Well well. Somehow here we are with the third saga of Blazing Dreams. Seems like a long time ago when I posted the first chapter of The Journey To Be The Best.
But here we are, and first of all let me welcome you to this third saga of Blazing Dreams. To newcomers, please don't skip this by, just because you haven't read the other two sagas of Blazing Dreams. I have, on request, a brief summary of what happened in the first saga (because no one wants to read this that bad. XD), as well as for the second saga. Or, of course, you could read this without any prior knowledge of Blazing Dreams whatsoever. I have tried to insert as much backstory and recaps as I can to keep new readers informed, and not to get old readers bored.
To my older reviewers (that doesn't quite sound right...), welcome and I hope you enjoy!
A few more boring Author's Notes and we'll be on our way. During the two month wait inbetween sagas, I wrote Blazing Dreams: The Phantom Overlord (One-Shot). It is in no way required reading, but I dropped many clues in it that will prove important.
Lastly, I plan for this to be much longer than any of the previous Blazing Dreams sagas. Current plans point toward somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 chapters, so expect this to be around for a while.
And of course the prerequisite volume list...
blazing dreams: official site
volume one: the awakening | writer's commentary 1 | 2
volume two: the broken dream | writer's commentary 1
volume three: pieces
volume four: the resistance
volume five: a hero to die for
volume six: the guardian of eternity
volume seven: the final act
volume eight: snake [venom]
volume nine: it is always darkest before dawn
volume ten: the game redefined
volume eleven: he who treads on sacred ground
volume twelve: the hunter and the hunted
volume thirteen: sixth sense
volume fourteen: redemption
apocalypse rising: part one
apocalypse rising: part two
volume fifteen: what was and what never should have been
volume sixteen: the [only] one
volume seventeen: sins of the father
volume eighteen: supernova
Well, that's just about all I can think of for now. Enjoy!
blazing dreams: the eternal night
this fiction is rated pg-13 for elements of violence and profanity
volume one: the awakening
Nothing belonged, yet nothing was out of place.
It was a small thing, the beat of a heart. The small sound spilled out of his chest, dissipating into the silence around him.
Another beat filled the air. Life slowly began circulating through his body, and he began to come back to life.
A gentle feeling settled down over his eyelids, releasing the powerful feeling of nothingness that was plaguing him.
His lungs expanded, slowly inhaling life-giving air. Each breath felt like an eternity, yet was gone before he was aware of its presence.
His eyelids opened slowly, pulling up the shutters on the darkness. His dark blue eyes merely stared upward, still unseeing.
Slowly blood reached his extremities, and he was fully awake. Everything was dark, and no sound could be heard.
His mind was numb, and couldn't register what his newly working senses were telling it. He just laid down, eyes gazing up at the depths of darkness.
Many seconds passed. His heart continued to beat dutifully and his lungs continued to exchange air. But his mind was completely and utterly blank.
The slow seconds melted into minutes, yet nothing changed. The darkness was impenetrable, and the silence resolute.
Slowly, his mind began to awake. One image floated by his mind's eye, but it was obscured by a deep fog that dulled his senses.
A second image drifted by, and the darkness and silence began to give way. White noise reached his ears, and jumbles of color flashed by his eyes. It was all meaningless.
The thought came to him. It grasped his mind, but no answer came.
Who am I?
The second question entered his mind, yet still no answers came. The noise began to calm, and the images began to fade.
Slowly, the white noise morphed into words. The words melded into sentences, and the sentences turned into memories. The pictures became less of blurred color, and more of actual memories. They mixed with the noise, and everything began to make some small sense.
Without any warning, his muscles began to lift him upward. He became aware of acute cold that penetrated his very bones, and this was motivation enough for him to stand up.
All was dark, yet he seemed to know the way. His legs took slow, tottering steps at first. Yet they quickly grew stronger, walking down a path that his mind was not yet aware of.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the darkness began to fade. A soft corona of light was ahead, and with every step forward it brightened. He had no control over his movements, but the small part of his mind that was functioning noticed the light.
I wonder what that is...
Several minutes passed until he finally reached the dull light. It was coming from a small opening in the darkness, a prick of light in the darkness.
His legs stopped, leaving him staring at the light. He wondered dully about what he should do next. The biting cold was still assaulting his flesh, but he could think of no way to stop it.
Besides, what was the cold? It was detached from him, as was the rest of the surreal scene. He was watching from afar, as he had always been.
His arms reached upward, subconsciously tearing at the small hole.
A strange sensation tingled up his fingertips. What is this?
The small prick of light began growing with each tear of the earth. It grew steadily larger, until it was big enough to walk through. He frowned slightly, wondering what he should do next.
So far, everything had come naturally. All of his movements had happened almost without his influence. But now, he paused.
The voice rang out, clearly, inside his head. He was inwardly grateful of the voice, grateful not to have to think on his own.
Go out. Into the world.
He seized on this thought. He took a step out of the newly dug hole, and entered the world of the living.
The soft sounds of the breeze gently awoke her from her sleep. Slowly, her eyelids fluttered open. A dull pallet of grays and blacks filled her vision. Nothing new here, then.
She slowly drew a breath. How luxurious it seemed, lying in bed with absolutely nothing to do. The illusion was oh so comforting.
The breeze picked up, and the cool wind blew gently across her face. She stretched her arms out underneath the bed sheet, smiling to herself.
Did she really have to get up? The warm comfort of the bed seemed infinite, but she knew that Hell laid just outside the confines of her illusion. Steeling herself, she cast the blanket off and opened her eyes.
She was in nothing more than a hollow shell of a building. Naked steel girders lay exposed over head, slowly being eaten away by rust. A harsh wind whistled through the building, making all kinds of eerie noises. Above the girders lay the sky, a light gray that was much brighter than it should be.
She took a deep breath and looked down from the bleak scene overhead. A sea of humanity surrounded her on all sides. Thousands of waking bodies were shuffling around her, some on rusting cots, most sleeping on the hard, cracking concrete.
This was life, now. Dejected faces filled her vision, tired beyond belief. They had endured nearly forty years of this harsh torture. There was no possible way to escape it, no easy way out. The loving hands of Death could not take them away from this place.
Michelle McNeil stared out at the people with pitying eyes. Her heart had not hardened to the suffering, and yet she was threatened to be overwhelmed by it everyday.
The woman, though she should be nearing seventy years old by now, still remained in her thirty year old form. Her long, brown hair was rattier and her clothes consisted of torn gray rags, but besides that she looked just like she had when the world had been plunged into Hell.
One thing, however, was vastly different. Her eyes. At one time, they twinkled with a sort of life that distinguished her from most everyone else. Now, however, they were a dull gray. They were soulless, as if they had seen so much that her spirit had been sapped away. It wasn't far from the truth.
The woman stepped out of her cot, trembling as she walked by the mass of people. Many lay against the support beams, simply staring forward. They had no will to live. Some had not moved in years.
The woman shuddered. More and more people preferred this to the horror that lay outside. She continued to wade through the people, occasionally stepping on them. They didn't flinch, but merely continued to stare blankly ahead.
After a few minutes of this, she finally reached the end of the building. She paused for a moment, before finally walking across the threshold and out into the world.
A curious feeling of warmth enveloped his body. His tensed muscles relaxed, and he looked up.
Everything was a different shade of gray. Clouds roiled by, occasionally dropping a bolt of lightning. A round black object hung in the sky, seemingly absorbing the surrounding light. It was a pure black, something his newborn mind had never seen before.
Then again, everything was new to him. The monochromatic world was much bigger and older than him. His curious eyes rolled over his new surroundings. Dull gray trees stood in front of him, not moving at all. It was in stark contrast to the very warm wind that was blowing all around him.
If the wind is blowing, why are the trees not moving?
The thought entered his mind, foreign in all ways. How could he answer any of these questions?
He looked sideways, curious as to what had made the sound. A group of bushes shivered, standing out in contrast to the rest of the still trees and foliage.
He frowned, silently examining the phenomenon. The bushes rustled again, and a piercing sound followed.
It was rather unpleasant, so he cringed and looked away. Behind him, he could see a sheer rock face. It, like the rest of this dreary world, was colorless. A large hole was directly behind him, and it occurred to him that he must have come from it.
Another rustle from behind him sounded, and he turned to it again.
“What are you?”
The voice spilled from his lips. It sounded light and soft, and was unique among the sounds around him.
Another loud cry came from the bushes, and they were flung out of the way. A creature rushed at him.
He frowned once more, examining the creature that was approaching. It looked to be the same height as he, but was covered in patches of dark skin over most of its body. It had two arms and legs, and long hair coming from the top of its head.
The sound, somewhat similar to the sound that had come from him, assaulted his ears. The creature continued coming toward him, liquid pouring out of its eyes.
“What are you?”
The question came easier this time, as he knew what would happen now. The words, however, had a different effect than what he had expected. It stopped, its eyes bigger than they were a moment ago. It frowned, looking at him in confusion.
This prompted him to look down as well. He was pale, and also somewhat gray. He was different from the other creature in a few places, however. His body was uncluttered with the dark patches of skin, and was a single, uninterrupted sheet of pale gray. He had two arms and legs as well, though they were quite thin and lanky.
He looked up again. The creature was beginning to sob. A strange feeling was spreading through his chest. He looked down curiously, but no indication was on the outside of his chest. He looked back up again at the sobbing creature.
“Why are you crying?”
The creature jumped and looked back at him. “Duncan...is it you?”
He frowned. “Duncan? Is that my name?”
The creature walked closer. “I think so...tell me. Do you remember me...?”
“Perhaps.” he said. He closed his eyes and thought about it. Vague memories were just waiting to come back. They were buzzing on the edges of his consciousness, waiting to be released.
The creature looked up hopefully. “You do? But...I believed it would...”
“Do you want me to leave?”
“No!” cried the creature. It rushed up to him and grabbed his shoulders roughly. “What is going on? Are you back? For real?”
He blinked, not replying.
The creature released him, falling on the ground. It began making loud sounds. Crying.
“You...” A sudden memory flashed by his eyes. “You're Michelle?”
The creature jumped up. “DUNCAN!” she screamed, embracing him. At first, he was unsure of how he felt about this. Another flood of memories began to fill his mind, and his knees weakened.
He fell to the cold, hard ground and all went black.
Michelle fell to the floor, panting. Damn, she thought. He's heavy.
She turned her head to the silent teenager beside her. He was haphazardly lying on the floor, completely naked. She smiled slightly. Okay, so the trip back wasn't that bad.
The woman chuckled softly. It still seemed surreal, having Duncan back. How it had happened...she had given up many years ago. Yet here he was, in the flesh. She chuckled again, tearing her watering eyes away from the unconscious Duncan.
They were in a sparse, one room cabin. What should have been warm, inviting browns were cold, hard grays, which made the place seem much more intimidating than it needed to be. A roughly hewn wooden door stood behind her, and a pile of blankets sat in the corner opposite the door. A window was the only source of light, it's dulled and scratched surface letting precious little light into the cabin.
Sighing, the woman stood up and walked over to the blankets. She picked two up and walked back to Duncan. She paused, taking in his appearance once again. He was exactly the same as she remembered him, and yet something was different.
He was still the same on the outside, however. When standing, she guessed he was about 5'9". Something like that, anyway. His long, untidy brown hair fell across his now closed dark blue eyes, in a way she knew he hated. His normally cut physique was still there as well, she was happy to note. But still, something felt off.
She frowned, kneeling down and tenderly tucked one of the ragged blankets around the teenager. She laid down beside Duncan and threw the second blanket over herself.
How had she gotten to this point? She relaxed her head, allowing a wave of memories to wash over her...
A thumbtack and a splatter of blood fell to the floor.
Cursing, Michelle withdrew her hand from a cabinet. A stream of blood was issuing from her index finger.
She looked around the cramped kitchen, looking for a bandage. Nothing was in it, besides a small refrigerator, oven, sink and the small cabinet that she currently was standing in front of. “Duncan! I need some help here!”
The sound of footsteps filled the girl's ears, and a moment later Duncan walked in. “What did you do?”
“That damn tack got my finger...”
He smiled, walking over to the girl. “Here, let me see.”
Michelle offered her finger to Duncan, who took it gently. “Let's get this cleaned up.” he said quietly.
The pair walked over to the sink, and Duncan turned on the water. He pulled her hand underneath it, chuckling.
“What?” she asked defensively.
“Oh, nothing.” he said, grinning at the girl.
Michelle opened her mouth, then closed it and smiled. “Thanks.”
He nodded, still grinning. He reached forward and turned off the water. “There, that should help. I'll go find you a bandage.”
She nodded, watching as Duncan left the room. “Thanks...”
The woman smiled, turning around to face the newcomer. A tall man sat down on the small bench beside her. He looked to be nearly six feet tall and in his early twenties. An untrimmed mustache and beard covered much of his face, and long, slicked back brown hair sat atop his head. A black traveling coat covered the rest of his body.
“Tay.” said the woman, smiling and hugging the man. He chuckled, gently pulling away and looking around at the scene. It was mid-winter in Rustboro, and their surroundings showed it. The trees were bare and snow-covered, the ground was hidden under several thick inches of snow. A walkway had been cleared inside the park, and they were alone.
“It's been a while. How is Junior?”
Michelle smiled. “He is a handful, let me tell you. He's about to turn four, actually.”
“I'm glad to hear it. I really do apologize for not being around to help you out. It can't be easy, without...him.”
The woman shook her head slowly, looking away. “It's fine. We've been managing.”
Tay nodded, patting the woman's hand gently. “Well, I have a lot to talk to you about. I'm sorry I haven't been able to talk to you lately, but I've been...busy.”
The brown haired woman laughed softly. “I would say so. I haven't seen you since what? Duncan's first birthday?”
“It's been about that long. Well, the real reason I came was that I need your help. I've spent the past couple years looking for something, and I've finally found it. The thing is...what I need to do with it is dangerous. If I fail...I need you to get it back for me.”
Michelle remained silent for a moment, still contemplating the snow that surrounded them. “What are you saying, Tay?”
The man sighed deeply. “I...don't want to get into the details. Look, I won't be going for another week. If...I end up needing your help, then it will be a simple deal. I'm not entirely sure where to go right now, but soon enough I will be able to tell you. Once you get to...the spot, look around. There will be two scrolls of paper and a katana. Take them, and guard them with your life.”
The wind picked up considerably, and a stony silence fell over the pair. “We're not kids anymore.” said Michelle quietly after a moment.
“We're not kids. Not like...back then, when we were busting up Team Rocket and flying around Sinnoh like lunatics. Things are different now. Look...what happened to Duncan,”
Tay flinched, looking away from the woman and remaining silent.
“If he hadn't been so...gung ho, I suppose, do you think that he wouldn't still be here with me? He always liked the dangerous life, and so do you. Have you ever paused, just for a second, to think about how your actions impact other people?” She broke off, taking a deep, shuddering breath.
Once again, the pair fell silent. Nothing but the whistle of the wind filled their ears. After a few moments of this, Tay stood up.
“Well...I'm sorry you feel that way. Goodbye, Michelle.” He paused for a moment, but the woman did not look up at him. He sighed, then turned and walked away.
Slowly he opened his eyes. A sleeping Michelle lay in front of him, carefully wrapped in a blanket. He smiled contentedly, pulling his own blanket closer to him. It had been so long since he had been able to do this...
His eyes flashed open. “What the hell?!” Duncan yelled, leaping to his feet. He was in a small, dark cabin. One grimy window was all that let light in, and what it illuminated was far from what one might describe as nice.
The woman woke up abruptly, looking up at the teenager. A small smile appeared on her face. “Hi.”
He fell down on the ground, panting heavily. “What,” he started. “The hell is going on?”
She sighed softly. “I...wish I could tell you. I really do.”
Duncan looked down at his shaking hands. He was more scared now that he had ever been in his life. “Why...is everything...gray?”
“Why...is everything gray? A good question...”
He took a deep breath. Something clicked, in that moment. The whole moment had seemed so...dreamlike. In that moment, he felt like he had woken up. A sad smile curled his lips as the realization hit him.
“Things are different now, huh?”
Michelle softly looked up at the teenager. “They are," she agreed. "Duncan...I missed you.”
He smiled at the woman. “I wish I could say the same, but the last thing I remember was...seeing you. Then I fell through that...portal," he said softly. "But this...this scares the living shit out of me.”
Softly, the woman laughed. It penetrated the deep silence that surrounded the pair. “I can't even begin to explain...” she said sadly.
“Well...I don't really know. But...Giratina did this. He must have cracked your...tombstone. Then everything turned...gray.”
“You aren't making sense.”
“It's the Eternal Night, Duncan. It...no one can die. People have been here for years, but no one can die...”
He blinked. “Giratina did this? But...”
“Get out here! Now!”
The voice penetrated Duncan's head. It was loud and harsh, and it brought him back to his senses. “What's that?”
The woman started. “Oh my God,” she breathed. “They've found us!”
“What?” exclaimed Duncan, jumping to his feet. “Who?”
“Th-them! Just run!” cried Michelle. She leapt to her feet and looked out the grimy window. “There's ten of them!”
Duncan shook his head. The mystery of who these people were could wait. Without pausing to think, he grabbed Michelle's hand and slammed open the door. He pulled her outside.
It was like entering a new world. The monochromatic setting was much louder than he was expecting. The wind blew furiously, and the gray and black trees slowly creaked as the wind blew them to their limits.
Ten heavily armored men stood in front of the cabin. They were dressed in black armor, similar to something like ancient Chinese armor. Tall spikes rose from their shoulders, and grooved masks covered their faces. Long, sharp swords sat in hilts in their waists.
Instantly Duncan knew he had done the wrong thing. Three of the men moved forward, grabbing both Duncan and Michelle. Two grabbed Duncan, pulling his arms behind his back without a word. He didn't resist, as the pair were much larger than he. A soft grunt told him that Michelle had been grabbed as well.
Roughly, the men pushed the pair to their knees. It was amazing. These men were ruthlessly efficient. It had taken less than ten seconds for them to capture and subdue the pair.
One walked forward, chuckling softly. “Plotting against Our Lord is not wise, my friends...”
Duncan felt his head being jerked downward, forcing him to speak to the ground. He had to be careful with his words, because he doubted these men would hesitate to kill them.
“Of course we weren't plotting against Our Lord.”
Big mistake. Instantly, he felt a foot collide with his chest. He fell backward, collapsing onto the ground.
“How dare you speak to me like that?” came an angered reply. “I should kill you both right now!”
“We-we are sorry!” came Michelle's frightened reply from beside Duncan.
“It is too late for such apologies! Kill the woman!”
Duncan's heart stopped. All rational thought was extinguished from his mind. His training kicked in, and he leapt into action. He pulled his arms forward, but the guards held him fast. He then pushed upward with his feet, causing the guards to lose their strong hold on him.
With one swift motion, the teenager pulled the guards off their feet and sent them crashing to the ground. He pulled his fist back, starting toward the man in front of him. He looked up with a roar, and locked eyes with the man in front of him.
He had neglected to notice before, but this man was nothing like the others. He wore no visible armor, only a loose fitting black robe with a sword in a scabbard on his waist.
Time seemed to slow. The man slowly looked upward, his face looking full on at Duncan. His first thought was that the man looked incredibly tired. Long, pale bags surrounded his sunken eyes. He had short, black hair and striking gray eyes. When he saw these eyes, he knew he had made a fatal mistake.
“I daresay it's been a while, Duncan.”
The scene froze entirely. The trees stopped blowing, the wind stopped howling and all the guards froze, along with Michelle. It was as if time had stopped.
The man smiled widely, opening his arms in a gesture of peace. “How...boring it has been without you...I am glad to see you.”
He attempted to look away from the man's gaunt face, but to his horror he found that he couldn't move a muscle.
“I can't exactly say the same.”
The man dropped the smile. “But of course. Our last meeting...was not my finest hour. However, I have been busy...”
“What do you want, Dusek?”
“Only to say hello, of course. I missed our games, my son...but this...is no game...”
Suddenly the world fell back into motion. Duncan fell to the ground at the man's feet, and he was quickly forced back to his feet by another pair of guards. He was thrown backward onto the ground.
“Now, my son. I have waited fifty long years to do this...” The man pulled the sword from it's sheath, slowly walking over to where Michelle laid.
It all happened in a split second. The woman looked up in horror, watching as the sword arced downward at her.
She slowly turned to Duncan.
A tear dropped from her face, taking an eternity to fall to the ground.
Then a sound, a terrible sound, filled Duncan's ears.
The tear hit the ground, and was quickly covered by a splatter of blood.
Michelle slowly began falling to the ground, her graceful body coming to earth with the smallest of noises.
“At the dawn...the death will come...”
The words uttered from her mouth spilled out just as the blood had, cascading over Duncan like a river of water.
Her mouth curled into a smile.
Then her eyes closed, and she fell silent.