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Thread: Pokemon Revolution: Advent Phoenix (Rated T)

  1. #126
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    Default Chapter 11?!?!

    So…great news. Anyone who’s been following this so much that, despite the fact that I said I wasn’t coming back until the back half of August, you still checked the site every once in a while to see if I had posted a new chapter, you’re in luck! I just got a new laptop, and the thing r0xx0rs, in a word. And I also have a bit of ‘net access in the mornings before my dad gets up to hog it, so I’ve decided to make an early return here.

    With that said, I present you with likely my favorite written chapter so far.

    Ye olde Revolution Johto fans shall salivate.

    Okay, let’s roll.

    Chapter 11: One Journey Ends


    June 5, PA 2013 - Route 105


    Captain Devlin, Arnaz, and several other crew members looked on as a makeshift coffin bearing the body of Ferdinand Devlin, veteran pirate and captain of the Selma, floated further and further out to sea, eventually disappearing into the distance.

    “You doin’ alright, man?” Arnaz asked as the pirates began to scatter.

    “I’m trying to figure out what I should do,” Devlin replied. “I’m not sure about risking my entire crew to go chasing after one girl...especially for a guy that I don’t know very well.”

    “Yeah, well....” Arnaz sighed. “You’re the Captain, so we’ll follow you whatever you do. Where is that kid, anyway?”

    “He’s holed up in his room down below,” Devlin replied. “I haven’t seen him at all since yesterday and, now that it’s mid-afternoon...”

    “Aw, man, he’s taking it hard,” Arnaz groaned. “That’s exactly why kids his age shouldn’t get too attached to each other.”

    “Hey, you shouldn’t say that,” Devlin answered. “Those two must be close for a reason.”

    “Don’t know,” Arnaz commented, shrugging his shoulders. “I’ve never seen two like them before. Most kids their age would have gone running scared at what happened yesterday – especially if they’d never fought at sea before. But those two...they just hung right in there – almost like this was something they’d done together a hundred times. Hey, Royce...you don’t think...”

    “Don’t be nuts, Arnaz,” Devlin interrupted. “How old are they both? Fifteen, if that? I’m being generous here.”

    “Maybe you should go and talk to him,” Arnaz said.

    “Bad idea,” Royce Devlin replied. “He’s already very upset, and we don’t want to make anything worse.”

    “Tch...yesterday was such a disaster,” Arnaz groaned.

    “That’s why I’m not sure about going after Carrigan,” Devlin answered. “...and even if we decide to pursue him, we don’t know exactly where he is.”

    “So, we just stand still until you can make some sort of decision, then?” Arnaz asked. “You know, the Imperials are still out there...”

    “The Solaris didn’t seem to want anything to do with us yesterday,” Devlin replied. “It’s strange...they had us and then...they just let us go.”

    “We could land in at Dewford like we planned, then just plan what to do from there,” Arnaz suggested.


    “What in the name of Davy Jones are you thinking?” Devlin asked in an unnaturally high voice. “She’ll probably be dead by then!”

    “Well...what do you suggest we do?” Arnaz asked. “You don’t wanna chase Carrigan, and you don’t wanna just go to Dewford and ignore it. Is there a third option, or maybe a fourth?”

    “No, because all my other options fall under ‘ignore it’,” Devlin groaned. “I don’t have any options.”

    “You’ve got a good point,” Arnaz replied. “Well, we’d better make a move quick, either way. I don’t like the idea of sitting here waiting for the Imperials to eat us alive.”

    The Selma


    Her eyes opened and she immediately felt pain in her arms, almost as if they were being stretched above her body. In fact, her entire body hurt. It felt as if someone had slammed her into a brick wall...several times. She shook her head to attempt to clear wet and disheveled pink hair out of her face. She let out a groan as her eyes focused and she quickly realized that she was hanging several feet off the ground – by her wrists. Looking up at her was none other than the new captain of the Sapphire Skull pirates, Robert Carrigan. His prized zanbato was conspicuous by its absence. However, it had been replaced by a whip, and the bosun-turned-captain did not appear to have good intentions with the lashing weapon.

    “You’re awake,” Carrigan grunted. To Carrigan’s left (from Katrina’s vantage point) stood a youth wearing a blue hood over an orange shirt.

    “You’re alive,” Katrina replied, the strength in her body and voice returning.

    “Sorry to disappoint you,” Carrigan commented. “I’ve gotta admit, that reckless charge of yours took me by surprise. But you forgot one important rule of hunting – never wound what you can’t kill.”

    She stared defiantly at Carrigan – there wasn’t much he could do to her that would be worse than what she had already gone through. There was no pain he could inflict on her that she hadn’t already felt. Carrigan cracked his whip, laughing. Katrina steeled herself. She braced as he raised the whip –

    “Sir!” Carrigan stopped as he heard a voice behind him. By process of elimination (the elimination being that there was no one else in the room), Carrigan singled out the hooded boy with the scar on his cheek.

    “Clayton, what is it?” Carrigan asked.

    “I believe as the newly-appointed bosun, this is my job,” Clayton commented. “You have more important matters to attend to, do you not?”

    “What’s your angle?” Carrigan asked suspiciously. Then, smiling nastily, he settled on what he thought was the answer and added, “Ah – I see. If that’s what you’d like, then I’ll leave you to do your – ahem – business.”

    “Alright, Captain,” Clayton said a bit impatiently. Carrigan dropped the whip in Clayton’s hands before exiting the chamber. Clayton looked over his shoulder and then dropped the whip on the ground.

    “Clayton...” Katrina repeated incredulously. “So, that’s your name.”


    Clayton walked up to where Katrina was hanging from the ceiling. He backed away and pulled out his sword. Her eyes widened – he was going to kill her! He reared back without a word and tomahawked the sword. About a second out of his hand, Katrina realized that the sword was going to miss high. As soon as she went to breathe a sigh of relief, the blade cut through the twine rope and she let out a scream as she began to fall. To her great shock, she ended up in the arms of Clayton, who set her gently down onto the floor soon after. Still silent, Clayton walked past Katrina toward the wall, where his sword was lodged. As he leapt high into the air, Katrina felt a slight breeze. She was a bit surprised at a few things. First of all, Clayton had cut her free. Secondly, she didn’t know a whole lot of people that could jump that high with that little effort. It was almost as if he had mastered gravity.

    He landed calmly on the ground and sheathed his sword. He then reached down for Katrina’s wrists. She shook out of nerves momentarily as this boy quietly went about doing his task. It turns out that he was trying to untie her wrists from the twine. She opened and closed her hands repeatedly to return the circulation, as well as favoring her wrists, where the rope had eaten into them and left deep, crimson imprints in her skin.

    “Are you alright, Katrina?” Clayton asked.

    “Hm?” Katrina wanted Clayton to repeat himself – she wasn’t sure he’d heard him correctly.

    “That’s your name, isn’t it?” Clayton replied. Katrina was unconvinced. “Are you alright?”

    “I’ve felt better,” Katrina said, lifting herself into a sitting position against the wall. “How long was I out?”

    “Almost a full day,” Clayton replied. With a disgusted-looking facial expression, he informed her, “Carrigan wanted to wait to torture you until you woke up. He likes hearing his victims scream, of course.”

    “But you saved me,” Katrina commented.

    “Of course I did,” Clayton said, as if Katrina should have been expecting this.

    “What now?” Katrina asked.

    “For now, just let me do all of the talking,” Clayton replied.


    The Natus

    He sat at the table with his face buried in his hands. He had been here for what seemed like an eternity, brooding in the self-inflicted darkness of his quarters. He pulled his face from his hands and gazed across the dark room at the other bed – a bed that was empty. It was a bed that should have and would have been occupied, but now...

    Part of him was still in shock. He couldn’t believe that she had been captured. He felt like half of himself – like a part of his soul had been ripped away from him. He wondered where she was – or, even, if she was.

    His fists clenched.

    They were going to pay.

    All of them.

    He would find them – no matter what it took...

    ...and he would cut them down, one by one.

    Last of all, he would get Carrigan.

    He would torture and kill Carrigan in the slowest, most painful way possible...


    ...and enjoy every minute of it.

    Carrigan deserved a spot in the deepest, darkest, dankest corner of hell. He would grant him that.

    Carrigan would wish for death to deliver him...and it would come, but oh, so slowly.

    He would love to watch a crimson river gush forth from Carrigan’s cooling and decaying corpse, until there was no blood left.

    ...until there was no life left.

    A loud rap on the door snapped him into alertness. Slowly, he stood and trudged around the desk to the door. As he opened it, the sudden intake of light blinded him and put his eyes out of focus. Once he could see properly again, he stepped forward.

    “You’re here to make fun of me, aren’t you?” he said to the two standing outside his door. “Forget it. I’m not in a good mood.”

    He turned around, attempting to shut the door behind him. The girl motioned to the young man behind her, who quickly stepped in front and grabbed the door before it shut, showing himself and the girl inside. Travis didn’t see who it was, but one of them flipped on a light switch, because the room was completely illuminated in a matter of seconds.

    “You need some sunlight,” the young man behind him suggested. “You’re going to turn all pasty – then I’ll be forced to laugh at you.”

    “I’m not in the mood for jokes right now – especially bad ones,” Travis said without turning around. “What’s your angle, anyway? Why are you being so helpful all of a sudden?”

    “Because I want to,” the young man said. “What harm am I doing?”

    “Don’t ******** me, Kenjiro,” Travis turned around quickly and barked. “You don’t help anyone unless you want something in return.”

    “I don’t want anything – nothing except what I already asked from you,” Kenjiro commented. “And, it’s only been about three weeks, but I know you well enough to know you won’t be able to do it in a state like this.”

    “Isn’t that so sensitive?” Travis replied sarcastically. “You’re trying to cozy up to everyone nowadays, but I see right through you, Kenjiro.”

    Kenjiro walked behind Reivyn and whispered something into her ear. Reivyn turned around and seemed to protest, but Kenjiro told her something else and she seemed to understand at that point. She embraced him around the waist – a gesture that he returned – and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

    “Okay, so...what’s your story?” Kenjiro asked, sitting down rather relaxed in his chair.

    “What?” Travis seemed very incredulous.

    “Tell me how the two of you became the way you are,” Kenjiro said. “I want to know – everything you can remember.”

    “Why don’t you tell me your story first?” Travis said, sitting on the bed and eyeing Kenjiro distrustfully.


    “Why don’t you tell me yours?” Kenjiro countered. Then, sighing, he added, “Look – we could do this all day. There’s someone else I’d like to tell everything to...and I haven’t told her yet, so you’ll have to wait your turn.”

    ”Have you
    tried being friends with Kenjiro? Just once?”

    “Fine,” Travis said tersely, pulling what looked like some sort of paper out of his pocket and flicking it in Kenjiro’s direction. It floated in the air like a leaf in the wind for several seconds before Kenjiro finally caught it, investigated, and turned to Travis.

    “This is a...picture,” Kenjiro commented, sounding confused.

    “That’s back from when my life was almost normal – actually, a little bit better,” Travis replied. “I had a promising career in Pokémon Training, national media spotlight...and, look – I was with the girl of my dreams.”

    “When was this?” Kenjiro asked.

    “Turn the picture around and find out,” Travis replied. Kenjiro, an intrigued look on his face, did so, and let out a slight gasp.

    “This picture is dated from nearly two years ago,” Kenjiro commented. “You two have been together since then?”

    “Not just together – inseparable,” Travis replied. A sensation of burning needles pricked the corners of his eyes. Determined not to allow Kenjiro the satisfaction of witnessing this, Travis looked toward the wall and added, “It’s been just about two years since we’ve been apart like this. Anyway, life was good back then. I’d been leaked some info about a supposed terrorist group, but it wasn’t my responsibility – not yet. Just about a week or two after that, I got the sword. That’s when everything went to hell. This supposed ‘terrorist’ was actually a demon prince with a droid army – and it was up to me to stop him.”

    “That was the war in Johto I kept hearing about,” Kenjiro sighed.

    “Nobody knows more about it than the two of us,” Travis said. “I was just thirteen, and I had to lead an army of Johto’s best fighters into battle. The first one was a sea battle – not that different from what just happened yesterday. People had already switched sides and given their lives to let me escape...and things only got worse.”

    Kenjiro didn’t say a word.

    “About a month later,” Travis replied, “we battled in a fort south of Blackthorn City. Katrina, though...she slipped off to help the flank to the west. In three days, we were both back at Blackthorn City. The army I led lost entirely. The detachment she was in won their battle. I woke up to the news that my grandfather – a man I loved and respected and tried as best as I could to model my life after...my mentor... – was murdered. And the next thing I found out was that she had been attacked...and they basically told me that they didn’t expect her to survive. That was my breaking point – I gave up. I left the city and went to kill myself. But then...”

    Kenjiro looked up and saw Travis literally shaking.

    “She was alive,” Travis croaked. “She came after me and, right as I went to jump...she stopped me. She brought me back to my senses, and we went back together. The first day of September...”

    “I don’t need to hear anymore,” Kenjiro said, quickly standing up. His heart was pounding, and he thought in that moment that he would have rather been forced to fight the boy than to see all of this. This was...too much even for someone as stoic as him to take.


    “I’m not through yet,” Travis snarled. “We finished our fight in a crater – and then came face-to-face with the man that had ruined my life. Imagine being in a place with a red sky and nothing but dry, cracked earth for miles and miles – as far as the eye can see and even beyond that! That was where we had to finish it. That’s where I saw him for the first time.”

    “Who?” Kenjiro asked. Travis let out three ragged breaths, his azure eyes glazing over and his face contorted, like one trying to hold back a terrible scream of agony.

    “My enemy – the man whose existence changed me forever,” Travis said. His face hardening, he looked straight into Kenjiro’s eyes and said clearly, “Lord Angelos.”

    “Angelos...?” Kenjiro muttered, leaning forward in his chair. He felt much like the reader of a horror novel – a story that was too sick and twisted for him to want to continue on reading, and yet, too enthralling for him to put down.

    “And then we fought,” Travis replied in a hollow, deadpan voice. “It was like something out of the Apocalypse, but...”

    “You won?” Kenjiro asked.

    “Would I be able to sit here and talk about it if I hadn’t?” Travis answered. “We won...I survived, but just barely. When I came out of there, I had everything from stab wounds in my chest and face to a shattered right leg. They told me at first that I could forget any more traveling – said I’d be lucky if I could walk the same again after my injuries. But I wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I came back. It took me two years, but I did it – and I’ll be damned if anyone takes it away from me again!”

    He was on his feet, a determined and laser-focused rage coursing white-hot through his veins. Kenjiro looked into those eyes and nearly felt his heart stop.

    “I want my life back,” Travis said simply and calmly. “That’s why I came out here. So, you see – I didn’t need any of your extra incentives at all. I just needed you to stay out of my way.”

    “It’s a good feeling to have a life of your own,” Kenjiro said. Looking up at Travis, he continued, “It’s something I’ve been working on for damn near five years...”

    “It’s easier trying to find it for the first time than trying to get it back,” Travis answered significantly.

    There was a long silence. Kenjiro heaved a sigh.

    “Since she’s acting in the name of the Prince, I guess we can’t just leave her, anyway,” he finally droned. “It’d put us in one hell of a bind if the Imperials got her and found out she was working for Prince Elrik. The shock of knowing that he’s alive is one thing, but if they found out he was over an underground movement with designs on yanking the throne from Edgar...”

    “All about the mission, hm?” Travis sighed. “Y’know, I was right about you.”

    “Sorry I can’t spare any sympathy for you,” Kenjiro said, a grimace contorting his face. “You take care of yourself way too well. Even if I cared, that wouldn’t help you much. You already have everything you need – more or less. Other people, though...”

    Travis could have sworn that he saw Kenjiro’s eyes dart to the door momentarily before they focused on him again.

    “In any case, I’ll help you,” Kenjiro continued. “Like I have much of a choice...”

    “Using force?” Travis asked.


    “If asking nicely doesn’t do the trick,” Kenjiro replied. “That’s how you would do things, isn’t it?”

    “If I had time for negotiations,” Travis muttered.

    “These are still negotiations – just aggressive ones,” Kenjiro replied. “I’ll talk to Devlin first. We don’t need you to do anything rash.”

    Travis laughed bitterly – a mirthless laugh – then he stared a hole into Kenjiro’s soul, the normal warmth in his blue eyes ascending to an unbearable and piercing flame within seconds, the smile completely gone from his face.

    “You already know I don’t trust you,” Travis growled in a low tone. “But you might save me some energy, so we’ll try things your way. If you can’t find a way to convince him by the time the sun comes up tomorrow, we’re switching over to my plan.”

    He made no attempt to hide a flick of his eyes that directed Kenjiro’s attention to the bed behind him. There, on the bare mattress, was a picture of the girl that would normally rest there, along with a katana seemingly trembling in its curved, white sheath.

    “That qualifies as rash,” Kenjiro commented, the color going from his face a bit.

    “Maybe...but I just realized something,” Travis said. Kenjiro’s curious silence prompted him to continue: “If you applied your ‘anything goes’ attitude to actually caring about somebody...we really wouldn’t be that much different, would we?”

    “Okay, fine...sunrise tomorrow is more than enough time,” Kenjiro replied. “You just stay in here and try not to break anything – like a face or even a pirate ship, for instance.”

    Kenjiro stood and walked toward the door. Taking one last look at Travis and then shutting the light off, he shut the door behind him, enveloping Travis in darkness once again. He took off at a brisk walk up onto the deck. Almost as if she knew he was coming, Reivyn turned around and came running toward him.

    “You’re here,” Reivyn said, almost as if she was surprised.

    “Yeah, I...survived, I guess,” Kenjiro replied, not quite meeting Reivyn’s eyes.

    “Survived? I know he’s scary when he’s angry, but...” Reivyn trailed off.

    “We’ve got until tomorrow. He should be close to healthy by then,” Kenjiro sighed. “After that, all hell’s gonna break loose on this ship.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Reivyn asked.

    “He’s got this ship hostage,” Kenjiro replied. “He said I have until sunrise tomorrow before...”

    “Kenji...you’re shaking,” Reivyn said. Kenjiro looked at his hand, which was indeed trembling.

    “He told me...horrific things,” Kenjiro said, trying to steel his shaking hand.


    The Selma


    Katrina sat down on the bed. The rooms on this ship weren’t as nice as those on the Natus, but still...a cot beat the floor of a torture chamber anytime. These beds were harder and slightly smaller than the ones on Devlin’s ship. This room, however, was slightly larger and had more space as it was a single, and a room reserved for the higher-ups. This was the bosun’s room, which had belonged to Carrigan before Ferdinand made him the Selma’s new Captain. At that point, it was passed on to this strong but mysterious Clayton fellow that had seen fit to rescue Katrina from her torture. Now that she thought on it, the name ‘Clayton’ sounded very familiar...

    “Drink this – it’ll help you get your strength back – and probably cheer you up, to boot,” Clayton said, offering Katrina a mug. Katrina put her nose over it and took in the aroma of her favorite hot tea. A coincidence? No...there were only a handful of people – three of them male – that knew that this was her favorite tea. “The winds of change are blowing. It looks like it’s time for me to follow them.”

    “What do you mean?” Katrina asked.

    “I might be needed somewhere else now,” Clayton replied. “This atmosphere is sort of...uncomfortable nowadays. I got to know Ferdinand pretty well. He was actually a good man...but his grief and his anger at his own inadequacy as a father and husband turned him bitter. He wanted to...get rid of all reminders of his failure. The only thing he did right was taking in Carrigan, who was an orphan he found at sea, on the run from the law.”

    “Needed somewhere else?” Katrina asked.

    “Somewhere where I can help people,” Clayton said. “I have to atone for my sins – especially against you.”

    “Against me?” Katrina asked. “Have we met before?”

    “You met the person that became what you see here in front of you,” Clayton sighed. “I don’t like to talk about him – and I’m sure you wouldn’t, either.”

    Katrina set her mug down.

    “I’d like to thank you for helping us,” she said, standing up.

    “It’s the least I could do, I guess – hm?” Clayton felt two hands taking his from behind. He turned around and, to his great shock, saw Katrina leaning in as if she wanted to kiss him. “What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you already have someone –“

    “He doesn’t need to know, does he?” Katrina asked, a mischievous grin on her face. She inched in closer, closer...

    At the last possible second, she threw her hand up to Clayton’s head and yanked his hood off. Backing up a step, she got a good look at his face.

    “Good move,” the revealed boy said, a half-smile flashing on his somewhat deadened-looking face for a second.

    “You’re not the only one who’s changed,” Katrina replied.

    “You’re not the same innocent little girl anymore,” the boy said, turning around. “I can’t say I’m surprised.”

    “You fool...why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Katrina asked, clenching her fists.

    “Because I know you wouldn’t trust me if I told you who I was,” the boy replied.

    “You left with a lot of secrets,” Katrina said. “You didn’t tell us that you were Lugia’s Swordbearer...the one that desires to bring peace and balance of powers...”


    “I didn’t know myself...for a while,” the boy said.

    There was a long silence after this.

    “Listen...” Katrina said, turning the boy around and embracing him. Her voice breaking, she pleaded, “Go back home. Your family hasn’t seen you in two years and they’re worried to death.”

    “They’ll get along fine without me. All I ever did was burden them,” the boy replied. He let go of Katrina and walked toward the door, sighing, “Sorry about all this...”

    “Don’t you walk out on me...” Katrina shouted, finishing the statement with the boy’s full name. The boy, registering the use of his full name, which was only used by his family members and the very few friends he’d had through his lifetime, stopped dead in his tracks and turned around. “I forgive you – but that doesn’t do any of us any good if you won’t forgive yourself!”

    “First off, don’t call me that,” the boy growled. “Second – do you have any idea what it’s like to have someone’s blood on your hands? A life that you loved and could have saved, but failed?”

    “Why didn’t you tell us you were involved in the war? We could have helped you!” Katrina said.

    “Third, don’t yell,” the boy said. “I’m risking a lot by having you up here, and I can only get away with it because I’m pretty much second-in-command now and because Carrigan’s mind is always in the gutter. Fourth...he’d never forgive me for keeping you from him for so long. That’s why I need to get you back.”

    “We’ve both learned that it doesn’t do anyone any good to hold grudges against people,” Katrina replied. Then, remembering a conversation she’d had with Travis about someone else, she corrected herself and said, “At least, I’ve learned...’

    “I know how much it would hurt him to be away from you after all this,” the boy said. “The old me would have used that information as a weapon.”

    “I have a question,” Katrina replied. “Do you know a girl named Avril Pennington?”

    “No,” the boy replied.

    “Did you know any girl that was named Avril?” Katrina replied. The boy’s eyes became sunken and dead.

    “She was my first love,” the boy said. “I met her during the war, and everything about me changed. But then Fate had to punish me for my wrongdoings...it took her away from me. She’s dead.”

    “Are you sure?” Katrina asked.

    “She was on Angelos’ airship when it blew up!” the boy turned around, yelling. “Nobody survives that! And I thought the Penningtons didn’t have any children!”

    “They didn’t – until after you disappeared,” Katrina replied. “Then, they adopted a teenage girl. She’s become one of my best friends, actually. It’ll make you happy to hear that she’s doing well.”

    “Why? I don’t know her,” the boy replied, turning around. “Even though I treated you really badly, this is a cruel trick to play on someone. I’m leaving.”

    “No, you aren’t,” Katrina retorted, her baby-blue eyes glowing. The boy tried to push the door open and found that he could not. He turned around. With a tough look on her face, Katrina snarled, “I purposely got myself captured so I could get onto this ship and talk to you. You’re going to hear me out!”


    “Stop yelling,” the boy pleaded. “Carrigan’s going to find us.”

    “You can’t honestly convince me that you’re afraid of him!” Katrina exclaimed. “You have one of the Three Legendary Swords.”

    “Three?” the boy repeated. Katrina smirked.

    “A-ha...out of the loop, are we?” she said. “Looks like I have lots to tell you. Now, if you will, turn around for a second.”

    The boy turned around and heard a rustling behind him. Ten seconds later, Katrina’s voice sounded and she said, “Okay, you can look now.”

    Katrina was standing there with an envelope. By process of elimination, he figured that she must have hid it somewhere under her top. Was she trying to deliver this to him specifically?

    “What the hell is that?” the boy asked.

    “A greeting card,” Katrina answered. “For you.”

    She held out the card and, nervously, he took it. His hands trembling, he opened it. He got it out back-first and recognized the PennBriar Greetings logo immediately. He turned it around and saw what looked like a hand-painted drawing that was divided into two main elements. In the lower left-hand corner of the card was a pink, butterfly-like creature with huge eyes and big, white wings with black markings. He recognized it immediately as a female Butterfree. She seemed to be perched on a tree. He looked at the other side, which had the same creature, except of an indigo color and flying high in the air. He opened the card and read the words.

    “Here’s hoping you flutter back to me one day,” he said, sounding shocked. What got him more is, where there would normally be a name or a signature, there seemed to be a piece of paper that had been folded several times, taped to the inside of the card. He took it out and opened it.

    Dear Nathaniel,

    If you’re reading this letter, then it means that I made a very lucky guess about where you’d be next. I’m not sure exactly why you left New Bark Town, but I hope you come home soon. I really miss you. Maybe Katrina told you already (I gave this letter to her, hoping that she would find you somewhere), but I survived the war and the explosion of the airship...somehow. You might think it’s crazy, but right between the time the ship exploded and when I passed out, I saw this huge, white bird. I think it might have been a Pokémon, but what Pokémon would spend its time trying to save my life? I haven’t figured it out yet.

    In any case, someone found me right outside of New Bark Town and took me to an orphanage. It wasn’t long before a couple from your neighborhood found me. They’re my parents now.


    His hands shook continuously and the constant pulling and tugging threatened to tear the letter in two. Katrina jumped up and guided Nate to his bed, holding onto both of his hands to keep them steady as he continued to read.

    I hope you haven’t forgotten about me after all this time. I haven’t forgotten about you at all. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about you and hope and wish that you’ll come home soon.

    I guess I’ve been adjusting pretty well to a peaceful life. I learned how to play guitar and I write music from time to time. I still remember how to fence and I’ve been giving lessons, so if Katrina pulls a sword on someone, don’t be surprised. I own a Butterfree – it’s my favorite Pokémon. Someone must have thought me to be attractive because Mrs. Sasano came to me and asked me to model for her clothing line. I turned her down, though. I don’t plan on going anywhere until I see you again.

    I made this card for you because I knew that you’d recognize what it meant to us...and, guess what? My parents liked it so much that they put it into their line of greeting cards. It’s being sold nationwide now. I’ve never forgotten what you said to me on the beach that day. Now that it’s happened, I want you to come back home so we can fly free together.

    Please come home when you’re ready. I’m waiting for you, just like you told me right before you went out to fight.

    I’m still waiting for you.

    Love,
    Avril Pennington

    P.S. – I’m sorry about this, but this picture is how I look now. Not too impressive, I know. I hope you didn’t cut your hair – it looked okay long.


    Sure enough, a picture of Avril was taped onto the bottom of the letter. Nate looked down and saw a positively radiant-looking teenage girl. This was her, no doubt, but she looked so much different. Her tall, slender form indicated that she had grown significantly over two years. Her long, flaxen hair was no longer flyaway, but straight. It went halfway down her back. She also had beautiful, symmetrical bangs that covered her forehead and came to a rest just short of her shining, silver eyes. She was smiling broadly and the shine coming from her straight, even teeth (not like they hadn’t been before) was one of many – she wore silver earrings that had narrow, straight chains of silver hanging down from them at a length of about two inches. Nate could almost hear them chiming in the wind. She also wore a necklace around her neck that was almost unmistakably a Butterfree. She wore a green shirt that was see-through at the midriff, as well as white pants. Across her knees (as she was sitting down) was an acoustic guitar.

    “She’s...beautiful...” Nate whispered, his hands now shaking too much for him to hold anything. The letter, the card, the picture, and the envelope all floated to the ground at once. Six hundred and forty-four days – he had counted every single one. His convulsing hands found relative rest in the vicinity of the cross-shaped scar he had received on his left cheek six hundred and forty-four days ago...the scar that symbolized his fateful decision to follow the path of light.

    Six hundred and forty-four days, he had mourned inwardly, silently, hidden from the rest of the world, and for many of the six hundred and forty-three nights that interposed them, he dreamt – about that fateful crater, and the sight of that airship catching fire hundreds of feet above the ground. And some of those nights, he dreamt wildly that, whether on this side or the next, they were reunited.

    But he never imagined that it could happen.

    For six hundred and forty-four days, his dreams had kept him barely holding on, with the knowledge that, in slumber, he would see her again, if only for a few moments.

    But now those dreams were a reality. So suddenly had she been taken away from him...and six hundred and forty-four days later, just as suddenly, she had been given back. The dam that had held back his pain for nearly two full years burst forth in spectacular fashion. It was now that Katrina realized how tormented his soul was. Silently, she pulled away from him, lost in thought for a moment. He had taken her good news as permission to finally release the pain that had been haunting him for all this time.

    Someone else she knew – and loved – had done so in a similar moment...

    She blinked slowly. Almost before she realized it, two warm trickles slid down her cheeks, stinging a cut or two she had sustained in her last fight. Wiping her face, she looked up and, as feeble as she knew from experience that her comfort would be in a moment like this, put an arm around him.

    “You don’t have to suffer anymore, Nate,” she said.

    “She’s alive,” Nate sighed. He emerged from his hands, tears running down his cheeks at a steady, quick rate. “I never for a second dreamed that – I thought there was no way – I don’t know what to do.”

    “Do what the letter says,” Katrina said. “As soon as this ship hits land, go home and find her.”

    “She is...alive?” Nate asked. “Is this...really for real?”

    “I didn’t come all this way just to lie to you,” Katrina answered.

    “What do you need me to do?” Nate asked after a long silence. “I’ll do anything to repay you – anything!!”

    “I need this ship to go to Dewford Island,” Katrina said. “We both do. I can see Travis again once we’re on land, and you can catch the next ship going back to Johto to see Avril.”

    “Carrigan would never go for it,” Nate sighed.

    “We’ll just have to remove him from the picture, then, won’t we?” Katrina replied a bit fiercely.

    Nate looked back at her. One look at her eyes told him that she meant business.

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




  2. #127
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    Default Chapter 11-b

    The Natus – later that night

    Devlin stared out the window of his cabin, thinking.

    “What should I do?” he muttered to himself. “I have no idea where Carrigan and the Selma are...and the Imperial Navy is still out there. If it was just me and Arnaz, I’d go – but I have the rest of the crew to think about. It’s not like we can sneak up on the Selma; our ship’s too big and obvious. That could turn into another sea battle, and I don’t think anyone’s nerves can handle that right now...”

    “I hear you’ve been having trouble making a decision, Captain,” a voice echoed behind Devlin. The young captain whirled around to find a bronze-haired young man standing in the doorway of his cabin. He had shed his Ruby Skull uniform and donned his old traveling outfit. The long shadow he cast over the room looked a bit imposing, but Devlin was undaunted.

    “I won’t lie and say that I haven’t,” Devlin commented. “What brings you here?”

    “I’d like to help you with that decision,” the tall, bronze-haired teenager replied.

    “That’s noble of you, Kenjiro,” Devlin remarked. “But I can think for myself.”

    “Not quickly enough,” Kenjiro replied, pulling out his gun, cocking it, and pointing it straight at Devlin’s head.

    “What’s your issue?!” Devlin shouted, pulling his own gun on Kenjiro.

    “Carrigan’s not going to wait until you make a move to do what he wants,” Kenjiro replied. “What if she dies because you took a few hours too long to make a decision? Would you want that on your conscience?”

    “Admittedly, no,” Devlin replied. “But you have to understand the position I’m in. I captain a crew of four dozen and I have all of their lives to think about. I’m not sure I want to risk them by chasing after Carrigan – especially when I don’t know where he is.”

    “You’re risking them more by staying here – believe me,” Kenjiro replied.


    “What do you mean by that?” Devlin asked.

    “Let’s just say that you and your crew are in a hostage situation,” Kenjiro said. “If you don’t meet a certain deadline, we’re all – well, dead.”

    “Who would make a threat like that?” Devlin asked incredulously.

    “Who do you think? It wasn’t me, and I don’t think anyone on your ship wants everyone else on the ship dead,” Kenjiro answered.

    “I see...well, you can tell our young friend that he won’t get his way with temper tantrums,” Devlin said.

    “You really don’t know who you’re screwing with, do you, Devlin?” Kenjiro asked. “Let me give you some friendly advice: when you’re dealing with someone with supernatural powers – like, say, a Swordbearer, for instance – and they’re already emotionally unstable, try not to upset them any more.”

    “Back up to the part where you said ‘Swordbearer’,” Devlin said, cupping his ear.

    “You heard me right,” Kenjiro replied. “He has one of the Three Legendary Swords – the Blade Trinity? Surely you’ve heard of those swords.”

    “Of course – one of them is a symbol of the king,” Devlin said. “A kid like him – a Swordbearer? Life experience must be counting for less and less these days...”

    “Don’t throw stones in a glass house, Devlin,” Kenjiro replied flatly. “There aren’t a whole lot of seventeen-year-olds that are notorious pirate captains.”

    “On top of that, though...” Devlin muttered. “He seems to have two different personalities and one of them is...I guess a nice way to put it would be ‘slightly unhinged’.”

    “Ha!” Kenjiro barked. “You have no idea. If you’d gone through some of the things he has, you’d be ‘slightly unhinged’, too.”

    “It couldn’t have been that bad,” Devlin said. “Wasn’t he with the love of his li–“

    Devlin’s eyes widened and glossed over. His grip on his pistol slipped, allowing the gun to drop harmlessly to the ground.

    “It’s coming together now, isn’t it, Royce?” Kenjiro remarked with a smirk, keeping his gun on the now-unarmed captain the entire time. “She’s the only person that can calm him down if and when he goes off the deep end. If something were to happen to her, he would go insane – and I’m not talking figuratively, here. And when someone with a sword that powerful goes insane...there’s a good shot that a lot of people are gonna end up dead.”

    Devlin had the same stare locked in his eyes.

    “You’re afraid,” Kenjiro growled, stepping forward and placing the edge of the blade protruding from his gun right at Devlin’s nose. “That’s good. You see, this country needs him for something. With him, we can get justice for your brother. He’s the one that’s going to knock off Edgar – but we need to keep his dark side under wraps, or else he’s going to kill everybody. Now, you are going to turn this ship in the last direction you saw Carrigan go, and you’re going to chase after him life your life depended on it – because it does. Got that?”

    “. . .” Yes, an ellipsis is indeed apropos here as the summation of young Captain Devlin’s response.


    “It looks like we’ve come to an agreement, then,” Kenjiro said, putting away his gun. “These negotiations went well, don’t you think?”

    “Negotiations usually involve better options, don’t they?” Devlin answered wittily.

    “As much as we try to avoid it...**** happens,” Kenjiro replied, shrugging his shoulders and turning on his heel to walk out. “And if you’re a rebel, a fugitive, a hero, or a combination of some or all of the above, a lot of **** happens.”

    He shut the door behind him, leaving Devlin alone to ponder perhaps the tensest five minutes that he’d lived in a while.

    He sighed, picking up his gun from the ground. He would wait for a while...then he would order Arnaz to sail toward the western edge of Dewford Island, where the Selma was known to dock. (He knew this because, as the son of Ferdinand, the former captain, he had once been a member of the Selma’s crew.)

    He had to at least keep his dignity in the way this was handled.

    He wasn’t about to tell anyone the boy’s secret, for two reasons – first of all, it would only end in humiliation for Devlin himself. His own strength and toughness would be questioned, and as a pirate captain, that tends to translate into career suicide. Secondly, the Natus’ crew could overreact and attempt to kill Travis, which could only end either one of two ways. Travis could, of course, die in the assault, but if Kenjiro was right about him, the chance was there for the crew to be decimated.

    This was no time to panic. He had to be calm...

    ...but decisive.

    June 6, PA 2013 - Route 105, The Selma


    “You want to WHAT?” Captain Robert Carrigan asked, not sure that he’d heard correctly.

    It had been a very interesting twenty-four hours, to say the least. Last night, word had reached his ears that Clayton had snuck their prisoner into his own quarters to have a “private conversation” with her.

    Yeah, right.

    If Carrigan was a guy still in his mid-teens, he would have done the same thing.

    In any case, this morning found this same girl with the long, pink hair asking to join his crew. At least, that’s what he thought he heard. There was a joke about pirate captains having bad hearing because of sea water in their ears, but Carrigan knew that he hadn’t fallen into any water recently. He would remember something like that very well.

    Carrigan eyed the girl suspiciously. She had already proven that she couldn’t be trusted. The first and biggest blot on her record was the ‘bounty hunter’ charade she’d pulled with that blue-haired kid on the Natus several days ago. Then, just the day before yesterday, she tried to kill him – and nearly succeeded.

    No – she couldn’t be trusted. But, then again...what good pirate could?

    ”The art of being a pirate captain is to treat your crew as your best friends and your worst enemies, all at the same time.”


    Carrigan reflected on the words of his mentor – Ferdinand would know exactly what to do in a situation like this.

    “I want to join your crew,” Katrina said, her eyes locked in a steely gaze at the tall captain, walking forward of the hooded Clayton, who seemed to make a move to try to stop her but thought better of it.

    “You’ve never heard the superstitions, I guess,” Carrigan said. “It’s bad luck to have a woman on board, innit?”

    “Then you can try to toss me overboard here,” Katrina said.

    “I wouldn’t throw a lady out onto open water,” Carrigan said incredulously. “I’m not that ruthless.”

    “Oh, really?” Clayton muttered under his hood. Carrigan neither heard nor acknowledged him.

    “Then, I guess you’ll have to keep a little bad luck on board,” Katrina said, smiling.

    “Tch...what would you do on this ship, anyway?” Carrigan asked.

    “I’d do what was necessary,” Katrina said. After a second, she added, “as long as it wasn’t in any of these pirates’ quarters.”

    A crowd of the younger men groaned in disappointment.

    “Isn’t that a bit unfair?” Carrigan asked. “After spending your first night on this ship with Clayton, that is...”

    “Think what you want,” Katrina said coldly. “Not that I care much about your opinions, anyway.”

    “One more smart-aleck comment and I’ll knock the teeth out of your mouth,” Carrigan said harshly.

    “That’s not very gentlemanly, is it?” Clayton thought that he would speak up before things got ugly.

    “Neither is keeping the only woman on board the ship to yourself,” Carrigan shouted back. “Anyways, I’m a pirate! How gentlemanly do you want me to be?”

    Clayton’s lips turned upward into a smirk.

    “Touche,” he said. Katrina turned back toward Clayton and rolled her eyes, walking away from him and Carrigan and toward one of the crew members.

    “I’ll take that,” she said quickly. To Clayton’s great shock, she kicked the grunt in the ribs and yanked his saber out of the sheath at the same time. She then walked back toward Carrigan as the man stood again.

    “H-hey, give me back my sword!” the grunt shouted.

    “That’s just pathetic,” Katrina said, not bothering to turn back toward him. “Why don’t you come and get it?”

    “Was that a challenge?” Carrigan roared. Looking over at Clayton, he asked, “Is your mistress out of her mind?”

    Rolling his veiled eyes at the ‘mistress’ comment, he said, “Watch. She’s strong. She might surprise you.”

    The grunt snatched a neighbor’s sword and Katrina heard the sound of metal as he pointed it straight at the back of her head. Walking a distance and turning around, she smiled and said, “That’s more like it.”


    The grunt charged first, but Katrina blocked easily. It was at that point that the pirate grunt began to barrage her with blow after blow. Katrina defended, though, with block after block. Clayton looked on in astonishment.

    “She definitely knows what she’s doing,” he muttered to himself.

    “She definitely knows what she’s doing,” Carrigan sighed, not knowing that his bosun was thinking and saying the exact same words.

    “GYAH!” the grunt snarled, slashing wildly at Katrina’s arm. She blocked rather aggressively, if it’s possible to do so.

    “Sorry – I’ve already had enough cuts on that shoulder,” she said. Clayton’s eyes wandered down toward the deck.

    February 14, 2011 – New Bark Town


    A thirteen-year-old Nathaniel Elm, dressed in his best suit and tie and his hair trimmed to minute, fastidious specifications, waited for a girl as he sat on the bench near the fountain in New Bark Town’s city park. He heard the echoing cry of a Pidgeotto as it took off into the blue.

    To think – in four months, he’d be on his own Pokémon Journey. He might even capture one...if it proved useful.

    Then again...a Pokémon that could fly – how was that not useful?

    It could be used as a scout – to investigate areas from above or perhaps to find missing items or people.
    It could be used as a messenger – to carry letters from one side of the country to the other in a matter of hours rather than days...
    And, if it ever got big enough and strong enough, it could be used for transportation...

    That’s what his cousin always said in his lectures. Truth be told, Nate got tired of hearing Cousin Horatio – Professor Elm to everyone else – lecture. A lot of people probably got tired of hearing him lecture, but it seemed that Nate was the only one vocal about it.

    He could probably take the T.E.S.T. (Trainer Evaluative Survey Test) today and pass it...but he had to go through the next three and a half months as a formality so he could get his Trainer’s License from Horatio. That, and he didn’t want to piss off his army sergeant father, who hated to see him or anyone else taking shortcuts. You’d think that sixteen years of marriage to a wealthy heiress would have softened his attitude a bit, but this wasn’t the case. Nate didn’t understand his old man at all.

    You see, young Nathaniel’s motto for life was, “Minimum effort, maximum results.”

    Sergeant John Rodney Elm called it “taking shortcuts.”

    His son, Nathaniel Clayton Elm, called it “being efficient.”

    J.R. (Sarge to his friends) thought it to be the mindset of a criminal.

    Nate scoffed at this idea – being a serious criminal was too much work. Besides...no need when the resources you needed were already there to begin with, right?

    He looked at his fancy silver watch – one of many gifts he’d received from his mother for his thirteenth birthday back in October. It read twenty minutes past twelve.


    “She’s late,” he muttered. “What’s taking her so long?”

    ‘She’ was his girlfriend, Katrina Lynn Sasano. She was everything a young boy of his social status could want in a match – she had looks, a decent head on her shoulders (in their advance class of four, she often bounced between second and third in terms of scores), and a father with a good income.

    But, alas, a rose like that tends to have its thorns. Katrina was prone to bursting into tears on random occasions. Her parents were opposite to Nate’s. J.R. and his wife, Katie, lavished so much attention on Nate that sometimes he wished that the both of them would leave him alone. You see, J.R. and Katie were a strange match. Nate honestly didn’t have any earthly idea how the two made it work, but he definitely wasn’t complaining. J.R. wanted Nate to join the army. It was actually his idea to force Nate into the Academy (albeit a year late because of Katie’s interference) so that Nate could go on a Pokémon Journey and, in J.R.’s words, “become a man.” Apparently, J.R. had gone on a Journey of his own in his youth and must have thought it valuable, since he tended to ignore things that he didn’t consider such.

    Katie, on the other hand, was a woman with a lot of money and nowhere to put it. She did right by young Nate in the sense that she invested it in him rather than herself...but sometimes she did coddle him a bit too much, which started to wear on Nate as he reached his adolescent years.

    This was a contrast to Katrina’s parents, Andrew and Nicholette.

    Let’s just say that Andrew, Katrina’s father and the vice-president of the company that, in Horatio’s words, “Makes everything a Pokémon Trainer would want or need – and then some!”, had a rate of presence at his own home such that actually seeing him in person in New Bark Town, especially if you were neither Katrina nor Nicholette, was nearly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nate could understand a bit, though...Andrew’s job brought money in obscene amounts into the Sasano household. To him, that was what was important. It was poor and underprivileged children that tended to crime and mischief, in his eyes.

    As for Nicholette, she was sort of at a turning point in her life. The thirty-one-year-old (which would have made her no older than an even twenty when Katrina was born) had been rather irresponsible in her first few years of parenting Katrina and was trying very hard to turn things around. Granted, one can only be expected to know so much about parenting as a twenty-something mothering her first and only child.

    In her early twenties – therefore, in Katrina’s early life – Nicholette had been a woman with a lot of money and a lot of spare time...on top of that, she was in her twenties. These were three ingredients that, if put into flasks and mixed, would create a cataclysmic explosion nine times out of ten.

    A recipe for disaster.

    Categorically, Nicholette was a well-documented ‘wild child’, and had no qualms about telling everyone she knew in town of her past adolescent antics.

    She grew up in Mahogany Town during the ‘80s and early ‘90s – and absolutely detested it.

    It was horribly cold in Mahogany Town, and...well, not very interesting.

    Nicholette already had the pedigree for a wild lifestyle, for sure. Her parents, Roscoe and Bierra Landry, were a couple with a penchant for traveling on a whim. It just so happened that one day, the couple went to Goldenrod City, leaving a nine-year-old Nicholette in the care of a nanny, and decided to blow a few quarters on slot machines – something they had never done before for lack of a place to gamble legally in Johto (Goldenrod was the only city with legalized gambling at the time). Turns out that both, on two different days, on two different slot machines on two opposite ends of the ‘Game Corner’ – which was really a nice word for ‘casino’ – hit jackpots that weekend, and naturally arrived home millionaires.

    Mahogany Town called them the ‘Lucky Landrys’ from that day forward.

    Admittedly, if they’d lived in Gilchrist Heights in New Bark Town already, that money wouldn’t have gone far...but, in terms of cost of living, the only town in Johto that had one lower was Azalea Town. Therefore, the ‘Lucky Landrys’ had a lot of money with absolutely nowhere to put it.

    This is where young Nicholette came into the picture.

    By age twelve, she had already become a master spender. And the Landrys had no issue with this – after all, it wasn’t like they really needed the money for anything anytime soon. With no option to continue gambling (legally), they resumed their normal lives – except with a paid-off mortgage and more spending money than the rest of their neighborhood combined.

    By fourteen, their daughter had taken up the mantle. Known for being a bit impulsive when it came to the opposite sex, Nicholette became infamous around town for ‘having a purse and a boyfriend to match each of her outfits’. Already masterful at avoiding compromising situations (she didn’t trust any boy that was poorer than she was, which was basically every boy in town), she managed to keep her reputation as one that was liberal with her arm as opposed to liberal with her entire body – if one understands the meaning of this.

    The problems started here. With at least the next three years already set for her, Nicholette had no plans of her own – no plans but to buy more clothes. She also became a bit more adventurous when it came to dating. Fourteen and fifteen-year-old boys never had what she wanted, so she started up the ladder a bit. She now targeted young adult bachelors that were fresh past the numerical threshold of manhood. She knew enough about boys to know for a fact that most young men in this age group were interested in a girlfriend but not a wife. That was one of the reasons she could get away with lying about her age to these young men. The other was that she was a girl with an uncommon maturity in face and figure. She was fourteen, but at 5'8" and with a slender, curvy, womanly frame, along with the right makeup and clothes, she could pass for being twenty.

    (Now that Nate thought of it, here, even nearly two decades later, she could still pass for being twenty.)

    In one of her more recent conversations with Katrina (since Katrina seemed to tell him everything nowadays...), Nicholette actually admitted to knocking a few back at a bar at only fifteen. “Just for the hell of it,” she’d said.

    Yes – a wild child, through and through.

    It was at this point that she set her eyes on a nineteen-year-old Andrew Sasano, an attractive, ambitious upstart working for the Mahogany Town chapter of Ericsson International’s subsidiary, Silph Co., at the time. Nicholette didn’t know for sure if he had more money than she did, but with his crisp suit, tie, and sunglasses, he definitely looked the part. So, she started seeing more of him, thinking that, like all of the other men she had eaten alive, she would do the same to him if he didn’t suit her. Then she realized that she actually liked him a bit – and not for his money.

    Unfortunately, it was also at this point that her parents finally caught on to her freewheeling tendencies. She spent the next year and a half (for she was fifteen and a bit of change when she met Drew, although she told him that she was eighteen) tied to within five blocks of her parents’ house. This put a strain on her budding relationship with Drew, as she knew that if he found out that she was underage, things would end quickly. Therefore, she pulled off another masterful bit of trickery, faking a severe illness as her excuse for not coming out of the house often. Of course, this backfired, as she received a get-well-soon card and flowers from her companion and got into terrible trouble for them. She managed to pass this off as her parents being overprotective, and her long-distance relationship with Drew continued. When Nicholette turned seventeen, her parents finally decided that they were better off allowing her to roam, giving her the ultimatum that, if she was found in any trouble anytime soon, she would have to fend for herself.


    It was at this point that Drew, who had been bumped up into the E.I. offices by this time, faced another prospective promotion – he had been offered the Vice President of Business Affairs job by Ericsson, which would nearly double his income. Nicholette was impressed by the idea of him. She asked him how he did it.

    “I started working as an intern – when I was fifteen,” Drew told her, smiling.

    Nicholette asked Drew if he thought that marriage was in their future – point-blank, right there, with neither warning nor planning. Drew was surprised a bit and Nicholette justifiably feared for a second that Drew (who wasn’t really looking for a wife quite this soon and was very vocal about that fact) would turn her down flat, but to her great shock, he left the door open rather coyly.

    Nicholette’s parents found out the day after and told her to leave. They still don’t understand to this day why Nicholette packed her bags and walked out with a smile on her face.

    With Drew not having many friends to invite (he had already established himself as a bit of a workaholic, but Nicholette didn’t mind – his hard work seemed to be paying off) and Nicholette out of favor with her parents and friendless as well (having earned the ire of nearly the entire city with her carousing), it took no time at all to plan the wedding, which happened a month later in January of 1998.

    Nicholette and Drew spent their first few months of marriage in a small apartment in Mahogany Town. Then, after one snowstorm too many, Nicholette decided that she’d had enough and expressed a desire to leave. It was fortunate, then, that Drew’s next promotion came that spring. Drew exposed his direct superior’s dishonest business practices (one thing that Nicholette loved about Drew was the fact that he knew how to get what he wanted and keep his integrity at the same time) and was rewarded with the President of Business Affairs position at the expense of his boss, who was promptly fired from the company. With this new increase in income, a relocation was now quite possible. Nicholette’s eyes immediately went southwest to Goldenrod City, but Drew, who knew and had forgiven his wife’s history, did not think this a good idea. Therefore, he made a tough decision (as Ericsson’s main office was in Goldenrod, a move there would have made a lot of sense) and settled on New Bark Town’s Gilchrist Heights.

    They relocated there in October of 1998.

    New Bark Town was hit by a storm – a storm called Hurricane Nicki.

    As Drew continued to inch his way up the corporate latter, he would earn the money, and she would spend it – throwing lavish parties at her home when Andrew was absent (which was about a total of eleven months out of the year) and spending it on clothes with reckless abandon. Perhaps it was an urban legend (rich people and celebrities tend to have those), but it was said that, in her first few years in New Bark Town, Nicholette had gotten herself banned from four different clothing stores for buying clothes faster than the businesses could restock.

    At the turn of the Third Post-Adventus Millenium (that is, the year PA 2000), Drew finally conceded to let Nicki, now twenty years old, come with him on one of his business trips to Goldenrod City in February. Now fully free to do whatever she wanted, she headed for the slots, wondering if good luck ran in the family. She made a wrong turn, however, and ended up at an orphanage. Her eyes settled on a tiny little girl in the back that was crying loudly. Guided by the director, she got a closer look at the girl. She had a pink beanie cap on, but didn’t seem to like it very much as she was trying to remove it. After a few futile tugs, she finally succeeded, throwing it to the other side of her crib, revealing short, messy, pinkish-white hair. Her eyes opened and looked straight at Nicholette. They were a baby-blue color.

    The next day, Nicholette dragged Drew to the orphanage so that he could look at the baby girl, called Katrina by the director, who claimed that the biological mother had given her that name right before passing on. After much pleading, Drew gave the girl a second look – and even got to witness the baby girl throwing her hat when the orphanage matron tried to put it back on her.


    The business trip turned into a journey of several weeks as Drew and Nicki finalized the process of adopting their new baby daughter, Katrina Lynn Sasano.

    “Nate,” Katrina’s voice snapped Nate out of his daydream. He put on his best plastic smile as he turned toward her. She looked very serious.

    “Hey,” he said. “How’s life?”

    “Crappy as usual – but it’s about to get better,” Katrina said. She didn’t beat around any bushes – she got straight to the point. “Nate – this isn’t working. I think I made a mistake.”

    “What do you mean?” asked Nate casually.

    “Us,” Katrina replied. “I keep feeling that...I’m supposed to be somewhere else – like someone else really cared about me and I keep missing him for some reason.”

    “What are you talking about?” Nate asked. “Don’t any of those gifts mean anything?”

    “They did last year, when they had some thought behind them,” Katrina replied. “You don’t listen to me like you used to.”

    “I listen,” Nate said, starting to sound desperate. “Of course I listen.”

    “You hear me,” Katrina said firmly. “You’re not listening. I want someone who’s gonna listen.”

    “I see...it’s him,” Nate said.

    “What do you –“ Katrina started, but Nate viciously interrupted her.

    “I see the way he looks at you in class, and when we pass him and the redheaded freak in town,” he said savagely. “I also see the way you look back at him, and I know what both of you are thinking – if only Nate weren’t around...if he were, say, dead, maybe...things would be perfect.”

    Katrina didn’t answer for a while.

    “I know that, if I told him about a problem I was having, he would listen,” Katrina finally said. “He’d listen and try to do something about it instead of throwing money at it all the time.”

    “Well, you can’t use a resource you don’t have,” Nate said disdainfully.

    “Better to not have it than to have it and waste it, like some people,” Katrina said. “You think all the pricey gifts you give me make me feel better? In case you haven’t noticed, my family is just as well-off as yours is.”

    “So, you’ve been lying to me for a year,” Nate said, his burgundy eyes growing more desperate.

    “I think you have things backwards,” Katrina replied, not intimidated in the least.

    “You’re being dramatic – c’mon, take these,” Nate said, pulling a bouquet of flowers out from behind his back. “Happy Valentine’s –“

    “Keep them,” Katrina said. “Travis sent me flowers this year.”

    “Isn’t that cute,” Nate said nastily. “I can guarantee you that they’re half the size and half the price of...”


    “Ask me if I give a damn!” Katrina shouted, using one of her hands to slap the plastic package out of Nate’s hands. It hit the ground and burst apart in an explosion of flora as Nate wore an expression on his face that made it look like he’d just watched a pet of his being hit by a car in slow-motion. Katrina looked up at him. Her eyes were watering up, and her mouth was set in a firm line. “They had four times the heart. We’re through.”

    She began to walk past him as Nate stood there, shocked, for several seconds. He finally resolved it in his head.

    “Just tell me one thing,” Nate said loudly without turning around. Katrina stopped in her tracks. “Why him? Why does your heart belong to him of all people?”

    “He’s a good person,” Katrina replied. “And he’s patient. You know, he can’t stand you – because of the way you treated me. He knew that there was something that wasn’t right about it. Most other guys would have beaten you to a pulp by now.”

    “That just shows that he’s too afraid to fight for you,” Nate commented. “That’s not ‘patient’. That’s a ‘wuss’.”

    “He doesn’t really know how I feel about him...yet,” Katrina said. “Maybe I didn’t know myself until I was with you.”

    “Being with me made you realize how much you wanted to be with him, huh?” Nate asked. “That’s ironic.”

    “You know...” Katrina said, turning around. “Maybe one day, you will learn how to love. Not even you’re completely hopeless.”

    The only thing Nate heard after that was her footsteps leaving.


    Things that her mother had told her...

    And things that she had told him.

    The last thing she said to him when they broke up...she’d been right.

    As he watched her fight back and begin to pound away at the pirate swordsman, a smile crossed his face.

    He had hurt her, yes...and that was something for which he would forever be sorry...

    But she had come back, stronger – and her way of living was now to channel that strength through other people.

    Strengthening her mother...

    Strengthening Travis...

    Strengthening him.

    With a loud yell, she knocked the pirate’s blade into the air. She caught it with her free hand and stood firm, changing her stance now.

    He watched the stance closely and let out a slight laugh.

    “You were serious,” he muttered. “She held her swords exactly like that.”


    “Something funny, Clayton?” Carrigan grunted. The boy let out a slight snicker.

    “I told you she was strong,” he said.

    “Is that good enough for you, Carrigan?” Katrina asked, tossing one sword back to the pirate that she had beaten and the other back to the pirate that the first one had stolen a sword from to fight her. She then turned toward the Captain, who raised his eyebrows and let out a whistle.

    “Someone with your skill...not such bad luck after all,” Carrigan replied. “Welcome to the crew, then, miss.”

    The pirate who had been beaten in the swordfight growled and shook with anger. With Katrina’s back turned, he charged –

    “AGH!” he kicked and flailed as he found himself being jacked up by the shirt by the bosun, whom he could have sworn was fifty yards away a half-second ago. He struggled to no avail as Clayton lifted him over the edge of the ship. “Hey – wait a second...”

    “Hey, today’s your lucky day. You see that little island over there?” Clayton asked, as if he was talking to a small child. The pirate, panicking a bit, looked back, and indeed there was, on the horizon, a small spit of land that couldn’t have been more than a half-mile around, complete with sand, palm trees, and a few sea-favoring Pokémon. “Yeah, that one! That’s yours.”

    Clayton let go of the pirate’s shirt and came back with the other hand, striking the pirate with an open palm in the torso. The pirate yelled loudly as he now found himself being blasted backward at immeasurable distance and speed. Gravity took effect on him quickly as he went down to the water and began to skip off it like a rock on a pond. The crew behind Clayton winced with every impact their ousted comrade made with a surface – three or four bounces off the water and a final impact with the coast of the small island, where he landed in a heap.

    Katrina raised her eyebrow as Clayton lowered his hand and stepped off the railing of the ship and turned around to address the crew.

    “Anybody else have a problem with the Captain’s decision?” he asked. Nearly four dozen pirates shook their heads simultaneously. Katrina looked at Clayton, who gave her a smile from under his hood – a smile that she returned.


    She pulled the strap of a leather gauntlet onto her right arm. Her rose-colored hair was tied in two narrow ponytails with Chinese handcuff-like tubes. Her shirt was blue and trimmed with white as a white skull and crossbones sat in its center. The shirt had tails, which started blue at the waist but faded to white near the back of the thighs before finally ending at the shins. Her pants were also white, and she had a saber at each hip.

    Carrigan had been pleased with her – so pleased that he offered her the position of bosun, which surprised her a bit. When she asked what would happen to ‘Clayton’, as she was still forced to call him among the pirates, he responded that Clayton would be promoted to first mate, therefore giving each of them their own quarters. That didn’t mean that they couldn’t visit, though.

    There was a knock on the door, and she turned around. There was a boy dressed in blue, silver-trimmed armor with a white skull and crossbones on each shoulder. He had royal blue slacks and a sword that had an orange scabbard, which was no doubt the Sacred Zephyr, the Legendary Sword of Lugia. He had dispensed with his hood, which revealed that he had long, spiky – and this was enough to make many metal bands jealous – black hair. He had a white headband tied around his forehead, and his burgundy eyes looked alive again.

    “Not that I’m complaining, but...I didn’t see any of this gear when I got on the ship,” he said. “I know this was the outfit that Ferdinand gave Carrigan when he was a kid, but what about yours, Katrina?”

    “Oh...seeing as I’m the only chick on the ship, I got the stuff from Ferdinand’s daughter,” Katrina replied.

    “Ferdinand has a daughter?” Nate repeated. “I never knew that.”

    “She was the oldest of the three,” Katrina answered. “Ferdinand hoped that she would become a pirate and made this for her, but she couldn’t stomach fighting. Jumped onto a trade ship instead.”

    “Oh...I see,” Nate said. “I want to thank you.”

    “Hm? For what?” Katrina asked.

    “Well, the obvious,” Nate said. “But...on top of that...seeing you standing up so tall back then. I was finally able to do something that I couldn’t even with two years of soul-searching.”

    Katrina looked at him and remained silent.

    “I was able to forgive myself,” Nate said.

    “That’s good,” Katrina replied with a smile. “If you think having a grudge against someone else eats at you, it’s nothing compared to holding one against yourself.”

    “Yeah, I know,” Nate sighed.

    “Well, whatever you did...” Katrina answered. “It definitely changed you for the better.”

    “Thanks,” Nate responded.

    Katrina walked up to him, smiled, and wrapped her arms around his back.

    “Uh –“ Nate was a bit surprised, but embraced her all the same. After a second or two, they let go. A bit apprehensively, he asked, “Does this mean we’re...friends?”

    Katrina scoffed and said sarcastically, “I’ll gladly fall into the arms of my worst enemy. Of course we’re friends.”

    Nate rolled his eyes.

    Katrina joked, “Hey, you’ve really let yourself go, you know that? I remember, back in school, how you’d always get on Travis’ and Shiro’s cases for their hair...”

    Nate burst into laughter. “Um...speaking of Travis, my mom told me something about him when I was back in school that really ****** me off at the time. I didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t get along...what was it...I can’t remember...”

    He seemed to be trying to remember something from further back than he usually had to.

    “Oh!” he exclaimed. He whispered something into Katrina’s ear, and the latter’s eyes flashed as she opened her mouth in shock.

    “Are you serious?” she gasped.

    “Yeah, that’s what she told me,” Nate said. “I think that was right after we started fifth year.”


    “Wow, small world,” Katrina said blankly.

    “Yeah,” Nate uttered. Both of them looked at each other and then burst into laughter. Katrina playfully punched Nate in the chest.

    “Go get some sleep,” she laughed. “Part two starts tomorrow.”

    “Part two?” Nate repeated.

    “You thought I was done? Hell, no,” Katrina said a bit brusquely, sitting down on the bed. “We’ve still gotta get this ship to Dewford because I don’t feel like being on it the rest of my life.”

    “Same here,” Nate said. “Okay...good night.”

    With one last friendly smile, Nate shut off the light and closed the door behind him. Down the hall he walked a few steps before reaching his own new room, where he had to move all of his stuff...again. As he opened the door, he reflected on how quickly things had changed in the last couple of days. Two days ago, he was a hopeless being just trying to find something to do until he died – and he dared say, something dangerous to try and accelerate the process. Today, though, he was finally freed from his burdens of guilt and loss. Someone had rescued him.

    They tore across his brain like a bolt of lightning. He began to turn his room inside-out for a pencil and paper and, after thirty seconds of searching, found both. Immediately he began to jot down a few well-chosen words – lyrics to the song of his heart.

    This was the first time in nearly two years he’d had any words.

    This was the first time in that long that he heard his heart singing –

    Just like before.
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 10th August 2007 at 3:38 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.




  3. #128
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    Finally I score the first post after Eon Master One! Awesome chapter, EM1. Good to see that Nate finally has forgiven himself, I didn't think he was going to show up this soon though. Hopefully Travis won't go super insane and blow up the entire ship. Kenjiro finally learns what eats Travis, and we see a long flashback within another flashback..though you didn't explai about Katrina's scars. Good chapter, and keep up the good work!

    P.S. Congrats on the laptop. I'm getting mine pretty soon.

  4. #129
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    Hey. It's me, Araleon. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Anyways, another great chappie Eon. I really like how you brought back Nate and Avril. So keep up the good work and bring on the next chapter.

    Araleon Out!
    Current Black Team: Rivka (Stoutland), Elmo (Musharna), Scarlett (Whimsicott), Gabriel (Carracosta), Reese (Klang), Sean (Mienfoo); all are at level 47. Currently in Victory Road.

  5. #130
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    *wipes saliva off mouth* What? Oh, right, I label myself as an "olde Revolution Johto fan."

    Well, checking every day has been rewarded with a chapter one week before it was expected, and what a chapter it was. My word, reading the thing was like reading an entire novel in miniature. You had a plot within the plot, character development out the wazoo (is that a word?), and even some conflict creation and resolution for flavor. I can easily see why this is the favorite thing you've written.

    Carrigan deserved a spot in the deepest, darkest, dankest corner of hell. He would grant him that.
    Right next to Phillipe... Maybe they'll enjoy each other's company.

    “And if you’re a rebel, a fugitive, a hero, or a combination of some or all of the above, a lot of **** happens.”
    That's going down in the history of great quotes. I dunno, that just makes me laugh. Maybe it's the sheer irony or truth of the statement?

    Until the next chapter! -Oath

    PS: I still say it needs more large, flaming axes... :P

    EDIT: I hope that realizing Avril's alive doesn't mean Nate's gonna be out of the picture permanently. It's only chapter eleven, and we've only got to see him wind-blast people to oblivion three times, IIRC. I must say that the last time was absolutely great...
    Last edited by Oathblivion; 11th August 2007 at 6:32 AM.

  6. #131
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    You said it'd be a treat for us 'olde revolution johto fans' and damn hell, was it. Salivate I did.

    And lets all rejoice for the official return of our favourite plain annoying bloke turned good guy. Nate. Yay. He was always one of my faves, I think its the whole wind control thing, I always preferred it over fire.

    I kinda guessed 'Clayton's' identity, I don't know if it were subtle clues, I seem to be getting a 'burgundy eyes' quote in my head, or just intuition but I always knew. The conversation with Katrina, the whole revalation of Avril's aliveness, of course we all knew, and the returning friendship. Not forgetting the inevitable, Kick Carrigans behind and his whole crew in true Pirates of the Caribbean style.

    I agree with Oathblivion in saying Nate aint outta the picture, if not straight away, you know a little catch up with Travis. The eventual to Johto to find Avril trip, but maybe a return, Avril in tow. And people, don't forget, We aint seen nothing of Shiro and Madeline, they may return, the revolution comes back to face a new foe maybe with two new members.

    I really should re-read PRJ, I'm forgetting loads of names, took me a while to get Madelines name and I forgot eld Phillipe. Oh wait, just remembered another one. Eldrich Faust, I forgot what happened to that guy, Shiro may have killed him. Lorca and whats her face Hendrix aswell cool guy Lorca. This is quite fun, in fact I will re-read PRJ. Get to know the old crew again.

    But you may want to straighten out the facts a bit for me.

    Right-o enough rambling.

    To knowledge
    Skogsrå

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

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  7. #132
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    *hasn't read it yet but is drooling anyway*

    woot! awesomeness! gotta r&r instantly! been on holiday so have been away from the pc but i'll be back asap!

    congrats on the new lappie!

    L@er for now!

    I'm back!

    dude, you sure now how to make a guy's day complete! that r0xx0red!nate returns and katrina joins the sapphire skulls! something tells me their plan to abandon ship wont go smoothly, but to quote Yoh from Shaman King: "It'll work out somehow!"

    I'll leave grammar check to Castform, i'm just gonna sit back and bask in the awesomeness of this chapter!

    L@er for real!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 14th August 2007 at 5:48 PM.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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  8. #133
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    Hey, all, I'm back on campus for my sophomore year - and what's more, my university has a wireless network, which means I can get online anywhere on campus from my own (new!) laptop instead of going to the computer lab. Long story short, that spells significantly lesser delay times between when I finish new chapters and when I actually get them posted.

    To tell you the truth, I'm writing Chapter 16 right now, but I'm not going to post everything. Gotta give you guys time to digest now.

    But I say all that to say that I am now officially off hiatus and will likely be very active (even moreso than last year!) on SPPf. I'm currently brainstorming for YoD...

        Spoiler:- YOD...:


    Whew....that last chapter was sort of long. I was measuring about 22 pages and some change. (I intended for it to be sixteen, but what the heck...) Well, it’s mid-June here and raining and me, having not found a job or a fun enough vacation, didn’t have a whole lot much better to do. I know no one was shocked about the revelation of a certain character in the last chapter. I wanted to wait until later, but I realized that I needed him to play a larger role in this, and in order for him to do that effectively, people had to know who he was from the jump.

    Obviously, to get a bigger picture of how much his character had actually changed, you would have to take a look at the first installment of this trilogy. I know some of you that started at the beginning of that one and reading this one at the same time were probably thinking, “How the hell did we end up here?”

    Some people think that, when you do a series, it has to be accessible enough so that someone can come in at the middle and still sort of follow. I found that my story was so complicated that I’d have a hard time doing that. I’d prefer you just read the entire thing out, but if you’re looking for something specific on an old character, PM me and I’ll be able to tell you (since I have all progress on the fic so far, as well as auxiliary documents that provide other info.).

    With that said, on to Chapter 12!

    Like the last one, it’s Rated ‘Arr.....................’

    Sorry, I just had to use that joke at least once during this arc – couldn’t resist.

    Okay! Let’s go!

    Chapter 12: The Sapphire Stratagem

    June 8, PA 2013 - Route 105, The Natus


    He had watched many days dawn with her at his side...and each one of those days, he looked at her and knew in his heart that, whatever that day might have brought, she would stand by him. She was a source of comfort, of encouragement, of strength for him.

    Today, though, she was gone – and he was forced to begin the day alone. It was a strange sort of feeling, like he had awoken and been unable to do something that was in his normal routine. His hands felt so cold and numb without her to hold them.

    He had taken the bandana from his head and tied it around his shoulder, allowing his hair to blow freely in the sea breeze. The early-bird sailors watched him as they walked past, but he paid no attention to them. He gazed out at the sea, wondering where her ship had borne her...

    ...and wondering if he would ever see her again.

    She had changed...she had changed a lot since they had been together.

    She had never been a weak-willed person, but there was a time when she’d had her spirit trampled upon. She had once been afraid to show all of the strength that she had. All of his friends...the war had shown all of them that...

    All of them except him.

    Ever since he was a small child, he had been known as a very meek individual. Some even thought that he was too nice for his own good – that he had let Nate walk on him as a boy, for example. For Academy-age children, the expected response for an insult (and Nate had dished out a lot of these) was one of two things – a witty comeback (Shiro’s forte) or, if one felt truly disrespected, a well-placed right hook (also Shiro’s area of expertise). Travis, normally, would respond with silence, thus prompting Shiro to feel that he should fight for him.

    If someone ever went after her, though, he was always ready to rush to her defense, because she had not yet found her own strength.

    Now, though...that innocence, that naivety that comes with every small child – the voice that says that the world will always shift your way eventually – was gone. There comes a time when one realizes that all the world is not on his side, and that there are choices to make that essentially present themselves as two evils, one greater and one lesser.

    He had always convinced himself that choices like that did not exist – that there was always a way to do everything right every time with the desired result.

    Maybe, though, she was right...

    Perhaps, in some situations, a choice must be made between...well, bad and worse.

    Why did she go after Carrigan alone?

    What was she planning?

    Did she know something that he didn’t?

    Travis wondered about all of these things as he stood on the deck of the Natus, alone. His eyes cast their gaze out to the sea.

    Only one thing was on his mind – getting her back as soon as he could.

    The very prospect, the very thought of the possibility that she might not be alive presently was gut-wrenching. It hurt him to his core and burdened his heart with worry – worry and anger...anger with himself, anger with the ones that took her...

    Anger with the world, actually – a world that always seemed to conspire against him. Apparently, a small time of peace in his life was too much to ask – a demand too unreasonable for the powers that be.

    After all of the blood, sweat, and tears he had shed the first time around...there was never anything that came easy to him.

    What if, after all of this fighting, there was no future for him in doing what he loved, and being with who he loved?

    What if all of this was in vain?

    Were some people simply doomed to failure in their endeavors? Cursed by Fate to enjoy no success?

    No.

    He couldn’t afford to think like that.

    He’d come too far.

    They had come too far...

    They had dreams and aspirations and, on his part, he would not allow them to die so easily.

    June 21, PA 2012 – New Bark Town, Johto

    He stared at a fountain – a stone Suicune...or, at least, what most people thought that Suicune looked like – shooting water in a high arc into the air. From there, it descended into a clean pool full of coins – coins that, when collected each month from those either generous or superstitious enough to throw them in, went to humanitarian projects like the orphanages. This fountain was located in the center of the park at New Bark Town. Today they were here – to celebrate their first anniversary. He didn’t know how, but it had been a full calendar year. Travis was just happy to be walking on his own. After breaking a leg in five places, he didn’t take that for granted anymore. Therefore, his idea of a date with his girlfriend was to walk the length of the park in New Bark Town during the daytime hours. Some days they would watch the sunset there.

    Today, though, they sat on a bench and talked – about their friends, about the last year, about the future...

    “You know,” Katrina brought up first, “I just saw the newspaper. It came down to Shiro and Leo Richter again – again, Shiro won by a hair.”

    “That’s good,” Travis said with a smile. Shiro was the Regional Junior...something or other. It was the skateboard championship that he’d won at Goldenrod City a year ago yesterday. “He should be staying somewhere in the city. We need to call him tonight before he takes off again.”


    Shiro and his girlfriend Madeline (they celebrated their anniversary in early July) prided themselves on being drifters. After Shiro’s appointment with the skateboard ramp, they would just leave and go wherever the wind took them. The question of income was answered by the fact that Shiro liked taking odd and dangerous jobs that no one else would try, and the fact that he had indeed received a bit of inheritance from his mother. In any case, yesterday had been Shiro’s fourteenth birthday, and Travis wanted to catch him while he knew where they were...because, most of the time, he honestly didn’t.

    “That’s true...any idea where they’re headed?” Katrina asked.

    “Orange Islands? Dunno,” Shiro left home at the beginning of June and hinted that this was their itinerary. Madeline’s father, whom she hadn’t seen in about three or four years, lived there, and she wanted to see him.

    “That’s pretty far,” Katrina commented. “But that’s Shiro for you. I guess, after all the adventures we had, New Bark Town seems sort of boring.”

    “I know how he feels,” Travis sighed. “That’s why I’ve gotta get out of here. I need a new start and I feel so...caged up right now. I would have been gone already if it weren’t for this damn leg...”

    He looked away from her with a bitter smile on his face.

    “Audrey doesn’t think I’ll be able to journey again until I’m old and gray,” he continued. Scoffing, he said, “To hell with that – I got something stolen from me. I deserve another shot.”

    Joseph Audrey was the young doctor that examined Travis after he received his injuries. He would go in to see him on the first of every other month – meaning his next appointment was in about a week and a half, on the first day of July. Basically, Audrey (who initially thought that Travis would never walk again) gave Travis three years before he would be able to journey anywhere – a prognosis that Travis thought unacceptable at best.

    “I know you do,” Katrina said empathetically. “Believe me, I know that better than anybody.”

    “I know...” Travis sighed. “I just wish you didn’t feel like you had to stay around and wait for me to recover. I don’t want to rob you of any shot you had left.”

    “I think Audrey’s underestimating how badly you want to go on another Journey,” Katrina replied. “When your will wants to do something, sometimes your body will follow. Does your leg still hurt?”

    “Sometimes,” Travis admitted. “I can’t run yet...”

    “That’ll come with time,” Katrina replied.

    “I probably wouldn’t have been injured so badly if I wasn’t so frail...” he muttered.

    “Don’t say that,” Katrina said. “You fell from a hundred feet in the air. Most people don’t survive that.”

    “You’ve got a point,” Travis sighed.

    “You’re tougher than you think you are. You always have been,” Katrina replied. “Maybe a year or two...we’ll still be young, so...”

    “Maybe,” Travis echoed with a smile. “A lot of times, I feel a lot older than I am. I can’t believe it’s been a year.”

    “Yeah,” Katrina sighed. “I have a question.”

    “Hm?” Travis uttered.

    “What were you thinking about...” Katrina asked. “That night, when you kissed me for the first time? What was going through your head?”


    “What do you mean?” Travis asked.

    “Was it like ‘Finally,’ or ‘Score!’ or something like that?” Katrina asked very quickly. “Or do you even remember?”

    “Of course I remember – like it was yesterday,” Travis said. “I thought something was wrong with me. I mean, I’d had a crush on you since we were little kids. Everybody knew that, even though I’d never admit it in public. I thought that, if I ever got to kiss you, I’d be doing back flips or swinging from the lights or something. It’s not that I wasn’t happy – I was...”

    “Too worried about me?” Katrina finished. Travis nodded. “I felt strange.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Travis asked. “I know it was awkward, but...”

    “That’s just it – it wasn’t,” Katrina replied. “It wasn’t awkward. It was like it was...”

    “...meant to happen.” Travis finished at the same time she did, earning a look from her.

    “Yeah – exactly,” Katrina answered.

    “One year...” Travis sighed. “A lot has happened in one year.”

    “Maybe, one year from now, we’ll be somewhere else...” Katrina said with a smile. “There’s always hope. Maybe just an outside chance – but a chance all the same.”


    “Are you alright?” she gave a slight squeak and whirled around to find a boy with long, wild hair advancing on her.

    “Oh...hey, Nate,” she sighed, looking back toward the sea. “Nothing. Just...lost in thought – that’s all.”

    “You’re worried about Travis,” Nate said. “Don’t worry – he’s a Swordbearer. I’m sure he can take care of himself.”

    “That’s not what worries me. You’ve been gone a while, so you wouldn’t know...” Katrina sighed. “But...after the war ended, he changed.”

    “I’m not surprised,” Nate said. “I think that war changed everyone involved.”

    “There’s a reason I haven’t left his side. I’m afraid of what he might do without me around,” she said.

    “What do you mean by that?” Nate asked.

    “Travis has...a split personality,” Katrina said, as if she had been groping around in the dark for the right words to describe his mental state..

    “Split personality?” Nate repeated, more shocked than confused. He knew perfectly well what a split personality was – he just couldn’t associate it with...

    “One side of him is charming and funny...always laughing and joking,” Katrina said. “He’s a lot less serious than he used to be. The other, though...the other is violent and unstable. He always had a temper when someone pushed him too far, but now...”

    “You’re telling me that he’s gone off the deep end or something?” Nate questioned, raising his eyebrows. Shaking his head in denial, he said, “No way. He always kept it all together. He was very calm.”

    “Not so much now,” Katrina sighed. “Deep down, he’s so angry at how things went. He still hasn’t gotten over his grandfather’s death, among other things. Sometimes he broods and doesn’t speak to anyone. Sometimes, though, he lashes out – but, for some reason, I’ve always been able to calm him down.”

    “Maybe you’re the only thing that makes sense in his world,” Nate said.

    “Maybe so...” Katrina sighed. “But a lot of things don’t make sense to me...it’s so unfair to put someone like him through all this. I wonder why sometimes. After all he’s gone through, he deserves to have a little bit of what he wants – right?”

    Nate didn’t respond immediately.

    “Sometimes...we don’t get what we deserve,” he sighed. “And sometimes, we don’t deserve what we get. Good, bad...it doesn’t matter. I agree with you, though. Someone like him...does deserve to have his dream.”

    “If he has it taken away from him a second time...” Katrina said. “I don’t think he’d be able to handle it.”

    “That war nearly killed all of us,” Nate said. “Not just physically, either...but now, we all have a second chance at life. A second chance to run after our dreams, and a second chance to catch them. What about you? You still want to be Champion, right?”

    “Of course,” Katrina said.

    “But he does, too,” Nate said. “More than anything. Before it’s all said and done...”

    “...We’ll be forced to battle each other. I know,” Katrina sighed. “If I became Champion without going through him...I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Nate asked.

    “When he’s got his confidence, it’s hard to find a better Trainer than him,” Katrina said. “And it’s almost impossible to find a better person.”

    “I won’t argue with you there,” Nate sighed. “But just a word of warning – when the time comes, don’t hold back on him...because I’m pretty sure that he thinks the same things about you. If you two keep pushing each other...then it’ll be between you two for sure because no one else will be able to beat you. If it weren’t for Travis...I never would have tried to be a Trainer.”

    “Hm?” Katrina seemed confused.

    “I didn’t feel like finishing school,” Nate sighed. “To me, it wasn’t worth the effort. But...for some reason, I had to try to outdo him...and trying to outdo him pushed me to new places that I never could have gone on my own.”

    “What about you?” Katrina asked. “What happens when you go back to New Bark Town? Are you going to wait a year and then go on another Journey?”

    “No,” Nate sighed. “No. I think I’ve done enough traveling for a while. I’m going to settle in, start looking for a job...”

    “Job?” Katrina asked.

    “I’ll be sixteen in October,” Nate replied. “In about a year or so, my dad’ll start looking for me to move out on my own. Besides...there’s no way I can go back home and do nothing. I’d be so restless that it’d drive me up a wall.”

    “Everyone who came back to New Bark Town after the war feels the same way, strangely enough,” Katrina commented. Smiling, she added, “I guess, now, we’re all too ‘extraordinary’ for our own good. I don’t think anyone wants complete peace. We’ve all become too used to instability...so we want activity, we want a little chaos.”

    “Just on our terms,” Nate said. “We want chaos on our terms.”

    “So...about the job...what did you have in mind?” Katrina asked.

    “That’s easy...the Academy’s getting bigger, isn’t it?” Nate asked.

    “Well...yeah,” Katrina said. “A lot changed while you were gone. Avril moved there, Kylie was born...”

    “Kylie? Who’s that?” Nate asked.

    “Oh – that’s Travis’ baby sister,” Katrina replied, having forgotten for a moment that Nate, unlike Shiro, who was between New Bark Town and Blackthorn City during the winter months, had not been back at all since the September before last. “She’ll be two in December – we share a birthday, actually.”

    “Oh – that’s interesting,” Nate answered, indeed sounding genuinely fascinated.

    “Mrs. Amy started working for your cousin, so he is hiring...” Katrina continued.

    “You’re talking about Travis’ mom, who’s...oh, that’s right, you know already...” Nate said. “I told you yesterday.”

    “Yeah...she won’t let me call her ‘Mrs. DePaul’ anymore,” Katrina said. “Seems to think I should save that for myself...”

    Her face went a bright pink and she stared out at the sea distractedly.

    “Huh? Oh,” Nate uttered, catching the hint. “Well...it definitely wouldn’t be impossible...”

    “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Katrina said.

    “You’re probably closer than you think,” Nate said.

    “I can guarantee you we’re four years away,” Katrina replied. “So much can happen in one year...who can be sure we’ll be together in four?”

    “You can,” Nate said. “Do you think that some people are simply meant to be together?”

    “You mean, like, having their soul mate predetermined before birth or something?” Katrina asked a little bit naively.

    “No...like, after everything you’ve gone through, you can’t possibly see yourself with anyone else,” Nate answered. “Like, if you were with someone who, personality-wise, was just like the person you loved – but wasn’t that person. It wouldn’t feel right.”

    “I see what you mean,” Katrina said. “There’s some things that only he and I have experienced together, and nobody else could take the place of that.”

    She broke into a laugh.

    “What’s so funny?” Nate asked.


    “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with my ex-boyfriend,” Katrina replied.

    Nate could not help but laugh at himself, his wild, black mane of hair whipping in the wind.

    “Everything’s for the best, I guess,” Nate said, smiling. “We both found someone that we love, and we’re still friends after all of it. It’s funny...”

    “What’s so funny to you?” Katrina asked.

    “You look at how chaotic our lives are, and the stuff that happens to us, and it’s like...it’s pretty weird stuff. It makes me wonder if we’re in control of our lives at all,” Nate replied.

    “What’s that mean?” Katrina gave him a really strange look.

    “One of the last things I said to Avril before I left to fight that day was that, if we both got out of this alive, I would bring her to New Bark Town and help her to find a home because there were probably couples in the city that couldn’t have children,” Nate said. “After it was all said and done, I thought she was dead, obviously, but where did she end up? In New Bark Town, with a couple that couldn’t have children – right down the street from where I live. I think you could qualify that as a miracle. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that kind of stuff doesn’t happen. And the fact that you showed up here when you did...if you’d come a week earlier – we were still in Pacifidlog Town. You and I would have missed each other, and I never would have seen that card or that letter.”

    “I guess...I guess so,” Katrina said, uncertain of what to think about Nate at this point.

    “It’s almost...” Nate said, sounding a bit unsure of himself, “it’s almost like...we’re pieces on someone’s chessboard.”

    “Chessboard?” Katrina repeated.

    “No, no, that’s not it,” Nate muttered. “No...it’s like...”

    His eyes widened for a second as he gasped loudly.

    “You’re freaking me out a little,” Katrina said matter-of-factly.

    “It’s like...someone’s writing a story about our lives and we’re just acting it out!” Nate said, gesturing with his hands for emphasis. Looking up toward the sky as if he could see some invisible author with his pen to a giant tome, he muttered, “Hey, Katrina...you don’t think...”

    There was a long, eerie silence for about ten seconds.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    ...

    “I’ve heard pirates were known to be superstitious, but...” Katrina trailed off, raising her eyebrows.


    “Maybe it’s a crazy idea...” Nate sighed, shaking his hard, black hair and laughing again. “Besides, that would be pretty messed up. If there was some spiritual being writing the story of our lives, he could do anything he wanted to us. He could force me to sit down right where I am right now...or vault me up into the air with absolutely no warning and no good reason...and, if there was an author, I’m pretty sure there would be readers, taking it all in and laughing at how senseless and chaotic our lives are.”

    “You’ve really thought this theory through, haven’t you?” Katrina asked.

    “Clayton!” a yell came from behind the two of them and they turned around. Walking toward them was Carrigan, arms folded and a ******-off-looking expression on his face. “One of our pirates had the nerve to backtalk me.”

    “Handle it yourself – I’m busy,” Nate said.

    “Fine, I will!” Carrigan shouted. “I’ll call you when the body needs disposing of...”

    “Alright, I’ll do it,” Nate groaned. He turned back toward Katrina and nodded.

    “I thought this was my job –“ Katrina began to blurt out, but Nate stopped her.

    I’ll handle it,” Nate said loudly. Katrina got the message and went quiet again. Carrigan began to lead Nate away and Katrina hung back for a moment, then followed him.

    The Natus

    Kenjiro paced the deck of the Ruby Skulls’ ship as a predator lying in wait for his prey. He could not remember a time in his relatively short life when he’d felt as restless as he did presently. Many fighters are restless when they are aware that enemies are near. For Kenjiro, however, his restlessness was caused by a different fact –

    An opposite fact.

    He was not used to going several days with no one with whom to pick a fight, and it began to wear on his patience here about a week into the journey. On top of that, he was tired of open water. He needed to see land and civilization. The horizon was a variable on land. On open water, however, the sky met the sea, and the picture always appeared the same in his eyes. An island here, a reef there...but, for the most part, the same plain, boring, and nervously simple portrait, where the sky met the sea.

    After spending the majority of his life learning how to fight and then fighting against those that taught him, this period of peace – no matter how pleasant – was unnerving to him. He almost wished that acolytes from the Shoryuu Temple would swoop down upon him at this moment...maybe even a Temple Knight or two just to make things interesting. He was bored.

    He looked up into the air and saw a white, bird-like creature circling above them a bit like a vulture. This concerned Kenjiro for a second, but then it flew off, blending into the blue and eventually disappearing in the distance.

    “That’s a Wingull,” a voice behind Kenjiro startled him. He recognized it just in time to avoid pulling out his weapon, like he would normally if something like that happened. A red-haired girl walked up alongside him, looking up to where the bird Pokémon had been several seconds ago. She then got a good look at Kenjiro’s face. “Are you alright? You look troubled about something.”

    “I always look ‘troubled about something’ to you,” Kenjiro muttered a bit tersely. “You should stop worrying about me.”

    “I can’t help it,” she said, looking down at her bare feet and shuffling them on the deck of the ship.

    “Why not?” Kenjiro asked hotly.


    “Because...” Reivyn continued to look down at her toes as she didn’t really answer the question. Kenjiro sighed.

    “I’m going back to the room,” he announced, starting to walk off. He heard soft, quick footsteps and realized that Reivyn was following him. Halfway down the hallway, he turned around and shouted, “What do you want with me?!”

    “Something’s wrong,” Reivyn said, sounding a little frightened. “I just wanted to find out...and see if I could fix it.”

    Kenjiro was struck dumb for a moment. She only wanted to help?

    “I don’t like being out at sea like this,” Kenjiro muttered, starting toward his room again. “It makes me nervous and jumpy.”

    “Why?” Reivyn asked, following him. “There are no enemies here.”

    “That’s just it,” Kenjiro said emphatically. “I’m used to seeing enemies. I’m used to fighting Temple Knights or Imperial Knights or something...all this peace and quiet is driving me up a wall.”

    “You don’t like peace and quiet?” Reivyn asked as Kenjiro opened the door to their room and stepped in. She followed him.

    “No – I don’t,” Kenjiro grunted, sitting down on the bed rather forcefully and drawing his feet up into it. “Even when no one’s attacking me, I still think someone is. I guess that’s the result of being on the run for years – but you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?”

    “Not really,” Reivyn said, sitting on his bed opposite him as opposed to sitting on her own. “I feel safe here.”

    “I don’t like feeling safe,” Kenjiro said, looking away from her. “For some reason, peace doesn’t suit me well.”

    “What will you do when it’s all done?” Reivyn asked. Kenjiro looked up at her. “One day, you’ll have finished your fight. What will you do then?”

    “I guess, ride into the sunset and live the rest of my life as a wanderer,” Kenjiro said rather nonchalantly. “I mean, that’s all I’m good for –“

    “You’re in the service of the Prince, aren’t you?” Reivyn asked. Kenjiro nodded. “Then...when he becomes King...why not work for him?”

    “Because he hates my guts,” Kenjiro explained. “Just like the rest of Hoenn. People like you and I...we have no place in a peaceful world.”

    “Why do you say that?” Reivyn asked.

    “We learned how to talk, walk, and then fight,” Kenjiro sighed. “That’s all our lives are. Nothing more.”

    “Sounds like something the Temple would say,” Reivyn said. Kenjiro gasped and looked away from Reivyn bitterly. “For someone who hates the Temple as much as you do, you know a lot about them.”


    “You can destroy your enemies more easily when you know their tactics,” Kenjiro said. “You’re right. I hate the Shoryuu Temple with every fiber of my being. They took my family away from me, but not just that – I hate their philosophies, their theologies, the way they treat girls like you...but the only way I can destroy it and make sure that it stays destroyed is to have the power of the royal family behind me. That’s why I’m helping Elrik – in the hopes that, one day, he’ll remember me and repay the favor.”

    “How much do you know about the Temple?” Reivyn asked.

    Out of his jacket, Kenjiro threw a book. It was eight inches by eight inches and two inches thick, and seemed to hold a lot of pages. It was a hardback book that looked slightly old and beaten-up.

    “This much,” he said. “I wrote down everything I ever learned about the Temple in that book. The first half is pretty much average fare stuff, but the second half – well, in the second half of the book, I wrote all the stuff that the Temple doesn’t want their acolytes and Knights to know about.”

    Reivyn opened the book and began to read it. Kenjiro’s eyes flashed.

    “What rank were you?” he asked.

    “The lowest,” Reivyn said. “I was a priestess of the second class.”

    “So, you especially...” Kenjiro muttered. Sighing, he said, “I’m sorry.”

    “I could have been promoted,” Reivyn said, her eyes darting away from Kenjiro. “I never took part in the ‘initiation’...”

    Kenjiro knew all too well what the initiation was for priestesses.

    “I asked,” Kenjiro said, “because the Temple laws state that females in the Temple are forbidden to be taught to read or write before they reach the Temple Knight level. Most of what they learn, they learn from rote.”

    “You’re right,” Reivyn said.

    “You were born under the sign of the Powers of Air,” Kenjiro said.

    “Hm?” Reivyn uttered.

    “I can tell by the attacks you use when you fight,” Kenjiro said. “Until you get to...probably Temple Knight first class, you’re associated with whatever sign you were born under. They train you to make use of that particular element in your fighting. It’s according to what month of the year you were born in. The winter months – December, January, and February – are associated with Water. The spring months – March through May – are associated with Earth. The summer months – June through August – are the Fire months. You use mainly the Divine Thunder Blade and the Double Divine Thunder Blade, so you were probably born during the months of Air – September, October, or November.”

    “No...” Reivyn said. “I know my birthday. My element was Fire.”

    “Fire?” Kenjiro repeated. “As a second-class Temple priestess, you wouldn’t have access to information like that. Only first-class Temple Knights – and there are three classes of those, by the way – have access to that. That information is well-hidden by the Temple.”

    “Well-guarded,” Reivyn said. “Most of the time. The day I escaped, however, it was not...”

    “You found your own Identity Sphere?” Kenjiro asked, sounding astonished.

    “I carried it for a year,” Reivyn said. “Then, in the process of attempting to escape, I killed a Temple Knight. Before he died, he showed me how to open the sphere. Now, I know everything there was to know about myself.”


    Kenjiro remained silent.

    “My given name was Reivyn,” she said. “My mother and father were third-class Temple Knights and therefore did not have a clan name. My date of birth was on the ninth day of the sixth month in the year Post-Adventus one thousand nine hundred and ninety-six...”

    “Tomorrow,” Kenjiro murmured.

    “Hm?” Reivyn looked up.

    “Your birthday’s tomorrow,” Kenjiro said.

    “It is?” she asked. Apparently, she hadn’t been keeping up with the date for weeks.

    “Today’s the 8th of June,” Kenjiro said. “Your birthday’s June 9th – tomorrow. You’ll be turning seventeen.”

    “Seventeen...I would have been dead tomorrow, then...” Reivyn said, looking at the book. “It says here that if a second-class acolyte is not promoted by that age, then...”

    “...the Temple deems them useless and executes them – and, actually, you would have been dead a week ago,” Kenjiro said rather calmly. “Since acolytes and low-level Temple Knights are not supposed to know their actual birth dates, strictly speaking, the Temple recognizes them by element on the first day of the season – in your case, the first day of June. That gives a child basically twelve full years to mature and get promoted.”

    “Twelve years...” Reivyn repeated.

    “You are initiated into the Temple and given the lowest rank – in your case, second-class priestess – when the Temple recognizes your age as five years,” Kenjiro said. “You are then baptized...”

    Robotically, Reivyn reached her hand around to her own back.

    “...and branded,” she finished. “Those were my first memories as a child.”

    “I’m sorry,” Kenjiro sighed, flipping the book shut (Reivyn had to yank her fingers out of the way) and starting it back toward his pocket. “I shouldn’t have shown you this...”

    “NO!” Reivyn shouted, attempting to yank the book back. Kenjiro, confused, let it go, and Reivyn immediately flipped it open to the third page, a wild look in her eyes. Kenjiro heaved a long sigh.

    “In any case...I have a question for you,” he said. “If your element is Fire – how do you know so many attacks of the Air element?”

    “I’ve fought enough acolytes to know the basic attacks of all four elements,” Reivyn said. “Fire is my natural element, but Air is the one that has been most effective while I’ve been traveling. I need water to use any Water attacks, and I can’t control Earth that well.”

    “I don’t think you know how impressive that is,” Kenjiro said, again sounding astonished. “First-class Temple Knights are only allowed to pick one element outside their birth element to learn from. Granted, their techniques are very advanced...but you know attacks from all four elements. No wonder the Temple wants you dead so badly. I’ve never seen them put so much effort in bringing back an escaped acolyte.”

    “You know others who have escaped from the Temple?” Reivyn asked, looking hopeful. Kenjiro looked at her for a second almost as if he wanted to say something different from what he ended up saying:

    “I know they don’t last as long as you have,” he responded. “But...that’s enough of that.”

    He took the book from Reivyn, who cooperated this time, and stuck it back inside the pocket of his jacket, which he then took off and threw on top of the desk (a soft thud indicated that the book was still inside).

    “You should be happy,” Kenjiro said. “Tomorrow’s your birthday.”

    “Hmm...” Reivyn mumbled.

    “You’ve never celebrated a birthday before, have you?” Kenjiro asked.

    “No,” Reivyn said simply, shaking her head. “Are you supposed to?”

    There was a knock on the door.

    “Hold on a second,” Kenjiro muttered, wondering who could be calling for him. Perhaps Devlin, or...

    “Thought I’d find you here,” Travis said, stepping in soon after Kenjiro opened the door. Kenjiro was a bit unnerved and shot a look at Reivyn that clearly said so. “Did you see a Wingull earlier?”

    “Yeah – yeah, I think so...” Kenjiro replied.

    “So, Devlin wasn’t losing it...” Travis muttered. “He said that Wingull used to belong to his father.”

    “What?” Kenjiro uttered in disbelief. “There are a million Wingull out here. How does he know?”

    “Something about when it cries,” Travis said, shaking his head as if he were slightly uncertain as to what Devlin said exactly. “In any case, Devlin thinks that the Wingull’s trying to lead us to the Selma.”

    “We’re following a Pokémon,” Kenjiro said, sounding dumbstruck. “You’re screwing with me.”

    “It’s better than guesswork,” Travis said. “Apparently someone on the Selma wants us to find it.”

    “Could be Carrigan trying to lead us into a trap,” Kenjiro said.

    “That Wingull never answered to Carrigan,” Travis said. “Carrigan was never good with Pokémon. I guess it was his cruel nature...”

    “So...if Carrigan didn’t send that Wingull, then who did?” Kenjiro asked.

    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. #134
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    May 2005
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    ~~~ *** ~~~

    They strung him up by the wrists and lifted him off the ground. He hung there for a moment, his head lolling limply to the side. Carrigan watched this unfortunate grunt ascend on the crank as Nate stood next to him.

    “Captain!” Carrigan turned around slowly upon hearing a female voice that could only belong to one person on his ship. There was Katrina, standing with four dozen or so pirates who were all lined up against the walls. Carrigan raised an eyebrow. “You’re about to make an example of this one, right? I believe the entire crew needs to see this and know who the captain of this ship is.”

    “I like the way you think,” Carrigan said. He looked at Nate, who looked back at Katrina.

    “You know,” Nate said hastily. “I think she’s right on this one, Captain. You’re the one that should do this.”

    “Thank you,” Carrigan replied, pulling out his zanbato. So many pirates gasped at the same time that it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the large dungeon.


    “Remain calm!” Katrina shouted loudly. Her yell bounced off of the walls of the ship as the crew went silent. “Justice is about to be served.”

    “I think I’ll back up and get a better view, sir,” Nate said, walking away from the captain and toward Katrina. As soon as he turned around and stood next to her, she felt him shaking.

    “Nervous?” Katrina asked.

    “As in, ‘I can’t believe we’re actually trying this stunt’? Yeah, definitely,” Nate responded.

    “A’right, then...” Carrigan started to raise his zanbato and turned around and pointed it at the crew members, each in turn.

    “How the hell is he holding that with one hand?” Nate muttered.

    “Don’t ask me,” Katrina answered in a whisper.

    “I will not tolerate any disrespect from lowly deckhand scum such as yourselves,” Carrigan said. “I hold authority on this ship, and it is my prerogative to delegate that authority to whom I damn well please. Anyone looks at me the wrong way, I’ll hook out your eyeballs. Anyone backtalks me, I’ll cut out your tongue. Any finger gestures I don’t like, I’ll chop off your hands.”

    “You think he wrote this speech down somewhere?” Nate asked. Katrina shrugged her shoulders as Carrigan raised his sword at the center of the room – where Nate and Katrina happened to be standing – and swept it around his head, catching it with two hands.

    “And if anyone...” Carrigan said, his eyes panning his crew of nearly fifty, “IF ANYONE...has the balls to even think about taking over this ship – well, use your imagination.”

    He stared Katrina down for a second and then, roaring, whirled around with his zanbato. A couple of the pirates looked away while the act was being done. Carrigan did the full rotation, licking his lips.

    “You maggots disrespect me – this is what happens!” Carrigan shouted, pointing behind him.

    “We get paid...sir?” one of the pirates asked. A clink alerted Carrigan that something was not right. He turned around and watched gold spill out of what he thought was a corpse – gold as opposed to blood.

    “Oh, look, treasure,” Nate muttered very nonchalantly.

    “WHAT THE HELL?!” Carrigan roared. “What is the meaning of this, Clayton?!”

    “Our prisoner appears to have escaped,” Nate said. “He must have switched a bag of gold for his own body.”

    “Weren’t you in here watching him?” Carrigan asked suspiciously.

    “I stepped out for a moment,” Nate said.

    “YOU STEPPED OUT FOR A MOMENT?!” Carrigan shouted. “WHAT WAS SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAD TO STEP OUT FOR A MOMENT?!”

    “It’d really help things if the restroom wasn’t on the other side of the ship,” Nate replied. Katrina fought down the urge to laugh at a cover story that was so simple, nothing else could have been any more effective.


    “Spare the details,” Carrigan muttered, rolling his eyes. “We’re close to the island – he’s probably jumped ship...although...”

    He looked straight at Nate.

    “You seem to know a lot about how he escaped, Clayton,” Carrigan said suspiciously.

    “It’s pretty obvious,” Nate replied. “And I don’t really appreciate that.”

    “Who gives a damn what you think?” Carrigan retorted. “I’m the captain on this ship!”

    “Because Ferdinand chose you as the captain,” Nate answered. “Ferdinand listened to his crew members.”

    “Apparently, that tactic doesn’t work in the world of pirates,” Carrigan said. “This is no democracy. I make decisions. Take this for example – we’re sailing to Johto...no arguments.”

    “Johto?” Nate gasped.

    “I won’t have Ferdinand’s boy and these damned Imperials harassing us wherever we go,” Carrigan said. “We’re going to Johto and that’s final. We’ll stop at the cave to load up our supplies, and –“

    “That’s a problem,” Nate said.

    “What was that?” Carrigan asked.

    “What if the crew doesn’t want to go to Johto?” Nate asked.

    “Not much they can do, is there?” Carrigan replied. “I’m the captain of this ship. The Selma – no...the Mortis. I care not for capers and enjoying the sea breeze of open water. We will collect treasure and bodies along the way. I cannot exist in peace, so, therefore, I must change the purpose of this ship. I must bring chaos with me wherever I go.”

    “Three days as Captain, and you’re already mad with power,” Nate said, shaking his head. “The Mortis...what a joke. This crew was loyal to Ferdinand, and you go and change the name of his ship just like that.”

    “Listen – if you aren’t on my side, I can just as easily send you to the other one,” Carrigan said.

    “Try it, then,” Nate said.

    “What?” Carrigan grunted.

    “We count forty-seven,” Nate said, stepping back toward the door and grabbing Katrina’s arm as we did so. “You can’t kill them all...and even if you did, you’d leave just the three of us on this ship by ourselves.”

    “You two...” Carrigan muttered.

    “I figured you wouldn’t go to Dewford,” Katrina said. “But we need to get there.”

    “Why...?” Carrigan asked.

    “I hope you didn’t think I planned on sailing under someone like you – because, if you did, you’re a fool,” Katrina replied, her eyes flashing.

    “IS ANYONE ON THIS SHIP LOYAL TO ME?!” Carrigan roared. A couple of handfuls of men left their spots on the wall and stood around Carrigan.

    “Okay – thirty-seven,” Nate said, as if this setback made no difference at all. “You’re still outnumbered.”

    “You think this is a game?” Carrigan grunted. “This is a joke.”

    “You need an extra twist?” Katrina stepped forward, conjuring a white staff out of thin air and pointing it at the captain and his few loyal crew members. “Thordengata!

    Crewmen dove out of the way as a lightning bolt shot forth from Katrina’s staff and impacted with Carrigan’s zanbato. The large sword absorbed more and more energy as it chipped and then shattered.

    “Gah!” Carrigan grunted as he dropped the hilt, which crackled on the ground harmlessly. “What the hell are you two?”

    “A brain like yours wouldn’t understand,” Katrina replied viciously. “Let’s see how well you play without your favorite toy.”

    “I’ve had that zanbato for longer than you’ve been alive!” Carrigan roared.

    “Maybe a new one would have been more durable,” Katrina answered. “I’d really rather not take life if possible, so I’ll offer you a choice. You can surrender and we can set you adrift peacefully, or we can leave this room and let real pirates handle you.”

    “Mutinied upon by a pair of children...” Carrigan grunted. “Do your worst – I will not live in humiliation!”

    “Our hands are clean, then,” Nate said, turning on his heel and leading Katrina out of the dungeon. Pirates closed around the door, barring Carrigan’s way out.

    “C’mon, then, *******s!” he shouted, clenching his fists. “If I’m goin’ to the locker today, someone’s goin’ with me!!”



    She sat down in her quarters a half-hour later. Nate was pacing the room with his sword drawn, wondering if the pirates, since they had been incited to violence, would come after them next. There was a knock on the door and Katrina jumped up, tired but ready to defend herself should the need arise.

    “Who’s there?!” Nate shouted.

    “Clayton, sir – please come out!” a voice on the other side shouted. “We wish to speak with you!”

    Nate turned around and looked at Katrina and then opened the door...



    An entire crew of pirates stood before Nathaniel Clayton Elm on the deck of the ship as one of the younger ones nervously spoke.

    “Sir...as you see, there are thirty-three of us here,” he said. “Two were killed in the struggle, and two were injured too severely to stand before you. Seven of Carrigan’s ten surrendered and have been captured. Three chose to die along with him. Sir...we now have no captain, and none among us feels up to the task. We want to ask you to captain this ship for us.”

    Nate remained silent.

    “Sir?” the spokesman pirate repeated.


    “I can’t do that,” Nate sighed.

    “But, sir – you’re the strongest and most capable –“ the spokesman pirate started to talk very quickly.

    “It’s alright,” Nate said, raising his hand to calm the young man down. “I am leaving the ship.”

    The entire crew gasped except for Katrina, who was standing in the midst of them.

    “I no longer feel any desire for sailing,” Nate said. “I would like to return to my home in Johto.”

    “Who will lead us, then?” the pirate asked.

    “Yeah!” another pirate cried.

    “Who will be captain?!” another one shouted.

    Nate stepped forward, bringing everyone to silence and panned the crowd just to appear fair – but he had already made his decision. He put his hands on the shoulders of the girl in the middle, who seemed to be extremely surprised.

    “Nate, what –“ she gasped.

    “You can take this ship anywhere you need to now,” Nate whispered. “Let’s see if I remember how this went...”

    He raised his voice.

    “As a token of your strength and loyalty,” Nate began. “I bestow upon you ownership of the vessel Selma...”

    As he put an emphasis on this word the crew erupted into cheers.

    “...as well as the rank, power, and authority of the station of Captain. May the seas find you in their favor – Captain Katrina Sasano,” Nate finished, releasing Katrina’s shoulders. She bit her lip and Nate nodded, giving her an encouraging smile and whispering, “Go on – say something.”

    Katrina turned around toward the pirate who had done most of the talking and shouted, “Sailor!”

    “Yes, ma’am!” the pirate shouted.

    “Where does this ship make port?” she asked loudly.

    “On the eastern beach of Dewford Island, ma’am!” the pirate shouted.

    “Can you steer this ship, sailor?” she asked.

    “Yes, ma’am!” the pirate yelled.

    “On the wheel and get us there!” she shouted. Turning toward the rest of her crew, she added, “The rest of you, back to work!”

    The majority of the crew moved immediately. Three of them just stood there, however.

    “Is there a problem?” Nate asked.

    “We’ll not be captained by some little girl,” one of them said insolently, turning his back to them.

    “I thought somebody would say that – Thordengata!” Katrina shouted, firing a short charge into the seat of this man’s pants and instantly setting them ablaze. He ran around fanning the flame on his fanny for a short while until he finally remembered to stop, drop, and roll. He got up with his hands over his posterior, attempting to cover an obvious hole that had been burnt into his trousers. “Anyone else with an issue?”

    “No, ma’am!” the other two said, shaking their heads in tandem.

    “Well, since you’re just standing there, can you fetch a longboat for our friend?” she asked.

    “Yes, ma’am! Right away!” one of them said as the both of them went to find this boat. This left Katrina and Nate standing there by themselves.

    “Are you really going to leave, Nate?” she asked, resuming her friendly tone of voice.

    “I’m catching the first ship that leaves for Johto,” Nate said. “Whenever and wherever that is. On top of that...I’d rather not let Travis catch me with you. You’d have to admit, it wouldn’t look good.”

    “Can you make it to Dewford on your own?” Katrina asked.

    “Eventually,” Nate said. Katrina bit her lip again and threw herself on Nate’s neck. Smiling, he said, “Don’t let your crew see you crying.”

    “Shut up,” Katrina sniffled. “This is your fault.”

    “I couldn’t have done it without you,” Nate replied wittily. Katrina drew back so she could get a good look at his face.

    “After all the trouble I went through to get you this letter, you’d better be good to her,” she said. “If you don’t treat her right, I’ll come home and kick your ***. You understand?”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Nate replied semi-jokingly. She hugged him again.

    “Have a safe journey,” she said.

    “I’ll try,” Nate said, letting go. A safe margin afterward, the two pirates that had gone to fetch the longboat appeared.

    “Right this way,” one of them said. Nate followed them, and Katrina followed him, to the other side of the ship where a boat about six feet long with two oars hung suspended on a couple of ropes. Nate clambered into the boat and took one last look at Katrina.

    “Stay out of trouble,” he said.

    “Are you kidding?” Katrina responded, spreading her arms and inviting Nate to look at his surroundings. “This is the story of our lives.”

    “That’s true,” Nate sighed. “Well, is it too much to ask you to stay in one piece?”

    “I think we can do that,” Katrina replied.

    Nate smiled again as the boat was lowered into the water. Feeling that it would be rather pointless to extend the goodbyes anymore, Katrina turned around and sighed. The last three weeks had been absolutely nuts. They had arrived in Hoenn as Trainers. Now, three weeks later, they were both pirates for a week, and she was captain of a ship. That wasn’t to mention the fact that they were in the royal employ of His Majesty Prince Elrik.

    “Maybe the word ‘unconventional’ was an understatement...hm?” Katrina muttered to herself and stopped doing so just as she saw a white, bird-like creature cawing loudly on top of a box to her left. “How long have you been here?”

    The Wingull cawed in response.

    “They’re close, you said?” Katrina asked, rather like she was talking to a dear pet. “Well...can you do me one more favor? I have to write a message – could you take it there?”

    The Wingull cawed again.

    “Oh – don’t be like that,” Katrina sighed. “It’s important. You don’t like the fighting, right? I think I know how to stop it.”

    Wingull’s eyes lit up and he began to caw repeatedly and excitedly.

    “Okay, keep your beak on,” Katrina replied. “You rest while I write. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

    The Natus

    Travis ran up alongside Devlin as he opened up a letter that a Wingull had delivered to him.

    Dear Cpt. Devlin:

    Robert Carrigan is dead, and the Selma is under new captaincy. In light of these facts, I wish to negotiate a peace agreement with you and your crew and end the infighting. I recognize the fact that families have been divided between these two crews for several years now and would like there to be a ceasefire so that no additional and unnecessary lives are taken. The meeting will take place on the northern edge of Dewford Island. You likely know the place.

    I understand you have guests aboard your ship. Kindly do not bring them in until the negotiations are complete.

    Captain –


    “Huh? This part of the letter is wet...” Arnaz, peering over Devlin’s other shoulder, commented. “What if Carrigan’s setting a trap?”

    “Carrigan was basically my adopted brother,” Royce Devlin replied. “I know his handwriting, and I’ll be damned if it was ever legible, let alone this neat.”

    “I wonder who got rid of him?” Arnaz asked. “That is, if he’s really dead.”

    “Apparently, the new captain,” Devlin answered.

    “A peace treaty...” Arnaz sighed. “It was my dad’s dream...it sounds almost good to be true...”

    “On the wheel and get us there, then,” Devlin said with a smile. Travis took off down the stairs, nervously.

    “Oh, no...” he muttered. “What if Katrina got caught in the fighting...?”

    “She can defend herself,” Kenjiro said. Travis hadn’t noticed that he and Reivyn were standing right there and nearly walked into them. “I worry more about anyone that comes after her.”


    “I wonder who the new captain of the Selma is?” Travis asked. “They’re sure going through them lately...”

    “I wouldn’t know,” Kenjiro said, shrugging his shoulders. “My guess is we’ll find out after the treaty is signed.”

    Pirate Port – North Dewford Island

    The setting sun ignited the sands of this small beach near the Granite Cave at Dewford Island. Further around was the cave itself, but here was a smaller one where, apparently, Ferdinand had stored most of his loot. Pirates stood all around them. To their great surprise, no one was pulling a sword on anyone else. They must have welcomed a treaty as much as Arnaz had. Speaking of Arnaz, he was walking past Travis and the others presently. Travis had a question.

    “Arnaz!” he called out.

    “Yeah?” the dark-skinned youth turned around and answered.

    “Any news?” Travis asked.

    “We’ll know when they get – oh, there they are,” Arnaz said. Devlin was obvious with his bright orange hair, but the other figure was significantly shorter. It was hard to tell from here whether it was a man or a woman, and the large, wide-brimmed hat didn’t help much. Devlin had a smile on his face, so things must have gone well. Travis’ heart pounded as the two approached him – he wanted to ask the question but couldn’t as he was afraid of what he might find out. Travis began to walk forward and noticed that Devlin had a sheet of paper in his hand. He raised it into the air.

    “I hold in my hand...” he shouted to all of the surrounding pirates, which numbered close to ninety. “Peace! The treaty that makes these two crews one again, as well as an agreement. Our efforts are now focused solely on the reclaiming of the sea from Imperial clutches. In exchange, the captain has agreed to guarantee us royal pardon when the time comes. Two ships – two crews – we are now Hoenn’s first pirate fleet!”

    The crowd went wild with applause and cheering. Over the din, Devlin led the other, shorter person toward Travis.

    “Here’s your Captain,” he said, beaming.

    “What do you mean by –“ Travis muttered, utterly confused. Slowly, he reached up and removed the hat. A mane of long, pink hair flew out from under it, and he saw the girl’s baby-blue eyes look up at him.

    “Hey,” she said.

    Travis was surprised beyond all belief. All he could come up with was, “Long story?”

    Looking around her, she looked back toward Travis and said, “Yeah.”

    Slowly, they moved in for an embrace and a long, joyful kiss. The Ruby Skull pirates in particular cheered loudly.

    “All’s right with the world again,” Kenjiro said. “And we’re back on good, solid earth.”

    Reivyn was poking at a shell with a stick on the ground and looking very much like a small child. She let out an ear-piercing shriek as a red, crawdad-like Pokémon sprang to life and snapped at her with its pincers. She jumped into Kenjiro’s arms. The latter blushed, set her down, and muttered, “Yeah...Corphish don’t like you poking them...”

    Travis and Katrina finally let each other go and, just as they did, Devlin was walking up to them.

    “Now I guess I have control of two ships,” he said, sounding a bit flabbergasted. Then, a white-bodied bird creature landed on his shoulder. He added, “And I get the Wingull.”

    “Two ships...wouldn’t that make you – correct me if I’m wrong – like, an Admiral or something?” Travis asked.

    “I didn’t think about it before, but I guess it would,” Devlin said.

    “Admiral Royce Devlin – has a nice ring to it,” Katrina commented.

    “Captain Sasano doesn’t sound that bad, either,” Devlin said. Katrina smiled. Looking around him, Devlin remarked, “All’s well that ends well, I guess. We avoided the Imperials and got here and now we’re all one big happy family.”

    “And now we can go to Dewford and try for our badges tomorrow,” Katrina commented.

    “No,” Travis muttered.

    “What was that?” Katrina asked quickly.

    “I don’t feel like it,” Travis replied. “I think, after all this, I’d like a day off – maybe two.”

    Katrina giggled. “Works for me – but you know where we’re going.”

    “Of course,” Travis (who had changed back into his regular outfit, as Katrina had) said, going into one pocket, waiting, stopping, and then going into the other one and pulling out a pair of sunshades.

    “Hm?” Katrina uttered.

    “You want to make a stylish exit, right?” Travis asked, handing the shades over to Katrina, who slid them onto her face and smiled. The two held hands and turned to leave.

    “Later!” Devlin shouted.

    “We’ll see ya when we see ya!” Arnaz yelled.

    “Make sure to give those guys a hard time, okay?” Katrina shouted behind her.

    “You bet!” Devlin yelled back. Travis and Katrina reached Kenjiro, who was looking away from Reivyn with a face the color of a ripe tomato. They looked at each other, both had that ‘I-don’t-know’ expression on their faces, and continued in between the other two, walking hand in hand down the beach and into the sunset...

    Together...

    Again.

    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. #135
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    And so the Pirate Passage arc comes to a close. Nate's gone to get Avril (can't wait for their reunion ^^), Katrina got to be Captain for a day, and Travis is finally out of his emo corner. Carrigan met his end without being burnt to nothing, and the two crews are finally at peace. Finally, we got to learn a bit more about those reclusive Temple people.

    Well, that's a pretty impressive list in one chapter, even for you. It put the arc to a nice close, I must say. One of your best talents in writing is being able to close things up while leaving them open enough to bring back in the far future (Xavier, anyone?). Just a hunch, but I have a feeling that Devlin and the gang will show up right when you least expect them. Am I right? Yes? No? Darn... ... ...

    “I thought somebody would say that – Thordengata!” Katrina shouted, firing a short charge into the seat of this man’s pants and instantly setting them ablaze. He ran around fanning the flame on his fanny for a short while until he finally remembered to stop, drop, and roll. He got up with his hands over his posterior, attempting to cover an obvious hole that had been burnt into his trousers. “Anyone else with an issue?”
    There is only one word to describe this scene: "rofl."

    “Oh, look, treasure,” Nate muttered very nonchalantly.
    Once again, that's genius. Pure, unadulterated genius.

    “Chessboard?” Katrina repeated.

    “No, no, that’s not it,” Nate muttered. “No...it’s like...”

    His eyes widened for a second as he gasped loudly.

    “You’re freaking me out a little,” Katrina said matter-of-factly.

    “It’s like...someone’s writing a story about our lives and we’re just acting it out!” Nate said, gesturing with his hands for emphasis. Looking up toward the sky as if he could see some invisible author with his pen to a giant tome, he muttered, “Hey, Katrina...you don’t think...”

    There was a long, eerie silence for about ten seconds.
    I knew this was coming. I KNEW IT!! For the record, I always love the author jokes in stories. I don't recall any in PRJ, so this was a welcome addition.

    That's all, -Oath

    PS:     Spoiler:- YoD Name:

  11. #136
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    Hi EM1 I'm a new reader and am still readind revolution johto but this is the best fic i've ever read ! Tons of action and desriptive battles. I was just wondering does Hotshot evolve in Johto because some people say that he abandoned all of his pokes.
    HeartGold Team

  12. #137
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    ya know, i think its best you read all the way through the prj first, it answers that question on its own....


    Yay! I'm back! I mean, your back! oh the jubilation!! and by the way, love, love, loooooooovveeee that line from nate above. that sense of humor is great. don't lose it.

    as for the saga as a whole, i like where its going. and i am sure that we'll see that fleet and that oh so dashing "admiral" (he reminds me of me sometimes. ;D) towards the end at the final battle. right? right!!!???

  13. #138
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    damn, you spend a day resting after a flight home and there's a new chapter... bleh. oh well... to work i go.

    I'll be back with that review soon!

    I'm back!

    I'm also with oathblivion on all three issues... fanning your fanny... ridiculously uproarious! the crack nate made about bathrooms and katrina's threat also cracked me up!

    Nice way to end the pirate passage arc... hopefully more pokemon interaction next arc. I feel sorry for Reivyn... haviong to ask if birthdays are celebrated... i always make it a point to remember my friends birthdays, so that sucks to me.

    About YoD, just guessing but is the hero     Spoiler:
    ? Sorry, had to ask...

    and as far as girls' names go, i found so many i feel to post them all. SO i'll just post the link and leave it at that:

    Girls' Names

    No real errors... no wait... scratch that...

    anger with himself
    anger at himself

    “Believe me, I know that better than anybody.”
    “Believe me; I know that better than anybody.”

    “Travis has...a split personality,” Katrina said, as if she had been groping around in the dark for the right words to describe his mental state..
    “Travis has...a split personality,” Katrina said, as if she had been groping around in the dark for the right words to describe his mental state.

    “There’s some things that only he and I have experienced together, and nobody else could take the place of that.”
    There’re some things that only he and I have experienced together, and nobody else could take the place of that.”

    Dear Cpt. Devlin:
    Dear Capt. Devlin:

    They looked at each other, both had that ‘I-don’t-know’ expression on their faces, and continued in between the other two, walking hand in hand down the beach and into the sunset...
    They looked at each other; both had that ‘I-don’t-know’ expression on their faces, and continued in between the other two, walking hand in hand down the beach and into the sunset...
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 20th August 2007 at 10:31 AM.
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  14. #139
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    Default Chapter 13

    This chapter starts the Dewford Arc. We'll be here several chapters because there's quite a bit going on.

    This arc is filled with plot advancement, but I find that it focuses a lot on certain interactions between characters (both human and Pokemon alike). There's Phoenixshipping, Templeshipping, Wingedcharmshipping, as well as hints of some of the Pokemon ships such as Twilightshipping, Hazardshipping, Coldshouldershipping, Distractionshipping, and Icewatershipping.

    Yes, I can get away with that. It's a situation of "A likes B who is very complicated dealing with C, who is the crush of D, who likes A as well but can't decide who or what she wants."

    And you're probably thinking, "WTFISH?!?!"

    I'll give you one you can eliminate from each category.

    Phoenixshipping (renamed for this fanfic): Travis x Katrina.
    Twilightshipping (the same, I think): Angel x Crescent.

    The rest you'll have to figure out for yourself, but I'll give you a hint.

    Sometimes the shipping names are based on things the characters are associated with or do to each other. They can also come from comments characters make (e.g. Snowballshipping (Hotshot x Sparx) from PRJ came from a comment Riti made about Sparx having "a snowball's chance in hell" of getting Hotshot to fall for her.)

    Chapter 13: A Day On the Sands


    “Pidgey!”


    “Pidgey!”

    “Pidgey!”

    “Pidgey!”

    “Pidgey!’

    “Pidg–“

    SMACK.

    Six trills – six of them. Normally, it was eight – nine if he was more tired than usual. Today, though, the magic number was six.

    Yes, he had plans today. Plans that he wanted to start early.

    June 9, PA 2013 – Dewford Town

    He dangled his legs over the edge of the lofted bed for a couple of seconds and then leapt. Now that he was older and slightly more coordinated, his landings from those lofted beds were more landings and less crashes. He bounced up on the balls of his feet, tiptoeing in order to avoid waking the two Pokémon that were sleeping on the floor (although one of them would likely be up soon anyway), gathered his things and checked them over once again.

    Travis and the others had arrived at Dewford Island about sunset the day before, and they didn’t find the Pokémon Center until nearly ten that night. Needless to say, they were all tired after the whole pirate bit. It’d been an interesting week, to say the least. Nobody said much to each other when they reached the Center; each of them had barely enough energy to stand, let alone strike up a conversation. Therefore, Travis checked his things again. He wouldn’t have been surprised at all if something was out of place.

    The surprise, actually, was that everything was indeed in place. Raising his eyebrow and breathing a sigh of relief, Travis reached his hand toward the door, turning the knob and pushing it open.

    He peered inside, let out a yell and immediately let go of the door. It slammed shut loudly and didn’t seem to surprise the girl inside, who could see the door through the mirror anyway. She shook her head and continued to fix her hair.

    Meanwhile, he sat at the desk under his bed and stared at the wall, his heart pounding. He looked askance at the door, ready to dive under the desk at a moment’s notice. He’d definitely counted on her being the first person that he saw this morning, but that wasn’t quite what he had in mind.

    After about two minutes, the door swung open.

    “I’m really, really sorry,” he said quickly, stumbling over his words. “I thought you were still asleep – I seriously didn’t know –“

    “Geez, lighten up,” the girl said. Travis saw a pink mane of hair flit through his periphery and heard the footsteps as Katrina made her way around the loft and stopped, judging by the sound of her steps, right behind his chair. He continued to stare at the wall. “You were so busy freaking out that you didn’t notice that I had my bathing suit on.”

    “Yeah – but...” Travis stammered.

    “But what?” she asked sharply. “You’ve seen me in a bathing suit loads of times – what’s your excuse for getting so wound up about it?”

    “You scared me,” Travis muttered. “I didn’t know you were –“

    “I scared you? Oh, isn’t that cute?” she began to taunt. He felt a pair of arms work their way around his neck soon afterward. “Are you scared of cooties? I’m telling you, they’re harmless! You won’t die – you’ll just find that random body parts start falling off after a while.”

    “You’re making fun of me,” Travis said, frowning.

    “Well, yeah, because you’re acting like an eight-year-old!” Katrina exclaimed. “You won’t even turn around and look at me. C’mon – I’m telling you to look!”

    Sighing, Travis whirled around. Inside of a low-cut, white shirt was an obvious bikini top of a bright scarlet color. The top quarter of her legs were covered by a miniskirt. At the back of her shirt was a white bow of cloth that extended into what appeared to be lace ribbons. The whole outfit looked very cute on her. He couldn’t help but smile. She approached him and sat down on his knees. Instantly, she felt a tense sort of vibe and immediately turned toward him. She let out a loud groan.

    “I thought...” (She shifted closer to him.) “...we were past this.”

    “Past...what?” he asked.

    “This whole...thing,” she said. “I’ve never felt awkward around you...but you still do it to me all the time.”

    “You’re making too big a deal out of it,” Travis said.

    “That’s because it drives me up a wall,” Katrina retorted. She must have noticed her own temper rising, because she calmed herself down, took a deep breath and said, “Look – I know you’re always trying to be a gentleman, and I appreciate that about you, but I wish you’d loosen up just a little. You still act like you’re sort of nervous around me.”

    “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable,” Travis said rather defensively.

    “That’s just my point,” Katrina sighed. “If you were ever doing something that made me uncomfortable, I would have let you know. The only thing that makes me uncomfortable is the fact that you are. You’ve been a little better about it lately, but feeling awkward about seeing your own girlfriend in a bathing suit – well, that’s just ridiculous.”

    “Er...I guess, if it makes you feel any better...” Travis muttered. “It does look really nice on you.”

    Katrina smiled.

    “I guess that’s a start,” she said. “Thanks.”

    Travis didn’t respond.

    She pecked him on the cheek.

    “Hurry up,” she said briskly. “We’re losing daylight.”

    “<What do you mean, we’re losing daylight?>” a tired-sounding groan came from the floor. A four-legged Pokémon with a pitch-black coat of fur raised his head from the ground and made himself visible. The other Pokémon, a female Espeon with a lavender coat of fur and a forked tail, began to stir as well. “<The sun just came up.>”

    “<Early bird catches the worm, you know,>” the Espeon commented – she didn’t seem all that concerned about being awoken at this hour of the morning.

    “<Do I look like I have a beak and wings to you, Angel?>” the Umbreon groaned.

    “<Chill out, Crescent – no need to get cranky,>” Angel sighed. Travis gathered his things and slipped into the bathroom. Katrina promptly took his chair. “<You can go back to sleep if you want to – we’ll just go to the beach without you.>”

    “<Why this early? We just got here,>” Crescent muttered.

    “<You’re just not the morning type – I get it,>” Angel affirmed.



    He stared into the mirror. The outside looked okay, but deep down, he was frustrated with himself. She was right – he was being stupid. He smiled inwardly – for once, she wasn’t very direct about it, but he had a feeling what she wanted. The fact was, for much of the time they had been together, he had treated her (at least, from the way she saw things) like an ancient museum artifact. There was no denying that his apparent lack of willingness to show her affection had been an issue for nearly the entire two years they had been together. A decreasing issue, but an issue nonetheless.

    He wondered what his problem was. After all, he was a guy – and a guy of nearly fifteen years, if that.

    He supposed, maybe, that after two years, he still didn’t feel like he had any rights as far as she was concerned. He felt that he didn’t deserve someone like her – especially lately, what with his going into uncontrollable, violent rages and just not looking like he was all there all of the time.

    He was always staring at himself in the mirror – in one way or another. The funny thing was, no matter which way he did it, or what angle he looked from, he never quite liked what he saw. His father felt that he had self-esteem issues – he wanted some kind of reason for why it was that his son wished to push his own body so hard. The fact was, Travis had to get back in shape at least to the degree that he’d been back in 2011, when he left home for the first time. But he wanted a little bit more than that. He looked back on his first journey and sort of felt that he was hurt or tired in some situations where most guys wouldn’t have been.

    He shook his head and sighed. He buttoned his shirt halfway, draped the towel over his shoulder, and exited the bathroom.


    After breakfast and exploring the town a small bit, they left for the beach, Katrina carrying a huge beach blanket and Travis with a red parasol. The six Pokémon they had between them were all in tow – two of them outside of their balls – as they walked down the road that led to the largest beach in Dewford. Dewford was a nice little town, actually. Despite obvious signs of growth, none of the buildings seemed to get too high or too close together. It was a larger town – Littleroot probably could have fit into it about four times and Oldale about ten – but it was a town, still, as it didn’t have that cramped, busy feeling that a city did.

    “I wonder how much the houses with the ocean view cost?” Katrina commented, pointing at one. They were up on a boardwalk, and were looking at a row of houses that seemed to stretch on for a long time at the very front. In front of them was a covered walkway that led to a landing, on each side of which was a set of stairs that led down to the sands of the biggest beach in Dewford. Coming down this street at eight in the morning, Dewford was already starting to show signs of life. From a distance, many people could be seen already on the beach. Up the road, they had seen several groups of teens around their age all leaving for places together. Dewford was apparently one of those towns where it was easy to enjoy life. It was small enough so that it was relatively easy to get around, but big enough so that there always seemed to be something to do. From what Travis could gather, the beach and the Gym, in that order, were the two favorite places to go for most people that lived in Dewford regularly. The Gym they would handle later.

    “Probably about as much as your house,” Travis said bluntly. “My dad says you pay double for any house or room with a view.”

    Travis’ dad worked construction, so he’d know some things like that.

    “I don’t think the cost of living is that ridiculous here,” Katrina replied.

    “Want to bet?” Travis muttered as they approached the walkway. He kept shooting her furtive looks. Truth be told, he couldn’t keep his eyes off her, but he didn’t want to freak her out or anything. They reached the landing and Travis took a left turn, having already seen a spot that he liked on the beach.

    He realized that he was only hearing one set of footsteps and turned around. Katrina had draped the blanket over the railing and stood on the landing, staring at him with her arms folded.

    “What’s wrong with you today?” she asked.

    “What do you mean?” Travis questioned, rather quickly and rather distractedly.

    “You’re acting really...distant,” she replied.

    “Distant? Like what?” Travis asked.

    “The entire way down, I was waiting for you to hold my hand, and trying to give you hints – and you didn’t,” Katrina replied, her arms folded.

    “I don’t get hints well,” Travis sighed. “Especially from someone who usually comes right out and tells me what she’s feeling or thinking about.”

    “You don’t know the trouble I went through just so I could see you again, and now you’re acting like you don’t want me around!” Katrina yelled.

    “But...” Travis gulped for a second. “I’ve been thinking a lot...and you deserve somebody that has it a little more...together.”

    “That’s why,” Katrina said, suddenly growing quiet. “You don’t think you deserve me.”

    After a long pause, Travis responded.

    “No,” Travis said. “I don’t.”

    She gasped. Her face contorted as if she were about to start crying.

    “Do you really think I’d be happier with someone else?” she asked.

    “Sometimes,” Travis replied.

    “You’re wrong,” Katrina said. “I went through so much effort to get back to you. I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t want to be here. After this long...there’s not a lot you can go through that’ll scare me off.”

    “Katrina...”

    “I love you,” she walked up to him. “And I will, whatever happens.”

    There was a long pause, and his lips turned upward into a smile in spite of himself. She reached her arms around his neck.


    “Was that all? You just needed to hear that, didn’t you?” she asked, letting go of him and getting a look at his face. He quietly smiled in response and took her hand as they started down the walkway.


    By nine in the morning, they were all set up. They had a blanket that was more than big enough for the two of them as well as a huge beach umbrella to shade them from the sun. There was sun – and lots of it. This early-June day was already shaping up to be warmer than usual and therefore a great day to visit the beach with friends, family, or as a couple.

    They had let the Pokémon go their separate ways. Angel and Crescent were enjoying each other as always. Meru, having not seen water for what seemed like ages, was happily swimming in the ocean. Arcus was trying to decide what to do – he indeed knew how to swim and would have very much liked to, as he was not used to weather this hot, but he didn’t know if he had the patience to deal with Meru. Conversely, Champ and Amber stayed back on the beach – the former couldn’t swim and the latter, being a Fire-type, obviously hated water.

    “<Meru seems to be enjoying herself,>” Champ commented. “<She’s the only one that sounds like she feels at home at all.>”

    “<Question,>” Amber piped in. Champ looked at her. “<Do you like Meru?>”

    “<Of course – she’s my friend,>” Champ replied, missing the meaning completely.

    “<No, I mean – do you like her?>” Amber asked again, putting the emphasis in the right place.

    “<Wha – er...why are you asking me this?>” Champ replied.

    “<Every time I hear you talk about someone, it’s Meru,>” Amber said, rolling around in the sand. “<Every time I hear you talk to someone, it’s Meru. It’s like I’m not here at all...>”

    “<Did you say something, Amber?>” Champ asked.

    “<No, no! I said nothing!>” Amber exclaimed.

    “<I have my career to think about,>” Champ said. “<I don’t have the time or the energy to think about the female race. Besides...Meru likes Arcus – I’m pretty sure.>”

    “<Hm? What was that?>” Arcus had been peacefully sleeping on the sand – this hot weather made him tired. “<Not that I care at all, but...she hates me.>”

    “<Meru’s the type that, if she can’t stand you, she won’t waste her breath,>” Champ said.

    “<In that case, I wish she did hate me,>” Arcus muttered disdainfully. “<I can’t stand any of you.>”

    “<That’s not very sociable,>” Amber commented. “<Why not?>”

    “<Everyone around here’s so carefree it makes me sick,>” Arcus said. “<No one around here knows how to handle the harshness of real life. It’s all fun and games.>”

    “<Sounds like you could use some fun and games in your life, Arcus,>” Amber said. “<You’re not used to it, are you?>”

    “<No,>” the Arcidane barked harshly. “<And I hate this damn sand. It’ll be years before I get it out of my fur.>”


    “<I didn’t know it was possible to be a tough guy and prissy at the same time,>” Amber said. Then, batting her eyes at him, she added, “<I guess, as handsome as you are, you’d have to worry about your appearance...a little bit.>”

    “<What’s your issue?>” Arcus asked. Amber was starting to scare him a bit.

    “<I’m just having a little fun – that’s all,>” Amber replied, nuzzling up to Arcus. Flirtatiously, she commented, “<You should try it sometime.>”

    “<I’ll take a rain check,>” Arcus said, walking away with a very red face.

    “<Oh, yeah? Well – I don’t want you anyway! So leave! See if I care! I hope Meru kicks your high-and-mighty little a–>” Amber shouted, her face just as red.

    “<Could you please stop yelling?>” Champ asked loudly. “<I’m trying to focus.>”

    “<Focus on what?>” Amber asked.

    “<My next battle,>” Champ said.

    “<Married to your job,>” Amber muttered cajolingly, curling up into a ball and laying down, looking straight at the Treecko. “<You’re so boring.>”

    “<Flirting just isn’t my idea of fun, Amber,>” Champ said. “<Neither is being bipolar...>”

    “<I’m not bipolar!>” Amber shouted.

    “<You’d be ‘tripolar’ or something, but I don’t think that’s physically possible,>” Champ replied calmly.

    “<I don’t understand – why don’t you like me?>” Amber whined, inching closer to Champ and licking his face once. “<I’m interesting and I’m not mean. So, why?>”

    “<First, you’re a Fire-type and your very existence is hazardous to my health,>” Champ replied, inching away from her.

    “<That’s not a very nice thing to say,>” Amber said indignantly.

    “<Laws of nature – not much I can do about it,>” Champ sighed. “<Second...I’m just not interested in a girlfriend.>”

    “<What kind of guy isn’t interested in a girlfriend?>” Amber asked. “<Even for a little while? ...Don’t tell me you’re –>”

    “<You don’t want to finish that sentence,>” Champ interrupted her very calmly. “<Like I said...my career’s more important. If I want to make the Hall of Fame one day, I’ve gotta work hard at it – and I can’t afford any distractions.>”

    “<You say that,>” Amber muttered, “<But Meru distracts you all the time.>”

    Champ heaved a long sigh and turned away from Amber. “<Whatever.>”

    “<You’re starting to act like Arcus,>” Amber groaned.

    “<You have that effect,>” Champ muttered lazily.



    Speaking of Arcus, he was presently swimming out to sea with a very disgruntled facial expression. Meru had her back turned to him and seemed to be staring down something that was peering out at her from the water. From where he was, Arcus could see that the Pokémon was blue and had red, bulbous sort of orbs that looked like eyes.

    “<Stop bothering me!>” Meru said, swiping her paw and hitting one of the large, red bulbs. The creature jumped out of the water, revealing two actual eyes and tentacles.

    “Tenta-cool...”

    “<Now what?!>” Meru shouted. Arcus stopped swimming and hung back to observe what was going to happen. The Tentacool spewed a flurry of white, needle-like spines right at the Kitide, who swore and dove underwater immediately.

    She righted herself only to see Tentacool descending into the water right in front of her. She swam deeper as Tentacool fired another rash of poisonous barbs through the water at her. She let out a slight, muffled scream as Tentacool, this time, hit its mark with a Poison Sting attack. She rolled over in the water very quickly, her eyes flashing. Seconds later, a pressurized wave of water flipped Tentacool. Its small, beady, black eyes looked straight down at the Kitide, when she smashed into it with a Quick Attack, knocking it out of the water and airborne.

    Arcus looked up and watched as the large Jellyfish Pokémon sailed through the air and began to come down – right at him. He dove down into the water to avoid Tentacool landing on him. He started to swim toward Meru, who didn’t seem to notice him as she bulleted past in order to land another underwater Quick Attack. Just as she hit her mark, though, the Tentacool’s tentacles found their way around her body and began to squeeze the life out of her. Struggling, her teeth found one of Tentacool’s appendages and, using Bite, she ripped herself away from its grip. Immediately, Tentacool backed away and fired a greenish jet of fluid. This jet found its mark and sizzled on Meru’s skin and fur. She looked up and was immediately overtaken by a steady stream of Poison Sting attacks. Once the barrage stopped, she looked around to find Tentacool and retaliate –

    It was gone.

    She felt two tentacles wrap around her body several times and then snap tight around her belly like whips. She felt herself being pulled down into a spiral, deeper and deeper into the sea.

    Arcus saw this move, growled, and took off after the Tentacool.

    She felt her strength giving out. No one could help her down here – not like anyone would want to, anyway.



    Above water and out of it, Amber stirred to her feet.

    “<Hey, Champ...>” she said.

    “<What now?>” Champ asked, annoyed with her at this point.

    “<I don’t see Meru or Arcus anywhere,>” Amber said.

    “<Seriously?>” Champ rose to his feet and shielded his eyes against the sun as he looked out to sea.

    “<You don’t think Meru’s in trouble, do you?>” Amber said.

    “<Like, drowning? Of course not!>” Champ exclaimed.



    She struggled to wrench herself free of Tentacool’s grip, but as she did so, she only found more and more energy leaving her. Her eyes began to close...

    No. She couldn’t close her eyes. If she did, they might never open again.

    She felt a pain in her back. Tentacool was hitting her with Poison Sting barbs at point-blank range. She knew she was done for now. She couldn’t even scream with any quality underwater. She could hardly breathe. After a few more moments of struggling, she resigned herself to her fate and began to close her eyes for the final time. Just as she did so, she saw something swimming toward them...

    Arcus saw Meru stop struggling and go limp in the clutches of the Tentacool.

    “<Damn, damn, damn!!>” he swore as he shot down toward them. Tentacool seemed to be done with the Kitide, as it finally let her go. It looked up – but not in time to dodge Arcus, who blasted into it with a Quick Attack. Tentacool hovered backward, looking angry.

    “Tenta-cool...”

    “<Back off!>” Arcus barked, sending a rainbow-colored beam of energy at Tentacool, who was engulfed and shivered under its light. Once the beam faded, Tentacool was nowhere to be found, having been blasted an immeasurable distance out to sea. Now, there was a more pressing matter at hand – Meru was sinking and unconscious. Arcus shot down toward her and draped her over his back using his teeth. Her front paw would be wounded, but it was a small price to pay for saving her life.



    Champ and Amber watched the water.

    “<What the hell happened?>” Champ shouted. “<You don’t think Arcus...>”

    “<Hey, look! It’s them!>” Amber exclaimed. Arcus was dragging Meru up onto the beach. He set her down on the sand. She was limp and motionless. Champ ran down to the shallows.

    Arcus made the final push, set Meru on solid ground, and breathed a sigh of fatigue. He looked up and saw a white glow –

    WHAM.

    It was like he’d just been hit by a Donphan at full speed. He went sprawling sideways to the ground and rolled to his feet with a growl. He wasn’t the only one growling. A Treecko was looking at him through one of his yellow, bulging eyes.

    “<What...the hell...>” he seethed, “<did you DO TO HER?!>”

    “<Saved her life,>” Arcus panted. “<Don’t worry – you don’t have to thank me.>”

    “<You mind explaining how she got underwater in the first place, then?>” Champ asked loudly.

    “<A Tentacool attacked her,>” Arcus said, still breathing hard.

    “<Really? That’s convenient that it didn’t happen until you swam out there!>” Champ shouted.

    “<I really don’t give a damn if you think I’m lying or not,>” Arcus said, walking away.


    “<Where are you going?>” Champ asked.

    “<To get some help,>” Arcus said.



    Travis laid back on his elbows and looked at the sky as Katrina dispensed with her jacket, revealing the top half of her red bikini. By now, it was nearly ten and the beach was starting to come alive. Reveling in the sun and breeze, Travis put his head back onto the blanket and heaved a long sigh.
    “I don’t get you sometimes,” he said.

    “What’s there to get?” she asked. “Love isn’t something you earn, per se. It’s something that’s chosen for you. That’s why there isn’t a lot you could do to make me stop loving you. It’s a choice I made.”

    “You’re...so much better at this than I am,” Travis said. “How do you know all these things I don’t?”

    “I guess,” Katrina replied, sitting on the blanket next to him, “when your first relationship is so bad that you find out right off the bat what love isn’t, it makes it a little easier to figure out what it is.”

    “Everything’s got a silver lining with you,” Travis said with a smile.

    “When you think about it,” Katrina said, “trying to find bad things that happen in your life is the easy way out. It’s trying to find the good things that’s more of a challenge.”

    “Okay – okay, stop,” Travis laughed. “You’re too deep right now. You’re making me feel dumb.”

    “Oh, yeah? This is payback for all those years we spent in school together,” Katrina replied with a smirk. “All those tests where you’d absolutely slaughter everyone else in the class...those six years were torture.”

    “It couldn’t have been that bad,” Travis answered. “You weren’t exactly at the bottom of the class yourself.”

    “There’s doing that, and then there’s doing that with what seems like no effort,” Katrina replied. “Face it – you were just a genius.”

    “You’re exaggerating a little,” Travis said modestly. Then, a twinge of bitterness in his voice, he added, “If I’d been a genius, I would’ve found some way to win all eight badges before everything got shot to hell...”

    “Can we not talk about that, please?” Katrina asked, sounding a bit tense. Travis stood up restlessly, sighing.

    “Sorry,” he muttered.

    “I really wish I could just make you forget it all...” Katrina replied, standing up and taking his hand. Travis stood silent for a moment.

    “I don’t want to,” he said. She let out a gasp as he turned around. “If I hadn’t gone through all that...how else would I know how much you mean to me?”

    Katrina gasped again and felt a pair of arms close around her. She closed her eyes and sighed through her nose.

    “That’s a nice thing to say,” she said.

    “And the best thing is that I’m telling the truth,” Travis replied. She opened her eyes and looked straight at him. His expression was serious and yet gentle. “I don’t think I tell you enough – I love you.”

    She cracked a smile and laid her head against his shoulder as he held her.

    It was a perfect little romantic moment...

    For about nine seconds.

    It was at the tenth second they heard a loud bark and both whirled around. Here, they saw Arcus panting and looking like he was about to collapse from exhaustion.

    “Uh...Arcus,” Katrina said matter-of-factly. “I don’t know how to say this, but...you look like hell.”

    “<No time!>” he exclaimed. “<Meru got attacked by a Tentacool. I got her out, but she’s in bad shape.>”

    “Wha –“ Travis uttered, exchanging confused looks with Katrina.

    “<Come on!>” he barked.

    The two looked at each other and ran after him.



    After a few minutes of running, they found the aqua-colored Cub Pokémon lying on the ground and shivering. Actually, Travis remembered her normal coloration, and noticed right off the bat that she looked decidedly greener about the facial area. He let out a gasp of concern. He knew by experience that a green-looking face was only a good sign with certain species of Grass-type Pokémon. Meru didn’t fit into that category; therefore, something was wrong.

    “<Call me crazy, but I think she’s been poisoned,>” Amber commented.

    “<You are crazy,>” Champ said. “<But I think you’re right.>”

    “Damn!” Travis groaned. “I left all my stuff at the Pokémon Center – that’s halfway across town!”

    “Not to worry,” said Katrina with a smile. “I put together a Pokémon First-Aid Kit when I got up this morning. It’s back where the rest of our stuff is. Let’s hurry.”

    So they ran back the other way, Travis carrying Meru and Amber, Champ, and Arcus right behind them.

    When they arrived back at the area they had set up for themselves, they did so just in time to see Angel and Crescent coming from the other direction. Travis laid Meru down on the blanket just as they approached it.

    “<What happened?>” Angel asked.

    “<Tentacool,>” Champ said simply. Angel winced.

    “<Man...>” Crescent muttered.

    Katrina sprayed one green colored bottle on Meru twice. The small Water-type shivered for a second and then relaxed. Katrina then took a blue spray bottle and used that one on Meru. Meru shivered again, this time a bit more violently, and then let out a sigh. After a few moments, she began to squint and groan.

    “<Where do you think you’re going?>” Champ asked.

    “<My work’s done here, isn’t it?>” he replied, walking off toward the water.


    Meru’s eyes opened.

    “<Hmm...I’m alive,>” she whimpered.

    “<How are you feeling?>” Champ asked.

    “<I’ve been better, that’s for sure,>” Meru said.

    “<Why’d that Tentacool get so ****** at you?>” Crescent asked.

    “<He was, like, stalking me or something,>” Meru replied. “<So I told him to go away. And when he didn’t...I popped him one because he was creeping me out. Then he tried to sting me and I went underwater to avoid him. I can swim just fine, but it’s been a while since I’ve fought underwater. I was completely outmatched. He started strangling me and shooting Poison Stings into my back and...Arcus! Where is he?>”

    She rolled to her feet.

    “<What did he do to you?>” Champ asked, very ready to accuse Arcus of anything at this point.

    “<Nothing – I didn’t even see him until I went under. The last thing I saw was a Pokémon swimming down after us...and it looked like him!>” she exclaimed. “<Where’d he go?>”

    Champ frowned.

    “<What’s wrong with you?>” Meru asked.

    “<Nothing!>” Champ said, folding his arms.

    “<He’s disappointed because he can’t pin the blame on Arcus for what happened to you,>” Amber said sagely. Champ, normally calm and collected, snapped.

    “<Shut up! What do you know, you stupid little –>”

    “<Language, little Treecko,>” Amber warned. “<I can still burn you to a crisp if I want.>”

    Meanwhile, Angel and Crescent were muttering something to each other.

    “<Why are our teams so...dysfunctional this time around?>” Angel asked.

    “<Beats me,>” Crescent replied. “<From what it looks like, Champ doesn’t like Arcus but he considers Meru his friend, and the fact that Meru owes Arcus her life instead of him is a little bit hard for him to swallow since he seems convinced that Arcus is the very spawn of hell.>”

    “<Very insightful,>” Angel answered simply.

    “<I have my moments,>” Crescent replied with a smile.

    “<Champ...is there something you want to tell me?>” Meru asked.

    “<Yes, there is!>” Amber piped in, her eyes popping in delight. “<He wants to tell you that he’s oh, so mad–>”

    WHACK.


    Champ’s large tail, seemingly moving autonomously, knocked Amber to the ground before she could finish.

    “<You’re driving me mad,>” Champ said, a vein throbbing in his temple.

    “<Um...well, you two can sit here and beat the hell out of each other all day, but I’m going to find Arcus,>” Meru replied, walking between the two of them and out toward the ocean.

    “<Be more careful this time,>” Champ said in a bit of a scolding tone.

    “<Yeah, Champ would be devastated if anything were to happen to his –>” Amber started again.

    WHACK.

    “<OWWWW!>” Amber whined, a great ruddy bump blossoming on the top of her head.

    “<That wasn’t really necessary, was it?>” Angel asked loudly.

    “<Oh, it was,>” Champ said darkly, taking a deep breath and walking away. “<It really was.>”

    “<OWWW!>” Amber groaned again. “<Hey, you –>”

    “<Oh, boy...>” Angel muttered, shocked at the stream of words and fireballs presently issuing from the young Pyrika’s mouth simultaneously. “<How many of those can you possibly get in one sentence?>”

    “<Fireballs or four-letter words?>” Crescent asked. Angel grimaced.

    “<Both.>”

    “Geez...” Travis muttered, a gigantic sweatdrop floating beside his head. “Katrina, you’d better keep that first aid kit close.”

    “Yeah, I know...” Katrina answered.

    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.




  15. #140
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    a-HA! first in line this time. Hah, loosers, noobs, the FIC IS MINE!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    Man, i can be scary... but i'm just happy that you've updated asap, Eon!

    Guessing Templeshipping is ReivynxKenjiro and Coldshouldershipping is MeruxArcus,. the rest i'll leave til i've read...

    I've Read...

    a nice chapter... a little short if you ask me, but there you go... this had to be my favourite part:

    “<Yeah, Champ would be devastated if anything were to happen to his –>” Amber started again.

    WHACK.

    “<OWWWW!>” Amber whined, a great ruddy bump blossoming on the top of her head.

    “<That wasn’t really necessary, was it?>” Angel asked loudly.

    “<Oh, it was,>” Champ said darkly, taking a deep breath and walking away. “<It really was.>”

    “<OWWW!>” Amber groaned again. “<Hey, you –>”

    “<Oh, boy...>” Angel muttered, shocked at the stream of words and fireballs presently issuing from the young Pyrika’s mouth simultaneously. “<How many of those can you possibly get in one sentence?>”

    “<Fireballs or four-letter words?>” Crescent asked. Angel grimaced.

    “<Both.>”

    “Geez...” Travis muttered, a gigantic sweatdrop floating beside his head. “Katrina, you’d better keep that first aid kit close.”

    “Yeah, I know...” Katrina answered.
    You know how i do...

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 23rd August 2007 at 6:11 PM.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  16. #141
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Yeah, well, the chapter's short because I couldn't get it all up - the forums knocked me off soon after I posted the first part. So, here's the rest:

    *** ~~~ ***

    Kenjiro felt rather uncomfortable in this shop here in Dewford – a shop that was very clearly for young women’s clothing. However, Reivyn wanted to come in to see exactly what girls wore ‘out here’, as she had taken to calling the entire open world she now considered new. They had been in here for an hour, and it didn’t help matters that he appeared to be alone for most of that hour, as Reivyn tried on outfit after outfit after outfit, presenting herself to him just long enough for him to say – rather robotically – that whatever she happened to be wearing looked nice on her. Fortunately, she had enough common sense to realize when something was too big or too small.

    But still...he’d been in here for an hour. Not that he had anything better to do right now, but...

    “Kenji?” Reivyn was there again. This time, she was wearing a royal-blue, tunic-like garment with sky-blue trim that traversed her torso. The garment split at the thigh, revealing her burgundy shorts before stopping right at the top of her kneecap. Wherever she had picked this from, one thing was for sure – she had certainly made a good guess when it came to size – this garment fit her perfectly. Kenji saw the price tag hanging off of the garment at Reivyn’s right waist. It was definitely the cheapest one by far.

    “Hm?” Kenjiro muttered. “Oh, um...do you want it?”

    “Want it?” Reivyn said, looking furtively behind her, where a rather effeminate-looking man with very curly hair was sitting behind a counter and looking down at a piece of paper on his desk. “We can’t just walk out with it, can we?”


    “No – I was going to pay for it,” Kenjiro said, very relieved that Reivyn was smart enough not to bolt as soon as he asked the question.

    “You’ll pay for something and give it to me?” Reivyn asked. “Why?”

    “Today’s your birthday,” Kenjiro explained. “That’s what people do. When someone celebrates a birthday, their family and friends get gifts for them.”

    Reivyn let out a squeal of delight and hugged Kenjiro so quickly and so forcefully that she nearly tackled him to the ground. Kenjiro was surprised. You’d think that she’d never gotten a birthday present before.

    Then he remembered – she hadn’t.

    “Let me go for a second,” Kenjiro said. “I need to talk to the guy at the counter.”

    “He scares me,” Reivyn said. “He’s...strange.”

    “Tell me about it,” Kenjiro said – he could only think of two reasons why the hell a guy would be the sole cashier in a women’s clothing shop. “You stay here, then. Don’t leave.”

    “Okay,” Reivyn replied as Kenjiro walked up to the counter.

    “Er...excuse me?” Kenjiro uttered.

    “Oh, hello!” the cashier exclaimed. His voice was high-pitched and airy. Perhaps Kenjiro wouldn’t have minded that much if he’d walked up to the counter with his eyes closed. He saw the origin of the voice, however, and this fact sent chills up his spine. “I notice you’ve been here for a while. Are you finding everything alright?”

    “Just fine,” Kenjiro said, trying very hard not to look the man right in the eyes. “Listen – you see the girl standing near the door?”

    “The one with red hair that came in here with you?” the man asked.

    “More like I came in with her,” Kenjiro muttered. “But, yeah – her.”

    “Ah!” the cashier gasped. “She looks positively exquisite!”

    Kenjiro backed up a half-step – part of him was relieved that the cashier could at least act like he found any female attractive, but the use of the word ‘exquisite’ put Kenjiro off a bit.

    “I’m – er...glad you think so,” Kenjiro muttered. “Er...I’dliketogetiforer.”

    “Hm? Come again?” the cashier asked, at which point Kenjiro realized that he had run his words together.

    “I’d like to get it for her,” Kenjiro said.

    “A special present for your girl, is it? I’d be happy to help you,” the cashier replied.

    “Erm...no, she’s not – well, it’s not like that...” Kenjiro replied quickly.

    “No need to be shy,” the cashier said. “Young love is a beautiful thing.”

    Kenjiro got where the man was coming from and would have been a bit less tense – except that he was missing the point.

    “That’s not – damn it,” Kenjiro muttered in frustration, leaning over the table and whispering through his teeth. “It’s not like that. We’re not...we’re friends, okay?”


    “Really?” the cashier said incredulously.

    “What do you mean by that?” Kenjiro asked.

    “Young man, why don’t you turn around and look at her?”

    To oblige the cashier and ensure his continued helpfulness, Kenjiro cooperated. Reivyn was presently spinning around in the tunic she had tried on. Her long, scarlet hair flew out like a mane around her neck and her silver eyes were alight. Her mouth was open in a wide smile. It just so happened that no one else was in the shop presently to watch this scene. It was as if he was watching her move in slow motion...

    “After working in this shop for so long, I am very in tune with the female heart,” the cashier said.

    There’s not a lot of men that could say that and be telling the truth, Kenjiro thought to himself. I’m definitely lost.

    “I can tell by looking at her,” the cashier continued. “She is not accustomed to being treated well. Did she have a difficult childhood? Do you know?”

    “Yes,” Kenjiro replied confidently. “I’m sure she did.”

    “Parents...abusive or just very uncaring?” the cashier asked.

    “She didn’t know them,” Kenjiro replied.

    “Oh, dear! How sad!” The cashier exclaimed, putting his hands to his mouth. “How did you come to know this girl?”

    “We met last month,” Kenjiro said, hoping the cashier backed off before asking him something that he’d have a hard time answering.

    “And how do you feel about her?” the cashier asked. “If you claim that you are ‘friends’...how do you feel about her?”

    An easy question.

    “I don’t know,” Kenjiro said. It was as if he had been waiting for someone – anyone – to ask him this question for weeks, just so he could verbalize an answer and try to make sense of it himself. “I had...I guess, kind of a similar childhood. She was raised somewhere where she was taught hardly anything about the world. I ran into her in a forest, and I’ve had to answer nearly all of her questions about the way things in the world work. She didn’t even understand the concept of celebrating birthdays. This is her first birthday present.”

    “Birthday?” the cashier asked. “How old would she be?”

    “Seventeen,” Kenjiro replied. “Seventeen years old.”

    “I see...” the cashier muttered. “I’m sorry, I simply can’t allow you to buy that dress.”

    “What?” Kenjiro growled.

    “Just take it – no one else I’ve shown it to seems to want it,” the cashier said. “Just one thing – is your heart open?”

    “Why do you need to know?” Kenjiro asked.


    “As far as I can tell, no one has ever done as much as you have for her. One day – it might be today – she will love you,” he replied. Kenjiro let out a slight gasp and stared at the young woman in front of him, his ears receiving everything the strange cashier said. “Your heart will need to be open to receive her when that day comes.”

    “I’ve never met many guys that work in women’s clothing shops,” Kenjiro commented. “And I’ve never met many men that would consider themselves fortunetellers. She will love me? How are you so sure about that?”

    “Has she ever had the opportunity to love before?” the cashier asked. Kenjiro stayed silent for a moment.

    “No,” he finally responded. “I don’t think so.”

    “That would make you the most likely candidate, would it not?” the cashier asked quietly.

    Kenjiro stared ahead for a moment, heaved a significant sigh, and raised his voice:

    “Thank you for your business, sir.”

    “You’re very welcome! Please come back soon!” the cashier shouted, as if all he and Kenjiro had done was exchange pleasantries and complete the sale.

    Kenjiro walked up to Reivyn, who smiled.

    “Happy birthday,” he said, not looking at her completely.

    “Mm-hmm,” she hummed. A moment later, he felt fingers interlocking with his. “The happiest day of my life.”

    Kenjiro looked at her. She was indeed smiling. Had one small, cheap birthday gift done that much for her? He saw the way she looked at him as they exited and walked down the road, hand in hand.

    Was this what his brother talked about all those years?

    He was now genuinely concerned for her physical and emotional well-being. His heart lifted whenever he saw her smile, and as a result, he was on this day happier than he had been...since that day...

    “Where do you want to go next?” he asked.


    Arcus blinked and watched the sea ebb and flow as he floated there for a few seconds. He saw all of the humans around him, swimming and playing in the water. He had no interest in them. He just wanted to be alone. None of them would talk to him, and he preferred it that way.

    “<Not one for a hero’s reception?>” a witty, feminine voice sounded behind him. He’d heard that voice in enough arguments by now to know who it was.

    “<Kind of soon for you to be up and about, isn’t it?>” he asked without turning around.

    “<Not really,>” she answered. She swam in front of him and he saw that it was indeed Meru, having recovered. “<I’m tougher than I look.>”

    Arcus looked away from her.

    “<Let me guess – you didn’t need my help?>” he asked. “<I’m regretting it already.>”


    “<Don’t be like that, Arcus,>” Meru said, frowning. “<I just wanted to say ‘thank you’.>”

    “<Oh...>” Arcus said, a bit put out by the fact that he didn’t get the nasty response that he expected. “<Well, you’re welcome. Just don’t get yourself in trouble again. I don’t think I have the energy to rescue you twice in one day.>”

    “<Fair enough,>” Meru replied. “<I didn’t expect anyone to save me the first time. I was kind of surprised that you came down after me...>”

    “<You were expecting some knight in shining armor or something?>” Arcus said snippily. “<Sorry to disappoint you.>”

    “<Is there any particular reason you’re always so testy?>” Meru asked. Arcus let out a growl. “<Sorry – I’m prying. Why’d you do it? I thought you would have rather seen me dead.>”

    “<I don’t have any personal vendettas against anyone,>” Arcus said.

    “<You hate everybody equally – I get it,>” Meru replied. “<All the more reason I’m surprised that you did that.>”

    Arcus stayed silent for a second.

    “<Because I knew I could,>” Arcus said. “<If I know that it’s in my power to save a life and I refuse to do it, that’s as good as murder, isn’t it?>”

    “<I guess, when you put it that way...>” Meru trailed off.

    “<Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re special or anything,>” Arcus said. “<I would have done the same thing for anyone else. I won’t have another death on my conscience.>”

    “<What do you mean by –>” Meru began to ask, but Arcus quickly interrupted her.

    “<That’s personal,>” he said. “<You can ask me until you’re blue in the face, and I won’t tell you a thing.>”

    “<I’m already blue in the face if you take a good look,>” Meru replied wittily, beginning to swim away. “<But thanks for the memo.>”

    “<Whatever,>” Arcus muttered, taking a look into Meru’s face and locking on her golden eyes for a moment as she swam around him.

    “<You know...>” Meru’s voice drifted into his ears from behind him again. “<Maybe I was wrong about you. You’re not such a bad guy after all.>”

    “<A compliment,>” Arcus replied. “<Maybe I should start keeping track in case I ever decide to care about what others think of me.>”

    Meru let out a sigh of exasperation.

    “<Maybe that was pushing it a little...>” she muttered, swimming off.



    Travis felt the warmth of the sun on his bare back as he surfaced with a loud splashing sound. He blinked several times, his vision blurred by haze and by water droplets on his eyelashes. Once his vision recovered, he began to float backward. After a few seconds of daydreaming, he backed straight into something.


    “Ack!” he choked as he felt two arms grab him around the stomach.

    “Boo,” a girl’s voice sounded as she inched up to kiss him on the cheek. He reached behind him slightly and found her legs. She held on tightly as he carried her the short distance back to shore.

    Once they reached dry land, she let go of him and landed on the coastline on her feet. He ran to their blanket and picked up one of the two towels they had brought with them. His feet made prints in the sand as he carried the towel back to her and she wrapped it around the bottom three-fourths of herself, following him.

    He sat down on the blanket with a sigh and she landed next to him. They sat there in silence for a few moment, looking at the rest of them all. Half of these people came here for at least half a day at least half of all of the days of summer. They had responsibilities, but nothing out of the ordinary. Most likely, they never had countries or entire worlds depending on them. They didn’t have lives that had tendencies toward the supernatural and the unusual.

    ...and they, therefore, did not value these few moments of peace as much.

    “I wonder what our lives will be like...” Katrina sighed. “After everything’s over?”

    “Dunno,” Travis answered. “I guess it depends on how it ends.”

    “So, when you do finally retire...what will you do?” Katrina asked.

    Travis had never thought about it before – surprising, as there was a point very recently in his life that he thought his career as a Pokémon Trainer was over.

    “Not sure,” he answered honestly.

    “So...what if you do get it?” Katrina asked. “I mean, you have an equal shot of being Champion just like anyone else.”

    “So do you,” Travis replied. “So, what would you do?”

    “Well, after being Champion and helping to save Johto, everything else would be boring. I might pull a Shiro and just wander around the world aimlessly for a few years,” Katrina replied. Travis laughed. “You know what? I think you’d be a great teacher.”

    “Teacher?” Travis repeated.

    “At a Pokémon Academy or something,” Katrina replied. “You’d be a great Professor. Not to take anything from Elm, but how much better do you think we would have been prepared for life as Trainers if we’d had someone who’d been out there before?”

    “I guess you have a point,” Travis said. “If he ever had a weakness, it was exactly that – he was never very hands-on. But...Professor? That’s a while down, isn’t it?”

    “I don’t know...” Katrina said. “So, you never answered by question. What would you do after you became Champion?”

    “The first thing is...” Travis almost answered a bit too quickly. Then, slowing his thoughts down, he said, “The first thing is that I need to get to the tournament. I can’t get to the tournament if I don’t have eight badges. I can’t get eight badges unless I beat the Gym Leader here. So...baby steps.”

    “Right – baby steps,” Katrina replied, laughing. She turned around and pushed Travis down onto his back, hovering over him. “Off the record, though...any future with us in the picture is a future I wouldn’t mind much. What about you?”

    “No...I wouldn’t mind at all,” Travis replied, smiling. She leaned down and kissed him on the lips.

    “You are here,” an accented voice said. Katrina stopped working Travis over long enough to realize that she was now in shadow and looked up. Two people were standing over them.

    “Lucky guess,” a girl’s voice said. Travis sat up so he could get a better look at them and immediately let out a groan.

    “What are you doing here?” he asked.

    “Bad timing, I guess,” the boy said. Darkly, he added, “And just when you were starting to enjoy yourself, too...”

    “I’ve been enjoying myself the entire morning, right up until ten seconds ago,” Travis said curtly.

    “A little bit testy, aren’t we?” the boy replied.

    “<What’s going on over here?>” All six Pokémon showed up in a group and arrived at the same time. Angel got a good look at the boy’s face. “<You again?>”

    “I thought I was here offering an opportunity, but if you won’t listen, I guess we’ll have to find somebody else,” the boy said.

    “ ‘Opportunity’?” Travis repeated. “Hold on, what are you talking about?”

    “I’ve got a chance for you to show us what you’ve got, gunslinger,” the boy said, crouching down and showing Travis a flyer. Travis, investigating it, stood up, and Katrina followed suit, looking over his shoulder at the flyer as well.

    “A tournament?” Katrina questioned curiously, looking up at the boy’s face. He had dispensed with the skullcap in today’s heat, revealing a full head of spiked-back and slightly messy brown hair with blond highlights. He was wearing dark sunglasses over his eyes (which Katrina and Travis knew for a fact were green anyway). Today, he was wearing an open red-and-black vest with black swimming trunks. “When does it – one o’clock?! That’s in less than half an hour!”

    “Any reason for the short notice, Matthew?” Travis asked.

    “Well, it’s a tourney of sixteen,” Matt explained. “Truth be told, we had all sixteen slots filled already – but one of the guys that was gonna participate just had one of those days where he would’ve been better off staying in bed.”

    “What? How so?” Katrina asked.

    “Well, he went out for his morning ride on his skateboard – a lot of guys around here do that – and landed on a rail the one way you don’t want to...”

    Travis and Katrina winced. Having a would-be pro skateboarder as a friend, they knew all too well what this meant.

    “And then he ate something that it turns out he has an allergy to, so now he’s breaking out all over his...” Matt started. Thinking that she knew where this was going, Katrina rolled her eyes at Matt right before he said, “...face, not to mention that his baby brother’s sick. We’re talking serious ralphing action all over the guy’s clothes – twice. It’s safe to say that he won’t be making it after all that, right?”

    “I guess not,” Travis replied in a noncommital fashion.


    “So...you can’t have a sixteen-man tournament with fifteen people,” Matt answered. “So, I thought I’d see if I could find you and see if you were up for it.”

    “Okay – gotcha,” Travis said. Then, with a suspicious tone in his voice, he started, “You know, this seems a lot similar to something that’s happened before, but maybe it’s just me. You annoy us half to death, invite us to a tournament, and then try to turn me into a human popsicle. Granted, it’d be pretty hard to freeze anything when it’s this hot, but you probably have another plan to try and knock me off, right?”

    “That’s really uncalled for,” Matthew said, folding his arms. “Get it through your thick skull – it was an accident. Stop being so damn paranoid.”

    “You know what?” Travis snarled, stepping forward. “Let me tell you something about me – when I think someone’s trying to kill me, most of the time I’m right!”

    “You must be really unpopular, then,” Matthew said nonchalantly. “If you weren’t always busy trying to pick a fight, you’d have less enemies.”

    “I’ve tried not picking a fight – doesn’t work,” Travis said coolly.

    “Why are you so stubborn? ****!” Matthew groaned. “I’m trying to be a good sport.”

    “Really? That’s a switch,” Travis muttered darkly.

    “C’mon, hear him out,” Katrina said, figuring she’d better try to calm Travis down before he got out of hand.

    “Let’s not pull any punches here – the last time we battled back in Oldale Town, I handed you your *** on a platter,” Matthew said. “But I know you well enough to know you weren’t anywhere close to a hundred percent, so I don’t think our first battle proves anything. I figure, now that we’re back in the swing of things – I’m assuming that you’re here to get your third badge and not just for a vacation – you’ll show me what you’ve really got to offer.”

    “That’s really classy of you,” Katrina commented.

    “Classy? Please,” Travis muttered. “He’s planning on pulling some stunt to try to kill me.”

    “Come off it already!” Matt groaned. “I wouldn’t kill off my best competition.”

    “I know you wouldn’t – I said you’d try,” Travis replied coolly.

    “Seriously, though...there’s a pretty damn good field of competitors. Whoever set this up sure invited the right people,” Matt said. “Brad Carmichael...Cliff Arland...”

    “Cliff’s there?” Katrina asked, remembering the rookie from Littleroot Town.

    “Yeah,” Matt sighed, sounding like he didn’t like the fact. “He’s decent, but he’s got a big mouth. He went to an Academy and thinks he’s got a leg up on everybody else. By the way...if you take me up on this offer, you’ll be battling him first. So...what do you say?”

    “You’ve battled Cliff before,” Katrina commented.

    “Not one-on-one, though,” Travis said. “That one Pokémon he had was pretty interesting.”

    “The Grass-type?” Katrina asked.

    “Yeah,” Travis said.


    “He claims he’s evolved it,” Matt said. “Of course, coming from him, that could just be a load, but you never know...”

    “Really?” Travis questioned.

    “You think you should check this out?” Katrina asked.

    Travis looked at her and raised his eyebrows.


    The doors slid open to the Pokémon Center and then slid shut behind Kenjiro and Reivyn as they entered. Kenjiro’s intention was to go straight back to their room and relax, but Nurse Joy stopped them.

    “Excuse me...you two are in Room 412, correct?” she asked.

    “412? That’s us,” Kenjiro answered. “Why?”

    “You wouldn’t know someone styling themselves ‘Dreadnaught’, would you?” she asked. “They left a message for a ‘Scorpion’.”

    Kenjiro gasped.

    “Is something wrong?” Reivyn asked.

    “Let’s hope not,” Kenjiro answered.


    After packing up their site and returning four of their six Pokémon to their balls for easy transport, Travis and Katrina followed Matt and Mariah a ways down the beach. After several minutes of walking, they saw a platform that seemed to be slightly elevated, about two feet off the ground, and filled with sand. They noticed that the area around this was particularly crowded and that everyone who had set up around here was more or less facing inward toward this large platform.

    “Has this always been here?” Travis couldn’t help but ask.

    “I wouldn’t say ‘always’, but it’s been around a while,” Matt replied. “From what I heard, the city uses it for anything it wants to do at the beach and attract attention. Tournaments, garage band concerts, karaoke...if it’s on the beach and it’s big, it usually happens right here.”

    A boy whose hair certainly would have disappeared against the beach sands was standing on the platform by himself. He seemed to notice Matthew as he peered down the beach, because he shouted, “I guess you’ve found an opponent?”

    “I’m first?” Travis turned toward Matt. “You didn’t tell me that.”

    “Is it a problem?” Matthew asked. “I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry if your match was last or something.”

    Travis let out a hissing sort of sigh.

    “Damn it,” he muttered. Looking toward Katrina (who, like Travis, had re-garbed herself with the shirt and dress, not figuring to swim anymore today) he said, “Find a spot for us?”

    “Okay,” Katrina replied, leaning in to kiss Travis on the cheek before walking off along with Crescent.

    “Good luck,” Matthew said, passing by Travis and slapping him on the shoulder.

    “Do I need it?” Travis muttered once Matt was out of earshot. “Probably not.”

    He leapt up onto the platform. A referee (dressed in a blue vest and wearing sunglasses, but still carrying the customary red and green flags) seemed to register his presence.

    “You’re our replacement, then?” the referee asked.

    “I guess so,” Travis replied.

    The referee asked for his name and hometown, and Travis promptly gave them. He was a bit relieved that this particular young man (unlike most people in Johto) didn’t seem to have any knowledge of his late grandfather, and therefore would not bring up the subject.

    “Round One, Match One!” the young man shouted at the top of his lungs. “In the red corner, Cliff Arland from Littleroot Town!”

    Cliff seemed to be hearing a lot more applause than Travis was, as he was waving to the crowd and beaming like a celebrity in a parade.

    “In the green corner...Travis DePaul from New Bark Town, Johto!”

    There were some murmurs of curiosity, which Travis sort of expected, being a foreigner and all. They probably would react the same way to Matthew. He looked at the boy across from him. He could feel himself trying to contain his energy like a nuclear bomb ready to go off. It had been several days...but he was finally in his element again. This was his escape...

    Because, no matter what happened around him, he knew he could come to this place and belong.

    This was his time.

    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. #142
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    I think I officially hate you. You stink.

    What kind of a butthead puts in a deja-vu tourney and then leaves us without a battle??

    You hateful, hateful author.
    Whee. I put this here just so my posts wouldn't look so ugly. You'd be amazed at how ugly they look without a siggy. Maybe later I'll put something of some consequence down here. Maybe. I'm kinda lazy. Oh well. Peace out, hommes.

  18. #143
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    that's just his style... chill... XD

    I thought something was missing... you gotta hate the forum lags when you least need them.

    Oh, well... hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work i go...

    L@er!

    OK, onto reviewing part two: more shippiness and smushyness ^_^ *glomps EM1*

    You're making me love Templeshipping the more you write about it, can't tell you more that that, but i'm thinking an image...

    “<That’s personal,>” he said. “<You can ask me until you’re blue in the face, and I won’t tell you a thing.>”

    “<I’m already blue in the face if you take a good look,>” Meru replied wittily, beginning to swim away. “<But thanks for the memo.>”
    ooh, more sassmouthshipping! LOL!

    She held on tightly as he carried her the short distance back to shore.
    Y'know, i think this is better...

    She held on tightly as he carried her for the short distance back to shore.

    They sat there in silence for a few moment,
    They sat there in silence for a few moments,

    “Well, he went out for his morning ride on his skateboard – a lot of guys around here do that – and landed on a rail the one way you don’t want to...”

    Travis and Katrina winced. Having a would-be pro skateboarder as a friend, they knew all too well what this meant.
    Oooh now that'll leav a mark!

    Travis replied in a noncommital fashion.
    Travis replied in a noncommittal fashion.

    yerse, beach tourney time!!! Awesomeness, Olivine and Cherrygrove all over again!

    Nice second half, and i call the stops!

    Catch ya on a later wave dude!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 24th August 2007 at 3:47 AM.
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  19. #144
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    May 2005
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    Well, if you read the last chapter any, you’ll know that this following chapter is going to be mostly Pokémon battles.

    (And if any of you read the first series, you’ll notice that this setup is vaguely familiar to you.)

    Remember, though, there are also other things that are going on...

    Let’s go!

    Chapter 14: Dreadnaught's Order


    June 9, PA 2013 – Dewford Beach


    “In the green corner...Travis DePaul from New Bark Town, Johto!” the referee announced that he was dropping his name in the hat for this tournament as the new sixteenth competitor. The spectators – natives and tourists alike – were curious about the presence of a new face, judging by their intrigued murmurings. He heard a loud, high-pitched whistle that he was sure was coming from Katrina. He also heard a lone pair of hands clapping. He wasn’t sure who those belonged to.

    “Now I recognize you!” Cliff exclaimed. “Still at it, are we? Let’s see if you can hold your own one-on-one against me!”

    “I got back into the game after two years,” Travis said. “I’m not gonna let a few days throw me off.”

    “For this round, the matches are two-on-two with no time limit!” the referee shouted. “Are both competitors ready?”

    “Ready!” Cliff exclaimed.

    Having already selected his first Pokémon, Travis yanked that ball off of his belt and confidently shouted, “Bring it!”

    He heard loud clapping from his right and a voice.

    “Show this rookie how vets battle!” he heard Matt shout.

    Silently, Travis thought to himself, That I will.

    “Round One, Match One!” the referee reiterated. “Ready – GO!”

    “Let’s go, Jin!” the younger of the two Trainers shouted, throwing his ball into the air. Out popped a white, bug-like creature that looked a bit like a cicada. It had tiny, pale green wings that didn’t look like they were quite developed enough for flying yet.

    “A Nincada – interesting,” Travis muttered. “Meru, let’s go!”

    Out popped the Kitide from her ball, at least appearing ready to do battle despite the rather rough encounter she’d had with a Tentacool earlier that day.

    “<You doing alright?>” Angel asked, half wondering why Travis would choose Meru, knowing that the latter had been hurt a bit earlier.

    “<I’m just fine,>” Meru replied, looking at the Nincada.

    “Meru, start things out with a Quick Attack!” Travis shouted. Meru planted all four of her feet into the ground and took off toward Jin, leaping into the air.

    “Use Harden!” Cliff commanded. His Nincada emitted a strange sort of hum and began to glow white. When the light faded, he was much glossier-looking.

    This happened just as Meru’s head connected with Nincada’s hardened body. She bounced up into the air a bit, not appearing to have done much damage with her attack.

    “Now, use Fury Swipes!” Cliff yelled.

    After about four or five nasty slicing sounds, Meru was sent flying back to Travis’ side of the field.

    “No!” Travis groaned.

    “<Tch...that was messed up,>” Meru grunted, rolling to her feet. “<I am definitely gonna be sore tomorrow...>”

    “Well...we see what he’ll do against physical attacks, so we’ll have to change our approach...” Travis muttered. Then, raising his voice, he yelled, “Water Gun!”

    Meru inhaled and fired a jet of water that came at Jin so fast that Cliff didn’t have time to issue an order. The water jet smashed into the Bug-type, flipping him over a full rotation. When he did land on his feet, he appeared very disoriented from the shock of the blow.

    “You’re asking for trouble!” Cliff shouted. “Go, Jin! Shadow Ball!”

    “Shadow Ball?” Travis took a second to register –

    A second too long.

    A small sphere of crackling dark energy shot forth from where Jin’s mouth would have been and impacted right into Meru, blasting her off her feet rather forcefully and kicking up quite a bit of sand in the process.

    “Another Fury Swipes, Jin!” Cliff yelled. The Nincada began to scuttle along the sands right to where Meru was just rolling back to her feet. Jin leapt and aimed his claws down at Meru’s head, but Meru had the sense to jump out of the way before being skewered. Jin came after her again, and Meru dodged just as well the second time. The third time, however, Jin got his contact, knocking Meru to the ground with a vicious scratching attack. Cliff was elated. “Nice going!”

    “That’s it! Quick Attack!” Travis yelled. Meru took off in a blur at Jin, who raised his guard and lowered his head.

    “Harden,” Cliff said, sounding rather bored. Jin glowed white again and became even shinier. Meru reached the Nincada and, instead of ramming him, landed on his head and turned around.

    Travis let out a laugh, a smirk on his face.

    “What the – how’d you –“ Cliff stammered.

    “Try defending against this!” Travis shouted. “Meru, use Water Gun!”

    Meru leapt straight up and fired a Water Gun directly to the back of Jin’s head. The latter’s eyes rolled as the sudden impact made him dizzy. Meru jumped off him, kicking the white-coated Bug-type into the gritty sand at the same time. After all of this, Jin was still conscious, but most certainly standing on his last legs.

    “<That maneuver looks familiar,>” Crescent commented.

    “Yeah...” Katrina uttered in response. “I guess he does pay attention to my matches...”

    “Finish him off! Bite!” Travis yelled. Meru leapt at Jin and caught one of his limbs in her teeth. Her mouth turned upward into a grin as she dove to the ground, rolling the Nincada over and smashing him into the sand rather mercilessly. Jin lost consciousness as Meru let go and rolled off him, breathing a sigh of relief.

    “Nincada is unable to battle!” the referee announced, raising the green flag. “Kitide is the winner!”

    “Tch...” groaned Cliff, returning Jin to his ball.

    “Back in the saddle,” Travis said, pumping his fist calmly and smiling.

    “That’s what I’m talking about,” Matt commented, applauding with the rest of the observers.

    “You got lucky,” Cliff said simply, enlarging another Pokéball in his right hand. “I won’t make the same mistake twice.”

    “I’m sure you have a little more up your sleeve,” Travis said. Looking down at his Water-type, he said, “Meru, I’m thinking that you should rest up.”

    “<Are you sure?>” Meru asked.

    “You had a rough morning,” Travis replied. “Plus, I’m pretty sure he’ll be using a Grass-type next.”

    “<...Eh,>” Meru sighed. “<Fine.>”



    Kenjiro’s saffron eyes alertly scanned the dark innards of the cavern. It was cool and earthy, and a pin of light could be seen from the entrance at a bit of a distance. Kenjiro walked forward, a torch in one hand, and his handy weapon in the other. He walked forward, flagging the torch a bit and causing embers to bounce light on the rock walls of the yawning cave. As he pressed forward, he remembered the wording of the letter given to him by the nurse earlier that day...

    There is a hermit by the name of Hong Liu, down in the depths of the Dewford Mines. He is an expert on legends and many consider him to be a wizard of sorts. He knows all sorts of information about the Blade Trinity and the legend surrounding Arceus and His Three Servants. Obviously, his information – let alone the man himself – in the wrong hands would be nothing less than devastating to His Majesty the Prince’s cause. Find this man, and warn him that he should go into hiding elsewhere, lest the Empire find and capture him.

    “Kenji...what is this place?” a girl’s voice asked behind him. Distracted, he turned around and bashed his knees straight into a stalagmite, letting out a groan of slight pain. He whirled around to find a girl in a blue tunic walking up toward him, looking around curiously with a nervous finger to her lips.

    “This is the Dewford Mine,” Kenjiro said, raising his torch so the girl could get a better look. “From what I’ve heard, a few years ago, people started digging in this cave. They found small stone particles.”

    “Stone particles? A special stone?” she asked.

    “I guess you could say that,” Kenjiro responded. “I’m not talking about these rocks – these are everywhere. The stones I’m talking about, well...when some Pokémon are exposed to these stones, they evolve.”

    “Evolve?” she questioned curiously. “You mean, change form?”

    “Exactly,” Kenjiro replied. “You see? You’re not so far behind everyone after all, Reivyn.”

    The red-haired girl smiled. Then, in her normal curious manner, she asked another question: “Why are we here?”

    “We have to find Hong Liu,” Kenjiro answered.

    “Who’s that?” Reivyn queried.

    “Honestly? I don’t really know,” Kenjiro replied. “The lettter says he’s a wizard or something.”

    “Wizard?” Reivyn questioned yet again.

    “That’s what Roald put on the paper,” Kenjiro sighed. “You remember him, right? Old geezer with dark skin?”

    “I think so...” Reivyn replied.

    “Anyway...we have to find this guy,” Kenjiro stated. “Hm? Damn! Dead end...”

    He lifted his torch to a stone wall and scanned it.

    “I could have sworn Roald said that Hong Liu was here...” Kenjiro groaned.

    “Kenji...what’s this?” Reivyn asked, tapping something. Kenjiro turned to look at it. Hardly daring to believe their luck, he approached what appeared to be a mine cart, with rails and such to match. The rails seemed to lead...straight into a stone wall. Kenjiro raised his eyebrow and pointed his gun at the wall. He pulled the trigger, and the barrels spat forth a lightning bolt that zigzagged toward the wall and impacted into it. A slight rumble was heard as the wall exploded into several large boulders, which rolled into a newly formed tunnel and disappeared into the blackness.

    “A mine cart...” Kenjiro muttered. “This can only lead deeper into the mines...which is exactly where we want to go!”

    He jumped over the cart and landed about two feet deep inside it with a thunk. Kenjiro immediately saw to his left the lever that was no doubt used to activate the cart. Reivyn was standing behind the cart, looking rather unsure of herself. She placed her knee up onto the top of the cart, lost her balance and let out a slight scream as she toppled head over heels into the cart, ending up on her backside.

    “Graceful,” Kenjiro commented sarcastically. Reivyn, who didn’t pick it up obviously, scooted back into Kenjiro’s lap, leaving him feeling rather awkward. He looked to his left and yanked the lever.

    “Where are we going?” Reivyn asked as the cart started to move. “What happens now?”

    Kenjiro pulled his arm back to where it was before he yanked the lever and found that it was resting on Reivyn’s shoulder. Dropping it immediately, he answered, “I have no idea.”


    “I’m up first this time,” Travis said, gazing across the sand arena at his tawny-haired opponent. “Champ, let’s go!”

    The Pokéball Travis threw burst open to reveal a green, gecko-like creature with a red belly and bulging, yellow eyes. His prominent, forest-green tail thumped from side to side as he eyeballed the opposing Trainer.

    “Tsk tsk tsk...still first stage, I see,” Cliff commented. “You can only get by with your bite-sized buddies for so long. Two gyms...maybe three if you’re really good, but if you get to four and five with most of your Pokémon still unevolved, you’re gonna get your *** handed to you.”

    “Speak for yourself,” Travis replied. “Show me what you’ve got.”

    “Vipiri, let’s go!” Cliff shouted, throwing his Pokéball into the air. A rather sizable, light-green bird creature emerged. The leaf crest on his head was a healthy forest green, as well as his small wings and long, ostrich-like legs, which ended with stark white talons. He leapt into the air with a loud cry.

    “What’s that...?” Travis muttered to himself, scanning the creature with his Pokédex. “Plumowl, the evolved form of Leafen. Wings have regressed, making extended flying difficult. Employs its long legs for altitude in jumping. Yeah...that’s altitude, alright.”

    “Hit him with a Peck!” Cliff shouted. Vipiri descended upon Champ, his pale blue eyes locked in on the small Wood Gecko Pokémon.

    “<Whoa!>” Champ grunted as he leapt out of the way. Vipiri turned around immediately and began pursuing Champ, who dodged a second Peck and then a third. Travis felt that it was now time to strike back.

    “Champ, use Iron Tail!” Travis shouted. Champ skidded to a stop, his tail glowing white as Vipiri’s beak descended upon him.

    With a loud clanging sound, Champ whacked Vipiri across the face with his metal-powered tail.

    Katrina let out an exhilarated whoop while Matt groaned.

    “Damn,” he said, wincing. “That’s like getting hit in the teeth with a sledgehammer!”

    “Oh, no, no, no – we’re not going down that easily!” Cliff exclaimed.


    “Really? Another Iron Tail, Champ!” Travis yelled. The Treecko took off after Vipiri with his tail still as hard as steel and glowing a bright white.

    “Vipiri, jump! Get the hell outta there!” Cliff shouted warningly. Champ hit nothing but air as the Plumowl leapt very high.

    Very high.

    “Whoa, what the hell?!” Matt shouted, removing his shades to get a better look at Vipiri.

    “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Travis groaned, shielding his eyes against the sunlight. “That’s, like, fifty feet!”

    He looked back down toward Cliff, who had an expression on his face that was smug even for him.

    “Wing Attack, Vipiri!” Cliff ordered.

    “<I can’t see him!>” Angel piped up.

    “<Oh, geez! My eyes!>” Champ groaned.

    “<Don’t look straight at the sun, genius!>” Angel said, squinting.

    “Damn it!” Travis swore.

    BOOM.

    There was a kick-up of dust, and Champ went flying into the air.

    “<AGH!>” he groaned, smacking against the ground hard. Luckily, a bed of sand only hurts so badly upon impact. Getting to his feet, he muttered, “<Crap...would’ve done a few more sit-ups if I knew I’d be fighting today...>”

    “Sorry,” Travis muttered.

    “PECK ATTACK!” Cliff’s yell came from the opposite side of the field. A large fowl-like Pokémon appeared out of nowhere, right in front of Champ a half-second later.

    WHAM.

    “No!” Katrina groaned concernedly as Champ hit the ground again.

    “Come on!” Matt groaned, banging his fist against the ground in frustration.

    “He’s fast,” Travis muttered worriedly. “And Champ’s weak against Flying-type attacks...I gotta end this soon. Champ, use Quick Attack!”

    “<On it!>” Champ said, disappearing in a puff of sand.

    “What? Where’d he go?!” Cliff shouted.

    “<Over here!>” Champ yelled, appearing on the right side of Vipiri and knocking him sideways with a quick flick of his tail. He then disappeared and reappeared behind the Plumowl a few yards away, whacking him again and throwing himself into a spin, catching Vipiri with the tail several times before finally knocking him to the ground and disappearing again. In another cloud of dust, Champ reappeared mere feet in front of Travis and skidded to a stop.


    “Not bad,” Cliff commented. “At least you’re putting up a battle.”

    “I don’t put up battles – I win them,” Travis replied with determination. “Champ, use Iron Tail!”

    “Mind your head, Vipiri!” Cliff warned the Plumowl to duck – just what Travis had been waiting for.

    “Champ, south!” Travis yelled simply. The Treecko, who appeared in midair right above Vipiri’s head and was rotating in midair to deliver more force to the attack. Vipiri had his head bowed in order to avoid a high strike, but Champ continued to rotate as gravity took effect, slowly pulling him down toward the ground. When he reached the Plumowl’s long legs...

    CRUNCH.

    ...he delivered a crushing blow with a spinning Iron Tail, sweeping Plumowl into the air. The second strike whacked the Spring Fowl Pokemon’s body, sending him across the sand arena, where he landed on Cliff’s side with a thump.

    “<Can’t beat a good sinker,>” Champ commented, coming to a stop and landing on the ground rather unsteadily. “<Whoa...>”

    He hit his knees on the ground.

    “<Are you okay?!>” Angel asked.

    “<I’m good...>” Champ said a bit weakly. “<Just spun around a couple of times too many, that’s all...>”

    “Plumowl is unable to battle! Treecko wins!” the referee announced. “Advancing to the Round of Eight – Travis DePaul from New Bark Town!”

    “Take a rest,” Travis said, returning Champ to his ball. “Good work.”

    He leapt down from the platform and ran around it to where he’d seen that Katrina had set up. Matt and Mariah were next to her, and the latter was already on his feet.

    “Good stuff,” he said. “You had me worried for a second.”

    “No kidding?” Travis replied, sounding noncommital and a bit standoffish as he sat down on the blanket. He suddenly felt hands working on his shoulders and leaned his head back.

    “You sure didn’t make that one look easy – that’s for sure,” Katrina said.

    “I’m doing the best I can here,” Travis said coolly. “I hadn’t battled in about a week, and this was spur-of-the-moment. Don’t I at least get an ‘E’ for effort?”

    “Well, you won, so I guess I can only complain so much,” Katrina said.

    “Right,” Travis commented. “But that Plumowl’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?”

    “I could handle him better,” Matthew piped in.

    “I hate to say it, but you’re probably right,” Travis said.

    “ ‘You’re probably right,’ he says,” Matthew repeated, smiling smugly to Mariah. “At least I get a little respect.”


    “You’d get a little more if you weren’t always talking crap,” a voice sounded as Matt and Mariah found themselves in shadow. Standing above them was a sandy-haired boy of about twelve who did not look the least bit happy.

    “You had your shot, Cliff,” Matt said with an extremely annoyed tone in his voice. Travis only noticed at this point that the accent Matthew had spoken with as a twelve-year-old had all but disappeared. “Go away.”

    “Don’t talk to him like that!” a girl in a rather skimpy-looking schoolgirl outfit ran up to Cliff’s side.

    “You again?” Katrina commented, sounding as annoyed as Matt.

    “Jadyn, stay out of this,” Cliff said. “This is between me and Matt – at least, it was, before he started bringing his little friends into the picture. I see right through you, Matt.”

    “Oh, really?” Matt lifted his shades to his forehead as he laid back on his elbows smugly.

    “You’re the type that lives off dumb luck,” Cliff said simply. “You get the one win against the guy that you’d have no shot in hell of beating one time out of ten. Then, when he wants a rematch, you hide behind somebody else and let them do your dirty work.”

    “I don’t need anybody to do my dirty work. I can kick your *** myself,” Matthew retorted sharply. “You know, that’s the problem with you Academy *******s. You always wonder why you lose matches to no-count, average Joes like me, right? You don’t work hard enough to beat me. That’s why. You’re ‘privileged’, so you don’t have to work.”

    “I work very hard, in fact,” Cliff said.

    “That’s really easy when you’ve got a starter with one-of-a-kind rarity and sponsorships,” Matt said calmly, standing up. His eyes narrowed dangerously, alarmingly similar to how Travis’ face looked when he was upset. However, Matthew’s green irises only served to make this facial expression more frightening. His voice calm and low, he said, “But you try starting a journey from the slums of your hometown with a half-month worth of your dad’s child support. Then you can lecture me about ‘hard work’.”

    “Wait a second...am I missing something here?” Travis muttered. Katrina sighed.

    “You should have gotten to know a little bit more about Madeline when she was with us,” Katrina said. Travis frowned, immediately realizing that Katrina had a good point. Madeline, Matthew’s twin sister, had been Shiro’s girlfriend (and still was, as far as Travis knew). She started out as a rather plain girl that wanted a chance at an ‘extraordinary’ life – a life that was bigger and better than the one that she had. Travis knew from comments that Madeline made that neither she nor Matthew had gone to an Academy, but he really didn’t know all that much about her background. “Their parents are separated.”

    “That’s right,” Travis muttered into the ground. “That one time she said something about her family being in ruins...”

    Madeline had a rather hard time of things because of her involvement with Shiro and eventually the Lineage War. In that war, she lost her half-brother and sister, enemy agents who turned against Angelos in order to protect her. At that point, Matt was also missing.

    “Is something wrong here?” the voice of a boy prompted everyone to look to the left. A teenage boy was standing there, wearing a black muscle shirt and blue shorts with black trim. He had slightly curly, shoulder-length, dirty-blond hair. His eyes were also hidden behind aviator shades. He was rather tall, although Travis thought he’d still be shorter than Shiro, who had grown at a horrifying pace in the last two years and now towered above either of his childhood friends, at a height just shy of six feet. “What is this? The couples’ corner or something?”

    “Brad? Isn’t your match up next?” Matthew asked.


    “Five minutes,” the boy said. He looked to be in his mid-teens or so.

    “Tch...this is getting ridiculous,” Cliff muttered, rolling his eyes.

    “Piss off, then,” Matthew replied simply. Cliff gritted his teeth and looked like he wanted to say something nasty, but turned around and walked off, his girlfriend (at least, that’s what Travis assumed, as the two were always together) Jadyn in tow.

    “That was kind of testy,” Brad remarked. “What was all that about?”

    “Sore loser,” Matthew answered a bit tersely. “So, what brings you here?”

    “Oh, I just wanted to congratulate the guy that won that match,” Brad said. Turning to the blue-haired boy, he said, “Travis, was it? Good comeback.”

    “Thanks,” Travis said, standing up. “So, your name’s Brad, right?”

    “Yeah,” Brad replied. “Brad Carmichael – Tangelo Island.”

    “Tangelo?” Katrina repeated. “Orange Islands?”

    “Right,” Brad answered.

    “That’s a nice hop, skip, and jump to get here,” Katrina commented.

    “Matt told me about you two,” Brad said. “Looks like he was right about you. I can tell by the way you battle – you’ve definitely been there before.”

    “You’re no slouch yourself,” Matt replied. “Mr. Former-Orange-League-Champion.”

    “Orange League Champion?” Travis repeated in astonishment.

    “Only for a year,” Brad answered modestly. “I lost it last year to this chick – come to think of it, I think she said her last name was Marius, too...”

    “Did she have brown hair?” Matt asked quickly.

    “Yeah, she did, actually,” Brad replied. Travis and Katrina gasped.

    “You don’t think –“ Travis started.

    “It fits,” Katrina replied.

    “What do you mean, ‘it fits’?” Matthew asked.

    “Last year, Madeline went with Shiro out to the Orange Islands to find her – I mean, your – father,” Katrina answered. “So, she would have been there at the time.”

    “Did you say her name was Madeline? Rings a bell,” Brad commented. “I know this much – she had really strong Pokémon. Pikachu and Nidoqueen are the two I can think of off the top of my head.”


    “Pikachu...that’s Sparx,” Katrina commented. Sparx was a female Pikachu that Travis owned back in 2011. She was quite strong, streetwise, and a bit sarcastic. Actually, Travis thought that Meru reminded him a bit of the Pikachu That fall, Travis came to find out that she and a Growlithe of his that he called Hotshot were an item. Since, initially, the word was that he would probably never be able to journey again, he ended up releasing the majority of his Pokémon. Serge, who was by species a rare Tyrogue evolution known as Hitmonzen and was (even at Angel’s concession) most likely Travis’ strongest Pokémon, went back to Union Cave to train with his brother (whom Nate apparently owned and subsequently released.) Cannon, a Wartortle known for his strong Water Gun and wacky personality, was released back into the sea (to Angel’s relief).

    However, he lacked the ice water in his veins necessary to be heartless enough to separate Hotshot and Sparx. Therefore, he figured that, as both wanted to see the world, he would give them over into the ownership of Shiro and Madeline, respectively. This worked very well, as the Pokemon’s personalities were almost mirror images of their new Trainers.

    “A Nidoqueen, too...that’s gotta be her,” Travis added. Matthew and his sister, Madeline, both started with Nidoran corresponding to their genders. Both eventually reached their last stage of evolution. Apparently Madeline still had hers, but...

    “Hey, Matt...” Katrina began to ask. Travis wondered if she could read his mind as well. “Didn’t you have a Nidoking? What happened to him?”

    “Traded him,” Matt replied simply. Travis’ jaw nearly hit the ground.

    “You traded him?!” he nearly shouted. At that moment, he heard an announcement calling for Brad Carmichael. He didn’t catch the other name.

    “Well, later, guys,” Brad said.

    “Good luck,” Matt piped up.

    “Luck’s got nothing to do with it,” Brad replied confidently.

    “Yeah, but ‘good skill’ sounds stupid,” Matt answered. Brad laughed and walked toward the arena platform. Meanwhile, Travis, Matt, and Katrina sat down, the first of these three still open-mouthed at the second’s revelation. The third looked rather surprised, too.

    “You traded him?” Travis repeated. “I don’t really know what possessed you to do that. If I had a Nidoking that strong, there’s no way in hell I’d –“

    “You might if someone offers you a Torchic egg,” Matt interrupted him. Travis bit his lip. “There’s a Nidoran nest right outside of Goldenrod City. But a Torchic egg...you don’t just find those on the street.”

    “True...” Travis conceded.

    “Besides...” Matt muttered to himself, “I wanted a new challenge.”

    “You take this ‘work ethic’ thing pretty seriously, don’t you?” Travis asked.

    “You’re damn right I do,” Matthew answered. “It’s the stuff upsets are made of. When one guy has what looks like an obvious advantage, how does the other win as often as he does? It’s simple – his hard work and determination makes up for his disadvantage in size, skill, or whatever disadvantage he might have. And if you have talent and hard work...well, then you’re damn near unbeatable.”

    “Sounds like something a coach would say,” Katrina commented.

    “Speaking of hard work and talent – I think you need to watch this match,” Matt said, pointing up at the platform. There was Brad, the tall, dirty blond-haired teenager they had met minutes ago, occupying the green corner. In the red corner was a boy that looked like he was about fourteen or fifteen, sporting a haircut with limp fringe and jeans that looked like they had been intentionally ripped at the knees.

    “Eh...” Travis grunted, looking away for a moment, thinking that this guy’s style of dress and hair reminded him of a certain Gym Leader that had (at least, at one point) a not-so-secret crush on him.


    “Something wrong?” Katrina asked, picking up on Travis’ little murmur.

    “I don’t get the whole emo bit,” Travis replied, folding his arms. “Why is it so popular? It’s depressing just to look at.”

    “For someone who looks down on emos, you act like one quite a bit,” Katrina remarked.

    “No, I don’t,” Travis retorted.

    “I guess the first week or so of our journey was an out-of-body experience for you,” Katrina said.

    “You’d be depressed, too, if you didn’t win a match for an entire week,” Travis groaned.

    “Hey – old married couple!” Matt shouted, getting their attention. “I thought we were paying attention to the match.”

    “Hey, I take offense to that!” Katrina exclaimed indignantly. “I’m younger than you are!”

    “MATCH!!!!” Matt exclaimed very loudly, bringing everything to silence. Then, smiling, he said, “Thank you.”

    “Round one – match three!” the referee announced.

    “Match three?” Travis repeated. “Did I miss something?”

    “Not really,” Matt replied. “The guy you’ll be facing beat his opponent really quickly.”

    “Oh,” Travis said rather stupidly.

    “BEGIN!” The referee shouted. Both Trainers yanked out their Pokéballs like gunslingers in an old Western.

    “Sableye!” the emo Trainer shouted, throwing a ball into the air. Out popped a purplish-black creature that looked a bit like a gremlin. It had eyes that looked like huge diamonds and sharp-looking teeth. Travis went to scan, but Katrina was on it already.

    “Sableye – properties of Ghost and Dark-types, never seen that before...” Katrina muttered to herself. “Makes use of attacks such as Night Shade to defeat its enemies.”

    “Interesting – Ghost/Dark-type combination – geez, what beats that?” Travis muttered.

    “Let’s go!” Brad shouted, throwing his own Pokéball into the air. Out popped a small, aquatic-looking creature with a blue, oblong body. Sprouting from its head were two large, golden antennae that seemed to be crackling with electricity.

    “Hey, that’s a Chinchou, isn’t it?” Katrina asked.

    “I think so...” Travis said, scanning the creature. “Yeah – that’s a Chinchou, all right. Water and Electric-type attacks.”

    “Did you catch this guy’s name?” Matthew turned and asked Mariah.

    “I think his name was...Zack Troy or something like that,” Mariah replied. Just as she made this comment, the match started:

    “Sableye!” Troy made the first move! “Use Scratch!”


    The Gremlin-like Pokémon took off after Chinchou, his black claws bared to strike. A confident smile crossed Brad’s face.

    “Chinchou, dodge it,” he said simply. Chinchou jumped backward, leaving Sableye swinging down into the sand and kicking up a large amount of it. Sableye was now caught in a cloud of sand, and Brad seized his first opportunity to go on the offensive. “Use Bubble!”

    Chinchou spit forth what seemed like dozens of tiny little bubbles that floated into the cloud, which cleared – but a second too late for Sableye, who was caught completely unawares, to avoid the many small bubbles exploding on him like tiny grenades.

    “Use Night Shade, Sableye!” Troy yelled. Sableye rounded his hands and formed a transparent ball of energy that had a crackling, black outline. He fired it at Chinchou, who was nowhere near quick enough to dodge the fast-moving bullet of energy, and took it head-on, falling to the ground and yelping in pain.

    “Alright, can’t take anymore of those,” Brad muttered as his Chinchou struggled to her feet.

    “Still not done yet?” Troy asked.

    “We’re just getting warmed up,” Brad replied confidently.
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 28th August 2007 at 6:12 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. #145
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Maryland
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    ~~~ *** ~~~

    The next thing they knew, they were speeding through a dimly lit tunnel, the rattling of the mine cart assaulting their senses.

    “Do you know –“ Reivyn said, letting out a slight scream at an especially rough spot on the track that nearly jarred her from her place. “...where this cart goes?”

    “Deeper into the cave,” Kenjiro grunted. “Where it stops – your guess is as good as mine.”

    “Wherever it’s going...” Reivyn commented. “It’s going quickly – ouch! ...and painfully.”

    Kenjiro looked to his right and left and saw several roles of holes on the right and left sides of him. He heard a whizzing sound that he knew couldn’t be good.

    “GET DOWN!” Kenjiro shouted, forcing Reivyn into the bottom of the cart as arrows zoomed past his head, missing him by mere inches more than once. He looked down at her. She was apprehensive and panting, sweat dripping down her pale face. He felt her quick, pronounced breaths on his lips and nearly lost himself for a moment, until it registered with him that the reason they were this close to each other was that they were taking cover and in mortal danger. He noticed the area around the cart brighten slightly and eased back into a sitting position, pulling Reivyn up along with him. Now, he was at the front of the cart.

    “What happened?” Reivyn asked.

    “Booby traps, apparently,” Kenjiro replied. He turned around. “Now that we’re through those, we should be...”

    He looked to his left and noticed masked men in a cart on a neighboring track. They both appeared to be wielding crossbows.

    “Great,” Kenjiro groaned, loading his gun. “And there’s a welcoming committee.”

    Kenjiro turned over his shoulder and looked down the railway. He noticed that both tracks were going over some sort of underground bridge that appeared to be rather lengthy. He also noticed that both tracks would soon be parallel.


    “Leave this place,” one of the masked men said as the tracks drew parallel to each other and they began crossing the bridge. “You are not welcome here.”

    “The hell I’m not!” Kenjiro shouted, firing his gun right at the masked man, who disappeared into his own cart. Kenjiro swore and ducked a crossbow bolt that he just barely noticed was coming. He groaned, “This is ridiculous!”

    He emerged from the cart and fired two shots, quickly ducking back under before he could receive any retaliation.

    “Did you hit one?” Reivyn asked. Kenjiro frowned.

    “Who are these guys? Bandits?” Kenjiro muttered. “It’s like they knew we were coming...I hope we’re not too late.”

    Kenjiro gave a sigh of relief as he realized that they were in a tunnel and therefore out of harm’s way as far as those mystery masked men were concerned. He then looked up and saw slots in the walls of this narrow tunnel. He looked to his left and right, also, and saw bones. Many bones.

    Human bones.

    Then he realized something – in every skeleton he saw, the skull was on one side of the cart, and the bones of the body were on the other. He saw a gleam down the tunnel and his eyes widened as he realized what was going on.

    “DOWN!” he shouted, putting his hand on the top of Reivyn’s head rather forcefully. He and Reivyn ducked immediately as they heard a sound that sounded suspiciously like blades ringing through the air. Looking up almost in amazement, he muttered, “Holy ****. He’s got axes in the walls, too? Whoever this guy is, he must not want to be bothered.”

    “Kenji!” Reivyn sprang up and pointed. “We’re at the end!”

    “That’s good, right?” Kenjiro muttered. “Why are you acting so – wait a minute...we’re not slowing down, are we? And what are those boxes?”

    “To cushion our fall?” Reivyn said in a questioning tone.

    “With solid wood? I don’t think I like that,” Kenjiro replied quickly.

    “Something’s in the boxes, then?” Reivyn asked. Kenjiro had a horrible thought at that point.

    “We’re not sticking around to find out!!!” he yelled, grabbing Reivyn tightly and leaping out of the cart. They cleared the boxes, seemingly in slow motion, seconds before the cart rammed into them. The entire setup went up in a blaze of Megacite energy. Kenjiro, drifting backwards, saw the full effect of the explosion. Planks and splinters of wood whizzed past their heads as they barrel-rolled in midair, holding tightly onto each other and creating a picture worthy of an action film. As dust flew from the dying explosion, Kenjiro landed on solid earth on his back, Reivyn falling on top of him and using his body to break her fall. They skidded for several yards before coming to a stop, stones, dust and wood falling all around them. Finally, everything went silent.

    “Agh...” Kenjiro panted. “I...am gonna...beat...the living...hell...out of Roald.”

    Reivyn, still breathing hard from exhaustion, rolled off Kenjiro and sat up.

    “Screw this,” Kenjiro muttered, closing his eyes. “I’m tired.”

    Reivyn watched him rest for a moment – flat on his back on this bed of earth, with his arms spread wide away from him. She leaned her head down inside the crook of his elbow.

    He flinched a little, but he didn’t move. He kept thinking about what that shop owner had said to him a day or two ago. He wondered if he should have taken it seriously. The man was...eccentric, at best. But, at the same time, he did have a valid point. The affection of a person (or of a Pokémon, for that matter) usually gravitates toward whoever he or she feels did the best by him or her. And in her case, he was that person, was he not? That was the way things had ended up.

    “Not the best place for a snooze, hm?” a wizened-sounding voice rang through the cave. Kenjiro’s eyes snapped open and he found that he was looking up into...an upside-down face. The first distinguishable thing about him was his mustache, which was white with age and draped down over his lips to his waist. He had a beard that was slightly shorter and also white. His head, which Kenjiro could barely see from the angle he was laying, appeared to be completely devoid of hair. He was wearing a white robe and carrying a staff that actually looked rather fancy for an old man’s walking stick.

    “You have any better options?” Kenjiro asked, mostly joking and slightly annoyed.

    “Hmm...I could,” the old man said, as if he knew something that Kenjiro didn’t.

    “Look,” Kenjiro sighed, sitting up and looking up at the bald-headed man. “I’m looking for a guy by the name of Hong Liu. If you don’t know him, you’re wasting my time.”

    The old man’s eyes were obviously dim, but Kenjiro could have sworn that he saw a glint there when he said ‘Hong Liu’. Maybe it was a trick of the light, though...

    “I know him – very well, in fact,” the old man. “For one must know oneself to live with oneself.”

    “You’re Hong Liu, then? Your riddles aren’t that good,” Kenjiro said, standing up. Reivyn was left sitting but decided to pop to her feet as well.

    “I am, indeed,” the old man replied. “Now, come – believe it or not, I have a house here in this cave. I have not had guests for so long...”

    “I wonder why that is?” Kenjiro muttered, sure that the old man couldn’t hear him.

    “No one has the persistence to make it all the way here – that is why,” Hong Liu said. Kenjiro gulped inwardly – ears in their prime wouldn’t have been able to hear what Kenjiro said word for word...and this guy had to be at least... “This is the year 2013, is it not? That would make me about...one hundred and fifty-seven. That’s it. You were just now wondering how old I am, were you not, young man?”

    Kenjiro stopped dead in his tracks. He didn’t know which was more unbelievable – the fact that this guy claimed to be 157 years old, or the fact that he could apparently read minds.

    “Uh – Hong Liu...sir...there’s a problem,” Kenjiro said quickly. “You see, when we were on our way down here, we ran into these guys...”

    “Masks? Crossbows?” Hong Liu asked.

    “Yes,” Kenjiro answered.

    “Ah, don’t worry about them,” Hong Liu said good-naturedly. “They’ll know you have my permission to be here once they see you with me. If you didn’t – well, I would have killed you on sight.”

    Normally, Kenjiro would have taken a comment like this as a terrible insult, but there was something about Hong Liu that made him not want to argue the point.



    Sableye came charging in, his dark claws raised to attack Chinchou, who held her ground and forced Sableye to break through a string of Bubble attacks. At the last second, she evaded the wildly-swinging Sableye, who took a header into the ground from overextending himself during the previous attack.

    The expression on Zack Troy’s face was stoic.

    “Enough playing around,” Brad said. “Finish him off, Chinchou! Use Spark!”

    Chinchou began to crackle with electricity and leapt into Sableye, instantly electrocuting him and knocking him out.

    “That Chinchou must be pretty powerful,” Matt commented. “A field like this usually makes Electric-type attacks a lot less effective.”

    Seconds later, both Trainers had returned their Pokémon to their Pokéballs. Troy’s eyes closed as he went for his second Pokéball.

    “Let’s go, Makuhita!” Zack Troy shouted, throwing a Pokéball into the air once again. All of a sudden, Travis felt somebody slap his right arm rather forcefully.

    “Hey,” Matt whispered. “Pay close attention.

    “Hm?” Travis uttered.

    “The Dewford Gym Leader – Brawly’s his name – uses Fighting-type Pokémon. I hear Makuhita’s one of his moneymakers,” Matt replied. “So you might want to make a note of this one’s attack patterns if you plan on going to battle Brawly after this.”

    “Oh,” Travis said, not meeting Matthew’s eye. “Thanks...I guess. I wonder what Brad’s gonna respond with?”

    “Let’s roll, Cactadder!” Right on cue, Brad summoned forth his Pokémon. Travis raised an eyebrow, not having heard of ‘Cactadder’ before. The ball burst open on the sandy ground to reveal a snakelike creature over three feet long with spines all up and down its coiling, lime-green body. The hair on its head was a bright ginger color. It drew itself up to a height and hissed at its opponent.

    “Hmm...never seen that before,” Katrina commented.

    “Cactadder...Poison-type, found most often in desert areas,” Travis read excerpts from his Pokédex scan and paraphrased them.

    “Cactadder, start it up with Pin Missile!!” the messy-haired Brad shouted first. The Adder Pokemon’s spines glowed and seemed to begin to fire themselves at Makuhita, who stood firm and took them to the gut.

    “Too tough,” Zack Troy said simply. “Makuhita, use Arm Thrust!”

    Makuhita seemed to attempt to punch Cactadder from the opposite side of the field. It was obvious for about four seconds that Makuhita’s arm simply was not long enough to reach the green-colored poison snake. On the fifth second, Makuhita’s arm appeared to extend...and keep extending. The other arm soon followed, and Cactadder found himself on the other end of two unfriendly fists ready to strike.

    “Constrict!” Brad shouted. Cactadder bounced into the air and wrapped his spiny body around Makuhita’s extended arms, snapping them together rather painfully and lodging himself into them with the spikes. Makuhita winced.

    “Ouch,” Matt muttered.


    “That’s a good move,” Travis commented.

    “Makuhita can’t do much without its arms,” Brad commented. “If you can’t find a way out of this, you might as well give up before I really start fighting back.”

    “Yank him back toward you and prepare Vital Throw!” Troy exclaimed. Brad shook his head.

    “Bite Attack!” he ordered. All at once, Makuhita’s arms began to retract, bringing Cactadder back toward him. Cactadder opened his mouth, revealing four large, poisonous fangs aimed with malicious intent at Makuhita’s round head. Makuhita tilted his head, dodging and nearly allowing Cactadder to fly past him like a poisonous, spiny missile. Makuhita attempted to grab Cactadder’s sharp body and –

    “MA-KU!!!” the yellow Fighting-type groaned in pain as some of the many spikes surrounding Cactadder’s body pierced his hands. He promptly dropped the Poison-type Adder Pokémon, who proceeded to land in the sand with a thump and immediately lash out at Makuhita’s ankle, grabbing hold with his sharp fangs. Makuhita, groaning in pain, pounded Cactadder on the head with one of its round, stubby fists and then wildly kicked it away. He then began to favor the opposite arm as Cactadder bounced against the sand and back to Brad’s side of the field. Makuhita seemed to be struggling to stay on his feet.

    “Ah...” Matt uttered. “Cactadder’s poisoned him. Makuhita doesn’t have a hell of a lot of time before the venom takes effect.”

    “Makuhita, Tackle!” Troy shouted. Makuhita bounded across the sand and launched himself at Cactadder, who twisted out of the way, lashing Makuhita’s shoulder as they passed each other. Cactadder slid to a stop as Makuhita hit the ground rolling. Both turned around and looked at each other...

    Makuhita began to slowly sink...

    And then he was down.

    As the referee announced Brad as the winner of the match, Matt, sounding very much like some sort of color commentator, remarked, “I’m surprised Troy put up that much of a fight from the jump – he didn’t have much of a chance. Not only was he at a type disadvantage, but Cactadder’s attacks are so explosive and quick that Makuhita didn’t have the speed to switch from attacking to defending in time to avoid Cactadder’s fangs. Cactadder moves pretty quick normally, but that speed is nothing compared to how quick it attacks. It’s moving along and then – WHAM! – you’re toast before you know what’s hit you.”

    “I guess you’re impressed, then,” Travis sighed. Matthew definitely had a way with words, but Travis secretly thought that it might have just been because Matt liked to hear himself talk. He let out a sigh and eyed the ring.

    “What’s wrong?” Katrina asked.

    “If this match was any indication, I’ll have to deal with Brad Carmichael before I even start worrying about what Matt’s got up his sleeve,” Travis muttered. “If that’s the case...I have to figure out a plan for stopping that Cactadder.”

    “Yeah...” Katrina sighed in agreement.

    “You’re okay, aren’t you?” Travis asked. “Not feeling... left out or anything, are you?”

    “No – I’m fine,” Katrina replied with a smile. She sat across Travis’ knees and kissed him. “After all,” she said, “I get the first crack at Brawly.”

    “You can have it,” Travis answered lazily. “I’ll be too tired after all this.”

    “You’re messing with me,” Katrina said. “You’re not tired.”

    “When’s your match, anyway?” Travis asked Matthew.

    “All the way at the end...” Matt groaned, shaking his head. “I’m ready to go now, damn it, and I have to wait four more matches before I can!”

    “So, you’re in the last bracket...” Travis mused. “Well, you get a chance to see what everyone’s got first.”

    “I guess...” Matt sighed.

    “I just thought of something,” Katrina gasped. Leaning over to Travis’ ear, she asked in a low voice. “Do you know where Kenjiro and Reivyn went today?”

    “Kenjiro said he’d leave us alone until we were done here,” Travis replied, nearly in a whisper. “Besides, he can take care of himself, so I wouldn’t worry about him.”


    The old sage, Hong Liu, led Kenjiro and Reivyn down a long tunnel and, after what felt like an eternity, they emerged from it to see an enormous cavern. Kenjiro thought he heard rushing water and found that he was right – to their left, a rushing waterfall gushed forth from a hole in the stone, falling into a lake and pooling there. The small waterfall seemed to sparkle red, blue, and yellow in some places.

    “It’s so beautiful!” Reivyn whispered. Kenjiro genuinely expected this reaction and didn’t really pay much mind to it, mainly because he was looking at the fact that, sitting in the middle of this huge cavern were a house, made in an oriental style, as well as a garden. There seemed to be small pillars in the back of this gargantuan cave and, from this distance, Kenjiro could judge neither their height nor their function.

    “What?” Kenjiro muttered. “There’s no way this is Dewford – the mines were never this deep.”

    “You are quite right,” Hong Liu said, even though Kenjiro was well out of earshot. “This is not Dewford Island.”

    Okay, that’s really starting to creep me out, Kenjiro thought to himself.

    “My apologies,” Hong Liu said. Kenjiro made a noise similar to someone who had stubbed his toe and was trying very hard not to yell out. “In any case, welcome to my humble home. We are underground on an island five miles northwest of Dewford.”

    “How would we get back if we needed to?” Kenjiro asked.

    “Well...there are ways...” the old sage replied. “But no matter.”

    “Are you really a wizard?” Kenjiro asked.

    “ ‘Wizard’? Is that what they call them nowadays?” Hong Liu asked incredulously. “When I was your age, the title was ‘wise man’. I wouldn’t call myself one, though.”

    “But you do know magic,” Kenjiro said. Then, figuring he had better turn this statement into a question, he added, “Don’t you?”

    “I suppose you would have a few skills at my age,” Hong Liu laughed modestly.

    “Yeah, I don’t know what the lifespan was in your day, but there aren’t a lot of people that live to be a hundred, let alone a hundred and fifty,” Kenjiro answered.


    “Well, the people of my time certainly regarded me as something a bit out of the ordinary,” Hong Liu admitted as humbly as possible. “After all, in those days, unless you were a nobleman with good medicine, the best a healthy man could hope for in those days was about sixty years or so. Not bad, perhaps...sixty years was quite a bit of time to be getting along with. There were not so many things to do back then. Today’s world...oho, too busy for an old man like myself! I prefer to relax.”

    “This place is peaceful,” Reivyn sighed. “Where does this waterfall come from?”

    “Up above,” Hong Liu explained. “A small crack in the rocks lets water in from the sea up on the surface...so these falls are natural, actually.”

    “Looks like you have fragments of evolution stones coming through here, too,” Kenjiro commented. “Water Stones, Fire Stones, Thunder Stones...”

    “That’s half the reason that I want my peace and quiet,” Hong Liu explained. “Goodness knows that if others found this place...it is truly unique, you see. It has a certain magic, a certain...sacredness about it.”

    Kenjiro looked around. Somehow, he realized in that moment that he could not bring himself to do as he’d been instructed – not yet, at least. He watched Reivyn, whose eyes were fixated on the waterfall in front of her. The sheens of the many stone fragments contained in the cascade of water illuminated her full-moon eyes with different colors. She blinked twice, tore her eyes away from it, and looked at Kenjiro, almost as if she had just realized something unpleasant.

    “Have you found the way out?” she asked.

    “Something wrong?” Kenjiro questioned. She did indeed look nervous.

    “If they come down here, we’ll have nowhere to run,” Reivyn said, sounding concerned. Kenjiro knew exactly what she meant, but he had a simple answer for her problem.

    “We’ll have to fight, then,” he said. Reivyn’s face fell.

    “Why do we always have to fight?” she asked. Kenjiro pondered the question as he turned around and watched Hong Liu, who was continuing toward his strangely-located house and garden.

    “It’s our lot in life, I guess,” Kenjiro replied. “If there were no wars to fight...it would be so easy to take peace for granted. But everyone doesn’t....he doesn’t. He’s probably having himself one hell of a time up there, and who can blame him? In the back of his head, he probably wonders if he’s got enemies sneaking right up behind him, ready to pounce. Somehow, though, he’s able to enjoy the few moments of peace he has...”

    He shook his head.

    “I’m rambling,” he muttered. “Let’s go inside.”

    Hong Liu had already done so; Kenjiro and Reivyn were left to deal with a tall, young man standing in front of the garden. He was very tall and strong-looking, perhaps twenty-five to thirty years of age. A leaf-green headband held in place his long, black hair, which had a limp feeling that gave it the impression of being slightly wet. His eyes were a dirty green color strongly reminiscent of leaves and earth. He wore a garment with a stiff collar that was mainly green, along with white pants. Kenjiro noticed a ring on one of the fingers of his right hand, which looked to be clutching a rather long bo staff. Silently, the man extended it toward Kenjiro.

    “What is your purpose, traveler?” the man asked.

    “I need a word with Hong Liu,” Kenjiro said simply.

    “A likely story,” the man said. “But I know better.”


    “Wait a second –“ Kenjiro gasped, recognizing the man’s voice. “The guy with the crossbow...that was you, wasn’t it?!”

    “State your business,” the man said.

    “I would like to speak with Hong Liu – I told you already!” Kenjiro shouted impatiently.

    “About what?” the man said.

    “Potential enemies,” Kenjiro replied. “There are people who would want his power – whatever it is – and he needs to go into hiding.”

    “Master Hong needs not uproot himself and run somewhere else,” the man said. “I, Creon St. Galtea, will suffice for his protection. As for you – I cannot let you leave alive, lest you expose my master’s hiding place.”

    “So, you’ll try to kill me, hm?” Kenjiro said, pulling out his gun, cocking it, and pointing the weapon straight at Creon’s head. There was a standoff for a while.

    “Kenji...” Reivyn whimpered. He had to make sure that, whatever happened, she was not injured in the fight.

    “Again, the arrogance of modern men...” Creon said.

    There was a blast like a shotgun, and just as Kenjiro realized that he had not pulled the trigger, his gun went flying from his hand. It hit a rock face near the waterfall and exploded into pieces, all of these fragments falling into the water and sinking deeper and deeper.

    Kenjiro grimaced. It seemed that his time for putting off the truth had run out.

    “There are powers in this world that you cannot comprehend,” Creon said, continuing to point the bo staff (which had just betrayed its true strength by issuing forth a jet of silver light that had blasted Fenrir, the trusted blade-gun that Kenjiro crafted himself three years ago, out of his hand) at Kenjiro’s forehead. To Creon’s surprise, Kenjiro smiled.

    “Oh, I think I understand a little bit better than most,” he said, reaching around himself to the back, inside of his traveling cloak and pulling out twin weapons.

    A scream burst forth from the innocent girl behind him, reverberating in the cave of the hermit Hong Liu and the mind of Kenjiro Kazaki.

    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.




  21. #146
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    Darn it, I had a review for the last chapter that I could've swore got posted. Oh well, here I go.

    Chapter 13. It wasn't my favorite chapter, to be honest, but it served its purpose so I can't say that I didn't like it. The plot got moved along a bit more, mainly in relation to Kenjiro and Reivyn's relationship, and Travis is back to his new-old self. It was nice seeing all the pokemon again, and needed. Through all the pirating and angsting I had almost forgotten about Meru and Arcus. Yeah, I know. Bad reader. T.T But hey, you, the author, have taken into consideration those who have memories befitting goldfish and given us a chapter to breathe with. Right before going at it again in Chapter 14...

    It seems like it's been ages since we've seen a good pokemon battle ,not that seeing Travis slice people to bits isn't fun. And the two in this chapter didn't disappoint. Of particular intrest is the new Cactadder. Why did Gamefreak let Seviper in when there is this kind of genius in the world. Honestly, one of my new favorites isn't even official... Man I feel like I'm reading Dragonfree's work again. Why do you do this to us!? WHY!? Ahem, yeah.

    Matt seems to be less of a miniature beast of burden; good news for me. I liked him back at the Cherrygrove tourney. And finally we get news of Shiro and Madeline, but what's this? Madeline is the one who won a huge title? Hm, I'm busy trying to think of how Shiro'd react to that... ... ... I got nothing. Finally, more Kenjiro/Reivyn action. whole scene of the mine cart and underground house reminded me, simultaneously of Donkey Kong Country, Naruto (no offense here, Kishimoto redefined my thoughts of ninja ^^), and Merlin's house in Kingdom Hearts. I suppose it's a gift to be able to find humor in the most serious of things, but...

    Anyway, good two chapters, and kudos for getting them up so fast. I like you liking to be able to post chapters at your own leisure. Don't let it die too fast, okay? Please? -Oath

  22. #147
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    Actually, Cactadder, as well as Pyrika, were AD's Fakemon. Seriously, where was this guy when they started filling the 4th Generation with unnecessary evos/prevos of 1st-Generation Pokemon?

    And actually, that mine cart scene was inspired from recently having seen the mine cart scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. O_O

    I actually pull something from just about everything I watch.

    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. #148
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    Seems like I've suddenly become a closet reader! But all in all here is my review of the fic, in general, and the latest chapter.

    Fic in general- What can I say, it has everything, from sword fights, to satanic temples, from cute little fakemon, to evil political scandals, more action then PR:J, a little less adventure, but its only begun, so I'm sure you'll get that in there. Great job, truly a great fic. (Maybe even award winning if you know what I mean ;P)

    This chappie- Good chapter, the Pokemon came back, which was good, cause there are some moments where I forget that this is a Pokemon fic. (Maybe its just me) But yeah, they've been nicely devoloped, and the nostalgia from reading it, and remembering the tourny was amazing. One thing that bugged me was, that Matt traded his starter, I mean come on, yes a Torchic egg that makes it pretty much okay, but it still kinda gets to me, that Matt would trade his starter pokemon.

    Happy writing!

    Edit: Hope you didn't forget about my Fakemon...lol... Sorry, just getting a bit anxious, its the first really good Fakemon I made..
    Last edited by Kazekage; 28th August 2007 at 5:07 PM.

  24. #149
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    Well, I figure that if the writers of the anime can get away with forcing Ash to release a Pokemon whenever they consider it to be too strong (particularly in the cases of his Charizard and his Primeape), I can have Matthew trade away one.

    Here's the catch. You'll find out (albeit several chapters down the road) what the circumstances were surrounding this trade.

    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.




  25. #150
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    and i can't wait! sorry, pokemon pearl and kicking Cynthia's sorry a** kept me from reviewing sooner...

    Nice start and altogether brilliant portrayal of the fakemon. to answer yours and Oathblivion's question why, i had no idea how to get my ideas to nintendo. i still don't and after mutilating the pokedex with characters like lickilicky (God i hate that name!) i don't feel that they deserve that sort of humiliation...LOL!

    Back to chapter: sweet as ever, plenty of plot furtyerment and i am anxiously waiting for more... ihave to update too, but hey...

    well no grammar errors to speak of, so that's another plus.

    L@er!

    P.S. your commission's on its way!
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
    PROJECT C-SQUARE STATUS = 100.00% Complete (11-12-2010, ca. 2:40pm GMT)
    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

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