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Thread: Pokemon Revolution: Advent Phoenix (Rated T)

  1. #301
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    Oh yeah. On a side note. Totally unrelated issue. If your playing a gamecube game on the Wii. Do you have to have a gamecube controller to play it. I just need to know so I don't go out and buy a game that I won't be able to play.

    *Believe me, the british folk will understand. An advert that I don't believe you get in america. funny stuff.
    off topic: gamecube controller. :/ hope you don't have to buy one to play the games. that would stink.

    on topic, the one thing that i've always been curious about, is the characters of Matt's pokemon. and we haven't seen Shiro's or Madelyn's if they still have them which i hope they do. i like the way you set up madelyn's character as the champion of the orange islands. anyway, as those are smaller characters, i wouldn't imagine too much developement on them. but a Small amount of character development so we can at least understand their character would be good. (i'm talking mostly about Matt's.)

    IIRC, combuskin and grumpig are the only ones we have any clue into their personalities of matt. :/ hm. just stating. not complaining.

  2. #302
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Behind you


    To play a gamecube game on the wii I think you ether need a gamecube controller or a kind of wii controller that is like an older type of controller.
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  3. #303
    Join Date
    May 2006
    A therapist's Sofa


    Yeah I'm sorry about the whole uber off-topic thing.

    Just I wanted to post here and ask about it somewhere else, but I thought 'why not kill two birds with one stone'

    And to go on-topic with this post. Fortree is miles away from Lavaridge, even in the games. So I reckon there must be quite a few chapters and a possible resurgance of Darris and Co. All that tall grass and general forest is perfect for an ambush.

    Sorry again and i'll post again when necessary. \\m//

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

    Author's Profile

  4. #304
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Behind you...

    Cool Fic Pics

    Hey, it's all good...

    As long as a mod hasn't closed this yet, it's all good...

    I feel generous now (felt really *****y earlier today) so I decided to put some more sketches up... hope these go down as well the first lot did...





    I dunno... have I done these before?



    Kenjiro (2nd TRY)

    Reivyn (Also the 2nd TRY)


    OK, guys... I'm out...

    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)
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  5. #305
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    At my house


    Hey EM1, the past chapters have been effin awesome!!, well I can't review all of them, so I'll review them as a whole.

    The thing with your fics are that they are so good I can't wait to get to the end see everything unfold so sometimes I feel as if I'm rushing.

    But they all have been amazing, as a whole this fic so far earns, 4 out of 5.

    Amazing Fic I really love it beyond great, but there have been some moments where I want to yell and slap Travis, and other characters. But that actually makes them great characters, sooo.

    5 out of 5.

    Last edited by Kazekage; 11th March 2008 at 11:02 PM.

  6. #306
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Venastois: Yeah, a guy on my hall just bought SSBB for the Wii and I used a Gamecube Controller because we didn't have enough Wii controllers (and I hate those f@$king nunchuck things anyway). By the way, as much as Melee rocked, Brawl rocks double. Yeah, Brawl rocks almost as much as Slash's guitar solos. I'm dead serious. If you have a Wii, get this #$#&ing game as soon as you can.

    Air Dragon: That's one thing I like about you guys. Since the time I started writing Revolution: Johto, that's probably about the second time I've ever seen anybody have an off-topic conversation on my thread...and I don't think a mod's ever gotten on my case about it. Some threads get closed because of all the spam. Granted, I think that's extremely unfair to the author because if (s)he isn't a guilty party there's not a hell of a lot (s)he can do about it. If I were a mod, I would probably only close a fic thread under three circumstances. One, if it were so bad that it wasn't readable (one thing I like about the current mods is the fact that they are very tactful when doing this). Two, if it becomes a flamewar...God, I hate flamewars, maybe that should be number one, or if the author requests it to be closed.

    Anyway, slightly off topic, but on topic as well.

    Oh, and thanks for the pictures. If you want my honest opinion, these aren't bad; but the last batch you sent me - especially the one with Travis standing on the rock and the ones of Voltyger and Volterror - were so damn good that it would've taken a lot to top them. I like Mariah's and Madeline's pictures, though. Only question about Madeline's - was that depiction from any particular chapter?

        Spoiler:- Hmm?:


    One thing you'll find out quickly if you research any kind of writer - well-known, a relative nobody, fan fiction, actual published work...a lot of times their work reflects their lives and beliefs. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that I have firsthand experience with the way Travis' character has been. Now, I haven't had to fight an insane (as well as insanely powerful) demon hell-bent on taking over the world, but I still know as well as anyone that, although physical wounds suck, emotional and mental scars stay with you for a very long time. I've had to deal with getting over some past hurts that I dealt with in my high school years, and as I've moved on to college, I've found out - and I've been taught - how to let go of things that have happened to me in my past.

    That said, it's been very recently that I've gotten to a point where it looks like my situation has some closure. I'm happy with my friends and I've realized that the only true challenge in front of me was school, which (like Travis' Pokemon Training) I've found myself to be pretty good at handling, so it doesn't bother me that much. The next several chapters will be a point of transition for Travis because he's going to be dealing with things he isn't used to like a more extended time of peace and having several friends around him. People you didn't know would be so helpful will end up being instrumental in getting Travis to the end of the journey.

    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.

  7. #307
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Behind you...


    OK, i get the message, *wink, wink*. A remake of an earlier request may make an appearance soon too.

    Gotta go, got reviews to write, and chapters to prepare...


    P.S. Your chapter list is out of date... need a hand?
    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)
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  8. #308
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Número treinta, as my neighbors to the south would probably say. This sure feels like an accomplishment now that my chapters are averaging well over twenty pages in length. For those that like the war scenes and the swashbuckling action, you’ll see a bit in this chapter – I just went about it a little differently.

    Chapter 30: The Distant Storm

    July 6, PA 2013 – Rustboro City, Hoenn

    From under the blanket covering a bed seemingly a size too small for the young man resting within, a head of reddish-blonde hair was visible. His eyes, a deep russet brown, were veiled behind their lids in slumber. A ticking clock set into the forehead of a Sunflora beat away the time…

    On the other side of the small room, a pre-teen boy with hair of a slightly darker shade of blonde sat bolt upright after hearing a dull THUMP.

    “Ah!” the boy gasped haltingly, looking around him. He was about twelve years old, but quite short for his age. Next to him in the same bed was his younger brother, a six-year-old boy with light, fair hair.


    “Coming!!” the boy heard his mother’s voice carry through the house – which wasn’t saying much, honestly. The house was essentially a glorified slum, very narrow with two stories. The boys stayed on the second story. The five females in the house – four girls ranging in age from two to fifteen, and the children’s mother – stayed on the first floor. The young boy heard two steps of footsteps and a loud wail from below. “Honestly, Victoria! Quiet!!”

    The boy listened and heard silence for a moment as his mother opened the door.

    He heard the voice of a young man downstairs and then the yell of his mother.

    “Sheridan!!” the woman’s cry echoed up the stairs. The boy jumped out of bed and took the two large steps across the tiny bedroom until he reached the bed of the young man. He gripped the older youth’s shoulder through the blanket and started shaking it.

    “Sheridan!! Get up! Get up!” the boy said rather loudly, trying to keep his voice low enough not to wake his younger brother, because the six-year-old was rather cranky in the morning.

    After about fifteen seconds of this, the young man began to stir.

    “Erf…Dietrich…what’s going on?” Sheridan said sleepily, opening his earth-colored eyes at last.

    “Mom called you – I think there’s someone at the door…” Dietrich Hadley said quickly.


    “Geez!” Dietrich muttered, running to the door and opening it. A middle-aged woman, slightly squat from the aftereffects of having eight children, stood framed in the doorway. Her graying, cardinal-red hair was barely visible in the form of fringe hanging out from the nightcap that matched her slightly tattered gown. She definitely looked the part of a mother of eight. Her tired brown eyes and her careworn face, lined with a shallow wrinkle or two, stared at Sheridan for a moment before she spoke.

    “Morning, boys,” the middle-aged mother of the two teenagers said. Drawing in a breath, she added, “Sheridan, you need to get dressed – and quickly. There’s a young man by the name of Woodson at the door saying that he has to take you to meet someone.”

    “Woodson? At this hour?” Sheridan asked. Sheridan peeked at the Sunflora clock in his room. It was only slightly after six. “What could he want?”

    “I don’t know, but it seems that he wants you to go somewhere with him,” Sheridan’s mother answered. In her eyes he could see an outward display of the same feeling he had in his heart.

    Something was going on.

    Meanwhile, a brown-haired young man stood in the small square of a small neighborhood in Rustboro City, awaiting an answer from one of the gray-looking houses that lined the square. His silver, steel pauldrons and cuirass gleamed in the sunlight over an emerald-colored, long-sleeved shirt that was held to his wrist by silver bracers. In its sheath, his standard-issue short sword hung from a belt at his waist.

    His upbringing had been so different from that of his comrade. He was from Petalburg City, from a reasonably well-to-do (although not rich) family, and found the good Prince as he was investigating a rumor about evil spirits coming from the Romero Mansion. His father was not a soldier, but rather a trader that was often away from home fostering trade with the overseas nations, like the Twin States and Sinnoh, as well as the two large archipelagoes, Sevii and Orange. He also had no large family – just two younger siblings. His ten-year-old sister was at home with their parents. The twelve-year-old, though…he would be thirteen soon, and he had opted to take his first Pokémon journey (for he had studied and graduated from the Academy here in Rustboro) in Kanto of all places.

    Kelvin Woodson laughed to himself. The prospect of war had a way of becoming a social equalizer. In war, the rich bleed no less than the penniless, the grizzled veteran no less than the young conscript. The proud warriors of high repute can die ignominious deaths, while those who begin as relative unknowns…

    …can earn an opportunity at heroism.

    The door swung open to reveal a young man of only seventeen with short, reddish-blond hair and armor very similar to Woodson’s. A sheathed sword sat at his belt buckle as well.

    Sheridan Hadley got straight to business.

    “Who sent you here?” he asked.

    “Lady Ivanna,” Woodson replied. “She wants to speak with you.”

    “Sorry, but that’s kind of random,” Sheridan raised an eyebrow. “I’m just a rank-and-file private, anyway.”

    “Really?” Woodson answered knowingly. “That’s not what she told me.”

    “Tori, come back!!”

    Ten minutes had passed since Anna Hadley’s eldest son had gone outside for a meeting with a fellow soldier, and now, the six remaining children in the house were all awake. While the others in the household were all old enough to wash and dress themselves, Anna always had to bathe her two youngest children, both girls. Hannah, age five, was in the bathtub already, but Victoria, a two-year-old, had escaped from the eye of her mother and subsequently began tearing through the small house as fast as her tiny little feet could take her – wearing only her skin.

    One could hardly blame Anna for irresponsibility here. She had much less help around the home than she was used to. Normally, she had backup in the form of her husband, Victor, as well as her two oldest sons, who were both very close to their father and who both took the most senior Hadley’s disappearance from his post as a Captain in the Hoenn National Army in different ways.

    Sheridan, the oldest at seventeen, idolized his father and wanted to become a soldier at his first chance. It just so happened that his first chance was with the Emerald Knights, who had been called the ‘wrong’ side in the brewing civil war. This worried Anna to no end, but she always knew deep down that Sheridan would become a soldier. She just prayed that she wouldn’t lose him, too…

    Chandler, on the other hand, far from having greater respect for his father, only harbored a deeper resentment for the man. He was interested in Pokémon and dreamed of one day becoming a Trainer. As a pre-teen, he worked odd jobs – most of them involved walking pet Pokémon of others in the neighborhood or helping to deliver packages – to save enough money to buy Pokéballs. Therefore, it came as no huge surprise when Anna went to her sons’ room one morning last summer to wake them that she found, where Chandler should have been, a note explaining his resolve to become a Pokémon Master as well as the fact that he had managed to sneak up on and capture a Nincada.

    Anna was worried about him as well, but was nonetheless proud of his determination to one day make enough money by being Champion to bring his family out of the slums.

    The truth is, this family had fallen on hard times. While they were never rich, they were always reliably supplied by the salary that Victor made. After Edgar’s accession and Victor’s subsequent disappearance, Anna, who was, of course, a homemaker by virtue of her high fertility, was unable to work and take care of her eight children, so they were forced to move into what had been government housing…at least, until Edgar took over and things turned chaotic in Rustboro. At that point, the housing projects were all but abandoned in favor of protecting more high-profile parts of the city. Perhaps they thought that no dissenter from such a humble place could attract enough attention to stir up any trouble.

    But Anna couldn’t afford to lament the past. After all, she had at least six children depending on her. As much as she hated to admit it, both Sheridan and Chandler could likely fend for themselves if needed.

    “Tori, why are you streaking through the house? Good grief!” the shocked and exasperated voice of a boy darted through the hallway to her ears. Anna gave a start – Dietrich must have found her.

    “Yeah, Tori! You’re gonna get sick!” a younger voice echoed. Raymond must have seen her as well. Anna continued to make her way down the hall until she reached the boys’ room. There, she found Dietrich neatly folding the covers over his and Raymond’s bed. Sheridan’s bed was also made and empty. In the middle of the small room was six-year-old Raymond, keeping a close watch on a blanket that seemed to be standing up on its own. Anna peered down at the blanket and saw the pale face, blonde hair, and mischievous smile that told the entire story.

    “Victoria,” she said seriously. The fair-haired toddler peeked her head out from under the faded, purple blanket, smiling innocently as she seemingly realized that her little game was over. Anna scooped up the girl, blanket and all, into her arms and sighed, “What are we going to do with you?”

    “Should I go talk to Sarah?” Dietrich asked.

    Sarah was almost ten years old and known for being the house’s drama queen. Usually, whenever Dietrich asked this question (which had become very often after Victor went missing) Sarah was upset about something. If Anna were to hazard a guess, it would be that Sarah’s behavior came as a result of Victor’s disappearance. Of course, everyone in the household (except for Victoria, who was only a year old when he left and wouldn’t remember him) was upset when they hadn’t heard from Victor in a while. Sarah happened to be exceedingly bad at hiding her feelings, though.

    Dietrich, on the other hand, was his mother’s pride and joy. With Sheridan and Chandler in the house less and less, he seemed to understand extremely well that the responsibilities that those two had as the oldest male in the home fell to him. As a result, the last year saw very large leaps of maturity for young Dietrich. Anna’s only worry about him was that his sense of obligation to his family would one day keep him from leaving the slums – and perhaps Rustboro altogether – to follow his dreams…whatever those were.

    “Sarah?” Anna finally answered. “What’s wrong with her now?”

    Anna heard the clanking of the front door as it swung open with a loud creak. A pitter-patter of multiple footsteps said that several of the children had been alerted to the presence at the door. Victoria squealed in excitement at this new development.

    “Was that –” Dietrich trailed off and ran past Anna, out of the door of the small bedroom, and down the hallway.

    “Slow down!!” Anna called after him. Giving Victoria an extra lift into her arms, Anna followed her son’s path down the stairs, albeit at a much slower pace. When Anna reached the top stair, she immediately saw Sheridan along with Dietrich and his twin sister Deidra, who had short, strawberry-blonde hair and was wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Anna descended the stairs and approached her oldest son, all the while being careful not to lose her grip on little Tori. “Sheridan! Sheridan, what happened?”

    Sheridan had a look on his face that clearly said that something significant had happened and he knew not how to make sense of it. He was looking down at something in his hand.

    “Dietrich, move over,” Anna rushed forward as her third son obediently stepped aside to let her through. “Sheridan? What is it?”

    Sheridan took a deep breath.

    “The Prince has ordered an attack on the Imperial camp at the Petalburg Woods,” he said.

    Anna’s heart sank.

    “…and they want you to fight?” she asked.

    Sheridan handed Anna a circular object. Anna felt a slight weight as she took it with her right hand. She turned it over and saw an emblem with two legendary Pokémon. This was a looked familiar. What was the significance of…

    “They want me to lead the unit,” he said. “Mother…I’ve been made a Captain.”

    Meanwhile, in Fallarbor Town…

    A girl of about sixteen with flaming, bright orange hair slunk through a back alleyway of the small town of Fallarbor. Around her tight, off-white pants was a belt – a belt that held a sheathed short sword that she knew her way around well enough to defend herself should the need arise. Her top was not quite as tight, and was a dark green.

    She caught up with a taller, slightly older male wearing a dark green shirt with white cuffs. His hair was also a tangerine color and rather short. He also carried a sword, but his was longer and heavier, a bit more like a broad sword.

    “Damn it,” the young man muttered to himself. “How long is this passage?”

    “Don’t tell me you’re getting tired, Talan?” the girl said, elbowing her older cousin with a knowing smirk.

    “Don’t be ridiculous, Jill,” Talan Ainge replied. “This is just kind of irritating. Wonder what the hell Orda’s doing in a place like this?”

    “Well, we can ask him…” Jillian replied. “If we ever find the guy. What do we need him for anyway?”

    “Orda’s the only one of Grandfather’s apprentices that’s still alive,” Talan answered. “The Knights are getting to the point where we’ve got too many workers and not enough tools.”

    “What?” Jillian uttered a bit dimly.

    “We need Orda to make weapons for us – or at least show some of our guys how,” Talan sighed as he simplified his last statement. “Can you understand that?”

    “Of course I can understand – I’m not stupid,” Jillian retorted, folding her arms.

    “Well, then, let’s go,” Talan answered quickly, rounding the corner. He and his younger cousin ran the long passageway, which was lined with brick walls on either side and was narrow enough to cause problems for anyone who happened to be unfortunate enough to be substantially overweight. They approached the end of the alley at a jog, seeing something that made Talan quite upset.

    “Damn!” he groaned. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

    There were bricks all around, as well as a few trash cans. But as for doors or other denizens…nothing.

    “Shoot!” Jillian snarled in exasperation. “Now we’re going to have to wind our way out of this alley!”

    “Great…” Talan said, standing still for a moment to reflect on his disappointment. Something was off. He was sure that Orda lived down this alley, from the report he’d heard. Then again, very few common citizens had seen Orda. Not even the few Imperial soldiers in the area (which had the smallest garrison, as the majority of the guard had been pulled to bolster the defenses of towns like Petalburg and Mauville, which were on high alert because both were in striking distance for the growing rebel faction known as the Emerald Knights…

    Talan’s ears perked up as he heard a sound similar to rushing wind.

    “Jill, get down!” the young man yelled. Jillian, with a slight shriek of surprise, ducked as Talan, all in one motion, whirled around and drew his sword. With a reverberating clang that might have been heard atop Mt. Chimney, Talan’s blade clashed with another.

    Jillian looked up.

    “Orda?” she gasped. Talan stepped back out of necessity, for although he was the average height for a young man his age, Orda was quite tall. In this shaded place, his short hair, which had rather untidy bangs at the front, appeared black, but Talan knew for a fact that was actually a very dark green. With slightly angled eyes and an utter lack of anything that could be mistaken for facial hair, Orda still had a rather youthful appearance despite being slightly over thirty. He was wearing a cheap-looking, drab green, v-neck shirt with brown sleeves and yellow lacing across the exposed area on the upper torso. He also wore brownish pants that came close enough to an exact match of his shirt sleeves. Obviously, he had a sword in his hand. It was similar in style to the one Talan carried, except that the blade itself was a dark green similar to his hair.

    “Talan and Jillian,” Orda’s voice was calm but had a bit of a cocky edge. “You’ve sure grown up.”

    “Apparently not enough,” Talan quipped, looking up slightly at Orda, who was still well over four inches taller than he was.

    “Sharp as always,” Orda said. “I wish I’d have stayed around long enough for Master Ruvell to teach me to have eyes in the back of my head.”

    “I don’t have eyes the back of my head,” Talan said, shaking the aforementioned head in negation. “I have ears, though, and those work almost as well. In any case, I see you’ve reduced yourself to attacking people in dark alleys.”

    “Don’t worry – I wasn’t going to cut your head off…immediately,” Orda lazily rested the broad side of his sword on his rather broad shoulders. “That treatment’s only reserved for Imperials who come calling.”

    “Can they find you back here?” Jillian asked?

    “Find me? Hell, no. I make sure of that,” Orda commented, pacing the small square between the brick walls. “The fact that you managed to find me means you must have really been looking…so we’ll get straight to the point. What do you want?”

    As Orda was very direct in his speech, so was Talan.

    “You’re the only person left alive other than me that knows how to forge swords anywhere close to what Grandfather can do,” Talan said. “You can guarantee the Imperials know about you – they’ve killed all of the others. So we thought that maybe you could work for us.”

    “Work for you? You mean, the rebels?” Orda said, a smirk crossing his thin lips.

    “It’s right up your alley, isn’t it?” Talan asked. “Being controversial…rebellious…going against the grain.”

    “People are talking about you guys, you know,” Orda finally replied. “Some of ‘em even think you’ve got a ghost of a chance at bringing down the Imperial Army. Me, though…”

    Jillian and Talan separated as Orda strode between them, walking toward the far wall, about twenty yards away. Then, he turned and flung his sword in a defiant gesture, pointing it at Talan, who understood immediately.

    “…I need convincing,” Orda said.

    “Fine,” Talan answered, gritting his teeth.

    “Last time you tried to spar me, five years ago…I beat the living hell out of you,” Orda stated, sounding rather matter-of-fact instead of reminiscent. “I really hope you’ve improved since then.”

    “Why don’t you attack me and find out?” Talan asked by way of a taunt.

    “If you say so,” Orda responded, charging.

    Orda’s footsteps rang dully in the clearing of concrete as he accelerated toward his younger, ginger-haired opponent. Talan jumped aside a wide, arcing strike and skidded to a stop, planting from his feet at that moment to mount his own offensive.

    The two swords clashed magnificently as they met each other high over the combatants’ heads. Talan gained leverage and began to use his physical strength to push not only Orda’s sword, but Orda himself, backward. After three or four steps, Orda slipped himself free of the grapple. Talan’s momentum caused him to over-balance badly and the orange-haired youth nearly took a header into the concrete ground.

    “Talan, careful!” a worried Jillian shouted loudly, for Orda had seen his chance and leapt with hopes upon falling upon Talan’s back with the blade.

    “Got you!” Orda announced. Each of his angled eyes swelled to the size of small moons as he watched a silvery brand somersault into the air, missing his face by mere inches. This caused him to avert his eyes from Talan for just a second…


    Talan, now getting up from his back, hooked his arm inside the crook of Orda’s elbow and summarily hip-tossed him to the concrete below, where the older fighter landed with a rather nasty crunch and rolled once as Talan sprang to his feet. He turned around and leapt back quickly to where his sword had landed, a few feet away from the feet of his younger cousin, landing and picking up the sword in one motion.

    Meanwhile, Orda stood, looking a bit winded. A trickle of blood was dripping from his lip, but he quickly took care of that with one of his knuckles.

    “Maybe you’d better call this one off,” Talan suggested. “After all, I haven’t done my job if I take you back to Verdanturf in pieces.”

    “I’ve still got another few rounds left in me,” Orda laughed.

    The sky uttered a tempestuous growl, making the ground shake with the deepness and volume of the sound. Travis looked up and saw clouds colored that ominous bluish gray that usually signals all too clearly that a summer thundershower is on its way. He and his friends were walking back from the Torkoal Springs Restaurant in Lavaridge Town, trying their hardest to make it back to the Pokémon Center before nature turned nasty.

    After being reunited as an entire group for the first time in nearly two full years, there was obviously much catching up to do and much to talk about.

    “So, the door’s closing, and Shiro’s freaking out and dropping F-bombs left and right, ‘Oh, blank! Oh, blank! We’re gonna blankin’ die!’” Madeline continued to describe a rather hairy incident that occurred in a mine shaft in the Orange Islands last year. Katrina, to her greatest surprise and dismay, was looking straight across Travis (with whom she was holding hands, of course) and Shiro, right at the bridge of Madeline’s small, rather girlish nose.

    What this meant in so many words was that now Madeline, who had been the definition of a ‘late bloomer’ as far as many of her physical attributes, was now quite a bit taller than Katrina and, in fact, almost the same height as Travis. Granted, if Madeline and Katrina had been the same height, the former (who still had the majority of her hair tied back with the exception of her blonde bangs) and her boyfriend would look rather awkward together, seeing as Shiro, at nearly five-foot-eleven, now positively towered over everyone else in the group by at almost a full head.

    However, if Madeline’s account was true, this didn’t do a whole lot for Shiro’s toughness.

    “Really, Shiro? That doesn’t sound like you at all,” Katrina commented.

    “When I choose to do something crazy, it doesn’t bother me at all,” Shiro said defensively. “Getting dragged around is another story, though…in any case, Madeline had Nidoqueen, so she just got her to blow the friggin’ door down.”

    “Having strong Pokémon really gets you outta some jams – especially when you don’t have superhuman powers like some people…” Madeline quipped.

    “Yeah, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but I guess that goes without saying, right?” Travis coolly inserted his own opinion, eliciting a laugh from his girlfriend.

    Madeline smirked.

    “Anyway, we got out,” she explained. “And got that crazy little Meowth back to his owners.”

    “And I’ve had to deal with about a year of this – all because Madeline can’t say ‘no’ to anybody,” Shiro commented. Madeline drove an elbow into the red-haired boy’s ribs, causing him to grunt in slight discomfort.

    “Oh, come on – you don’t want to admit it, but it’s fun,” Madeline sang, cutely using one finger and fiddling with her blonde fringe. Shiro grinned.

    “Yeah, I guess it never gets old…” he said.

    “You guess…come on,” Madeline purred, resting her chin on one of his shoulders. Shiro drew in a breath as her blonde hair tickled his neck. By this time, they had reached the Pokémon Center. Shiro and Madeline entered the doors, which opened on their own accord with a low hiss. Travis followed them, but Katrina didn’t seem to be following him.

    “What’s going on? What’s wrong?” Travis asked her, turning around.

    She smiled.

    “Nothing,” she said, shaking her head. Travis approached her. She let out a slight shudder as his hand traced the outline of her cheek. As they drew close to kiss, lightning flashed, a very loud clap of thunder sounded and both young lovers found themselves drenched in a ridiculously heavy rain. Katrina screamed in surprise.

    “Oy! Lovebirds!!” Travis turned around and saw Shiro under the awning just outside the Pokémon Center’s doors. “Kyogre says he doesn’t like public displays of affection!!”

    Travis shook his head.

    “And since when have you ever followed anybody’s rules?” he yelled back, turning around toward Katrina and kissing her.

    Katrina instantly felt her wet face grow hot, as a warm surge of pleasure and affection washed over her just as quickly as the storm had done, running through her inner being like her insides had been purified by some kind of fire. She let out a slight moan and clenched her fist…it was almost too much to take…

    And then he released her. Her face was hot and as pink as her rain-soaked hair as he took one of her hands into his own.

    “Are you coming in or not?” he asked. “I like a good summer shower as much as the next guy, but we’re gonna end up waterlogged if we stay out here.”

    “Yeah…” Katrina said, sounding rather like she was in a daze. Nevertheless, she walked inside with him, holding his hand the entire way.

    Ten minutes later, she was pressed into discussing the matter with Madeline, who asked her about the unusual redness of her face while the boys went to get drinks for the four of them.

    “I don’t know…I can’t put my finger on it,” Katrina explained. “I can hardly recognize him anymore. He’s so much……”

    She seemed at a loss for words, so Madeline finished the sentence for her.

    “Happier?” the brunette girl said. She leaned over the table slightly. “What do you think he would do without you?”

    “I don’t know…I guess he’d find a way to…” Katrina muttered modestly, but Madeline cut her off.

    “You are so full of ****,” she laughed. “You know as well as I do that he needs you…but he wants you, too. You make his life worth living.”

    “Since when have you known so much about us?” Katrina asked.

    “Well,” Madeline said with a slight laugh. “I’ve grown up a lot since the year before last.”

    “Rub it in, why don’t you?” Katrina commented.

    “That wasn’t what I was talking about,” Madeline answered quickly. “I mean…emotionally. When you first met me, I had just started finding out about a lot of stuff.”

    “Yeah, I remember,” Katrina said. “You’re almost four months older than I am, but you always felt like the baby of the group.”

    “I was…really insecure back then,” Madeline replied. “I guess that’s part of the reason I fell for Shiro in the first place. He always seemed so sure of himself – sometimes too sure – but I liked being around that because I wasn’t used to people having a lot of confidence in me.”

    She paused for a second.

    “After the war was over, I really didn’t know who I was anymore. I stayed with Shiro and we just wandered aimlessly for a little bit. I couldn’t go back to Cherrygrove – I knew too much.”

    “That’s why…” Katrina muttered. The main reason that she and Travis had not seen Madeline or Shiro face-to-face in such a long time was because the latter couple was struck with the kind of restlessness that comes from not being accustomed to peace.

    “We’ve gone to a few places,” Madeline stated. “We went to Kanto right after the war ended and stayed there for the winter. We came back and traveled Johto again in the spring. After Shiro’s tournament in June, we went to the Orange Islands just for the hell of it. That’s where we were when Shiro’s dad died.”

    Katrina nodded in comprehension.

    “I don’t think he ever forgave his dad for keeping the truth from him about his mom,” Madeline said soberly. ‘The truth’, of course, was that Lauren – Laena to those who knew her during her childhood – was a Blackthorn by birth, therefore making Shiro a nephew of Lance, Clair, and Lorca Blackthorn. The same, obviously, went for Shiro’s younger brother, who had been taken in by the aforementioned clan immediately after his father’s sudden death. “But, anyway…by the time we got to the Orange Islands, Shiro’s constant encouragement started to work. I was a lot more comfortable with myself, and it took Shiro some time to get used to me being that way. After I beat the Orange League Champion…I did tell you about that, right?”

    Madeline waited for an answer to this question which was, in all honestly, a bit of a tangent.

    “Yeah, but we kind of heard it through the grapevine – as in, from the guy you beat,” Katrina replied offhandedly.

    “Brad Carmichael? He’s here?” Madeline sounded surprised.

    “Yeah – he’s trying to make a run at Hoenn’s Championship now,” Katrina commented.

    “He was pretty strong,” Madeline said. “It took all I had to beat him. My father found me there. He barely recognized me – it’d been almost five years and I guess it was for more than one reason. The old me would have never had the confidence to attempt anything like that…no matter how much crap I talked. When I was still in school, I only had just about enough courage so that most of the class bullies wouldn’t mess with me or Matt.”

    “Gotcha…” Katrina uttered. “Uh…where’d Matt go, anyway? I haven’t seen him since yesterday. He didn’t leave without saying goodbye, did he?”

    “Well…he talked to me before he left. Said he didn’t want to get in our way…whatever that meant,” Madeline sighed. “He’s so erratic now. Not, like, bipolar or anything…what I mean is, he’s so much harder to read. When we were little, each of us could tell what the other was thinking.”

    “You guys didn’t do that twin thing where you finish each other’s sentences, did you?” Katrina asked out of curiosity. Madeline replied by shaking her head.

    “Nope,” she answered. “But only because Matt was too shy to string two words together in front of someone he didn’t know. I really hope he’ll be okay.”

    “Matt’s grown up, too,” Katrina remarked. “He can take care of himself.”

    “I’m not worried about anything happening to him,” Madeline answered. “It’s just this whole family thing…I hope it doesn’t consume him.”

    The two girls sat in awkward silence for a moment, mulling over all that had been said in the last several minutes. It seemed that in the last year or two, Madeline had acquired, among other things, a knack for blunt honesty. For the most part, she said what she thought about something if one were to ask her. She would no doubt become a woman that would be easier to figure out than most.

    That had to be the key, Katrina thought. That was why Shiro and Madeline’s relationship had settled so well.

    There was a point where Katrina was concerned about whether Shiro and Madeline would work out in the long run. The fact was that the relationship had started not out of years of friendship, like Travis and Katrina’s relationship, but rather out of something that was more or less a crush that never had the chance to pass over. In short, Katrina knew back then that Shiro and Madeline liked each other, but it was a while before she saw that they loved each other – because it took them both a while to learn. The war and the losses that came with it made her realize that she could talk to him about absolutely anything. That was why they could travel the world together after having met barely two months prior, with no sense of awkwardness. That was why she could confidently introduce him to her father and stepmother.

    Speaking of Shiro…

    He and Travis were presently returning to the table, each carrying a pair of sodas. They seemed to be talking about something. Travis was very obvious in the rather dubious look he was giving his best friend.

    “I’m telling you, man, get a move on,” Shiro muttered. “I’ve got money riding on this. When someone said, ‘I bet you he won’t,’ I took it literally. I’ll be owed money by half of New Bark Town by the time it’s all said and done.”

    “What did you bet on?” Madeline asked curiously. “It wasn’t on a Gym Match, was it? You know that’s illegal in most places…”

    “Of course not – I’m not an idiot,” Shiro sounded slightly insulted. “Actually, I was talking about a long time ago, when a couple of guys bet me that Travis wouldn’t p—OW!!! What the hell!!?!”

    Travis had discreetly, yet powerfully…trodden on one of Shiro’s quite large feet, eliciting a yell of agony that drew the attention of everyone inside the ‘Lounge’ area.

    “Sit down, already. You’re gonna mess around and get us kicked out of here,” Madeline sighed.

    “Ah…shit,” Shiro swore through his teeth, sliding into the booth next to Madeline and wincing continuously.

    Travis edged into his seat, directly across from Shiro and to the right of Katrina, who gladly moved aside just far enough to give him room, but leaned against him immediately after he was seated.

    “So…Shiro was telling me you guys brought a couple of old friends of mine with you?” he asked, obviously trying to change the subject and yet genuinely interested in the new topic.

    Madeline gasped as if there’d been something she’d neglected to remember.

    “That’s right!” she exclaimed, reaching back behind herself and pulling out a Pokéball. She looked at Shiro, seemingly waiting for him to do something. When he didn’t, she elbowed him on the arm to get his attention.

    “Oh – yeah, yeah,” he muttered rather distractedly, pulling out a Pokéball of his own.

    One of the beauties of Hoenn was that many of its smaller towns were built with nature in mind. Hoennites were very sensitive to natural forces, as they believed that certain legendary Pokémon held power over those forces and to desecrate nature would be nothing less than a sin against these mighty beings. In fact, there had been previous incidents in Hoenn within the last decade or so that had nearly destroyed Hoenn utterly because of man’s sins against nature.

    That said, the Pokémon veterinarians of the country had researched and found that injured and tired Pokémon do better if allowed to walk freely in a natural setting once allowed to do so. This resulted in gardens being placed in three of the nation’s Pokémon Centers. The second largest of the three just happened to be located here in Lavaridge Town. With trees, a flat grassland, and a small pool, this particular part of the garden was friendly to nearly all organic Pokémon except for desert-dwellers, who had their own separate area because of their rarity and trouble interacting with Pokémon of other habitats.

    Several convalescing creatures made use of these gardens, where they relaxed and interacted with each other.

    One in particular – a black-coated, panther-like creature – stood at the edge of the pond, looking at his reflection and…appropriately enough, reflecting on the battle that had taken place two days earlier and had essentially landed him here.

    “<Raiden…>” the Voltyger’s ears perked up as he heard a female voice call his name. He looked up from the pond and turned around to see a vermilion rodent approach him, swinging the flame on her long, slender tail.

    “<Hey, Amber,>” Raiden responded contemplatively, not meeting Amber’s eyes.

    “<Um…so, nice day, huh?>” Amber said really distractedly.

    “<If you’re Meru…or maybe a sponge,>” Raiden replied, looking through the windowpanes, where he could see rain falling down in sheets.

    Amber giggled.

    “<A sponge…>” she repeated. “<That’s funny.>”

    “<No offense, but it doesn’t take a lot to make you laugh,>” Raiden sighed, looking away from her. “<Now, if I make Arcus laugh…then I’ve done something.>”

    Amber giggled again. She then went quiet, leaving an awkward silence.

    “<You don’t think you’re funny?>” Amber asked seriously.

    “<Not really…>” Raiden sighed.

    Amber rolled her eyes.

    “<Seriously,>” she said flatly. “<Is there anything you like about yourself?>”

    “<I’m…nice, I guess…>” Raiden said, sounding unsure of himself as always. “<But that’s just probably because I’m too much of a wimp to stand up for myself.>”

    “<A wimp? You totally, like, K.O’d a Houndoom,>” Amber countered. “<I saw the match. Champ found out how to work one of those tele-thingies the humans watch all the time.>”

    “<I brought him down, sure…but not before getting beaten to a bloody pulp,>” Raiden replied dismissively.

    “<AARGH!>” Amber suddenly lost her temper and swatted Raiden across the face. His eyes prickling, he looked up at her angrily. “<Why?!>”

    Raiden stayed silent.

    “<I don’t get you!>” she cried. “<What’s wrong with you? Why do you hate yourself?>”

    “<I don’t hate myself,>” Raiden tried to convince her.

    “<Why are you always trying to tell me how rotten you are, huh?>” Amber shot back, drawing closer to him. She was now shouting and her eyes were watering. “<What does it do for you?>”

    Raiden failed to answer again.

    “<Do you want everyone to feel sorry for you?>” the Marhot continued shouting. “<Let’s all cradle poor baby Raiden because he doesn’t think he can fend for himself!>”

    Raiden stayed silent; why was Amber getting so angry?

    “<I try to be your friend and you won’t even listen to me!>” she continued yelling. She was now nearly nose-to-nose with the Voltyger, who was looking straight into her glistening eyes. “<And I know she said something to you! And…and…>”

    She paused for a second, and then…

    As she ran away – crying, no less, and not at all like her usual, bubbly self – Raiden found himself trying to make sense of what had just happened. It had been quick – maybe a split-second at the most – but there was no denying it. In what looked like her half-hearted attempt to headbutt him, it seemed that their heads had met, but at the face rather than the crown. As soon as he felt it, he realized what Amber had done – or, at least, tried to do.

    Meanwhile, a certain canine Pokémon was resting under a tree rather grumpily. He had spent this time alone – he obviously preferred it that way – until a quite large, antelope-like creature sidled next to him.

    “<Sitting around doing absolutely jack diddly, eh?>” Magnus the Georyx drawled. “<Sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. It’s Arcus, isn’t it?>”

    “<Yeah, whatever,>” Arcus sighed, his piercing eyes gazing out toward another small pool presently being occupied by a bluish form that was just visible in the water. “<What are you doing?>”

    “<Um…absolutely jack diddly,>” Magnus replied. “<Just the way I like it.>”

    “<You’re really a lazy-*** bum, aren’t you?>” Arcus asked. “<I don’t know how the hell you expect to be competitive doing this if you have that kind of attitude.>”

    “<You misunderstand me, my dear canine companion,>” Magnus replied pompously – or at least as pompously as the lazy drawl of his voice could make him sound. “<I am – how do they say it – ready to rumble…when needed. But seeing as it isn’t ‘needed’ right now, I prefer not to waste energy.>”

    “<So, in about a hundred words…you’re a reliable, lazy-*** bum.>” Arcus answered. “<Oh, and if you ever call me your ‘companion’ again, I’ll personally turn you into an ice statue…then shatter you and show the others how to put you back together when you thaw out. On top of that, I’ll probably make sure to have them shove certain body parts down your throat…if you have them to begin with.>”

    “<You really don’t want to use that much energy, do you?>” Magnus asked dissuasively, nonetheless eyeing Arcus with distrust after the latter’s rather gruesome threat of violence.

    “<Not really…but if it’s ‘needed’…>” Arcus trailed off.

    “<I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to offend you. Seriously, man, you need to calm down,>” Magnus drawled again.

    “<Don’t worry about me. I hate everybody equally,>” Arcus replied flippantly. His eyes gazing out toward the pond, he asked Magnus the first question that popped into his head, wondering if he would regret doing so. “<…what do you think about Meru?>”

    “<Meru? The little swimming fox gal?>” Magnus repeated. “<You ever heard of someone who does anything they do with a chip on his shoulder? That’s Meru. She’s plenty attractive, I suppose, but she seems like she’s carrying a bit of baggage. Why these questions all of a sudden? Interested?>”

    “<What? Hell, no,>” Arcus replied a bit too defensively. “<She (Arcus didn’t talk much, but when he did, he could be very foulmouthed indeed) hates me – everybody knows that. And I think she’s irritating.>”

    “<But deep down, you wonder about her – is that it?>” Magnus asked.

    “<Not like she’s anything special or something like that,>” Arcus again defended himself. “<Baggage…what kind of baggage can she have that could possibly be worse than a dead mother?>”

    “<Have you ever asked her?>” Magnus questioned as if doing so would require no effort on Arcus’ part.

    “<What are you, stupid?>” Arcus shot back. “<There’s no way in hell you can just walk up to somebody and go, ‘I want to hear your life story.’ It just isn’t done.>”

    Magnus, for the first time, didn’t answer.

    “<You know what? I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Leave me alone,>” Arcus said, laying down on the grass – a clear signal that the conversation was indeed over.

    “<Suit yourself,>” Magnus replied, walking away. Arcus growled to himself. Being around all these weaklings must have made him soft. That was it. He tore his eyes away from the pond and began to close them in slumber.

    On the other side of the garden, an Umbreon lay, pensively staring at nothing in particular. His reddish eyes arrived at the door, where a lavender form was presently entering the garden, guided by a fat, pink, egg-bearing blob with a small, white hat.

    “<Don’t try doing too much,>” Crescent heard this Chansey say to Angel. “<Some of your wounds still haven’t healed.>”

    “<Yeah, sure…>” Angel seemed to be growing tired of the Pokémon nurse very quickly. “<Well, don’t you have some other patients to check on? I can walk fine on my own.>”

    “<Okay, but be careful,>” Nurse Chansey waddled back into the doors and out of sight.

    “<Urgh…>” Angel groaned in annoyance as Crescent approached her rather apprehensively. “<You ever met someone that takes their job way too seriously?>”

    “<Yeah. I think you guys call him ‘Champ’,>” Crescent answered. Angel laughed. “<How are you doing?>”

    “<Obviously better than yesterday,>” Angel sighed. “<My head still hurts like hell, but I can walk, so that’s an improvement.>”

    “<When did you learn how to use Psychic?>” Crescent questioned.

    “<Three days ago,>” Angel said. Crescent looked at her and blinked.

    “<Wow…you sure looked like you knew what you were doing,>” he said. “<In any case, you said you’d tell me a secret after we won, so…>”

    “<Oh, that…>” Angel muttered as if she’d just remembered seconds ago. “<Why’d you have to put me on the spot like that? I mean…you see, the thing is…>”

    “<Is it that hard for you to say aloud?>” Crescent asked her. Angel looked away from him slightly. “<Tell me in my ear, then.>”

    Angel took in a deep breath before hearing her name being called. The voice sounded somewhat familiar – like something she’d heard a long time ago – but she couldn’t quite place it.

    She whirled around as Crescent whispered a swearword.

    “<Angel?! Are you in here??>” a rodent with a sunshine-colored coat of fur sprinted into the garden. The cheeks on this bright-eyed creature were a cardinal red, the tips of its ears a midnight black. A tail shot out from its back like a bolt of lightning, ending with an ever-so-definitive fork right at its very end.

    She was followed closely by a canine creature with hardly any resemblance to an Arcidane. Instead, this doglike monster was colored ginger and black, with a cream-colored ruff of fur under its chin, atop its head, and a bottlebrush tail of the same color. It looked almost like a dog with tiger-like markings.

    Crescent eyed the approaching Pikachu and Growlithe curiously. Angel, on the other hand, seemed to recognize them.

    “<Sparx? Hotshot?>”

    Both Pokémon looked straight at Angel and ran toward her. It was not long before jubilant shouts filled the garden air. Crescent looked on as three old friends were reunited for the first time in nearly two years, feeling rather like one excluded from a special sort of club.

    “<We have so much to tell you,>” Sparx the Pikachu said enthusiastically. “<Uh…who’s the strong, silent one behind you?>”

    “<Oh…>” Angel looked back at Crescent, who caught the cue to walk up to introduce himself – or at least be introduced. “<This is Crescent.>”

    She gave the others a sort of dazed smile that rendered a long explanation completely unnecessary.

    “<You mean, he’s…>” Hotshot picked up the hint almost immediately.

    “<Don’t tell me…>” Sparx started, sounding incredulous.

    Angel nodded, answering with a simple “<Yeah.>”

    “<Whaaat?>” Hotshot drawled.

    “<When did this happen?>” Sparx asked curiously.

    “<Summer before last,>” Angel answered.

    “<Hold on – where were we?>” Hotshot asked.

    “<Probably at that lab,>” Sparx commented.

    “<Oh, this is great – this is freaking priceless!!,>” Hotshot lifted his head up into the air and released a long, barking laugh.

    Angel’s face went as red as a beet. “<Hey! Wh-what’s so funny??>”

    “<Are you kidding me?>” Hotshot guffawed. “<You were teasing me every chance you got when Sparx and I got together!>”

    Angel rolled her eyes.

    “<So, is anyone else with you?>” she asked.

    “<Um…>” Sparx thought for a second. “<Queenie’s with us, and…Sora. I don’t think you’ve met her yet.>”

    “<Who’s Queenie?>” Angel asked.

    “<Oh, that’s Nidoqueen. We call her ‘Queenie’ for short,>” Sparx explained, “<because it annoys the living hell out of her.>”

    “<And…Sora?>” Angel asked.

    “<A Swellow,>” Hotshot answered. “<Shiro caught her as a Taillow a week or two back.>”

    “<Oh, I see…>” Angel said. “<Well, come on! Let me introduce you to everyone else!>”

    With that, she took off around the garden, being followed by Crescent, who found himself flanked by Hotshot and Sparx as he walked.

    “<You really don’t say a lot, do you?>” Sparx asked. Crescent, feeling slightly awkward, didn’t respond.

    “<Strange…I always thought Angel would go for someone a little bit more…assertive,>” Hotshot commented. This comment stopped Crescent dead in his tracks. As Sparx and Hotshot continued to follow Angel, Crescent stayed rooted to where he was standing, looking straight down at the ground.

    So now even people and Pokémon that didn’t know him at all could see it. He wasn’t ‘assertive’ enough – a tactful choice of words for stating the obvious. He, Crescent, was a wimp. Not even the friends of hers that had just met him thought that he was good enough for her. Maybe, deep down, she thought that, too…

    No. Hadn’t she chosen him?

    But he had been stronger than her then…hadn’t he?

    He was supposed to be taking care of her…protecting her. But he knew the truth.

    Someplace hidden away in a secret chamber of her heart…she looked down upon him. She had been disdainful of him ever since day one. She was just a bit nicer about it now. He just couldn’t see any way that Angel loved him as an equal.

    His maroon eyes narrowed.

    He would have to do something about it.

    And he would have to do something big.

    Travis, sitting on the bed in his room, closed a recently-purchased newspaper. A loud rustling was heard as Travis let the paper float to the ground from his hands as he read.

    A heavy sigh escaped the boy’s lips.

    “Dammit,” he muttered.

    “What’s wrong?” Katrina’s voice drifted in from the bathroom. A moment later, the door opened and she stepped out. “Travis, what happened?”

    Travis didn’t even bother to pick up the newspaper.

    “Imperials stepped up security in Mauville. They think an attack’s coming.”

    With a long, loud groan of exasperation, he laid his head back on his pillow, looking to his left at the room, which was flooded with reddish light from the Sun, which had decided to appear one last time as it set.

    “We need to catch a boat across the river from Mauville to get to Fortree,” Travis explained. “I don’t need to tell you how hard that’ll be if a whole bunch of Imperials are swarming the place.”

    “Hmm…” Katrina hummed noncommittally. She crouched down near Travis’ bed and looked right into his eyes. “Let’s go for a walk.”

    “A walk?” Travis repeated, looking like he wasn’t in the mood to go walking anywhere.

    “Yeah – just you and me,” Katrina answered. “We can watch the sunset together.”

    Sighing, Travis sat up.

    “Sure, why not?”

    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. #309
    Join Date
    May 2005

    Default Chapter 30-2

    A golden-orange light drenched the entirety of Lavaridge Town, from the Pokémon Center at the foot of the town all the way to a cliff face at the western edge. It was over this that Travis and Katrina watched the sun go down behind the peak of a tall mountain as the sky went ablaze with star fire.

    A breeze blew Travis’ hair into life.

    “So…” Travis asked. “Now that Shiro and Madeline found us, how long do they plan on staying here?”

    “As long as it takes for you to get to Evergrande, I guess,” Katrina replied. Travis looked at her, hardly daring to believe it. Katrina laughed. “Did you seriously think that they’d come all the way out to Hoenn only for a few days? They’re coming with us.”

    “Oh…but then there’ll be six of us…” Travis muttered to himself, counting in his head.

    “Um…no,” Katrina answered. “I can’t believe you didn’t notice this, but Kenjiro and Reivyn left two days ago.”

    “They just…went?” Travis asked. “No note, no telling us where they were going…nothing?”

    “They didn’t say anything to me,” Katrina shook her head. “I do have an idea, though…”

    Travis waited.

    “I’ve just got this hunch that they went back to help Prince Elrik,” she said.

    “Elrik…” Travis repeated. “I wonder how things are going on his end?”

    Sheridan Hadley rapped sharply on the door of his mother’s bedroom twice.

    “Go away,” the sniffly voice of a little girl said nasally.

    “Open the door, Sarah,” Sheridan said loudly.

    “No!” Sarah yelled from the other side, again sounding like she had a horrible cold.

    “Sarah, come on!” Sheridan sighed. After a long silence, he finally said, “Well, I’m going. Goodbye, Sarah.”

    A pitter-patter of little feet told Sheridan that this half-truth (he was indeed leaving, but not right then) had done the trick. Soon, the door swung open to reveal a nine-year-old little girl with neck-length, straight, red hair. Her eyes were puffy and her face pink from crying, and she was wearing a slightly dirty nightgown that looked to be tattered in places. She looked up at her older brother with a pitiful mixture of sadness and anger in her eyes.

    She reared her hand back and, as hard as she could, tried to punch Sheridan in the stomach. Unfortunately for her, his stomach was being protected by iron armor, so all her efforts served to do was to give her an immense pain in her right hand. Sheridan knelt down and put a hand on the crown of her head.

    It was at this point that Sarah broke down entirely, falling upon him and positively wailing. Sheridan lifted her from the ground, and with her holding on tightly to the back of his shirt, carried her back into the room. Calmly, he sat down on the larger of the two beds in this room, placing the little girl on his knees, where she still held on for dear life as if releasing him was something irreparable – irrevocable. She looked up into Sheridan’s face, her eyes angry, streaming slits, and uttered a statement very simple and yet very profound:

    “I hate fighting.”

    Sheridan stroked the top of her head as she continued to bare her feelings to her eldest brother.

    “First it took Daddy away, and now you…” she said. Tearfully looking up at her brother, she said, “I may never see you again.”

    “Don’t say that,” Sheridan said, hoping he sounded reassuring. “Of course you will, Sarah.”

    Sarah reached around her neck, pulling from her person what looked like a necklace with a strange charm on it. It looked to be of the sun and radiating rays, but was made of solid pewter. She put it around the neck of Sheridan, who didn’t protest.

    “I’ll come back…” Sheridan said, holding his red-haired sibling close to himself as she began crying again. “I promise…”

    Sheridan sat on the edge of his new bed at the Romero Mansion, looking at the pewter amulet. His eyes prickled as his fist closed around it and began to shake violently. He hissed through his teeth, trying to will himself not to shed any tears. Nevertheless, the memories of his family’s faces as they said goodbye to him – for what they all understood could be the last time – proved to be next to impossible to allow to pass.

    Becoming a Captain offered Sheridan Hadley the chance at either a glorious victory or a heroic death on the battlefield…but Sheridan no longer cared anything about glory.

    For little girls like Sarah and his other sisters, and boys like Dietrich and Raymond, war should have been something that they only saw or heard about from history books.

    But in the times they lived in, war was right here on their doorstep, threatening to take away anything and everything that was precious to their young, fragile hearts.

    He couldn’t allow that. All he could imagine were the faces and the saddened hearts of families…of wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, sons, fathers, brothers, husbands…their faces at receiving a sword, perhaps notched in battle, or a Captain’s targe like the one he wore…

    What would it be like for those people to hear that someone they loved was never coming home? Many would carry the memory of this lost loved one with pride…eventually. But the fact was, war had many more casualties than those that were only physical. Hearts were casualties of war as well…hearts of those who had maybe never so much as grasped the handle of a sword…

    …but those they held most dear had chosen to, and had been lost for that sword’s sake.

    Yes, Captain Sheridan Hadley, the son of a soldier missing in action, and now a soldier himself, knew better than anyone.

    His new rank gave him command over fifty men – quite a percentage in such a small army. But it charged him with the protection of the hearts of all who loved him and those fifty men…and that would no doubt amount to hundreds, perhaps even thousands.

    That was why he could not fail. Not because it would keep him from advancing in rank, but because he could not bear to live with the prospect of seeing innocent young children cry any more.

    He would be the sword that struck for His Majesty’s cause, and the shield that protected Rustboro City.

    He would do all that was in his power to bring this war to an end…

    With the peace-loving side victorious.

    A giant, stone Sentret overlooked the small municipality of New Bark Town. On the base of this statue sat Avril Pennington, leaning against the giant likeness’ tail as she looked over New Bark Town at the sunset. She was wearing a light, flowing, sleeveless dress that bore various floral designs and stopped right at the tops of her unshod feet. Her small, half-yin-yang necklace hung down to just where the top of her dress began to cover the rest of her. As always, she was plucking the strings of her guitar, watching and waiting.

    She stopped abruptly and let out a loud gasp as her sight left her, her eyes covered by an unknown hand.

    “Oh, my gosh,” Avril giggled. “Don’t do that. You scared me half to death.”

    “You ever thought about how that doesn’t really make sense? I mean, how do you scare something half to death?” Nate’s voice questioned as the hand was removed from Avril’s eyes – which opened, silver and shining, to look for him.

    He was standing to her right, his shock of jet-black hair swaying slightly in the dusk breeze. He was wearing a black shirt that looked to have a grainy, yellow, crudely-drawn car on it. In golden, script lettering next to the car was the word “Silvercoin.” His jeans were a light blue and rather ordinary-looking, which seemed to be what he had been going for. His eyes, a warm burgundy color, looked into hers as he showed a smile, which showed only a few of his even teeth as it had a cute sort of demureness.

    Avril beamed as she rested her guitar against the statue. She jumped down into his waiting arms, where he received her with a gladly accepted kiss before setting her down and allowing her bare feet to touch the soft grass.

    “You’re late,” she said, a wry smile crossing her face.

    “Sorry,” Nate sighed. “Cousin had me work an extra two hours, and then I had to go home and change. He paid me double for it, though.”

    “That’s good,” Avril answered. She took Nate’s hand and followed him to the railed cliff very near the monument.

    There were a few seconds of silence.

    “What do you think about Tai?” Nate finally asked.

    “You mean the guy we met last time we went to Cherrygrove?” Avril asked. “He’s really nice – not to mention he’s a great guitarist.”

    “Yeah. He invited us to hang out with him for the weekend,” Nate announced. “He says he wanted to hear some of the songs you and I wrote.”

    “Me?” Avril repeated incredulously. “I sing in front of you because I know you won’t laugh at me, but other people…”

    “Come on,” Nate coaxed. “You never know what could happen.”

    Avril heaved a long, heavy sigh as she thought about it for a moment.

    “Okay,” she said. “If you say so. He might know how to make them…I don’t know, not so bad.”

    “Alright,” Nate replied with a smile. Avril leaned back against Nate, closing her eyes. Nate held her close, appreciative of the relative peace these days had brought him…

    …but at the same time, wondering about those whose lives were not quite so peaceful.

    The great thing about having such a web-like plotline that it’s really hard to write a pure ‘filler’ chapter that’s entirely skippable. (Skippable? Is that even a word? Whatever…)

    Well, guys, I’m on Spring Break. *hoots and starts to lift up shirt* Erm…nevermind.

    What I’m saying is, I’ll probably be back to writing again after a few hours off. I’m going for quality, of course, but my goal is to have another chapter up by this time next week. Until then, have fun analyzing this one.

    - ;196: 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.

  10. #310
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Sorry for the late add, but I nearly forgot about this.

    Inside the Head of…


    Full Name: Katrina Lynn Sasano
    DOB: December 1, PA 1998
    Birthplace: Goldenrod City, Johto? (current home is New Bark Town)
    Current Age: 14
    Approximate Height: 5’6”
    Approximate Weight: She eats…but not too much.
    Occupation: Pokémon Trainer, Member of Emerald Knights
    Defining Characteristics: Aurillian descendant, girlfriend of Travis.

    Confident, strong-willed, and unreserved with a taste for some of the finer things in life, Katrina is the kind of girl many guys either want or fear. As a graduate of the New Bark Pokemon Academy, she's a very skilled and accomplished Trainer in her own right and, as far as female Trainers go, one would be hard-pressed to find one better.

    Born to a teenage girl who had taken to selling herself on the street to put food on the table, Katrina had the fortune of being adopted as an infant by a young businessman and his socialite wife. There she stayed, financially well-off but mostly alone, until her mother, Nicholette, decided to hold a party (big surprise) for Katrina’s sixth birthday. It was there that she met two boys named Travis and Shiro, not really knowing the significance of the event.

    The following fall, Katrina began schooling at the New Bark Town Pokémon Academy, where it just so happened that Travis and Shiro were starting that same year. The three became fast friends and stayed together for years. She and Travis were especially close to each other and the two children were, for the most part, strangely impervious to the juvenile taunts of many of their classmates (including Shiro) who jokingly predicted the two to one day be married.

    Not long after Katrina turned ten, she overheard an argument between her parents, where she found out about her true origins. This sent her into a deep depression that began with an identity crisis and bottomed out at self-mutilation and thoughts of suicide. She became more withdrawn from Travis and Shiro, especially after falling into the first thing that remotely resembled a relationship – with Nathaniel Elm, of all people, who was nothing less than a mortal enemy to Travis at the time. That began a painful year of separation for the three, but she began to find that it was especially painful being separated from Travis. From nearly the time that they had met, she had considered him a friend – mainly because she knew no one else in town. It had taken her an entire year, however, to realize that she felt him to be…or at least wanted him to be…something more than a friend. Little did she know that he was quietly going through the same change.

    June 2011 came, and the three friends, along with Nate, graduated from the Academy and began their careers as Pokémon Trainers. Soon into the journey, they mended their friendship. It was not long, however, before Katrina realized that her brief time with Nate had done nothing to solve any of her problems or answer any of her questions. Although more confident on the outside, she still held the same insecurities about her own worth than she had at an earlier point in her childhood. It was not until she and Travis saw each other again at Goldenrod City – ironically, her birthplace and the city from which she had been adopted eleven years prior – that she saw some of her questions answered…and realized the mutual feelings she and Travis had for each other.

    From then on, Katrina was by Travis’ side. Even as Travis received one of the legendary swords and found his destiny as the savior of Johto, she stayed with him, pouring everything she had into becoming his source of strength as he had once been hers.

    During that war, she encountered (among other people) a witch named Lilith – a woman that claimed to be her biological aunt. It was then, during that meeting in Mahogany Town, where she found out her more distant heritage, as a descendant of Queen Aurille of Aldibar – a woman whose daughters were well known for their beauty as well as their magical powers. It was also here that she encountered a near-death experience after Lilith attacked her. Upon waking up in Blackthorn City – the main base of the war – she realized that Travis was no longer there. Injured as she was, she nevertheless pursued him all the way to the mountainous outskirts of the town to find him literally seconds away from killing himself. Naturally, she stopped him and brought him back to Blackthorn City.

    As the war drew to a close, Katrina never left Travis’ side again, even during the fearful Battle of Jonah’s Plain, where she was nothing short of heroic, destroying her fair share of enemies, saving Travis from a potentially lethal sneak attack, and even having a direct hand in defeating Angelos by using her newly-learned magic to distract him long enough for Travis to finish the demon off.

    After the war ended, the two adolescents – tired, injured, and in Travis’ case, comatose, were taken back to New Bark Town. Once Katrina could walk, she visited Travis every day until he awoke a week later. They had conquered the challenge of fighting the war. Now came an even bigger challenge – the challenge of recovering from it.

    Katrina quickly realized that while Travis’ physical injuries were bad (it was thought at one point that they would force Travis to retire from being a Trainer) his mental scars were far worse.

    With her encouragement and help, Travis’ injuries recovered to the point of him being able to travel again two years later. Naturally, when he went to Hoenn, she accompanied him.

    Now, as Travis’ emotional state finally becomes more stable, it appears that the two are set to enjoy the happier elements of their relationship.

    Nonetheless, Katrina is slightly concerned, as Travis has said several times that he had a surprise for her at the end of the journey, and she cannot seem to figure out what this is.

    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.

  11. #311
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Behind you


    I 'gotta say you are one heck of a writer. I don't know of many authers that could have so many charicters and make it work like you do.

    This was a really cool chapter. I lke how travis was not so emo in this chapter.
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  12. #312
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    This is the kind of chapter that I love to read. Not only were you hopscotching all over Hoenn, but you managed to find your way back to Johto as well. Heck, even when you spent a lengthy amount of time in Lavaridge you gave us a (somewhat ominous) detour to the Center's garden. Furthermore, in the description of said garden you dropped another bit of random backstory for the continent, which is one of your greatest strengths as a writer.

    Also, are we beginning to see the death of emo Travis? Could it be that the paradoxical character we all came to know and hate is finally going to push up daises? Eh, he'll still have the hair. But seriously, kudos for sending Travis on his next great development spree. To finish the paragraph, I'll say great throwback with the sodas, just like in Cherrygrove if I recall correctly. *claims not to have recently read that part ^_^*

    On a more -- for lack of a better word -- severe note, I really liked that little bit about the casualties of war. Philosophical indeed, perhaps worthy of working into my rare anti-violence speech.

    Anyway, pressed for time now, so I'll close. Happy writing (and Spring Breaking) -Oath

    PS: Probably not the best place to put this, but where the heck is Saber?? *glances around furtively*

    EDIT: Remembered something: I like the way you do pokemon attacks. Rather than just learning an attack and pwning people, you make the pokemon work for it as you did with Angel's Psybeam and Psychic. If there isn't some sort of negative aspect to the new attack, then it comes as a sensible progression like Hotshot's Flamethrower did. Very thoughtful of you, but I'm pretty sure that I never got to compliment you on it.
    Last edited by Oathblivion; 19th March 2008 at 2:31 AM.
    Pride! Conceit! Courage! Insolence! Fearful of nothing! Daunted by nothing! Let us laugh uproariously!

  13. #313
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Heh. She's much to busy to read work as unimportant as this one. But maybe not. The first time I reviewed Destiny Journeys, Mix freaked out and said I was "famous". I don't know about all that, but...

    In any case, I have an announcement.

    If you've ever had trouble picturing the faces of some of the characters in my series, I'm here to help you. I just decided to start a PhotoBucket account, and I'm uploading some of my stuff on it. Even retro (Revolution: Johto) stuff and...(gasp!) some stuff from the future?

    My username there is EonMaster1. 1 - as in the number - 1. Not "One", the number "1."

    Got that?

    Alright, guys, I'm outie for now.

    - EM1

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

  14. #314
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    Heh heh...I finally beat out Air Dragon.

    To discuss the major elements:

    Plotwise, it was a filler episode that added to the plot. Basically, a regular chapter and a filler had a baby. Which this is. Still though, it does introduce the new Captain in the Emerald Knights, and provides some background to him.

    And then there's Shinx and Hotshot. It's good to see them again. Hopefully they'll make some major appearances in the plot.

    Crescent's apparent jealousy is a cause for concern. I hope this doesn't turn into another emo-fight.

    And now, time for some fan-fic exerpts:

        Spoiler:- OMG! A wild SPOILER TAG appeared! XD:

    That's it. Off topic, Brawl is good. If you disagree you should be shot. By the way, anyone seen Saber around? She kinda disappeared.

    P.S. Get some, EM1!

  15. #315
    Join Date
    May 2006
    A therapist's Sofa


    Stop being modest EM.

    Your like fic royalty up in here. And so your head doesn't inflate too much, your kinda like an obscure relative, not about to be king yet but maybe, If enough people die. I mean come on how many years have you been at it especially with PRJ and with this. You gotta admire determination.

    Not to mention, the readers talking about it in comparison to other things, lists of favourite fics etc. and I'm not exactly sure but I think you've had an award nomination.

    Now, I've not read Destiny Journeys but I seen the hype and stuff people say about it, might even become quite prolific if they keep at it.


    Great chapter, plenty of stories going on everywhere, Captain Sheridan Hadley and his family woes. Talan and Jill getting some steel. (adds 'Atlas Shrugged' reference. They should make it out of Rearden Metal. Yay)

    Not to metion things going on closer to home, K&R leave M&M (lol) leave, which leaves just Travis and Katrina and Madeliro.

    Thats about it really, didn't see any grammar mistakes so its all peachy.

    Review ya soon.

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

    Author's Profile

  16. #316
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Well, I guess one thing I've got going for me is the longevity factor.

    Destiny Journeys is quite good - and I mean that. It's one of the stories I keep up with regularly. If you're going to spend time catching up, now might be a good time to do it. There's 25 chapters and I'd have to say that in terms of chapter length, she's about where I am on average in that the majority of her chapters are two- to three-posters.

    One of the few beefs that I had with Saber's writing was that sometimes she would launch into idioms and figurative speech that was way out in left field to the point where I'd have a hard time figuring out exactly WHAT happened.

    Mix doesn't do that to you, but she writes quite intelligently. She's evidently studied Saber's ways of plot and character management, but is really starting to come into her own as far as her voice and writing style.

    I don't mind that she emulates Saber one bit. She picked one hell of a role model. Myself, when I started writing, my two main inspirations were Archangel R.J. (whom I had been compared to once or twice) and Indigo. Unfortunately, neither of them are on the forums anymore...*sigh*. Anyway, if there are more quality writers with her talent waiting in the wings, I'm excited.

    - EM1
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 20th March 2008 at 8:37 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.

  17. #317
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Behind you...


    Heh heh...I finally beat out Air Dragon.
    Heh... don't get cocky, padawan...

    The only reason this review is late is because the damn forum lags cut me off from reviewing this baby for two days straight... otherwise this baby would have been out long before now...

    And on the praise front, I'm with Diddy all the way here...

    Now to the main review...

    There was only one small grammatical error in this chapter:

    slightly squat from the after effects of having eight children
    after effects = two separate words.

    Other stuff worth mentioning...

    “Oy! Lovebirds!!” Travis turned around and saw Shiro under the awning just outside the Pokémon Center’s doors. “Kyogre says he doesn’t like public displays of affection!!”
    LMAO at that one!

    “<Urgh…>” Angel groaned in annoyance as Crescent approached her rather apprehensively. “<You ever met someone that takes their job way too seriously?>”

    “<Yeah. I think you guys call him ‘Champ’,>” Crescent answered. Angel laughed. “<How are you doing?>”
    So did Air Dragon…

    What Crescent is going to do is putting me on edge... damn cliffhanger mode... and Magnus reminds me more of Shikamaru than any Uchiha, but I think i've said that already...

    Anywho, I'm home on Easter Break... so i may get the sketches done by then... but i do have two chapters to put up by Saturday... so i may be held up a little... rest assured that i will keep an eye on this fic!

    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)
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  18. #318
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    Ah, but the padawn always outdoes the master in the end, Air Dragon-san.

    EM1, stop ignoring the obvious. Next to Dragonfree, Air Dragon, xXSbaerXx and Mix, you're one of the best writers on this site.

    In more on topic news, the drawings of the cast look very good. And the legs aren't bad, they don't even look remotely bad.

    Also on topic; Slipstream. The attack that ended quite a few battles. Will it make a return?

  19. #319
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Well, that's just it; Saber seems to have suddenly dropped off the face of the earth. Air Dragon and I obviously communicate a lot. You go into TCQ - especially recently - and there are a few nuances (some tangible, like the calendar he uses ^_^) that are similar to things that come from my fic. Mix has obviously heard of me from somewhere, although I don't think Dragonfree or Saber have.

    I'm glad you asked about Slipstream. It will make a return, and in a rather surprising way.

    That's about all for now; I've gotten 9-10 pages of Chapter 31 done as of now, so I'm a good shot to post it by Monday.

    AD: Thanks much...although I believe that Porygon was comparing Arcus to Sasuke, which would have made a lot more sense. Magnus...definitely very much like Shikamaru, who was essentially the main model for his personality. Arcus has some Sasuke-ish traits, but is really more of a meld of a combination of Sasuke, Squall from Final Fantasy VIII, and another well-known game or anime character whose identity utterly and frustratingly escapes me at the moment.

    - EM1

    P.S. Does anybody like the crudish banner I put together?
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 21st March 2008 at 1:11 PM.

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

  20. #320
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Behind you...


    squeee! Monday chappyness! hooray!

    Banner's cool, too... working on the Nate/ Avril sketches now...

    Apparently, i forgot to check your account before posting... this rocked hard! did you do them all yourself? Cuz they're rad! all my pix are on photobucket too... gonna up a few more soon...

    Here we go... next in the art set. Only three new pix this time, hope you like them all the same!

    Nate and Avril

    Georyx impression

    just before A very special request...

    Last edited by Air Dragon; 23rd March 2008 at 2:27 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)
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  21. #321
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Behind you


    That banner is COOL.
    Einstein: If life is XYZ then X = having fun Y = working hard and Z = knowing when to keep your mouth shut

  22. #322
    Join Date
    May 2005


    SamuraiDragon1: I'm glad you think so.

    Hopefully, you'll like the chapter as well.

    That's right, it's done! And I'm posting it NOW!

    I don’t think I’ve ever had to do this for one of my chapters before, but here we go.

    This fic is rated T, or PG-13, as always, but this chapter is probably one of the more violent ones I’ve ever done. On top of that, there’s a scene or two in here where someone’s gonna freak out and drop a lot of bad language at the same time.

    Oh – and I don’t own Pokémon. Just throwing that in there.

    Chapter 31: Fire Starters

    Morning of July 7, PA 2013 – Outskirts of Rustboro City

    Dressed in a three-piece black suit and aviator shades, Alexander Stone was ready to take on the world. War or no war, there was still business to be done – money to be made. He had kept to himself a bit more since his rash actions several weeks ago at the Devon Headquarters. That said, he was satisfied. With the city under Elrik’s control, his small-scale ventures within the city had run a lot more smoothly. On the other hand, there were a few that spoke out against him…

    Two loud knocks rang from the door behind him. Grimacing, Alex Stone turned around and headed for the door. Opening it, he found a young woman in her mid-twenties or so with blonde hair tied back nearly into a bun just above her neck. She had a rather attractive face that rather betrayed her attempt at a businesslike appearance while dressed in green-and-silver armor and carrying a sword on her hip.

    Alex couldn’t think of anything more awkward. It was one thing for the Emerald Knights to choose a female soldier to guard him…but why did it have to be Myrin, of all people? He wondered if they knew something – if this was a cruel joke that they had played on him.

    What was worse – they had chosen a pair of guards. And the second was…

    “If we’re going to move, we should do so now,” a young man strode in right behind Myrin. He was a few years older than Alex, tall, wearing almost the same uniform as Myrin, and had short, burgundy hair, as well as what appeared to be a goatee hanging down from his chin.

    “Don’t rush me, Cadmus,” Alex said sharply. He didn’t know why, but Liam still got under his skin after all these years. “I’ll move when I’m good and ready.”

    “Ugh…” Liam Cadmus rolled his eyes. “Frickin’ hell…”

    Myrin looked back at Liam disapprovingly as the latter walked back down the hallway.

    “Don’t mind him,” Myrin said quietly but dismissively.

    “Oh, I don’t,” Alex replied rather sourly to the young woman. “Trust me.”

    He picked up his briefcase and strode out of the room as Myrin stepped aside to let him through, then followed.

    They were walking down the hallway, when, suddenly…

    ****.” Just as Alex Stone reached the head of the stairs, his briefcase, which hadn’t been closed properly, resolved to spill forth its contents all over the top three steps of the staircase. Naturally, Alex bent down to pick them up. Myrin bent down for a moment and Alex began to panic.

    What if she finds it? She might freak out and her girlfriend down there might throw a hissy fit… he thought to himself. It was just then that he heard Cadmus, now at the foot of the stairs, let out a shameless, audible groan. Alex looked down straight into his eyes.

    “Well, hurry the hell up, Stone! Get your **** back in the briefcase so we can go already!!” Cadmus shouted.

    “Screw off, Cadmus,” Alex retorted, fumbling through the papers until he found something in particular, then stuffing that something into his chest pocket rather than his briefcase, relieved that Myrin hadn’t managed to beat him to it. Stuffing everything else back into the briefcase and closing it (well this time), he stood and commented, “We’d move faster if you’d help and stop being a whiny little p—”

    “I’m guarding one!!” Liam Cadmus cut him off. At this, Alex lost his temper and slammed the briefcase down at the top of the stairs, causing it to explode open again.

    “Say that to my face, you coward!” he shouted.

    “Coward?” Liam Cadmus laughed – a laugh that rang throughout the halls and echoed off the walls of Alex’s huge mansion. “Do I see you with armor and a sword, actually knee-deep in this ****? Nope. What do I see? I see the same thing Myrin saw when we were kids – a rich pretty-boy that talks all high-and-mighty and walks around with his rich outfit and his fat-*** wallet like some little (hopefully you can guess what word he used here) peacock. You don’t give a (same word) about this country. All you want is the war to end so you can go about your little business again and make more money.”

    “You guys wouldn’t have been allowed back in the city if it weren’t for me!” Alex shouted back. “But you don’t remember that. All you want is personal glory. That’s why that conscript kid from here got promoted over you. He’s actually going to see battle – while you’re stuck here on guard duty.”

    While he had been saying that last sentence, part of him had wanted to stop it. But after seeing the look on Cadmus’ face and realizing how total and utter his victory had just been, he was extremely glad that he didn’t.

    He walked past the shocked soldier, not even bothering to pick up his briefcase. As Myrin followed quickly, Cadmus finally fired back:

    “I’d rather be the one to guard…than the one who has to be guarded because he’s too weak to protect himself.”

    Alex stopped dead in his tracks.

    As much as he hated to admit this…Cadmus was absolutely right. He was too weak to lift a sword to protect himself, let alone anyone else, and therefore had to be protected. There was a part of him that had been proud to have guards – even these guards – but now he knew…that he needed others to carry the sword he should have been carrying was not a sign of importance…

    …It was a sign of weakness.

    A shameful lump began to form at his throat. He tore for the doors, angrily pushing them both open, and began to walk away, leaving Myrin and Cadmus inside, the former of whom was staring daggers at the latter.

    “Just trample on his self-esteem, right?” Myrin exploded on her comrade, neither knowing nor caring whether Alex was in earshot to hear her comments. “I hope you feel really good about yourself.”

    “I know you really can’t help but stick up for him,” Cadmus said. “But someone needs to tell him the truth. He’s not as important as he thinks he is. Besides…everybody knows that I got (same word, past tense) over for a spot as Captain…that Hadley’s everyone’s pet, just because he fed them all a sob story about how his dad’s run off and he has seven brothers and sisters.”

    “Or maybe it’s because he’s a better swordsman than you are,” Myrin said coldly. Cadmus’ lip curled.

    “Are you kidding me? That kid? He was probably still pissing his bed when we went to the Knights’ Academy. He’d probably never even seen a sword before this year.” he commented.

    “I wouldn’t bet on that,” Myrin answered. “His father was a Captain himself, you know.”

    “His father was a deserter,” Cadmus said dismissively. “He deserted his country and he deserted his family.”

    “You’re really bitter about this, aren’t you?” Myrin asked.

    “Not really,” Cadmus said, shrugging his shoulders. “They’re just wasting a man. They’ll have to find a new Captain once Hadley gets himself killed…”

    “That’s it. You’re out of control. I’m not talking about this anymore.”

    Myrin walked away from Cadmus, who stood there with his arms folded for a moment. Opening the door, Myrin was surprised to find Alex standing right in front of the mansion. Myrin ran down to him and was seen, but not acknowledged.

    “Better not let Liam see you out here talking to me,” Alex said rather bitterly.

    “Oh, please, you think I –” Myrin let out a laugh. “No…Liam and I aren’t together.”

    “Really?” Alex didn’t buy it for a second. They had been together for almost seven years, so it was only natural that they were…together.

    “He’s always been just a friend…more like an older brother,” Myrin admitted. After a long pause, she added an offhand “Not like you’d care anyway, right?”

    Alex patted down his suit jacket. “Nope. Your relationships…or lack thereof…aren’t any of my business.”

    Myrin released an obvious laugh. It took a couple of seconds before Alex got slightly annoyed.

    “What’s with you?” he asked.

    “How quickly we forget…” she sighed.

    “Forget?” Alex repeated. “Forget what?”

    “There he is!” an unfamiliar voice cut their conversation short. Alex raised his eyebrow as three poor-looking men wearing shabby clothes advanced toward him. One was armed with a pitchfork, one with a rather large and painful-looking metal rod, and the third had a sword in one hand and what looked like a fishing rod in the other. “Hey! Look down here! Listen to me!”

    The ringleader of the three men was shouting at Alex.

    “Read my lips, bud: We – don’t – want – a – (same word) – civil – war! Thousands of people are going to die now, all because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut!” the dissenter yelled. “And there has to be a penalty for that kind of behavior.”

    “What did you have in mind?” Alex asked.

    The dissenter put his lips together, put his fingers between them, and released a loud and shrill whistle. After several seconds of silence, the three became well in excess of twenty – all of them armed with various crude weapons and garden tools. That wasn’t what concerned Alex, however…

    What concerned Alex was the gigantic creature behind them. It was blue, scaly, and probably well over ten feet long. Its huge mouth was opened in what seemed to be a permanent roar, and it had scales and wings coming from several parts of its body.

    “Oh, shit…!” Alex grunted, taking a step back as the Gyarados roared loudly. At that moment, Alex heard footsteps from behind him.

    “Get the hell outta the way!” Cadmus pushed him aside as he and Myrin stepped up and drew their swords in tandem.

    “Get back into the mansion!” Myrin yelled, looking over her shoulder. Alex began to slowly back away as Myrin and Cadmus shrank into the distance.

    “Interference, huh?” the ringleader of the rioting citizens grunted. “Gyarados! Take care of ‘em!”

    Alex watched in horror as an orange light began to materialize in Gyarados’ huge, gaping maw. He knew full well what this light was from watching his brother train Pokémon…

    That orange light was, most times…

    The prelude to a Hyper Beam.

    He watched as Myrin and Cadmus waited in the sights of the ultimate in Megacite-based attacks. He felt for that object in his pocket…

    Before he realized what he was doing, Alex was running toward Myrin and Cadmus. With a well-placed tackle, he knocked her into him and sent the three sprawling sideways and down the hill, just as the Gyarados shot his Hyper Beam straight into the ground, inches from where they had been before.

    He hit the ground off the beaten path, in some woods, on top of Myrin. Looking to his right, he realized that Cadmus had hit the ground headfirst and was now unconscious, blood trickling down from his forehead.

    Myrin, however, was barely conscious…but very incoherent.

    “My sword…” she murmured. “Alex?”

    “Hey! He’s still alive!” he heard a shout behind him. His and Myrin’s forms were in shadow soon enough. From the feet he could see, he could only guess that five or six of those ruffians were standing over him.

    One of them sounded rather unscrupulous and said with a seedy voice, “Hey, that girl’s here, too, and she doesn’t have her sword. Let’s kill him and then have some fun with her.”

    “Sounds like a plan!” one of the men raised a pitchfork.

    “A..alex…” Myrin uttered. “Go, I’ll hold…”

    He looked straight down at Myrin and said simply, “Don’t bother.”

    He let out a loud groan of pain as the first man struck, putting three puncture wounds into Alex’s back with his pitchfork.

    Alex then felt a metal rod scream into the small of his back once again.

    Then the beating started.

    Pitchforks, badly-executed sword and knife stabs, hits with rods, hits with clubs, the occasional boot to the kidneys....he didn’t care. He would likely die, sure…but he would not let them touch her.

    His back burned and his head was about to burst with the pain, but he resolved to keep consciousness – not to let darkness take him.

    Through the ringing in his ears, he heard a subsequent explosion and loud cries.

    He heard a close voice that was speaking between heavy breaths. “It’s…it’s him!!”

    “Oh, ****! What that hell’s he doing here?” one of the other ruffians questioned.

    “I don’t know, but we’ve gotta get outta here!” the first voice yelled. “Leave him – leave him! He’s not gonna live anyway.”

    Alex Stone heard the erraticism of his heart and breathing. He looked below him. Myrin had lost consciousness, and judging by the blurring of his vision, he seemed to be next.

    As blackness overtook him, he slipped out of reality…

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

    Alex Stone was only a few months past thirteen, and might have been the happiest boy in all of Sootopolis City. Holding a teddy bear and flowers, the silver-haired boy was waiting for someone.

    Waiting for someone on Valentine’s Day – him! It was like something out of a storybook. Granted, he was sure that she only considered him a friend, but still, he was ten times more fortunate than he had been this time last year.

    He looked down onto the crystal-clear water of the canals. He had promised to ride with her on one of the gondolas the last time she requested.

    He looked down at his watch; it was four o’clock on the dot – the time they had agreed to meet. Thinking back on it with a smile, Alex realized that he should have told her to meet him at quarter to four. That way, she would have gotten there at four in the afternoon like he’d wanted. That said, he wasn’t worried about being stood up. If it had been any other girl, he might have been, but he knew her…she couldn’t get anywhere on time if her life depended on it.

    But there was that nasty voice in the back of his head.

    You had to know this was too good to be true. Face it: Not only is she a year and a half older than you are, but she’s one of the most athletic girls in your school, and you’re a bookworm who’s as skinny as a twig. That won’t work out. It never does.

    Alex shook his head quickly and tried to think of something else, like how her face would look once he gave her the gift.

    It was true. Alex’s friendship with her (he would never be so bold as to call it otherwise) was the figurative one-fingered salute to almost every adolescent social norm that one could conjure. She was more than a year older than he was, and a star athlete at school. He was a scrawny bookworm whose only redeeming social factor (at least in his eyes) was his last name and the money that came with it.

    Even their personalities and lifestyles were different. He was introverted, organized to a fault with a rather calm, laid-back personality. She was just hectic enough to be interesting, didn’t seem to know the meaning of promptness, and was not afraid to be quite silly around others.

    He liked her. He liked her a lot. She’d never know that, though. He had always had what she called a ‘safe’ personality. He’d always stay with the sure thing. He knew that, at least for now, he had her friendship, and he wasn’t about to be greedy and try for anything more. He had to be absolutely content where he was.

    Absolutely content…

    “Alex!” he turned to his right and saw a girl sprinting toward him. She was about his height and looked to be in her early teens. Her back-length blonde hair shimmered in the sunlight as she ran to meet him, wearing a pink shirt with what looked like rhinestones arranged in the shape of a heart, as well as blue jeans and…black sandals. Alex immediately got the impression that she had been so horribly late that she had simply chosen the most seasonal outfit as well as the first pair of shoes she could find. She looked up. “Sorry…I’m late. I took a wrong turn and ended up at the other bridge.”

    Alex couldn’t help but laugh.

    “That’s just like you, Myrin,” he said. “I figured you’d be here about ten after four, anyway.”

    “Why?” Myrin asked, still trying to catch her breath.

    “Because I told you to meet me at four,” Alex answered. Myrin giggled breathlessly.

    “We didn’t miss…the last boat, did we?” she questioned, still sounding a bit winded.

    “No,” Alex pretended to pant.

    “Shut up,” Myrin said wryly, shoving him. “Stop making fun of me.”

    Another ten minutes passed before they were on the boat, traveling through the canals of Sootopolis. They came around the corner and got a glimpse of the beautiful castle that sat at the very center of the city, overlooking Sootopolis, and seemingly all of Hoenn, like a giant, stone sentinel. But Alex and Myrin had seen that castle before…hundreds upon hundreds of times. So, they somehow found ways to ignore it. Not that Alex was looking at the castle anyway…

    “Outdoor volleyball tryouts are next week,” Myrin said.

    “Outdoor volleyball?” Alex repeated incredulously. “But, it’s February…”

    “The season starts in August. They need to have the team set by March and they need to start our conditioning in April,” Myrin replied. “February’s a short month, remember?”

    “Of course – I know that,” Alex retorted.

    “You’ll come to watch me try out, won’t you?” Myrin asked.

    “Of course I will,” Alex reassured her. “I’ve been at all your other ones, haven’t I?”

    “Not track,” Myrin said, pointing up one finger in citation.

    “I had the flu that week – gimme a break,” Alex groaned, looking up at the guy rowing the boat up front and wondering if he was even listening to his conversation – or how many different conversations similar to this one he’d heard today.

    There was an awkward silence. Alex swore inwardly; he hated these, but there wasn’t much he could do about them but hope that Myrin had another interesting story about how disorganized her life was.

    “You know Ben asked me out, right?” Myrin said, obviously not knowing that Alex’s heart would sink into his stomach like a falling boulder. Ben was a tall, rangy basketball player at their private school, as well as the resident heartthrob.

    “He did?” Alex asked. “Well – wh-what did you say to him?”

    “No – of course,” Myrin rolled her eyes. “It’s so obvious that he wants me for a trophy. Besides…me, one of the top girl athletes in the school, going out with the captain of the basketball team? That’s so predictable that it’s almost cheesy.”

    Alex smiled – partly because of Myrin’s answer, but partly because his favorite quality about Myrin, her total disdain for social norms, was showing itself in a big way.

    “And on top of that…” Myrin started. She seemed to want to say something. “Anyway, are we going to exchange gifts or what?”

    “Erm…” Alex murmured. He pulled from the foot of the boat a small, white teddy bear. On its chest was a red heart with the words, ‘Be Mine’ engraved into it in perfect script writing.

    “It’s adorable!” Myrin cried, taking the bear and squeezing it.

    He reached for something behind his back and pulled out a bouquet of several roses bound in plastic. The majority of them were different shades of pink; however, the biggest one was a bright red. Myrin, whose mother ran a flower shop, had been raised knowing the meanings behind each colored rose.

    “I expected all roses the same color,” Myrin commented. Smiling, she asked, “You really thought this thing through, didn’t you?”

    “Yeah…I guess,” Alex said, looking away from her awkwardly.

    “Light pink roses are friendship, I remember that,” Myrin commented. “But the biggest rose is red, and that’s…”

    She gasped and put her hand to her mouth for a second, then laid the gifts down beside her. Then came the most painful silence of all. Alex looked away from her. Had he done something wrong?

    “Now I know for sure I can give you my gift,” she said.

    Alex gave her a quizzical look, having noticed a long time ago that Myrin had brought nothing with her but herself.

    “Close your eyes – please?” she pleaded in a voice that made it hard for Alex to refuse. As Alex felt his glasses torn from his face, he heard her comment, “These will have to go for this.”

    He waited there, a cold February wind striking his face. He tried to sneak in a squint to see what Myrin was doing, but she immediately caught him.

    “Don’t open them,” she scolded him. “Or I won’t give it to you.”

    Alex waited a bit more. What was taking her so long? He opened his mouth slightly to breathe. It was a good thing that something had possessed him to brush his teeth five times over that morning. He heard Myrin’s voice again.

    “Keep still, just like that,” she said. He heard her take in a deep breath. Was she nervous about something? “I was saving this for you because I wasn’t sure if you’d want it.”

    Now, far from being tempted to move, Alex was somehow frozen in place. Moments later, he felt a warm breeze on his face.

    It was February. That didn’t make…

    Alex gasped and resisted the urge to cry out as something caught hold of his lips and began to caress them slowly. Almost instantly, his heart began to beat faster than he thought was ever possible. Now he had to know what was going on – this was like nothing he had ever felt before. He opened his eyes…and found hers staring back at him.

    Now he knew why Myrin had told him to keep his eyes closed. In a manner of seconds, he had gone from a feeling of exhilaration to severe nervousness. She let out a sigh and leaned closer to him, almost as if she was trying to merge their faces into one.

    After a few moments, the feeling of nervousness subsided and the reality of what was going on began to course through him like a sudden electric shock. He gasped….

    His eyes opened.

    As he stared at the bandages around his twenty-three-year-old self, memories of the attack on his home came flooding back. His hand went up to his forehead, which he found was bandaged as well. Everything was sliding in and out of focus, but he could see just enough to know that he was lying in a bed that was not his own.

    With a loud grunt, Alex tried to sit up. The pain immediately pressed in on him, causing him to dry heave and slump back onto the bed.

    “Calm down,” a man’s voice sounded from his left. With substantial effort, Alex turned his head in that direction. Standing right in front of the window was a man with short, slightly messy, silver hair. He was wearing a shirt with gold buttons but no collar, as well as black pants.

    The man, who might have been three years older than Alex – four at the most – was looking straight at him over one of his shoulders and immediately saw Alex’s confused expression.

    “Talk about fortunate,” the man said, walking over to his slightly younger counterpart and sitting at the foot of his bed. “Didn’t have anything on the agenda today, so I thought I’d come back and see how our house was doing. Of course, that’s when I found twenty ******-off rioters and an even more ******-off Gyarados looking to make it a parking lot.”

    “Is it?” Alex asked.

    “Let me put it this way – I didn’t find the house in anywhere near as bad shape as I found you,” the other silver-haired man answered. “Tropius and Metagross helped me clear out the area.”

    “You didn’t kill anybody, did you?” Alex asked weakly.

    “Nope – nobody’s dead,” the other replied. “Although I think I made the one guy controlling the Gyarados wet himself. They were obviously counting on me being away. If they’d known I was coming back to town, I doubt they would have even tried that.”

    Alex watched his brother stand and pace the room of…where was he?

    “Where am I?” he asked. “Steven?”

    “The Romero Manor,” Steven answered. “I talked with the Prince…he thinks it’s best you stay hidden for a while.”

    As this fact registered with Alex, Steven laughed.

    “I’m surprised at you, little brother,” he said. “I didn’t think you’d actually bother taking a side in this whole thing.”

    “I couldn’t keep quiet,” Alex replied. “Not when I knew that Prince Elrik was alive.”

    Steven remained silent.

    “You can be ****** at me – I don’t really care,” Alex said.

    “Oh, I’m not angry at all,” Steven commented. “I probably would have done the same thing in your position. It was just sort of strange, coming from Mr. Never-Take-Risks.”

    Alex, who had been laying back on the bed, sat bolt upright again.

    “Oh, **** – Myrin!” he shouted, a brief flashback about the attack having replayed itself in his head.

    “Chill out – don’t have a stroke on me,” Steven sighed. “She had a few bumps and bruises – way less than you did – but she’s fine.”

    Alex sighed and fell back onto the bed, looking up at the ceiling.

    “So…after almost ten years, you’re still carrying a torch,” Steven mused. “Isn’t that just sweet?”

    “Who said anything about a torch?” Alex retorted as strongly as he could for someone in his condition.

    “You had a picture of you two in your sports coat,” Steven said flatly.

    “Wha…that doesn’t mean anything,” Alex muttered. “Look, before we came outside, all of my **** fell out of my briefcase…”

    “So, it was in your briefcase, then?” Steven repeated. “That just proves my point. You carry your life in that briefcase, Alex.”

    Alex grimaced, looking up at the ceiling.

    “Why don’t you just tell her that you still have feelings for her?” Steven questioned.

    Alex didn’t answer.

    The door slowly opened and revealed a young blonde with indigo eyes and her short hair tied back into a bun.

    Steven took a deep breath.

    “I’m heading back to Evergrande,” he said. “They’ll start looking for me if I’m gone too long, you know?”

    “What happened to you and Winona, anyway? I haven’t heard you talk about her in over a year.”

    “She’s been getting a lot of mail from…” Steven shook his head. “We can talk about it later. Get well soon – and don’t do anything stupid.”

    “Sure,” Alex replied with an edge of sarcasm as his older brother strode out and shut the door behind him, leaving only Alex…

    …and her.

    “I heard you were awake,” Myrin said.

    “Yeah,” Alex muttered a bit drowsily. “How are you doing?”

    “I’ve been better,” Myrin sighed. “Sorry…”

    “About what?” Alex asked.

    “It was supposed to be my job to protect you,” she said, looking away from him.

    “You’re blaming yourself for something I decided to do,” Alex said with a weak laugh. “That doesn’t make much sense.”

    “Putting yourself in the path of a rampaging Gyarados doesn’t make much sense, either,” Myrin’s lip curled upward. Their eyes met, and for one brief moment, they were teenagers again.

    “I guess not,” Alex laughed, looking up at the ceiling. “A couple of days ago, I heard a rumor that the Knights were going after one of the camps to the south.”

    Myrin nodded.

    “The unit left several hours ago,” she said. “They’re staging a surprise attack…on the encampment in the forests to the south, like you said.”

    “So I was right…” Alex replied. Letting out a long, morose sigh, he confessed, “I wish I could be out there fighting with them…”

    He looked down at his arms, which were bandaged in several areas.

    “But these hands…they’re not strong enough to do anything. As much as I can’t stand him for it, Cadmus was right…” he said mournfully.

    “Everyone’s meant to do something different,” Myrin said. “If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be in a position to attack anybody. Because of your message, we were able to liberate Rustboro with practically no force at all. I guess, what I’m trying to say is…you’ve already done a lot for us.”

    “A dictatorship didn’t fit into my plans,” Alex replied. Myrin shook her head.

    “You and your plans…” she laughed. “I remember your plans. You used to have the next ten years of your life planned out. You were going to be the president, Steven was going to be the CEO, and both of you were going to be filthy rich. Guess your plan didn’t involve getting beaten half-to-death by violent anti-war protestors…”

    “I won’t ever understand this,” Alex sighed, looking up at the ceiling again. “A violent anti-war protestor. They didn’t even bother protesting. They just wanted to beat the hell out of me. That’s a great way to let someone know you don’t want violence…”

    Myrin laughed at Alex’s quip.

    “That’s nice – you actually found a sense of humor,” she commented.

    Alex smiled. Even after so long, once he got over the awkwardness of their initial meeting, talking with Myrin just felt…natural. He still felt like he could let his guard down around her. Myrin let out a sigh.

    “Well…I’ve gotta get back to duty,” she explained.

    “Doing what?” Alex asked.

    “No idea,” Myrin replied. “You’re safe here, so you don’t need me anymore. I wonder where they’ll stick me…”

    With that, she began to talk away, but stopped when she heard her name called.

    “Hey – Myrin – when this is all over…”

    The blonde soldier turned around and uttered, “Hmm?”

    Alex averted his eyes, saying “Never mind.”

    Myrin cracked an apologetic-looking smile and exited, shutting the door behind her.

    Alex’s eyes focused on the bare ceiling above him again. He heaved a great sigh.

    Last edited by EonMaster One; 23rd March 2008 at 7:37 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.

  23. #323
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Rashid’s eyes stared blankly out of a second-floor window in a room down the hallway. All he could see was the fire red of the sunset above a sea of trees. The way their first offensive had played out was quite ironic. When Rashid heard of Elrik’s plan to strike against the encampment in the Petalburg Woods – an encampment no doubt overseen by General Ludwig – he wanted to lead the attack directly…or at least under the eye of his father. When he was a boy and Roald had gone missing in action during the Hundred Days’ war, a young cavalier named Soebridel Ludwig tried to seduce Rashid’s grieving mother, Fala…and was nearly successful. Rashid, naturally, had never forgiven the man for his actions, and would have jumped at the first chance he got to part Ludwig’s dishonorable head from his shoulders.

    Alas, Rashid was told to remain here in the Romero Mansion, despite being the third most important military leader the Emerald Knights had. The irony was in the fact that this was the very reason why Elrik ordered him and his father to stay in Rustboro.

    “Your face is too recognizable, Rashid,” Elrik had said to him. “They’d target you for sure.”

    This, of course, began to start an argument.

    “That’s exactly what I want,” he had said to the Prince and his boyhood friend, his brown eyes glittering. “I want Ludwig to find me so I can kill him myself.”

    This prompted a comment from Ivanna, of all people.

    “That’s not like you to say something like that,” she had told him.

    When all was said and done, the command was given not to Rashid as he had hoped, but to a relative unknown – a young conscript who called Rustboro his home. Ivanna spoke very highly of him and said he was probably “the Emerald Knights’ best young recruit,” which said a lot, as she had high standards when it came to her soldiers. Rashid just hoped that Ivanna’s trust in this young soldier wasn’t misguided. As good as his sword technique and emerging leadership skills might have been, and despite the benefit of having a father that had once held the same rank, he had never seen real battle before. It was a shame that young men his age even had to go to battle – to risk lives that had not truly begun…

    But some young men would prefer dying for freedom than living for slavery. That was the makeup of their army. Many of them were not professional soldiers, but strong, young men and women with a desire to change the world around them for the better.

    Idealistic? Probably.

    But, when you have enough dreamers…sometimes you can change reality.

    Reds, oranges, and deep blues melded into a sea of color far above the heads of the marching infantrymen.

    At the front stood Sheridan Hadley, dressed in his armor and carrying a captain’s targe in his right hand. Notable among his distinguishing attributes was the fact that he, like his father and several of his siblings, employed his left arm as his sword-arm.

    Behind him was the water, shimmering as rays from the setting sun glanced off its rippling surface…and the bridge, a wooden structure built strong and sturdy over the span of this water.

    Before him were the great trees of the Petalburg Forest. His secret was surely safe with them, as they had neither eyes to see nor voices to warn his enemies about their impending doom.

    His pewter necklace was cold against his bare chest. That pewter charm, shaped like a blazing sun and worn once by his younger sister, was a constant reminder of why he had settled upon victory as his only option in this war.

    “Form up!” he shouted, stopping. He heard the clanking of armor as half a century of soldiers, most of them recruits even newer to the service than himself, all fell into line. He whirled around and saw two groups of twenty-five soldiers each all standing at attention, a deliberate gap between them. He attempted to swallow a nervous lump in his throat. Five seconds ago, he found that he wanted to say something to them. Now, he found that he did not know exactly what to say. “We face a strong and organized opponent tonight.”

    The line stayed silent before him.

    “I believe we can defeat them – but there is one thing I need you to do for me. All of you. Look to your left…” (some soldiers did so) “to your right…before you…behind you. On at least two of those sides, there stands another man. What I ask of you all…protect that man with your life. We are more than simply soldiers. We are more than simply men. We are sons, some of us…some of us, brothers…some of us, husbands…some of us, fathers…and many of us dear friends and loved ones to people who await our return. All of them are depending on us to survive, victorious. Thus we must depend on each other.”

    The men of the unit took glances at each other. Meanwhile, Sheridan turned around.

    “Do you all remember the plan?” he asked.

    “Yes, sir!” voices peppered the silence from a few of the men in the unit.

    “What was that?” Sheridan said loudly.

    “YES, SIR!” the entire unit chorused as one.

    Sheridan looked up at the forest, his green eyes gleaming.

    “This is war, then,” he said poignantly. “MOVE OUT!”

    Black-clad infantrymen with silver armor wandered between the great trees of the Petalburg Woods, utterly oblivious to the coming fate.

    One of them – a rather familiar-looking fellow with black hair – looked back at his usual partner, a red-haired swordsman, as well as a young man with light-brown hair who had not been with them before.

    “Shit,” the black-haired man swore. “It’s always patrol duty.”

    “You’re always complaining,” the red-haired soldier replied. “I’d say this beats the hell out of being forced onto the front lines, wouldn’t you?”

    “Hell, we might as well be on the front lines kickin’ some *** if we’re gonna be out here,” the black-haired youth replied sourly.

    “Thought you would have changed your tune after that incident in Rustboro,” the red-haired soldier said knowingly.

    The black-haired soldier responded by flashing his partner the rudest of hand gestures. He then turned toward the brown-haired recruit and said, “Why so quiet, Artie?”

    “It’s Arthur,” the brown-haired youth said flatly. This young man, who was over six feet tall and looked to be in his early twenties, had a square jaw and brown eyes. Most of his body was covered by the black body suit and silver armor, but the fact that veins and muscles seemed to be popping out of this particular soldier’s neck indicated that he was very powerfully built.

    “ ‘It’s Arthur’,” the black-haired soldier teased. “Honestly, Artie, lighten up. Don’t wantcha to piss yourself before we even start fighting.”

    “I’d rather not…” Arthur said very plainly.

    “You became a soldier that doesn’t ever want to see battle…” the black-haired soldier shook his head. “That’s like being a scuba diver that’s scared of water – or a plumber that’s scared of seeing sh—”

    “Shut up! Hold on a second,” the redhead said suddenly. Arthur and the black-haired soldier both turned to look at him, the latter wearing an incredulous stare. “I just heard…a squeak…or something.”

    The black-haired soldier smirked.

    “Come on, Artie,” he laughed. “There’s no need to hold it in. We’re all guys here – at least the two of us are.”

    Arthur frowned. Then, his ears perked up as he turned to his right and heard a sound that was unmistakable.

    “What the hell? Torches?” the black-haired soldier stepped forward as he saw pinpricks in the distance…getting larger. Arthur heard a distant cry and made to run forward to warn him but stopped dead in his tracks as he heard a very close yell and saw an arrow lodge itself in a tree inches away from his head. Arthur’s eyes returned to his black-haired comrade, who looked up with his hand over his face. He removed it…

    A long cut, dripping with blood, marred his left cheek.

    “Shit!” he swore loudly. “Someone’s coming.”

    The red-haired soldier looked at him.

    “Don’t sit and stare, damn it!” the wounded of the three whispered. “We’ve got to get the hell ou…ou…out…”

    With that, he slumped to the ground. An arrow was quickly visible, lodged in his back.

    Uttering a horrible swear, the red-haired man picked his partner off the ground and began backing away from the unseen threat while Arthur stood and watched.

    “Artie! What the hell are you doing?! Come on!” the red-haired man shouted. Arthur watched him leave and turned toward the shadows.

    “Don’t shoot!” he shouted desperately into the darkness. “Don’t shoot! I don’t want to fight you!”

    A brunet man came barreling out of the shadows, a green-and-silver blur. Arthur went for his weapon but his hand and mouth were grabbed. He grunted in pain as the opposing soldier slammed him against a nearby tree, hand around his throat. Seconds later, he was staring down the shining blade of a sword virgin to blood…but seeing as it was pointing right at his throat, it might not have been intended to remain that way for very long.

    “Yell and I’ll slit your throat,” the emerald-clad infantryman growled in a low, foreboding voice.

    “Woodson! Stand down!” another cry came from the darkness. What Arthur saw next was no comfort. A young man with flaming, strawberry-blond hair emerged from the shadows, followed my numerous, similarly-garbed soldiers, many of whom were carrying torches…and all of whom were carrying either swords or (in a rarer case) bows notched with arrows, each just a flick of the wrist away from shooting position.

    “Don’t kill me…I’m begging you…” Arthur pleaded.

    “Kelvin! That’s enough!” the strawberry-haired youth said, approaching Arthur’s assailant. The brown-haired soldier, registering the use of his first name, immediately let go of Arthur and backed off. Arthur took a look at the blond-haired soldier. Perhaps it was the combination of blonde hair, green eyes, and utter lack of anything that could be mistaken for facial hair, but he looked like he could have passed for a rather tall, gangly fourteen-year-old. Nevertheless, as young as he was (or at least looked) the others were following his orders. Moreover, he was wearing what was obviously a Captain’s targe. Arthur got the message – he was the one running this operation, and therefore, he was the one to speak to.

    “Please let me go,” Arthur said, undoing the sword from his belt and laying on the ground. “I just want to go home…”

    “Sher—er…Captain Hadley, sir. We should take him prisoner,” the soldier named Woodson immediately interjected, causing Arthur’s heart to sink like a stone. “He could be useful in a later situation.”

    “That wouldn’t do us any good, Kelvin,” Hadley replied. “The Empire’s not gonna care about it’s P.O.W.’s. There’s no use killing him, either. He doesn’t want to fight.”

    “No use killing him?” Woodson interjected. “He’s the enemy!”

    “He’s a Hoennite soldier, just like you and I!” Hadley snapped. “Soldier, do you have a family?”

    “Family?” Arthur replied.

    “Do you need him to spell it out for you?” Woodson asked.

    “I’ll do the talking!” Hadley interrupted his subordinate. “Do you have someone – anyone at all?”

    Arthur nodded.

    “My mom…in Verdanturf…” he said. “I haven’t seen her in over ten years…”

    “Ten years?” Hadley asked, folding his arms and shaking his head.

    Arthur gulped.

    “Shame on you,” he said. “Go back to Verdanturf and see your mother.”

    Arthur nodded wordlessly.

    “Thank you for sparing my life,” he said.

    “You should get away from this forest as quickly as possible,” Hadley said. Then, with a mournful voice – almost as if he regretted the fact – he added, “Blood may be shed here tonight.”

    “Yes,” Arthur replied.

    “And get rid of that armor,” Hadley said, not as a suggestion, but with the authority that would normally come with a Captain’s order. “You know this already, obviously, but…Rustboro’s under the control of the Emerald Knights, and most of the people in Rustboro support them. So, you walking through with Imperial armor…not a good idea.”

    “Yes,” Arthur replied. He walked past the line of soldiers, all of whom watched him closely as he departed. He then broke into a run, hardly daring to believe that he had been set free just that easily and seeking to get away before…perhaps, the Emerald Knight Captain changed his mind.

    This, of course, left Sheridan and the majority of his unit congregated around this particular spot in the forest.

    “Let’s hope you don’t lose your head that easily in battle,” Sheridan said, looking at Woodson. “Because you might actually lose your head.”

    “Sorry…” Woodson muttered, his head lowered in shame.

    “Did that guy look familiar to you?” Sheridan asked. “Like someone we’ve seen before?”

    “I don’t know…” Woodson said. “He looks like a lot of guys I’ve seen.”

    “So do you,” Sheridan commented cuttingly, eliciting laughs from some of the soldiers in his unit. Once the laughing had died down, he spoke to the unit as a whole: “Alright, troops, making it in here was easier than I thought…”

    “Arrows flying everywhere! My friend was hit, and the other guy that was with us has disappeared entirely!” a red-haired soldier said, gesticulating erratically as he spoke in a rather panicked tone to a large general with dirty-blonde hair.

    “Calm the hell down,” the Imperial general replied. “Probably poachers or somethin’…don’t let it bother you.”

    “Please, sir…send another patrol out in that direction,” the red-haired soldier pleaded.

    “Don’t get your panties in a bunch, boy,” the general groaned, rolling his eyes. “If there is someone out there causin’ trouble, we’ll just catch the little ******* and beat him to death. You can have the first blow since he shot your whinin’ buddy.”

    The red-haired soldier looked up as the general walked past him.

    “ALRIGHT, SOLDIERS!!” he roared. Every man clad in black and silver that could hear him turned around. “It’s time to get your asses in gear! Set up a loose perimeter around this encampment! Everybody in groups of no less than two or three! Do not go out there by yourself – if you choose to do so, your *** is not my responsibility! Got that? Clear the camp! Get the hell outta here! If you see something not wearing armor, grab hold of it and bring it back here. If you do see something wearing armor and it doesn’t look like yours, cut its head off! If you’re carryin’ a bow, shoot to kill! Engage on first sight! Not second, not third, because by then, you might be dead! Go, go, GO!!”

    Soldiers everywhere began to scatter in different directions in groups of two, three, and occasionally four.

    “You, too!” the general yelled to the red-haired man that had come to him with this irritating request in the first place. “I’ll join in on the fun later. Right now, nature’s calling. And if you see a handsome, chocolate-looking one with black hair, bring him to me ALIVE! Heh, heh, heh!!!”

    “Alright, listen to me,” Hadley said. “The archers will sneak in – they know their job. By now, the whole camp might have emptied to find us, so fan out, wait until you see fire, and then make your way toward the camp. Engage only if seen. Kill only if necessary. These men are Hoennite soldiers and most of them think they’re fighting a usurper. We don’t want a needless bloodbath. Okay, spread out – groups of three, four at the most! Woodson, you’re with me – I have to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”

    “Gee, thanks, Captain,” Woodson said with an edge of sarcasm in his voice. Hadley let it go – the two had essentially come in to the Emerald Knights together and each considered the other a friend. Besides, who cared about formality when there was a battle to fight?

    “Follow me – I’m going straight down the middle,” Sheridan said, beginning to make his way through the trees straight ahead of him. “You’ve been working on your sword arm, haven’t you?”

    “Sure have,” Woodson said. “Guy named Ainge was giving me defense lessons before he took off on a mission.”

    “Orange hair, about our age?” Sheridan asked.

    “That’s the one,” Woodson said. Sheridan smiled.

    “We’re in good shape, then,” he said.

    A few minutes into the run, Kelvin Woodson let out a laugh.

    “This is something else, innit?” he said with a bit of a city drawl appropriate for his Petalburg origins. “We go from bein’ nobodies to being at the front of the first attack in the war. We’re the ‘fire starters’.”

    “I guess so…” Sheridan said. “So, what are you doing here?”

    “Me?” Woodson answered. “Had a couple of cousins that joined the Navy. We were best friends growin’ up. Then His Majesty died and Edgar took over…haven’t heard from ‘em since.”

    “Sorry,” Sheridan said.

    “I’d always wanted to join the Navy, just like them,” Kelvin said. “But I sure as hell ain’t joining a navy run by that war-crazy son of a *****…nope. What about you? You’re a Captain just like your old man now, aren’t ya?”

    “Yeah…it’s been a dream of mine…” Sheridan said.

    “I remember you weren’t anywhere near this confident last month,” Woodson commented. “Something happened to you after you went back home. I was wondering…that necklace you’re wearing…where’d you get it from?”

    “My little sister, Sarah…” Sheridan explained. “It reminds me of her…of my whole family, actually. They’re the reason I’m doing this.”

    “That’s a lot of motivation,” Woodson laughed. “You’re the oldest out of, what, six?”

    “Eight,” Sheridan corrected him.

    “Eight…damn,” Woodson uttered in awe. “So it’s you, your mom, and eight kids all in that little house?”

    “Yeah,” Sheridan replied.

    “And your old man?” Woodson asked.

    “Same thing happened to him as happened to your cousins,” Sheridan sighed. “Edgar took over as king and he just disappeared.”

    “Man, that’s heavy…” Woodson sighed.

    By this point, they had come out into a clearing. There were several of these in the forest. One thing that Sheridan knew about them – they made one a definite sitting duck for an ambush or for arrows.

    “Damn it, I hate this area,” Sheridan muttered, drawing his sword. “Watch my back.”

    There was a silence for a moment. Woodson squinted once he heard crackling in the distance. Gradually, a point of swaying light became visible through the trees.

    “Fire in the hole,” Woodson muttered with a smirk.

    “There they are!” There was a yell from Woodson’s right…the footsteps were coming…

    …from his left?

    Sheridan, standing a distance away from his comrade, saw the attacker before Woodson did. He drew his sword and shouted, “Woodson! Watch out!”

    Woodson jumped back as a sword barely missed him, which was quickly followed by Sheridan flying out in front of him and, seemingly in one fluid motion, raising his sword and bringing it down. A cry was heard mingled with the sound of metal as…


    Standing in a tree far away from the chaos were Darris Klein and Kilara. In a tree opposite them was the Mystic known as Harland.

    Darris watched the flames of war erupt into the sky as an aura over one part of the forest burned as red as the locks of his long hair. His blue eyes glinted with the image as a smile crossed his lips. Even if he desired to stop the events that were being set in motion, there was nothing he could now do to stem the swelling tide.

    “It’s started,” Darris said simply.

    “Looks fun,” Harland commented.

    There was a pause. Darris’ eyes glinted.

    “Depends on whether you’re the one getting cut or not,” Darris answered with a smile.

    Lady Ivanna McAdrien, High Commander of the Emerald Knights, sat alone in her room. She could not see the battle from here…but in her heart, she knew. She had dreamed of this for a year.

    “Can I come in?” A male voice sounded. Ivanna gave a start as she recognized it.

    “Come in,” she said. The door swung open slowly, revealing the tall, handsome, brown-haired Prince Elrik of Hoenn, Lord of Verdanturf and leader of the Emerald Knights. He closed the door behind him. As familiar as the two were with each other, Ivanna’s legs and back straightened instantly as her body began to leave the bed…

    …Until Elrik gently grasped her shoulders, settling her and easing her back to a seated position. To her great surprise, he sat down right next to her.

    “This is going to be a hard road,” he said.

    “I know,” she replied, “but at the end of it…is Edgar…and the chance to get justice for my father…so he can rest – rest in peace…”

    She clenched her fists and began to shake, her curly locks of blonde hair obscuring her beautiful face as her eyes locked in on her knees.

    “Ivanna…” Elrik sighed.

    “F-forgive me…” was the response Elrik heard, obviously between soft sobs. “I know I’m not being…a proper soldier…”

    “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Elrik replied. “The men and women that go out to fight for us…don’t they think constantly about the ones they care about? Especially the ones this war has taken from them? Even the new Captain – the one you hand-picked…feels this burden more than anyone.”

    “Was that…was that a mistake?” Ivanna asked. “Do you think I…”

    “I think it was one of the best decisions you ever made, picking a young man like that to become a Captain,” Elrik said. Ivanna let out another sob. “No one can be a proper soldier…or a proper King, or anything else, for that matter…if one isn’t a proper human being first. That’s what I think my father would say if he were here.”

    “You must miss your father so much,” Ivanna commented. “And here I am, being selfish…”

    “That’s not it at all,” Elrik interrupted her. “As painful as it was for me, losing my father to sickness and old age…I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you. All I can try to do is be here for you…”

    Ivanna looked up.

    “…Because I love you,” Elrik said to her. With that, he stood and began to leave. Ivanna, however, managed to get a grip on his hand before he could do so.

    “Wait…” she said, wiping her eyes and standing up. Burying her face into his shirt, she finally whispered, “I love you, too.”

    Elrik held her for a moment, kissing the top of her head. The pain was severe for both of them – mourning the ones that they had lost as well as the tearing in two of a country. But it was this pain that composed the golden thread by which they were…


    Miles away on the Albaran continent, a teenage couple sat atop the highest hill in their small town – the one with the town mascot, a Sentret, overlooking the township, just as the man for whom this township was named had done centuries ago. The blonde-haired girl, wearing a beautiful, white dress, was placidly plucking the strings of her guitar and singing, while a boy, tall, strong, and with a mane of black hair, listened to her and watched her, wearing a satisfied smile.

    What tomorrow holds

    No one knows

    But all I know

    Is that you’ll be with me

    You chased my fears away

    And I can truly say

    You’ll be with me


    For a moment, in a bedroom in a mini-mansion on the other side of town, a light shone from underneath a large bed. First orange...then bright white…and then it ceased entirely, with no one in or near the room to know what had happened.

    The boy placed his hand over his heart and, after closing in pain, his eyes directed themselves, almost by some unknown whim or as if some irresistible force was pulling them there, to the south.

    “Nate?” the girl had stopped her guitar playing. “Nate, what’s wrong?”

    The teenage boy removed his hand from his chest.

    “Nothing, Avril…” he sighed, smiling at her tenderly.

    As Avril resumed her playing, Nate’s eyes searched the southern horizon. Something had happened…in that land. The rumors that had entered his ears and had run in circles around the edges of his psyche…he was sure that they had, at least, in part, come to fruition.

    Somewhere, on the other side of that sea, a war had started.

    He looked down at Avril and his heart explored the possibility that his days with her were numbered. Destiny was calling him back to Hoenn. Perhaps it was not his time now, but it would be very soon.

    It was Katrina and Shiro’s turn to get wood for the fire. This mountain area could turn quite chilly if one was unprepared for the elements. As Travis leaned back against a tree at the campsite, his brain reflected back on one of the most enjoyable days he had ever experienced since becoming a Pokémon Trainer. The four of them – he, Shiro, Katrina, and Madeline – had awoken just after dawn and had taken a full day’s worth of travel, without a weapon having to be drawn. He had gotten to see his old friends, Sparx and Hotshot, in action. The seed of strength that Travis had planted in them during his days as their Trainer had blossomed under Shiro and Madeline, and now the pair of Pokémon were several times stronger than they had been when he had been training them.

    He had also had the pleasure of seeing how the Pokémon interacted with each other. Magnus seemed to favor using a very specific method for meeting all of his comrades. He would simply follow them and ask them questions long enough for him to know everything about them. Today, his target had been Meru, who didn’t seem too keen on Magnus following her at first, warmed up to him eventually, but then ended their conversation rather heatedly, probably in a reaction to a question Magnus had asked.

    Arcus was as antisocial as ever. He did, however, seem to want to say something to either Champ or Meru as the two walked by him, but changed his mind very quickly.

    Another plot that Travis found interesting was that Raiden, who had been seen in Amber’s company very often in the last few weeks since he had joined them, was now seemingly seeking to avoid the Marhot like his life depended upon it. Unfortunately, just as much as Raiden didn’t want to be found, Amber wanted to find him. She had, at one point, asked Champ where Raiden was. Champ, who still hadn’t forgiven her for the mishap that had occurred when they were training against each other, was a bit short with her, to say the least.

    It is worth noting here that diplomatic relations between Amber and Hotshot had started off on the wrong foot rather quickly; she caught Hotshot telling Sparx a joke about Raiden and seemed to take offense to it, culminating in a (literal) firefight that Angel had to break up.

    Angel, reunited with two old friends, was even more chipper than usual, but she seemed rather awkward around Crescent – quite a bit like the first time the two met.

    Crescent – Angel’s sweetheart was the one that worried Travis the most, he supposed. Recently, he seemed to be…well, a bit less sweet. A very telling incident had occurred that morning when Crescent was rather aggressive in his fight with a Numel they had encountered, nearly using Hyper Beam on the poor Fire-type before Katrina called him off. Yes, it was a very telling incident, indeed…the question was, what was it telling him?

    Travis snapped out of taking mental notes to see a pretty brunette about his age (minus about ten days) walking toward him.

    “Hey,” Madeline said. “Shiro and Katrina back yet?”

    “Nope,” Travis replied, looking up at the Swellow flying overhead in the twilight sky. Madeline sat down next to him. Two years ago, he had just recently met Madeline, and although she was his best friend’s girlfriend (or probably because of that reason), he didn’t much know how to deal with her. Now, though, it had become apparent that each did indeed value the other as a friend.

    “So, how’s your mom doing?” Madeline asked.

    “Well, she’s not going through the whole ‘empty nest’ thing because Kylie’s there,” Travis replied with a smile. “She’s busy, though…”

    “Kylie’s…almost two now, isn’t she?” Madeline asked.

    “She will be in December,” Travis said. “She and Katrina have the same birthday.”

    “Wow – weird much?” Madeline laughed. Travis laughed as well and shook his head, going into his pocket. He handed Madeline the picture.

    “I talked to Mom before we left,” Travis said. “She sent me this.”

    “She’s cuuuuute!” Madeline squealed. Travis smirked – he’d been expecting that reaction. “We have got to get her and Veronica to meet each other someday.”

    “Well, when all this is over, we’ll see what we can do,” Travis replied. Madeline’s face turned very serious.

    “Travis, I have a question,” she said.

    “Go ahead,” Travis replied. He might as well answer, he figured, since he didn’t have anything better to do.

    “About this whole…you know, war thing…” Madeline started a bit nervously. “Just…why? Everybody knows that sword makes you a little bit…well…”

    “Cuckoo?” Travis finished. Madeline laughed very uncomfortably. “It’s not the sword’s fault. It’s me that’s all screwed up. But, as for the war…it won’t go away if I just ignore it. If the time comes, and I have the power to help the right side win, why shouldn’t I?”

    “…That makes sense, I guess,” the brunette replied. “Just…don’t push yourself too hard. And if you need someone to talk to…”

    Travis laughed – he didn’t know why, he just did.

    “What’s so funny?” Madeline stood up and put her hands on her hips. “I’m here trying to bare my soul or whatever and tell you that I want to help you…”

    “Nothing…it’s…you’ve changed a lot – that’s all,” Travis said. “You never used to think you were able to help anybody.”

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

    Travis looked up at her for a moment and repeated, “Yeah…shit happens.”

    “But seriously,” Madeline said, kneeling down and poking Travis in the forehead. “You’re one of my best friends, too, and I care about you. I want to do what I can so you don’t…you know, go nuts.”

    “Gee, thanks,” Travis said seriously, looking straight up at Madeline. It took a few seconds for him to realize that he couldn’t keep a straight face, and he started laughing.

    He grunted as he caught the full breadth of Madeline’s palm with the left side of his head to a laughing remark of, “You’re making fun of me!”

    “Ouch!” Travis exclaimed, rubbing his temple. “Honestly, with friends like this…”

    He stood up quickly, prompting Madeline to squeal in mock fright and run away from him. He took a step toward her to act like he was going to give chase, at which point she ran away from him, scuttling behind a tree, sticking out her tongue at him playfully and grinning.

    Travis smiled and laid down where he was before, closing his eyes for a moment.

    He knew that there was a war looming…it had likely already started without him. That thought was always in the back of his head. But, while that was going on outside, he had achieved a greater level of inner peace than he ever had in his days in Johto…perhaps in his life. Why? Because he had chosen peace.

    Every day, he had faced a choice – either to revel fully in the love of those who truly cared about him.

    Or to ignore them and listen to only what the circumstances said…


    Whew…don’t you just love when your chapters end up stretching five pages longer than you think they will? I counted this one well in excess of ten thousand words. So…hope you enjoyed that 5-course meal, because now things start to get really fun. Seeing as Madeline served as a foil to Katrina in the sense that her friendship with Travis (although Travis notably does consider Madeline physically attractive) contained no romantic tension whatsoever (as both of them were taken already), one of the things I wanted to explore after how PRJ ended was how Travis’ friendship with Madeline would go after they each had matured a couple of years. Hopefully the “Shit Happens” scene (for some reason, this scene was just strangely heartwarming) will start to demonstrate that.

    I gave you a lot of stuff in this chapter. It’s probably the most important chapter I’ve ever done, besides Chapter 18, where Travis wasn’t really the main focus of the chapter. He’s the hero of the story, no doubt about it, but sometimes it’s cool to take a break from him – that way you touch on more immediate problems as well as feel very refreshed when he does re-enter the story.

    Well, that’s all. Enjoy – r&r if you’d like, all that good stuff. Meanwhile, AD’s posted again and I have to go read his… L8r, and Happy Easter to all!

    Last edited by EonMaster One; 23rd March 2008 at 7:39 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. #324
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Behind you...


    'You can't escape me!' - Blaze the Cat, Sonic Rush

    You know when i submit pix of your characters, it's kinda thanks for using concepts like your style of calendar.

    First in line is such a cool place to be... i'm gonna take my loving time with this baby...

    Catch ya soon, EM!...

    Well, i'm done with this bad baby and all i gotta say is: 'Dis is good ****!' - Ali G

    What concerned Alex was the gigantic creature behind them. It was blue, scaly, and probably well over ten feet long.
    Well ain’t that the king of understatements? Gyarados exceeds twenty feet (for the record)

    Well, the war begins and you leave us in cliffhanger extraordinaire. The **** Happens theme was very nicely done and excellently timed: Travis and Madeline have only ever had one one-on-one chat in the whole series. Fleshing out their friendship seems a nice twist to the whole series. And none do it better than you.

    Soebridel is still a d***. Gotta hate that guy...

    and the pokemon take a minor stage up in this chapter. Crescent getting violent much? He and Raiden should switch present personalities. Hope we get the unprovokable Crescent back quick-like, cuz he ain't the team leader he is any other way.

    The biggest questions on my mind now are:

    1. what was in that egg?
    2. What was Angel gonna say to Crescent?
    Who the hell did Sheridan hit with the sword?
    4. When will Alex Stone grow a spine and tell Myrin how he feels?

    Well, gotta wait for the next post to know the answers.


    EDIT: Got a pic uploaded today! Madeline's a little on the short side, though...

    S*** Happens
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 28th March 2008 at 11:24 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)
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  25. #325
    Join Date
    May 2006
    A therapist's Sofa


    I had the best answer for your first question AD but I wont say it.

    Anyway I wondered about the egg aswell, you would have thought it would of hatched seeing as how far they've been since getting it. Unless it's something rare which might explain that.

    I thought that the answer to your second question was kind of obvious, but I won't say it unless I was wrong or give something away people haven't guessd yet. Im good that way, muhaha.

    Not sure about who Sheridan hit but i'll say this, He smashed somebody.

    And for number four, yes he's a big womens blouse but some people are just like that.

    I'm not sure about the actual length of the chapter but it seemed shorter than some you've done. Or I forgotten some parts of it, either way.

    well done anyway. the banner is reet.

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

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