***, crazy ****.”

    “I’ve been hanging around you too long,” Travis laughed.

    “Me?” Shiro responded. “I’m not sure if I’d try something like that.”

    “Shiro…” Madeline gave Shiro a knowing look with her jade-green eyes.

    “Okay, maybe I would,” Shiro said. “So, you’re really that serious, huh?”

    “Obviously,” Travis said. “I know I’m good enough. The question is how much I want it. No guts, no glory, right?”

    “Or something like that,” Shiro shot back, earning appreciative laughs from all of his friends.

    “Hey, it’s been great talking to you guys, but we’re kinda pressed for time,” Travis sighed, sorry that he had to end the conversation.

    “Pressed for time? How?” Shiro asked.

    “We’re…someone’s letting us use this videophone and I’m not sure how long it’s gonna be before her patience runs out,” Travis said quickly. “Talk to you later.”

    “See ya,” Shiro said. “You two lovebirds have a happy anniversary!”

    “We will…hopefully,” Travis replied, sounding a little bit distracted. “Oh – by the way…you know you have a little cousin now, right?”

    “Of course – Landis,” Shiro answered. “I was one of the first people to know after he was born. I think I’ll swing through there before I leave Johto.”

    “Yeah – you should do that,” Travis said. “Make sure to say high to everyone for me.”

    “Can do,” Shiro affirmed with a nod. “See you around.”

    “Bye,” Travis responded, pushing a red button and turning the phone off.

    As Shiro watched the screen in front of him go black, one of Travis’ final comments left him a bit uneasy.

    “What’s going on out there that would keep Travis and Katrina from enjoying their own anniversary?” Shiro asked.

    “Dunno,” Madeline answered.

    “Well, worrying about it won’t do much good,” Shiro said, standing up quickly.

    “Where are you…we…going?” Madeline asked, sounding unsure.

    “First, to Blackthorn City. I can’t pass up the chance to see Uncle Lance try to change a diaper. That’ll probably be funny as hell,” Shiro laughed.

    “That sounds about right,” Madeline answered. “I’m sure your family’ll be happy to see you…”

    “Happy, enough, maybe, to give us a lift,” Shiro commented, walking toward the stairs. “That’s what I’m banking on, anyway…”


    “Ms. Arsham?”

    “Hm? Whatcha need?”

    “Do you know anything about a place named Carona?”

    “Carona? Sure. Look at this map here.”

    “That one to the west of Sinnoh?”

    “Exactly.”

    “It’s huge!

    “Sure is – damn near bigger than all of Albara put together. And a bunch of smart folks, too. Almost all the gadgets we use, they had fifty, a hundred years ago.”

    “Seriously?”

    “Do you think I would lie to you?”

    “…No, ma’am.”

    “Alright, then. Carona’s interesting. It’s not as unified of a nation as here or in Sinnoh or the Twin States…”

    “Really? So it doesn’t have, like, a president or king or council or anything like that?”

    “Nothing. Carona’s more like what you’d call a confederacy. Each of the major cities in Carona is so large and has so many people that they can work on their own without the help of the others. Seems like it’d be an easy place to conquer, but you’d have to do it city by city and that’s where you’d get into trouble.”

    “Why is that?”

    “Well, first off, Carona’s got some hellish terrain between the cities. Rocky mountain cliffs, dense woods, a huge desert damn near the size of Johto itself, the occasional active volcano – you name it, it’s probably in Carona somewhere.”

    “Yikes.”

    “Second, Carona’s cities have weapons and defenses that the rest of the world hasn’t even dreamt up yet. And third…Carona’s cities might be mostly independent, but the alliances between those cities are strong. An attack on one city in Carona is still an attack on Carona itself.”


    Travis sat up straight on the bed. The soldiers were still sleeping. He looked around for a clock to see what time it was.

    5:00 on the dot. The sun wouldn’t be up yet – perfect.

    He leapt to the ground and his bare feet felt the hardness and coldness of the wooden floor. His sword was leaning in a corner next to his bed, which was right next to a dusty window in the far corner of the room. He grabbed the ancestral blade in his hands, felt its warmth and breathed in its overwhelming sacredness and the madness that came with it for a second or two…

    And then laid it down on the floor. With a well-aimed foot, he gently slid it well under his bed, out of his sight…

    And, for today, out of his heart.

    While he was here, he felt a certain duty to help Elrik and the others with the matters at hand, especially since it seemed that they were one Imperial move away from a crisis situation. Today, though…today, he couldn’t do it. Today, it really couldn’t be his war. Today was too important to him.

    He couldn’t fight – not today.



    June 21, PA 2013 – Verdanturf Town, Arsham’s Estate

    The meeting had adjourned. Every evening, the ‘important figures’ in the Emerald Knights convened and discussed the day’s happenings, as well as the future of the knights. Travis and Katrina had been allowed – more like invited – to sit in on these meetings, which actually worked out very well. They were able to warn Elrik about the intents and cryptic words of Darris Klein. This was welcome information, as it confirmed in the minds of Elrik and the other leaders that they had to make their next move swiftly. According to Darris (and information Travis had received from Reivyn), if Edgar learned how to work the true power of Rayquaza’s sword, their chances for retaking the throne for Elrik were slim to none. At the end of this council, Elrik implied that he and the Emerald Knights appreciated Travis’ aid and would be looking for more assistance from him. While Travis expected this, it was also the last thing he wanted to hear on this particular day. Therefore, when the meeting was over and everyone except the widowed owner of the estate had left, Travis and Katrina approached her.

    “Ms. Arsham?” Travis said to the middle-aged woman, who was rolling up a scroll of sorts and putting it away.

    “It’s…Travis and Katrina, right? Do you need something, missy?” Arsham spoke straight to the girl, who looked like she wanted to talk first.

    “We need a favor…” she said, sounding uncommonly timid.

    “Another favor? As if I’m not doing everyone staying in my house enough favors already! But I’m feeling rather generous this week, so if it’s not ridiculous or out of my reach, I might be able to help you,” Arsham laughed, responding in her normal, abrasive manner.

    “It’s nothing big, but…we want to be able to…sort of disappear tomorrow,” Katrina said.

    “Disappear?” Arsham didn’t seem to understand.

    “You heard what the Prince said…that he’ll be relying on us more and more,” Katrina answered. “We’re both ready to take on a responsibility like that, but…”

    “But what?” Arsham asked when Katrina trailed off. The younger girl had her eyes closed and her face contorted as if she was trying to keep herself from crying. As a result, Katrina’s request came out as sort of a cracking whisper.

    “Ms. Arsham…tomorrow’s a special day for us. It’s our second anniversary, and I don’t think either of us could bear it if we were asked to help someone fight a war this time. We’ve already done it once and…”

    “I knew there was more to you two than meets the eye,” Arsham commented. “Why the hell else would a rebel army let two kids your age sit in on their meeting? You don’t mind telling me what happened, do you?”

    Katrina, still blinking back tears, turned to Travis, obviously leaving the decision to tell his story up to him.


    Katrina winced as she felt the bow on her back being tightened much too forcefully by the strong hands of one of the young guardswomen that she had been forced to room with for the last couple of nights. The first night, they had treated her somewhat like a small child, but they had begun to take to her because of her participation in the Council the other night. One young woman in particular had made it a point to help her out whenever she needed it.

    “You look absolutely beautiful,” the young guardswoman (not dressed in her armor yet) told her. The young woman had short, strawberry blonde hair and could have been twenty at a great stretch.

    “Thanks, Amelia,” Katrina said, studying herself in the mirror. She turned her back to see a perfectly-tied bow on the back of her halter top. This particular shirt flared out and lost its rigidity at the hips sort of like a skirt. Nonetheless, she wore her black Capri pants with the outfit. Some of her hair was tied in white lace and hung around her ears, which were decorated with two gold earrings adorned with crescent moons.

    “We’re the minority, so we have to stick together,” Amelia said. “I may be a soldier, but I’m still a woman.”

    “Didn’t you say something about having a younger sister?” Katrina asked, turning around.

    “I do…back in Sootopolis,” Amelia answered. “I was the tomboy of my family, but Ariana’s a lot like you. She’s really strong-willed – almost stubborn. I wish I could go home to visit her, but obviously…if I go back to Sootopolis with the way things are, I might put my entire family at risk. They know what I’m doing, but they’ve been acting like I died in a boating accident.”

    “So, of course, you protect Lady Ivanna, right?” Katrina asked.

    “We protect whoever needs protecting…but, yeah. We mainly protect the important women in the Emerald Knights, like Lady Ivanna, Ms. Arsham, and you,” Amelia said. Katrina was a bit surprised that her name would be included.

    “Me?” she repeated.

    “You and your boyfriend are more important to our cause than you think,” Amelia replied. “And speaking of your boyfriend…don’t take this the wrong way, but he’s a looker. You’re not worried about any…competition?”

    “No,” Katrina said with a smile. “We’ve been through too much together.”

    “Two years is a long time,” Amelia remarked. “Especially for someone your age.”

    “Actually, the last two years have gone by really quickly…” Katrina responded. Her eyes slightly downcast and her smile gone, she added, “…for better or worse.”

    Amelia gave Katrina a slight smile of pity.

    “You’re both really fortunate, you know,” she said. “To have each other, I mean.”

    “Thanks…I guess,” Katrina sighed, making for the door and turning the knob. She hesitated when a rather harsh creak rang through the room, looking back to see if she had awoken anyone else. She then slipped through the small space she had created for herself and slowly pulled the door shut.

    She let out a sigh as her baby-blue orbs studied the second floor corridor, peering down into the dim light that illuminated the end of the hall and indicated the center of the mansion, which was always very bright at daytime because of the huge, almost chapel-like glass window that was at the center of the mansion’s front. Appropriately enough, the mansion seemed to have a green motif. There was the occasional dust, which was fine – in terms of living conditions, she’d seen a whole lot worse.

    Besides, it wasn’t always the condition of the house that affected one’s condition of living, Katrina remembered. The house and the nearby Emerald Knights’ camp were almost like a huge family. There had definitely been a change in the atmosphere since the move from Rustboro. The soldiers seemed even more convinced that they were fighting for peace. Roald and Rashid, who were the chief messengers because of their horsemanship, rode around the camp passing on and giving orders. Elrik discussed strategy with Master Hong and his two students (all of whom Katrina had been introduced to the previous day).

    The most drastic change, however, had obviously been wrought in Ivanna.

    In the Romero Mansion, she had been a stiff, businesslike soldier with a penchant for giving orders and for working her troops to the bone, but more recently, she seemed to be more publically in touch with her own humanity, if not quite her own womanhood. A month ago, she was a stern autocrat with an apparent, passionate dislike for frivolity and leisure. Today, she directly aided the young conscripts, showing them sword technique and encouraging them in their work and in their cause. She even smiled and cracked a joke or two with her longtime childhood friend, Rashid.

    The soldiers may not have been sure what happened to her (they weren’t about to ask and risk changing a good thing), but Katrina was certain. After all, she’d gone through nearly the same thing, hadn’t she?

    A panacea greater than love does not exist…and one is never as thirsty for this healing water than when it hangs there, seemingly just out of reach.

    Elusive…

    Evasive.

    For years, they had grown up together. For years they had taken some of the same classes, learned some of the same material, seen and heard some of the same things. For years, their hands and their childish hearts danced around each other tensely and awkwardly, like underdressed commoners at a grand ball. They were friends, but they observed each other from a distance as they found out more about themselves. After a while, her life began to crumble around her. Her identity was stripped and she was laid bare, in the world with no one. It started to enter her head – the thought that maybe they were not meant to be after all.

    Thus, she started looking elsewhere – nearly two years of sorrow and lost time.

    But she didn’t regret it now.

    Everything that is meant to happen does so in its own time. This was no different.

    ‘That time’ was two years ago today – a night she will remember for the rest of her life. It was the night that she poured out her shattered heart to him…and he accepted it with open arms, mended it, and held it close to him like a bird with a broken wing.

    That was the day…

    June 21, PA 2011 – Goldenrod City, Johto


    “Your mother is...” Katrina muttered.

    “Yeah – three months pregnant,” Travis finished. “But in any case, what I’m saying is, after some stuff happens, you can’t live your life the same. You’ve gotta get back to square one and then go from there.”

    “That’s interesting – oh, look sharp, we’re almost there,” Katrina suddenly pointed to the square in front of the Galleria, where the parade would end. Shiro’s float had gotten there second, turned lengthwise and spaced itself from the empty float just enough for their float to fit in the middle. After their float did so, they were facing a rather sizable multitude of people who had followed them (some from all the way across town). They were, of course, still cheering. Travis looked at Katrina, who was now making a better attempt to smile.

    “Close the book on that stuff,” Travis whispered as the two of them were asked to stand.

    “Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for!” Travis didn’t know this guy’s voice, but it sounded television-worthy, which scared Travis a bit. “Will Goldenrod City’s oldest living former king please come forward with the crowns?”

    A man with a beard and long, gray hair – a man that had a kind of sagely look to him – hobbled over from the float to Travis’ right, carrying a diadem and a golden tiara, each adorned with a golden crescent moon.


    “May I present...the winner of the 84th Golden Moon Tournament, King Victor D. Rondell!” The master of ceremonies (whom Travis still didn’t see yet) shouted. Boy, that was a long time ago – if he was counting correctly, that was when his grandfather was just a toddler...! It was at this moment that Travis’ heart started beating a bit more quickly. Of course, he himself was nervous – he didn’t expect to have to deal with crowds this big until he went to the Crystal Cup Championships. But part of him was nervous for Katrina. Would this help her to let go of all the problems that weren’t her own?

    No. Not this alone. Travis would have to do something else – something he should have done a long time ago...

    Before Travis knew it, he was asked to kneel. He felt a cold, hard weight as the crown was placed on his head. He stood to cheers like he had never heard before in his life. The only cheers louder than these, Travis was thinking in that moment, was the noise generated when a new Johto Champion was announced. He looked at Katrina (who had been separated from him for a few moments) for a second, then made up his mind.

    “Sir,” he whispered to the old King, “Could I please have the tiara? I want to crown her myself.”

    “But that’s never been done before, young man,” Rondell said sternly.

    “It doesn’t matter. This is something I feel I have to do.”

    “Well...” Rondell finally gave in after a long silence. “Something special for the young lady, eh? You’d be doing me a favor. These old bones don’t move like they used to anymore...”

    He gave the tiara to Travis, who held it as delicately as if it was a glass treasure. The master of ceremonies, whose eyes finally caught those of Travis’, gave the latter a rather bewildered expression for a long and awkward moment. Travis nodded, gesturing him to go on with the ceremony.

    “Will the candidate for Queen please kneel?” The master finally spoke, and everything went quiet, save for a few hushed whispers once the crowd realized that Travis (and not Rondell) had the tiara. Travis approached Katrina and knelt in front of her.

    “You deserve this more than anyone I know,” he said, placing the tiara on Katrina’s head perfectly and standing up.

    “May I present to you...the King and Queen of the 142nd Golden Moon Festival!” The master of ceremonies shouted. Travis helped Katrina to her feet and heard a sniffle. When Katrina looked at him, tears were welling up in her eyes again. Travis wiped them away with his own hand and looked straight at her. There was nothing else to explain. All that was left was to say it.

    “I love you,” he said.

    Katrina looked shocked for about a second, then her lip began to quiver. Travis inched closer and Katrina met him, kissing him right on the lips.

    That was when time stopped for both of them. Everyday life and the pain and trials thereof no longer existed. The golden moon shining above them...no longer existed. It was as if the cosmos itself no longer existed.

    For him, it should have been a dream come true. Ever since he was a small boy who had nothing to him but his name, and she was a small girl raised almost like a princess, he had felt strangely about her. He didn’t understand it growing up. He didn’t know why, back when they were small children, his and Shiro’s friendship nearly ended when the latter hurt Katrina (who, at that point, was only the rich girl across town) while using his roller skates. He didn’t know why, back when they were ten going on eleven, he had shut himself in his room and refused to talk to anyone when he had found out that Katrina and Nate were seeing a lot more of each other. He didn’t know why, when he was twelve and the aforementioned pair had a falling out, he felt an occasional desire to do bodily harm to the latter of the two. He didn’t know why, just recently, her status with him and Shiro had been restored despite the fact that she had been quite close with someone that he outright hated at some points. But now he understood, and it made him feel decades wiser – twelve going on forty.

    For her, she felt a burden lifted off of her shoulders. Of the two boys that she was best friends with, she had always been closer to him. Even when she was with Nate, having her first experience at what one would call a steady relationship, she felt that something had been missing. This was a new experience for her, but it hardly felt that way. After everything that she had gone through the past couple of years, she felt rather like a traveler who had finally gotten rid of heavy bags – because, after journeying far and wide, she had come back to where she never should have left. She had come back home.

    The first thing that Travis noticed on the outside world (after about what felt like an eternity) was the loud, collective sigh of “Awww............” coming from the crowd, whom he had again forgotten was even there. The second thing he noticed was a laugh. Katrina was laughing and smiling and, like this year’s golden moon, was shining more brightly and more beautifully than ever. Katrina had laid it all to rest, right there, and Travis could see the difference immediately. The color had returned to her face. Even her hair had some of its pep back.

    “I love you, too,” she said to him, throwing her arms around him and laughing for the first time in what seemed like ages. Then they heard a deafening BANG and broke apart.

    Seemingly right on cue, the fireworks show had started from the roof of the Galleria. Travis and Katrina smiled at each other, held hands, and looked up at the amazing display of light. Shiro and Madeline joined them. The latter was beaming, and the former, as he looked at his best friends, had a sly smirk on his face that was clearly saying, “It’s about time.”

    Perhaps there was a small twinge of sadness as the three friends from New Bark Town looked at each other. They each knew the meaning of what had just happened. At best, things would stay like this for a long time – but they would never, ever return to the way that they had been before. Gone were the times when Shiro would let Travis hop on the back of his bike and ride all the way across town to visit Katrina. Gone were the days when Travis saved his allowance for nearly half a year just to buy her poinsettias for her birthday since it fell in December – and gone were the moments when she would take the flowers and her face would match the color of her hair for reasons that Travis was too juvenile to understand. Gone was the time that Travis had fallen as ill as he’s ever been in his short life. Gone was the day that Katrina, extremely worried, walked herself all the way down to Barkton Terrace because her father was too busy to drive her from the other side of town, with a get well card and a valentine. Today had been a rite of passage.

    “Well, I guess this is the end of the good, old days,” Shiro said with a poignance unheard from him before.

    “I guess so...” Katrina muttered, sounding rather flat because the two emotional opposites that were going through her heart right now were offsetting each other.

    “That’s okay,” Travis said. “I bet you anything that the ‘good, new days’ will be even better than the old ones.”

    Because, finally, in the eyes of the people and in the eyes of obstinate Fate, everything was as it was supposed to be.



    The golden moon stood high above the sky colored with exploding shells of light, bouncing around under the stars in bright tones of silver, gold, red, sky blue, green, violet…

    They had retreated from amidst the commotion and din of the party and had sat on a bench, separated a bit from the crowd. Travis and Katrina sat in silence, each still trying to take it all in. Strangely, they had not said anything to each other for nearly half an hour since it had happened. It was as if they both knew that whatever they said would be significant…world-shattering, even more so than what had already happened that night. Katrina, finally, was the first to speak.

    “I guess this means…” she muttered a bit timidly, “…it means that we’re…”

    Katrina trailed off, but Travis knew exactly what she meant.

    “You mean…” he hesitated. “You mean – like, you’re my girlfriend?”

    “Yeah,” Katrina replied, her cheeks slightly red. “That’s what I was saying.”

    Travis took a couple of seconds to respond.

    “I didn’t think you’d be…ready,” he finally said.

    “I was ready,” Katrina said, clasping Travis’ hand. With a smile, she added. “You took a long time, though.”

    She laid her head on his shoulder and sighed. Looking up to the sky, where fireworks, stars, and streetlamps bathed them both in floods of light, Travis felt her against his shoulder, felt her hair tickle his neck, and saw her open her mouth slightly. He reached up his free hand and briefly stroked her cheek. At this, she opened her baby-blue eyes and smiled at him.

    “Sorry I kept you waiting,” he said. They approached each other rather slowly, each of them still unsure about kissing the other, as they had only done it once and in a rather emotional moment. When it happened, though, Travis (who seemed to be the more nervous of the two) went with the flow…or tried to, anyway. Awkwardly, he backed off – but she pursued him. It was probably at that point that what had just happened fully hit him. Whenever he had fantasized about asking her out successfully, it was always more of a consent on her part. This story didn’t echo in reality. She wanted to be with him every bit as much as he wanted to be with her. Maybe this was why she was involved with Nate for so long. She wanted to get his attention. He wished he had known that…

    There were a lot of things that he wished that he had known before…

    This one was at the top of the list.

    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.




  2. #227
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    Default Chapter 23 - Pt. 2


    June 21, PA 2013 – Verdanturf Town, Hoenn

    Travis ruffled his cobalt hair with his hand, groaning slightly in frustration. His hair, which had lengthened ever so slightly, trailed off to the left, resulting in a fringe very characteristic of the subculture he loathed most. No matter how many times he tried to adjust it, though…it always fell the same way.

    “Damn,” he swore to himself, trying to flatten it once again.

    “You’re really obsessed with your hair, you know that?” Katrina said, emerging from the second floor hallway. Travis, who was facing an ornate mirror next to the door, whirled around and saw her standing at the top of the stairs. There was a slight lull, then the both of them ran toward each other, meeting at the bottom of the stairs and falling into each other’s arms.

    “Happy anniversary,” Travis said, stroking Katrina’s hair. “Did you sleep alright?”

    “The best I have in two or three days,” Katrina answered. “Safety makes all the difference.”

    “Sure does,” Travis said, turning toward the door. “Let’s slip off while we still can. The soldiers should be waking up soon. By the way…”

    “Hm?” Katrina looked up at him as he played with the laced portions of her hair.

    “You look beautiful,” he said. She allowed herself a brief giggle and took hold of his hand.



    They ventured out through the town. The sun wasn’t up yet, so neither were the denizens of Verdanturf. It seemed as if they were the only ones on the planet right now…and that, they didn’t mind much. For now, they wanted to be alone, as long as they were alone together.

    They searched the east side of town for the highest hill they could find and, when they reached it (on the southeastern edge of Verdanturf) they seated themselves there. The clear sky in front of them was mainly a dark blue, but a fiery horizon signaled that day was going to break in a manner of minutes.

    With these few stolen moments of peace and silence, they could reflect on how far they had come…and think about the future.

    “Two years,” Katrina sighed nostalgically, her cerulean eyes on the flaming horizon before her. “I can’t believe it’s been two years already.”

    “It’s gone by so quick,” Travis said. With a bit of a laugh, he added, “My hat’s off to you. I didn’t think you’d be able to deal with me this long.”

    “I’d be lying if I said it was easy,” Katrina replied. Even though she was smiling, there seemed to be a palpable angst written on her face and audible in her voice. “These last two years have been the hardest I’ve ever experienced…even tougher than the two before that.”

    She was referring, of course, to 2009, when she inadvertently found out about her status as an adoptee. Moreover, she had found out at the same time that her biological mother (named Leanna, as she would come to find out later) had ended her young life as a prostitute, which had resulted in one pregnancy – a pregnancy that culminated with the birth of Katrina herself. Hearing this revelation had an adverse effect on the eleven-year-old girl, who sank into a deep depression and was on the point of self-mutilation until she became involved with Nathaniel Elm, a twelve-year-old classmate and her neighbor from the wealthy neighborhood of Gilchrist Heights – a classmate whose dislike for Travis and Shiro, once Katrina’s closest friends, was in every way reciprocated by the two boys. She thought that Nate would be her savior, but as it turned out, he was an immature failure who saw her as nothing more than a trophy. It took nearly two entire years for her to realize what was happening…why she never felt anything around Nate…

    It was because her heart, even at that young age, already belonged to someone else.

    It already belonged to him.

    Of course, he didn’t know that. Travis, at that point, was a normal preteen boy. Of course, his grandfather happened to be a former Johto Champion, and he was a supremely talented student with an apparent bright future in Pokémon Training – but those were really the two only interesting things about him besides his unique hair. He was friends with Katrina and, although he had a slight crush on her, tried his best to be content with the way things were.

    Then, two years ago today, the entire story had come out. As it had turned out, they indeed felt the same about each other. For the following two or three days, both were happy – even Travis, who was slightly worried about the looming threat of the demonic dictator Angelos and his forces.

    Then they reached Ecruteak…


    June, PA 2011 -- Ecruteak City


    Travis halfway expected to be looking up, but this ‘tower’ had to only be about two or three stories, if that. It could have been one tall floor without any windows. It was nestled between two large trees, had stairs leading downward to the door, and had the overall look of the ruin of some sacred shrine. It looked like a picture of Ho-oh was carved into the stone door from here. Speaking of the door, it didn’t have a knob...so how the hell were they supposed to get in? Travis started walking toward the door. He didn’t hear any more footsteps after awhile, so he stopped.

    “You guys aren’t coming?” Travis asked.

    “No use in that,” Lorca said. “The sword is ‘sealed’, remember?”

    “Crap…knew there was some kind of wrinkle…” Travis muttered to himself.

    “We’ll stand guard here,” Shiro piped up.

    “Stand guard?” Travis repeated.

    “C’mon – use your brain here,” Shiro said. “You think Angelos is going to let you take that sword without a fight?”

    Travis stood in silence for a second. It had been all too easy recently – Angelos had been building strength. “Good point,” Travis said. Suddenly thinking of something, he walked over to Shiro and pulled him aside. Then, he got right next to his ear and whispered a grave warning.

    “Shiro, you’re the best friend a guy could ever have. But if anything happens to Katrina, then the first
    thing I’m doing after I get that sword is cutting your head off.”

    Shiro smirked. “I saw that one coming. Don’t worry. I still remember how to open a can on some guys, if that’s how it’s gonna go down.”

    Travis nodded, backed away from Shiro, then turned around and started into the tower, Angel in tow.

    “<You’re sure getting a knack for dramatic exits,>” Angel commented.

    “I’m not dramatic, I’m just honest,” Travis replied. “Now, how the heck do you open this door…?”

    “<I can help with that,>” Angel said, her eyes glowing white. She was obviously attempting to use Confusion to relocate the big stone slab elsewhere. After a few seconds of struggling, though, she realized that it was too heavy. “<Or not.>”

    “...Damn,” Travis sighed, banging his right fist on the door. Suddenly, the emblem on his right hand appeared and glowed, and the door began to shake. Travis watched in awe as the stone slab fell into the ground, pulled by some invisible power. Standing in front of him was a doorway that, perhaps, would give a person of rather large girth trouble. But for his size, it allowed plenty of space. He walked in, and Angel quickly followed.



    “Holy...” Travis turned around. A few steps in, and the door had closed behind him. He whirled around to face in toward the room, which was quite large and unadorned, save for an enormous stone statue of Ho-oh in the middle. He looked up. He could barely see the ceiling, which meant that this was one big room. “Where’s the sword?”

    Travis looked right – he saw no stairs or doorways leading anywhere. He looked left – nothing. He took a couple of steps forward and held his right fist up to the Ho-oh statue, thinking that the power of whatever-the-hell rune thingy that was on his right hand would trigger something as it had last time. Nothing. Growing frustrated, Travis moved around the statue. He saw nothing on the far part of the room.

    “<Still nothing?>” Angel asked.

    “C’mon!!” Travis shouted, punching the statue of Ho-oh, whose foundation was taller than Travis himself. Travis flailed his hand, which now hurt like all hell because of hitting solid rock. He blew on his knuckles to ease the burning, and while he was leaning on the statue back-first, he suddenly felt himself falling backwards. The statue had moved. The split-second that Travis realized that he was at the top of a flight of stairs was nowhere near enough to react, and with a heart that was dropping even faster than he was, Travis fell. He groaned as he hit every third, fourth, or other step falling backwards, and after about seven seconds of this, he landed on the floor below with a THUD that was so resounding that Travis wouldn’t have been surprised if it was heard outside and that the others were standing at the door of this sealed temple wondering what the hell happened.

    “<Hey, you okay?>” Travis, whose ears were ringing, heard Angel’s voice from above.

    “I just fell – gah – down about fifty stairs back-first. What do you think?” Travis groaned. Every part of his body hurt like heck. He had hit his head so many times that he was seeing somewhere between double and triple. His back hurt like he’d been trying to carry a Snorlax up a mountain, and his rear end felt as if he’d been sitting still on a hard wooden bench for days on end. He had hit his elbows so badly that he knew that both of his arms were hurting – he just couldn’t feel them. And the worse sensation of all was the feeling that he’d left his stomach up at the top of the stairs, right under the statue. After about what had to have been a minute but felt like longer, Travis stood up and began to shake off the cobwebs. After he had finally gotten his bearings, he looked around at the room. It was lit by candles that lined the walls. This was bizarre, as it was obvious that no one had been here in at least months. At the opposite end of the room was a large, altar-like structure between two large lamps. In the middle was a sword.

    Paulus’ sword.

    His sword.

    He walked up to the altar. He could hear his every footstep echo through the underground chamber. He saw his shadow flow along the walls anywhere that he could see light. Then he reached it. It looked like a large, stone ark, carved with ornate drawings and runic symbols. His hand was shining so brightly that he had to squint to see the sword in front of him. He tried his best to grasp the hilt instead of grabbing any part of the sword that would cause him to lose one or more fingers. He found the sword’s hilt and yanked it out. He held it gingerly in two hands and saw that it was, down to every last detail, the sword that had been an emblem on his right hand for the last month. He felt at peace suddenly. A small draft passed by him and ruffled his white coat, which he was still wearing. He had finally reached it. With a smile, he turned around and fell backward up onto the altar in shock of what he saw…


    The sword…

    His gift…his curse.

    “I know it hasn’t been easy,” Travis said. “There were a lot of things I wish I could have done differently, but…”

    “That’s enough blaming yourself,” Katrina cut him off. “You did the best that you could.”

    “Did I?” Travis queried, half asking the question to himself. “Did I do everything I could? I mean, if I’d known everything that I knew now…”

    “It’s not like you can go back and change anything,” Katrina said, placing a comforting arm on his shoulder. “No one could have expected any more of you, Travis.”

    The boy looked ahead, a monstrous kind of focus in his eyes.

    “…When I killed Angelos…he had no one. But what about these Imperial soldiers? They might be on the wrong side, yeah, but they’ve got families. They’ve got people who love them like anyone else would,” Travis worried.

    “They’re all soldiers – on both sides,” Katrina said. “That means they’re willing to die for…whatever cause they’re fighting for.”

    “You’re right…” Travis muttered. After a few moments, he said, “Katrina?”

    “Hm?” the girl uttered. Travis fumbled around for what to say to her next – “thank you”…“I love you”…something…but he couldn’t find anything strong enough. He couldn’t find any words that would do justice to how he felt about her, so he just stared at her for a moment in complete silence. His throat began to clench and his eyes began to burn as he tore them away from her and stared out at the sunrise. He couldn’t talk anymore. Every time he thought of words, they would leave something out…they would hold something back.

    There were no words in his or any other language to encapsulate everything he had felt since that moment under the stars two years ago…

    The happiness that they were together…

    The pain of the past…

    The worry of the present…

    The concern for the future…

    The healing touch her existence gave him, and the pain of losing someone else very dear…

    And his love for her, which went above, around, and beyond all of these things…

    Thus, he remained silent, staring out at the sunrise, marveling at the stopping power a combination of such emotions could have on one’s spirit. He gulped one more time. Tears sat at the corners of his eyes, burning like tiny needles, but not quite falling to the ground. These were not quite tears of joy, but neither were they tears of sorrow. These existed because there had to be some sort of cleansing…a catharsis to keep his heart from rending itself in two.

    He felt enormously stupid. Here it was, their second anniversary, and all he could think to do was to sit silently and let his eyes water. It was humiliating, shameful, and maybe even a bit selfish…

    Then something happened. He felt his hand in hers, and saw her eyes lock on his.

    With no further hesitation, as if he had been bursting to do so and had been denied for days upon end, he leaned in to her. She accepted the kiss and returned it warmly, and then more passionately. After a while, she overtook him and he was flat on his back, looking up at her face, pink and white against a golden dawn sky.

    In his world, she was that first, bright ray of sunshine after the storm had ended. She was the whisper in the wind that said that everything was going to be alright…the tidal wave washing his world clean after days, weeks of dry wilderness.

    “You are…” Travis sighed, stroking her face. “…so…beautiful.”

    She raised her head, her chin resting right on his chest, and looked down at him, uttering the single cutest laugh he had heard from her in all their years of knowing each other.

    “What’s up with you?” he laughed. She rested her arms on his chest and, leaning on them, looked down at him.

    “My prediction came true,” she said.

    “Prediction?” Travis asked.

    “I told you last year…” Katrina explained. “That, today, we’d be celebrating our anniversary somewhere different.”

    Travis thought back…a stone Suicune fountain and a long conversation about the future…

    “You’re not going to say…’I told you so,’ are you?” Travis asked. Katrina said.

    “I’ll spare you…this time,” she answered with a mischievous smile.



    They were unaware of a presence at the bottom of the hill – a royal presence.

    For most of this time, Elrik and Ivanna, both dressed casually (at least, for nobles), had been watching them from afar. Ivanna’s hair, as it always did, fell in springy curls to her shoulders, while Elrik’s was long and brown, tied with a band into a ponytail.

    Ivanna smiled as she watched the two young sweethearts enjoy each other’s company, laughing and talking and seemingly blocking out the world around them..

    “They really do love each other, don’t they?” Ivanna asked. “It’s kind of cute.”

    Elrik smiled, grasping Ivanna’s hand.

    “I think it was when I saw them that I realized that I had to tell you how I felt,” Elrik said. Ivanna turned her head and looked at him. “With everything that’s happening, I’m never sure what’s going to happen to us tomorrow, or a week from now. A week from now, I could be king…somehow – or dead, for that matter. That’s the reality of it. Either way, I wouldn’t want to have to live or die thinking about what could have been.”

    “I can understand that,” Ivanna answered with a smile. “But, what do we do next? We’re stuck here in Verdanturf, and we can’t run anywhere…”

    “I’m working on it,” Elrik sighed. “The only thing I can think to do is to make sure the few troops we have are prepared for an assault on Verdanturf, and…”

    “That approach will only work for so long,” Elrik jumped as he heard a voice loudly cover the distance between himself and the boy and girl several yards away from him…and closing. Seconds later, Travis and Katrina were in clear view, the former with a calm, collected, but determined look in his eyes. “If you know this is going to come to a fight eventually, you can’t wait for it to come to you.”

    “What are you saying?” Elrik asked.

    “This is the perfect situation,” Travis said, his eyes gaining this nearly unreasonable quality for them. “How many Imperial soldiers are there in Verdanturf? Zero. A place this small that the Imperials don’t bother…they just gave you a huge opening.”

    “You’re confusing me,” Elrik said, shaking his head slightly. “What do you mean by ‘opening’?”

    Travis took a deep breath.

    “I think it’s time to reveal yourself to the people,” he finally said. Katrina, Ivanna, and Elrik all looked at him, dumbstruck, as he began to walk past them toward Arsham’s estate again.

    “But, if he does that, the Imperials…” Ivanna started, but the boy cut her off.

    “…won’t know, will they?” he questioned. “Verdanturf is a beautiful, peace-loving town. They value their peace more than anything else. If they find out that it might be threatened, though…it might spur them to do something about it.”

    “How do you know that for sure?” Ivanna asked.

    “Because, that’s exactly what I’m going through,” Travis said, turning around with a determined look in his eyes. “I want peace for myself and the people I care about, and I’m tired of seeing it threatened by people who want slavery. I’m done dealing with it. At first, I tried to believe that this wasn’t my fight, but I can’t sit around and do nothing anymore. This is personal.”

    “Alright – so you’re willing to send my soldiers to die for your peace?” Ivanna asked. Disdainfully, she said, “Sounds to me like you’re no better than Edgar.”

    Katrina nearly lost her temper.

    “Don’t you dare accuse him like –” she started to yell, but Travis held up a calming hand.

    “Actually, I think you and I are more alike than you think,” Travis replied in a businesslike, almost cold, tone of voice. “I also realize that you’re fighting for someone you love, too.”

    Ivanna’s face went red and she shrank back. Katrina noticed this.

    “Why is that so shameful to you?” she asked the older woman.

    “Yeah – that’s a good question,” Travis said.

    “I’m supposed to be a soldier first,” Ivanna said robotically.

    “That’s your excuse?” Travis asked, sounding almost amused. “You’re a soldier?”

    “Didn’t your mother ever teach you to respect your elders?” Ivanna asked.

    Travis burst into laughter – a laughter that drove everyone to silence and made them all wonder if he had it all together.

    “You know,” he laughed, “this is the ultimate in irony. You telling me to listen to you because you’ve seen more than I have? I guarantee that you haven’t.”

    “Irony? What the hell are you talking about?” Ivanna queried harshly.

    “What’s ironic is that Katrina and I have been in a situation just like yours,” Travis said, the smile gone from his face.

    Elrik looked at him strangely.

    “Do you really want to know how I got that sword?” Travis asked. “Why I am who I am today? Someone like you who tries to keep her feelings hidden might not be able to handle it.”

    “Try me,” Ivanna said.

    Travis turned around.

    “Fine, then.”


    As they reached the estate, Travis was finishing the story that it felt like he’d told a thousand times just to establish credibility as someone to whom everyone should listen.

    “I’d forgotten…” Elrik said, sounding ashamed. “I’d forgotten that you had fought a war before.”

    “We’d like to forget, too, sometimes,” Travis admitted. “But experience is helpful in times like this.”

    “Experience?” Ivanna scoffed. “Did those tin cans you fought do it as well as my knights?”

    Travis turned around, slightly annoyed.

    “I can’t say,” he conceded. “Those things couldn’t feel fear or pain, get cold or wet or hungry or sleepy or tired…but they didn’t know about honor or justice – and they couldn’t love anybody.”

    Ivanna gasped and her eyes darted to Elrik.

    “That’s the difference between your soldiers and Edgar’s,” Travis explained. “Edgar’s soldiers are fighting for Edgar’s vision of an Empire. Yours, on the other hand, have families – fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters…maybe even wives, husbands, and children of their own. They’re fighting for their vision of Hoenn and for the people they care about. You are, too, aren’t you? So, you’re no different from them.”

    He knocked on the door loudly three times. It was a few seconds before the monolithic door opened, revealing the face of a girl of about seventeen with red hair.

    “Reivyn?” Travis questioned. “It’s good to see you.”

    Reivyn didn’t look like she was in the mood.

    “I looked all over this estate for you – there’s a problem,” she said.

    They all walked in and saw that a group of five or six soldiers seemed to be arguing with the rest of the ones that were in the foyer of the mansion. With a total of about thirty men and women in armor, it was quite a scene.

    “Maybe if we go back to the Empire and beg for mercy, they’ll spare us our lives!” one of the soldiers said.

    “Looks like some people are thinking about deserting – Travis?” Katrina looked, but he was already gone.



    Travis yanked the sword out from under his bed and stared at it intently. There was a sort of recklessness driving him – it felt a lot like two years ago, when he gave the order for the battle plan that led to the Battle at the Plains of Jonah. He wanted to fight – not so he could fight, but so he could win. He stared down at the sword with a fire in his eyes.

    “Here we go again,” he muttered to himself, making for the door with all haste.



    “Edgar’s soldiers outnumber us nearly a hundred to one!” the would-be deserter continued to shout in an attempt to persuade others to follow him. “This battle was doomed from the beginning!!”

    “You seriously think Edgar will spare you if you go back to him?” a young man’s voice sounded from the center of the crowd of soldiers. They parted to reveal a youth of only seventeen with short, strawberry-blond hair and hard, dark blue eyes. “You’re a fool.”

    “I don’t want to hear it from you, Hadley!” the other soldier’s voice shouted. “Your father deserted the King, too, so you have no right to talk!”

    “If your argument’s with me, why bring my father into it?” Hadley asked. “You’re treading dangerous ground, Brandford. You’ve always been a coward, and you’re proving it right now!”

    “There’s a difference between being brave and being an unrealistic numbskull with nothing but pipe dreams for the future!” Brandford shouted. He was a young man in his twenties with spiky, black hair. He was also slightly short and very well-built, whereas Hadley was lanky, but building muscle. “This is our reality! If Elrik would have made the better king, he’d be king right now, wouldn’t he? But he’s got us running around from place to place like dogs with our tails between our legs. Damn it all, we don’t even know if this guy really is Prince Elrik.”

    “Are you calling His Majesty a liar?” Hadley asked.

    “It hurts me that the late King could produce a son like that,” Brandford said.

    “That’s enough!!” Hadley shouted, drawing his sword. “Your words border on treason.”

    “I’m loyal to the king, aren’t I? The true, rightful king,” Brandford replied. “Unlike certain family members of yours…”

    Hadley charged with a roar. Charlus Brandford drew his sword as well and blocked. The soldiers behind Brandford all rushed Hadley, throwing him backward and to the ground. Brandford raised his sword.

    In a flash and a smattering of screams, a flaming sword from above knocked Brandford’s weapon from his hands, disarming him. At the top of the balcony stood Travis, one foot on the railing.

    He leapt.

    “My gosh!!” Elrik shouted as Travis flew through the air. He landed right in front of them and grabbed his sword, turning around just as Brandford charged him. As quick as a flash, he brought the blade of his sword across the dissident soldier’s body, disarming him again and causing him to yell in pain. Brandford staggered backward. His reliable-looking armor split in two and fell from his body, revealing a huge cut across his chest and right arm that was streaming blood down onto his covered torso. Travis sheathed his sword and then unsheathing it, this time striking Brandford with the blunt end – still quick and powerful enough to knock the full-grown soldier out cold while he was still on his feet.

    As Brandford hit the ground in a heap, Travis turned around toward the remaining five soldiers. He looked his way and that from Hadley to Ivanna to Katrina to Elrik to the others…Rashid and Roald had appeared atop the steps, along with Arsham, who looked a bit unhappy.

    “Get him a bandage and get him out of my sight,” he said to no one in particular. As two soldiers began to tend to Brandford and walk him up the stairs (not really bothering to make sure his knees didn’t drag), Travis turned around aggressively and said, “If anyone here doesn’t believe we can win, here’s the door. We’ve got no use for you.”

    There was a long silence that seemed to drag on for about an hour.

    “That settles that, then,” Travis replied.

    “Next time someone needs smacking around,” Arsham said loudly, “leave them to me or take it the hell outside.”

    “Will do, Ms. Arsham,” Travis said, shouldering his katana with a slight smile on his face. Swinging around, he asked, “So, Your Majesty – have you made a decision yet?”

    “There are a lot of things I’d like to do, but it’s imp—” Elrik started, but Travis cut him off.

    “Impossible?” he finished. “Your Majesty – Prince Elrik – there’s one thing I believe strongly…one thing I know for a fact is true. When you want something bad enough, it does all kinds of strange things to the boundaries of ‘impossible’.”

    Elrik stayed silent while Travis approached him.

    “I was never supposed to walk again,” he told the Prince, a fire in his eyes like never before. “My life as I knew it was supposed to be over. And I almost accepted it – almost. But I had too many people who believed in me. I wanted my life back even though a lot of people told me I couldn’t have it. I didn’t listen to them. You know why?”

    Travis backed off a step, turned his head, and clenched his fist. Suddenly, he erupted into a soft but bright spiral of white flames, surrounding him, but not obscuring his body entirely. He looked at Elrik and the others, all of whom were trembling in fear. He looked straight at Katrina.

    “As much as everyone believed there was no hope, we believed that there was,” he said. Allowing the flames to rest and fall to the ground, he said, “Face it – we’ve got nowhere else to run…so the only way we’ve got any shot is to fight our way out.”

    He sheathed his sword and dropped respectfully to one knee. Everyone around him all bowed as well.

    “All of us are behind you,” Travis said. “But you have to lead us somewhere.”

    “Who – what – are you?” Ivanna asked, standing in front of Elrik now and looking slightly alarmed.

    “I’m a Trainer, an Emerald Knight, a Swordbearer, but I’m also a human being that wants freedom for this country because it means freedom for me and the people that I love,” Travis said.

    He looked up at Elrik.

    “This is my fight now,” he said, finally falling silent and leaving the Prince to ponder the sight of dozens bowing to him willingly, ready to offer their services wherever he might lead them.

    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.




  3. #228
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    Guess being first to review is getting a little old, hunh?

    Sorry.. i stand corrected...

    I'm processing info now (i.e. copying and pasting, then R&ring)

    Sorry his took so long. Shadow Lyucario's had me pressed for two reviews, exams have me pressed for time and some ******************** (insert insult of choice) has denied me use of my laptop all week. I had a proper review in line but it's on my laptop. -_- So i'll say what i can and go.

    Travis stepping up to plate on his and Katrina's anniversary? I sense a disturbing trend here... ouch for the dissident soldier too by the way!

    One question... OK, two. One, who's watchig Kenjiro and will he and Reivyn ever get a pokemon of their own?

    Questions of a curious mind...

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 8th December 2007 at 9:54 AM.
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  4. #229
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    Actually, I was here first, but my incredibly awesome review was destroyed by the accursed forums' server. Anyway...

    Lot's of Character Developement and Plot progression here. I liked it.

    First, Travis. I feel as though he has developed a sense of duty to help other people who fight to protect their families/loved ones. Definetly better than the Travis in the beginning, that's for sure! Good job with that one.

    Next up, Katrina. She has stayed basically the same throughout PR:AP but has definetly progressed Travis' development. Their relationship is (if possible) even more progressed than before.

    Now, Elrik and Ivanna. Ivanna is slightly different at least, but Elrik hasn't really changed at all. That's alright, seeing as they aren't really main characters, but side ones (I forget the name of those characters.)

    Ms. Arsham I'm really starting to like. Maybe it's the warm gruffness (sounds like an oximoron, doesn't it?) but she just seems... likeable.

    Reivyn, Rashid, and Roald weren't really mentioned at all, so they didn't change.

    YES! They're finally making a move! I wonder how that's going to turn out? And I wonder if Shiro/Madeline will eventually join up again? That is for you to decide.

    All in all, good work.

    With best wishes,
    --Lucarioman777
    I have died.

  5. #230
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    oh noes!!!11

    the return of emo travis. run for your lives.

    Nah I'm only making fun, its always fun to rip emos (in half) oh I am full of it today. sugar that is.

    The convo between Shiro/Madeline & Travis/Katrina. I think was left a bit, short. like there was something else to be said. the former definately have something brewing, and it aint the kettle. perhaps they'll try and find out whats going on, then be quite shocked at their discovery.

    Well enough of my extremely weak jokes. see y'all soon.

    Before I go, I have something planned for the fan fiction section that may be up soon, just have to plan out a few more things and get it sorted. It's loosely based on pokemon, as there isn't much in it. It will only be short, a few chapters or so with the chance of added one-shots. You heard it here first folks.

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    Skogsrå

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

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  6. #231
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    Oct 2007
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    I've been reading Pokemon Johto Revolution and Advent Pheonix for a while now. Now that I'm finally caught up, I'll start posting reviews.

    First off grammar :

    Quote Originally Posted by EonMaster One
    “Yeah – you should do that,” Travis said. “Make sure to say high to everyone for me.”
    I'm guessing you meant to say hi.

    Next up, I'd like to say that I really liked this chapter. Travis is finally starting to view Hoenn's problems as his too. I also liked seeing Madeline and Shiro again, I really miss seeing a lot of them. This is starting to sound a lot like PJR in terms of plot. Get half of the badges, get veered off into what was previously intended to be a subplot and forget the championship. Don't mistake me, I love your writing and the non-Pokemon battles, I was just hoping that Travis would make it all the way to Champion this time. I really love the Pokemon battles. ^^ Oh well, I guess some of that is just me being crazy since it has not been confirmed that Travis abandons his Pokemon journey.

    Also, the mention of Carona sounds very interesting. It sounds like that will be the continent that Lucas travels to. (Funny story actually, but at first, I thought that Lucas was Lorca's real name; I forgot about Marco's whole name-changing ordeal) And I know that you said this is a trilogy, but I'm dreading the end. I know this may seem selfish, but I hope you continue past three fics. I love all of the characters (namely Nate, Shiro, Travis, Katrina, and Madeline) and I'm hoping that you will have the inspiration to continue beyond three fics. (Maybe include a fic about Shiro and Madeline's travels, get the original four from PJR back together for travels in Sinnoh, Kanto, or maybe in the Battle Frontier.) Okay, I'll stop ranting.


    ~Blue_Umbreon~

    [IMG]http://i33.*******.com/2uf9a3l.jpg[/IMG]
    Trainer card from: Pokecharms

    **New: I've got legit Elekids with the 3 elemental punches and Cross Chop!

    I've got legit Totodiles with Dragon Claw, Ice Punch, Aqua Tail, AND Dragon Dance. I also have a few rare items and Pokerus. To see what I want, click
    here
    .

  7. #232
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    Glad to see you caught up, Blue_Umbreon. Actually, you addressed a concern I knew I myself would have coming into writing this fic. Don't worry - I've got it figured out this time.

    Also, I'm glad to announce that I have settled on a name and a basic premise for the Revolution Trilogy's third saga. The title is now officially and permanently Pokemon Revolution: Maverick Heart. This'll probably warp a couple of brains, but think something along the lines of Pokemon meets Outlaw Star (a freakin' awesome anime, if you didn't know) meets Final Fantasy XII. Kinda hard to explain without giving away too much info, so just trust me on this one.

    Now, for the more immediate future, I've finished Chapter 24, so I'm serving it up now! (I'm trying to finish as much as I can before next week, as I'll be staying with my relatives on the northern half of Maryland for much of the holidays, and I"m sure most of you will be busy spending time with your own families. On top of that, I need a repair or two done on my computer (again!) and I won't have it with me for a while.)

    Chapter 24: Elrik, Lord of Verdanturf

    June 22, PA 2013 – Verdanturf City, Arsham’s Estate


    Draped in his new, green cloak, which was fastened at his left shoulder by a silver button, Prince Elrik of Hoenn stood on the back balcony of Arsham’s mansion, overseeing the activities of the encampment on the vast expanse of land at the back of the estate. Mid-morning had risen on the new headquarters of the Emerald Knights. The day before, a decision had been made. A decision…

    Elrik had never been as sure of himself as his brother was. He was the shy and introverted twin. His brother was aggressive, a take-charge kind of person. It had been that way since they were children – and (Elrik smiled to himself bitterly) it was probably that difference in personality that initially gave Edgar the throne after their father’s death. Elrik had been content to let things happen, to go wherever the winds of change happened to blow him…but no more. He’d had enough. There was a new fire in him, a driving force that propelled him to go and act. Someone had given him the jumpstart that he needed…

    …and that someone was several stories down, sword in hand.

    He stood in front of three soldiers, all black-haired brothers. One young man’s hair was short and his bangs were symmetrical; the middle brother’s hair was medium-length, and the hair of the youngest – a youth of barely seventeen – was shoulder-length and wild. It reminded him a bit of an old friend.

    “Where are the three of you from?” Travis had been going around, requesting to know each soldier’s individual story. The other two brothers predictably looked at the oldest, who was obviously the trio’s unofficial mouthpiece by virtue of his age.

    “Lavaridge Town,” the oldest brother – a man of perhaps twenty-five, responded to the boy eleven years his junior.

    Travis’ actions the previous day seemed to have earned him a newfound respect among the ranks of the Emerald Knights. Although very few had actually looked down on him from the jump, the soldiers seemed now to look up to Travis, despite his age. Perhaps they recognized his power; perhaps it was because they saw him, like the soldiers of Blackthorn City did two years ago, as their greatest hope against the coming threat. Whatever it was, morale throughout the camp had shot up to an all-time high.

    “Lavaridge…” Travis muttered to himself. He turned his head and yelled, “Katrina!!”

    A pink-haired girl was over near the stables, giving water to a couple of thirsty Rapidash, who both lapped up their drinks with appreciative whinnies. She stood straight and turned around, a smile on her face. Travis watched as she broke into a run toward him and the soldiers. Stopping a few feet in front of them, she queried, “You rang?”

    “Uh…you wouldn’t happen to know where Lavaridge is, would you?” Travis asked. “I still haven’t really gotten a good grasp of where everything is in Hoenn.”

    “Lavaridge? It’s north…ish,” Katrina said. “You know where Mt. Chimney is, right? It’s not that far from here.”

    “Mt. Chimney – you mean, the volcano?” Travis asked. All three brothers nodded in stereo. “So it’s near there…wait a second – isn’t the next Gym in Lavaridge?”

    Katrina cupped her chin with her hand for a moment, and then, with certainty, exclaimed, “Yeah! You’re right.”

    “I thought so…” Travis sighed. “But back to business. You guys were all at the base in Rustboro, right? Romero’s mansion?”

    “Right,” the oldest brother said again.

    “Had you ever been inside the city?” Travis asked.

    “Sure, we have,” the oldest of the three soldiers replied once again. “On recon and things like that.”

    “What do you know about it?” Travis asked them. “Like, what kind of information did you find out on recon?”

    “You probably know that the original leader of the garrison in Rustboro, Captain Fergus, was killed about a month ago,” the eldest brother recounted.

    “Yeah, I know that – I was there,” muttered Travis, thinking back to the incident.

    “They’ve promoted someone new to the job – a man by the name of Soebridel Ludwig,” the man said. “He’s a stronger fighter than Captain Fergus, from what I hear.”

    “What? How do you spell that?” Travis asked.

    “S-O-E-B-R-I-D-E-L,” the soldier answered.

    “But it’s pronounced… ‘SAY-bruh-DELL’, am I getting that straight?” Travis asked.

    “That’s about it,” the soldier responded.

    Travis looked over his shoulder to Katrina, an awestruck expression on his face.

    “Why are bad guys’ names always either complicated or hard to pronounce?” he muttered.

    “ ‘Edgar’ sounds pretty easy,” she commented briskly.

    “That’s what’s called an ‘exception’,” Travis muttered. Looking down the way a bit, he saw a young woman in full armor striding over toward them. He looked at the soldiers and murmured, “Yikes – it’s Ivanna. You guys had better get back to training. Keep up the good work!”

    “Thanks,” the young man said as Travis and Katrina walked off. As happy as Ivanna had been the last couple of days, she could still be rather foul whenever she caught some of her soldiers slacking off or standing around, so Travis thought it best to stay out of her way, especially seeing as Ivanna had been a bit cool toward him the last several days. Katrina turned to Travis.

    “Are you really sure about this?” she asked him. “Using your power to end a war is one thing…but using it to start one…”

    “Start a war?” Travis repeated. “I didn’t recruit those guys. I didn’t tell any of these people to fight for the Prince. They were here before I was. But Elrik needs some help. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s not the most confident person around.”

    “These are human lives, though. These guys have regular weapons. They can’t fight or heal themselves as well as you can,” Katrina said.

    “You really don’t know me anymore, do you?” Travis asked calmly. Katrina fell silent. “I don’t play games – I win them. I know damn well that Edgar’s army outnumbers them – outnumbers us – about a hundred to one. But Edgar’s not the most popular guy. Most soldiers follow him either because they don’t know exactly what happened in Sootopolis when Elrik’s father died, or because they’re scared of getting their heads chopped off if they say anything about Edgar. Trust me when I say that I want to minimize the damage.”

    Katrina remained silent.

    “We’re not going to sic the Emerald Knights on anyone right now,” Travis said, shaking his head. Katrina caught up with him and grabbed his hand.

    “Can you tell me?” she asked.

    “Tell you what?” Travis replied with a question of his own.

    “You and Elrik talked last night,” Katrina replied. “Didn’t you?”

    “Oh, that,” Travis said. “Elrik was a little bit unsure of my motives. I guess a lot of people are, seeing as I come off so self-centered lately, right?”


    Last night…

    Firelight danced on the walls of the room, revealing that an important object had been moved.

    The map had found its way from the wall down onto an amalgam of three tables. Elrik reached his hand over to the northwestern section of Hoenn, where ‘Verdanturf Town’ had been written in neat, printed, capital letters. Elrik, using a pencil, filled in a circle at right about where the town would be located on the map. He then slashed through it, creating a star of sorts – a symbol that signified importance. He smiled to himself. How apropos that this new ‘plan’ would start at the smallest and most insignificant of all towns in Hoenn – a town so insignificant that not even the Imperials considered it worth their time…

    …and that made all the difference.

    “You wanted to see me, Your Majesty?” a boy’s voice drifted in from the hallway. A boy in his early to mid-teens, just over five-and-a-half feet tall, wearing a white-and-blue outfit and noticeably unarmed, appeared in the doorway, barely visible because of the dim lighting. It was well after nine at night at this meeting was secret, private – not known even to the Emerald Knights’ leaders.

    Elrik looked up.

    “I want to know the truth,” he said to the boy. “How old are you?”

    “Fourteen, sir,” the boy replied. “Fifteen in about…five weeks, give or take a couple of days.”

    “Not yet fifteen?” the Prince muttered. “You really are serious, aren’t you?”

    “What reason would I have to lie about my age?” the boy asked, stepping further in and revealing himself, with his blue hair – wild in the front, neat and braided in the back – and determined, azure eyes, to be…

    The One…

    …The Swordbearer.

    Travis DePaul III of Johto.

    “Master Hong thinks very highly of you,” Elrik replied. “He says that you have uncanny wisdom and maturity about you – very high compliments from someone who has lived roughly ten times as long as you have, don’t you think?”

    “That was nice of him,” Travis answered calmly. “Is there something wrong? Something you need done…or not done, for that matter?”

    “You’re very formal tonight – too formal,” Elrik said. “I’d like to think that we’re friends – or at least something along those lines. So, allow me to ask a blunt question – why are you going through so much trouble to help us? Hoenn isn’t your homeland.”

    “Honestly?” Travis asked. “I believe wholeheartedly that I can be Hoenn’s next Pokémon League Champion – and I’d like to enjoy that title over a peaceful Hoenn…but that’s secondary. You’ve built yourself a good army here, but, frankly, you looked a bit lost as to what to do with them.”

    “How would you know that?” Elrik asked.

    “I was in the same position a couple of years ago,” Travis answered. “In the war against Angelos, I had the aid of Blackthorn City – the best warriors in all of Johto. But I didn’t know what to do with them at first, and that cost me badly. But it also taught me a lot – and I think the reason why I went through that is because of this.”

    “What did you learn?” Elrik asked.

    “I learned that, if an opponent looks bigger or better than you, you can’t take him down just by defending yourself all the time,” Travis said. “You have to hit them where they’re least expecting it. That’s one. Two…you’re not as alone as you think.”

    Elrik looked up.

    “You’re a good person,” Travis said.

    Elrik shook his head. “I wish I was as confident as you are.”

    “And I wish I was as selfless as you are,” Travis said. “You don’t want the throne just because you want to be king – if that’d been it, you’d have taken it a long time ago. You want to rule Hoenn because you want to bring it peace and stability. You’re prepared to put yourself on the line for an entire nation of people. It’ll be hard for Hoenn to find a better ruler than that. If you show yourself, you’ll get support because of your reputation. But if you don’t…”

    “What happens?” Elrik asked.

    “Well,” Travis sighed, “you’d have no chance attacking Edgar then. Do you know why? If Hoenn doesn’t know it’s you leading the attack, they’ll assume that another nation – like Johto, for instance – is trying to invade them…and not only will that get us all wiped out, but it’ll play right into Edgar’s hands. He wants to try to take over other nations and start a world war, remember?”

    Elrik remained silent, taking all of this in.

    “If people know the truth about you, though, they’ll come to your side,” Travis said. “That’ll even the odds a little.”

    Elrik finally spoke after a few more seconds of quiet.

    “…I see,” he said. “But how long are you playing on staying?”

    “Long enough to give the ‘Empire’ one good knock, and then I’m leaving for Lavaridge,” Travis said. “I’d like to start journeying again before too long. On top of that, it just dawned on me that I’ve still got a hellishly-strong maniac from a foreign country chasing me for my sword. I’m sure I’ll have to fight him again, and I’d rather do it without putting anyone at risk that doesn’t have to be at risk.”

    “It makes sense,” Elrik sighed. “I wish I was as wise as you are when I was fourteen…I would not have lost the throne in the first place, probably…”

    “It’s really nothing special – just survival skills,” Travis told the Prince. “If I didn’t pick up some things along the way, I wouldn’t have survived this long.”


    “Basically,” Travis explained, “I told him that he can’t get any support unless someone knows for sure that he’s the Prince.”

    “Makes sense,” Katrina said. “But will it really matter in a place like Verdanturf?”

    “Are you kidding me?” Travis asked. “Verdanturf’s a perfect place to start. They love their peace more than any other place here in Hoenn, and the town’s so small, the Imperials don’t even bother with it. Edgar figures that there’s no way that a rebellion could come out of Verdanturf, so he leaves it alone. That’s gonna really suck for him later, but it doesn’t bother me at all…”

    Katrina laughed a bit at Travis’ cutting turn of phrase, but then her expression became serious. She grabbed Travis’ hand and looked at him firmly.

    “I hope you know what you’re doing,” she said. Moments later, a teenage girl blurred into sight right in front of Travis, standing up straight a second or two later. Travis and Katrina each jumped back a step in surprise.

    “Reivyn!” Travis exclaimed. “What’s the word?”

    “The Prince wants to know when we’ll be moving,” Reivyn replied.

    Travis turned around and surveyed the camp. There was an obvious air of excitement, and soldiers were beginning to line up around their respective captains.

    “Tell him that we’re ready when he’s ready,” Travis answered.

    “Okay,” Reivyn answered simply, making three hand signals and jumping into the air, disappearing entirely. Travis and Katrina looked at the spot where she had been, the former shaking his head.

    I want to learn how to do that,” Travis joked.


    Meanwhile, in Mauville City…

    Combusken parried an incoming attack from Volterror, who had come in, fangs bared and ready to strike. Combusken skidded backward, using one of his long claws for balance on the ground and creating long runs in the remaining panels (one of which exploded) as he came to a complete stop.

    Unfortunately for him, Volterror didn’t.

    With an almighty CRASH, the Storm Pokémon came plowing into the prized Fire-type, knocking him backwards into the electric barrier designed to contain the match – and inflict serious pain on anyone unfortunate enough to come into contact with it.

    “Damn it!” the Combusken’s trainer, a fourteen-year-old boy with a skullcap covering blond highlights in his brown hair, swore. Combusken rose to his feet, staring down Volterror as the tiger-like beast growled madly, his black coat sparking with small bolts of lightning.

    Volterror charged, his fangs exposed again and this time shining with an electric-blue light. Combusken turned his hips quickly and brought a powerful leg right into the face of the feline Pokémon, jumping away as Volterror crashed mightily into the ground. He landed before his trainer, who prepared to issue the finishing order:

    “Combusken, use Meteor Ball!!”

    Combusken reared back with his right arm, conjuring fire in his hand. He launched it at Volterror, who didn’t seem entirely prepared for the attack and took the ball of flames right in the face as it exploded. The black Electric-type reeled with a roar.

    “Take him down!!” the boy shouted. “Double Kick!!”

    Combusken lowered his head and rushed Volterror, who didn’t see the Young Fowl Pokémon coming and took a foot right on the muzzle. The second kick was a roundhouse that made contact with Volterror’s head and sent him sprawling to the ground. Volterror growled weakly and then stopped moving. The referee ran over to do the count.

    “One…two…three…four…five! Volterror is unable to battle! Combusken is the winner!” the referee announced, pointing the red flag at Combusken’s Trainer.



    Snapping his badge case shut, the brown-haired boy slipped the metal container into his pocket. Throwing his shoulder through the nearby bag, he looked up and saw a rather tall, black-haired girl walk into the room.

    “Nice job,” she said, approaching him.

    “That Volterror was a beast to bring down,” he commented. “But, as always, we got the job done.”

    “As always,” the girl echoed, leaning in and giving him a kiss of congratulations. “So, Matt…where’s the next Gym?”

    “The next Gym?” Matthew tried to remember. “That’s gonna be interesting. There’s a Gym in Lavaridge, but there’s also a couple of contest sites other places – like Verdanturf and Fallarbor. You did say you wanted to do another one, right, Mariah?”

    “I should, seeing as I’m pretty decent at it,” Mariah answered.

    “Decent? You won your first contest – I’d have to say you’re decent,” Matthew replied. “So, where do you want to go? Fallarbor or Verdanturf? Although, I’d have to warn you, Fallarbor’s across the desert, which is kinda gonna suck…”

    “But we can come back through Lavaridge and pass through Mauville to go to Verdanturf, right?” Mariah asked.

    “Huh – what?” Matthew asked. “You mean…over Mt. Chimney? Not sure I like the idea of crossing a volcano…”

    “Well, we don’t have much of a choice – Lavaridge is called ‘Lavaridge’ for a reason,” Mariah said. “Unless you want to go to Verdanturf first, then come back to Mauville, go up to Fallarbor, circle back around to Lavaridge, and then back to Mauville again…”

    “Damn…” Matt groaned. “Are you serious? Sounds like we’ll be passing through here at least twice, no matter what we do.”

    “We don’t have to leave today,” Mariah said. “You’ve won four badges, and the Hoenn League doesn’t start until September. Let’s go back to the Center and think it over first.”

    “Yeah…sounds like a good idea,” Matt said. “Let’s go.”

    Matt and Mariah left the locker room, traversed the long hallway that led to the lobby, and exited that door as well. As they reached the lobby (to the occasional shout of encouragement from those who had seen Matt’s recent victory), Matt turned to Mariah.

    “You know…I’m really glad you came here with me,” he said.

    “Come on, now, Matt, you know I’m not one for the mushy stuff,” Mariah commented. “Most of the time.”

    “No, I mean that,” Matt affirmed. “I wonder sometimes…why me? Why anyone, Mariah? Can you at least answer that for me?”

    “I guess…” Mariah muttered. “I guess we were both at the same point in our lives. You know…ready to move on from tragedy and all that. You looked strong – like someone I could depend on.”

    “Ha – there’s no pressure, right?” Matt laughed to himself. “You’re probably the first person that’s ever said that they depend on me for anything.”

    “Well,” Mariah said. “You’re doing a pretty good job.”

    Matt stopped talking and turned toward her. “Do you mean that?” he asked.

    Mariah responded with a nod. Matt gently brought the black-haired girl into his arms, where she rested her chin atop his shoulder.

    “Thanks, Bee. That means a lot,” he said. Mariah smiled at the use of her pet name, inching up and pecking Matt on the cheek. Matt looked over Mariah’s shoulder, and his expression instantly changed. He broke apart from Mariah and gently guided her behind him as he stepped forward. Two soldiers in black armor were approaching them – each just over six feet tall (Matt, at five-foot-seven, didn’t have to look up all that far).

    “Are you Matthew Marius?” one of the soldiers asked in a smooth, baritone voice.

    “That’s my name – don’t wear it out,” Matt quipped (although his mouth was set in a firm line). “Can I help you with something?”

    “In fact, you can,” the soldier said, going into his pocket. Out of it he pulled a picture of a boy – a boy that looked very familiar to Matt.

    “Why are you looking for him?” Matt said, handing the picture back to the soldier.

    “To ask him a few questions,” the soldier answered ambiguously. Matt saw right through him.

    “Questions? At the point of a sword?” Matt asked. “Because that wouldn’t really work. Just take my word for it.”

    “You were with him in Dewford and Slateport – you know where he is,” the soldier suddenly became slightly more aggressive.

    “Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you,” Matt said defiantly. His mouth turning upward into an unmistakable smirk, he added, “Wouldn’t want you dying an untimely death, right?”

    The soldier drew his sword and pointed it at Matt, or past him, to the hiding, black-haired girl taking refuge behind his shoulder.

    “Unless you want your little girlfriend’s death on your conscience, I suggest you stop being an arrogant little brat and tell us where this boy is hiding!” the soldier shouted. Matt realized he was beaten. He wouldn’t have Mariah killed on account of him trying to match wits with these guys.

    “I hope you’ve got boats,” he commented. “Last thing I heard, he was in Fortree. Good luck trying to bring him in – you’re going to need it.”

    The soldier pulled his sword back a bit, pointing it at Matt’s throat.

    “I knew you’d make the right decision with a little bit of persuading,” he said, finally stowing the sword in its scabbard where it belonged. “So, it’s Fortree. Let’s go.”

    He beckoned to his silent partner, who followed him down the road the other way. Mariah’s face was pale and her breathing was shallow as she hung on to her boyfriend’s shirt for dear life. Suddenly, Matt broke into quiet laughter.

    “Guess he was as dumb as he looked,” Matt commented.

    “Most Imperial soldiers are,” a young man’s voice joined the conversation. Matt looked up. A slight smirk crossed his face.

    “Long time no see…” Matt said. “Kenjiro.”

    The young man was about eighteen years old and quite tall. He looked to be wearing a black shirt and black pants inside of a green traveling coat lined with several black-and-silver belt buckles along the torso. He had short, bronze-colored hair and eyes the color of a lion’s coat. Visible at his hips were the sheaths for two knives. He had his arms folded as well.

    “That was pretty smart,” Kenjiro commented, “but at the same time, pretty stupid. What the hell are you gonna do if they find out you’ve sent them on a wild goose chase?”

    “Not my fault,” Matt said with a smirk. “They asked me for an answer – they didn’t specify if they needed the right answer.”

    Kenjiro sighed and rolled his eyes.

    “We do need to find them,” he affirmed. “Where do you really think they went?”

    “Knowing Travis, they’re probably headed toward Lavaridge,” Matt said. “He’s gonna want to start racking up badges as quick as possible before the **** hits the fan.”

    “Something smells weird already,” Kenjiro commented distractedly, averting his golden-brown irises from Matt’s jade-green. “Either way, we need to get to Lavaridge.”

    “What do you mean, ‘we’?” Matt questioned.

    “I’m going with you to make sure you don’t get killed trying to do your job,” Kenjiro explained.

    Matt laughed.

    “You don’t have to worry about me,” he said. “After all, you got your man – I’m just an afterthought now, right?”

    Kenjiro shook his head.

    “I can’t argue with you,” he said. “When we recruited you for the Dragonfall Project back in May, we had no idea we’d have a Swordbearer drop right into our laps that same week. That said, we still need both of you. There’s no guarantee he’ll make it to the tournament.”

    Matt raised an eyebrow.

    “You’ve traveled with him for nearly a month-and-a-half, and you still don’t know him at all?” he queried. “That’s just sad. You think he’s not good enough?”

    “Don’t put words in my mouth – I didn’t say that,” Kenjiro replied sharply. “But he’s got his mind on other things. He has to multitask, so to speak. Between the fact that he wants to get into Evergrande and the fact that he’s being watched by Imperials – not to mention some other people – I’m not taking the chance of him getting sidetracked…or worse…before he can get to Evergrande. That said, you’re still just as much our guy as he is.”

    “Why is that? Because I can’t fight – or I won’t?” Matthew asked, his green eyes glinting. “There’s so much you don’t know about me. There’ll be hell to pay if they come after me like that again.”

    Kenjiro folded his arms.

    “Sure,” he said rather incredulously. “Just concentrate on doing your job – there’s no need for you to get your hands dirty, kid – not yet.”


    The vast, open fields of Verdanturf provided lots of space – space to walk around, space for children to play…

    Space, even, for young swordfighters to perfect their craft.

    A ginger-haired girl of about sixteen sheathed her training sword as a young man of about nineteen with similar facial features and the same color hair stood at ease with his own sword.

    “You ready to call it quits?” the young man asked. Even his voice radiated a naïve sort of eagerness, the tone of his speech saying all too clearly that he would have liked to keep going.

    “I’m just a little hungry – that’s all,” the girl replied.

    “Can’t fight on an empty stomach – let’s go get something to eat,” the young man said, turning and beginning to walk down the hill upon which they had been sparring. After a few moments, he noticed that the girl wasn’t following.

    “Something wrong, Jillian?” he asked.

    “I worry about you sometimes, Talan,” the girl explained. “Do you really think that…you know…I mean, the King says that he’s dead…”

    “I’ve just got this hunch…” Talan explained. “This gut feeling that he’s not, you know.”

    “Maybe it’s just wishful thinking,” Jillian sighed. “You know how Grandfather feels about that.”

    “Don’t remind me,” Talan sighed. Then, doing his best imitation of a gruff octogenarian, he croaked, “ ‘The Ainge family wasn’t built on stargazers and dreamers. It was built on star chasers…big doers...’ or something like that.”

    Jillian laughed.

    “But seriously, Jill,” Talan said solemnly, putting a hand on the younger girl’s shoulder, “someday we might be able to fight to get freedom for ourselves and for everyone back in Mossdeep…and we need to be ready for that day – whenever it gets here.”

    “Who will we fight with?” Jillian asked. “I’m not being negative – it’s an honest question.”

    “The Almighty Ones will not ignore Edgar’s tyranny. You can count on that,” Talan said.
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 17th December 2007 at 6:00 AM.

    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.




  8. #233
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    ~~~ *** ~~~

    Five Rapidash strode over one of the many hills that led to the center of Verdanturf Town. Prince Elrik Thalrair of Hoenn rode the one at the center, whose flames shone with a royal blue color instead of the normal shades of red. This regal-looking mount burned brightly at the center of the line, flanked by Lady Ivanna and Sir Rashid. On the very outside of one end of the line rode Sir Roald, the cavalry commander. On the other side, a pair rode on one horse, both of them essentially children who both stood out and blended in. The girl, her rose-pink hair flapping in the wind, looked over the shoulder of the boy, who was controlling the mount with almost no effort, despite having only ridden this Rapidash once before. Apparently, for Eilyn, once was enough.

    “<It’s all very exciting, isn’t it?>” the Rapidash asked the boy. “<The idea of forming an army to rout the forces of tyranny…I’m glad I get to be a part of something this significant.>”

    “Significant?” Travis repeated, taking care to keep his eyes forward. “I’m just trying to help out.”

    “<I beg to differ,>” Eilyn responded. “<I feel…honored, and you should, too. You see – what do all of the people riding in front with the Prince have in common?>”

    “They’re all important leaders in the Emerald Knights?” Travis questioned.

    “<That, yes, but…>” Eilyn answered. “<They are all close to His Majesty. The fact that you have the privilege of riding in front with the Prince says two things: he trusts you enough to allow you to lead his men…and he considers you a friend.>”

    Travis found himself about to respond but stopped short when it hit him.

    A friend?

    Did Elrik, Prince of Hoenn, consider him a friend?

    They began to descend the hill. Travis held on tightly to Eilyn as she began to pick up speed. Travis could see the town square. Several people were gathered there, and each in turn began to look up toward them, some pointing and gesturing with their mouths agape.

    Elrik’s jade cloak rustled in the wind and trailed behind him as his mount continued to descend the slope at an ever-quickening canter. He and Ivanna stole a glance at each other…

    They would tell the others later…but this wasn’t the time.

    Suddenly, Ivanna (riding atop Euan, who seemed very happy about the arrangement) accelerated and rode out slightly in front of the Prince, followed by Rashid, who was riding Ivory as usual.

    Travis looked over his shoulder and saw a large piece of cloth flapping in the wind, attached to a long pole carried by the young magician, Creon. On a silver field, it featured a green, serpentine dragon that coiled around itself – obviously symbolic of the Kingdom of Hoenn’s patron Legendary, Rayquaza. From its mouth came a white and red flame. Travis looked forward and then did a double take.

    The flame was in the shape of a bird…the phoenix.


    Agnes was walking serenely beside her husband, and to her left was the aged but wise Master Hong. Even Arsham had shown her face, her stocky, built form and strong gait taking precedence at the front because nobody had the guts to tell her to move anywhere else.

    Behind Travis’ hard face and determined, fiery, sapphire eyes was the process of a metamorphosis – a change of heart. For years now, everyone had called on him to be a hero. For years, he had shied away from the title. Being a hero brought high responsibility. It wasn’t that he wanted to shy away from responsibility, either – he didn’t want to let anybody down. He didn’t want to be the one known for failing. Up until he got the sword, he had never been the bravest person. He had been the type to try to stop the fight, or to let it resolve itself, if possible. He was ignorant on what being a hero meant.

    Being a hero was more than a strong sense of justice or a swift sword – Travis’ own hero was his grandfather, a man who had taken up arms only to defend his own life in his final moments. Being a hero involved more than high and lofty words. Of course, a hero could have all these things…

    But being a hero was having the ability to care for others and to do what it took to defend them. In that case, everyone with a soul had the potential to be a hero.

    But what separated great heroes from the others…

    What separated him from them…

    He was not just an especially strong warrior fighting for them. He had become their symbol of hope – literally the banner they could fight under. He was the hero that brought out the hero in everyone else around him. The weak were suddenly strong.

    The timid were suddenly brave.

    The silent were suddenly shouting at the top of their lungs, calling for victory – victory and freedom.
    As he saw himself recognized on that flag (for the phoenix, Ho-oh, was his own sign), that reality began to sink in.

    That was his purpose here. He was to be the flame that burned brightly enough to ignite all of the candles around him. As he glanced over at Elrik, he began to figure out why they had been so naturally drawn to each other.

    Elrik saw him as the hero whom he desired to be.

    He saw Elrik as a hero in the making.

    In that sense, each had found a kindred spirit in the other.

    He saw it – Elrik was meant to wield the sword breathed into life by Rayquaza.

    The Prince might not have held the sword, but he was a Swordbearer nonetheless.

    As the riders planted themselves in the center of the square, an uproar began to rise up. Travis heard nearly every response that he would have deemed appropriate for that particular moment. People that had gotten a good look at Elrik’s face either stood rooted to the spot in fear (probably thinking that Elrik, said by his brother to be dead, had returned as a ghost) or murmured among themselves. Others still shouted in outrage, thinking Elrik to be an impostor. Some of the less knowledgeable believed (Travis had to fight down an urge to laugh out loud) that they were coming under Imperial occupation. And there were some – like a pair of ginger-haired teenagers that stood at the back of the crowd – that just watched in silence as the events before them continued to unfold.

    There were a few moments of standoff. The riders stared at the crowd, who stared at the riders, who stared at the crowd, who stared at the riders…

    Then, all in one motion and with unwonted agility, the Prince leapt from his mouth. Feet landing gracefully on the ground, he turned and took a step toward the crowd, some of whom took an equally large step back.

    “It…it’s…” one townsperson stammered. “Y-you’re supposed to be dead!!”

    “It’s a ghost!” another followed. “An evil spirit sent to torment us!”

    Elrik proffered his hand and quickly had it slapped away.

    “Away from me, evil spirit!!” the townsman shrieked. Then, looking down at his own stinging palm, he realized that he had, in fact, hit flesh and bone.

    “You just hit him!” a middle-aged townswoman informed the man.

    “I did…” the villager gasped in awe. “So, you’re not a ghost, then. Who are you?”

    “My name is Elrik Alvelius Thalrair, son of Elvanan Midain Thalrair – Prince of Hoenn,” Elrik announced, bringing everything to silence. Travis looked around to see how this declaration was registering with the people of Verdanturf.

    “You mean, the traitor?” someone finally asked.

    “Well, he’s either a traitor or an impostor,” the man who had hit Elrik’s hand reasoned. “He’s not a ghost because I could hit his hand – but what man of royal standing would allow a commoner to touch his hand?”

    “King Elvanan,” a voice sounded from the back. Everyone turned around to see that a girl of about fifteen or sixteen had spoken. She had orange hair that was tied back into two braided loops at her neck. She wore a black blouse that was tucked into cream-colored pants and lightweight moccasins as well. A young man younger than twenty that was wearing a black shirt with blue sleeves as well as white pants (and seemed to have two swords strapped to his right hip) was standing next to her. With the similarities in hair color (his was short and ginger) and facial appearance, they could have been brother and sister. “Five years ago, when I was only eleven, at the Princes’ coming-of-age ceremony…”

    “Hold on!!” Elrik piped up. “You look familiar. What’s your name?”

    “Jillian Ainge,” the girl responded.

    “Ainge – are you related to Ruvell Ainge, the blacksmith?” Elrik asked.

    “He’s our – this is Talan, my cousin – grandfather,” Jillian explained, introducing the young man in mid-sentence.

    “‘That’s a beautiful granddaughter you’ve got there, Ruvell.’ That’s what my father said to him,” Elrik recounted. “‘And a strong grandson!’”

    “Talan…” Jillian turned around, her eyes wide with disbelief. “Talan, it’s him! That’s the real Prince! He and Edgar were standing there – they’re the only ones that would know that word for word!!”

    “I was right…” Talan said, looking pleased but no less shocked as he walked through the middle of the crowd. “I started not to believe myself, but I was right…”

    “You thought I was alive, then?” Elrik asked the young man.

    “Your Majesty…I have to know something,” Talan said, bowing slightly. “I’ve been trying to find out your fate for over a year now, and I’ve been following whispers and rumors. It’s said that you tried to kill Edgar…”

    “If I had, I wouldn’t be standing here either way, would I?” Elrik replied drily. “If I had succeeded, I would have acceded to the throne as the last remaining person with legitimate, royal blood; if I had failed, I would be in the next life, most likely.”

    “So why are you here with all these soldiers?” Talan asked. “Are you going to take us over?”

    The villagers muttered amongst themselves.

    “No,” Elrik simply replied. “Unlike my brother, I would like to offer you a choice.”

    “A choice…” Talan answered with a mutter.

    “My father once said, ‘those who crave power the most deserve it the least, while those who crave it least are the ones truly fit to wield it.’ One of his many wise maxims, and one of his truest,” Elrik said, turning around and casting his eyes on Travis for a moment before turning his attention back to Talan Ainge. “I do not desire an Empire. My true aim is not even to be King. I want only as much power as it takes to bring Hoenn freedom and peace again.”

    “How can we be sure you’re telling the truth?” the man who had slapped Elrik’s hand away spoke again. “How can we be sure you’re not hiding anything?”

    “You’ll know when he’s hiding something,” From her mount, Ivanna inserted herself into the conversation, looking over the crowd and at Elrik and drawing visual attention to herself. With a rare public smile, she finished, “because he’s not good at it.”

    Travis and Katrina both smiled to themselves as Ivanna’s and Elrik’s wandering eyes met each other for a quick moment and both illuminated in so rapid a flash that it looked almost like sparks had flown between them.

    “So, long story short, you want to dethrone Edgar,” Talan said bluntly.

    “That’s the gist of it,” Elrik replied just as bluntly.

    “Sounds just like what I’ve been waiting for,” Talan said. “Not to say I don’t believe you, but do you have proof of your lineage?”

    “If you mean the Ruling Sword, then no,” Elrik admitted. “I’m afraid Edgar has it in his possession. Fortunately, he does not know how to wield it…”

    “I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but…” Talan sighed. “If Edgar finds out…we’re all screwed. After all, the only thing that can reliably stand up to a Divine Sword is another Divine Sword.”

    Everyone from Arsham to Elrik to Travis himself smirked.

    “Who’s to say we don’t have one?” Arsham asked.

    “Show him to me,” Talan said. “If you have one, why does he not show himself?”

    Elrik shot a look in Travis’ direction, and the boy nodded, dismounting Eilyn soon afterward.

    “<Hey, you’re not taking off, are you?>” she whinnied. “<It’s just getting good.>”

    “I suppose he’s going to fetch the Swordbearer,” Talan commented to Jillian, who was standing right beside him. Therefore, ‘shocked’ isn’t quite strong enough of a word to accurately describe Talan’s facial expression after Travis turned on his heel and unsheathed a shining katana from his hip.

    “You?” Talan shouted. “The Swordbearer is you? There’s no way! You look even younger than Jill!”

    “Hey!” the younger Ainge cousin shouted indignantly.

    “Sorry, Jill, but…he’s, like, twelve…” Talan muttered.

    “Fourteen,” Travis corrected Talan matter-of-factly.

    “This is…unbelievable,” Talan looked like his world had come crashing down around him. “I thought for a second that we’d have a fighting chance when you told me that you had a Swordbearer. Maybe I should just go home. This absolutely reeks of ‘lost-cause’ material.”

    “How’s that for a vote of confidence?” Travis muttered sarcastically. “Fine, then. Go on home.”

    “I will…unless you can show me that you’re not as weak as you look,” Talan said, drawing one of his swords and placing himself on his guard.

    “Alright, then…this’ll only take… five seconds,” Travis said confidently. “One…”

    By the second tick, his hilt was in Talan’s chin and the young man’s sword was in the air. By the third tick, Talan was on his back, Talan’s sword was in Travis’ hand, and Travis’ sword was in its own sheath. Screams and shouts began to erupt once the crowd had enough time to realize what had just happened.
    Katrina tried not to act shocked, but she couldn’t quite help it.

    “Oh…damn, that was six, wasn’t it?” Travis groaned, looking up at Katrina, who shook her head.

    “That was three,” she said, her eyes still trying to process what had just happened.

    “Agh!” Talan sat up, clutching his chin as he staggered to his feet, aided by Jillian, who had run over to help him. Talan stood, hands on his knees, as he breathed heavily.

    “Damn!” he groaned. “Oh, my head…what the heck was that?”

    “That’s called ‘lost-cause material’,” Travis replied, so wittily that even Talan had to laugh in spite of himself. As Travis walked over and offered the sword to Talan, he asked, “I didn’t break your chin, did I?”

    “Don’t think so,” Talan grunted, taking the sword and standing up straight.

    “I’ll put it simply,” Elrik said as Travis clambered back onto Eilyn, where he received a peck on the cheek from Katrina for his efforts. “We’ve got a fighting chance…but we could use more help. Are you still willing to fight for us, Talan?”

    “Willing?” Talan shouted, almost as if he’d been affronted. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a year. Of course I’ll fight, if you’ll let me!”

    “Think he’s eager?” Travis muttered.

    “Just a little bit,” Katrina laughed in response.

    “<No joke,>” Eilyn said a bit lazily.

    “That’s good,” Elrik said finally. “We’d be glad to have you.”

    “Great!” Talan said. He turned around to Jillian, who was standing there and waiting to be told something. “Jill…I could tell you to go back to Mossdeep, but I’ve got a feeling that there’s no way you’d listen to me.”

    “You’d better believe it!” Jillian replied perkily, running up alongside Talan to join him.

    “What about the rest of you?” Elrik asked. “Will you help us fight?”

    “Fight?” the townsman said, stepping forward. “My lord, forgive me for my rudeness. I am Mayor Allan Phineas, and I believe I speak for the whole of Verdanturf when I say that we have hardly any swords to offer.”

    “Swords?” Elrik responded, turning back toward his army. “We need more than swords. We need lodging and food and encouragement for the people who hold them. An army is hard thing to maintain, let alone grow. It’s a war machine that consists of human beings…humans who are at times tired or hungry or afraid. Even the best of us…”

    Again, he stole a glance at many of the important figures sitting atop Rapidash. Ivanna, Travis, Roald, Rashid…his eyes even wandered to Master Hong, standing in front of the soldiers.

    “Swords help…but what we really need are people who believe in us,” Elrik said, turning around and looking at Phineas intently.

    “Well,” the mayor said, nodding at Travis, “my hat’s off to anyone who can stand up to that boy.”

    With that, he turned around to address his villagers…


    Dusk found Elrik in the same place that dawn had found him. The field looked similar to how it had appeared earlier that day – full of soldiers and full of life.

    “Elrik, Lord of Verdanturf,” he muttered to himself, for that was what Phineas and the people of the town had titled him. Most addressed him as ‘Prince’ or ‘Your Majesty’ as per usual, but Elrik seemed to like the title ‘Lord of Verdanturf’ better. Verdanturf was a peaceful place, and, in his mind, whoever ruled from there ruled for peace…even if that peace required war for it to come to fruition.

    “Doesn’t ‘King Elrik’ sound so much better?” Elrik turned around and saw a young woman with shoulder-length, curly, flaxen hair walking up to him. She joined Elrik in leaning over the railing to observe the happenings of the camp? Elrik smiled.

    “Taking a break? That’s not like you,” he said.

    “Things can run without me until tomorrow,” Ivanna replied calmly. Elrik chuckled.

    “Who are you, and where did you hide the real Ivanna?” he asked jokingly – Ivanna’s response was a giggle.

    “It’s a bit of a relief, actually. That Talan kid – he’s good. Obviously, no real battle experience, but his technique with a sword’s flawless,” Ivanna commented. “So, I heard you called a meeting?”

    “Midnight,” Elrik replied.

    “That’s…late,” Ivanna said. “So, why?”

    “I want everyone’s opinion on what we should do next,” Elrik answered simply.

    “Is…he coming, too?” Ivanna asked the Prince.

    “Of course,” Prince Elrik answered as if Ivanna needed not waste her breath asking the question in the first place. “His advice is as important as anyone else’s.”

    “I want to believe he’s strong – I really do,” Ivanna sighed. “I just…can’t feel really confident about placing the fate of our army – of our nation, even – into the hands of a teenage boy.”

    “It’d be one thing if he was just a strong fighter,” Elrik stated with a smile. “But he’s been there. He’s looked evil itself in the eye and lived to tell it.”

    “You’re really sold on him, aren’t you?” Ivanna asked.

    “A month ago, we didn’t think we had any realistic chance at doing something about Edgar,” Elrik said. “Ever since he showed up…almost everything he’s been suggesting has worked. It’s like he has a different handle on everything.”

    “So, you’ll be trusting any decision he makes?” Ivanna asked.

    “I’m not sure about any decision…that’s why I need the rest of you,” Elrik explained to her. “If he has a plan that can convince everyone, I say we should follow it.”

    Ivanna looked at Elrik for a moment.

    “Maybe I’ll give him a chance….” She said finally.



    Night had fallen upon Verdanturf Town, bringing cool breezes and a bright, full moon. Travis and Katrina walked hand in hand through the sleeping village, taking in the cool, fresh air. Finally, they arrived at the town square, where they had been hours before. Then, it had been alive and full of people.

    Now, it was almost deserted, and they had it all to themselves.

    Travis let out a sigh.

    “I think I understand what you meant,” he said, turning himself around to survey what he could see of the village. “You can’t run a war machine from a place like this. There’s just something…not right about it.”

    Katrina remained silent.

    “There’s something about this place…it’s someplace I want to protect,” Travis said. Katrina frowned.

    “You’re planning on making another move, aren’t you?” she asked. Travis walked over and grabbed Katrina’s hand. Running his fingers across it for a second, he pulled her to her feet and into his arms. She asked him, “Do we really have to fight again?”

    “We’ll have to fight either way,” Travis replied. “It just feels like…I deal with it so much better when I’m fighting by choice. I want Elrik to be able to stand up for a little while without me…because I can’t stay here very long. Darris might come back…or someone else. Besides…I’ve still got a championship to win.”

    “…which’ll be a lot harder if there’s a civil war going on,” Katrina added. “Did you think about that? The League might get cancelled if things start happening too fast.”

    Travis shook his head.

    “There’s no way Edgar is going to cancel the League,” Travis replied. “Don’t you remember what they told us from the beginning? The reason they wanted me to get into the tournament? Edgar’s planning on using the Hoenn League Championship to crown himself Emperor. The tournament’s going to be televised worldwide, and Edgar will want to send a message. I just want Elrik to have one more city.”

    “One more city?” Katrina repeated.

    “Like I said…I can’t see the Emerald Knights just working out of Verdanturf forever,” Travis sighed. “Once that’s done, we’ll move on. We’ll have four badges left to get.”

    He turned around and a laugh escaped Katrina’s mouth.

    “What’s so funny?” Travis asked without turning his head.

    “It’s just kind of ironic,” Katrina answered. “The first time Kenjiro talked to you about joining the Knights, you freaked out and told him you weren’t going to be involved in…what was it? ‘A twisted, political chess match’. But now…it’s like you’re the one moving all the pieces.”

    “Better the player than the pawn,” Travis muttered to himself. “That’s what I figured. Funny how life works, huh? The world’s never as big as we think it is.”

    “Nope,” Katrina answered monosyllabically. Travis took a deep breath of the clean, refreshing Verdanturf air…allowed it to fill his mouth, his throat, his chest, his soul…and then let it out again.

    “Let’s go,” he said. “They’ll be looking for us soon.”

    “Right,” Katrina said, approaching him and taking his hand. “But I have one last question.”

    “Shoot,” Travis replied.

    “When I look at you, you’re more determined to win than I think I’ve ever seen in your life,” Katrina said. “You want so much – you expect so much out of yourself, and yet you think you can accomplish all of it. Why?”

    Travis smiled.

    “I could get into this long spiel about destiny, but we’d be here all night,” he said. “The prophecy about me…the one Paulus gave nearly a thousand years ago…it’s not fulfilled yet.”

    Katrina looked confused – Travis knew what her question was going to be.

    “What do you mean? You – we – beat Angelos,” she said.

    “We beat the person – Angelos’ body,” Travis said. “It’s his spirit that I’m more worried about. I see it everywhere. In Edgar…in those Temple freaks that are after Reivyn…in that Darris Klein guy…even in myself. They’re all after power to achieve their own ends – not to help others. It’s because of that prophecy that I have to become Champion…I have to help Elrik win this war…and it’s because of that prophecy…”

    Travis froze for a moment as Katrina looked on – then he grinned.

    “Never mind,” Travis said. “Did I ever tell you how Angelos was created?”

    “I know he was descended from Paulus just like you,” Katrina said.

    “Paulus and Lylia were just like us. He was a Swordbearer, she was his Aurillian princess…” Travis explained, receiving a tender smile from Katrina. “…and they loved each other very much. They even got married and had a son together. But she got sick…and died. Paulus was so brokenhearted over it – they had known each other since they were little – he started putting all of his time into hunting down the sons of Virgil…but he abandoned his own son, remarried and had another child. His oldest son came to hate him, and that hatred was passed down from father to son…and finally, to Angelos himself.”

    “So, this prophecy involves more than just Angelos…” Katrina said.

    “Yeah. No one’s pure good,” Travis said. “Everyone has darkness and weakness. The prophecy is about fighting the darkness in my life so that it doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

    “Do you think you can?” Katrina said as she and Travis started to walk again. He turned his head.

    “If I didn’t,” he replied, “I would have lost the fight already.”



    Elrik sat at the head of the table in the newly-converted war room, which consisted of a large, square table. The map that had been perched upon the wall previously was now down at Elrik’s fingertips, where he and others were free to make markings and to point out notable locations. In the seats closest to Elrik (as he peered down the table toward the black doorway) were Ivanna on his right, and Rashid on his left. One seat down from Ivanna was Arsham – it was her house, after all. Besides, she was an honest person (sometimes brutally so) whom Elrik felt no reason to distrust. One seat down from Rashid was his father, Roald.

    Down from Ivanna were Master Hong and his protégé, Creon. (Agnes was conspicuous by her absence; she had fallen ill and her husband had suggested that she stay in bed.) Roald was also flanked by two chairs of his own. They were for the two last and two youngest members of this midnight council.

    “Two minutes to midnight,” Arsham commented. “With all due respect, Your Nocturnalness, are you sure this meeting wasn’t too far past the boy’s bedtime?”

    “He’ll be fine,” Elrik said. “The other option was to have this meeting at five tomorrow morning. You wouldn’t mind that at all, would you, Ms. Arsham?”

    “Hmm…” Arsham sank back into her chair. “Touché.”

    Elrik leaned back with a slight chuckle. “I was fourteen once, too, so I know by experience – kids his age prefer staying up late to getting up early.”

    “Late? Did someone say I was late?” a boy’s voice came in from the doorway. In walked Travis and Katrina, who looked wide awake despite the late hour. “I thought the meeting was at midnight.”

    “It is. You’re just in time. Sit down,” Ivanna said.

    “What’s the matter?” Rashid quipped. “Did someone miss her beauty sleep this afternoon?”

    Everyone except Travis and Katrina, who were busy seating themselves in the last two chairs, burst into laughter. To everyone’s surprise, though, Ivanna responded with a wisecrack of her own.

    “I was more worried about you missing yours,” she said with a bit of a sarcastic bite to her voice, bringing everyone to laughter once again.

    “Alright – now that we’ve got all of the Imperial rejects, can we get down to business?” Arsham asked. “I, for one, like to walk the village at dawn, and seeing as dawn’s a little before six this time of year…”

    “Business it is,” Elrik replied. “I guess, before we do anything, we need to know how many fighters we have. Ivanna?”

    “Actually, that’s a good question,” Ivanna said. “I’ll have to do a count tomorrow, but the rumor is slightly over a hundred.”

    “A hundred?” Roald repeated, sounding astonished. “Where’d we get a hundred? We barely had thirty when we got here.”

    “Yeah, and that was after half of our guys deserted us in Rustboro,” Rashid said.

    “Apparently, Phineas had more swords than he thought,” Ivanna answered. “Granted, only about half of them are professional fighters, but it’s better than nothing.”

    “A hundred men…” Travis muttered to himself.

    “Well…” Elrik muttered. “As a result of Travis’ plan, the entire town is our headquarters – as opposed to just using this one mansion…”

    “Which gives us one hell of a lot more space, incidentally,” Arsham added, looking at Travis. “Thanks.”

    There was a painful silence for about seven seconds. Then, unprompted, Travis blurted it out.

    “We should strike now.”

    Everyone all turned their heads right at Travis, looking at him as if he was insane.

    “You’re mad!” Ivanna groaned. “Where in the hell do you plan on striking the Empire with only a hundred men?!”

    “Nowhere,” Travis said, managing to keep his voice calm despite the fact that Ivanna was yelling at him. “Of course I’m not taking a hundred men – someone has to stay here to defend headquarters, right?”

    “Less than a hundred?” Ivanna blanched. “How many?”

    “Including me? About ten good ones will do it. Any more than that, and we’ll be too obvious,” Travis replied.

    “Ten,” Ivanna said in a dazed tone, apparently too shocked to be angry anymore.

    “Ten?” Rashid repeated.

    “Ten?” Katrina even echoed, wondering what the hell Travis was thinking.

    “That’s what I said – ten,” Travis restated himself.

    “So, what do you plan on doing with ten fighters, huh? Sounds like some sort of covert mission, but enlighten me,” Arsham said.

    Travis stood up and walked around the table, past Hong Liu and Creon, past Arsham, past Ivanna...

    “Your Majesty, may I borrow this?” Travis asked, indicating a green marker in the shape of an armed soldier.

    “Sure,” Elrik agreed, still unsure as to what Travis planned on doing. Emphatically, Travis removed the soldier from the map of Hoenn and planted it back into the map, in a town on Hoenn’s northwestern corner…

    “That’s…” Ivanna muttered, leaning over toward Elrik and the map. “Rustboro.”

    “Unless the whole city picked up and moved somewhere else like we did…” Roald concurred.

    “Rustboro City? With ten fighters?” Rashid questioned. “How big is the garrison in Rustboro? Five hundred?”

    “That was before our dear friend assassinated Captain Fergus,” Ivanna said, a muscle in her jaw twitching. “Now it’s more like seven or eight hundred.”

    Travis laughed.

    “That’s a problem…” he muttered. “Or it would be, if I was planning on fighting seven or eight hundred soldiers. Of course I’m not doing that. That’s not even stupid. That’s just suicidal.”

    “And your plan isn’t?” Ivanna shot back as Travis began to return to his seat.

    “I only need as many good fighters as it takes to take care of the guards in Devon Corporation’s tower,” Travis declared.

    “Devon Corporation…how much do you expect Alex Stone to cooperate with you?” Master Hong asked. Everyone looked at him for an explanation. “Devon Corporation started as a small trading business when I was a young man. Now is the most powerful company in Hoenn. They control, among other things, those radio and television contraptions. So…how much do you expect Stone to cooperate with you?”

    “That depends – how bad is totalitarian government for business?” Travis asked Master Hong, whose eyes widened.

    “Amazing…you truly have the mind of a god,” the old sage gasped.

    “I’m not sure if it’s that…” Travis replied modestly. “I just pay good attention.”

    “What’s the use of the Radio Tower?” Ivanna asked.

    “Lady Ivanna,” Travis leaned over the table. “How many people do you think let the Empire push them around because they don’t think they have a better option?”

    Ivanna couldn’t answer.

    “Thousands,” Travis said, his eyes glinting. “More than enough to fight if they knew that there was a cause to fight for. With that radio tower, we can tell all of Hoenn – Prince Elrik is alive, and he wants to bring a rule of peace. A rule where the people are free to live their lives and make their own decisions. A rule where they don’t have to worry about the threat of war every day.”

    There was silence for a long time.

    “I…” Ivanna was about to say something that she seemingly did not want to say. “I…promised His Majesty that I’d give you a fair chance, so I will…but I just want you to know…I think you’re completely insane.”

    “I never said that I wasn’t,” Travis replied calmly, sitting down.

    “Who…do you need?” Ivanna asked.

    “I’ve got a few people in mind…” Travis replied. “But I’m bad with names, so you’ll have to help me…”

    And they began to lay out, one by one, the names of those that could participate in the operation…


    The chill wind washed over her as she burst forth from the water. Drops of the lake cascaded from her chestnut skin, her golden-white hair. She drew one of her slender arms from the water, as the wash rose and fell with the luster of crystals. She propelled herself backward and allowed the lake to caress her bare shoulders, to comfort her as a friend…

    …for the Earth could be merciful – just as those who lived in it could be utterly lacking in mercy.

    She emerged onto dry land, looking this way and that. Her silvery-blue eyes settled upon a rock, upon which was a neatly folded towel. It was with this that she covered herself and looked up. Her beautiful eyes reflected the full moon above. When they returned to ground level, they found a tall figure in black cloak and hat. The only defining feature was the bright red hair, and it was that she recognized immediately. Her heart leapt.

    “Darris,” she whispered, breaking into a trot and silently falling into the renegade’s arms. “You’ve returned.”

    “So I have,” Darris answered calmly. Immediately the young woman drifted up toward him, taking in a barely noticeable gasp as her lips parted. He stroked her russet face, bringing her to a halt. “Not now, Kilara. You’ll get yourself sick if you don’t go put something on.”

    “Alright,” the brown-skinned girl replied, sounding half resigned and half disappointed as she separated herself from him and began to walk away, leaving Darris Klein alone with his own thoughts.

    He seated himself before the lake, watching its glassy, bluish-black surface. He removed his trademark fedora from his head and placed it gently on the grass next to him. He clutched his chest slightly – the wound hadn’t healed yet.

    He looked out in the distance. The bridge across this lake was completely devoid of life at this time of night – a perfect place for them to camp until tomorrow morning.

    Soon…something was going to happen. Darris couldn’t just feel it. He knew.

    All there was left to do was to wait…wait and see how things developed.

    He wouldn’t play to the favor of the soldiers…on either side.
    Neutrality. Both sides could be allies – yet both sides could be enemies.

    That was his brand of ‘neutrality’.

    He gave a start as the water before him erupted into a spiraling pillar, its excess raining down onto his person and wetting it slightly. It stood for a few seconds before it sloshed back into the lake itself and became quiet. Darris looked over his shoulder and saw a girl with fair hair and a medium complexion looking at her hand, from which tiny balls of light were now emanating. It was as if she had been holding something – something that had just recently disappeared. She was wearing a halter top that exposed her midriff as well as essentially her entire back. It was ornately designed and colored a light violet – about the shade of a healthy Rattata’s coat. It bore a large, golden ring as an ornament at its front. She also wore pants of the same purple color, but each leg of these split on each side right above her knees, rendering them almost dresslike for the rest of the way. Purple ribbons fell from the back corners of her head, their origin a golden circlet that traversed her forehead. Normally, Darris remembered, she would wear sandals with her outfit, but she had chosen not to put them on.

    “How long have you known how to do that?” Darris asked.

    “Practice…” Kilara said, approaching him. “There’s been nothing to do while you’ve been gone.”

    “Oh…” Darris muttered. “At least you were putting your time to good use.”

    Without responding, Kilara seated herself on Darris’ knees…then slid upwards into his lap, her practically bare back leaning against him.

    “I missed you,” she finally said.

    “You shouldn’t depend on me too much, you know…” Darris said sternly. “Besides, I know you’re able to take care of yourself. That’s what you were raised in, after all…”

    Kilara giggled.

    “It’s nice to have someone to miss, though…” she said. “It makes me that much happier when you come back.”

    “Almighty Ones!” a groan came from above. A tall, young man with hair of an icy shade of blue and sienna-colored eyes (assuming the right one, which was hidden by a long and lazy fringe, was indeed the same color as the exposed left iris) was leaning against a tree on its lowest bough, nearly seven feet in the air. He wore an overcoat that was black with flaming red-orange trim as well as black pants that were hardly visible under this coat, which went down to his ankles. Noticeable, however, was a silver belt buckle in the middle of his person. It seemed to depict a six-winged, humanoid being…perhaps an angel of some sort. “Get a room, already.”

    Kilara’s face fell as she stood.

    “Stop teasing Kilara,” Darris said sternly.

    “Oh, please, Darris,” the young man rolled his eyes – at least, one of them. “You might have been able to get away with the ‘big brother’ act ten years ago, but you’re both grownups now. Tell her how you really feel. You know you want to.”

    “While we’re on the subject of ‘big brother’, since when in the hell have Kilara and I been any of your business, Reiko?” Darris asked scathingly.

    “It’s Harland,” the young man groaned.

    “I can call you ‘pea-brained maggot’ – does that sound better?” Darris replied. “What do you want?”

    “I was coming to check to see if anybody’d gotten hold of your ‘little sister’ or whatever the hell she is to you nowadays,” Harland muttered, running a hand through his cold, light blue hair. “But I guess, now that you’re here, I can get an update on how things went.”

    “You’re a glass-half-full type of guy, so I’ll put it into terms you can understand,” Klein said, sounding irritated. “About two things went right out of that whole operation. One, I got out in one piece. Two, I found out just how much our target isn’t someone to be screwed with.”

    “Sounds useful,” Harland said. “Did you get the sword?”

    Darris had a three-second-long flashback that involved barely avoiding being incinerating in a crater-inducing blast of magic flames…

    “You don’t know the half of it,” the red-haired man groaned.

    “I’ll take that as a ‘no’,” Harland commented.

    “Fine,” Darris muttered. “Now, you were supposed to be off collecting information, so unless you’ve got some, I’d rather you just go away because, frankly, I really don’t like you that much.”

    “I’ve got information – don’t get your panties in a bunch,” Harland muttered. “You remember Prince Elrik?”

    “You mean, the weak twin?” Darris replied. “Thought he was dead.”

    “Apparently, he came back, one way or the other,” Harland answered. “He’s taken over Verdanturf.”

    “You’re not yanking my chain here, are you?” Darris asked incredulously.

    “Saw the whole thing,” Harland replied, shaking his head emphatically.

    “Interesting new development,” Darris muttered to himself. “Hang around there for a couple more days – see how things unravel.”

    “Sounds fun,” Harland said.

    “Don’t go into any strangers’ windows, either,” Darris said with a sick chuckle.

    “Very funny, Darris,” Harland said, jumping into the air and disappearing.

    “Tch…” Darris muttered.

    “Ten years…” Kilara suddenly said in a whisper. “It’s been ten years since you took me from that place…you rescued me…”

    “I know how it feels to be called ‘freak’…” Darris muttered. “All because of this damn birthmark on my head.”

    “…And because of my eyes…and my powers,” Kilara muttered, kneeling down next to Darris and noticing something inside his shirt. With a gasp, she said, “You’re wounded.”

    “I told you things went badly,” Darris said, grimacing.

    “I can’t make the scar go away, but…” Kilara trailed off, slipping her hand down inside Darris’ shirt and whispering a few words. Instantly, Darris felt the burning sensation that had come from the wound in his chest ebbing away. Kilara removed her hand and threw herself around Darris’ neck.

    “I love you,” she said. As she fell asleep in his arms…as he carried her back into the woods, he pondered the meaning of those words. In spite of himself, he couldn’t help but think whether or not Harland had been right. Ten years ago, when she was a small girl and he a young man that had charged himself with her happiness and protection, their relationship had been a platonic one. She had told him that she loved him back then, and perhaps it had meant something different. Perhaps it was the love of a sister toward the brother that she’d never had. Maybe it was something like a crush – an intense admiration for a young man she considered in all possible ways to be her own personal knight in shining armor.

    What did it mean now? Was it either of those two? Was it something deeper – something decidedly more dangerous?

    And did he still feel like an older brother protecting a younger sister?

    The little girl he had rescued from an orphanage in Carona ten years ago had become a beautiful, young woman with her own will and thoughts. Did he now care for her in a different way than he once had?

    After all, he wanted the swords because he wanted to prove that he was capable of attaining them. What to do once he got them…he hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. All he knew that was, with even one of those three swords…no one would dare call him or Kilara a ‘freak’ again.

    He was her one bond…because they were the same.

    As he laid her to rest in a hammock between two trees…as his lips brushed the top of her forehead, he spoke to her, unsure as well of the true meaning behind his words:

    “I love you, too.”

    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.




  9. #234
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    very nice chapter. We get a little insight on Elrick, a little on Travis and Katrina, and *le GASP* more plot holes!!!!!!


    i must say i really like how you are tying all of this together. very nicely done.


    Pokemon meets Outlaw Star (a freakin' awesome anime, if you didn't know) meets Final Fantasy XII.
    *FEINTS*

    THAT IS GOING TO BE AWESOME! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!

  10. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by EonMaster One
    Glad to see you caught up, Blue_Umbreon. Actually, you addressed a concern I knew I myself would have coming into writing this fic. Don't worry - I've got it figured out this time.
    I'm glad. ^^

    Okay, that was a nice surprise to wake up to on a Monday morning, I'm done reading now.

    It was pretty much a good chapter, no action, but I can just see more on the horizon, oh, and one question.

    Quote Originally Posted by EonMaster One
    “Almighty Ones!” a groan came from above. A tall, young man with hair of an icy shade of blue and sienna-colored eyes (assuming the right one, which was hidden by a long and lazy fringe, was indeed the same color as the exposed left iris) was leaning against a tree on its lowest bough, nearly seven feet in the air. He wore an overcoat that was black with flaming red-orange trim as well as black pants that were hardly visible under this coat, which went down to his ankles. Noticeable, however, was a silver belt buckle in the middle of his person. It seemed to depict a six-winged, humanoid being…perhaps an angel of some sort. “Get a room, already.”

    Kilara’s face fell as she stood.

    “Stop teasing Kilara,” Darris said sternly.

    “Oh, please, Darris,” the young man rolled his eyes – at least, one of them. “You might have been able to get away with the ‘big brother’ act ten years ago, but you’re both grownups now. Tell her how you really feel. You know you want to.”

    “While we’re on the subject of ‘big brother’, since when in the hell have Kilara and I been any of your business, Reiko?” Darris asked scathingly.

    “It’s Harland,” the young man groaned.

    “I can call you ‘pea-brained maggot’ – does that sound better?” Darris replied. “What do you want?”

    “I was coming to check to see if anybody’d gotten hold of your ‘little sister’ or whatever the hell she is to you nowadays,” Harland muttered, running a hand through his cold, light blue hair. “But I guess, now that you’re here, I can get an update on how things went.”

    “You’re a glass-half-full type of guy, so I’ll put it into terms you can understand,” Klein said, sounding irritated. “About two things went right out of that whole operation. One, I got out in one piece. Two, I found out just how much our target isn’t someone to be screwed with.”

    “Sounds useful,” Harland said. “Did you get the sword?”
    Who is this Klein. Unless I missed one character walking in on the scene, then I don't think Klein exists.
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    That would be Darris Klein, the guy that beat Kenjiro and Travis almost eviscerated. The dude with the crazy red hair and apparently a wierd birthmark on his head.

    Answer over. Review Begin.

    *claps* Travis has got some military mind aint he, I guess all that stuff at Jonah's Plain really helped.

    Klein's secret base of operations revealed and he seems to have two companions, it'll be nice to see how these will interact with the main group, help or hinder.

    I did notice one mistake, where you said about Paulus' son you put 'she' instead of 'he'

    I pointed out a grammar mistake, personal first I think there, and I beat Air Dragon. whoo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    That would be Darris Klein, the guy that beat Kenjiro and Travis almost eviscerated. The dude with the crazy red hair and apparently a wierd birthmark on his head.

    Answer over. Review Begin.

    *claps* Travis has got some military mind aint he, I guess all that stuff at Jonah's Plain really helped.

    Klein's secret base of operations revealed and he seems to have two companions, it'll be nice to see how these will interact with the main group, help or hinder.

    I did notice one mistake, where you said about Paulus' son you put 'she' instead of 'he'

    I pointed out a grammar mistake, personal first I think there, and I beat Air Dragon. whoo
    Thank you. I'm just stupid with last names sometimes. XD.
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    Thanks for clearing that up. That was my fault; normally I'm consistent about how I address a character (that is, if I decide to use his/her first or last name, I continue to use that name) but this time I kind of slipped up.

    Okay - here's the story.

    I already said in my last post that I'd be getting some repairs done on my computer. After an unlucky accident this morning caused further damage to my computer, the question is whether or not there has been internal damage to the point where it's just better for me to get a new computer. Luckily, my laptop has a three-year warranty, so all of this is covered under 'accidental damage'. I'm hoping that my luck holds out and I can simply get my old computer back, repaired; but if it doesn't (and I'm backing up my entire hard drive in case this happens) I'll have to go pick up another laptop in a week or two. I had someone look at it and he said that he's '80% sure' I won't need another computer.

    Either way, we're probably talking after New Years' Day...truth be told, this doesn't hurt us that much, as my normal rate for getting chapters up is about two to three a month during school. I'll be vacationing with relatives and wouldn't have even had my computer on me during at least a week and some change to begin with. Where I'm going for Christmas, I have four younger cousins that all, in their own way, like my attention when I'm there with them, and as they are sort of a surrogate family to me (my only other brother is distant, nearing forty, and has four children of his own), I like to...well, not be such a computer nerd during the times I'm with them.

    In my opinion, however, this might actually serve some good to me. I particularly like how Chapter 25 is turning out, and the longer I have to wait to finish Advent Phoenix and move on to Maverick Heart, the more ideas start to come into my brain for both. I may not always be typing something down for this fanfic, but my brain's always writing, discarding scripts, keeping scripts, and writing some more. That's probably how I can churn out chapters so quickly. It's almost always on my brain.

    (Let's all hope and pray that I can keep this laptop, too. I've got a lot of stuff on this thing that would be a pain and a half to reinstall. Plus, even if I back it up, that's a lot of stuff to organize.)

    - EM1
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 19th December 2007 at 2:40 AM.

    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. #239
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    well good luck with the laptop, Eon. i hope it all works out for you.



    and have fun with your cousins! they're all loads of fun, but take a lot of energy, neh? XD

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    Geez, go without the net for one week end and a new chappie comes out...

    Regarding the series, i have a bit of a proposal for you, but it can wait til the new year... like venastois said, have fun with your family, there the one thing God gave you no power to choose, and for a reason, so cherish all the time you've got with them!

    On to the fic... i spot no errors, and it was interesting to read the segment on Klein's (nearly called him Calvin) 'family'.

    “Alright, then…this’ll only take… five seconds,” Travis said confidently. “One…”

    By the second tick, his hilt was in Talan’s chin and the young man’s sword was in the air. By the third tick, Talan was on his back, Talan’s sword was in Travis’ hand, and Travis’ sword was in its own sheath. Screams and shouts began to erupt once the crowd had enough time to realize what had just happened.
    Katrina tried not to act shocked, but she couldn’t quite help it.

    “Oh…damn, that was six, wasn’t it?” Travis groaned, looking up at Katrina, who shook her head.

    “That was three,” she said, her eyes still trying to process what had just happened.

    “Agh!” Talan sat up, clutching his chin as he staggered to his feet, aided by Jillian, who had run over to help him. Talan stood, hands on his knees, as he breathed heavily.

    “Damn!” he groaned. “Oh, my head…what the heck was that?”

    “That’s called ‘lost-cause material’,” Travis replied, so wittily that even Talan had to laugh in spite of himself. As Travis walked over and offered the sword to Talan, he asked, “I didn’t break your chin, did I?”
    Best part of the chapter. Hands down.

    The insanity of travis's plan makes me wonder if having shiro around is agood or bad thing. i mean, when shiro was in the group, he was the dependably crazy revolution member. now that he's gone, Travis has steeped up to the crazy home plate. Guess lunacy is transmissable via videophone messages...

    Wow, i wrote a lot... better get up my chapter 22 before i get lazy again...

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    “They’ve promoted someone new to the job – a man by the name of Soebridel Ludwig,” the man said. “He’s a stronger fighter than Captain Fergus, from what I hear.”

    “What? How do you spell that?” Travis asked.

    “S-O-E-B-R-I-D-E-L,” the soldier answered.

    “But it’s pronounced… ‘SAY-bruh-DELL’, am I getting that straight?” Travis asked.

    “That’s about it,” the soldier responded.

    Travis looked over his shoulder to Katrina, an awestruck expression on his face.

    “Why are bad guys’ names always either complicated or hard to pronounce?” he muttered.
    In a world where Saber makes us lose sleep over tiny, trivial things, it's good to have an author that will spell it all out for you. This just wins.

    Anyway, this chapter has everything in it that makes me love this story. From witty banter to war plans to crater-inducing blasts of magic flame, you've managed to cram it all into one fun-filled chapter. Kudos to you. Because it's late and I'm the last to review (curse being late), I'll forego the showering of praise that others have done so well with and skip straight to the speculation.

    .: Darris is a descendant of Paulus :.

    Without quoting half the chapter, a guy who uses a fancy sword, is (more than) a match for Travis, and has a girlfriend that makes water tornadoes with a something that disappears into shiny orbs of light seems oddly familiar. Also, add a slightly obnoxious other to the mix with an emo fringe and there you go, a perfect mirror to Travis, Katrina, and Shiro/Nate... Yeah, I'm watching you, Darris.

    Say yes to mentally unbalanced protagonists, -Oath

    PS: Why does Shiro always get the best lines? The videophone conversation in the last chapter was just hilarious...
    Last edited by Oathblivion; 22nd December 2007 at 4:12 AM.

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    Hm. I certainly haven't been keeping up with your awesome chapter ownage. Very nice chapter.

    Travis now seems perpetually emo. Every chapter has a good dose of emoness to it. It's actually frightining to see how Travis went from happy and carefree to depressed within a time frame of two to three years.

    Haven't seen much of Angel lately.

    Who are these three mysterious people, and why are they ttargeting Travis?

    All in all, good work.

    ~xXPorygonXx

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    Well this was getting a bit far back in the forum.

    Then let me update it with Christmas tidings for all, Hope you all got wwhat you want and had a great time with loved ones and such.

    And happy Hannukah or any other religous holiday anyone may be celebrating around this time of year.

    And good luck for 2008, may it be prosperous and bring much goodness to all.
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    Hey, all, Happy New Year, Merry belated Christmas, all that good stuff.

    Well, my computer has been repaired and all is right with the world. Seeing as I was halfway through a chapter when I sent it out a couple of weeks ago, another one should be up before long. L8r!

    - 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.




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    Hey, all, Happy New Year, Merry belated Christmas, all that good stuff.

    Well, my computer has been repaired and all is right with the world. Seeing as I was halfway through a chapter when I sent it out a couple of weeks ago, another one should be up before long. L8r!

    - 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.




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    Hits next page
    Hits next page
    Complains over Serebii's stupid server
    Checks the next page button
    Blinks
    Wheres page 14?

    HI!!! It took me a long time to read your fics. I started off readig PRJ one day and read a bit. Then one day I got annoyed with always having to find the page, I was unaqare of the arrow that lets you pick a specific page.

    SO then I came back one day and finished it. I loved the whole fic.


    So far I like this one even more. Though I really wish you had drawings or something for the fakemon, I'm bad with making a picture from details...


    Anyways great fic. I'm a terrible reviewer so anything I say will always be a repeat. Though I really liked Travis's attitude in the last chapter. ow he's wiling to fight instead of being a tool.

    I like Nate more in this fic two. I hope we can see him again. I also hope Shiro and Madeline come in the fic two.

    Overall I love your fics.

    But
    Now I have to wait for the chapters *sobs*

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    Default Chapter 25

    A quarter-ways to a hundred…geez, I didn’t anticipate needing this many chapters to finish out the story. But let’s keep plugging along and see where we’re headed.

    Chapter 25: The Heart of Stone

    June 24, PA 2013 – Outskirts of Rustboro City

    Travis paced the rocky ground as they stood on a cliff overlooking the sleeping city of Rustboro. The moon was in its waning phase, but very much alive in the clear, midnight-blue sky. By Travis’ watch, it was near half-past-two in the morning. That gave them exactly three hours. Confidently, he had promised the delivery of Rustboro into His Majesty the Prince’s hand by the time the sun’s first rays reached the grasses of Verdanturf.

    The trip through the tunnel had been a quick one. There were no more than ten of them, including himself, and they had traveled light, having set out the previous afternoon. They had arrived at their present location before ten that night, which gave them a chance to steal a couple hours’ sleep before the operation.

    The Devon Building was in the northern half of the city, so they wouldn’t have to travel far. In fact, Travis could see the lights from its broadcasting equipment shining atop the tower – little pinpricks in the distance.

    Travis’ dark blue cloak flapped in the wind. Everyone had received these, as they had been a gift from Arsham and some of Verdanturf’s tailors. A bit selfishly, Travis made it very clear that he did not wish to use black cloaks – they brought back bad memories, after all…

    Shaking his head, he cleared these thoughts and attempted to focus his mind on the task at hand. Eight of his comrades stood atop the hill with him. Katrina had come – as long as they didn’t have to fight anyone freakishly strong (like a certain red-haired Mystic, for instance…) he felt comfortable in her ability to hold her own in a fight. Secondly, she would likely age ten years from worry if he went without her. Thirdly, if her father (president of Johto’s Ericsson International, Devon’s counterpart and chief rival) was indeed acquainted with the Stone family, her presence could be useful.

    (Naturally, it was Katrina who had reminded Travis of this.)

    Elrik’s young retainer, Rashid, was present as well, in a faded, brown cloak he had already owned. While the Emerald Knights had been based out of the Romero Mansion and Kenjiro had been traveling with Travis (who wondered for a second if he was recovering well), it had been primarily Rashid’s job to gather information in Rustboro, so he would certainly know the city well enough.

    Also accompanying them were the two young swordsman, Sheridan Hadley (introduced to Travis by Ivanna a few days back) and Kelvin Woodson (Travis made a mental note to make sure Woodson, who was known for his inexperience with a sword, had someone watching his back). Both were from Rustboro and would know their way around as well.

    The mage, Creon, had accompanied them – he seemed to be the least happy of the group, as he had gone only at his master, Hong Liu’s insistence and was a bit apprehensive about a maneuver like the one they were attempting. His wavy, jet-black hair sat on his shoulders as his single hoop earring gleamed in the moonlight. His cloak was dusty and brown as well – a gift from his wife, Agnes.

    Conversing behind Travis were two other charter members of the Emerald Knights. According to Liam Cadmus and Myrin Shaur (childhood friends and classmates at Sootopolis’ military academy), they had been with Elrik since the very beginning. Both were in their mid-twenties and dressed in the usual Emerald Knight uniforms. Each carried a short sword. Distinguishable between them was the fact that Liam was a young man with short, burgundy hair, while Myrin had hair that was short and blond. They had assisted Rashid with his scouting missions until it was decided that a consistent party of three walking the city daily was too suspicious.

    “How long do we have to wait?” a young man of about twenty groaned.

    “We’ll get our shot before long, Talan,” Rashid turned around to address him. Talan had been ninth on the list because Travis had been impressed with his toughness. Sure, Travis had held back – a lot – but Talan seemed like he had faced much worse. His only worry about Talan was the fact that his eagerness would have to be held in check. He was planning on splitting into two groups of five…he’d probably keep Talan with him.

    Rashid walked up and put his hand on the shoulder of the shorter boy. Out of everyone, Rashid had taken a liking to Travis’ plan the most. Rashid’s attitude of minimizing casualties fit right in line with what Travis was trying to do. Whether on the side of one brother or the other, all of these men and women were sons and daughters of Hoenn. The only prospect worse, therefore, than that of allowing Edgar to reign as a tyrannical king was that of leaving Elrik a ruin to repair instead of a kingdom to rule.

    “How long until she gets back?” Rashid asked Travis, who kept his eye on the horizon.

    “Not long,” Travis replied confidently.

    Darris Klein’s attack on Kenjiro had wrought a drastic change in Reivyn’s attitude. She was by no means bloodthirsty (which would have been a switch too far the other way), but she had the confidence – and, in all ways, the competence – to fight when it was necessary. She, like Kenjiro, and like Travis himself, now seemed to understand that her fate was inextricably linked to the fate of Hoenn.

    Out of the nine others that Travis had brought with him, Reivyn was the best at keeping herself hidden. He’d had Rashid in mind to scout out the Devon Building before they started, but was dissuaded by Katrina, who mentioned that Rashid’s presence in the city alone would draw too much attention. It was at that point that Reivyn, having more or less silent on the trip, offered herself in Rashid’s place.

    Travis thought about where Kenjiro was, and how he was doing. It unnerved him to realize that, had Kenjiro been here, he probably would have opted for either strategy. He was definitely crafty and intelligent enough to pull off a surgical strike like this one, but his motto seemed to be, “Blast first, ask questions later.”

    A slight hum drew Travis’ attention around his own shoulder. Both he and Rashid whirled around to see the form of a young woman blur into sight and stretch herself into a standing position. Her silvery eyes followed all of the others, who had surrounded her, until they found those of Travis, who gave her a replying look that rendered any kind of speech unnecessary.

    “Two entrances,” she panted. “The guards are mainly on the front, but the back’s locked well.”

    “Good job, Reivyn,” Travis said, walking up to the girl and placing an approving arm on her shoulder. “Kenjiro would be proud of you.”

    “Thanks,” Reivyn said, momentarily assuming a dreamy smile characteristic of a teenage girl thinking about a crush.

    “The front isn’t locked?” Katrina spoke up now. She had tied her straight, pink hair back into a ponytail so it would not get in the way too much.

    “Not ‘well’,” Reivyn replied. With guards at the front, that door must have had a simple locking mechanism while the back door was closed a bit more strongly.

    “But there’s more than one way in – that’s what’s important,” Travis muttered. Raising his voice slightly, he said, “Looks like we’ll be going with two squads, just like I said before.”

    “Uh…sorry,” a strawberry-blond young man had raised his hand. “What are the squads again?”

    “Squad A – that’s front door…” Travis said, rehearsing the list in his head. “That’s me, Katrina, Reivyn, Talan, and…you, actually.”

    “Hey – hold on a second,” Travis’ eyes found the twentysomething with wavy, black hair. “I thought I was supposed to be with Squad A.”

    “Had to make a trade,” Travis replied. “Do you know a spell that can blow a door down?”

    “We can blow the entire building if you need me to,” Creon replied. “Whatever gets this done quicker and gets me back to Verdanturf. Agnes is probably worried sick…she’s having a baby, she doesn’t need to be sick…”

    “We get it, we get it,” Travis muttered. “No, we’re not blowing up the entire building because we need the building. That’s the whole use of us doing this.”

    “Sure, we get that…” the young woman with short, blonde hair said. “But…why does it have to be this damn early?”

    “Weren’t you listening, Myrin?” Liam spoke up, sounding rather like an annoyed older brother talking to a younger sister. “It’s common sense. They’ll likely have everyone and his brother guarding the tower by six – right, Hadley?”

    “Right,” the strawberry-blond young man replied.

    “The ‘Good Morning Hoenn’ show starts at 5:30,” Travis reminded them. With a glint in his eye, he added, “I’d like to make this morning’s broadcast kind of special.”

    “Alright, so I’m going with Squad B,” Creon attempted to clear things up.

    “You’re with Squad B now,” Travis confirmed. “That’s you, Rashid, Woodson, Liam, and Myrin.”

    “Fine…” Creon muttered, rolling his eyes.

    “You know what?” Katrina raised her voice and seemed quite miffed. This didn’t surprise Travis, as he’d felt a bit of a tense vibe between the two for the entire trip, but the timing did catch him off guard just a bit. “Travis needs all ten of us for this mission, and you’re not making things any easier with this attitude problem you’ve got!”

    “What I’ve got is a wife and an unborn child that need me to be with them,” Creon said sharply. “People that I care about – my family! You’re just a little girl – you wouldn’t understand…”

    Travis and Katrina locked eyes for one split-second. The former knew that Creon had just taken the argument to another level…but didn’t have any time to react.

    “How dare you…” Katrina, her own rod forming in her hand, stepped toward Creon, gritting her teeth.

    “You’re gonna fight me now?” Creon stepped back, revealing his own magical staff. “Come on, then!!”

    Katrina reared back, preparing to utter something unfriendly. Creon twirled his rod, ready to shout an incantation of his own.

    “Hey! WHOA!!” Travis bellowed, covering the few feet of distance in an instant, holding his arms out at full length. He stood directly between Katrina and Creon, both of whose rods were glowing and both of whose deadly stares were directed at each other. There was silence again. Travis tried his best to keep his temper – he was a leader of men now (again…) and, as such, he had to retain his composure.

    He looked over one shoulder at Katrina.

    “Katrina,” he sighed, with a slight loving smile, “like you were saying – we need all ten of us for this mission. Creon’s no good to us in smithereens, so can you…not blow him up? For me? Please?”

    Katrina’s rod dissipated in her hand as she eyed Creon with a nasty smirk on her face, flipping a small bit of her pink hair out of her eyes, which had stopped glowing and gone back to their normal, baby-blue color. Travis rounded on the tall magician, the smile becoming somewhat more devilish and bloodthirsty…somewhat.

    “Creon,” he said, in a voice more stern, his own azure eyes flickering for a second. Pointing his chin toward a certain part of Creon’s body, he intoned sharply, “If I ever see you pull a weapon on Katrina again, I’ll make sure the kid inside Agnes right now is the last one you two will ever have together. Got it?”

    This threat worked even better than anticipated. Creon lowered his rod and backed down so quickly it almost looked like he’d shrunk three inches. Moreover, Travis saw as Rashid, Sheridan Hadley, Kelvin Woodson, Talan Ainge, and Liam Cadmus all winced at the same time. Satisfied that the dispute had been reasonably quelled, he lowered his hands and a smile crossed his face again.

    “Now that that’s settled,” he sighed, beginning to talk very quickly, “we’ve got about two and a half hours to make this thing work…so let’s not waste any more time. Squad B will go around the back way. Creon, when you blow the door down, it’s probably gonna make a hell of a noise. Other than that, try your best to keep quiet. It’ll work better because, once everyone starts heading toward the back, we can bust in behind them and take over the building. Any objections? No? Let’s do it.”

    The group of ten either began to run down the sides of the hill or leap from the cliff entirely, leaving just Travis and Katrina standing atop it. Travis turned around his shoulder and looked at Katrina for a second.

    “I would’ve put my money on you, obviously,” he laughed.

    “You’d better,” Katrina responded. “What’s so funny?”

    Travis shook his head.

    “Just thinking of what Shiro’s face will look like if he ever finds out we pulled this,” he said. Leaping from the cliff, he landed gracefully on the ground, turned around, looked up and shouted, “You coming?”

    Katrina’s lips turned upward into a smile.


    Two soldiers clad in jet-black armor walked into what looked like a large office of sorts, one flipping a switch as they entered. The fluorescent lights illuminated to reveal an office building complete with computers, cubicles, and those soft chairs with the wheels on them. There were also desks lining the walls and every single table seemed to be groaning under the weight of perhaps hundreds of pieces of paper.

    “Damn it…” one soldier swore as both removed their helmets. He was a black-haired youth – maybe about twenty or so… “You know what? I’m gonna file for a transfer to frickin’… Fortree or something. Being stationed in Rustboro frickin’ sucks.”

    “How?” the other soldier – a young redhead – asked.

    “Well, about a month ago, there was that whole fiasco with Old Ferg getting assassinated – still haven’t found the ******* that did it, either – and Ludwig…well, Ludwig’s a frickin’ psycho,” the soldier explained, laying his helmet on a table.

    “You better not let him hear you sayin’ that,” the red-haired soldier warned.

    “Whatever,” the black-haired soldier groaned. “I just don’t understand…why…in the (let’s just say he used a rather dirty word here) we have to get up at two in the (same word, different part of speech) morning to guard a (same word as the second time) tower that nobody’s going to be using until four (same word) hours from now.”

    “Geez…” the red-haired soldier intoned. “Ever thought of helping Captain Randell out in the Navy? With a mouth like that…”

    “Sorry…I’m just ****** off right now,” the black-haired soldier sighed. “How many of us are here?”

    “A few of us,” the redhead responded. “Apparently, they consider this tower pretty important.”

    “You’re such a newb,” the dark-haired guard commented, rolling his eyes. “Well, I sure hope to the Almighty Ones that they consider this tower important. Otherwise, we’re wasting our friggin’ time here, aren’t we?”

    At that moment, a giant of a man with black armor trimmed in silver walked in. He had a curtain of straight, dirty-blond hair and was a young-looking forty-seven or so. He patted the black-haired soldier on the shoulder (a hundred points if you can say those last four words five times fast) and, without warning, grabbed the back of his head and….

    BIFF.

    …drove the young man’s face into a nearby table swiftly and forcefully. The black-haired guardsman rose from the table, holding his nose as trickles of blood issued from between his fingers.

    “All well?” the man asked sternly. “As you were, then…”

    With that, he walked out without a further word. The black-haired man had a word to say, though, and it was an utterance of mingled agony and annoyance that consisted of exactly four letters.

    “Ouch…that didn’t look like it felt good,” the red-haired soldier said nonchalantly.

    “Friggin’…Ludwig,” the black-haired soldier groaned. “…Shid!”

    “Okay, so that might’ve been slightly unnecessary,” the redhead remarked.

    “Where dah hell iza tow…” the black-haired soldier began to meander through the cubicles, looking for something to absorb the blood flowing from his nose.

    “Well, it’s not broken…” the redhead attempted to console his comrades.

    “Nod…broged? Screw off!” the black-haired soldier shouted. “I’m…gedding…friggin’…papers…first…ding…id da bordig…”

    BOOM.

    The soldier with the nosebleed, who had found some tissues and had been crouched over them, stood bolt upright.

    “Whadda (same word) was dat soud?!” he shouted.

    “Sound?” the red-haired soldier repeated obliviously.



    Meanwhile, in the back of the building and a floor or two down, Creon, Rashid, Woodson, Liam, and Myrin looked at the smoldering ruins of a door that had just been blasted off its hinges.

    “You don’t think that was too much, do you?” Creon asked.

    “Never mind that! Go, go, GO!” Rashid whispered urgently, flapping his arms and nudging Creon into the building. He followed, trailed by Woodson, Myrin, and Liam, who lost his balance at the doorway and had to be caught by the two former.

    “Yeah…” Myrin commented. “There’s what’s left of a door there.”

    “Shut up…” Liam groaned, and the three lower-ranked soldiers followed Rashid up the stairs. They stopped (Woodson nearly tripping this time) when they heard a groaned oath echo down the stairwell.

    “What do I do, blast it?” Creon’s voice reverberated off the narrow walls. This was followed by Rashid’s whispering groan.

    “No! We already made enough noise getting in here! Go up to the next floor!”

    “All right! Almighty Ones…how I let Master Hong talk me into this…”

    Meanwhile, Liam, Myrin, and Woodson were passing a metal door with a window. Woodson had a thought for a moment, then….

    CRASH.

    He’d broken the glass window with the hilt of his sword. Rashid turned around, his eyes wide.

    “For Arceus’ sake! WOODSON!!” he groaned, his voice strained with the mental and physical effort of trying to yell and whisper at the same time. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

    “If we get everyone to come this way, that’ll make it easier for the other squad…” Woodson tried to explain.

    “If we get everyone to come this way, then we’ll have half the guys guarding this place chasing us up the stairs!” Rashid whispered through gritted teeth, his normal, calm demeanor long gone. “Just…let’s get outta here before they find us!”

    CLICK.

    “Damn!”

    “Next floor, Creon!!”



    Travis and the others slunk along the wall, the former peeking his head around and into the building. Just barely, he could see a soldier sitting on what had to be the receptionist’s desk, conversing with five or six others…

    “Tch,” he muttered. “This is some tight guard. We probably didn’t even need ten for this.”

    A soldier ran in and said something to them. All of the others sprang into action, following him out of Travis’ window of vision.

    “Let’s go,” Travis muttered. Then, with a bit more urgency, he repeated in hoarse whispers, “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!!”

    Quietly, they slunk around the corner, Katrina with her rod drawn and aimed at a button on the door. She blasted it weakly, and the first set of doors slid open. The lone soldier rubbed his eyes. Travis dropped into his battojutsu stance…

    “Stand back – it’s about to snow and you won’t be able to catch it with your tongue,” he said coolly, his hand grasping the hilt of his blade.

    “HYAH!”

    He simply drew the sword as fast as possible. Everyone jumped back as the two glass panels in the double doors crumbled like action movie shatter-glass, falling into many crystal shards on the ground. Katrina and the others stood there in astonishment as Travis sheathed his sword.

    “Well…that gives me an idea of why that sword style always works for you,” she said, blinking rather blankly.

    “That’s…actually very frightening,” Reivyn commented, looking down at the broken glass.

    “You realize that’s completely ridiculous, right?” Talan asked.

    Meanwhile, the soldier blinked twice again and approached the door…

    BOOM.

    A fireball came through what was left of the door, striking him and the stomach and knocking him up and over the receptionist’s desk as he went to the floor behind it, head first, legs back behind him and his rear end straight up in the air.

    Smirking, Travis brought his hand toward his mouth, blowing away some excess smoke.

    “If I had a buck for every time I’ve wanted to do that to a receptionist…” Katrina muttered, pointing her rod at the glass shards and drawing them into a crystal sphere formation that looked (and would probably feel upon impact) like a disco ball from hell.

    “Let’s go – I bet somebody heard all of that,” Travis muttered, making his way up the nearby stairs.



    “General, a lot of us have been hearing strange noises tonight and…” the black-haired soldier shook as he stood before Soebridel Ludwig, the new captain of their unit. The blond-haired man shook his head and laughed heartily.

    “A bump on the head’ll do that for ya,” Ludwig answered with a chuckle. Several other soldiers around Ludwig laughed as well. “Maybe another one’ll take it away, eh?”

    “N-no, that’s alright,” the black-haired soldier muttered, looking at his shoes.

    “I’m going up a couple of floors. Do try not to break anything,” Ludwig said, striding off. Once he was well out of sight, the black-haired soldier began to clutch his nose again.

    “Ohh…” he groaned. “Damn, damn, damn, damn, DA—huh?”

    They began hearing footsteps. By the time anyone could react, there were five people entering the room.

    “Hold on!” the young soldier shouted, drawing his sword.

    “Who the hell are you?” another yelled gruffly. Sounds of unsheathing steel multi-tapped across the room.

    Travis stood calmly, flanked by Hadley and Talan. Katrina and Reivyn were slightly behind them.

    “This is the part where you drop your weapons,” Travis said. “We really don’t want to hurt you.”

    “That’s very funny, kid,” Travis saw an advancing soldier out of the corner of his eye, walking just past one of those water coolers. “I think your little adventures have officially gone one step too…”

    He didn’t get a chance to finish his statement – a bolt of lightning hit him in the chest, knocking him back into the water cooler, which burst and cascaded gallons of water all over his face and body, only serving to make the lightning wound worse.

    “You don’t cut someone off when they’re issuing an ultimatum,” Katrina said, lowering her rod. Travis looked over his shoulder and smirked, then turned his attention back to the soldiers in front of him.

    “Drop…” Travis said, emphasizing each word clearly. “your…weapons.”

    “Or what?” the black-haired soldier asked.

    “Or we’ll make you,” Travis answered simply.

    “Right,” the black-haired infantryman growled, his patience at an end. “Stand down…now. I’m going to count to five.”

    “I’m gonna count to three,” Travis replied.

    “Didn’t that come from a movie or something?” Katrina muttered to herself.

    “One…” Travis muttered.

    “Two…” the soldier counted airily.

    Then, several things happened in quick succession.

    A silver flash came whizzing in from the corner of Travis’ left eye.

    Reivyn reached over Travis shoulder with her own knife (barely missing his face by inches) and knocked it down, putting Travis’ nose in the ground at the same time.

    Katrina whirled around and blasted the soldier to the left through a wall with a blast of thunder.

    The room shook.

    The lights flickered.

    Talan charged, leaping over the desk and taking down the black-haired soldier with the nosebleed.

    Travis rolled to his feet, pointing two of his fingers at a nearby soldier on the right.

    A blast like a cannon went off, and this unfortunate guard found himself imprinted in another nearby wall.

    Talan rose from the ground. He’d succeeded in knocking his target out with his tackle, but he’d missed the man’s neck with his sword through all the chaos, leaving the blade sticking into the ground precariously close to this guardsman’s head. He yanked it out and stood upright. Travis stood as well to reflect on the damage they’d caused. Somebody had shot out a light entirely, there was one man-shaped dent in each wall, the cubicle nearest Talan had come down like the walls of Jericho, not to mention the busted water cooler and the thousands of sheets of paper that now littered the ground.

    “Geez,” Travis groaned, surveying the spectacle. “And that, people, is what it looks like when ‘all hell breaks loose’.”

    “Pretty much,” Katrina stepped over the body of an unconscious soldier and followed him. “I sure don’t envy the janitor of this place, that’s for sure.”

    “Speaking of the janitor, what time is it?” Travis said. He looked up at a nearby clock (which, miraculously, hung unscathed on the wall, still ticking away the time through all the carnage). “Four on the dot. All right – let’s roll!”


    Meanwhile, Squad ‘B’ found themselves in a bit of trouble. Just as Rashid had predicted, they were now being followed up the tight stairwell by armed soldiers looking for a bit of blood.

    “Damn!” Rashid swore as he twisted his body, checking a soldier that had gotten to the middle of the pack and tried to grab him into the concrete wall, knocking him out. Liam and Woodson got around the landing while Myrin remained behind.

    “Myrin, come on!” Liam groaned.

    Myrin raised a foot to a soldier’s chest and then pushed, causing the poor fellow to lose his balance and fall backward into several other soldiers, who all lost an entire floor on their quarry as they tumbled down the stairwell like a well-planned domino setup. She whirled around and began to make her way up the stairs, two at a time.

    “Oh, man!!” Woodson shouted. “We’re about to catch hell!”

    “Not if you shut up and keep running!” Myrin, having caught up, yelled in response.

    BOOM.

    The stairwell lit as the nearest door was blown off its hinges. Creon, finally having lost his patience, stepped into the doorway of a rather clear room.

    “What’s this, a spare floor or something…?” he muttered, stepping over the door and into a huge room completely devoid of office equipment…or anything, for that matter. Rashid and the others came in behind him.

    “This room leads to the office of one Mr. Alexander Stone, actually,” a man’s voice filled the room and Rashid’s eyes narrowed. Coming down a nearby set of stairs was a tall man in black armor. His dirty-blonde hair hung in a curtain, but flared much more than Rashid’s sleek, black hair did. He was carrying a naked broadsword about three feet in length and four inches or so in width, holding it in his gauntleted hands. Getting a look at the dark-skinned young man, the older man’s lips upturned into a sick smile. “Ah…Rashid al-Zevi…is that you? You’ve grown.”

    “Soebridel Ludwig…” Rashid’s manner seemed entirely different. It was obvious by his voice and facial expressions that Rashid had found the one person on earth that he genuinely loathed for his very existence. “You’ve gotten much uglier. What a sad state this country’s in…that our so-called ‘king’ would permit men like you to lead Hoenn’s knights…”

    “Time and tide, boy,” Ludwig shrugged his shoulders, walking toward the center of the empty room. “Tell me…how is dear Fala these days?”

    “Resting peacefully…” Rashid said, his fists clenching. “…where you can never hurt her again.”

    “That’s slightly disappointing. My condolences,” Ludwig replied silkily. “I would have liked to see her one last time.”

    Rashid tilted his head.

    “In case you haven’t noticed…” he commented. “You’re not really in the best position to be taunting anyone. You’re outnumbered five to one.”

    “Am I, now?” Ludwig questioned. Soon after, Rashid and the others heard footsteps. Whirling around, they found no less than a dozen soldiers streaming through the door they had just broken down.

    “There’s nowhere to run now, Rashid,” Ludwig said.

    “Thank you for stating the obvious,” Rashid replied scathingly.

    “I’d heard rumors about you and your father joining a rebel faction, and now here you are in the flesh,” Ludwig said. “But I can’t imagine you were the leader of this little operation…nope, don’t quite have the balls for that…”

    As if on cue, a black-armored soldier came tumbling out of the door to the main staircase. He hit the wall in a heap and slumped against it, knocked out, as footsteps began to fill the room. First out of the door was a teenage boy with a lowered, dark-blue hood, holding a katana in his right hand. Four others followed him.

    “I guess you’re looking for me, then,” Travis said calmly, resting the blunt end of his katana against his shoulder.

    “Hold on a second…” Soebridel Ludwig’s eyes scanned Travis’ face. “You look familiar…they said a kid that looks just like you was there when Fergus died a month ago.”

    Travis didn’t respond.

    “Never mind that…” Ludwig shook his head. “Why the tower?”

    “Why the tower?” Travis repeated. “You control the airwaves, and the airwaves control the people. Therefore, you control the people. But if we take the airwaves back…”

    “Cold, hard steel controls the people,” Ludwig cut him off. “Make no mistake about that.”

    “And that’s where dictatorships run into a problem,” Travis remarked. “When ‘cold, hard steel’ controls the people, one of two things happens. You get a whole bunch of robots that won’t think for themselves, or…”

    He blurred out of sight. Instantly, Ludwig felt both of his knees buckle. In the next instant, a sword was held dangerously around his neck.

    “Or…” Travis whispered into his ear, cocking his head slightly as he held the blade up to Ludwig’s throat, “Everybody ends up dead.”

    “G-g-guards!!” Ludwig started to shout.

    “That’s a bad idea,” Travis said coolly. “It’s not usually my style to take a hostage, but if you push me, all bets are off.”

    “Travis, there’s no time for this – Rustboro’s waking up soon…” Katrina pleaded, not wanting to see Travis take a life at this point.

    “Who…are you?” Ludwig asked.

    “Do you really want to know the answer to that question?” Travis asked.

    Ludwig uttered a sort of groan.

    “I’m your king’s worst nightmare,” Travis growled into Ludwig’s ear, holding the sword close to his neck as well. “You see…your dear so-called ‘Emperor’ doesn’t know how to use his sword yet…”

    Ludwig felt intense heat on his neck and face as the sword erupted into crackling, white flames.

    “Too bad for you…” Travis continued. “I know how to use mine very well. And I don’t think the Sacred Flame likes you very much. Do you know why? It knows what type of man you are. It knows how you would try to take advantage of an innocent woman while her young son looked on, powerless to do anything…ever since I heard that story, I’ve looked forward to this moment…when I could get justice for the entire Zevi clan and for that woman…”

    Ludwig began to shudder in fear. Katrina looked across the room at Rashid, who stared blankly at the scene before him.

    “You mean, he…your mother…?” she gasped in shock. Solemnly, Rashid nodded.

    “But, I’m feeling merciful,” Travis said. “Plus, I’m in a hurry. So if you do exactly what I say, you won’t die. Leave this building. Leave Rustboro. And I never want to see your face again. Get it?”

    Travis lowered his sword from Ludwig’s throat as the latter choked and coughed.

    “Top floor, everyone,” Travis said, beckoning to the others to follow him. Katrina and the others from his squad did so readily (as most of them weren’t about to tell him ‘no’ at that point). Rashid’s squad froze. Ludwig stood.

    His eyes glinted.

    His sword slowly rose…

    “I will…not be humiliated!!” he roared. Something about this comment made Rashid snap. With a bellow of rage, he caught up with the roaring Ludwig and grabbed him, riding his larger counterpart sideways toward the glass wall…

    CRASH.

    The glass shattered, and both fell through. Katrina let out a scream. Travis’ heart sank. The other four members of Rashid’s squad took this opportunity to traverse the room into slightly more friendly territory. Travis, already halfway up the stairs at this point, jumped back down them and threw his head out of the window, afraid of what he might find below…

    Less than five feet below him, on a lower roof of the building, Rashid and Ludwig were rising to their feet. Rashid had drawn his twin blades.

    “You have no idea what ‘humiliation’ means!” Rashid shouted, pointing one of these swords at Ludwig. Blood dripped from several cuts on his face and rendered his normally-gentle visage slightly frightening.

    “Don’t make me out to be a devil!” Ludwig snarled. “Fala was unhappy. She needed a better man than your father to comfort her…”

    “You make me sick!” Rashid spat. “My father said he’d kill you if he ever saw your face again…but since he’s not here…”

    Rashid charged.

    “I’LL DO IT MYSELF!!” he screamed. Ludwig settled himself and prepared for Rashid’s strike. He jumped back as Rashid swung the sword in his left hand…

    And then his right hand…

    Then his left…

    Then his right…

    On the fifth swing, Soebridel found himself backing into the side of the building. Rashid roared and raised both swords. Ludwig ducked out of the way, causing Rashid to hit brick and carve a clear “X” into the side of the building, right where Ludwig’s head had been moments before. Rashid hissed and pulled his blades from the brick, pulling some brick along with him.

    “Let me make this perfectly clear, boy,” Ludwig said harshly. “I did not force Fala to do anything against her will.”

    “Be that as it may, Ludwig,” Rashid said, lowering one sword and pointing the other at the Imperial general, “You took advantage of her emotional state. You told her my father was dead when you knew full well he was returning. You let her think that, if she married you, you could assure that I was taken care of. And she nearly went through with it. Then my father came back and exposed your sick plot. That’s when you were kicked out of the Royal Cavalry. But my mother…she never forgave herself for giving your words any place. Even though my father forgave her, she took that guilt to her grave.”

    “How sad…” Ludwig muttered sarcastically, shrugging his shoulders. “I’m sure you’d like to go back and tell your mother how much of a fool she was. I’m sure you’d like to change things. Too bad…you’re powerless against the past, and – by the Almighty Ones – you’re powerless to change the coming future.”

    “That’s where you’re wrong,” Rashid said. “Your Empire doesn’t know what it’s getting itself into. Edgar might have quantity…but it’s our side that has the quality.”

    “You think you can win the game with less pieces on the board – is that it?” Ludwig questioned curiously. Rashid responded with a firm scowl as Ludwig backed toward the edge of this outdoor landing, looking over his shoulder at a gap that seemed to be narrow enough for a normal human to cross with a good jump. He looked back at Rashid and smirked. “ ‘Your Imperial Majesty, please forgive me. We were caught off guard, and the rebel fools managed to take one of Rustboro City’s myriad of buildings. We’ll have it back before long, sir. This I promise you.’ That’s right. I’ll let you have your lives – and this building, for that matter. We’ll see how much it serves your cause when we control this entire nation.”

    “You just made a critical mistake,” Travis said loudly from above, looking straight into Ludwig’s eyes. “We’ll see who has control after this.”

    “Fine…we’ll play your game for a little while,” Ludwig said. With a loud grunt, he leapt the small gap over to another building, rolling to one knee and looking up at Rashid, who continued to eye Ludwig with unwonted venom.

    “Killing you wasn’t my reason for coming here…” Rashid said. “Learn to enjoy breathing…because your days are numbered.”

    “You talk too much…” Ludwig growled, leaving Rashid with one nasty smirk as he turned his back on the young man and made for a nearby door that had to lead to a descending staircase.

    Travis breathed a sigh of relief. With Ludwig gone (at least for now), they could finally focus on business again. He turned around and, to his great shock and horror, saw one of the Imperial infantrymen draw his short sword, place his hands at the very end of its hilt, then flip the blade around, toward his own torso…

    “Wait!” Travis shouted, approaching the soldier at a bit of a panic. “What are you doing?”

    “We are no longer worthy to breathe the air of His Majesty’s Empire, having shamed him like this…” the soldier replied hopelessly. “Allow me to die with my last shred of dignity…”

    “Do you really want to do that?” Travis asked. The soldier looked at him.

    “There is no choice,” the soldier said. A few of the others drew their swords and assumed the same position.

    “There’s always a choice,” Travis said. “If you don’t feel your lives are worth anything fighting for Edgar…”

    He scanned the small regiment, his azure eyes gazing at each soldier intently.

    “…maybe you should fight for someone else.”

    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.




  23. #248
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    May 2005
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    ~~~ *** ~~~
    The alarm clock went off…four o’clock on the dot as usual. As tired as his body was, he was driven by instinct to sit bolt upright in his rather large bed at the first sounds of the alarm. If he waited for the second or the third…or (heaven forbid) the fourth ring, he would lose precious seconds – seconds that could spell the difference between him being on time and him being behind schedule for everything that was to happen that day. Those seconds were difficult to make up with a schedule as full as his…and those seconds added up to become minutes.

    Many minutes.
    TICK.

    Minutes, which, once lost…
    TOCK.

    …could never be recovered…
    TICK.

    ...Minutes that could have…
    TOCK.

    …should have…
    TICK.

    …been put to good use.
    TOCK.

    How frustrating…the more he stopped to think about time, the less he found he had…and the more he found he was losing, second by second, thinking about it.

    He rolled to the right side of his bed and planted his feet on the ground. His eyes blinked twice, then opened. Clad in boxers and a dark green bathrobe, he shuffled to the bathroom.


    As he sleepily found the right combination of button presses and knob turns that would come together and give him a hot shower, his mind began to wander.

    A lot of people said that, at his age, he should have been in the process of looking for a wife by now.

    …Well, no, they didn’t exactly say that – but they did throw out hints that were rather hard to ignore.

    “Don’t you want someone to share your life with?”

    “Have you ever thought about starting a family?”

    “If I was twenty-three, reasonably good-looking, and had money out the yin-yang, I’d be putting myself on the market, you know?”

    He sat under the shower, his wet hair a curtain against his face. They were all right, in a way. There was just one problem.

    He, of course, could not in good conscience marry a woman that he wasn’t sure that he loved – and that he wasn’t sure loved him.

    Not someone in his position. No, a marriage of convenience wouldn’t work.

    At the rate the country was going, he would have to start a family at some point or risk his sizable assets being seized by the Empire should he befall some unfortunate accident. Obviously, twenty-three was essentially the spring of life in Hoenn. The average life expectancy for a Hoennite man was about seventy years. Many lived beyond that depending on where they were in the country. With all the bad Rustboro air he had been inhaling for the past eight years or so (he had come to Rustboro to apprentice under his grandfather at the tender age of fifteen), the best he could likely hope for unless he relocated was sixty-five…maybe.

    But, you see…death waits for no one – not even kings.

    King Elvanan had the best doctors available to him in the city of Sootopolis, and still only managed slightly over sixty years of life.

    How he had liked Elvanan so much better…if the dear old king had lived out his life expectancy, he would still be alive right now with several years left in the tank, and Hoenn wouldn’t be in this mess.

    But Death comes and takes as it chooses, so he couldn’t blame it.

    His best hope, perhaps, was to pray that Death took the current king soon. Very soon.

    ….But what were the chances of that?

    Edgar was his age, if not slightly younger. And the rule of history dictated that evil dictators like Edgar were the ones that seemed to elude Death the longest, unless someone else killed them.

    Which brought him back to his concern of marriage.

    Being as famous as he was – essentially a celebrity – he couldn’t even look at a young woman (even a stranger) twice without ending up in someone’s tabloid. In the course of his life, he’d had only one thing he could mistake for a relationship with a girl, and it had been nearly ten years since the two had seen each other.

    The two were a bit of an odd match, yet the friendship stood. It was definitely one of the strangest pairings ever seen among teenagers in Hoenn.

    He was thirteen then, a bookish type slightly on the scrawnier side. He wouldn’t win any fist fights, but was undefeated in battles of the mind. As he was now, he was then, if slightly to a lesser degree – organized and levelheaded.

    She was fourteen going on fifteen, small, but a bit of a tomboy. She was intelligent (they had attended the same private school together) but tended to swing first and ask questions later. Whereas he was organized, levelheaded, and (according to her) slightly predictable, she was spontaneous, fiery, and full of life…although she couldn’t seem to keep her own together from trying to do so much. That was where he came in.

    As he looked back on it, he remembered that neither had tried to force the entirety of their personality on the other. That was what made it work. Each introduced the other to their world just a little bit. He got the chance to crack a joke or be sort of goofy around her, while she could carry on an intelligent conversation with him.

    He smiled. Nearly six months after they met – it had been Valentine’s Day, in fact – she was the one that gave him his first kiss. As he didn’t know what he was doing and was completely unwilling to do anything for fear of messing up the moment, he just kept his mouth shut (figuratively speaking) and didn’t complain.

    Things change, though, and people grow apart.

    She became friends with another boy, and both became interested in joining Hoenn’s Army. Her younger sweetheart, however, turned fifteen, and with that came an apprenticeship under his grandfather as well as a rather ill-timed relocation from Sootopolis to Rustboro. There was no formal breakup, no long goodbye; just a sudden and painful ripping apart that left both with the need to move on with their lives. He was heartbroken, and began putting more time and energy into his infant business ventures. He actually became quite good at his craft after a while, but he never bothered again to seek out any type of steady relationship. There was one thing that brief spell of happiness in Sootopolis had told him…

    Love was something that defied all plans and organization.

    He would have to fall in love when he had some spare time – right now, he had none.

    Until then, he would simply have to stay away from the temptation.

    His boxers now covering him, he looked at himself in the slightly-clouded mirror. Looking back at him was a young man with slate-colored hair that was short in the back with rather prominent bangs in front. His hazel eyes stared back at him from under this hair. As for his frame, he was no bodybuilder by any stretch. Rather, his arms and chest had a skinny, but lightly muscled look – a bit like an overgrown, gangling, awkward teenager. He shook his head.

    Why was it today that he woke up thinking about a fling he had with a girl a full decade ago?

    He looked down at a clock (one of many) situated atop his marble sink.

    4:25 A.M.

    “Shit!!” he groaned in shocked panic, whirling around and making for the bathroom door. He normally got to his job at quarter after five…which usually necessitated his exiting the bathroom by quarter after four.



    Twenty hurried minutes, a double shot of espresso, and a piece of buttered toast later, the young businessman was coming down Rustboro’s main street at a slight clip, wearing a black, three-piece suit and a cardinal red tie as well as dark sunglasses. His dress shoes he had managed to shove into his rather sizable briefcase, choosing instead to wear a pair of black sneakers for the trip in order to make his walk slightly speedier and much more comfortable. Honestly, one of the reasons he liked to be on time was that he found that this whole bit of running to work in a complete and utter rush made him look rather like a fool, and were he on time, he could spare himself that bit of trouble as most of Rustboro did not awaken until one of his newsanchors in HDMB woke it.

    And that would be in slightly under forty minutes and counting.

    He wondered what had happened in the world while he was sleeping…or better yet, what had he missed while he was in the shower that morning reminiscing about his old flame? Normally, he didn’t know what had happened over night until he heard it on his own news broadcast.

    …That’s because he didn’t trust any other station. They were all trying to attract more viewers by inserting tiny tidbits of baseless rumors, yellow journalism, and – his personal favorite – “inane tabloid B.S.” into their broadcasts. Those were the three things in which the media branch of his company took pride for lacking. So far, the strategy had worked. Part of him wondered, though, whether one day what he was doing in that field (a relatively new venture picked up soon after King Elvanan’s death a year ago) would make a difference. He knew, with the media, he had the potential to be a power in Hoenn equal to even Edgar’s Imperial edicts.

    Unfortunately for him, the budding Empire knew that too…so they posted guards around his building to make sure no one was saying anything out of line. That was the biggest pain about his job.

    Speaking of which…

    He approached the building and immediately noticed several things wrong. A receptionist was sitting at the desk as always, but he also saw that the slot for the card key had been damaged – likely by some sort of explosion, judging by the scorch marks immediately surrounding it on the wall. To his even greater horror, he saw that the glass in the second door was completely gone.

    Swiftly, he opened both doors and walked right up to the receptionist’s desk.

    “Good morning, Mr. Stone,” a young woman with her black hair in a neat ponytail said with that almost automatic inflection that nearly everyone thinks of when they think of female receptionists.

    “Apparently it wasn’t such a good morning,” Alexander Stone grunted. “Did someone break in here?”

    “Yes, sir,” the receptionist answered with a nod and a smile.

    “What about all those Imperial soldiers that love to guard my building so much?” Alex asked. “What the hell happened to them?”

    “There are still a few, but most have left,” the woman replied. “There was a scuffle here in the wee hours of the morning…and, apparently, the Imperials lost.”

    Torn between jumping for joy and screaming in horror, Alex Stone was left staring at his own receptionist with a look so vacant, he looked like a Psyduck that someone had attempted to teach quantum physics.

    He shook his head.

    “So, who’s on repairing all the stuff that’s damaged?” Alex asked.

    “We’re doing the best we can,” the receptionist said.

    Alex buried his eyes in his right hand, heaving a sigh.

    “You’re making me grow gray hair here,” he muttered.

    “Mr. Stone, sir…” the receptionist remarked observantly. “…your hair’s already gray.”

    Alex grimaced.

    “Good point,” he said. “I’m going to go upstairs and see if anyone knows any more about this mess than you do. Just…carry on. If they can’t show you employee or authority ID, don’t let ‘em in. Understand? Even if he looks like Steven…well…especially if he looks like Steven. If he left his ID back in Evergrande, he’ll just have to fly back and get it.”

    “Yes, sir,” the young woman nodded as Alex snatched his briefcase from the ground and hurried upstairs.



    Fifteen minutes and several floors later, Alex arrived at the empty floor leading up to his office, utterly beside himself.

    “Damn it!” he snarled in frustration. “It takes months to file all of that paperwork, and just hours to cover an entire floor of an office building. That’s about fifty thousand man-hours, all shot to hell! Huh? What the…”

    Entering the room, he had noticed that it was a bit darker than usual. Then he figured out why – several loosely hanging tarps were flapping in the wind covering the huge wall of windows…minus the windows.

    “Oh, my God…” Alex groaned. He seemed to be in a daze all of a sudden. In this state, he found the last set of ascending stairs and began to walk them sideways, one by one, his eyes fixed on the gaping hole in his wall. “Holy shit…Steven is gonna kill me…”

    Shaking his head again, almost as if trying to wake himself up from a bad dream, he continued up the stairs.

    He found himself in a hallway with white walls and floors with a checker-pattern black and white tile. Most of the left wall was completely made of glass. He half expected this wall to be busted out as well, but to his surprise, it had been left completely intact. He heard very little activity here. Usually, this floor was buzzing at this time of day, what with the news broadcast getting ready to start at 5:30, but there didn’t seem to be much motion at all. He walked straight past the door to the newsroom. It was closed. Had they started already? Was he that late?

    Peering all the way down the hall, he noticed that his office at least looked intact from the outside. As he drew closer, he noticed that the door was clearly open. His heart sunk like…well, a stone. He wondered what exactly awaited him inside. With a slight gulp, he stepped across the threshold.

    “Alex Stone,” a boy’s voice greeted him from the far side of the room. Alex peered down in that direction and saw his large desk and the Devon Corporation logo (a large, red, capital D sitting atop what looked to be a gold mountain peak) superimposed on the wall. Alex’s chair was facing the wall and slowly turning around.

    Sitting in Alex’s chair was a boy that had to be in his mid-teens or so, with slightly hard hair at the front of his head and the rest of his hair apparently tied back into some sort of ponytail that Alex couldn’t quite make out. His azure eyes were so intense that it felt like you could catch fire just by staring into them long enough.

    “Who are you?” Alex asked. “What are you doing here?”

    “I hear your news broadcast prides itself on facts – all facts and nothing else. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you?” the boy asked with a bit of a witty quality to his voice.

    “That’s right,” Alex said, nodding.

    “Well, I’ve got some facts for you,” the boy said, standing up and making his way around the table. “So I guess the only question is…will you have the guts to pass them to everyone else?”

    “Let me get this straight,” Alex replied, his temper rising. “You’re the one that staged the break-in?”

    The boy nodded.

    “Guilty,” he said.

    “Just to give me some information?” Alex asked, sounding quite incredulous.

    “Still batting a thousand,” the boy answered.

    Alex eyed the boy with intrigue.

    “You could’ve called, kid,” he said.

    “Trust me when I say that…probably wouldn’t have worked,” the boy replied.

    “What kind of information is this, anyway?” Alex questioned.

    “Nothing world-changing,” the boy replied. “It’ll expose a couple of liars…might just liberate Hoenn from Imperial control…wait – I guess that is ‘world-changing’, then, isn’t it?”

    “What? What is it?” Alex asked desperately.

    “You didn’t answer my question,” the teenage boy declared, staring at Alex with those intense, blue eyes of his. “If I tell you, will you pass on the message?”

    “I will if it’s true,” Alex finally answered, albeit a bit haltingly.

    “I didn’t come all the way here from Verdanturf, get up before three this morning, fight off a couple dozen Imperials, and wait up here for nearly an hour to lie to you,” the boy groaned, shaking his head. “That’s not worth the effort at all.”


    Verdanturf Town, Arsham’s Estate

    Prince Elrik took his usual spot on the balcony, watching the sun come up over Hoenn.

    Ever since they had left two days ago, he had heard nothing back from them, good or bad. He wondered how the mission went…

    He wondered if they were even alive. He’d never forgive himself if he found that ten of his best were lost on such a foolhardy mission. Then again, by the time he began to have second thoughts, the unit was already gone. Granted, it takes a while to reach Rustboro from here, but…

    Travis had seemed so confident. Elrik wished that he could be that confident. If he was that confident…if he had been a little bit more like his brother in that department…none of this would have been necessary.

    Elrik blinked twice and shook his head. He had to stop living in the past. The fact was, this was where he stood now. There was no use dwelling on what he did or failed to do back then, because there was nothing he could do to undo those things that had happened.

    …That was what his father would have said to him, if he were here.

    He had to move forward.

    The balcony door burst open. Elrik turned around and jumped.

    “Elrik!!” Ivanna came forth from the doorway and, before Elrik could even fix his mouth to say ‘good morning’ to her, she had fallen upon him. Feeling her blonde curls tickle his face, and her warm breath waft past his ear, he put his arms around her.

    “Ivanna, what’s going on?” he asked – as she broke apart from him just far enough to grab hold of his arm and started to yank him inside.

    “No time,” Ivanna panted. “Hurry!”



    “Good morning, Hoenn! I’m Leslie Chevelle, here with Jon Mike Morton to bring you today’s news!” a female voice came through the radio amidst the crackling and hissing of static. Leaning in toward the table in the war room, Prince Elrik, Ivanna, Arsham, Roald, Master Hong, and Agnes listened intently. “…or that would normally be what I would say to all of you this morning. Today, however, something has happened – something so significant and perhaps historic that Jon and I sit here unworthy – or at least unable – to fully describe it to you.”

    “Therefore,” the man’s voice came in over the radio next, “here we have DevonMedia’s architect – the founding father of HDMB and the President of the Devon Corporation…Mr. Alexander Stone. Mr. Stone?”

    There was a slight pause.

    “For future reference, Leslie, I’m about thirty good years away from being a ‘founding father’ of anything.” Alex’s voice came clear as a bell over the airwaves, which now seemed to have less and less static. It seemed as if even this old radio (which looked like it might have been around when radios were first invented) had a mind to know the importance of what the young man on the other side was about to say.

    “Good morning, Hoenn. I am Alexander Stone.”

    “I will start off by telling you what you know already. In February of last year, Hoenn mourned the loss of a great leader – His Honored Majesty King Elvanan. The good king had twin sons, both able to rightfully accede to the throne: His Imperial Majesty, Edgar, and Prince Elrik of Hoenn. His Honored Majesty had not made a declaration – public or otherwise – about his choice for successor until he died.

    We all know this.

    “There is a very good reason, perhaps, for why His Honored Majesty failed to choose a successor. King Elvanan was not only just, but a very sensible man that would have rather seen the people choose their king from the two than to be so arrogant as to make the decision himself with no regard for the people. He wanted us to have the choice.”


    “Maybe that’s it…” Elrik muttered blankly.

    “What’s it?” Ivanna asked.

    “That’s why Father didn’t choose the next king…” Elrik muttered. “…I never thought of that at all…”

    “However, last year, after the good king passed on, we were deceived; we were told that we had no choice.

    The story given to us was that Elrik – the more peaceful and gentle of the two to anyone that met him – drew his sword against his brother. The endings vary. There are some of you that believe the crown’s account – that the Prince died in dishonor at the hand of his brother. There are some unwilling to think that King Edgar would do such a thing – thus you believe that the Prince is living out his life in another country as a result of the King’s mercy. There are more yet that say that Prince Elrik fled the country on his own and like a coward. This new ‘Empire’ does not want you to know this, but as we pride ourselves on giving the nation facts, we could not in good conscience know this information and withhold it from the people. Hoenn, I want you to listen to me, and I want you to listen to me clearly.”


    There was a long, pregnant pause.

    The room went quiet.

    Many rooms in Verdanturf went quiet.

    In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the majority of Hoenn itself went quiet.

    Elrik waited, wondering if his brother was somewhere in his castle in Sootopolis, waiting for the blow to fall, powerless to do anything to stop it before it did…

    “None of these accounts are correct. His Majesty, Prince Elrik of Hoenn, is alive. I have seen his fighters for myself. Among them are well-known commanders of our army that went missing soon after King Elvanan’s death. They are fighting not just for Prince Elrik, but for all of you.

    Prince Elrik still wants – as he had always wanted – to be more than a ruler. He wishes to be a leader, in the vein of his own father, that maintains the peace and freedom this nation had under the guiding hand of King Elvanan.

    So I have these final things to say. To the people of Hoenn – I am fully aware of the consequences of what I am saying to you here today, both personally and nationally. For those who wish to blame me for perhaps plunging this nation into war, I will take your slanders and vicious abuse. Any self-respecting citizen of Hoenn knows that the peace we have had up to this point was built on the blood of those first men and women that lived and died to lay the groundwork for our kingdom. To the soldiers assembling on both sides – there is a cause to fight for. There is a motivation that is greater than the fear of loss and the fear of punishment. There is patriotism…love for this country – your country. And if you truly love this country, your hearts will tell you what you need to do so much better than the voice of a stranger over the radio.

    …And to His Majesty the King himself, or anyone that works for him, I issue this statement. Become a leader worthy of following, or I, for one, will not follow you.

    I am Alexander Stone, and that’s the way it is here on June 24, 2013. May the Almighty Ones be with us all. Thank you.”


    Alex nodded once toward the camera in front of him and strode off to his right as the two usual anchors once again took their seats and began to expound on what Alex had said.

    “Has anyone ever told you that you really have a way with words?” Upon hearing the voice of a young woman – a voice that sounded slightly familiar – he looked up. Emerging from the shadowed part of the room was a young blonde of about twenty-four or twenty-five. She had bright, fiery eyes the color of tropical waters, and short, neat, straight eyelashes. Alex’s mouth nearly dropped in surprise. Sure, she looked a few years older and her hair was substantially shorter, but there was no mistaking that face.

    “It’s you,” Alex stammered in shock. “You’re here – I mean, what are you doing here?”

    “After the compliment I just gave you, that’s how you say hello?” the woman asked. Shaking her head and scoffing a bit, she said, “Sad.”

    “You have any better suggestions?” Alex spat. “God, do you know how awkward this is? Where’s William?”

    “What’s that to you?” the woman replied with her own question. “I just thought I’d say ‘hi’ to you, seeing as we haven’t seen each other for ten years, but if you’re too busy, I guess I’ll go. Have a nice day, Alex.”

    She whirled around and strode out of the room.

    “Wait!” Alex blurted out – but she was already gone. He swore through his teeth as an expression of frustration crossed his face. He hadn’t even gotten over the shock of seeing her, and she had to go and storm out like that. Well, at least she had the decency to wait until he was done with his address before she approached him…

    But he had meant what he asked. What was she doing here? She was dressed in armor and obviously wasn’t fighting on behalf of Edgar. The Imperial Army was chauvinistic at the best of times. But that would have to mean…she was working for Prince Elrik.

    “Mr. Stone, sir,” another voice got Alex’s attention. He looked down to see in front of him, a head shorter than he, wearing a suit, and carrying a clipboard, a very young man – or, at least, a very mature-looking boy. This was probably one of Devon Corporation’s many summer interns. Why would someone send a young intern up to see him? “We need you to look at these repair estimates…sir.”

    He held out the clipboard.

    “Repair estimates? At least you guys respond fast,” Alex muttered, poring over the papers. It didn’t seem to matter which one of these companies he chose. Devon Corporation was going to be out a lot of money. “Oh, brother…tell ‘em I’ll be right down.”



    As the two anchors’ conversation shifted rather reluctantly to more local and less pivotal topics, Elrik and the others sat in silence before the radio. The only sound in the room was Elrik’s sigh and the crackling static over the airwaves – noises that were finally interrupted by a simple, yet poignant comment from Arsham.

    “Well,” she said, “secret’s out.”

    “By the end of the day, all of Hoenn’s gonna know you’re alive,” Roald echoed. “If there was ever a point of no return, this is it. No looking back, now.”

    “‘Become a leader worthy of following…’” Elrik muttered to himself, recounting some of the last words Alex had said on air. “That has to apply to me, too, doesn’t it? I have to prove that I would make a fitter king than my brother.”

    “We know that already,” Ivanna said. “You don’t have to prove anything to us.”

    “I know…” Elrik admitted. “I have to prove it to everyone else – and that means being decisive. Ivanna, Roald?”

    “Yes?” both chorused.

    “Four days from now, we are marching into Rustboro. Ivanna, send one of your messengers. I want Alex Stone to know within the day,” Elrik said, rising to his feet.

    “Are you sure?” Roald asked.

    “Yes, I am,” Elrik answered so immediately and so confidently that it put a smile on the aging soldier’s face.

    “Then that’s what’ll happen,” Roald replied.

    June 27, PA 2013 – Verdanturf Town


    Sitting atop his Rapidash, a veteran female that had been his own personal mount since boyhood, Prince Elrik of Hoenn gazed out across the fields of Verdanturf from the top of the hill. Dozens of soldiers lined up under the leadership of various captains, including two of the young soldiers who earned the rank by demonstrating their bravery and prowess in the most recent mission. Liam Cadmus and Myrin Shaur, working together as they always did, ordered their few troops into file. Meanwhile, Roald could be seen roaring at the top of his lungs at some of the more fiery, veteran soldiers, who all cheered with him (with the exception of Rashid, who hadn’t said much to anyone since he returned from Rustboro the first time and didn’t break that behavior for this occasion).

    “Do you hear that?” a boy stepped up alongside Elrik’s Rapidash, accompanied by a girl of the same age. Both had one-strap backpacks slung over their shoulders. An Espeon and Umbreon were also with them. Elrik immediately recognized the boy and looked straight at him. “That’s what ‘momentum’ sounds like.”

    “Is that what you call it?” Elrik asked. “A lot of them are a bit worried that you’re not coming with us, Travis. Sure you don’t want to reconsider?”

    “It’ll be no fun if I come with you,” Travis said. “All those people down there – they’ve waited for the chance to fight for their country’s freedom…and they all have a right to their shot.”

    “I know, but…” Elrik sighed. “Edgar will try to take Rustboro back – I’m sure of it.”

    “Then, don’t let him,” Travis replied, shrugging his shoulders.

    “But we need you to fight,” Elrik pleaded.

    “Less than you think,” Travis answered. “I’ll help you when the time comes that you really need it, but I don’t want to steal your thunder, Your Majesty. Those people down there looked to you to lead them from the beginning, and they need to keep looking to you. If you win in battle without me…they’ll respect you that much more.”

    “Do you think so?” Elrik asked.

    “I’m sure of it,” Travis answered, nodding emphatically. A smile crossing his face, he added, “I know one person that’s pretty happy with what you’re doing.”

    Elrik looked down and saw Ivanna making her way up the hill toward him.

    “Well, good luck with everything,” Travis said with a little wave, leading Katrina, Angel, and Crescent down the hill in a general direction slightly away from the sea of rallying soldiers. Noticing the timing of the comment, Elrik turned his head.

    “Wait a second – what’s that supposed to –” he started to yell but stopped when he realized that Ivanna was standing right in front of him, looking slightly winded. “What’s wrong with you?”

    “Have they left yet?” Ivanna panted.

    “No, they went that way,” Elrik answered, doing a slight point in the direction that Travis and Katrina had walked less than a minute before. Ivanna started down that way, yelling.

    “WAIT A SECOND! HOLD ON! WAIT!”

    It took a few seconds of this until Travis finally stopped and turned around to see Ivanna approaching him, nearly at a full run. She seemed to be holding some sort of glass case in her hand. As she approached, Travis noticed that it contained an oblong-shaped object inside. It was clearly off-white with green speckles.

    “Ivanna –” Travis uttered haltingly.

    “It turns out Elrik was right about you after all,” Ivanna said. “I’m sorry I gave you so much trouble. I want you to have this.”

    She held out the case toward him.

    “That’s…” Katrina whispered in awe. “That’s a Pokémon egg…”

    “Exactly,” Ivanna answered. “It won’t be long before you have a – well, I’ll let you find that out on your own. Have you ever dealt with a newborn Pokémon before?”

    “Uh…no,” Travis replied, taking the case from Ivanna. “I know that, when one’s born, though, it identifies the first face it sees as its parent.”

    “Right, so make sure to pay attention,” Ivanna said. “If you’re looking it right in the eyes, it’ll obey you without question. Keep an eye on it, though, and make sure you don’t leave it anywhere. Some people like to take your eggs and sell them on the black market to the highest bidder.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind,” Travis replied.

    “Well…see you later,” Ivanna said, nodding in farewell.

    “Goodbye,” Travis answered as Ivanna backed away from him for a few steps, then finally turned and walked back up the hill.

    “That was nice of you,” Ivanna heard Elrik comment as she reached the top of the hill. He was now standing on the ground, looking out at the troops.

    “We had that egg for a while,” Ivanna replied. “Its mother asked for him personally. That’s natural – she doesn’t want her baby to be born in a war zone.”

    “I see,” Elrik sighed. Then, after a short lull in the conversation, he commented, “When we were in Rustboro gathering forces the first time…something was missing – something he gave us. When he got here, suddenly, we had it – but I couldn’t put my finger on it for a while. Then, he said it. ‘Momentum.’”

    “Momentum, huh?” Ivanna muttered, looking over her shoulder. “Maybe that’s all we needed. I wonder if he knew that?”

    “Probably,” Elrik said, grunting slightly with effort as he mounted his Rapidash once again. Turning back toward Ivanna, he outstretched his hand. A bit unsure of herself, she took it and jumped up onto the Rapidash’s back, right behind Elrik. Elrik turned his head, looking back at her with a smile. She smiled herself, leaned forward, and pecked Elrik on the cheek. Elrik looked forward, and shouted, “Ridelia!!”

    The Rapidash reared her legs into the air, neighing loudly, and charged down the hill.

    Meanwhile, Travis and Katrina, with Angel and Crescent in tow and finally out of their balls for the first time in what seemed like ages, neared the eastern boundaries of the city. Katrina was now holding the egg, eyeing it with fascination. Travis took one last look at the town.

    “My mistake last time…” he said to himself. “If I had stood up to Angelos at first instead of trying to run away from him, the last battle probably would have been a whole lot easier. This time, though, I think I’ve done just enough to get them started.”

    “You mean to tell me, you’re satisfied?” Katrina asked. “Is that it?”

    Travis turned back toward her.

    “Yeah,” he answered. “For now. I’m helping them, but…I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”

    He brushed his lengthening bangs out of his left eye.

    “I came here to be a Trainer,” he said. “Being a war hero…it’s old. I’m over it.”

    “I don’t blame you,” Katrina commented. “What you’re doing is not easy. Trying to chase your own dreams and looking after the future of others.”

    “<Unbelivable,>” Angel commented. Her high-energy voice seemed like a fresh thing, now that Travis didn’t hear it quite so often. “<The air here is so much better than in Mauville or wherever the heck we were the last time I was out of my ball!>”

    “Sorry,” Travis sighed. “You and Crescent will get the chance to stretch your legs for a while. Believe me.”

    “You mean…” Katrina looked at him significantly. “…you’re not gonna fight anymore?”

    “Like I said, not until they absolutely need me,” Travis replied. “I stir up anymore trouble, and I’ll have a bounty on my head – then I’ll have about a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into Evergrande, badges or not.”

    “Good point,” Katrina said. “But…what about Darris?”

    “I’m not sure, but he might not be so eager to fight me a second time,” Travis answered. “He was lucky to survive the first time.”

    Katrina smiled at Travis’ confidence.

    “I wonder what’s in this, anyway?” Katrina asked.

    “The easy way to find out would be to find whatever female Pokémon laid the egg,” Travis answered. “But seeing as we don’t know that, I’m not sure there’s any way to know what it is until it hatches.”

    “Finally!!” a young, female voice sounded from somewhere above Travis and Katrina. They looked up toward one of the posts of the open town gate to see Reivyn sitting upon it. She leapt several feet to the ground, landing painlessly. “Are we going or not?”

    “What’s with you?” Travis asked.

    “We left Kenji back in that other city!!” Reivyn exclaimed. “He might be waiting for us to come back!”

    “I’m sure he’s keeping himself busy, Reivyn,” Travis said – to Reivyn’s back as she left Verdanturf at a sprint. Once she was out of earshot, he rolled his eyes. “Geez…a couple of fights go in her favor and now she’s got an attitude.”

    “So you prefer the Reivyn that was afraid of her own shadow and needed to be rescued half the time?” Katrina asked, a knowing smile on her face.

    Hesitantly, Travis sighed and admitted, “You’ve got a point.”

    The two began walking again.


    Matthew, Mariah, and Kenjiro sat at a campfire in this wasteland-looking area. There was grass and ground, and even a tree or two, but it all looked dead and was all covered by this grayish-beige stuff that was quite uncomfortable to breathe directly.

    “Ah, shit…” Kenjiro muttered, writing a name in the ash with one of his kunai. “Why the hell’d we have to camp here? We could have pushed for a few hours and we’d be on Mt. Chimney already.”

    “A forced march?” Matt groaned incredulously. “Who the hell do you think you are – a drill sergeant? We’re frickin’ exhausted. Walking through this **** isn’t as easy as it looks.”

    “And breathing it is?” Kenjiro countered.

    “Screw you,” Matt replied tartly, closing his green eyes in exasperation. “Who the hell is that?”

    “What?” Kenjiro uttered blankly.

    “Don’t play dumb, Kenjiro,” Matt said, a muscle going in his jaw. “I’ve seen you write and erase that name about twelve times just since you sat down.”

    “It – she’s – none of your business,” Kenjiro muttered, wiping his hand across it halfheartedly and standing up. Brushing some of the ash on his jacket (that was roughly the same color anyway), he looked out toward the setting sun to the west (barely visible due to a cloud of thick smoke coming from a nearby mountain).

    “Where are you going?” Matt asked.

    “I’m…going to scout out the area,” Kenjiro muttered as he walked off. “See if there’s anything suspicious around.”

    “Tch…he’s probably going to try and pick a fight with one of the local Spinda,” Matt jibed. “Combat-happy *******.”

    He leaned over the fire and felt its warmth as he peered at the ground. He saw an ‘R’, a ‘V’, and an ‘N’, but all of the other letters had been wiped away. For some reason, the longer he stared at this mystery name (or what was left of it), the hotter he got.

    “Matt…oh, my gosh – Matt!” Mariah shrieked. Matt looked straight down and let out a yell, immediately rolling around in the ash. After ten seconds he resurfaced, coughing from a combination of ash and smoke that was now wafting from his shirt.

    “Oh, frick! Geez!” Matt groaned, his eyes watering. Looking down at the small hole in his shirt, he sighed and spat, “Nice. Good thing I never liked this shirt anyway.”
    He sat up and stared at the fire.

    “God, the terrain up here sucks,” he moaned. “Mountains, steep, rocky cliffs, volcanic ash, not to mention the frickin’ desert.”

    “At least Lavaridge has hot springs,” Mariah commented.

    “Hell, I’d kill for clean water, period, at this point,” Matt muttered. “Good thing I had this skullcap or my hair would be hell on earth.”

    “Your hair?” Mariah whined. “I look like an eighty-year-old now.”

    “Well, don’t make that face – it just gives you more wrinkles,” Matt jibed. Mariah punched him.



    Kenjiro stood atop one of the dead trees. Considering that this wasn’t what one would call the friendliest area for growing trees, these things were surprisingly tall.

    It had been over a week since he saw her last. The last time he had seen her face, it had been fraught with worry and concern over his injured state. His heart sinking, he wondered how she would react when she returned to Mauville with the others and they all realized that he had left several days prior.

    He could not help but laugh at himself. Two months ago, he had no one…he needed no one…he missed no one. It was enough for him to be able to stand on his own two feet and help himself.

    He didn’t realize how hard it would be for him to be separated from her…and he wondered if she felt the same unease without him at her side.

    Hopefully, they hadn’t been getting her into any unnecessary trouble…

    He climbed down from the tree, limb by limb.

    As he came closer to the ground, he heard voices.

    “No, no – you’re doing it all wrong!” he heard a girl shout. “C’mon – bend your elbow like that.”

    “Like this?” a boy asked.

    “No!” the girl yelled in exasperation. “Oh, my gosh – you and these arms. Why do you have to be six feet tall again?”

    “Five-foot-ten-and-a-half, but I’ll take that extra two inches if you’ve got them,” the boy jibed.

    “Whatever. Just a little more…there! You’ve got it,” the girl said. By this time, Kenjiro had gotten low enough so that he could hear the entirety of the conversation and could see two small forms on the ground. “Now, aim, steady, and…”

    “Oh…crap!!” the boy shouted. Kenjiro heard a faint whizzing sound and then jumped backward as an arrow came up right between his eyes, clearing his bangs and flying upward into the air. Before Kenjiro had time to reflect on that close call, however, he realized that he was now way off-balance. With uncharacteristic clumsiness, he flailed his arms this way and that until he finally fell over. He must have been visible to them by now based on the girl’s shout.

    “Oh, no!!” she cried. “You didn’t hit him, did you?”

    “I don’t know…” the boy replied in a bit of shock. Just as Kenjiro had come back right side up in midair (he had flipped over), he saw a thick, sturdy, lower limb of the tree. He aimed to plant his feet on it, but he missed one to each side and immediately knew he was in for a world of hurt.

    He hung limply on the bouncing tree limb, his eyes watering and his entire body (except, surprisingly and unfortunately, for the point of impact) numb.

    Through his agony he heard a pitying cry of “OH…DAMN!!”

    Kenjiro hit the ground in a heap from ten feet up, which he didn’t even feel, seeing that he was completely occupied by his…other injury. He coughed, afraid for a second that he might have just expelled one (or both) organs through his mouth.

    He felt himself being rolled over on his back.

    “Hey, man!!” he got a sort of look at the boy. He could see a whole lot of red at the top, and a hand (or four) or his right in front of him. “How many fingers am I holding up?”

    “Three…nine? Five? Shit…hold on a second…” Kenjiro groaned almost subconsciously. After about nine seconds, the boy’s form came into focus. He had short, bright red hair that was controlled by a headband going around his head. His entire form, including his face, which was dotted by two yellow eyes, was long and lanky. He seemed to be wearing a red t-shirt and black cargo shorts.

    “Looks like you took a tumble,” a girl said. She was an obvious natural brunette, but had dyed a couple of her bangs a silver-blonde color. She was wearing a tanktop that seemed to depict a sun rising over a grassy field, and had a skirt the same shade of green to complete the outfit. She looked to be about fifteen but was noticeably curvy for her age. “Can you see me? Heeeey…helloooooo?”

    Kenjiro tried to get up – the two stepped back to give him some space. Immediately he felt it and sunk back to his knees.

    “Hey…hey, dude?” the red-haired boy said again. “You just racked yourself on a tree from about twenty-five-ish feet. I don’t care how tough you are – you’d better sit down for a second.”

    Kenjiro growled. He couldn’t even help the next thing that came out of his mouth.

    “They’re...throbbing…”

    The girl burst into a laughter that it seemed that she’d been trying to hold back for several minutes.

    “Hey, don’t make fun of him,” the boy scolded her. “They’re throbbing, you said? That’s a good sign – at least you know they’re still there. I’d get you some ice, but it kinda looks like it’d be in short supply in a place like this. We’ll have to wait it out.

    Five minutes later, Kenjiro was able to sit up. The boy and girl had been discussing something with each other, until finally, both came to approach Kenjiro, the boy holding something in his hand.

    “We need to ask you something,” he said. Thrusting what looked like a picture in Kenjiro’s face, he asked, “Have you seen either of these two? We’re looking for them.”

    Kenjiro eyed the pair before him distrustfully. Then, logic set in. This picture was of Travis and Katrina, and it seemed to be from a few years ago. Most likely they would have only entrusted a photograph like that one to close friends. Besides…these looked to just be two normal kids (although one had been carrying a bow and was apparently a very bad shot with it). How much harm could they do?

    Alas, however, he had to tell them the truth.

    “I know them,” Kenjiro replied. “We’ve traveled together, in fact. But I don’t know where they are right now.”

    “Okay, fine – have you seen a boy named Matthew?” the girl asked. “Looks a bit like me, slight attitude problem, probably…”

    “Wait a second!” the boy groaned.

    “It couldn’t hurt to ask!” the girl exclaimed.

    Kenjiro hadn’t registered that at all the first time he’d seen the girl. This girl and Matthew looked just like each other!

    “Is his last name Marius?” Kenjiro asked for confirmation.

    “Yes…” the girl uttered with a hopeful tone in her voice.

    Kenjiro struggled to his feet.

    “Follow me,” he said. The girl and boy looked at each other, hardly daring to believe it, and ran after him.



    “Dammit – how many girl’s names can you spell with an ‘R’, a ‘V’, or an ‘N’?” Matt groaned, wiping away his markings in the ash for the umpteenth time.

    “Matt, I really think you’re obsessing over this too much,” Mariah said. “Why do you have to know the name of this girl?”

    “Then again…” Matt muttered. “Who said it had to be a girl?”

    “Now, that’s just low, Matt,” Mariah chided him.

    “Then again, there are even less guy’s names spelled with those three letters, so that’s probably out,” Matt muttered.

    “What are you doing?” a voice from Matt’s left caught his attention.

    “Oh, you’re back,” Matt said. “Nothing really. Did you get to beat the crap outta anybody?”

    “There’s no one around here,” Kenjiro said. “Except this girl that says she knows you.”

    Matt raised his eyebrow and stood as Kenjiro moved aside. A blur came past Kenjiro, nearly knocking the young man over.

    When it got to Matt, it did knock him over.

    The next thing he knew, he was on his back with this brunette girl crying into his shoulder and holding onto him so tightly he thought he was going to choke. Mariah looked like she’d just been gobsmacked. He never saw the girl’s face, so it took a look at the red-haired boy quietly smiling behind Kenjiro to figure out who she was.

    Sitting up with the girl’s arms still around him, Matt heard Mariah ask him, “Who is this?”

    “It’s Madeline,” Matt said, choking back tears as he returned the girl’s embrace. “Madeline…my sister.”

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

    And with that, it’s official – they’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack…

    Dang it, why do my chapters always end up five pages longer than I expect them to?

    Oh, well…I sure hope this chapter’s up to snuff, as I finished the last third of it under duress. (PM me if you want to ask me about details.)

    Enjoy.
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 7th January 2008 at 7:09 AM.

    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.




  24. #249
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Behind you...
    Posts
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    Default

    yeah! new chapterage! i was getting lonely...

    you know my style:

    Dragon style: Air Dragon reviewing Jutsu!

    (Sorry... shippuuden soundtrack...)

    HAAPY NEW YEAR!

    Firstly: GRAMMAR CORRECTING JUTSU (Aargh, stop it!)

    “Blast first; ask questions later.”
    Travis’ eyes found the twenty-something with wavy, black hair.
    A blast like cannon fire went off
    most of Rustboro did not awaken until one of his news-anchors in HDMB woke it.
    in the vein of his own father that maintains the peace and freedom this nation
    OR

    in the vein of his own father, which maintains the peace and freedom this nation
    “<Unbelievable,>”
    Next: COOL PARTS!

    “Whatever,” the black-haired soldier groaned. “I just don’t understand…why…in the (let’s just say he used a rather dirty word here) we have to get up at two in the (same word, different part of speech) morning to guard a (same word as the second time) tower that nobody’s going to be using until four (same word) hours from now.”
    XD! Wash out your mouth! LOLOLOL!

    At that moment, a giant of a man with black armor trimmed in silver walked in. He had a curtain of straight, dirty-blond hair and was a young-looking forty-seven or so. He patted the black-haired soldier on the shoulder (a hundred points if you can say those last four words five times fast) and, without warning, grabbed the back of his head and….
    BIFF.

    …drove the young man’s face into a nearby table swiftly and forcefully. The black-haired guardsman rose from the table, holding his nose as trickles of blood issued from between his fingers.

    “All well?” the man asked sternly. “As you were, then…”

    With that, he walked out without a further word. The black-haired man had a word to say, though, and it was an utterance of mingled agony and annoyance that consisted of exactly four letters.

    “Ouch…that didn’t look like it felt good,” the red-haired soldier said nonchalantly.

    “Friggin’…Ludwig,” the black-haired soldier groaned. “…Shid!”

    “Okay, so that might’ve been slightly unnecessary,” the redhead remarked.

    “Where dah hell iza tow…” the black-haired soldier began to meander through the cubicles, looking for something to absorb the blood flowing from his nose.

    “Well, it’s not broken…” the redhead attempted to console his comrades.

    “Nod…broged? Screw off!” the black-haired soldier shouted. “I’m…gedding…friggin’…papers…first?? ?ding…id da bordig…”
    Broken nose-ian FTW! XD!

    “Right,” the black-haired infantryman growled, his patience at an end. “Stand down…now. I’m going to count to five.”

    “I’m gonna count to three,” Travis replied.

    “Didn’t that come from a movie or something?” Katrina muttered to herself.

    “One…” Travis muttered.

    “Two…” the soldier counted airily.

    Then, several things happened in quick succession.
    Yeah... movie scenes!

    “I’m your king’s worst nightmare,” Travis growled into Ludwig’s ear, holding the sword close to his neck as well. “You see…your dear so-called ‘Emperor’ doesn’t know how to use his sword yet…”
    Plays the batman TV theme...

    “Elrik!!” Ivanna came forth from the doorway and, before Elrik could even fix his mouth to say ‘good morning’ to her, she had fallen upon him. Feeling her blonde curls tickle his face, and her warm breath waft past his ear, he put his arms around her.
    Damn... the descriptive force is strong in you, young padawan. I feel lovesick... and i'm single. how you do it is beyond me...

    “Matt, I really think you’re obsessing over this too much,” Mariah said. “Why do you have to know the name of this girl?”

    “Then again…” Matt muttered. “Who said it had to be a girl?”

    “Now, that’s just low, Matt,” Mariah chided him.

    “Then again, there are even less guy’s names spelled with those three letters, so that’s probably out,” Matt muttered.
    XD! That was cold bro!

    Dang it, why do my chapters always end up five pages longer than I expect them to?
    Whoever knew could make a fortune off both of us...

    Now for THE MEAT:

    Interesting. You piqued my fascination from start to end... nice touch to use my birthday as the day they staged the attack on Rustboro. Creon's agitation is totally understandable, and Alex Stone's love life blows. Could be worse... at least he has a love life... of sorts. Rashid seems pretty intense... can't blame the poor bloke. Damn Ludwig's a bloody (the word used earlier+ER)

    Yeah, we're back on the journey and the egg is an amazingly curious addition to Travis's team (going by what you've revealed, i have a couple of guesses as to what it could be). I'll let you know my suspicions via pm.

    The nutcracker returns! And Shiro's bow skills suck more than Sapph's cooking skills! LOL! Kenjiro's comments about his jewels was hilarious... and Shiro's response was pure magic.

    Finally... THE VERDICT:

    Amazing chapterage. Most likely your longest in this fic to date, and loving every page of it!

    There were more grammar and spelling errors than i thought, but the chapter rocked too much to make a meal out of it.

    Gotta go,

    L@er for real!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 8th January 2008 at 8:46 AM.
    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)
    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  25. #250
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Behind you
    Posts
    544

    Default Awsome

    This is by far the best fic that I have ever read. I liked the part where kenjiro got hit in the gems.

    You are an awsome writer. please don't stop.

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