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Thread: Aftershock

  1. #1
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    It's time I did a satisfactory 'foreword' to this.

    This is my first completed fiction, and one of the most entertaining I have been through. It has a very sprawling and meandering plot, with several revelations and surprises, and there's no point in attempting to summarize it. However, I will lay down some basic themes from it for the consideration of the reader.

    First of all, an effect which lingers throughout the entirety of the fiction--it is very ambiguous, with several muddles of plot, references and ironies which are never explained and require steady and patient work by the reader to understand, and whole stretches of plot which are only implied and never obviously explained. Additionally, many parts are overbearingly verbose and descriptive (though this problem is steadily lightened as the story goes on). In a nutshell, this is not light reading. It is also not particularly happy reading--while beginning portions are neutral and often very happy, remain forever wary of sudden tragedy and great misery, and also gruesome, detailed gore. Indeed, I do not advise you to sympathize with the characters, unless you have a high tolerance for depression. A measure of this is the fact that, lately, I have been having the entirely converse ideals about a storyline (usually my own)--where most people find it hollow and unsatisactory if there are no messages of hope and light themes in the story, I can never go without the opposite. If you go beyond this point of the post, be full prepared for anything but easy reading. (Interestingly, despite all this, the length of chapters has never gone beyond twelve pages.)

        Spoiler:- Additional notes, to be read at the risk of MAJOR spoilers:


    AS OF 31 DECEMBER, 2008, AFTERSHOCK IS COMPLETED.


    PM NOTIFICATION LIST


    Griff4815
    porygon181
    duncan
    Diddy
    Sike Saner



    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Prologue: Run

    Chapter 1: Compression
    Chapter 2: The Uncertain Traveler
    Chapter 3: Challenge
    Chapter 4: New Developments
    Chapter 5: Introduction into the Brine
    Chapter 6: The Peak - Part 1
    Chapter 7: The Peak - Part 2

    BRIDGE: an Introduction

    Chapter 8: Aftermath [Aftershock]
    Chapter 9: 3S1
    Chapter 10: Old Acquaintances
    Chapter 11: Point of No Return
    Chapter 12: Warm Hospitality
    Chapter 13: Ruin to the Truth!
    Chapter 14: The Third Act of Seymul Colt

    (THE UNEDITED)

    Chapter 15
    Chapter 16
    Chapter 17
    Chapter 18
    Chapter 19: Setting the Table (Part I)
    Chapter 20: Setting the Table (Part II)
    Chapter 21: Setting the Table (Part III)

    Resolution 1
    Resolution 2
    Resolution 3

    Finale


    Aftershock

    Prologue: Run




    Amaren stumbled through the smoldering wreckage, fear erasing all other thought, flames licking at his heels. Out of a subconscious daze, memories arose to flash before his eyes.





    Noises of amazement, admiration. A flash of ruby and white as the centerpiece of the display swiveled into full view.

    Age three, if he recalled correctly. His uncle, an illustrious trainer with four badges to his name, had returned to his home village near the perimeters of Saffron City to relate the tales of the outside world with the members of his vast family. Amaren had been too young to understand him then, but the strange tokens of his adventures had not failed to dazzle him.

    “Everyone must know what a trainer is, eh?” Amaren’s uncle announced, his voice rising above the noise. A note of mock concern darkened his face as a large majority shouted back their ignorance of the trade, and he quickly remedied the fact with another speech - largely meaningless to Amaren, though he appreciated the wonder of the situation. Various greater participants to the discussion shot their comments at the old friend.

    “And the pokèmon were fine with that?”

    “Madmen, they are, my man, don’t get your head too turned by their flashiness.”

    “Go on, Artir, you can’t possibly say you did that for a living…”

    “Oh, yes, I did,” Uncle Artir called back, producing what seemed to be a small, metallic ball from his breast pocket. “And just because you won’t believe me, I brought this: a pokèball, a device capable of capturing – yes, capturing, I know how it sounds – Pokèmon and fitting them into its tiny form! Watch!”

    He pointed the sphere at a nearby spoon, and the odd device split down its middle to form a red and white half, releasing a beam of crimson light which jumped at the spoon and swallowed it whole, before dissipating to leave a faint circle of soot where the utensil had been. With a laugh, he shouted out a command – “I call you: Teaspoon!” – and depressed a button at the center of the pokèball, releasing the beam again; and, this time, it materialized back into the spoon, at a different place. It seemed evident that the pokèball had somehow stored the spoon inside it, even though the spoon was far too long for its diameter, and this caused widespread amazement (and panic) among the group.

    A great deal of time and bother was expended upon this new development, but relative order was finally restored to the gathering. Amaren’s uncle took on a new gravity to his voice, though it was uncertain whether he was still joking.

    “This was my very first pokèball. The one item, bestowed to me by a professor himself, which made me an official trainer. I spent the entirety of my journey with my dear starter living within this very ‘ball, but now I have moved on from it, and I must carry its legacy to the next holder. I bestow this to…” Choosing randomly, he picked through the crowd and pointed at one member…

    “Little Amaren, of course.”

    The toddler looked about in confusion, and then realized the greatness of the privilege he had been given. He gasped in wonder and pride.

    “Someday you’ll become a great trainer like me, but until then, keep this with you to remember your uncle Artir. I even made a chain to go along with the pokèball, so you can keep it around your neck!

    “Here, Amar, this is how it works,” he explained, crouching down to the boy’s level to ensure he had his full attention – an unnecessary task, due to the raptness of his sheer joy - and the present Amaren felt his consciousness of the memory slipping. A single sentence reverberated off in his mind, before it finally faded…

    Someday you’ll become a great trainer like me…





    Age twelve, the beginning of Amaren’s coming of age in the village. Winter fast approached, and the last stores of supplies for its preparation were being collected. He and his elder brother, Garten, had been assigned the task for firewood, and it was to this end that they hastened from their small abode, their parents shooting a flurry of cautionary words as they jogged down the path to the ring of forest around their village.

    They dared a heavy sprint, blundering through the silver forest (ignorant of danger), and came to rest at a promising clearing, which they set up as temporary base for their operations. A great deal of branches had shed from a great deal of trees around them, and the boys quickly worked to collect them in neat piles.

    Despite the bleak onset of cold, a decided air of good spirits yet wafted in the air, and the brothers worked with the efficient swiftness of cheer, calling out jokes to each other sporadically. They settled completely into their respective tasks, working single-mindedly, before –

    “Did you hear that?’ Amaren suddenly hissed, and the snap of dried twigs punctuated his statement. Winter was a lethal season for the forest-dwellers, and many Pokèmon - otherwise tame and peaceful - were driven into desperation in preparation for the frost. Legends told of the lone, deathless Houndoom who prowled the frigid confines, preying on the weak…

    Another rustle, and Garten’s hand tensed on his hunting knife. A single, maniacal eye peered out of the darkness before them, devoid of reason, and Amaren slowly drew out his own blade –

    A full-grown Mightyena burst out from the gloom in a roar of desperation and lunged for Amarin’s brother, who dodged out of the way nimbly. Onward flashed his knife, zooming into the monster’s side, but the moment of offense cost him his guard; the Mightyena pounced on Garten, attempting to crush the human under its steaming weight, and his left arm broke with a sickening crack despite all efforts.

    With a cry of pure agony, the prone human tore away from the Mightyena’s rough embrace, staggering off; and this cry alone was sufficient to jar Amaren into motion, raising the knife held loosely in his hand and throwing his form in the way of the heaving creature. It remained there or only an instant, however; Garten pushed him back away, turning feebly to face the Mightyena, and prevented all of Amaren’s attempts to join the brawl. The wolf reared back again, charging for the elder fighter’s forlorn figure, but iron stabbed his great chest this time, clean through the heart, as Garten threw the knife with the last of his strength – and the monster fell at last with a great report.

    The two minutemen staggered together, out of the battleground.

    “Why didn’t you let me help you?” Amaren groaned as he heaved his brother’s near-limp weight onto his shoulder. “I could have held my own with him!”

    “No… you couldn’t! You should have stayed out of this, you’re too –“ He trailed off into unintelligible tangents of agitation.

    “Too what?” his supporter snapped bitterly. “Too weak, too incompetent, too useless?”

    But Amaren felt his thought slipping from this memory, and pulled into another, fresher...





    Present day, age fourteen. Lone sojourns into the forest were finally, grudgingly allowed him by his parents, and he took this privilege very well.

    What had transpired to cause the forest fire, and how the Water Sport proofing yet allowed its devastating tongues to envelop the land whole, no living observer could say; these secrets are lost forever with the forest itself. Amaren himself, however, had moved halfway up the untrodden dirt path that clove the woods in two, more used as a reference to areas within the woods themselves than the path from the village to the rest of civilization, when he saw news of the wildfire.

    It had made its abrupt introduction by wrecking the way of the path with the charred remains of a fallen trunk, forcing him into the woods into panic and in search of escape. Every bottleneck, every natural gateway, every ford, was utterly ruined by the desolate ravages of flame, and Amaren felt an insuppressible rage of panic flood his own mind, pushing him forward through bramble and peril. Soon, within moments, reality seemed to give way entirely to nightmare, and at each turn lay another wooden corridor blocked with searing flame, another puzzle to unlock, another game with no lesser stakes than his very life. The length of his flight reached an event horizon, pushing his mind closer and closer to insanity, nearing the point of infinity…

    A clearing, and a single Abra huddled at its center. A brief moment of indecision, and then grudging determination; the clink of chain as he took out the pokèball from within his shirt, compelled to save at least this last remnant of his home, his life, despite all inhibitions. With a flash of light, the tiny form was hidden safe within its sphere. A feeble twitch and a ping, though startling, served only to convince the human of the complete intersection between the Pokèmon’s path and his. Another exhausted, desperate sprint, and then air.

    The stunning vastnesses of Saffron City hammered his hazy eyes.





    Chapter 1: Compression




    Saffron City, at first inspection, seemed no lesser than the grand kingdoms of legend itself, pushed into reality and dipped in pure, shimmering light. Where Uncle Artir’s technological souvenirs had numbered no more than three or four, Amaren saw a great legion of such devices as he could only label magic, so fully integrated into the lifestyles of the strange folk that he wondered if they were mere humans, or higher, transcendental beings.

    His arrival (and, possibly, his appearance) seemed to cause a fair quantity of unrest among the cityfolk, eliciting everything from rapidly-quelled glances in his direction to naked staring and interested comments, most of which he ignored. It was only when a passerby reached the extent of stopping him from his wayward wanderings and asking if he was perfectly fine, that Amaren replied, suddenly remembering the emergency lying within his one pokèball.

    “Where are you from?” exclaimed the nonplussed jogger, thoroughly bewildered by Amaren’s old-fashioned apparel. “You couldn’t be from the village in the forest, could you?”

    “Er… it’s a long story,” the villager replied. “I heard there were departments committed to healing pokèmon, do you know where I might find one?”

    “What, you mean a Pokèmon Center?” The stranger’s expression was intensifying every moment. “Um, yeah, sure, it’s just in the next street. Take a right from that intersection. You’ll see a building with a distinct red roof.”

    Amaren began walking to the indicated “intersection”, still fighting with shock. His village, the center of his world… all of his life, he had been ignorant of its infinitesimal niche in an unknown forest, seeing cities as the mere stuff of legends. He had never realized: the village was but an offshoot of the grand Saffron city; his home lay secluded within the woods, but the city itself was the center of civilization, fixed on a sweeping plain at the crossroads of the raging universe around it. Now that the burning ruin of his old illusions lay behind Amaren, he felt an overwhelming urge to accustom himself to the true scale of events, but, try as he might, it was beyond him.

    He spotted a vividly noticeable, red-roofed building carrying itself amidst the crowds with a distinct amount of pomp and remarkableness. With no further thought, the newcomer plunged into its chrome interior.

    A short line awaited a reception desk at the head of the entrance room, and Amaren joined it with an equal lack of contemplation, after the manner of those awaiting breakfast back at home. Without incident, he met the pink-haired receptionist and wordlessly handed her his pokèball.

    “A pokèball!” she exclaimed, as though it was something quite as treasured as Amaren felt it to be. “Do you know how rare these things are?” She peered intently at some invisible marking at its bottom, and gasped.

    “Late 1990’s, this is! I don’t even know if we have a Recovery Machine to fit it! Hold on – “

    She fumbled with a lower drawer in her vast desk, searching within hoards of heavy metal objects. With a satisfied sound, she pulled out a flat steel slab, with six shallow, spherical indentations carved into its top surface. A thick layer of dust dulled its mirrorlike polish.

    “Here you go, this should work –” and the nurse shakily grabbed at Amaren’s Pokèball, placing it neatly in the topmost niche. “Let me see, a minor Abra, caught less than an hour ago, moderate burning and heat exhaustion. What have you been doing with the poor thing?” She fixed him with a stern look, and then relented. “Never mind, not my business to know. Here, just have a seat at one of the chairs over there, I’ll have your Abra back in a moment.”

    And so he fell into one of the row of chairs lined up near the walls, reaching for the first he could find.

    A large, burly man sat to his left, seeming as if he would find it at home at the butcher’s at Amaren’s home village, but the girl to his right possessed a light cerulean to her eyes and hair that legend had assured him was reserved exclusively for the highest class of nobles. What was this strange, fantastical land?

    The moment of brief interest which Amaren had lent the girl seemed to be repaid tenfold back to him, and a question followed it.

    “Hi, have we met before?” she said brightly.

    “No,” he replied, not bothering to look up at her. An irresistible wave of distrust of this people had suddenly overwhelmed him.

    “Call me Ruki,” she persisted. “Where are you from… er…?”

    Amaren stared intently at his hands for a moment, and then realized what this new character implied. “My name is Amaren,” he ventured.

    “Oh, hello, Amaren. You don’t look like you’re from around here.”

    The stranger to the city finally raised his head and gave the girl a closer gaze. Pleasantly slim, with shoulder-length hair tied in a simple ponytail, she carried a natural, disarming vestige of good looks – common, it seemed, with these civilized cityfolk. Her hair colour, however, still baffled Amaren.

    “I only just came into this city,” he began, and was compelled to explain the long story which he had denied to so many others. Disconcertingly, his faint xenophobia was quickly falling into submission.


    “I’m a rookie Trainer, as you can see,” Ruki explained. “Got my first Cyndaquil the normal way, from Prof. Oak right here in Saffron. “

    From what he had heard, the eminent Professor lived in a tiny town in some secluded corner of the region, and Amaren said so.

    “Oh, Pallet Town? That was ages ago, generations up the line. Where have you been? After Prof. Gary Oak became the Champion of Kanto itself, I believe he got so much publicity that he couldn’t stay in a village like that at all. Of course, I think it was Gary Oak. History class was never my favourite, you know.”

    There were a fair amount of things which Amaren failed to understand in this bout of explanation, but he allowed it to pass.

    “The… nurse…” he began. “She said my pokèball was rare, an antique. What did she mean? What’s the usual way to do it?”

    “Oh, wow, you have a pokèball?” she said, showing some remnant of the receptionist’s ardent admiration. She eyed it appreciatively for a second, and then answered to Amaren’s curiosity. “No one ever uses those things anymore. They developed a ‘revolutionary new storage device’ now that is really exactly like a pokèball, except one of them can keep up to twenty-five Pokèmon inside it. Here, have a look at mine.”

    A small, rectangular version of a pokèball was produced from the pocket of her jeans – no denim in his own village would ever be that delicate, Amaren wondered – and he had to admit he saw no point in redesigning the pokèball into this form.

    “They haven’t changed the rules,” she continued, “about maximum pokèmon in a party, though. Once you get seven or more, you have to pick six Pokèmon of your choice at a Pokèmon Center like this one, using that machine, over there – “ she indicated to a nondescript grey iron box at a corner of the room – “just before you leave any town at all, and you can’t change them until you reach the next town. Which means, of course, that these Concentrated Storage Devices mean exactly the same for us trainers as an ordinary pokèball. I really like Silph Co.’s sense of logic, don’t you?”

    It was Amaren’s inability to participate in the conversation which disconcerted him this time – but, at lighter thought, he was gradually accustoming himself to the new life inevitable to him.

    It was approaching that time when a call from the receptionist raised Ruki from her engagement.

    “I have to go, Amaren, nice talking to you,” she spoke in a rush. “I’m going to be here for a while, so you can meet me any time if you want. Tomorrow, same time, main hall?”

    Without waiting for an answer, she hurried to the severely multitasked receptionist-nurse, conversed with her briefly about the length of her stay (where?), and disappeared into one of the doors that led from this entrance hall with what appeared to be a set of keys. The only conclusion Amaren could draw from this was that this center lent free lodging for those who sought it. The foyer of the building was, after all, merely a foyer, and there were undoubtedly several rooms, a main hall, and any other luxury an adventurer would care to wish for.

    It seemed not long afterwards that he was also called to the main desk to receive the Abra in his pokèball. He decided, then, to explain his predicament to the nurse and ask for help.

    “We can give you five days’ free stay here,” she replied apologetically, “but no more than that, I’m afraid. You’ll have to start paying then.”

    “All right, I’ll take the five days.” He required only some time to plot his further course of action.

    “Though, you know,” she leaned over confidentially, “you could always become a trainer. Your method of obtaining Abra is unusual, but not illegal. No, that would be murderously unfair. If you get registered as one, you can have free lodging forever.”

    Amaren hesitated, contemplating what he could say, and was immediately cut off by the nurse’s persistence.

    “You could turn you pokèmon over to rehabilitation centers, but the methods there aren’t always luxurious. It would be best for him if you decided to train with him.”

    But this served only to increase his apprehension. With a somewhat disappointing “I’ll think about it,” he ducked into his temporary quarters in the confines of the massive Pokèmon Center.



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\/\}]



    Amaren lay in the midst of the labyrinth of soft, cotton covers which consisted of his bed. A warm, wooden side table accompanied his corner of his room, and another glass-topped table covered its center, placed on rich carpet. Though he had only recently bathed with greater luxury than he could ever remember, the tasteful decorations adorning every surface seemed fit for kings, and he felt small and unworthy as he huddled in the bed. A lamp stood beside him, a beaker of some species, filled with a scarlet liquid and accented with suspended, violet globules. A hidden light at its bottom cast a near surreally beautiful glow around the dark room, reflecting off the other technological marvels to create a starscape of rainbow light. Or, at least, such it seemed to him.

    The pokèball lay still on his chest, beating serenely alongside his heart. Usual ritual requested him to take off the heavy device before bed, but the ball had suddenly gained much more value than he had once accorded it, his only remaining possession. There were other reasons for its sudden amplification of worth, as well. It was undoubtedly a rare antique even in this kingdom of gold, priceless by monetary measures, but there was another, implacable instinct deep within him which urged him to keep it safe. One, he realized, as he struggled to uncover it, which saw it as a link to home, and also to a concept closely bound to his aged Uncle Artir. Amaren pushed a tad more, and then let the matter rest.

    The small boy within the king’s mansion had not yet forgotten the Abra, still lying dormant inside his ball. He knew he would have to eventually decide what to do with it, but he was compelled, each time he pondered it, to procrastinate, hold the matter off. He had thought of allowing the Psychic out of its shell temporarily, but he had a growing adversity against seeing it again, despite how fully he knew the Abra would inevitably become a part of him. Amaren wished to stall the inevitable still, if only for a while.

    As the last strains of sleep finally overcame him, a half-forgotten memory of a memory resounded through his head.

    Someday you’ll become a great trainer like me…

    Very dearly did he wish to stall the inevitable still. But for how long a while?
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 12th February 2009 at 3:58 PM.

  2. #2

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    Just to get some clarification, I've have a few questions:

    1. So he's from a small town that isn't really connected to anywhere else?

    2. He knew of Pokemon but they were just wild animals to him, right?

    3. Is this set now or in the future? And if the future then how far?

    4. Is his village/town/whatever gone? Is he the only one left?

    5. Why not just have the new pokeball things hold six? Twenty-five seems too big, especially since it says they're still only allowed six.

    Obviously feel free to skip answering any that'd give too much away.

    Anyways, I liked this. It's different and I'd like to see what you've altered.

    Go ahead and add me to the PM list.

  3. #3
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    An irresistible wave of distrust of this people had suddenly overwhelmed him.
    I think either "this" should be "these" or "people" should be "person".

    I really liked your choices of words in these two chapters, the prologue especially. The description also was very good although when you were describing the PC that the trainers use to switch pokemon, even though I knew what a PC looks like I ended up envisioning a gray file cabinet since there wasn't much description to it.

    I'm going to have trouble getting used to the rectangle pokeballs, although it's an interesting idea. What are they called now?

    What nationality are the names based on?

    Anyways, very good job, I'll read the next chapter.

    Edit: I sort of agree with Mondo TR's 5th question.

    Edit #2: You can add my if you want.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  4. #4
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    Your writing is too beautiful for words. I'm liking this whole futuristic world you've set up. Add me to the PM list, please.
    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.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, new revewers!

    MondoTR: Welcome...

    Yes, to one, two, and four, though the matter of the fourth is brought to attention later on. He lived in a very conservative village, which is why it's such a shock to be suddenly forsaken by his usual ideals.

    3. In the future, of course. How far, I can't say exactly, but you can take it to be approaching at least a century from the usual times.

    5. The thing is, I didn't explain it too fully, but the concept of PCs has been completely eradicated. As a result, to save the space of something like 386 Pokèballs (if a trainer ever catches so many), each Concentrated Storage Device carries 25. The full consequences and reasons for this shall be explained later (when I understand them myself).

    Griff4815: Velcome, dear rrreader...

    I think either "this" should be "these" or "people" should be "person".
    Here, you see, I used the singular meaning of people, as in a culture of people. As in, "All the peoples of the world are as one..."

    I really liked your choices of words in these two chapters, the prologue especially. The description also was very good although when you were describing the PC that the trainers use to switch pokemon, even though I knew what a PC looks like I ended up envisioning a gray file cabinet since there wasn't much description to it.
    Ah, yes, the description shall be rather lacking in these waters. Oh, well. I assure you, though, that's exactly what this brand of PC looks like. This is a century into a future, remember, where people don't like extravagantly-accessorized devices...

    I'm going to have trouble getting used to the rectangle pokeballs, although it's an interesting idea. What are they called now?
    Concentrated Storage Devices, there are. A mouthful, I know, but that's life.

    What nationality are the names based on?
    None entirely. I just took whatever random collection of syllables as seemed appropriate. This shall also be elaborated later...

    Normalize: Thank you for the review. Does that mean you want to be in the PM list?

    porygon181

    Thank you, as well, and you are warmly welcomed here.

    Oh, here. I have in fact finished five chapters already, and am planning to stay few chapters ahead of the readers. Which means that this shall the my first regularly-updated fic. Rejoice. The next chapter, therefore, is exactly.... Friday the 19th. Rejoice! And, for greater celebration, I shall post a preview:


    Preview - Chapter 2 - The Uncertain Traveler

    A humanoid creature lay in a lazy curl at the corner of his carpet, a yellow, flat-headed Pokèmon with a distinct resemblance to a human fetus. Dark russet plating covered his torso like a loose shirt, but the harmlessness of its closed, contently serene eyes seemed to ridicule Amaren’s fear of the creature. He recalled tales of others’ encounter with the species, and realized that it was unlikely the Abra would know even how to attack. Why, then, was the trainer – temporary caretaker of a Pokèmon, more accurately – so irrationally incapable of approaching it?

    He kneeled down and nudged the Abra in the side, feeling ridiculously similar to a king contemplating a pile of something rarely seen on the streets. He wondered what the Abra would think of his behaviour, and subsequently began to wonder what his father would have thought of his previous thought. The Pokèmon was likely in some absurd world of its own, or too underdeveloped to understand the meaning of his gesture – and, in any case, only those of an eccentric caliber felt the opinion of a Pokèmon to carry any significance to them.

    It was then, with a sudden jolt of pain, that a thought entirely foreign to his own wandered in his mind and echoed across its walls, refusing to exit: [I’m not that unworthy.]




    REJOICE!
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 15th October 2007 at 4:15 PM. Reason: Haste makes dreadful waste :/

  6. #6
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    Ah, here. Right on time (at least, for my time zone), Friday the 19th!







    Aftershock

    Chapter 2: The Uncertain Traveler




    “But, Mother,” Amaren said, with a hint of dismay, “is there no other alternative?”

    Mother Jivate, a maternal old lady with much apparent inner resolve, sighed. She was the head of the Pokèmon Center, and took both her position and her title with a kind of dignified pride, not hesitating to give guidance and hospitality to any who wished for it.

    “There are quite a lot of other occupations, dear, but you’re much too underage for them. Only trainers can legally be as young as you are, remember. You could live in an orphanage, but you wouldn’t want to, would you?”

    Amaren hung his head, oppressed by the dilemma of it all. He had once felt to be content with anything but a trainer’s life, but now his alternatives seemed equally deplorable. Suddenly fired with an urge, he raised another topic.

    “When the forest burned down…” he began, then trailed off. It was evident, however, what he wished to know, and Mother Jivate nodded gently, compassion in her eyes.

    The shock and grief of two day’s loss finally came crashing down upon him, and he raised his head again, fighting back waves of dread.

    “The fire surrounded the village completely, before anyone could escape. I’m sorry, Amaren, but the village was ruined.”

    “Then, my family…” He stopped himself before he could go too far. He mustn’t think about that, it only made the thought much realer.

    He was suddenly struck with an all-pervasive urge to do something, anything at all. It filled every extremity of his thought, blocking out all other feeling, and he was compelled abruptly to rise from his chair in the small back-garden, excuse himself curtly from Mother Jivate’s office, and return to his quarters, noting very faintly the rudeness of his departure.



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    It had been two hours since Amaren had locked himself in his room, and his restlessness was showing no signs of submission. He toyed with each of the decorative articles in turn, but no fraction of his previous fascination for them could break past his barrier; he picked up the complementary Slate hanging over the wall, turning it on to find no interest in the generated images which flashed across its reflective surface. He attempted to mull over his future plans, but foresaw no progress in that direction. A second’s pacing and no more was afforded him – in a single jerk, he turned to the only alternative remaining: his pokèball.

    A flash of light, badly startling the holder, and the Abra was released.

    A humanoid creature lay in a lazy curl at the corner of his carpet, a yellow, flat-headed pokèmon with a distinct resemblance to a human fetus. Dark russet plating covered his torso like a loose shirt, but the harmlessness of its closed, contently serene eyes seemed to ridicule Amaren’s fear of the creature. He recalled tales of others’ encounter with the species, and realized that it was unlikely the Abra would know even how to attack. Why, then, was the trainer – temporary caretaker of a Pokèmon, more accurately – so irrationally incapable of approaching it?

    He kneeled down and nudged the Abra in the side, feeling ridiculously similar to a king contemplating a pile of something rarely seen on the streets. He wondered what the Abra would think of his behaviour, and subsequently began to wonder what his father would have thought of his previous thought. The pokèmon was likely in some absurd world of its own, or too underdeveloped to understand the meaning of his gesture – and, in any case, only those of an eccentric caliber felt the opinion of a Pokèmon to carry any significance to them.

    It was then, with a sudden jolt of pain, that a thought entirely foreign to his own wandered in his mind and echoed across its walls, refusing to exit: [I’m not that unworthy.]

    Amaren nearly reeled with shock, realized the cause of this abrupt oddity, and resumed the stunned slump into his chair which he had attempted to prevent a moment ago.

    He stared at the Abra for so long that the pokèmon shifted with discomfort, then averted his eyes. “Telepathy,” he whispered.

    Louder, though still carrying an apprehensive tone: “You can talk with your mind?”

    The Abra merely curled into a deeper sleep, giving no indication that it had sent a telepathic message into Amaren’s head. A vague hint of disdainful contempt did, however, enter his mind in the exact manner as the words. The trainer – caretaker – wondered if he was mad.

    Amaren was yet unwilling to forfeit his communicative rapport with the pokèmon, however, and picked it up apprehensively with both hands. The Abra was surprisingly light for its size; its head alone weighed a considerable bulk, and it was apparently difficult for the Abra to lift it. Wondering when he had transformed from wandering stranger to a mother figure, Amaren cradled it awkwardly with his arms, attempting to coat his strange aversion to the meaning of the creature within his mind with a disguise of the care which, seemingly, the pokèmon demanded.

    Suddenly, nerve-wrenchingly, the Abra opened a condescending eye and lifted into the air, supported by nothing at all. That was disturbing, the telepathy calmly continued, placing Amaren in a position he was profoundly relieved would never be seen again by living eyes.

    [There you go again with the “pokèmon don’t matter” mentality. Was this the heroic adventurer that helped me in my direst peril?]

    Boy and Abra each stood before the other, pondering what to do with the one in front of them. The Abra chuckled, unpleasantly as though he was amused with the thoughts currently passing through Amaren’s head. In honest moments, Amaren would admit the sight of the airborne Abra disturbed him deeply.

    “If you’re that advanced,” the villager suddenly said, attempting to gain a vaguely oppressive air, “how did you get trapped and comatose in the middle of a burning forest? Tell me that.”

    The pokèmon spoke physically this time, opening his mouth to emit a cry entirely drowned by the telepathic message which accompanied it. Though Amaren could not define how he knew it to be true, this method of speech seemed more natural to the Psychic.

    [What, have you never been a Psychic-type? (Oh, wait, you haven’t. Anyway,) magical elemental powers aren’t so easy to gain with us Abra. I only have rudimentary telekinesis and hereditary telepathy – they’re such crude – shallow (and also rather vulgar)* – words that have no relation to their subject – at this point. *I mean, distance-thinking? Distance-moving? Ow, my head.

    Indeed…]


    Amaren suspected the Abra was attempting tastelessly to wrong-foot him with absurdly complex thought-sentences, at which his perpetrator inserted a “right, you are,” within its labyrinth of punctuation. Perhaps it would be more convenient for all concerned if he simply admit –

    [Thank you, your highness,] the Abra suddenly blurted, cutting clean through the chaos of both Amaren’s and his – its – own thoughts. [It takes great suffering for an exalted creature such as yourself to accept that I am the sole source of intelligence in this room, and am therefore higher than you.]

    And, at that comment, the creature fell silent, returning to its stubborn slumber in a washbasin at the left wall.

    Amaren sighed, exhausted. Every step he made was no less than a blunder into yet another unforeseen, undesirable complication.



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    Despite the deepest implorations of his shrewdest inner devices, Amaren continued to attempt to engage the Abra in conversation daily, obeying some whim of his own which he did not wish to analyze. He was still averse to the idea of training, but some coil somewhere in his mind (or, perhaps, in some entirely different being, solely committed to Amaren’s changes in thought) had unexpectedly shifted, opening some unseen latch to a new universe of thought, whose inevitability grossly outmatched his own powers of resistance.

    His apprehensive mission, unfortunately, encountered little progress in its weary trek. The Abra seemed to have lost all regard for Amaren after his first encounter, and deigned to speak with the human for lesser and lesser periods of time, preferring to spend the majority of the days in his peculiar feigned sleep. The days grew shorter, more and more quickly approaching his fifth, last night of stay at the Center, and the monumental task of rebuilding a life seemed only to grow greater and more forbidding, enfeebling his attempts to tackle it.

    On the fifth evening, however, Amaren strode into Mother Jivate’s office, the Pokèmon in his care hovering bizarrely over his shoulder. Taking a deep breath, he began.

    “Mother, I’ve decided.”

    “Have you? And what do you plan to do?” She was undoubtedly surprised by his sudden confidence.

    “I was really unsure if I had the strength to take a job that involved so much… spirit,” he began.

    [And I was all for finding a new forest and starting a new lease on life, you know,] the Abra unexpectedly added.

    Heartened, Amaren continued. “I heard that becoming a trainer could even mean being reborn, to take on an entirely new life.”

    [And, as you can see, he could hardly stand a change that big, of course.]

    The Mother raised her eyebrows, seeming unsure as to the purpose of all this.

    “My Abra here wasn’t too willing to cooperate with me, either.”

    [I had my reasons,] he retorted defensively.

    “So you can see how much hope I had in that direction. And, in any case, I really didn’t want to train.”

    “All right,” Amaren’s audience said uncertainly, “what have you decided?”

    “I have decided…”

    [We have decided..]

    With the sigh, and the unloading of eternity’s burden: “I will be a Pokèmon Trainer.”

    [And I shall be Amaren’s ‘starter’, as they call it.]



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    “What should I name you, though?” the trainer murmured, speaking to the lazily rocking Abra on his shoulder.

    [Why, your impertinence… I’ll have you know I come from a glorious, enlightened community, and have long ago developed the primitive tradition of names by myself!]

    “All right, then,” he said with mock, irritating dubiousness, “what are you called?”

    [Oh, nothing very extravagant. Just this – ]

    In a flash of thought, a series of visions hammered Amaren’s mind: idyllic jade, giving way to passionate scarlet, and a reconstruction from gray, the rebuilding of a house, a mansion, a hill, a mountain: a cliff, a plunge – and then utter demise.

    Reality recovered itself shakily, restoring normality. Amaren had long learnt to withstand such experiences with a minimum of bother, but he was still given to wonder of the inner workings of his Pokèmon’s mind.

    [ – well?]

    The human looked around, realizing that his pokèmon had not yet ceased talking. “What’d you say?” he asked, severely relieved his voice was not shaking.

    [I said, I am commonly referred to as Ytarrik.]

    Amaren snickered, as visibly as he humanly could. “Ytarrik is a very… normal name,” he laughed sarcastically.

    “Tell you what,” the trainer continued, “I shall appoint you the glorious nickname of Yt. Like that? Yt?”

    [No!] he cried, sending a wave of affectionate irritation into Amaren’s mind. [Don’t debase the beauty of a verbal work of art!]

    Amaren merely laughed, running down the entrance stairs of the DRPNT, the Department for the Registration and Provision of Neophyte Trainers. There, after a long show of identification and paperwork, he had become an official trainer, complete with beginning supplies. Surprisingly, he had met with no resistance against his requests, despite his peculiar position.

    “Shut up, Yt,” he said good-naturedly. “Look, their official trainer provisions are… shiny.”

    He was holding up a moderately large backpack, containing a great variety of glimmering objects inside it.

    [Shiny?]

    “You get my point. Here they have a store of five potions – “Relieves most minor scratches and burns, and assists greatly in the healing of average to moderately serious injuries,” it says. Not bad, not bad... Oh, wow, they even have a super potion! Those things are expensive, I’ve heard. And what’s this?”

    He showed Ytarrik a flat, black tablet, with a table of official-looking details displayed electronically on its front surface, pertaining, presumably to himself. A metal very like gold plated its top face, seeming as if it could fit like a cartridge to some other device.

    [Oh, that?] he said, rolling his eyes. [Can’t you read? That’s your trainer card. It tells people who you are, so they can begin officially serving your tyrant whims.]

    “How’d you know that?” Amaren asked, impressed.

    [It’s on the note attached so delicately to the back of the card, that you tore off two seconds ago. You didn’t notice it, but if I couldn’t go into your subconscious memories and decipher what it said, I’m not an Abra, am I?]

    He seemed very proud of himself, expecting some more praise.

    “Oh, okay,” Amaren muttered, attention rapidly waning. He had not yet emptied his new bag of its contents to the full.

    A collection of assorted sundry preceded the discovery of another hidden treasure: one glittering Concentrated Storage Device, lying at the very bottom of the pile of overturned objects inside the backpack. While his admiration had been somewhat dampened by his first experience of its kind, Amaren could not deny a distinct admiration for the fact that no less than twenty-five different living beings could reside inside it. He pored over its many controls, noting that the maximum Pokèmon limit in this specimen had been demoted to a mere five, seemingly accommodating the extra Ytarrik residing in his pokèball.

    A sudden jolt of memory reminded him of a character he had met centuries before, when his integration into this new world was yet incomplete. Beginning to move with greater purpose than his idle roam, therefore, Amaren headed back to the Center in search of Ruki. He dove into the main hall, an area he had been previously shunning due to the excess of resident society, attempted to cut through the amalgam of bewildering colours and appearances, and spotted her sitting alone at a small table at the back.

    Ruki was clad in a delicate white shirt, made in some elegant style of which Amaren knew not the purpose, let alone the name; and her jeans were those indeed which she had worn on Amaren’s first encounter with her. There was no friend or acquaintance to keep her company, but she seemed perfectly complete by her lonesome, content in her sole orientation towards her own inner devices.

    She looked up with alert interest as he came near, and greeted him warmly, as though to an old friend: “Ah, yes, Amaren, I knew you’d come eventually.”

    “Hello, Ruki,” the boy returned, somewhat wrongfooted by her reply. Yet, even as his first encounter with her, a useful semblance of comfort soon took over him, and the newfound friends engaged into deep conversation.

    “I’ve done as you insisted, so long ago, if you remember,” the new trainer announced cheerily, “and started training pokèmon” – this, eliciting a noise of surprise and delight from his companion.

    “I knew you’d take the sensible path in the end, didn’t I say? Although I was suspecting it from the start, you know, seeing from your Abra.” And, with a single motion, she took Ytarrik out from his airborne position to Amaren’s side, commenting on how adorable he was – with only minimal protest from the pokèmon’s side, severely surprising Amaren.

    “You know, of course,” she suddenly brought up, “how they force all Trainers to travel in groups, for our own safety? Well, I was thinking I really didn’t want to adventure with anyone else all my career. I thought…”

    “Do you want to train with me?” Amaren finished, and a faint note of uncertainty entered Ruki’s eyes.

    “Well, that is, only if – you know – “

    But Amaren grinned openly, sending great relief to his companion. “Why, of course. I’ll travel with you!”

    [Hey,] Ytarrik suddenly interrupted, drawing scarce as much attention as he had once known. [Don’t I get a say in this?]

    “No, you don’t,” laughed Amaren, but Ruki asked for Ytarrik’s opinion, with great seriousness. She seemed to see some hidden gravity in the Abra’s words.

    [I deem,] he replied with great pomp, [by the excellent and undeterred powers of rationality and foresight gifted to my house from my oldest fathers, that…]

    “That?” the humans chorused.

    [I approve of this union. Mainly. I see, however,] and here he could not keep the mirth from his thought, [that great destruction and misery lies in this path, but I am unable to care. Let the adventure begin!]

    Taking his words as jokes (for no party involved – not even the Abra – could see any other point to them), they began their new life, their rebirth. A world of thought had died behind Amaren, but a greater still lay before him. Affairs had seemed most hastily out of control before, but now he felt ready to match his pace with theirs.





    Next update, Monday. May be a bit belated if I feel like it, but I'll try to prevent that.
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 26th November 2007 at 12:45 PM.

  7. #7
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    Oh, dear. I'm contemplating making the updates once a week, every Sunday or something along those lines; perhaps I'm going too fast for everyone? I'll post the chapter this time, and ask my readers (if there are any): should I slow down the updates? I'll react depending on feedback. Additionally, I suggest patience to those who see this work of mine as below standards. Great ambitions I have for it, and they shall soon come to being...





    Aftershock

    Chapter 3: Challenge




    “Try, Ytarrik, keep trying!”

    Ruki’s Cyndaquil, Angin, let out a startled, entertained squeal, to the extreme annoyance of Ytarrik. A bipedal, tan creature with an elongated snout and a navy back, she was currently being pulled shakily from the ground, levitating no more than half an inch in the air before falling back down, and then repeating. From the waves of effort emanating from Ytarrik’s mind, it was a great task for him to lift her weight to even such a height, and he was only grudgingly doing so to please Amaren and Ruki’s insistences.

    “Look at it the bright way, Zyt,” Amaren said sardonically, pleasure at his labour most evidently showing in his face, “you’ll soon become a master at telekinesis, eh?”

    [Shut up,] Ytarrik retorted, his greatest attempt failing yet again. The customary wobbling in Angin’s stability on the ground faded, as the Abra turned to send Amaren an icy stare/thought. [If you call me Zyt once again,] he hissed, [I’ll show you the true extents of my telekinesis.]

    An unimaginably enormous section of the city, encompassing perhaps one-fourth all its mass, had been dedicated solely to training, and a wide variety of facilities were huddled in this space, everything from minor emulations of wild conditions (fields of grass; tiny, controlled stands of trees; the occasional snow chamber, among many such plots) to the centerpiece of Saffron’s display, the Psychic-type Pokèmon Gym, whose displays of telekinesis and elemental control psychics traveled to see from the region over. The latter was the ultimate objective of Amaren and Ruki in the city, and it was to this that they worked their way through the complex of trainer’s aids.

    Nothing, however, according to conventional wisdom passed down to Ruki, could compare to the wild – and this thought presently passed over both their minds, once the initial amusement at Ytarrik’s training had faded. They instantaneously discussed this within their minds, taking the Abra as their medium, and pulled away from the training grounds where they were currently idling, no more than fallen leaves to the wind of their hearts’ whim.

    As Amaren had noted a universe ago, Saffron City lay at the very crossroads of the four major cities of Kanto. It lay in a valley of a plain, surrounded on all sides by forest, though its routes leading in all four cardinal points cut cleanly through the woods, wherever they required way; so that the ring of forest all around Saffron’s stretch of grassland was divided into quarters. It seemed, from the air, as though the city had formed a crater for itself within the reaches of a vast stand of ancient trees – exactly the truth, as Ruki assured Amaren. “Not that it formed an actual crater, of course!” she did not forget to add with a slight laugh. “The city was once a woodland village just like your own, but being at the very middle of all that travel through the main landmass of Kanto, it grew and grew and cut a clean hole for itself in the forest.”

    When Amaren would ask where she had learned all of this, the girl would reply with something faintly scathing towards the extravagant depths of compulsory education. “You’re supposed to know these things too, you know, Amaren,” she would direct with a joking grin, “they wouldn’t let you pass without a thorough understanding of the exact eating habits of every human being who lived to see history.”

    They set a course towards the northeastern quadrant of forest, and Amaren could not help but notice a gradual drop in the tilt between his own cluelessness and Ruki’s consequent domination in their conversations. It had begun from the moment of their first encounter; and while Amaren knew from common sense that such a transition would be inevitable, he was surprised to see it moving along at such a visible pace. Perhaps he would soon become the elder brother, guiding his sibling through the treacheries of the world.


    His meanders and his fantasies gradually petered to a fresh alertness, as the dreamy gold of the sunlit field gave way to a cool viridian, and they entered the forest main. Here, though the gentle light of the dappled canopy still seemed to sooth any potential viciousness under its halls, there was an air of pleasant tension, one which signaled to them the abundance of more warlike challengers to any capable fighter.

    They took a few tentative steps deeper into the stretches. Within a moment more minute than human instinct, a blur of dark tan shot out of the restless leaves directly for Amaren – but not every member of their party was human.

    Instinctually, Ytarrik teleported inches before the unseen offender, giving a massive surge of effort; and the attacking Pidgey’s path was deflected within moments of reaching the startled trainer. Unexpectedly, once Amaren had regained his senses, the Abra was not exhausted in the least from his sudden trial.

    [The more psychics stimulate their abilities, the easier it is for them to access them,] he said, satisfaction showing clearly in his thought. [Which means…] The subsequent rush of thought was sufficient to finish his sentence. Rising back into the air, he zoomed forward to meet the challenge of the returning wild Pokèmon, loose pieces of dirt flying from the ground beneath him.

    The Pidgey darted once again towards him, beak raised, but it was stopped entirely this time, frozen to hover in midair. Ytarrik backed away from its petrified form, but great loads of sticks and rocks began rising from all around him, poised to shoot themselves at his enemy. The Pidgey struggled to break loose of its bind, pushing forward with all its might, and was released – only to meet an inescapable barrage of painful forest matter. With a crow of defeat, it staggered away.

    Silence reigned again, for a moment.

    “It’s not legal to attack a wild Pokèmon if it’s trying to escape, you know,” Ruki said conversationally.

    “Really?” Amaren and Ytarrik said together, though the Abra was evidently more surprised.

    “Yeah, of course. And if it’s mortally wounded, it’s the trainer’s responsibility to take it to a Center.”

    With a mental shrug, Ytarrik raged off into the forest, the humans attempting to trail behind him, Ruki releasing Angin once again. The companions lumbered heavily through the trees, Ytarrik at their front, the Cyndaquil running playfully beside them, and they feared no wild attacker, challenging each with equal confidence. A sudden stroke of inspiration on the part of the Abra led to the growth of a new move, according to the information stored in the back display of their trainer cards:

    [Well, I just send a quick, sudden burst of thought telepathically into their minds,] he explained with hidden pride. [They can’t even stand that much, the suckers. WHOOOO!]

    His exclamation would invariably be punctuated with a public rendition of his new Confusion, sending everything around him into dazed, painful spirals of dizziness. And then, as always, he would rush a few miles forward, most irritating to all things, animate or inanimate, in his path.

    This was not to say, however, that Angin encountered progress any lesser. Being inarticulate to both trainers, she was merely less taken to announcing thus with quite Ytarrik’s vigour. And yet, as the tiny flames bursting to life on her back grew with each flare of their power, it was unmistakable that Ruki had been fundamentally correct in her estimation of the worth of wild training. A certain satisfaction lay within the grind of wills, lingering around the individual defeat of yet another pokèmon and capitalizing on the visible progress as yet another flaw in the Abra and Cyndaquil’s technique was smoothened; and while Amaren and Ruki could but follow their charges on their rampage, attempting unnecessarily to call out orders, the sheer adrenaline seeped into their spirit as well.

    When both pokèmon had run to their heart’s content, they rested, winded, under the shade of a lone oak in the center of a clearing in the woods, reaching for the provisions they had only just remembered to pack. Amaren and Ruki reached for their grand pack of grilled berry sandwiches, marveling at the versatility of a single species of fruit, and Angin dove into her soft cakes of Cheri; but Ytarrik retired to a quiet corner of the clearing, hovering still in midair and refusing to talk to anyone else.

    “I think he’s sleeping,” wondered Ruki between mouthfuls of the best processed Oran in all of Saffron, according to the extravagant advertisement hanging outside the food corner they had acquired it from.

    “And that’s news…” replied Amaren. “How do you know, though? His eyes are always closed”; to a collective laugh by all the breakfasters.

    It seemed that this was precisely what the Abra did not wish to hear. It was difficult to estimate closely, however; he was not even so alert to everything around him as to explain his dissatisfaction at the great lengths with which he tended to do.

    “But really”: Ruki, on a serious note, “Ytarrik has feelings too, you know. I think we should be nice to him for a change.” And Angin, anxious to follow the example of her trainer, indicated her agreement fervently.

    To the infinite surprise of all involved, including the human, Amaren suddenly seemed to recall some earlier conviction, and ceased his casual insult against Ytarrik.

    They started back early, as soon as they saw the center of diffused light above them move into the western half of the sky. Little did they fear from this mesh of challenges which this forest provided, as though for their entertainment, but it was not prudent to remain overnight in a forest, no matter what their disposition towards it.

    They readied to move out of their temporary camp when Ytarrik suddenly cried, [Wait!] Angin tensed, her fur rising to its full volume, and Amaren and Ruki retired to the center of the clearing. Out of the darker assemblies of grass and twig shone two alert yellow eyes. The wait, the infinite pause in action…

    An unusually large, fierce Mightyena sprang out from the first shades of darkness around the clearing, diving for the waiting Abra, who dodged out of the way and returned a Confusion in its direction. To little effect, however; Dark had eternally been the oppressor of Psychics.

    A pair of fearsome jaws, black with a substance incapable of reflection, slammed down on the Abra, and he had scarce little time to teleport out before the jagged surface could touch him. Human and Pokèmon watched, alike immobile, as the psychic fought a losing duel with the dark – stumbling backward at each of its attacks, attempting feebly to force a single thorn between the Mightyena’s natural aura, negating all psychic influence.

    Each of the watchers shook themselves from her reverie, but it was too late: with a final slam of jaws, the perpetrator closed its bite around the defender’s form, and Ytarrik fell in a crumpled heap, whom Amaren hastily recalled.

    As the Mightyena’s sinister influence fell over the tiny, defiant figure of Angin, and Ruki behind her, a vision suddenly overtook Amaren, as from a memory of a memory –

    The raving Mightyena, charging for the elder fighter’s forlorn figure –

    And conviction hardened his resolve. History would not repeat, not this once.

    At the girl’s order, the Cyndaquil shot forward, desperately searching for an opening in the great wolf’s armor, armed with lesser than an iron blade. Another, advancing Bite – but that was all he would allow, as far as he would let the monster approach Ruki’s unprotected form. A single, vagabond thought joined forces with his own, and dark russet eyes flared to crimson – amber – gold…

    Amaren stood forward to the extents of his length, a figure tall, dark, terrible in its wrath; and, as if responding to a force other than his own, his hands raised in the air, holding invisible staffs – and the very earth rose in his anger and desperation, serving his purposes long enough to buffet the perpetrator severely. Whimpering, it turned to flee.

    As the failing presence of Ytarrik drained from Amaren’s mind, Ruki hurried forward to support his near-limp body, returning Angin to her storage device; and the two soldiers staggered out of the battlefield: together.
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 11th April 2008 at 3:27 PM.

  8. #8

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    Update when you feel it's best to do so. Just remember you might not always get reviews. With the forum going down all the time and being occupied with other things, people don't always have time for fics. And sometimes they might just not be in the mood to read something as long as a chapter.

    Anyways, even if I don't reply to every chapter, I am going to continue this. It has a unique feel to it that I enjoy.

    I like how Abra seems more intelligent than the humans. And Amaren defeating the Mightyena was cool.

  9. #9
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    Ah, glad to see there are still some who see it worthy enough to read. Although it seems to be getting a steady flow of views, if not replies. Considering a large wealth of factors, I have purposed to lengthen the delays between updates, after all. I never realized writing a single chapter would go this slowly... Once a week, it is! Every Sunday, I shall update.

    I was in fact planning to write these beginning chapters in the method of all usual journeyfics, with a plot to complement it. I had never done anything normal, you see, and I though using humans would allow me to explore this world for as long as I wished. But then Amaren came up with his internal eccentricities, and Ytarrik added his own influence into the mix, and then... this.

    In fact, I can say that for almost all apects of these first chapters of the fiction. I wished to dive into such lighter genres as I have never touched, but my mind is incorrigible, I have to say. Even so, I s'ppose it seems like uniqueness to my readers, which is an upside. I like how this turned out.

    Yours incorrigibly (I like that word),
    Pyroken Serafoculus

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    I rejoiced. Just thought you should know that, since you seemed so intent on impressing that verb upon us. XD

    Great chapters. Sorry for possibly discouraging you by not reading earlier. ^^ I really love Ytarrik's personality... or is it a pokenality? Never thought about that before...

    But yeah! How on earth do you even come up with such off the wall names? They amaze me. I loved the part where Ytarrik first says his name, and Amaren sees all the images that go with his name. Very clever.

    So I'm pretty excited to see the next updates and see how far this whole Ytarrik/Amaren melding thing can go. That'll be interesting. Keep it up! Whoo-hoo! *enthusiasm*
    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.

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    Ah, porygon181. Always nice to have you around (especially for my inflated ego). You shall find it a wise move to do as I suggested and rejoiced. *evil*

    Ytarrik is the most entertaining character to write out of all my work, I believe. His name, indeed, is the name of a Kadabra I have in my antiquated Yellow. The name was originally a set of nonsense-syllables that sounded vaguely Kadabra-like; but, after coming into contact with the jumble of a mess that is a typical fiction, it attained for itself... deeper meanings. On the subject of names, I can only assume I have heard so many different names from different nationalities, earthly or fantastic, they are regurgitated in unrecognizable form and dumped here, depending on whether they sound like to the required purpose or concept in my mind.

    And, as for your parting statement, I shall say so much as to say that you have unwittingly tapped upon a mother lode in the tides of this fic. What that could mean, only I (and a sufficient telepath, and also any existant omniscient being, and an exceptionally shrewd reader with insight into my life, and some other people) know.

    Yours repetitively,
    Pyroken Serafoculus

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    Ah, here. Procured this little excursion onto Serebiiforums with a great amount of efort, but I updated on time, thank God.






    Aftershock

    Chapter 4: New Developments




    Night lowered its peace into the turrets of the forest of shimmering steel.

    It was an unusually silent night for an unusually burgeoning metropolis, and all the blazing carriers of light and life hung low, resting, if only for this night. Few stars of yellow beam traversed the shaded roads; few of the revelries of life played out their glory, but it did not seem oppressively silent, as if everything was as it should be.

    Not a single soul would reveal itself to winged passersby, except one.

    A heavily cloaked figure, it could, perhaps, be said to be shabbily dressed; but some aspect of its form seemed to cohere well with its old, ragged apparel. As to the manner of ancient times, it seemed to any who would watch as though the vestiges of its clothing trailed behind it in a long, winding tail, but closer perception would entirely confound the watcher, and he would be forced to admit that it seemed as if the very webs of shadow through which the figure purposefully waded drank in his presence, lingering behind him in aimless paths. And if the silver moonlight banished the dark cotton which spread its length into the corners of the city, this being seemed only to grow in its dark splendour and introverted glory when exposed to the subtle rays.

    As if seeing a sign which only he could perceive, he stopped abruptly, turning to appraise a patch of darkness in the surrounding wall absolutely indistinguishable from the cloaked brick around it. He stepped into the pitch confines of the back alley and, as if melding into the darkness entirely, emerged out of its other end an instant later, half a mile away. The creature paused for a moment, then, as the sprawling vastnesses of a mansion and an old-fashioned laboratory complex revealed themselves to him.

    Fifteen times had he listened to the story echoing within its spacious halls; fifteen times had it ended, unfinished, leaving him hanging. This was his sixteenth iteration, but it was different, special. This time, he would know the truth in its full.

    Luphinid Remana Silnaek glided into the penultimate chord of his journeys.



    Amaren opened his eyes to see cerulean meeting his own.

    Ruki was bending over his bed, examining him with faint concern. “Nightmare?” she estimated sympathetically. “You were moving around a bit violently.”

    “No, not really,” he replied, truthfully. He had seen some difficulty in sleeping this night, but it was likely a temporary result of his exertions than a visible problem. He certainly did not remember doing anything to elicit such a response from his roommate.

    Amaren returned her appraising gaze with one of his own. A trick of the light, perhaps; but how lost she looked, how sad: a frail child stood before him, in a universe of grand matters. Was it his duty to comfort her?

    “It’s okay, it really is,” he managed alone, the opportunity passing before his eyes. A parting, almost imperceptible tighten of helplessness – and wan moonlight returned to her eyes, lighting them with her characteristic spirit. Yet, as though caught in the act, the silvery blue seemed almost furtive, enshrouding a deeper thought with its drowning light.

    “All right,” she murmured, smiling an induced smile in response to Amaren’s. “Goodnight”; and returned to her own bed.

    “’Night.”



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    Recuperation had run swiftly after their duel with peril, and health and life had returned with all the vigour of youth within a night, for most.

    Confounded by the desperate rarity of the events of the last evening, Amaren and Ruki saw their only answer in the seeming hoards of information stored within their trainer card. Amazingly, under the influence of a Pokèmon attack or other sign of battle, it was programmed automatically to infer the tides of the battle from its surroundings and its wireless link to the Concentrated Storage Devices and record it for future contemplation. It seemed that data stored in the card was graded according to the maturity of the reader, and thus many topics were encrypted, to be unlocked at the insertion of a Gym Badge of sufficient rank; but there was a reasonable exception in this case. While some hidden facets of the world could only be learnt once the seeker gained sufficient intelligence to understand them, it was only natural, when one such intersected to completely with an underage trainer’s life, that it would be his right to know of it in the full.

    The two companions leaned over the iron tablet, therefore, sitting in Ruki’s favourite table at the back of the main hall of the Center, as it unfurled a textbox to spell out an article explaining Amaren’s sudden actions.

    “It is an established fact that while most Psychic-type attacks originate from the Pokèmon’s mind, their bodies are fragile and most unsuited for the carrying of energy of all types. The mental capacities of a Psychic-type are literally infinite, but their limitations occur in the brief space of time when Psychic energy is channeled into the body and then released. While such an intense concentration of energy inhabits the form momentarily, the physical body is worn slightly, unable to efficiently contain this inside it. However, the moment is a near-infinitesimal one, and the body soon recovers before much damage is done. It is in rare cases when the physical vehicle for the mind is strained so greatly that it shuts down due to extreme heat damage, inducing unconsciousness.

    “In extreme occasions, it is possible for the psychic mind in such a situation to leave its body for a short space of time and inhabit another, willing living carrier for its work. Depending on the nature of the new vehicle, it may sustain unpredictably great damage, even more unsuited towards containing Psychic energy within it than the original body, or possibly experience only a minimum of fatigue and soon recover. The reasons for the latter are not fully known, and may vary greatly with the case.”

    From the single orange triangle hovering at the bottom of the text, more could be said upon the subject, but the youth are ever unfocused and prone to sudden swings in interest and mood, and the card saw a quick rejection of its proffered information – though the extent of what they had read was most appreciated.

    Amaren had been fortunate to find that his body was an enduring carrier for Ytarrik’s consciousness, as long as it had been there; and thus the boy had returned to a suitable semblance of health within the day. After a night of rest, indeed, he was returned to the full of his spirits. As for the Abra, while his body had suffered great injury, the healing abilities of modern technology were unparalleled, and he was well on the path to recovery, though still slumbering in the bedrest wing of the Center in his own comatose form of rejuvenation. In a few days, he would be returned to battle readiness; and the collective group purposed to concentrate their attentions on Angin meanwhile.

    Unexpectedly, the entirety of his plunge into the art of training had caused Amaren since that morning to look into the endless lines of theoretical strategy which, as he had soon learnt, ran at the very foundations of the heat of battle. Retrospectively, it had become clear that much more than brute force was required in such battles whose difficulty transcended one’s own strength, and the objective of knowing this in its full Amaren now took as his obsession.

    With great success; he soon developed a tolerance, even inclination, towards the less physical aspects of his trade, and began the very day after the battle to use his trainer card for such tasks as learning the type chart by heart, or deepening his understanding of the physical and special attributes of Pokèmon. If he was asked to explain his new fascination, he would direct the questioner’s attention to the fact that legally, he was required to know such basic concepts long before he became a Trainer; and that this would have happened had he been schooled officially. When pressed, he would elaborate only so far as to say that Ruki knew fully everything he had begun reading then, and he did not wish to be inferior in any regard to his companion trainer.

    It was towards this end, therefore, as they ran lightly down the steps of the Pokèmon Center one time again towards the northern route of Saffron, that Amaren began strategizing their future course of movement, triggering a conversation which he had never imagined to hold, although it was apparent to be the first of many such.

    “Psychic is countered by Dark and… and…” Amaren began, equally surprised to be uttering this sentence, and yet foreseeing several more in future. “Ruki, what else counters Psychic?”

    “Um… who cares?” she replied, in precise resemblance to Amaren’s past replies towards intellectual discussions.

    “Uh, uh… Bug! That’s correct. And also Ghost, I think. Now, I don’t think I should catch a Dark-type, I’ve had bad experiences with them.”

    “Some very bad experiences,” Ruki added, with a half-mock-shudder.

    “I looked in the encounter locations, there isn’t a Ghost-type here for miles. So the only chance we have is to look for a bug somewhere. Undignified, I know, but still…”

    “Wow, you’re really putting thought into all of this, aren’t you?”

    “…and – yeah, I am. I think I have to take a little responsibility for my, er, my actions. Yeah, that’s right. Anyway – I haven’t looked into what Bug-types they have around Saffron. Let’s see… There’s the usual Caterpie, there’s… nothing here? What! Ruki, are you listening?”

    Amaren dislodged himself from his articles of study, looking up to find the girl had already left his side to dive into the rapidly approaching forest, releasing Angin. With a resigned, amused shake of his head, taking this facet of her character as a long-familiar one (although it was hardly so), he redirected his rather permanent route to match his new observations.

    It was unbearably ironic to recall similar conversations between himself and his brother, with the roles entirely reversed.

    Fingering his Pokèball to find it cold and dark with the vacancy of a resident, he resigned himself to a day of idleness, falling into the shade of a nearby tree and spreading the full extents of his plans over the mottled floor, as Ruki began immediately to training before him. They had arrived at a point near the boundaries of the encircling woods, where the trees were scattered enough to allow for antics of a most unreserved nature.

    He settled down to work, falling into the thoughtful trance of study which he had been eluding for so long, impressing upon himself the necessities of careful planning before action, recalling incidents where a lack of such had led to disaster, stirring his enthusiasm by attempting to marvel upon the glorious complexity of training, realizing with surprise that he wished inside him to take on the role of his elder brother in the case of his new companion, but using this new point only to illustrate the value of responsibility further, and was thoroughly incapable of concentrated thought.

    Perhaps it was because of the grand clamor of a sufficiently hyperactive trainer and her Pokèmon, and perhaps he had been unaccustomed to study for a long while before then, but what awakened him so fully from his disconnected recline on the bed of humus was undoubtedly the waves of palpable joy which radiated through the forest and through Ruki before him, filling her dance in such a way which left doubt as to whether the ecstasy held its source in the spirit of the woods, or within this one incarnate form of its own. And where Amaren was touched by the vestiges of her spirits as she called him to join in the celebrations, Angin, a child most unfettered by inhibitions, given to the center of her trainer’s attention, reveled in a climax of her elemental high, shooting out arcing flames which grazed the forest dangerously before dissipating. They could not be said to move towards any form of progress in their carousing, and there the last warmth of summer embraced them as in farewell, but nothing mattered, for the future of their fresh emotion and the path of opportunity and life which opened up before them was most certainly assured; and the firestorm of Angin’s passion was curbed amply by the gentle enlightenment of her trainer. And thus, Amaren was convinced, would it remain; for him, and for all those whom he lent a care.

    But even as the thought of new glory before them passed through Amaren’s mind, he felt a longing to pursue that road and take its glittering expanses into his form, the trademark ambition of trainers, renowned as far as the profession yet lasted. And this faint desire pulled their purposeless displays of joy into coherence and concentration, transforming it into an enthusiasm towards this path of progress. Thinking as though one, the trainers and the Cyndaquil sprinted off to challenge more wilderness, as the morning gave way entirely to noon.

    “Think you can hold up a battle, Angin?” Ruki asked her Pokèmon tenderly, picking her up as she ran, and the Cyndaquil replied with an animated cry, taken as an affirmative by the listener. She flared the red-hot dots on her back, releasing tiny flames, and the girl flinched only slightly in surprise, fluorescing in the Pokèmon’s energy. She cradled her protectively, but Angin was already jumping down lightly to the ground, reacting to the Bellsprout they had suddenly stumbled upon.

    “Perfect,” Amaren murmured, “a Grass-type. Good practice.”

    “All right, start off with a Scratch!” From Amaren’s understanding, Ruki was likely treading carefully, testing the wild Pokèmon’s reaction to situations.

    Angin immediately began approaching the Bellsprout cautiously, brandishing her tiny claws at every turn. It seemed to be that both trainer and Pokèmon were awaiting some explosive attack by the insectivore, but none were forthcoming, and Angin quickly landed three small cuts on the Grass-type’s ponderous head, causing it to tip dangerously to the side, wobbling on its stick-thin stem.

    “And the head’s only growing bigger,” Amaren commented, before stopping short.

    Why, he pondered, would the Bellsprout’s head grow? There was certainly an answer, but it was hidden in the shades of his most unreliable memory.

    Equally as perplexed, Ruki ordered an Ember, and the Cyndaquil reared back her head. With a small blast of hot breath, she stirred the grass beneath her to flame, stomped it out hastily, and kicked the still-glowing pieces of burnt grass at the Bellsprout. The red-hot embers singed its fragile skin, but the Bellsprout yet did not so much as flinch, and Angin continued her barrage.

    Baffled, struck with uncertainty, Ruki faltered, and her Pokèmon did the same. A period of tense awaiting followed, and then –

    The twin vines which held up its two great leaves zoomed forward in a spurt of growth; and, as Amaren realized, Growth was precisely what the creature had been endeavoring towards all this time. The two arms wrapped around the protesting Cyndaquil, performing a Vine Whip, lifting her up with great labour and dropping her back down heavily. The candle flames on Angin’s back flared to char the vines slightly, but the Bellsprout only worked with greater conviction, and the Cyndaquil’s knees buckled this time as they hit the forest floor. She let out a yelp of desperation, weakening…

    But Ruki cheered for her, indefatigably spirited, and her Pokèmon’s crimson eyes shone with such a fire that even the angered Bellsprout wavered for a moment. A positive inferno erupted from the rapidly widening scarlet on her back, and she let loose a barrage of fire from her open mouth, the first she had ever released. The opponent quickly let go of her, scorched, and withdrew into the edge of consciousness.

    Amaren had been quiet this meanwhile, but now he called out: “Catch it, Ruki! This is a great chance!”

    She looked towards him, delighted with the thought. “…Do you think I should?” And Amaren nodded, absorbed in the match.

    “All right.” She set her storage device, pointed it to the failing Bellsprout, and watched expectantly as the violet light swallowed it whole. A digital meter took the front of the display on the small contrivance, flaring suddenly as the captive Bellsprout shook its confines in protest, but it finally subsided in a flourish which seemed to Amaren to be pointedly resigned. A quiet congratulation, and Angin was likewise returned.

    An indication of great victory, and another of urgency as the storage device flashed to bring attention to the new Pokèmon’s critical health. They began hurrying back to Saffron, the Bellsprout falling automatically into stasis in respect to its state, and were immediately hindered by the appearance of another character.

    He was an elderly gentleman, wearing what seemed to be a more hardy mutation of a lab coat and matching pants. He radiated well the feeling which Amaren had only just begun to understand, that of indoor study, and also of thought before action.

    His identity was most quickly revealed.

    “Good morning. I am –“ he began, but Ruki felt a great urgency to finish his sentence.

    “Prof. Kalens Oak!” she shouted, in the closest rendition of a shriek her voice could muster. “I am such a fan of your work, you wouldn’t – “

    “Er…” It was difficult, Amaren realized, to get a word in sideways if Ruki was stirred to excitement of any great nature. Rare as the case might be…

    Eventually, however, the girl rediscovered a semblance of sanity, and the Professor began in earnest.

    “I presume one of you is the owner of an Abra by the name of Ytarrik? Amaren Kelanis?”

    “I am,” Amaren replied, somewhat nonplussed.

    “And your team was driven to such desperation as to share minds for a short space of thought? Such cases are extremely rare…”

    “Hmm,” Ruki signified her rapt attention, unnecessarily.

    “… and I myself have only seen such in…”

    “Hmm,” Ruki repeated.

    “… in, er, in four incidents in my life, precisely – “

    ‘Hmm,” the girl insisted, then apologized as all concerned turned to glare at her. She dropped the pretence of sanity and attempted, successfully, to gain the actual form.

    “I have seen some new developments in the field of –“ the Professor began, and then stopped abruptly. “Perhaps we should seek a more reserved situation than this in which to talk,” the Professor suggested.

    “Yeah, and we need to go to the Center, too,” Ruki exclaimed.

    Reaching an agreement, therefore, the two trainers and their temporary chaperon set out quickly for the city in the plains, shining in the noontide sun.

  13. #13
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    Beautiful, as always. Just the total lack of Ytarrik was pretty freaking depressing, if I do say so myself. I think it's cool that Amaren's taking his trainer occupation seriously all the sudden, researching all the types and jazz. So he's gonna get a bug pokemon? I'm looking forward to seeing which one he ends up with. And the new Prof. Oak makes an appearance! I wonder what he plans to do with them... why would he care so much about their melding? And for that matter, how on earth did he even find out in the first place? So with all these questions, I look forward to seeing the next installment.

    And how exactly did you find out that I was a "sufficient telepath?" You sneaky author, you.

    Your semi-repetitively,
    Mister Porygon
    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.

  14. #14
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    As I was saying, I, too, was depressed to see I couldn't have more Ytarrik in this one. But we'll be seeing a lot more like that later on...

    I can't say I can say anything to your questions yet, though I will say certain factors will (and have) play with Amaren's resolves and decisions. Ruki, ater all, plays no small part in his life... I'll say no more. Oh, and wasn't it elementary, my dear Watson, given the shrewdness of your questions (both in past and present, and also future), that I would see you to be telepathically inclined?

    Oh, whatever. It can't be said to be a spoiler. In respect to Amaren's decisions in this and following chapters, I may draw attention to this:

    They set a course towards the northeastern quadrant of forest, and Amaren could not help but notice a gradual drop in the tilt between his own cluelessness and Ruki’s consequent domination in their conversations. It had begun from the moment of their first encounter; and while Amaren knew from common sense that such a transition would be inevitable, he was surprised to see it moving along at such a visible pace. Perhaps he would soon become the elder brother, guiding his sibling through the treacheries of the world.
    Pick out the one useful sentence from that... if you can.

    Yours cryptically:
    Pyroken Serafoculus

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    Well we better see more of him later on. I mean, I could be crazy, but he seems to have a pivotal part in this story's plot. If he just straight up disappeared or something... well, allow me to reference to Xavier's threat to Logan in X2.

    The obvious sentence, to me, would be the "Perhaps he would soon become the elder brother, guiding his sibling through the treacheries of the world" part. I suppose I could be falling for obivous bait, but any other idea eludes my telepathy. I would have thought that Ruki and Amaren would have some sort of romance blossom, but your hint leads me to believe they're either related, or some relative of Amaren's is going to pop in.

    But these are just my humble guesses, posted only to get them out of my head, and also to compensate for the lack of other reviews. I apologize profusely if this is considered spamming to anyone. ^^

    Alright! Well, I will chew over the hints you've given while I wait for your next chapter! Farewell, and happy writing!
    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.

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    You're talking about the fic so it's on topic. And yay for X-Men references.

    A bug type, eh? That should be interesting. I can't wait to see what they get.

    And nice job with Growth. I forgot about the move until you revealed that's what Bellsprout was doing. XD

  17. #17
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    Ytarrik... certainly does have parts to play, but not quite in the pivotal manner you might think. Indeed, a lot of things will change, and many fall apart, before the end... Additionally, these guesses amuse me. Why? Let's just say I give less confidence in my abilities than I should... Why, by the way, should you compensate for review-lacks? You are my most dedicated reviewer in this fiction.

    Ah, and I don't even remember enough of its plot to see the point of your X-Men reference, porygon.


    Next CHAPTER. Nuffin' much happening here, but I must weather it to the end...




    Aftershock

    Chapter 5: Introduction into the Brine




    “So you say Ytarrik and I are ‘exceptionally telepathically connected’?”

    Coming to the Pokèmon Center, the Abra had evidently seen an unexpectedly quick recovery, and had been returned to Amaren along with Ruki’s new Bellsprout. It was then, that for some reason, Prof. Oak had invited the three of them to his own estate, joined with his laboratory complex not far from the highlights of the Pokèmon gym.

    “Well, yes, essentially,” the professor replied. “Nothing abnormal, of course, only slightly unusual. It explains your remarkable talent in battling.”

    Amaren and Ytarrik looked around to glance at each other; and the latter suddenly radiated a somewhat unpleasantly entertained nerve about him [Oh, I see what you’re saying, Professor.]

    “What?” Amaren blurted, bewildered. Ytarrik was most content in hiding his thoughts from his trainer, but Prof. Oak explained.

    “This leads to many interesting effects, such as I have not yet had the opportunity to study,” said he, in an air of one building up for certain sensitive matters.

    “Study?” Amaren requested for elaboration.

    “Oh, no, nothing like the traditional heartless scientific experiments. We are talking merely of observation here. If I could gain access to your telepathic relations with Ytarrik at certain moments in your daily life, I would have a very useful insight into such connections.”

    Amaren still seemed very unsure, but Ruki chimed in at this point.

    “Come on, Amaren, it’ll be fun!” she said. “We have the professor of Kanto itself looking after us.”

    And so, with great reluctance, he agreed. Ytarrik seemed to hold no inhibitions on his part, likely due to the power of his Confusion that he held over the professor, should the man do something not directly related to the Abra’s amusement. He was, in any case, most open in expressing this fact to Prof. Oak, though his half-threat was returned merely with a laugh.

    Business completed, the three humans slipped into lighter conversations. Ruki, somewhat awed that her young friend was exceptional enough to be worthy of Oak’s attention, asked the professor of the ‘interesting effects’ of Ytarrik’s connection to his trainer. Amaren, somewhat unsettled by the center of Ruki’s amazement, added an inquiry into how the scientist had learnt of them in the first place.

    “Well, to answer your question, Ruki, the full extents of those effects are scarce documented. There is a close cooperation between the Psychic-type and the trainer due to their telepathy, and a friendship such as to make the two equals much sooner than in usual cases, but we have other incidents as well. Your battle yesterday was a perfect example, and then there are cases where the human begins developing psychic abilities under a sufficiently powerful Pokèmon influence.” It was difficult for the man to be heard over Ruki’s consequent noises of awe.

    “Amaren, I must say that your rather exceptional battle with the Mightyena was not quite as inconspicuous as you would think it to be. There were eyewitnesses, and then word travels like wildfire in a metropolis such as this…”

    Ruki picked out her Concentrated Storage Device, releasing a most surprised-looking Bellsprout. “I caught my first Pokèmon!” she celebrated, and then: “But what should I name it?”

    At the word ‘it’, the grass-type gave an indignant puff and buffeted its trainer’s knee with a surprisingly painful arm-leaf. “Ow, sorry,” she ejaculated, and looked over the creature. “I meant, what should I name him?”

    The Bellsprout made a satisfied pose and fell silent, only to be awakened once again by the insistent prodding of Angin. He attempted to thwack the Cyndaquil in return, but was scorched by a small burst of fire and retreated in defeat, surrounded by a ring of imagined enemies.

    “Oh, don’t start,” she groaned, and picked him up, thinking. “No, really, what should I name him? Anyone else have an idea?”

    [I’d think Akale would be a good one,] Ytarrik suggested, and replied with his abdication of thought when Amaren asked him the reason. “Oh well, I like that name,” was the general opinion of all concerned, most specially the Bellsprout himself. How Ruki could divine the Pokèmon’s acceptance of the idea, however, would eternally be beyond Amaren.

    “All right,” she declared, holding up the panicked creature for all to see, “Akale is now a member of our team!” And the new Pokèmon, giving up his pretence of rejection, settled down to a curl around his trainer’s arm reminiscent of a creeper vine. If any creature could understand a Pokèmon, Amaren decided, it was no mortal who walked the earth.

    Unfortunately, his musings were not lost upon Ytarrik, who promptly jolted him with an irritated Confusion.

    They set off again for the woods, seeing a fair amount of time yet before darkness fell – a Bellsprout around Ruki’s midriff and a Cyndaquil in her arms, as the Abra hovered telekinetically beside Amaren. Ruki’s Pokèmon were attempting to wrestle playfully with each other, finding their positions scarce convenient enough, as Ytarrik looked upon the resultant bother to their trainer with mild distaste.

    [Any new developments, while I was dying in the Center?] he turned to Amaren.

    “Oh, nothing much, and stop sending me your memories of your ‘final throes of agony’, they’re barely recognizable enough after seeing you head for so long. Angin learnt some rudimentary version of, er, flamethrower. Except you can see how rudimentary it may be.”

    [Oh, yes, coming from that kid…]

    “Still, that’s the first time she breathed fire. Means a lot to me and Ruki, strange as it may sound to you.”

    [I’m not heartless,] he retorted, giving every mental indication to the contrary.

    “Right you are. Come on, we have to battle.”

    They entered into another barrage of numerous weak wild battles, most hardly worth incident or memory. Ytarrik seemed to have learnt from his earlier accident, and related his observations to Amaren in between bursts of Confusion as yet another weakling stormed out of the unending forest.

    [I think, if you force your psychic mind really far, you enter a sort of rampage.]

    “You mean the part where you went crazy and outran all of us in your wild desire to destroy the forest?”

    With a sheepish thought, [Yeah, that would be it. It’s like, your psychic abilities go into overdrive, and you start doing some of the wildest things. You know what I mean? Of course you do. But if someone tries to attack you, you’re out right then and there.]

    “Tough.”

    [And if you keep going on the rampage for too long, you also get knocked out.]

    “Are you Psychics really all you make yourself up to be?”

    [Well – ]

    – A cloaked figure, riding on the shades of the wind itself, zooming out of a darkened city with triumph in his silver eyes –


    Amaren’s eyes flashed shock for an instant, then returned to oblivious normality.

    An older trainer stood before the two companions, one most intimidating by his very nature, though he stood politely enough. Ruki was conversing with him, as the Professor slunk back into a watchful position, taking out an electronic notepad.

    “Fine, sure, we’ll battle you, Dekar,” she said, and Amaren suspected a desire for impressiveness. “Correct, Amaren?” – here, her eyes were sufficient indicators of what she would bring about if any part of her statement was deemed incorrect.

    “Er, yeah,” he replied uncertainly. “Yes, I mean, I take your challenge.”

    “All right, then,” Dekar confirmed; “each trainer uses one Pokèmon, against my two. Get your trainer cards ready.”

    Amaren looked down at his own flashing card, prompting a transformation into what seemed to be ‘referee mode’. A display lit up in the back screen, where information of a very useful nature was being calculated in milliseconds. One after the other, the opponent and the ally’s chosen Pokèmon, the ratio between the strengths of the battlers (as approximated by the energy currently radiated by their elemental forms), and a vitality bar filled the screen. This last would move progressively down as its respective Pokèmon was attacked, the degree of depletion depending on the apparent damage done. Once it reached zero, regardless of the Pokèmon’s will to fight, the battler would be called out of battle and considered fainted by standard training rules.

    How would so much functionality fit into a single metal slate, Amaren wondered inside. [It wouldn’t,] Ytarrik replied in answer, and fell silent.

    Out of this new trainer’s storage device leapt twin sprays of light, and a young Ivysaur and a Pidgeotto materialized on either side of Dekar, bearing the unmistakable confidence of badge-winners. With an air of slight intimidation, then, Ytarrik and Angin jumped into position.

    “Angin, er, remember that move you once used, long ago? Smoke Screen?” Angin instantly followed Ruki’s order, and Ytarrik jumped into the fray without waiting for command.

    With an only half-conscious suggestion of Amaren’s, the Abra raised into the air, placing invisible constructions at random points through the battlefield with his telekinesis. [If we’re going for accuracy reduction, I think we should go full out, don’t you think?] Amaren only replied with a perplexed half-thought, wondering what the Abra was planning.

    Rearing back her head, the Cyndaquil shot out multiple balls of some black material, which fell onto the battlefield and promptly exploded in a puff of jet smoke. It was difficult to see anything within the commotion of accuracy-reduction, but the opponent was evidently reacting very calmly to this new development.

    A few moments of silence, and a loud beat of Pidgeotto wings signaled the utter and total dissipation of the Smokescreen Angin had painfully constructed. The two defenders against this sudden Gust bared their teeth into it, only to be barraged by a faceful of squirming, green pellets which clung painfully to their skin. Amaren looked up; the Ivysaur had unfolded its single flower to reveal gigantic spore-heads, out of which the Leech Seeds were still streaming.

    Stricken with the full blast of the seeds, Ytarrik shoved a dozen of his invisible placements into the space directly before him, and the Ivysaur’s attacks began flying haphazardly, in every direction but that of their objective. “That wouldn’t be Kinesis, would it?” Amaren asked, amused.

    Ruki yelled, “Ember!” and Angin blasted the seeds around her into char with her fire, blowing the heated embers back at the Ivysaur. The grass-type endeavored hurriedly to close its budding flower, but countless glowing pieces embedded themselves into its vast, tender confines, eliciting a roar of pain.

    The Pokèmon had done well to evade the Leech Seeds, but not perfectly, and a sizable amount of bulbous loads were still growing off Ytarrik’s golden skin, resisting all movement.

    “We don’t have much time, Ytarrik,” Amaren murmured, “before you lose all energy. I think you should just directly start to attack now. Ivysaur is a Poison-type, isn’t it?”

    Ruki could not help but agree; and she egged Angin on: “Give it your all!”

    Amaren marveled as he felt a telepathic connection growing between Ytarrik and the Ivysaur, so strong as to be palpable – and a continuous stream of concentrated, disorienting thought surged down his new achievement, keeping the great grass-type at bay for this moment. Rearing back, concentrating her heat, Angin shot out intermittent blasts of fire, falling all around the perpetrated Pokèmon with great force.

    The Pidgeotto was galvanized into motion, buffeting Angin’s flames with continuous Gusts; but the conviction of their desperation was indefatigable, and, as always, pushing them into their very limits served only to lengthen their capacities. With a great report, the Ivysaur fell on its back in defeat as Dekar’s trainer card beeped to signify its official fainting.

    There was only the Flying-type left now to oppose them, and a temporary stalemate stemmed the flow of their fighting; as the Abra and the Cyndaquil stared into the eyes of their single opponent. If the intensity of the match had been absorbing before, this sudden silence served only to pull the humans into an inescapable death spiral with the tides of war.

    And then, in a sudden, the opponent trainer laughed. “Quick Attack,” he whispered, and with only a faint rustling, both Pokèmon were thrown back, eliciting twin beeps from Amaren and Ruki’s cards.

    “That Pidgeotto of yours moved faster than human sight!” Ruki estimated, awed.

    “I told you I’d already gotten the Cascadebadge, didn’t I?” And, with a haughty look of emotionless victory, he strode out of the clearing.

  18. #18
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    "...I will put you under the illusion that you are a six-year-old girl."
    "You'd do that?"
    "I'd have Jean braid your hair."

    That is the full quote/threat from Xavier to Logan in X2. Just to refresh your memory.

    Ah, and I don't even remember enough of its plot to see the point of your X-Men reference, porygon.
    I was saying that if Ytarrik didn't come back then the quote would apply and... I guess it was really a be-there moment. *awkward silence*

    ANYWAYS! This chapter seemed to lack many plot points, but it was written beautifully. The battle was stunning, as yours always seem to be - I really liked the use of Kinesis, placing all the barriers around the field. But my favorite part was actually the characterization of Akale. I've never thought a Bellsprout could be so personable. It was almost adorable. ^^

    I was quite saddened that Amaren didn't catch his bug pokemon yet. I'm still dying to see what he'll choose. I have quite a soft spot for bug pokemon.

    The Pidgeotto was galvanized into motion, buffeting Angin’s flames with continuous Gusts; but the conviction of their desperation was indefatigable, and, as always, pushing them into their very limits served only to lengthen their capacities. With a great report, the Ivysaur fell on its back in defeat as Dekar’s trainer card beeped to signify its official fainting.
    Thesaurus much? XD

    Again, the battles were beautiful.


    – A cloaked figure, riding on the shades of the wind itself, zooming out of a darkened city with triumph in his silver eyes –
    I honestly don't have any guesses as to whom this is referring to. Maybe that relative I was guessing about earlier? Dunno. I guess I'll just stew over that for a little while. So! Great chapter! I'm loving it as much as usual!

    Yours impatiently,
    Porygon!
    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.

  19. #19
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    Oh, dear. I see clearly the gravity of your threat now...

    I had, long ago in the forgotten past, purposed to tone down the spectacularity of the battles for these few beginning chapters; since Amaren and Ruki are beginning trainers and not Champions of Kanto. However, I am quite so used to my usual Rediscovery-scale clashes that I now believe I have forgotten how to write normal battles - a tiger can never entirely erase its stripes.

    And yes, I was especially anxious not to make the Pokèmon personalities much too bland. Perhaps I overdid this one instance.

    I was quite saddened that Amaren didn't catch his bug pokemon yet. I'm still dying to see what he'll choose. I have quite a soft spot for bug pokemon.
    Well... um... *shifts feet awkwardly*

    The Pidgeotto was galvanized into motion, buffeting Angin’s flames with continuous Gusts; but the conviction of their desperation was indefatigable, and, as always, pushing them into their very limits served only to lengthen their capacities. With a great report, the Ivysaur fell on its back in defeat as Dekar’s trainer card beeped to signify its official fainting.
    Thesaurus much? XD
    No, indeed, to say the truth. I didn't use a single synonym in this para, which is actually unusual. This is merely my inherent style. o.O

    I honestly don't have any guesses as to whom this is referring to. Maybe that relative I was guessing about earlier? Dunno. I guess I'll just stew over that for a little while. So! Great chapter! I'm loving it as much as usual!
    ... *laughs* My friend, whatever happened to your amazing powers of telepathy? *points at previous chapter discreetly*

    Yours irritably (at your breaching of the copyright of my sign-offs)
    Pyroken Serafoculus

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    Hey, imitation is the highest form of flattery. No need to be irritable. XD

    So what's with all this "oh dear"-ness? You're like "Oops, shouldn't have made you like these characters so much..."

    I swear to god. If you're planning on killing them all off, a fate worse than being a six-year-old girl in your head awaits.

    So, I realized my own stupidity a little while after posting my reply. Mr. Cloak was indeed mentioned before, but in my defense, his purpose is still a total mystery to me. Don't mock my telepathy... it's resting right now.

    Anyways, as far as the epic battles go, toning them down would just be strange. As you said, your inhuman vocabulary is merely your inherent style - making the battles any less gorgeous would just be baffling. And in essence, the battle was lost by a friggin' Quick Attack. That's pretty n00b.

    Eh, I'm rambling now. I'll try to start my telepathy back up while I wait for the next chapter. Heck, I might even stop procrastinating and do homework and stuff!

    And I'll stop stealing your sign-off.

    Farewell!
    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.

  21. #21
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    Oh, dear. It seems to have been a while, in my mind. Ah, whatever. Commence Chapter 6, my longest chapter yet for any fiction, at 14 pages on Word (not the record of Serebii or anything close, but it is unique for me). It has given me great grief, but I hope it doesn't disappoint?

    PAGE 2! REJOICE!






    Aftershock

    Chapter 6: The Peak
    Part 1




    Amaren hunched over the injured pokèmon as they lay back against the cool of a dark cypress, rifling through his already-swollen backpack. An expression of great sympathetic pain tightened his face as the weariness spread into him through Ytarrik’s telepathic connection; and an identical emotion, though to a less vivid degree, animated Ruki, passing over their many hurts. Akale lingered behind her leg, looking at the scene with alert interest.

    “Hang on a second,” she reached for her bag, styled into unnecessary attractiveness – “I’m sure I had something for leech seeds, must be somewhere here.”

    A can of some unknown liquid was produced from its simple confines, one with a most vibrant and disconcertingly detailed logo of a single, gelatinous leech seed. It illustrated the efficiency at which it could wither the painful growths, with such patient detail as to elicit a wave of nausea from all but the Grass-types which generated such growths as a daily habit.

    With extreme caution, she opened the cap vacuum-sealing the aerosol nozzle, inadvertently releasing a trapped drop of wayward leech-seed-spray – which fell to the grassy floor and elicited an extravagant electric spark between two separate twigs, reducing them to ashes. Immediately, Ytarrik attempted feebly to push the spray out of living influence, seeing great good for the future of humanity in the destruction of this supposed “hellfire”.

    “Oh,” Ruki said placidly, “oh. I don’t think I should have shaken it so badly. Oh, well,” and the can flew out into the surrounding woods, off to terrorize another hapless patch of grass.

    It was the farewell clunk of the noxious spray which rose Amaren from his excursion into his voluminous bag, clutching five potions victoriously. He swiftly opened the extravagant sealing mechanism on the simple metal bottle, and proceeded to force-feed both Pokèmon the clear blue liquid as Ytarrik attempted to feign allergy to the substance and Angin writhed under its searing taste.

    “Pokèmon don’t have allergies, idiot,” Amaren reminded.

    “I know it’s bad, Angin, but you really need the energy right now,” Ruki soothed.

    [Why did I try to trick you with an allergy when I’ve never even had one?] Ytarrik mused. [Oh, Light, I think I’m turning more and more human every moment! I am… merging with your uncouth mind. Geh!]

    “Shut up, Zyt.”

    [Shut up, uncouth mind.]

    “If you’ll stop insulting me every few seconds, I will shut up, Blackhead.”

    [Blackhead!]

    “Stop arguing, guys,” – Ruki, though with a dispelling grin.


    [Our vitality,] Ytarrik explained, once sanity had once again reluctantly set in, [was getting lower and lower by the second, because of our leech seeds. You completely overlooked that when you set us on Pidgeotto, there. One unavoidable Quick Attack, and we were gone.]

    “Hey, you were battling your heart out without my orders. It’s not my fault you forgot everything for a second.”

    [But – ]

    “Though, Ruki,” Amaren continued, drowning out Ytarrik’s protest, “What about you? Where did you come from?” He was surprised, near astonished, that he had never thought to ask her this simple question

    “Oh, I grew up in Saffron, didn’t I tell you?” Ruki stopped, unwilling to say any more.

    “And…?”

    “And?” She seemed uncertain as to whether Amaren would require any more.

    “And, what’s your full name, how’s your family, do you remember any story worth telling me? I thought this sort of things were supposed to be said between friends.”

    “Er, well… My name is Ruki Ferena. I was an only child, I suppose, and, well, nothing really happened in my block of Saffron.”

    “Have you really got nothing worth memory?” Amaren exclaimed.

    “…No.”

    “Ytarrik?” Amaren turned to him for assistance.

    […No. Don’t even think about it.]

    “I don’t see any point in living in the past. Not, at least, after I found…” trailed off Ruki.

    “Found what?” Amaren turned to Ytarrik, but he was likewise clueless.

    Instantly, she found some point of extreme interest immediately beyond Amaren’s shoulder, and focused all her ocular attention there. “Found… training, of course. I have had the best moments of my life here.

    “Where’s the professor, though?” she suddenly changed the subject, looking around as her delicate personal extravagances attempted to keep up with her sudden reminder. She jogged off aimlessly, her ponytail swinging, disregarded, behind her, and was immediately met with the old scientist, emerging out of a nearby patch of obscurity.

    “Oh, merely examining what I took to be a rare specimen,” he waved off airily. It did not seem, despite his civilized appearance, as if he spent all his time examining bacteria under microscopes or poring over dusty textbooks with no possible information of any consequence – he took all the air of one crawling out an authentic, fieldwork hotspot for rare pokèmon. “Were you aware that not all Wurmple are red-backed?”

    “Really?” a considerable portion of the gathering chorused, Amaren at the forefront.

    “No, indeed. Every so often one will find a most peculiar purple variety, shaded a pale lilac. Rumour has it that such discoloured, or ‘shiny’, specimens, are more receptive to growth than their usual counterparts. However, because of their flashiness, they lose the natural purpose of the colours of common pokèmon – and such methods as camouflage or intimidation are impossible, having entirely the, erm, wrong colour of skin. Or hide, or scale, or fur, according to taste.”

    [That’s why they’re so rare, then?] Ytarrik hazarded, though he carried the hint of telepathic fishing for information. It was indubitable that he was well-taken with the professor, though he was loath to admit it.

    A wave of feeling, remarkably akin to his meanderings around the digital halls of the Trainer card’s informational database, took over Amaren as the six mismatched components of his party began moving as one, retiring to the safety of the city. Professor Oak radiated an air of learnedness, of refined science, but it did not seem like to the manner of the monotonous study books Amaren had dabbled in, long before in his village. Instead, he carried a hint of Uncle Artir in his veins, an illustrious gentleman, grown in mind, but in an infinitely more colourful manner.

    “You see, Amaren,” Oak was soon explaining, “a trainer’s journey requires an amount of sacrifice, or rather some pain and subsequent strength. It is essential that one possess few inner demons and such complications at such an early part of the career, for it must be given space to grow. In your position, I would suggest that you do not shirk from such species, but indeed attempt to coexist with your fears…”

    “What? How could I do that, Professor?”

    “Ah, just wait a time,” he sighed, “you shall find that necessity soon overrides any incompetence you may claim to have.”

    “Does that mean,” Ruki worried, “that I’ll have to get a Dark-type too?”

    Their newfound mentor regarded them for a moment. “Ah… no. Not, specifically, if you very strongly desire not to.” Before, however, Ruki could finish her impromptu celebration, he added cautioningly, “You will have to mimic Amaren eventually, remember. A pokèmon master is one at the very end of his journeys, one who has experienced, understood, and stowed away near every facet of his or her life.

    “But why are we looking so forward yet? Enjoy, I bid you, while you’re all still young!”

    Amaren and Ruki looked at each other questioningly, as the professor’s mood lifted very abruptly. [There are certain groups of people,] Ytarrik mused between them, [who I will never understand, as long as I live.] He seemed to find a strange irony in his statement, but Amaren could not gain any more from his closed mind.

    “I think,” the professor beamed, as Saffron came within hailing distance, “that I will make my exit around now. This is indeed where our paths fork, for I must enter the city through an entirely different route. Farewell, then… not at all, of course. I shall be very glad to see you two once again, in your next venture from this hub of yours; simply find me in the encircling forest, northwest quarter.” And, at that, he parted ways, still cheerful beyond belief.

    As they entered the now-familiar outskirts of Saffron City, it seemed most visibly to Amaren as though the proud pillars of the metropolis before them had lost some of their brilliance. The gleam of technology, to Amaren’s eyes, was dimmer now than it had first been, and its every miniscule quirk was subconsciously acknowledged by his mind, seeming no more to be new and unexplored. He felt a strong urge for the open country, as to the manner of old times, where he would walk through a blizzard of new experiences, leaving no time for accustomed monotony.

    [I suppose,] Ytarrik added, [they call that feeling the spirit of a trainer or something. Maybe you should start, uh, doing something.]

    “Doing what?” though Amaren knew already what the Abra would lead to. “Maybe we should start fighting against trainers, now. See how we fare.”

    “That’s a great idea!” Ruki agreed. And then, with an accidental chorus of thoughts, Amaren, Ruki, and Ytarrik simultaneously offered: “We shouldn’t delay the Gym for too long, though.”

    They looked among each other, and promptly stowed this strange coincidence in the farthest cupboards of their minds. Some quirks of the universe, they could no longer doubt, were best left unexplored. They could not, additionally, doubt their inner thoughts, which ran entirely contrary to their previous mental statement.

    [Oh, well.]



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    Already the first gleam of gold was touching the viridian of the lush forest, already the first Caterpie were beginning to prepare for the coming hardship: but there was a determination about the sun and its warm breezes, seeing no harm in a parting flare of summer intensity before fall took their place. In many ways the weather could be said to be unseasonal, such that the living beings it governed seemed uncertain, expecting winter but seeing none in sight; but Amaren felt that if warmth and brightness could be prolonged, if it could (and wished to) deliver a surprise burst of life yet, what greater good truly lay across its path?

    The trainers, adaptive as they ever were, did not hesitate to make the best of this unexpected reward. Ytarrik, Angin and Akale flourished in the light like never before, surpassing expectations day after day as they jumped to greater heights of splendour. Confusion fell into Psybeam, Ember into stunning displays of pyrotechnics, and Vine Whip into showers of razor-sharp leaves, each rising in crescendos of improvement with no decline in sight. Stunningly, though Amaren had noticed it before, the peak of one day of training for a Pokèmon became indeed the standard for the next day; and each new move the Pokèmon managed with great labour seemed to become conditioned into their bodies, turning into near second nature on a second try. And every test of their strength served to detail them more and more exactly the limits of their strength, so that they learnt to regulate their energies into strategy.

    It was an instance within the peak of this final light, into Amaren and Ruki’s occasional sojourns into the forest, that the sun shone so broadly into the fastnesses of the dark reaches that fear was but banished entirely. For the second time yet, a Dark-type came across their path – an exceptionally skilled Poochyena – and reason, Professor Oak’s counsel, won over: Amaren and Ytarrik turned to the creature, purposing to capture him, as the golden sunlight of support flooded from every side.

    Surpassing all expectations, Ytarrik wrestled telekinetically with the pokèmon, his spirit a fire as steady and strong as the sun itself, and beat the wild within inches of his consciousness. A long struggle ensued within the Concentrated Storage Device, but experience won over the fierce fortitude of the pokèmon – and Lepena was caught.

    Ytarrik was unique in himself, and Angin lit with the fire of her species; Akale protectively close to his beloved trainer, but Lepena was none too accustomed to revealing his inner thoughts, papering over them with a near-vicious offense. Amaren soon won his alliance, but nothing more than an alliance: he would fight entirely for his trainer, often sinking even to obeying his every command, but he seemed to see this as no more than a momentary parallel of their paths. Ytarrik was entirely unwilling to telepathically divine Lepena’s thoughts, leaving Amaren with no opportunity to know him. For the moment, however, training deigned to move according to schedule.

    At last, after a half-season of training, the party streamed out of their final meeting with the northeastern forest, seeing themselves ready to challenge the Gym.

    It was late afternoon, in that amber-lit time of day when the shadowless noon met the glory of the setting sun, when the outskirts of the forest met, once again, their eyes and ears. A grand peace had followed the thrill of battle, a sublimity befitting the colour blushing the meanest particle of the forest with golden fire, and this feeling enveloped all the forest creatures as they set about lazily on their tasks. How golden it would have been to simply watch the Pidgey glide slowly down their final flight before the twilight, how peaceful the sight of the occasional Shroomish lying in the patches of sunlight, their eyes peacefully close, drinking in the warmth – if this very feeling had not occupied the trainers and their Pokèmon themselves, closing them to the life around them. And yet, as the last enclosing canopy of emerald leaves petered out, the light of the westering sun (so scattered, so shattered into a million greenish shards, purposeless and yet all so effective in their cluttered aim) coalesced into one single, blinding point of light, forceful enough to break walls of steel. And yet, the rasping grey of the monotone winter was already brushing the eastern horizon with near-insubstantial fingers – but Amaren and Ruki, and Ytarrik and Angin and Akale, all their heads were turned towards the west.

    “It feels like an eternity since I came out of that burning forest, so long ago,” Amaren mused, with a nudge of unexpectedly sober agreement from Ytarrik.

    “But we’re finally going to challenge the Saffron Gym, I can’t believe it!” Ruki uttered breathlessly. “Are we strong enough, shouldn’t we have done some more training?”

    “Angin and Akale are plenty strong enough, Ruki,” Amaren consoled, attempting to force a likewise burst of excitement within his own chest into submission. “As long as everyone keeps cool, we should be perfectly fine.”

    “But how can we be sure?” she cried irrationally, huddling closer to her companion. Ignoring Ytarrik’s mean-spirited suggestions, Amaren put an arm around Ruki and spoke peacefully. “Calm down, Ruki, I’m here, aren’t I? As long as we go in there as a team, there’s no chance anyone could defeat us.”

    It was undetectable, but did Amaren sense a hint of pride deep in Ytarrik’s labyrinthine mind? In any case, Ruki settled considerably at his ministrations.


    The Saffron City Psychic-type Pokèmon Gym was no great establishment in external appearance. A blue-shingles, slate-gray, rectangular building, it lay mismatched in the midst of the city’s arrays of grandeur, seeming to an outsider rather unbecoming of its promise. However, as Ytarrik assured, physical appearance was meaningless to a dwelling of Psychic-types. Indeed, the only mark separating it from any other nondescript building in the city was the title, imprinted in formal text above the massive double doors.

    Forbidding as it seemed, the doors, at the least, were thrown wide open; but whether in a gesture of welcome or malicious beckoning, Amaren could not decide, and his attempts at this were met with a small Confusion from the disgruntled Ytarrik. As they entered the wide hall within, lined with rows upon rows of cots resembling hospital beds, the Abra seemed to take some inexplicable satisfaction in all the gloom.

    The windowless, whitewashed walls of the cavernous room were lit with the flames of gigantic candles, burning steadily at intermittent intervals along the rows of beds. An inner room reclined at the back, presumably the stadium, closed to all mortal ways of entry. Most of the strange cots were occupied with inexperienced trainers, sleeping fitfully as a nearby Psychic-type extended some uneasy mesmeric influence upon their dreams, and their Pokèmon sat ranged all around them, staring with vacant eyes. And yet, beneath all the murky silence brooded a sense of arcane age, to which Ytarrik (and all his influences upon those around him) reacted positively. The half-articulated sounds of distant, disciplined action reverberated from some indistinct source.

    A tall man disengaged himself noiselessly from a nearby corner and strode visibly toward these new arrivals ([Infidels,] Ytarrik corrected, only half-jokingly) with a brisk telepathic greeting. His physical appearance was plain, almost shabby, his eyes expressionlessly dreamy, but he conveyed the sense of impressiveness well on his own level.

    He then began to relay a series of thoughts into the party’s minds, but they were even more abstract than Ytarrik’s standard telepathic messages, such that their full meaning could not be translated into any human language. It seemed as though he had not spoken in articulate tongue for so long that his thoughts never strayed into the realm of words; but, instead of the subconscious urges of instinct which one would naturally revert to in such a situation, he spoke in a strange thought-speech: more concentrated than simple thought, but freer of half-truths and contradictions than any language Amaren had ever heard. When asked to recall his words at a later time, Amaren would revert to a less abstract form of speech and take it as truth.

    [Ah, you are also a trainer of the Song,] he relayed to Amaren, adding unnecessarily that the Song was a truer word for the Psychic type. [Workable promise lies in you, Ytarrik, if you were one to remain in Saffron and train with us.]

    [Is it so?] Ytarrik replied enthusiastically.

    The two psychics lapsed suddenly into conversation, thinking with such instantaneous speed that the humans had scarce time to interpret the meaning of one thought before another was uttered.

    [Yes, indeed, I do not – ]
    [If only I could meet – ]
    [Yet, you have your own – ]
    […I didn’t know that.]
    [Such is the course – ]
    [Really? The things I could – ]
    [Ah, do not be so – ]
    [I guess not…]

    Amaren and Ruki waited patiently, and the man eventually interrupted the conversation with a start. [Dear me, I seem to have forgotten. New trainers, and this is all I give you for hospitality!

    [Let me proceed to the challenge. You shall be put into a sort of… dreamscape, as it were, and left to fend for yourself along with your Pokèmon. You have already read of it. If you survive this psychic plane of thought, you will be led into the stadium, and the Gym leader will use Pokèmon according to the skill at which you fared to battle you. If you are victorious, of course, you will receive the usual prizes. Here, follow me.]

    He led the trainers to a couple of beds suitably close to the centre of the room, and summoned a large, heavy Hypno with a dusty steel pendulum. At the nameless man’s instructions, Amaren and Ruki lay uncomfortably on their respective beds, and the Psychic-type stretched its hands out to radiate waves of some heavy, impalpable substance into their minds. Instantly, Amaren fell into a deep, trancelike sleep.

    Infinite particles ranged around Amaren, bobbing and curling in airy spirals, arrayed into blocky slates, but they were suddenly one, cohering into a single concept, and then they branched again, flowering out into usual complexity –

    And yet this was no usual avatar of their form, like but entirely unlike the cavernous Gym to which Amaren was so blissfully closed. It seemed closer towards the universal form, but not completely; and yet was the twilight forest surrounding his indistinct spirit anything more than a solid block of concept, broken only occasionally with the odd blurring detail? And surely the shapeless shadows rising out of the dark places were no distinct Mightyena, with every distinct strand of unkempt fur painfully clear: surely they were mere apparitions of thought, darkening the forest shades with their terror alone. No, but the formless mesh of golden light was his own, the power which animated Ytarrik [Amaren] as he turned to face the challenge around him.

    On a plane entirely outside his own, Ytarrik watched him with nonexistent eyes; but was he here, fending off the outlawed spirits of the twisted woods, or hovering next to a hospital bed in the midst of a concrete cavern? Did this truly matter, here, now, in this rage of instinct?

    Two identical ellipses of startling silver rose before his eyes, supported on thin stalks; and out of them resounded an intoxicating energy, blasting back the surrounding threads of thought with their shockwaves. A pokèball flashed before him, and an elderly gentleman with a Gardevoir by his side, and then a pure, bright spot of blue (or was it gold?), ancient thought surged into his form, filling him with brilliance, and the phantoms around him shook in terror –

    – they were nearly defeated –

    – and then a single, panicked jerk of dread: a dirty silver wolf, towering over the single indigo candle, threatening to burn it out – but his golden fire was already burning out, its fuel was being stolen before its outstretched hands as the cold embrace of the darkness smothered it,

    We are eternal, all this pain is an illusion



    Kalens Oak, under the warm wood of his private study. “ – one at the very end of his journey, his internal demons all tamed and put away. You see, when fear is understood, it ceases to exist entirely. Equilibrium resumes when the chaotic element is analyzed, assimilated, unable to cause any more disorder.”

    [Life is all too dreadfully mortal, but many are protected by things eternal, omnipotent. They are fit receptacles for the thought, and thus exist for long to serve this purpose. Death is not as frequent a guest as you claim it to be.]

    “Your deed is done, Amaren. Open your eyes.”



    And the light of the candle Gym flooded into his mind again.


    [Finely done, finely done,] the strange man was commending in his usual telepathy, with an air of average impression. [And I believe your young friend is still battling on?]

    Ytarrik and Lepena shook their heads, attempting to clear their minds, as Amaren rose woozily from his post. He realized he had been shouting. “YES!” a victory cry.

    Behind him, the girl and her Pokèmon began to show signs of stirring, and soon they, too, were awake, their reactions visibly more subdued than Amaren’s.

    That,” Ruki emphasized, “was an experience I don’t want to have again.”

    “But did you get through?” Amaren asked.

    “…I think I did.” And they had already begun their celebrations, when the man interrupted their cheering.

    [Ah, but that is only half the journey. Follow me.]



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    The stadium of the Saffron Gym was a most moody, dramatic affair: a concrete rectangle, painted in the usual manner of battling courts (a grand Pokèball in the center – still a pokèball – and rectangular stages for the trainers on either end, each connected by a single line running through the central Pokèball), with spotlights allowing only the platforms within visibility. A circular, rising staircase of seats surrounding the stadium afforded the audience a fair view of the battle.

    Ruki went to sit by the sidelines, as Amaren was called first to battle. He stepped uncertainly on the platform closer to him, and gave a start as he was lifted high up, supported by the air itself – or, more accurately, telekinetic force.

    The trainer looked around with distinct unease. However he may have seemed to those watching him, flying effortlessly up into the ‘top’ of affairs, it felt extremely unnerving to be raised to such a height at such a speed.

    Suddenly, a near-palpable telepathic message rebounded across the acoustic stadium.

    [Welcome, Amaren Kelanis, to the Saffron City Pokèmon Gym. I am, as you expect, the leader of our institution.]

    “Where are you?” Amaren shouted. “Why can’t I see you?”

    [My physical form is immaterial, and my name doubly so. But you shall most easily wrench whatever information strikes your fancy from your trainer card, of course.]

    “Er… all right…”

    [Let us begin, then! I choose Espeon…]

    As if from thin air, a figure materialized on the opposing side of the stadium, an extravagantly lavender feline. Its long, slender tail was split at the end in a tiny, jointed fork, and a bright red gem, no greater than a ring diamond, glittered on its expansive forehead. Amaren could only assume it was an exceptionally young specimen.

    With a cry, he launched his own pokèball out into the field, and the spotlights turned upon it in such a manner that, for a moment, it seemed as if the dimly glinting sphere was the source of the light around it, warding off the encircling shadows.

    The illusion quickly passed.

    [You’re my opponent, then?] Ytarrik mused.

    [It seems so…] the pokèmon replied.

    [Ah, this should be a lovely night.] And, at a command from Amaren, he rose from his seat and fell into coma, concentrating visibly.

    Instantly, the Espeon charged the hovering creature, brandishing his tail [like some sordid barbed whip,] in Ytarrik’s private words. The Abra did not flinch in the slightest, diluting his concentration by a millimeter alone as the tail caught his side painfully, scratching a long, curved gash. It seemed the Espeon was determined to leave a mark, however, and he repeated this many times, until blood began to flow…

    [What are you doing, Ytarrik?] Amaren urged.

    In a painful jerk, the tail came within an inch of Ytarrik’s face and stopped.

    With a physical grin, Ytarrik gave a mental flick, and the sheen of a transparent bubble of matter glinted in the spotlight, protecting him vigilantly. The Espeon’s tail was caught firmly within its voluminous expanses, and the creature could only labour in vain to release itself.

    Ytarrik’s grin broadened, as he concentrated upon the lump of tail caught inside his Barrier; to little effect, at first, but then…

    [What are you doing?] the Espeon yelled. [No, that doesn’t go there – stop, stop – ah! Why, thank you, Mother, I almost forgot my lunchbox. Here, let you hit me over the haaaaeeed with it…]

    And he began beating his own cranium against the closest surface he could see, thoroughly Confused – but the Gym Leader merely laughed.

    [What on earth?] Ytarrik offered on Amaren’s behalf, but then began offering something his trainer would certainly not wish to convey. [Oh, earth. Synch – sink, is it? I like sinks. Especially the bathroom sinks, they own the kitchen ten times over. Here, let me sing a song about it…]

    The Espeon was most determined to provide his poetic ideals for the cause of the general public, but he was entirely drowned by the heart-rending vocals his opponent delivered, and immediately proceeded to sing along. Amaren thought his accompaniment, especially the impromptu twist of being unable to keep up with Ytarrik’s ever-twisting lyrics, was rather masterfully harmonious.

    [Synchronize,] resounded the Leader’s voice; [as your Abra attempted to say before he was drowned by the fruits of his own labour.]

    [Why, of course,] Ytarrik attempted to add. [Any… status… condition-thingy I do to that pesky Espeon comes around to afflict me, don’t it? Wheee!

    Amaren looked over his shoulder, and the quiet laughter that was tinkling from the sideline rapidly quelled, as Ruki glanced up to display her most sincerely concerned and supporting expression.

    In any other situation it would have been entirely comical, Amaren could not but concede. The Pokèmon’s struggle towards sanity was one of the longest waits he had ever had in the heat of a Pokèmon battle: but, eventually, it was the Espeon who uttered the first coherent sentence, to a cheer from the sadly befuddled Ytarrik.

    The feline pressed forward, backing away, as a faint telepathic link set up, the receiver Ytarrik. It sagged mentally, then tightened without warning as the first raging thought ripped across it; more emotions followed, torrents of distracting concepts, piling over each other until the very air distorted around it, revealing a braided stream of immaterial water. Thankfully, the first blow was sufficient to bring Ytarrik out of the “garden shower” he was probing with such zeal in his mind.

    He exploded mentally, shoving out a bubble of yellow glitter which filtered marginally the Psybeam assailing his mind. More matter began streaming out from him, rallying to hold the assault of the beam, concentrating on one single patch of bubble…

    [Would I not see through that?] the Espeon smirked.

    And the beam forked at a point directly before the bubble, streaming out to breach the transparent back of his Light Screen; and Ytarrik yelled:

    [No, you – are – FLESH! This is the Gym we’re standing in! There is no point in – run. Everywhere! Are you hearing me? I’m here, lying beneath the tree, burning!]

    [Weak,] the Leader boomed, and then the monotone softened. [Your journey has only begun, I should not have forgotten.]

    The Espeon relented, stricken, and Ytarrik snapped back into reality. At last, this had become a challenge for all his heart.

    He flicked his opponent’s offense off with a massive effort, and locked horns with the Espeon, sending a stream of solid thought into the lavender arm of startled defense.

    A split braid of pure concept spanned between the battlers, gold and purple, clashing at its median point of conflict. It was an outward explosion of offense, a mutual separation, but the single threaded mind connected them in the manner only warriors could conceive, brothers in the aggression of thought. Rather than estranging the human watchers in their wonder, it brought them into the heart of the war, each other, the single glowing point where Ytarrik’s Psybeam met the Espeon’s.

    In a sudden flash, the balance was broken. The scales tipped in Ytarrik’s favour, the point of meeting spiraling down, no longer a glittering keystone to their unity, but a rapidly-approaching deathtrap: and it was over.

    Ytarrik looked down at the fainted Espeon, heaving with exhaustion and victory.

    [Marvelous,] said the Gym leader, with a vague hint of impression. [Round one has been won by Amaren; but you still possess one more Pokèmon, and so do I.]

    “Then let round two begin!” Amaren challenged, recalling Ytarrik gratefully.


    [Round two: Kadabra versus Poochyena.]

    “Howl, Lepena,” Amaren ordered, as the grander form of Ytarrik before him closed his eyes in the familiarly silent psychic coma. The Dark-type threw back his head and let out a startling lamentation of viciousness, the perceived shadows surrounding his form growing deeper; but his silver fangs glinted all the more intensely. Ytarrik, nestled inside the stasis of his Pokèball, managed to convey his absolute hatred of the creature.

    [Strangely,] he tried to convey, [my battle was the gist of this match. We just need to wait for Lepena to finish off this Kadabra, and we’re done!]

    The Dark-type leapt instantly into the fray, running towards the prone Kadabra to deliver a poison-tipped Bite, tackling him to the ground. An instant retaliation, but no psychic was a practitioner of brute force, and Dark would ever wipe out its influence.

    The Kadabra raised a silver spoon, but Lepena beat down the assault; he attempted to overthrow the steady weight on his chest, to no avail. A long, silent struggle ensued, the Poochyena digging his shadows ever deeper into the psychic, resistance insufficient –

    And finally the battle was won.

    [The battle is won!] roared Ytarrik, all weariness forgotten.

    [Ah, yes, it does seem to be so,] the leader said emotionlessly. [Shall I battle your friend before the awards are given?]

    Amaren hurried back to the wooden sidelines, as Ruki walked uncertainly the other way. A quick exchange of smiles was all the common anticipation could allow…
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 26th November 2007 at 12:32 PM.

  22. #22
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    I never thought in all my life I would witness such a beautiful description of Psybeam. You can't just say "a beam of psychic energy," now can you?

    I really liked just about everything about their gym challenge. I was mildly disappointed that instead of a bug, he had to face his fears and catch a Poochyena and all that jazz, but I got over it fairly quickly. I liked the idea of the test before challenging the leader, and you wrote it in such an efficiently abstract manner that I felt like I was undergoing some telepathic trial as well.

    [Why did I try to trick you with an allergy when I’ve never even had one?] Ytarrik mused. [Oh, Light, I think I’m turning more and more human every moment! I am… merging with your uncouth mind. Geh!]

    “Shut up, Zyt.”

    [Shut up, uncouth mind.]

    “If you’ll stop insulting me every few seconds, I will shut up, Blackhead.”

    [Blackhead!]
    Some of the best dialogue ever. I laughed. I'm gonna have to start calling people "uncouth mind."

    So yeah, good chapter. Nice time warp, too. I was glad I didn't have to read about two months going by while they trained or whatever. ^^

    And a final note. You're slacking on your PM list, man. Even as I finish this reply, I still haven't gotten a notice that this chapter is up yet. *scold*
    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.

  23. #23
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    Oh, dear. God. I did forget to PM everyone. Oh, well; porygon, I didn't Private Message you because you already replied and everything.

    Regarding Psybeam, I have a personal score to even out with the word "psychic energy". What on earth is it? Surely we don't whip out a laser beam from our minds and throw it at an opponent, now, do we? And then there are other reasons, which I won't divulge with the general public. I decided something like an advanced form of Confuse Ray would effectively disorient the Pokèmon to fainting.

    I was indeed somewhat anxious about the anticlimactic ending to Amaren's match; not only was the match between Lepena and the Kadabra scantly described, it was no dramatic duel of grand wills as any Gym battle should have the right to be. Indeed, the first round was better suited for the place of the second.

    I had only scarce seen one certain flaw in the system of trainers exploited to its end: a starting trainer of Pallet would have his course of progressively strengthening Gyms as he followed a simple trek through the region, but what about trainers from other towns? Surely an Elite Four hopeful from, say, Cinnabar or Lavender wouldn't have to come all the way to Pallet to begin, eh? And thus I developed the concept of trials for the level of the trainer, according to which the leader can give the trainer fair challenge. Think of Ytarrik going against Sabrina's level 50 Kadabra!

    Yours derisively,
    Pyroken Serafoculus

  24. #24
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    Aftershock

    Chapter 6: The Peak
    Part 2




    [Ruki Ferena,] the leader of the Gym said quietly, [rookie trainer, equal to the level of your closest ally, Master Kelanis. Ah, interesting.]

    [Perhaps his omniscience is getting a bit on the nerves,] Amaren suggested privately to Ytarrik.

    [And shall you be using Akale to begin this match?] said the nameless leader. [Correct. Enter Venonat. An unfortunate chance, the type-matching, but such is life.]

    A shapeless ball of purple fuzz peered out with massive, bulbous scarlet eyes, its underdeveloped forepaws resembling cracked eggshell-halves. Tipped white antennae bent back from its top, shaped in an entirely unassuming manner.

    “Still,” Ruki whispered to her Bellsprout, “be on your guard, Akale.”

    The grass-type begun with his signature Growth, as his opponent stepped two toddling steps forward, stopping abruptly. He merely stood there, waiting for some invisible cue.

    Akale broke the siege first, extending large, slithering vines forward into the naïve curiosity of the Venonat. They approached him with increasing caution, the snake after the hapless mouse…

    And suddenly a mad glint entered those gigantic eyes, and the forepaw reached out to touch the vines, which instantly withered before Akale’s eyes.

    “Disable!” Ruki cursed. She changed tack upon a dime: “You know what Bug-types hate, Akale!”

    With a sound of obedience, the Bellsprout aimed his pitcher head and released a fine spurt of noxious green liquid, sizzling painfully into the Venonat’s shaggy fur, who retaliated instantly in insect fury.

    The fine hairs bristled as though with static, as a great wind was whipped up all around the stadium, slamming concentrated into Akale, his rootlike appendages insufficient to hold to the ground. With a great protest, he ripped off the concrete floor and slammed painfully into the ground several feet away, to a sympathetic groan from his trainer.

    “Is this war?” Ruki asked her pokèmon. “Exactly. Sleep Powder!”

    The remnants of the Gust still whirligiging around the stadium, Akale released a storm of white mist, which streamed out to follow the contours of the wind and engulfed the Venonat whole. Within seconds, its peacefully heaving body was lying prone on the floor.

    Akale strode over to his exposed opponent, and began attacking indignantly in whichever manner he could contrive. A flurry of Acid followed a thorough beating with Slam, and preceded a few good cracks of the Vine Whip, and through all the exercise the Bug-type did not but stir in slight discomfort, as Ruki cheered on and Amaren gave his turn at laughing madly. At last, with a groggy start, it awoke.

    The Venonat squared itself, and directed a paltry Psybeam into Akale’s mind: rings of purple thought streaming out of each eye to hit the Bellsprout painfully, diluted into the Poison element. Yet, to an untrained mind, even this mockery was overwhelming – Akale sat back heavily, beady eyes rolling, as he shot out attacks at random.

    [Have I forgotten something?] the leader suddenly asked, as though picking up a thought from Ruki’s mind.

    She blinked in surprise. “Uh, yeah, you have. This Bellsprout also knows Stun Spore.”

    And, as the trainer’s smile widened, a fine neon-yellow dust began streaming out into the atmosphere, snaking its way into the Venonat’s lungs. At the first influence, its body seized up, muscles petrifying into coma; and the Psybeam was no longer deathly effective: with a well-placed Slam, Akale incapacitated the insect.

    A moment of disbelief.

    ‘I did it?” Ruki muttered. “I did it!” she suddenly yelled, “bring on the next round!”


    Angin stared challengingly into her opponent’s eyes, her flames flaring out in controlled bursts of intimidation. A rotund, humanoid figure, its ridiculous smile belied the tenacity of irritation it was capable of causing. A strange shirt-like covering protected its spherical torso and capped the pale, spindly legs, and dark blue horns flopped out from either end.

    “Mr. Mime, is it…?” Amaren murmured.

    The Pokèmon held out his gloved hands, clutching imaginary walls, and began moving in a tight circle, his body pressed against the supposed glass with astonishing realism. Angin faltered for a moment, disconcerted, but plowed on.

    “Start with Smoke Screen, Angin,” Ruki ordered. “Whatever this Pokèmon can do, he can’t blow smoke away!”

    A gigantic ball of concentrated powder shot out at the Mr. Mime, making straight towards his chest; but it suddenly cracked inches before impact, crumbling into a fine mist which spread out in every direction. The Psychic-type was encased in a persistent cloud of black smoke, and muffled sounds of protest were resounding from within the mess.

    “All right, blast him with all you’ve got!”

    Angin charged into the center of the fray and released a great stream of impassioned fire which singed a gaping hole in the smokescreen, passing entirely through the diligent Barrier to swallow the blinded Mr. Mime within. He raged out of the great deathtrap constructed all around him, coming in his frenzy within feet of Angin; but she did not flinch, confident in her opponent’s reasonlessness. Merely, the Cyndaquil lay back and surveyed the scene.

    Mr. Mime suddenly held up one hand, and stared directly into Angin’s eyes, a bloodshot, manic twinkle in his own. A long, invisible struggle of wills, but then, out of the thin air over the psychic’s glove materialized a metal disk attached to a stalk. He held it vertically upwards, and then began dipping it from side to side, as Angin came back to her senses with a start.

    “Nice trick,” Amaren murmured, and then called to Ruki telepathically, with Ytarrik’s medium. [Mr. Mime have the ability to convince people to believe in the existence of imagined objects, if I recall correctly. If the target begins believing it, I guess the object becomes real.]

    [But what on earth can he possibly hope to do with this stupid toy?] Ytarrik exclaimed.

    A double wall of Light Screen and Barrier rose shakily into place all around the creature, as the pendulum began dipping in measured intervals, seeming almost to sound noiselessly at every turn. Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock…

    And a spurt of water burst out from inches before the Metronome, slamming into Angin with all the force of its element.

    The Cyndaquil spluttered in naked shock, attempting to flare her flames and shake herself dry simultaneously. An explosion of steam and water blew out from her drenched fur, but more water stuck inextricably to the spikes, dampening their fire. A convulsive shudder of cold instantaneously followed – but days of training had never wasted upon her skill.

    Instinctively, the opponents retreated into their respective positions, preparing for their next clash: Mr. Mime purposed merely towards the familiar psychic meditations, but Angin sat back and began staring directly into the spotlight which precisely followed her erratic movements.

    An abrupt jerk preceded a small burst of flame, directly skywards; but instead of dissipating into the atmosphere, it fell apart into a thousand glowing droplets of golden-red mist which spread quickly across the roof of the building. They clung to every lit surface, congregating around the spotlights like heat-seeking fireflies, and all existing light in the room seemed to intensify hundredfold, heating the atmosphere visibly.

    “Exactly, Angin,” Ruki called out, “Sunny Day! Show them how a telepathic link isn’t the only way to communicate in a battle.”

    The Psychic-type opened his eyes irritably, distracted by the pulsating lights. He looked straight up, blinded (to his dismay) by the glare, and ran forward in a sightless rage of psychic attack.

    Mr. Mime was racing directly toward Angin, impossible to sidestep (for all his psychic substitute for vision), and a lance of forceful thought pointed out from before him, hungry for a subject to assault. As Angin and Ruki looked calculatingly towards the offender, Amaren’s cautions and preachings wormed their way into their thought.

    Angin shot out a globule of steaming purple liquid, and the psychic attack latched on hungrily to this Toxic, working its inherent effects into the poison. Suddenly the tables had turned: Mr. Mime was the one in imminent danger, the noxious venom threatening to breach his skin if left unopposed with sufficient psychic cleansing. He dug into the ball heading directly for him with all the energy he still possessed, burning it away with searing gold; but one infinitesimal drop splashed into his leg.

    With a triumphant cry, Angin gathered her Sunny Day all around her and blasted him with the full force of all her power, the separate droplets falling one by one to feed her makeshift flamethrower. The light from the heavenly roof of the building was steadily deteriorating, replaced by the insane glow of the vertical bonfire pumping into the defenses of the Mr. Mime – until all was spent, and the opponents stood face to face, inches away, haggard beyond description.

    The last remnant of a twinkle returned to Mr. Mime’s eyes; he slammed Angin into defeat with a flick of a thought.

    The watchers roared in separate voice of victory and disappointment; the quiet acknowledgement of the Gym Leader, the twin lamentation of Ruki and Amaren, the clamour of the anticipating crowd of a hundred different thoughts – but suddenly Ruki fell silent, bringing the celebrations to an abrupt pause.

    “Did you forget?” she said. “I still have Akale, don’t I?”

    For the Psychic-type merely stood there in the chaos, his bloodshot, contracted eyes showing not the slightest fraction of life; and a swift blow to the head by the still-surviving Akale incapacitated him entirely.



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    A moment of dignified silence alone did Amaren and Ruki allow as they walked out of the smoking remains of the Pokèmon Gym, clutching their trophies (twin compact discs of some unknown TM, prize money, and, of course, the Marshbadge in all its glinting glory). The moment they were clear of eavesdroppers, they sunk into a frenzy of celebration, dancing, hugging each other and their groggily-released Pokèmon; reacting generally in a manner only those in their position could. This was, indeed, the reason for the chain of their thoughts when Prof. Oak appeared suddenly from a nearby street to congratulate them.

    “I foresaw it from the beginning,” the biologist called, “you emerge victorious. Spectacular match, I must say.”

    “Thanks, Professor,” Amaren said, stymied. “What do you think we should do next? On to the next Gym?”

    “Already?” Prof. Oak replied.

    “Well, why not?” chimed Ruki, still influenced by the effects of battle. “As soon as our Pokèmon recharge, we should be ready to leave.”

    “Ah, all right,” was a sigh and a reply. “Given your position, I would suggest Cerulean City next. Angin will be at a severe disadvantage, Ruki, but I think you will sufficiently handle it.”

    “Cerulean?” Ruki murmured, doubt in her voice. “M-Maybe we should wait awhile. A day or two.”

    Amaren saw no opposition in this: “Or three.”

    “Even half a week,” Ruki persisted. “Enough to consolidate our position.”

    And it was decided.



    [{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



    Fall had hastily taken up its shirked responsibilities after the last flare of summer warmth, blowing silver breezes of chilly wind which painted the trees inevitable autumn. Within the space of a week and a half, the winged vanguard of winter had signaled its commands into every branch of every proud, oaken pillar; bidding them forsake their extravagancies in preparation of the coming frost; matting the unruly pelts of the proud earth into a single, uniform black; and empowering ironclad rain clouds to boldly lead the former fringes of winter grey into monopoly of the sky. Every creature had reacted prudently to the cautioning signs of coming hardship, but Ruki and Amaren stuck stubbornly to their old, summertime pursuits, ignoring the coming wind and rain.

    At last, the time of Saffron was coming to a close, its bright steel dimmed of light-deprivation, and the trainers and their mentor stood at the gates of their city, looking out towards Route 5 framed with naked forest.

    “You must realize,” Prof. Oak said, “this is goodbye for me. I should very well like to accompany you, but this is my place.”

    Amaren felt a sudden blow of dread; he had never foreseen that far. “But… why can’t you just come along?” he asked feebly.

    “Ah, it’s not my place to follow all your wanderings. I’m sorry, but you will have to learn to go on your own.”

    And his resolve would not be shaken, despite all protest. He was not, however, coldly unyielding in his determination, attempting desperately for compensation; but, at last, matters were decided grudgingly.

    “Farewell, then… not at all. I shall meet you someday, when our paths cross once again.”

    With solemn farewells, they moved off into the forest-path, deserted at this dark hour by every sign of life, still clinging to hope and life beyond all reason: their laughter sang all across the gaunt shades of verdant, transforming it (for this moment) into a receptacle for their still-pervasive spring. Amaren still could not help glancing up into the darkening stripe of visible sky every now and then. How long before it was too dark to see?

    At last, with the sudden throwing of a switch, the forest ended to let back the remnants of winter light. Pewter City and Mt. Moon reclined on the shoulders of a wide, inland mountain of a hill; and its arms spread out even to support the majority of Cerulean, to which the road from Saffron was a steady rise of ledges. Only two roads cut the entirety of the way with relative straightness.

    At winter, overtaken with a half-frosted wilderness of waterlogged grass, this gentle slope seemed a mountain with the displeased heavens at its crown.

    They stepped uncertainly into the frigid sea of trees at the foot of the rising land, moving with measured steps deeper into the gloom. Suddenly, Ruki gave a faint yell and flinched.

    “Something brushed against my leg!”

    Amaren picked up a nearby stick and began to poke cautiously through the grass, flinching as he, too, felt the fast-moving creature rip cleanly through the murk. He jerked the grass soundlessly away off an invisible patch, to reveal a green quadruped growling faintly up at them.

    A small, streamlined creature, it most resembled a canine in appearance, with its four gleaming fangs bared in warning on a short snout. Spikes of fur stuck out from the joints of its low legs and from the yellow-tipped tail, raised in vigilance; and a large, ovoid formation grew vertically from the back of its head.

    “Is that an… Electrike?” Amaren said reverently.

    They backed rapidly away, as tiny blue sparks began jumping with increasing frequency between separate points on the Electric-type’s fur; and Ruki hastily sent out Akale to battle.

    The Bellsprout began the match, extending his vines out beckoningly towards the Electrike, as his opponent began to positively sparkle with static electricity, and abruptly stop in a silent Charge. The moment the traditional Vine Whip made contact with the charged fur, which no longer wasted its potential difference on wayward sparks of light, a silent battle of pain ensued; and attention was so intent upon the match as to ignore an imperceptible stiffening of Amaren’s limbs.

    Looking down from the crow’s nest of the crystal ship –

    “Akale, Slash!”

    – the infinite moment before the fall, the infinitesimal peak before the waning –

    The Electrike jumped away with supernal speed –

    – the cloaked figure, in his final moment of triumph and despair and malice – no, never malice, something –

    It circled its offender in dizzying spirals, shooting out irritated bolts of electricity.

    – Tinged ever so slightly with the ghostly light of its past, the dark walker along his vast path comes finally to a lightless explosion of light –

    The pokèmon was inside its Storage Device, fighting still for release as the pressure pulsed at regular intervals of struggle

    s ill-decided x f old e deluge

    The display of its Storage froze
    ungodly
    and a single message scrolled across its metal –

    ERROR: INTERFERENCE





    Ruki’s eyes are blank, vacant, her rapid breathing slowing infinitely

    The cloaked hero sees unseeingly the scene around him, his eyes revealing nothing

    She rises upon a tower of a pedestal, a shockwave emanating from her position on the ground, blowing away her possessions, her Pokèmon, Amaren, into the distance of watchers

    He falls up out of the sea of stormy fire, rising up through the smoke and the destruction

    She is stripped, uninhibited; the gleaming sapphire of her form; her simple, pure, beauty, unveiled by physical influences, naked

    and how naked the malice, how unearthly the cackling laughter of the phantoms all around him, all too real

    but the wraiths of dark intent are surrounding her, emerging from nothing, their evil so material, their danger so real to her tender, uncovered form

    formless, shapeless, the unmanifest manifestations of violence and illness, impossible to attempt to attack

    She is attacked! her delicate beauty, a sculpture of silver glass, crumbling within their brute destruction

    Amaren looked up with helpless eyes into the dying light, extinguished by the wraiths which Luphinid Remana Silnaek looked down into with cold, emotionless eyes.

    He had delved into his memories for too long.

    The inevitable end had finally arrived.









    Ah... The turning chapter. This, indeed, is the first scene ever created of this fiction, a mutation of a dream I had long in the past. In fact, the original dream was rather more gruesome, involving as it did a slow, systematic stripping of Ruki's physical form; first the clothes, then skin, then, muscle, and so on and so forth. I will clarify (unnecessarily, since it will be confirmed) that Ruki is most certainly dead at this moment, and the point-of-view has switched from Amaren to Luphinid. Additinally, I will release a one-page 'Bridge', as it were, to signal the end of this part of the fiction and make way for the next; this piece will be released Wednesday, and the next chapter Sunday, according to schedule.

    Yes, that seems to conclude the formalities.
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 5th December 2007 at 2:30 PM.

  25. #25
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    *sob*

    It's just... so... beautiful...


    "Did you forget?” she said. “I still have Akale, don’t I?”

    For the Psychic-type merely stood there in the chaos, his bloodshot, contracted eyes showing not the slightest fraction of life; and a swift blow to the head by the still-surviving Akale incapacitated him entirely.
    I'd give her points for badass-ness, but she had to go and die on us.

    Her death was hard to read, partly because I just didn't want to believe she was dying, but mostly because all the shifting made my brain start twirling around inside my skull. Quite distracting, a twirling brain is.

    So Amaren's going to adopt Ruki's pokemon, right? I think I'l have to cry myself to sleep at night if they just get lost in oblivion.

    Anyways, I'm positive their plots in no way align, but I noticed that the Ruki/Luphinid thing resembled Fred/Illyria from Angel. Do you know what I'm talking about?

    Well, I'm pretty pumped about getting an early update in the form of a bridge. Happy happy.
    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.

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