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Thread: Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn (V.2.0)

  1. #1
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    Default Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn (V.2.0)

    Hello all. I'm back with the largest project I've taken up in all of my years of writing. I posted this a while back, but I wasn’t able to see it through despite promising to do so. Therefore, I have decided to redouble my efforts on it and revise the original version.

    Divine Casualties is a three volume trilogy in which each volume contains three 'books'. I will provide a table of contents so one can find each chapter easily, but it will only be updated as the chapters are posted. They will be posted, on average, every week and a half to two weeks so I do not overtake myself.

    *Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon etc. This fic is rated PG-14 for language and fantasy violence

    Divine Casualties
    Volume One: Aphotic Dawn

    Overture: All is Set in Motion

    Book I: The Journey Begins

    Chapter 1: Partners and Promises
    Chapter 2: Defeat and Victory
    Chapter 3: Shades of Viridian
    Chapter 4: A Rare Rendezvous
    Chapter 5: Not Out of the Woods Yet
    Chapter 6: The Boulder Badge*

    To be continued...

    *In progress


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Overture
    All is Set in Motion

    The glow of the full moon severed the starless sky like a spear and shone eerily through a crack in the termite ridden ceiling. As the moonlight floated down from the ceiling, it hit a flat surface and shed a creeping light across the rotten, wooden table. Within the secluded shack on the hill, there was a meeting of three beings, all shrouded in darkness.

    “… are you sure?! Another?!” a deep, raspy voice called out it surprise. “How is this possible Varas?!”

    A calm, collected voice replied, “I’m positive. My information is flawless. We must act fast or this could be the end of all of us.”

    A third voice then spoke out, this one with a creepily happy tone about it. “But they were neutralized long ago. How?”

    “I know not Geste…” after a slight pause, the one known as Varas spoke once again. “Do you know what to do Torva?”

    “…Yes…”

    “Good. One is located in the place the……….”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Elsewhere, it was a snowy day in the town of Pallet and the wind was whipping said snow all over the already covered ground. This was a snowstorm the like of which Pallet Town hadn’t seen in many, many years. The undersized Pokemon of the small town scurried hurriedly to their homes to avoid the air raid of the heavens. As the last of the Pidgey disappeared into a tree and the last of the Rattatta vanished into the underbrush, the storm picked up even more, absolutely coating the town in a blanket of snow.

    Inside a mid-sized townhouse, a boy on the eve of his sixteenth birthday sat by a warm fireplace and rubbed his hands together as he looked out the window. He saw nothing but white as the storm obscured his vision of the outside world. He threw his hands over his head in disbelief and stalked off into his bedroom down the hall.

    “Awesome! Now I won’t be able to start my journey tomorrow… Whoop-doo-diddly-frickin-doo!” the teen yelled with a voice coated in sarcasm, before slamming the door shut and collapsing onto his twin-sized bed. He pounded the azure blue pillows a few times and sat up to face the mirror that hung from the wall opposite his bed. He looked on aimlessly as his own unusually colored platinum eyes scanned up and down his fifteen year old body in boredom.

    At about six feet tall, he was about normal height for his age, if not a bit taller, with a lean build that was draped by his oversized white and blue striped pajamas. He had jet black hair that was medium long and in an absolute mess all over the top of his head, jutting out in all different directions. The kid wasn’t the largest his age, but not the smallest either, he was rather average for one who was about to turn sixteen years of age.

    He continued to stare at himself in the reflective glass when he heard his mother’s voice absolutely penetrate the walls and pierce straight through his skull. “TITUS! GET IN HERE! I’VE GOT A SURPRISE FOR YOU!”

    Titus replied with a grunt and half-hearted response, “grghh… I’ll be right there… Hold on a second…”

    He rolled himself out of his bed and into his slippers that he had just a few moments ago slipped off onto the floor. After excavating himself out of a few thousand piles of clothes, Titus reached his door and stepped outside the danger zone of a room into a well cleaned and decorated hallway. He walked past the family portraits and paintings until he reached the kitchen at the end of said hallway.

    The kitchen was just as clean as the hallway was, if not cleaner. All of the pots and pans were arranged neatly in the glass covered cabinets that shone with luster in likeness with the pristine white tiles that lined the floor. In the middle of the room, in front of the freshly cleaned stove, there was Titus’s mother, Andrea Polloa. She was a very pretty woman in her mid-thirties with straight brown hair and a pair of deep blue eyes. She wore a white apron over sweat clothes which were to be covered in dirt and cleaning supplies. A pearly white smile crossed her face as Andrea watched her only son walk through the doorway.

    “There you are!” she exclaimed as she wrapped Titus in a warm, loving embrace. “Why the long face?”

    “Look outside! Because of this damn snow I won’t be able to leave tomorrow!”

    “Psshh. Don’t worry about that! A little snow won’t slow my big strong trainer down!” Andrea ruffled his hair with the last bit and then turned towards the center of the kitchen once more. She went behind the wooden table in the center of the room and picked up a small, intricately wrapped box.

    Placing it on the table, she smiled once more and turned back to her son, “Your father called and he can’t make it because of the snow. So I decided to give you his present myself. Happy Birthday!”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On a faraway island, the land was just as coated as that of Pallet, except it was raining ash upon the inhabitants as opposed to snow. The source of the ash was the volcano that stood at the northern point of the islands, it was spewing the remnants of flame forth at an alarming rate that usually only signified one thing, an eruption.

    This, however, was not the case. It was the anger of the mountain’s guardian that caused the deathly plume of volcanic debris. The guardian was roosted at the top, attempting to calm its anger at the plea of its sole company.

    “Please Moltres! Quell your rage! I beg of you!”

    A girl, no older than fifteen, kneeled at the feet of a great beast, pleading it to stop its fury before any damage was caused. This beast was the legendary Pokemon known as Moltres, an enormous bird engulfed in flame. Its immense body was coated in yellow feathers that were red-hot to the touch and its beak and talons were a medium brown. The flame Pokemon’s wings, its tail, and the crest of its head spewed forth flames that were, due to its anger, white-hot. Moltres stared down at the girl, whose appearance was indeterminable due to the ash that coated her body, and let out an ear-piercing shriek.

    After said shriek, Moltres’s flames began to die down and returned to the normal orange and red. Its eyes, now calm, stared down at the human kneeling before it.

    What They have done is inexcusable. They have crossed the line one too many times. They must be made to answer for what they’ve done.

    “I understand. What must I do?” the girl replied, her voice changing from concerned to subservient in a heartbeat.

    First, you must find His envoy. Next, you must qualify for the Indigo League Championships on the mainland, as we have discussed before. You will know what to do when you get there.

    At the mention of the Indigo League, the girl’s eyes lit up for a brief moment under the soot and ash. She then spoke once more, “Where might I find His envoy?”

    He is on the mainland……
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Saffron City, the large, metropolitan city directly in the heart of Kanto. There was always a lot of hustle and bustle within this megalopolis but this late winter day was especially busy. With all of the erratic weather across Kanto and the adjacent Sevii Islands, many companies were in an uproar. One company however, was rather calm despite all that was going on in the city.

    This company was named PSY and had appeared only recently within Saffron. It specialized in the study of psychic Pokemon and the manufacture of products that stemmed from this research. Its inner workings were a mystery to all outside the building and hardly anyone was ever seen entering or leaving the building other than its spokesman, Brian Harding. Even he was a rare sight outside of news conferences and such.

    Within the walls of PSY, there was a meeting among the top supervisors of the company. They were seated around an ellipse-shaped, oaken table in very comfortable-looking leather chairs. There was six people there, all of them silent, waiting for the meeting to begin.

    The large, 64-inch television located at the northern end of the table suddenly flickered to life and lit up the conference room with an eerie glow.
    The figure on the screen was indiscernible but one could make out the two blue, glowing shapes that appeared to be eyes. All six heads in the room automatically turned towards the screen in a creepy sort of reverence.

    The collective stare continued as a gender-neutral voice began to ring throughout all of their minds, “Very good job. All of you. The birds are all in a fury and the beasts have taken sides. All is going according to plan.

    With this unexpected praise, the faces of all of those gathered lit up a miniscule amount in triumph.

    Now phase two begins. The envoys…..
    Last edited by Kyuubii; 18th June 2010 at 8:08 PM.
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  2. #2
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    Interesting start to the story, good description. Although Titius kinds of sounds weird for a person but oh well. Although I am not really sure what's going on but I will try to read more when you update (Forums lags so I do sometimes forget to check this section)
    Claims Amber Benson and Ali Larter as Bishie.


    Credits go to the original creators of Cynthia's and Flannery's artwork.
    United we stand but seperated we fall

    And so the fifth generation begins...

  3. #3
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    It normally takes me a bit longer to post the next chapter, but I really want to get things going here and this one was already written. So...

    Book I
    The Journey Begins
    Chapter One
    Partners and Promises

    It was an absolutely beautiful day in Pallet Town, in steep contrast to the snow storm that had occupied the entire day prior. As a matter of fact, it was unnaturally beautiful for the day after a blizzard. The sun was out in full force and the temperature had just barely topped seventy degrees. There was still an inordinate amount of snow on the ground but it was melting very quickly in the heat of the sun. As the snow melted, the small Pokemon native to Pallet town began to emerge from their places of hiding throughout the trees and undergrowth. They ran and flew about, taking in their surroundings with great enthusiasm. As it was still early in the morning, no later than eight-o’clock, there was little to no people out and about. These Pokemon, however, did have one observer.

    Titus Polloa walked down the recently thawed path and breathed in his surroundings with excitement. He was wearing a brand new outfit, courtesy of his older sister who had sent the clothes from Hoenn, which seemed to give him a great air of confidence. Titus sported a plain black t-shirt covered by a crimson colored vest and a pair of black, faded jeans. His jet-black hair lay on his head in an intentional mess and fell right above his platinum eyes. To top off the ensemble, he bore a black belt with an intricately designed silver buckle, a pair of brand new white running shoes, and a necklace with a small ruby in a silver clasp on the end. Slung over his shoulder, was a new, crimson traveling bag complete with a plethora of pockets.

    He walked towards the local Pokemon Laboratory with an obvious skip in his step in anticipation of the journey that he was about to embark on. It was his sixteenth birthday and, since he had one of the six highest scores on the TPE, or Trainer Proficiency Exam, he was about to live out just about every kid’s dream: to leave home on a journey with Pokemon by his side.

    This had always been a dream of Titus’s. Ever since he first heard the stories of how his great-grandfather had won the Indigo League and subsequently defeated the Elite Four, making him the Champion of all of Kanto for quite a number of years. Although he didn’t share the same name as his ancestor (he was his great-grandfather on his mother’s side) many people knew of his relation to Edgar Marez, the man who held the title of Champion for the longest in the Indigo League’s long and winding history. As a matter of fact, in the preseason rankings that the Indigo League officials put out a month ago he was ranked first among all rookies, despite not having nearly the best test scores.

    While lost in thought, Titus soon reached the base of a grassy green hill that led up to the world famous Pokemon Laboratory. The Lab was surely a sight to behold amongst the relatively small buildings that made up the town of Pallet. It was extremely large and bore a pristine white color that gleamed intensely in the morning sun. On the front-center of the building, there was a picture of an enormous ball, half red and half white, with a button directly in the center. As Titus approached the double glass doors, directly under said ball, his heart raced as fast as it ever had before in his sixteen years. He took a deep breath and pushed his way through and into the Pokemon Laboratory.

    He was greeted with the collective smell of Pokemon, chemicals, and machinery. Not the best collection of smells in the world. Other than the smell, the first thing that struck Titus was the sheer immensity of the room that he was now occupying. No matter how large the Lab looked from the outside, the inside seemed even larger. On either side of the room there were an innumerable amount of bookshelves filled to the brim with documents and over-sized research books. The center of the room was relatively clear, other than two tables that occupied opposite sides of the floor and a singular round console in the center that contained six balls similar to the one that covered the front of the building, only on a much smaller scale. The table to the left was covered in beakers, burners, and several other objects used in chemical experiments. The one on the right was set up in a much neater fashion with several devices which Titus recognized as tools that trainers used on their respective journeys.

    Directly ahead of Titus, behind the central console, there was another pair of glass doors that presumably led to the Pokemon habitats out back. On either side of these doors there was a metal staircase that led up to an outcropping that ran along the walls of the room. Up on that second level, there were numerous computers and other machinery that Titus didn’t necessarily recognize. Typing away on the only piece of active technology was an elderly man in a white lab coat. Before Titus could say something, the man perked up in his chair and turned towards the entrance where he was currently standing.

    “Ah Titus! How good to see you. I suppose that you are here for your Pokemon?”

    “Yes sir Professor Oak,” Titus responded politely.

    “Good, good… I’ll be right down,” the man, apparently named Oak, stood up from his work station and stumbled his way down the stairs across the room from Titus. Once he reached the bottom, he began to walk towards the young trainer-to-be.

    “Now I’ve heard that you are ranked 128th in the preseason rankings. That’s quite an accomplishment for a rookie… Highest one’s ever been ranked I believe…” the professor trailed off in thought as he stopped directly in front of Titus.

    It was then, for the first time, that he noticed just how old the professor really was. He was a bit shorter than Titus, only a few inches, and his face was a happy one despite being weary with the wrinkles of old age. On the top of his head, Professor Oak had thinning grey hair that still covered his whole head, but was noticeably receding. He looked about seventy years old (seventy-two if Titus remembered correctly) but had the energy of a small child which caused many to believe that he was much younger than he was in reality.

    As the Professor began to lead Titus to the central console, he inquired something of the elderly man, “How exactly did I get ranked that high? I certainly didn’t get the highest exam grade, and that’s all the computers have to go on isn’t it?”

    “Ah yes…” Oak replied, “As far as the rankings go, they are determined by the computers and the combined efforts of the Gym Leaders and the Elite Four, the twelve most powerful trainers on the continent. All of the names that are put in for registration are organized by computers by: TPE scores, overall trainer record, and performance in the prior season’s Indigo League Championship. After that, the Elite Four and Gym Leaders go through a rating process of each individual trainer based on their own experience with that trainer and battle tapes that are provided from every trainers’ gym matches. After those ratings are decided, the trainers are put back through the computers, which produce the final rating.”

    “Oh… I’m still not quite sure why I got ranked that high but ok… Thanks Professor…” Titus trailed off as he and Professor Oak arrived at the central console.

    “Now,” began the Professor, “here we have two sets of the three starting Pokemon given out to rookie Trainers that graduate from the nearby Pokemon University. As you must know, they are: Bulbasaur, a grass type; Charmander, a fire type; and Squirtle, a water type. Press the button underneath each Pokeball to reveal information about each individual Pokemon.”

    “Ok,” Titus responded hastily, “now let’s see…”

    He reached out his hand and pressed the button underneath the Pokeball in the center. A small screen emerged in the limited space in between the ball and the button with a display describing the Pokemon housed inside the aforementioned ball. The picture was one of an orange lizard Pokemon that stood upright on two legs and had a small flame on the end of its tail. The red lettering above the creature read, “Charmander: the Lizard Pokemon, Type: Fire.” To the right of the picture there was a description of the Pokemon including: known moves (Scratch, Leer, Ember, etc.), height (two feet tall), weight (nineteen pounds), gender (male), strengths (speed and attack power), and weaknesses (defense and endurance).

    Titus passed this Pokemon over and moved to the next Pokeball, muttering under his breath, “No…”

    As he pressed the second button, a similar screen appeared, this one bearing a picture of a small, blue turtle Pokemon which also stood upright and had a dark brown shell as well as a curled tail. The words above this Pokemon read, “Squirtle: the Tiny Turtle Pokemon, Type: Water.” Its description to the left was: known moves: Tackle, Growl, Bubble, etc.; height: one foot, eight inches; weight: nineteen pounds; gender: female; strengths: special attack and defense; and weaknesses: speed and endurance. He stood there for a moment and then passed this Starter over as well.

    “Which only leaves…”

    After pressing the third consecutive button, his face lit up, This is the one… This screen showed the picture of a dinosaur-like Pokemon that stood on all fours. It had light blue skin with blotches of dark blue every-so-often in an inconsistent pattern and a large, green bulb that covered its entire back. This Pokemon’s name read, “Bulbasaur: the Seed Pokemon, Type: Grass/Poison.” To the left was, as before, the description, known moves: Tackle, Growl, Leech Seed, etc.; height: two feet, four inches; weight: sixteen pounds; gender: male; strengths: endurance and special attack; and weaknesses: speed and attack. After taking a quick glance at the screen, Titus confidently scooped up the Pokeball containing his new Pokemon and turned to Professor Oak.

    “I want Bulbasaur,” he said with conviction.

    “Are you sure you don’t want to take a look at the other Bulbasaur we have here? It’s actually quite unique…”

    “No. I’m positive. This is the one.”

    “Ok then, let’s get moving!” The Professor led Titus away from the central console and then on towards the table on the right.
    When they arrived there, Professor Oak picked up one of the six red, rectangular objects off of the table and turned back towards Titus.

    “May I please see your Trainer Card Titus?”

    “Oh okay, hold on a sec…” He dug through his pockets for a few moments until he found a credit card-like object and handed it to the Professor. This card was his Trainer Card, which he had received as a gift from the University, it bore a head shot of himself approximately two months ago and had his name running across the top in golden letters. On the back there was a barcode across the top as well as an identification number across the bottom.

    Professor Oak took the Trainer Card gingerly from Titus’s hand and placed it in a slot in the side of the red object, which, Titus had just remembered, was called a Pokedex. The Pokedex whirred to life and flipped open, three screens folding out from within. The screens also left a small keyboard where they had originally rested, a keyboard on which Professor Oak was now typing something.

    After a few moments, the Pokedex made a loud beep and closed itself once more. Where after, the Professor handed the device to Titus and subsequently spoke, “This is your Pokedex. It has information on every Pokemon in the known world, from Sinnoh to Johto. Simply point the scanner on the back towards any Pokemon and press this blue button on the side and the Pokedex will give you all of the information you need to know. It also has many other features including a type chart, a clock, and a function which gives you the ability to check your national ranking.”

    Titus took the device carefully and looked it over a few times in his hands. Looking extremely satisfied, he placed the Pokedex in a pocket on the inside of the left breast of his vest. He turned to the Professor and spoke very confidently, “I guess this is it then. Thank you for everything Professor Oak.”

    “Oh it’s my pleasure Titus. And the best of luck on your journey,” the Professor said as he led Titus through the exit/entrance of the lab. After he left the Pokemon Laboratory, with an enormous smile on his face, Professor Oak turned his heel and returned to his computer on the second floor.

    “Best of luck indeed, those rankings have put a bulls-eye on your back the size of an Onix…”

    As he trailed off into thought, Oak turned once more as he heard another young trainer-to-be enter the door.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Titus walked away from the Laboratory as though he was walking on air. He hardly even noticed as another boy shouldered past him on his way to the lab. None of that really mattered to him now; he had finally received his first Pokemon and started his very own journey for Pokemon Trainer immortality.

    Titus continued walking down the now completely thawed path until he reached the edge of town, signified by a small, wooden sign.

    <- Pallet Town

    Route One ->

    He turned around and took one final look at his old town, the place where he had spent nearly his entire life, and turned back towards the green expanses of Route One. The route was completely thawed out from the night before. In fact, if it weren’t for the lack of active Pokemon, one wouldn’t have noticed a difference at all. For the most part, Route One was a large, open field with a roughly treaded path winding throughout. There were a few trees scattered about but there wasn’t a large mass of trees other than the forest that bordered the field on all sides. Titus took a deep breath and stepped, almost cautiously, onto Route One and towards his destiny.
    This is it!


    After walking for a good fifteen minutes or so, Titus stopped for a short break. Not out of exhaustion, but for an entirely different reason altogether. There was something he needed to test out.

    Titus reached into his right hip pocket and pulled out a small earpiece designed to fit snugly within his ear. This earpiece, which his mother had given him for his birthday, was a device known as a Pokecom, or Pokemon Communicator. It allowed trainers to understand what their Pokemon were saying. Titus took this ‘Pokecom’ and placed it gingerly in his right ear where it seemed to be swallowed up, so much so that he doubted that he’d be able to ever remove it. This did not matter to him right now however, what mattered was whether or not his new device worked as advertised.

    Titus then removed his only Pokeball, which was magnetically clipped to his belt, and tossed it up into the air with a cry. “Come on out Bulbasaur!”

    As the ball hit the ground, it exploded in a flash of white light that convoluted and reshaped itself into the shape of the Pokemon which Titus had seen on the computer screen only an hour or so ago. The light soon faded and in its place there rested a very timid looking bulb Pokemon. It looked around anxiously until its red eyes met with Titus’s platinum ones, at which point the starter Pokemon looked away quickly and began to shake in what was presumably fear.

    The newly anointed trainer got on one knee and looked his new Pokemon right in the eyes, speaking softly, “Hey there buddy, don’t be afraid. I’m Titus; I’ll be your new trainer from here on out. How does that sound?”

    <I have a Trainer?> Bulbasaur asked timidly.

    Titus was taken aback at first by the fact that his Pokemon had just talked, but then he remembered the Pokecom. “You sure do. From now on we’re gonna be partners, Ok?”

    <I don’t know… I’ve never had a ‘partner’ before… What does a ‘partner’ do?> the Pokemon said as it looked Titus very innocently in the eyes.

    Titus let out a slight chuckle and replied, “A ‘partner’ is someone who stays with you, keeps you company, watches your back, and protects you. A ‘partner’ is someone you can always trust and someone who can always trust you.”

    The Bulbasaur’s eyes lit up in understanding and hesitantly answered, <Ok… I suppose I don’t have much of a choice… But Ok…>

    “Great,” Titus responded enthusiastically. “By the way, do you have a name?”

    <Not really… everyone just calls me Bulbasaur…>

    “Well everyone needs a name! Just give me a moment,” Titus sat cross-legged next to “Bulbasaur” and placed his hand under his chin in thought. Then, like a jack-in-the-box, an idea simply popped into his head.
    “How about Zagreus?”

    <Zagreus? Where did you get that name? It sounds strange...> the bulb Pokemon inquired.

    “I’m not really sure. It just kinda came to me. I think it’s from some myth or something like that. Do you like it?” Titus asked anxiously.

    <Yes actually… Zagreus… I’m Zagreus…> the newly christened Zagreus repeated his name over and over again a few times with a smile on his face.
    <I’ve never had a name before…>

    Titus spoke next, “Well then Zagreus, I’m looking forward to traveling with you.”

    Showing the first real signs of life, Zagreus gave a rather large smile and said, “Me too uh… uh… Titus!”

    “You’re gonna have to promise me something first though.”

    <What?> the Pokemon asked with a child-like curiosity.

    “Just promise me that you’ll give me your best at everything, and I’ll make you the same promise.”

    <Ummm… Ok… I promise!> Zagreus replied.

    “Ok then. It’s a deal.”
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  4. #4
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    Sorry for the double post, but here's the second chapter.

    Chapter Two
    Defeat and Victory


    The sunlight washed over the field of Route One like a tsunami. It was the first sunrise on the second day of Titus Polloa’s Pokemon Journey, and it was a beautiful one. Titus woke up with a start and rubbed his platinum eyes with the back of his hands. He sat up gingerly from his resting place, which was simply a depression in the surrounding grass field, and looked immediately to his left. There was what seemed to be a large flower bulb lying directly next to him. The bulb gave a stir and lifted itself up onto its four legs.

    Zagreus gave a large yawn and turned towards his trainer, <Good morning Titus!> This greeting was much more energetic and excited than it was the day prior where he had spent most of the day timidly at Titus’s heels or inside of his Pokeball. He had not once left Titus’s side for two reasons: first, he was much too scared and intimidated; and second, there hadn’t been any reason to. They had seen absolutely no wild Pokemon the day before, a fact that surprised Titus and his young partner greatly. Therefore, they had spent most of the day exchanging pleasantries and telling stories of their respective pasts. As the day wore on, Titus and Zagreus became fast friends, sharing everything with each other.

    “Mornin’ buddy!” Titus replied with a friendly glint in his eye. “How’re you feelin’ this morning?”

    <I’m okay,> the Bulbasaur answered convincingly.

    “Alright! We’ve got a pretty long day ahead of us so get ready to go pretty soon.” As Titus said this, he began to pack his paraphernalia into his crimson travel bag. He then flung the bag over his right shoulder and turned back to Zagreus.

    “Ready?”

    <I suppose…> the bulb Pokemon replied, now with his normal, timid tone.

    “Okay then let’s go!” Titus and Zagreus then took off down the roughly cut path that ran through the green, flowing field of Route One.

    They navigated their way through the fields for a minute or so when Titus heard a faint rustling noise to his right. Instinctively, he held up his hand to Zagreus and moved slowly towards the disturbance with the index finger on his other hand extended over his mouth. As he reached the sight of the commotion Titus reached forwards with both of his hands and spread the grass apart shakily. Before he could examine the scene in front of him however, a lavender blur sprang from within the grass and bowled him over.

    Titus quickly rolled himself over and looked on at the object that had just tackled him and sprung off. As his vision cleared, he recognized the creature as a Pokemon very common to the area, a Rattata. This particular Pokemon resembled a rather large rat with a purple coat and large, razor sharp teeth. It had a cream colored underbelly as well as a tail approximately the same length as its own body that ended in a swirl. This specific Rattata had a look in its eyes that could kill all its own.

    <What’s going on Titus?> Zagreus asked anticipatorily, shaking slightly at the arrival of the hostile rat Pokemon.

    “I-It looks like we have our first um… battle…” Titus’s replied with an obvious
    fear snaking its way through his speech.

    <What do I do…?>

    “I-I…” Titus absolutely froze with the current situation weighing heavily on his mind.

    Without warning, the Rattata turned sharply left and charged headfirst towards Zagreus. The two Pokemon collided with great force and Zagreus, the larger of the two, was subsequently knocked back ferociously by the Rattata’s strike. He slid back a few feet and his knees visibly buckled under his own weight. The Bulbasaur then struggled back to his feet and stared directly at his trainer with an overtly obvious fear in his eyes.

    <Titus…>

    No words came from the young trainer’s mouth as he watched, once again, his lone Pokemon get bulldozed by the purple rat Pokemon. This time the Bulbasaur tumbled into the higher grass and temporarily disappeared from sight. With this the Rattatta turned towards Titus with rage in its eyes and charged. This sudden move seemed to awaken Titus from his trance as he quickly dove out of the way and rolled into the aforementioned tall grass.

    He then froze once more, this time listening for the movement of the Rattatta. Titus heard the faint noise of the rat Pokemon’s nose at work and then the subsequent sound of it ruffling through grass and dirt to return to its home. He waited a few more heart-stopping moments and then emerged from within the meadow, brushing the dirt off of his person frantically.

    Titus warily turned to where he had seen his sole Pokemon knocked into the higher grass only moments prior, and began to approach the area. He did not have to search too hard though, because Zagreus emerged from the grass equally as cautious, looking quite battered and bruised.

    The shaken trainer made an attempt towards the Bulbasaur but quickly drew his arm back in shame of his earlier incompetence. Zagreus noticed the humiliation in his trainer’s mannerisms and walked gingerly to Titus’s side, and gently nudging him with his nose.

    He spoke lightly and innocently, <What’s wrong Titus?>

    “I-I don’t know… I-I froze… I’m sorry…” Titus replied, both verbally and physically shaking uncontrollably.

    <You don’t have to be, it’s okay!> Zagreus then said with a happy tone unbefitting of the mood of his trainer

    “B-But I promised you…”

    <I’ll give you a do-over!>

    With this, Titus’s face lit up in amusement, “Do-over huh? Okay then, I’ll take it,” he said with resolve, “but I won’t break my promise again.”

    <Okay!>

    “Alright! Where do you wanna head next bud?” Titus asked, returning shakily to his standard tone.

    <I don’t know…> Zagreus replied uncertainly, <that way I guess…> A green vine emerged from underneath the bulb on his back and pointed in the northeast direction.

    “That way it is then, let’s go.”

    The pair then took off in the aforementioned direction with a renewed bounce in their step. They passed many other wild Pokemon on their way. It seemed as though more and more were emerging in the increasing aftermath of the freak storm. Alongside the Rattata there were Pidgey (brown and cream feathered bird Pokemon) and even the occasional bug Pokemon. These Pokemon were also much calmer than the Rattata that had attacked Titus and Zagreus earlier and didn’t cause any real problems with the duo.

    As they progressed down the route, Titus once again noticed some movement in the nearby brush. This time however, the object in the grass was much larger than a Rattata. Titus quickened his pace and waved his hand along in order to signal Zagreus to do the same. But it was too late. A shadowed figure emerged suddenly from within the grass and pointed a dirtied extremity in Titus’s direction.

    “Stop right there!” a female voice rung out throughout the peaceful air and halted Titus’s stride.

    Titus and Zagreus slowly turned around in tandem and faced the source of the voice. At said source there was a girl, approximately Titus’s age, standing among the tall grass with a single finger pointed at them. She then took that finger and swiped a strand of brown hair out of her hazel eyes.

    “You’re a trainer right?” the mysterious girl asked insistently.

    Titus replied quickly, “U-Um no!” This was followed by him trying to shuffle Zagreus, not very discreetly, into the higher grass with his right foot.

    A smile crossed the girl’s face as she grabbed a Pokeball off of her tattered rope belt (which held up a pair of hunter green, baggy cargo pants under a matching vest and white t-shirt) and tossed it into the space between herself and Titus. The ball exploded in a conflagration of white light which twisted and reformed into the shape of a yellow mouse Pokemon.

    This particular mouse was approximately knee-height and stood on its hind legs. Along with its yellow fur it sported brown stripes that ran horizontally across its back as well as black fur that tipped its two pointed ears and brown that tipped its jagged tail. Its most interesting features however were the twin red dots that adorned its cheeks. This was a Pokemon that no young trainer could mistake. It was a Pikachu, the most popular Pokemon found nearly everywhere in the world.

    A jittery female voice then emerged from within the yellow mouse Pokemon,
    <C-C’mon! Let’s go!>

    “U-Umm… Okay...” Titus said weakly as he gingerly sidestepped to his left, revealing Zagreus who walked slowly towards his new opponent. After the pair’s reluctant acceptance, a very noticeable glint crossed the female trainer’s eye and the two Pokemon squared off. The Bulbasaur circled warily while, conversely, Pikachu moved sporadically from side to side in a frenzied manner.

    The female trainer was the first to take action as she said, “Blitz, start things off with a Quick Attack!”

    In response to this, Pikachu shot forward towards Zagreus so fast that Titus lost sight of her for a split second, a split second in which she hit Zagreus with such force that the yellow blur of a Pokemon forced him into a series of rolls that landed him on his stomach at Titus’s feet. Just like before, Titus simply stood and stared, seemingly terrified of the ongoing battle.

    “Well if you’re not gonna do anything then this’ll just get boring,” the girl said, “use Tackle!”

    Much like the prior attack, Blitz charged forwards, this time not nearly as fast, and lunged towards Zagreus once more. After the inevitable contact into Zagreus’s side, he reluctantly slid quite forcefully to his left until a rather large tree abruptly stopped his progress. The noise of Pokemon against tree resounded through Titus’s mind like church bells and concern wiped away all doubt.

    “C’mon Zagreus! Let’s go! I’m sorry… I froze… But I won’t let you down again!” he yelled encouragingly. Inspired by his trainer’s resolve, the bulb Pokemon slid slowly up to its feet and turned confidently to face its skittish opponent.

    “Well that’s more like it!” the female trainer exclaimed triumphantly. “Hit ‘em with another Tackle!”

    “Dodge it Zagreus!”

    Despite his newfound resolve, Titus was still in the dark as far as actual battles are concerned. Nothing in the Academy ever prepared me for this, he thought to himself in distress. I don’t even know what moves that Zagreus knows… It was then that Titus remembered the screen on the console in the Laboratory, the one that had listed the attributes of each individual starting Pokemon.

    While Titus was lost in thought, Blitz had lunged several times at Zagreus, each one of which was barely dodged by the Bulbasaur despite the Pikachu’s superior speed. A vision of frustration was obvious on the opposing trainer’s face as Titus yelled his commands.

    “Alright Zagreus, use Leech Seed!”

    Zagreus nodded in understanding and pointed the tip of its great green bulb at the mouse Pokemon, which had taken a brief respite from its incessant lunging, and launched forth three brown seeds, each about the size of a baseball. As the seeds made contact with Blitz, they opened and let forth green vines which crept their way around the Pikachu’s body and into the ground at its feet. The same vines split the ground below Zagreus and crept back into his bulb, glowing a faint green. Blitz and her trainer were frozen, unaware of what had just transpired, but they were snapped back to reality once the Pikachu dropped to its knees in sudden weakness.

    “Shake those vines off Blitz!” the female trainer yelled out frantically.
    In response, the mouse Pokemon dropped to the ground and rolled around, crushing the vines beneath its body. Zagreus however, did not let his opponent have any room to breathe and charged in for a full body tackle without any prior incentive from his trainer. Similar to Zagreus before, Blitz went into a barrel roll and slammed its body into a nearby tree.

    Titus’s eyes lit up in excitement, “Quickly, hit her with another Tackle attack!”

    Zagreus complied and charged after the Pikachu with even more momentum then it had had in the prior tackle attempt. This time, the two bodies collided with a noise that shook the Pidgeys from the nearby trees. Zagreus took a few steps back from its battered opponent, panting heavily, and simply stared in amazement as the mouse Pokemon stood, wavered, and dropped.

    The female trainer dropped her head in defeat and held out her red-and-white Pokeball towards her Pikachu. It then sent out a jet of red light which engulfed the Pokemon, whose shape convoluted and shrunk as it was dragged back into the sphere. Titus was about to do the same, when Zagreus collapsed in similar fashion. The bulb Pokemon was visibly exhausted from the duo of battles in which he had just participated. Titus’s body then underwent the same ritual his opponent’s just had as he too hung his head and returned his partner with a sigh.

    It was the female trainer who first held out her hand in congratulations and said, “Nice match. My name’s Amber Toran. Yours?”

    “Titus Polloa,” Titus replied politely.

    “Polloa… Polloa… Sounds familiar… What’s your rank?”

    “Um… 128th…” he again replied, this time a bit embarrassed at the mention of his abnormally high ranking.

    “One-hundred-and-twenty-eighth! That’s where I know you from!” Amber exclaimed. “You’re the highest ranked rookie in the history of the Indigo League… Now I don’t feel so bad for that… After all I am only ranked 184th…”

    As she trailed off, Titus stood there awkwardly, waiting for an opportunity to part ways with his new acquaintance. When finally, he found a chance to interject in the female trainer’s babbling, “Well I-“

    “I’ve decided!” Amber shouted as she shot down Titus’s only hope, “I’m going to use you as my motivation. My mission from here on out will be to defeat you!”

    With the last syllable she once again pointed her index finger directly at Titus’s chest, leaving the newly victorious trainer speechless. Satisfied with her outrageous display, Amber turned her heel and stalked off down the route towards the next town. Titus was left in the dust, staring dumbly into space, and terribly confused as to what to do now that he had just been told that someone else was making it their life goal to defeat him.

    Titus collected himself, shook his head, and continued on down the route in the direction that his former opponent had just stormed. He once more passed several wild Pokemon which were now out and about after fully recovering from the ridiculous storm which transpired only days before. The Rattata were running about, the Pidgey were hunting, and the Weedle and Caterpie were crawling along the shrubbery below. The young trainer avoided confrontation with all of these however, as both he and his loyal companion were absolutely depleted of all energy.

    It wasn’t long until he finally reached his destination, the city of Viridian. It was a peaceful city, but really not much of a “city” at all; it actually seemed more like a town than anything else. Titus silently took in the sights around him as he headed towards the Pokemon Center where he could bring Zagreus back to full power and spend some time resting himself. Viridian itself seemed like the perfect place to rest, it was a perfect blend of tranquility and beauty.

    “This place looks like a downright nice place to live,” Titus thought out loud as he walked down the boulevard that led to the Center. The Pokemon Center itself was at the end of the street, directly past a series of apartment buildings that looked like something out of a children’s storybook. All of them flowered, tidy, and colorful.

    What was unknown to him was that everything in this neat and tidy town was not nearly as pleasant as it seemed on the surface. It would not stay unknown to him long however, as a scream rung out over the buildings and pierced through Titus’s eardrums. A scream that sounded somewhat familiar, and a scream that stopped the young trainer dead in his tracks.
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Alright here's the third chapter. Things are getting a bit darker and more confusing, from here on out. Oh, and constructive criticism is ENCOURAGED. If you read, leave a review.

    Chapter Three

    Shades of Viridian


    “Shhh now… We don’t want to attract any unwanted attention… Do we?” The dark garbed man whispered creepily as he forced his hand over Amber’s shrieking mouth. The female trainer was terrified. She had simply been walking down the street, minding her own business, when this terror of a man came up out of a nearby alley, offering promises of powerful Pokemon. This lucrative offer was something Amber couldn’t resist. The risk seemed to be worth the reward. Plus, this was such a nice place, it seemed impossible for this man’s intentions to be anything but just. She was quite wrong.

    The man was middle-aged and quite strong, there was no way she was going to break his grip. She couldn’t release Blitz either; she had passed out in the battle earlier and was in no condition to do anything. Her heart was beating like a jackhammer and her every pore screamed out in horror of what was surely going to occur.

    Her captor then brushed his lips against her ear and muttered; “Now you’re going to do three things for me… First, you’re going to give me that Pokeball off your belt there… Second, you’re going to give me all the money you’ve got… And third… Well… We’ll get to that soon enough…”

    Amber was sweating bullets under the pressure as her shaking hand slid slowly down to her belt to retrieve her sole Pokeball. Despite her fear and need for self-preservation, something in the back of her head held her hand back. This was perhaps the hardest decision she ever had to make in her young life, and she was terribly unsettled on it. Luckily however, the decision was taken out of her hands by an intruder to the alley.

    “Hey! Wh-What’re you doing there?!” a familiar voice shouted down the alley. Amber’s eyes lit up and then quickly dimmed as she saw the source of the shout: the impressive yet horribly indecisive trainer which she had battled earlier. It wasn’t that she was disappointed in a savior appearing, she just hoped for someone with a bit more… Confidence.

    Suddenly, Amber was thrown aside violently and her head smashed brutally against the stone paved wall of one of the buildings that lined the alleyway. Her vision blurred momentarily and then went black.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~

    What have I gotten myself into… Titus thought as he watched the teenage girl he had met a mere hour or so ago get violently manhandled. He could feel his entire body shaking as he watched the display of sheer force and brutality he never thought he’d see, especially in a place like this. He had heard the scream from only a few meters away and had rushed straight for the source. Watching from around the corner, Titus saw and immediately recognized the girl from their prior battle. Her name was Amber if he remembered correctly.

    Amber’s face was a visage of terror as she fell wordlessly to the hard pavement, bouncing a few times before coming to a silent rest at her attacker’s feet. The attacker then turned and faced Titus with a stare that burned with furious fire. His deep voice then rang throughout the alley, “What the hell are you doin’ here kid?! Get lost!”

    “I-I heard a-a scream…”

    “Oh yeah? So what! Me and this girl were just having a conversation. A private conversation. So why don’t you just get outta here?”

    “But I-I… y-you…” Titus’s words were lost before they left his mouth. His palms were sweating profusely and his eyes couldn’t help but darting furiously back and forth between the man and the unconscious girl on the ground. The young trainer was lost in his current predicament, there were too many things going on for his mind to decipher. His mind felt like a small child lost on a battlefield, crying for its mother.

    Dissatisfied with the boy’s lack of reply to his threats, the man stalked down the alley, holding his rather impressive form even higher over the intruder. His eyes gleamed with a murderous stare as he grabbed a nearby iron pipe and smacked it gently against his left hand, testing its mettle. Seemingly satisfied with the solidity of the pipe, he continued on down the alley, holding it aloft maliciously. Titus was frozen in place, partly out of fear and partly because of some sense of valor far back in his mind that prevented him from leaving the injured and terrified girl with this horror. With a few words that passed unheard through Titus’s ears, the strange man closed the distance between himself and the boy and swung violently with the iron pipe. Titus braced himself for the inevitable impact and raised his hands in a pitiful attempt at self defense.

    The fateful blow never landed however, something had stopped it in its potentially bloody tracks, something that had arrived in a small gust of wind that passed by Titus’s left side and met the pipe with a clanging impact. The young trainer’s eyes slowly slid open, focused and refocused, and beheld a valorous figure standing perpendicularly between him and his attacker. The figure had a powerful hand wrapped tightly around the end of the pipe, effectively holding it in place and freezing the attack.

    Covering to that powerful hand was a fingerless black glove and attached was thickly wired arm that ran under a black sleeve connected to a black jacket. The jacket only ran halfway down the figure’s torso to the top of its abdominal region and was held on by a pair of crossed straps that ran across the front of a plain dark green shirt. There were also jet black pants that covered what Titus assumed was a pair of equally muscled legs that ran into a pair of black boots with many interlocking and crossing straps and buckles. The last distinct features were a dark green scarf that was wrapped once around and fell to the top of the pants around the back, a slightly obscured silver chain, and the back of a head covered in naturally spiked brown hair.

    From the other side of the head came a voice that cut harshly into the attacking man’s violent countenance, breaking it down to a terrified visage. “Turn around. Leave and I might let you live.”

    With the threat on his life, the man’s face broke from its terror and reverted back to its original brutality. His voice however, still showed a vague undercurrent of fear, “T-Tough words from some unarmed weirdo. I should be the one makin’ threats here. Step off”

    “Bad choice,” with those final words, Titus’s savior gave the pipe a violent jerk, audibly snapping the thug’s wrist and perhaps even part of his forearm. Before he could even yell out in pain, the man had the wind knocked out of him by the very pipe he had wielded in his attack. On his way to a violent meeting with the ground, the man received his final punishment in the form of a long cut up the left side of his face, compliments of something the savior had expertly drawn from under his belt.

    As the thug bled and sputtered for air on the cold pavement, the savior quickly sheathed his mysterious weapon and dropped the iron pipe to the ground with a clang. His task complete, he turned to the young boy he had just saved and revealed the rest of his features. His face was one of unflinching conviction, adorned with a pair of hawk-like green eyes, one of which had what seemed to be a dark tattoo of a dagger running through it and halfway down his cheek. The silver chain that had been slightly obscured by his jacket revealed that it ended in a fragment of a dark stone.

    Once he gave Titus a quick, almost intrusive look, the man turned towards Amber’s unconscious body and spoke, “Get her some help.” With those words, the man leapt and subsequently disappeared into the wild blue sky.

    Titus stood frozen for a few moments until a groan from further down the alley snapped him back into reality. The groan had come from the now-conscious girl lying sprawled down at the end of the alley. Titus ran quickly to her side where he cupped her brown mane and the head attached in his shaking hand and raised her eyes to his. Said eyes darted from Titus to the man heaving in a pool of his own blood and back to Titus again, they then showed a brief light that quickly faded back to nothingness as her head went limp.

    The rookie trainer acted quickly from there on out, running solely on adrenaline as he hoisted the girl up on his shoulders and bolted full speed out of the alley. He soon arrived at the hospital on the second floor of the Pokemon Center and reported the attack to an officer, leaving out the part about the mysterious stranger and simply saying the thug had tripped and split open his head. Once Amber was in the care of the hospital personnel, Titus went back downstairs, dropped Zagreus off with a pink haired nurse, and rented a room in the Trainer Refuge next door. Once he reached the bed, the frazzled boy hit the pillow and went out without another thought, the sky slowly darkening outside his window.


    What followed was a medley of distorted and blurred images that flashed violently through the young trainer’s head in a mess of a nightmare. The images that flashed by were quick but distinct, and each one stood out as it burned a separate place in his mind. The first was of the scene that had taken place earlier that day in the alley, with the mysterious savior standing as a goliath in the constricted lane. The next was of an unfamiliar girl, seemingly eleven or twelve years of age, sitting alone in a dark cave. The third image that penetrated his mind was the eyes of the thug in the alley, filled with a fire and hate that sent shudders down his spine. The final image contained a behemoth of a structure that, upon further observation, was actually a volcano. A clouded figure stood atop it with pride and let loose a powerful roar that physically shook Titus’s body into waking in the sweat soaked bed of the room that had been supplied to him free of charge by the Trainer Refuge.

    Titus got up violently from under the teal bed sheets and simply sat there, panting and staring blankly at the wall opposite his bed. He could not bring himself to move from the deep depression he had made in the mattress, mentally and physically frozen as a result of his nightmare. The freeze thawed after a few moments of heavy panting, and he flung his legs over to the side of his bed. One look at the red light emanating from his alarm clock confirmed what Titus had anticipated, he had woken up much too early. Three o’clock in the morning to be precise. Realizing he was now wide awake, Titus let loose an audible sigh and headed into the adjoining bathroom. He sluggishly pushed open the door and slid into the shower, turning it on with a severe lack of energy and reflecting on what had transpired.

    Oh man, he thought to himself, what was that? Who was that girl? What was that on the volcano? This has not been a good day… I don’t think I can keep this up if every day is gonna be like this one… It’s just too much… With everything that happened yesterday there’s probably gonna be a whole bunch of people wondering what happened too… That cop said I was done though so I should probably get out of here before I get mobbed… With that last thought, Titus turned off the shower, dried himself off, and grabbed his freshly cleaned clothes from the dryer adjacent to the bathroom. The trainer dressed himself and gathered all of his things before heading out of his room and returning his key to the front desk.

    Once outside of the Refuge, Titus took a quick look at the oddity of said building sitting directly next to the high-technology Pokemon Center. The Center was a pristine white building that stood three stories high with a red roof and an ornate pair of clear glass doors. Above these doors there was the defining feature of any Center: the large red-and-white Pokeball insignia that rose prominently against the dark blue sky. Conversely, the Trainer Refuge had the outward appearance of a three story log cabin. There were a great number of artificial brown logs made to look as though they were stacked on top of each other, framing a great number of windows and a set of doors identical to the ones on the Center next door. The two structures were a staple in any modern town, and were always made very conspicuous to alert wandering trainers of their presence.

    Titus took a few seconds to take in these oddities and headed quickly into the pristine whiteness of the Pokemon Center. Once inside, he headed silently up through the almost deserted lobby to the front desk where he presented his Trainer ID to the pink-haired nurse at the front desk and asked for the return of his partner. Dutifully compliant, she informed him to wait a moment and headed into the back to retrieve Zagreus from among the many other injured Pokemon staying the night. While she searched, Titus turned and scanned the inside of the Center, observing everything he had been unable to in his rush the day prior.

    The octagonal floor was covered in spotless white tile, the monogram of a Pokeball centered on it. On either side there was a couple rows of benches upon which sat only two people, a young trainer around his age with perfect platinum blonde hair passed out on his side and an elegantly dressed woman with flowing crimson hair who was lost in her handheld device. At the end of each bench there sat potted plants with large, palm tree like leaves extending over the sides of the clay pots. The last accents of the room included a pair of public computers, a trio of public pay-phones, and a stainless steel elevator. Lost in observation, Titus was quickly snapped back into reality by the sound of a female softly clearing her throat.

    The throat clearance was swiftly followed by a soothingly soft voice. “Here’s your Pokemon sir, have a nice day.”


    The source of the voice was the very same pink-haired nurse he had spoken to mere moments before and she now stood before Titus, arms cradling Zagreus’s portable home. With a quick word of thanks, Titus took the Pokeball from the nurse and clipped it onto his belt. His chore list finished, the young trainer swiftly left the Center and turned towards the rising sun. With a deep breath, he continued on his journey at a quickened pace, in an obvious hurry to get out of the city that had caused him a year’s worth of trouble in one day. This trouble however, was not something secluded solely to the city of Viridian, a fact he would soon discover firsthand.


    Titus walked silently through the winding streets of Viridian, quickly finding his way to the northern edge of town using the increasingly visible street signs that adorned every corner. As the sun began to dance over the tallest of the buildings in the east, Titus reached what he had been searching for: Route Two. Before setting off onto the route, something caught Titus’s eye as the sunlight illuminated a grand structure in his periphery. With a quick look over, the young trainer was immediately intrigued by the presence of the enormous building midway to the horizon. Time not really being an issue, Titus decided to check it out on his way out of town. A quick turn later, he began heading towards the structure.

    As he approached, it became apparent to Titus that the great building was in a state of great disrepair and was quite visibly breaking down. Once he reached his destination, Titus slowly began circling the building, observing all angles. What stood out perhaps the most were the several holes in the wall that the sunshine was running through onto Titus’s face. A face that was now full of wonder. The source of wonder was not the sheer enormity of the building, or the ornate design that still stood despite dilapidation, but the sign out front that he had just passed in front of. Underneath the growth of ivy it was still clear what the sign said: GYM.

    This must be the Viridian Gym, Titus thought in reaction to his revelation, I’ve heard about this place. Apparently the Gym was a front for some criminal organization, and once it was discovered it was shut down with some huge fight. I can’t for the life of me remember which gym replaced it though… Oh well… As Titus’s thoughts trailed off, his attention was wrestled from the sign by a loud, clanging noise from within the building. Curious, the young trainer made his way over to the nearest hole in the wall and peeked in over the mangled wall. What Titus saw next sent a chill down his spine that caused his whole body to shiver.

    The clanging noise he had heard was the sound of a large, metal trapdoor being heaved open from under the broken and filthy floor. Within the floor there was nothing visible other than what appeared to be the beginning of a staircase, but there was quite a lot of noise emanating. There was the shifting and grinding of metal, the sounds of doors opening and closing, and the faint, yet noticeable whisper of voices that slowly began growing in volume. The source of these voices was soon noticeable as well, as two men dressed in matching black sweaters and pants emerged from the darkness and onto the dust-ridden floor. The most conspicuous feature however was not the matching outfits, or where they had come from, but what they were carrying.

    The pair struggled as they carried two large boxes that were covered by even larger white sheets. The sheets themselves were rather unremarkable at first glance, plain white to the casual observer, but as Titus strained his 20/20 vision a faint insignia became clear in the morning sunlight. At first it appeared to be an upside down kite, but details within the object revealed it to be the rendering of a pyramid. The symbol looked rather familiar to the snooping trainer, but he could not put his finger on what it stood for. Regardless, these men were obviously up to something suspect considering they had just emerged from a trapdoor in the floor of a former criminal hideout. A nagging voice in the back of Titus’s head attempted to pull him away from the building, reminding him of all of the trouble he had gotten himself into the day before, but his curiosity kept him rooted to the spot. In fact, his curiosity was so overwhelming that he found another hole in the wall closer to the ground and crawled through, hiding himself behind a pillar in the process. This improved position allowed Titus to hear what the two were saying, and he wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it.

    “Damn these things are heavy,” one thug said as he dropped his package with a loud clang comparable to that of the trapdoor. “You’d think that little guy would be a little lighter.”

    “You figure them cages have a bit o’ weight to ‘em too,” the second responded with a chuckle as he dropped his package in a similar manner.

    With the mention of cages, Titus’s ears perked up and his heart started racing. He realized that not many legal activities warranted cages, and this all but warranted his suspicions that what was going on in the remnants of this building was, in fact, illegal. Determined to find out more, Titus shook his nervousness momentarily and continued with his espionage.

    “Yeah I hear ya there. You’d think Miss Chase would get some Machoke or somethin’ to carry all this garbage.” As if to accentuate his point, the flunky gave his package a kick that shook the box back and forth a few times and elicited a high-pitched yelp from whatever sat within.

    “Hey man, don’t rough up the product now.”

    “Rough up the product? Have ya seen the thing? Looks plenty roughed up to me already.”

    The second thug responded with a chuckle, “Yeah I guess yer right. Let’s get the rest o’ the cargo quick, I don’t wanna piss off Miss Chase. She’s one scary lady.”

    “Here’s to that,” the first thug responded with a smile and followed his companion back down into the darkness.

    After the sound of a door closing from somewhere in the abyss, Titus removed himself from behind the pillar and took a long look at the two packages. His eyes almost immediately widened as the package that had been kicked had finally stopped shaking and the curtain of white had partially fallen off. Titus’s worst suspicions had been realized as he observed a small black and blue figure curled up into a terrified ball. The extremely nervous trainer supposed that black and blue was the creature’s natural colors, but the color scheme was heavily accented by the bruises that, despite blending, were quite noticeable. With the sound of a door opening once more, Titus dove back behind the pillar and began to think frantically of how to potentially save the caged victim as well as whatever he feared was trapped in the other mysterious box.

    Whatever the two thugs were talking about this time fell over deaf ears as Titus began reaching worriedly for solutions to this completely unprecedented problem. There’s no way I can take on those two guys by myself… I can hardly even move… It’s just like the alley… But I have to do something this time! If I don’t then I can’t imagine what will happen to them… I definitely don’t think I can carry those cages though. Those guys were both pretty big and they struggled a lot getting them up those steps. If only I could slip them out of those cages somehow… Those bars are kind of far apart, I could probably fit my arm in there, but I don’t see how that would help. I don’t think I could run over there and back in the time it takes them to go down and back anyway… If only I could reach all the way over there…

    It was then that Titus was struck with a revelation as he stared blankly at the ivy that coated the walls. “That’s it!” he exclaimed out loud in excitement of his sudden realization. This, unfortunately, was followed by the realization that he had spoken quite loudly. Not the best way to go about secretly doing anything.

    “Hold up!” one of the thugs exclaimed. “Did you hear something?”

    “Nah, stop bein’ so paranoid. Probably just some Rattata or something, no one comes ‘round here cause of all the stories of ghosts and stuff,” his partner replied nonchalantly.

    “Hah, I suppose yer right. Sure was nice o’ those Rockets to leave us their haunted hideout.”

    “Not like they had much choice!” The pair shared a loud laugh that echoed creepily as they returned to the darkness below.

    Behind the pillar, Titus heaved a sigh and sat silently for a second, savoring his good fortune, and then sprung into action once he heard the second door close. With one quick motion he slung the Pokeball off of his belt and released Zagreus in a brilliant flash of light. Clearly confused by his surroundings, Zagreus turned to Titus, about to speak. He was quickly interrupted however as Titus quickly explained his plan of action.

    “Listen Zagreus I know you’ve been in your ball for a while and you’re a bit confused, but I’ll answer your questions later. I need your help right now,” Titus spoke at a rapid pace in a very hushed voice as he left his statement open-ended to leave room for agreement. Zagreus complied after a few seconds and Titus continued explained, “Alright do you see that cage over there?” The Bulbusaur looked and his wide eyes became even wider, but nodded nonetheless. Titus nodded back with a slight smile and then removed a small, stylized wooden box from within the depths of his bag. Opening the box next, he removed a specially designed Pokeball from the velvet-lined interior. The ball was not the normal red and white, but entirely black with a red phoenix insignia that seemed to fly over the top.

    Before Zagreus could ask about the ball, Titus continued his instructions, “Okay, now what I need you to do is extend your vines over into that cage over there and drop this onto the little guy in the corner. Do you understand?”

    As his trainer’s intentions became clear, Zagreus’s eyes lit up with understanding and he nodded his head vigorously. Without any more prompting, the Bulbasaur extended one of his vines that lay coiled under his bulb and snatched the ball from Titus’s grasp. He then proceeded to extend his vine across the expanse of the dilapidated Gym and into the cage, inching himself in front of the pillar and forward when necessary. Once his vine reached the cage, Zagreus slipped the ball past the bars and dropped it onto the unsuspecting creature within. Without a budge, the creature was sucked up into the stylized ball with a flash of red light.

    Titus looked on in anticipation as the ball fell to the bottom of the cage and shook back and forth, the center button illuminated a deep red. After a few heart-stopping moments of anticipation, the ball finally stopped and the center button went back to its customary black with a “ping” noise that echoed throughout the empty building. Satisfied, Titus tapped his partner on the top of his bulb and gave him a nod to proceed. Zagreus gave him a look of compliance and picked up the ball once more with his extended vine. He then carefully removed it from the cage and drew it back toward himself by retracting his vine.

    Zagreus returned to the pillar where his trainer waited with open arms and a smile on his face. This smile quickly retreated though as the sound of a door opening rung throughout the Gym and the voices of the two thugs returned to the air. Acting quickly, Titus returned Zagreus to his ball with the customary red light and attached that and the newly retrieved ball to his belt. He then waited, breathless, behind the pillar, for the two men to return to the underground in hopes of checking out the rest of the boxes for more victims. These hopes would never come to fruition.

    The pair of thugs dropped their newest set of packages and, once again, stopped to talk, “So when’s the truck getting here?”

    “Pretty soon I think, we better get the rest of that stuff out from storage or Miss Chase will have our heads,” whatever one of them that had just spoken was unclear to Titus. What was clear was that this Miss Chase instilled a great deal of fear in them as his voice shook terribly with the mention of her name.

    “Alright,” his partner replied, “lemme just fix this cover over here. I think I knocked it off when I gave that guy a kick.”

    Hearing this caused Titus to crawl, panicked, back through the hole in the wall and out into the world beyond. Once he reached the outside, he broke into a full-on sprint back towards where he came: the edge of Route Two. His sprint was soon validated as well; one of the men inside the building had let out a great scream in anger. As Titus rounded the corner, he heard the Gym doors slam open and a quartet of footsteps pounding their way in his direction. Panic pounded itself against every inch of his consciousness as his feet raced their way away from his pursuers and his eyes darted back and forth searching for a place to hide.

    At a loss for anywhere else to go and terrified by the prospect of getting caught, Titus leapt to his right and buried himself in the nearby underbrush. He sat there, afraid to even breathe, for minutes upon minutes as feet rushed past him time and time again. It was only after about a fifteen minute stretch of no activity on the path before him that he dared to breathe. Even then, he did not dare to move for several more and when he did so he slowly and cautiously emerged from the brush in front of a large wooden sign. Titus took one look at the sign and chuckled in spite of himself.

    You Are Now Leaving Viridian City. We Hope You Come Back Soon!

    “Not if I have anything to say about it…”
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2006
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    Chapter Four
    A Rare Rendezvous


    A little girl with flaming red hair sat lonely and afraid in a small cave, grime covering her frilly white dress. The place smelled of sulfur, the air tasted stale, and the small enclosure had no sound to speak of. As far as looks are concerned, the dreary cave was not much of a pleasure either; it was offensive to all of the senses. Titus took in his surroundings with a look of disgust and was about to reach out to the girl when, all of the sudden, red water began dripping from stalactites on the ceiling and forming a quickly widening pool on the ground. He sat there in stunned silence as it covered the majority of the cavern floor. The pool then began glowing a bright white, twisting and convoluting until it took a solid shape. As the light dimmed, the speechless trainer could make out what seemed to be spikes jutting out from either side before the light began glowing once again, this time brighter than the last, until it engulfed the entirety of the cave.


    Titus was woken violently by the morning sun barraging his hectic dreaming with focused rays that boorishly pushed through his eyelids. He sat up with a start and rubbed said eyelids with the backs of his hands vigorously until his vision began to focus itself. The green expanse before him flashed in and out of focus for a few minutes until it finally became clear that Titus was no longer in the cave of his dreams, but in the field just off of Route Two where he had passed out the night before. The field was a temporary sanctuary that he had stumbled upon while cautiously making his way through Route Two. He had zigzagged over the beaten path and through the woods bordering it in an attempt to avoid detection by the two thugs from the remnants of the Viridian City Gym. This plan had succeeded, to Titus’s relief, but had also made what should have been a one day trek to the Viridian Forest checkpoint a two day affair that would more than likely land him in the forest itself.

    The groggy trainer gave his head a violent shake, as if to forcibly remove the images of the little girl that had now plagued his sleep for the second night in a row. He could not help but wonder where the image had generated from, as it certainly was not a memory, but his mental search turned up nothing. Giving one last shake, Titus rose slowly to his feet and brushed off nearly every inch of his body before turning to the large green bulb that was resting next to his crimson travel bag. His face broke into a small smile as he strolled over to his slumbering partner, remembering what had transpired the night before. Once they had reached the field where Titus ultimately ended up falling asleep, he had released Zagreus from his Pokeball and the two had spent nearly all night talking. Their conversation had focused mainly on the events that had transpired after Zagreus’s loss of consciousness, but they had jumped from topic to topic on occasion. One such topic was what to do with the Pokemon they had rescued from the clutches of the two mysterious men in the Gym.

    Titus had not yet released the Pokemon from the ball his father had sent him for his birthday. This was mostly due to the fact that he figured the obviously abused creature deserved some peace, quiet, and rejuvenation, and if the special Pokeball worked the way it was supposed to, that ball was the perfect place for it to receive that care. The card that had accompanied the phoenix marked Pokeball described it as a sneak-peek at what Titus’s father’s company in Saffron City was currently developing and had not only been specially designed for Titus on the outside, but the inside as well.


    The creation of this Pokeball was a project Drake Polloa had spearheaded on the suggestion of his son. Titus, eight years old at the time, had just been tucked into bed after hearing his favorite bedtime story of the hero Gar: The Quest for the Dragonite, when he made the point of saying to his father that the Dragonite Gar had journeyed to capture was now useless. When he asked his son why such a powerful Pokemon was useless, Drake was met with the reasoning that Gar had used all of his healing herbs in the battle against Dragonite and since he was on the peak of Mt. Silver with no Pokemon Center within miles, as the story had stated, the Dragonite, that was severely weakened now due to the efforts of Gar, would be of no use if the hero encountered more powerful Pokemon on his way down the mountain. Drake Polloa was baffled by the logic of his son and quickly came up with a solution. He replied that Gar had a magic Pokeball that would heal its occupant over time. Pleased with this explanation, Titus asked his father if he could make him a magic Pokeball just like Gar’s before drifting off to sleep. The naivety of his son’s request sparked an inspiration in Drake to create the “magic Pokeball” of his own imagination and deliver on Titus’s youthful wish.


    The culmination of seven years of tireless work now rested in Titus’s hand as he stood over Zagreus, waiting silently for the Bulbasaur to wake so the pair could release the mysterious Pokemon from the Pokeball and confront it together. They had decided the night prior that it would probably be better if the abused creature had a fellow Pokemon to talk to fresh off of its imprisonment at the hands of humans. It had also been decided however, that Titus should still be there for the initial meeting to show his compassion and good intention considering that the trio was stuck together at least until they reached Pewter City and the Pokemon Center there. Only at the Center could Titus properly release a Pokemon from its bond to its Pokeball, and since backtracking to Viridian City was too risky, Pewter was their only shot. Release seemed like the obvious option in this case since the mysterious Pokemon had probably spent much too long in containment already to consider an entire journey in the relative containment of a Pokeball, no matter how comforting that Pokeball may be. In the end however, it was all up to the mystery Pokemon’s preference. Titus would be more than glad to add another member to his fledgling team, but he was not one to keep anyone against their will simply to add to his arsenal.

    Zagreus soon stirred from his deep sleep and shook himself awake much like his trainer had done mere moments ago, and turned to face Titus with an early morning glow in his eyes. <Morning Titus!> the Bulbasaur exclaimed in a soft, yet excited voice. His excitement soon turned to an emotion that was about as close to seriousness as the shy, young Pokemon ever got as he stole a glance at what Titus was holding. Zagreus had quickly realized that now was the time he had been wondering about ever since he had retrieved that odd looking Pokeball from the cage. Now was the time to confront whatever they had rescued from that cage.

    “Are you ready for this Zagreus?” Titus asked his companion.

    <I suppose…> the Bulbasaur responded tentatively, <but what if it was in that cage for a reason? What if it’s dangerous?>

    “Well I guess we’ll just have to risk it,” Titus replied just as hesitantly. He had mulled that very question over while Zagreus slept and had to thoroughly convince himself that whatever those men were going to do to this Pokemon was worse than what the Pokemon itself could do. So, after much thought and planning, the moment of truth was upon them. It was time for the rescuers to finally meet who it was that they had rescued. With a deep breath, Titus tossed his specially-made Pokeball into the air. The ball flipped and spun as it flew towards the open field of grass in front of the pair, glistening in the sun as it went. As it hit the soft grass, the ball bounced and split itself in two down the middle, releasing a red-orange flash of light that twisted and reformed into the shape of the creature Titus had seen the day before huddled up in the corner of a stark cage. As the light dimmed, the young trainer held his Pokedex at the ready as it began to scan the new arrival.

    Once the mystery Pokemon had finally made its physical appearance known however, Titus realized his Pokedex’s species description was not necessary in the least. The Pokedex’s audible announcement of the name of the species was all that Titus needed to know about what he now beheld.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was about a year-and-a-half ago that Titus was marching through the hallways of the Pokemon University towards the academy lecture hall. He was joined by a group of about one-hundred other students who were, like him, enrolled in the Trainer program at the university. The mob was headed to a special lecture by a world renowned wild Pokemon specialist who had traveled all the way from the land of Hoenn at the behest of Professor Oak. According to Professor Oak, he had taught this man in his youth and he was one of the professor’s most successful students from his teaching days. This statement of praise was a rather impressive feat by itself considering the great minds that the Professor had helped to mold over the years. That is, until his retirement from teaching a few years prior to Titus’s enrollment in the university.

    As Titus entered the great hall, he headed straight for the front, hoping to get a good seat for the renowned guest speaker. He joined several other potential trainers in the first couple rows of the massive auditorium and sat down, turning his attention to the stage up front and the two men that were conversing up there. One of them Titus immediately recognized as the local celebrity and Pokemon expert Professor Oak. The other man on the stage was considerably younger than the aging professor and exhibited it quite proudly. He gave off a youthful and energetic exuberance that echoed throughout the hearty laugh he gave in response to something his former teacher had just whispered to him on stage. His clothing, Titus noticed, was a bit suspect for one in his position as he sported a tight-fitting, navy blue t-shirt, a pair of khaki shorts, and a couple of tattered, brown sandals. Another thing that the trainer-to-be found interesting about him was long, brown hair he sported in contrast to Oak’s clean-cut silver, and the scruff of facial hair that ran across his chin.

    Titus was snapped from his observation and appraisal of the speaker as the telltale sound of someone clearing their throat rang out over the speaker system. The sound continued to ring as everyone else in attendance immediately fell silent and turned their attention to Professor Oak who had stepped up to the polished wooden podium on stage. He gave the students a quick smile and a nod and proceeded with the introduction of the guest in their midst.

    “Hello everyone,” he began with his eyes grazing the sea of students, “as you all know, today we have a very special guest speaker for you. He is someone that I had the great pleasure of teaching as a young man at the Rustboro Institution of Higher Learning. He has since become the foremost expert on wild Pokemon, specifically, their habitual distribution and behavioral patterns. Currently, he is working closely with scientists of the Devon Corporation on a new and more comprehensive Pokedex that will be available next year for those of you lucky enough to score in the top percentile on your Trainer Proficiency Exams. He is here today to present to you all he knows about one of the most interesting and mysterious, not to mention rare, Pokemon in the world today. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Professor Birch.”

    The aforementioned professor was met with a cacophony of applause that he received with a look of great pleasure and excitement as he stepped up to the podium, shaking hands with his former teacher on the way. Birch’s large physique towered over the podium that Professor Oak had stood nearly even with, and he struggled to adjust the microphone to the according height. Once he had finished, the Professor looked out over the crowd with a smile and fiddled with something unseen to the audience on the back of the podium. Finally prepared, he spoke loud and clearly through the microphone to the assembled masses.

    “Nice to see you all! I, as my esteemed teacher mentioned, am Professor Adam Birch and I’m from Hoenn, New Bark Town to be exact. Like Professor Oak, I am an avid researcher of Pokemon, but I prefer my studies to take place in the field where I can experience firsthand what it is that many of my colleagues merely read about. I am here today to talk to you about a certain extremely rare, and just as interesting, Pokemon.” With his introductions complete, Professor Birch removed a small remote like object from his pocket and pointed it at the screen that had lowered behind him as he spoke. With the press of a button, the obviously dated image of a very impressive Pokemon appeared on the white backdrop. “Now,” the professor continued, “can anyone tell me what this Pokemon is? It is talked about thoroughly in the mythos of ancient Pokemon, but very rarely seen in real life. As a matter of fact, this picture is one of the only recorded, credible, sightings of this wonderful creature.”

    The creature that graced the screen was vaguely canine in appearance, despite the fact that it stood perfectly balanced on its powerful hind legs. Its body was mostly black and blue, the only exception coming in the form of its furry, tan torso and three white spikes that adorned its chest and two hands. The hands themselves were black and led the way to blue arms that in turn led to black shoulders. The creature’s legs followed the same basic pattern as the feet and lower legs were black, the upper legs were blue, and the waist was a ring of black. The most predominantly canine features that this Pokemon displayed were the blue tail, blue pointed ears, and the blue face that sported two black stripes. These stripes ran perpendicular to each other, one forming a ring horizontally around its head and the other arcing over the top and ending at the intersection on either side. Both of them ran from the four sensory appendages that hung down from the back of its head to the end of its protruding snout. The final and perhaps most stunning feature of this proud creature was the pair of red eyes that cut straight through the black of its face.

    Titus had seen this particular Pokemon somewhere before, exactly where he had seen it he was not sure, but, due to the Professor’s description, he assumed it was in the Pokemon Mythology class he had taken the year prior. This, of course, meant he was unable to answer Professor Birch’s question. Apparently, someone was however as the Professor soon called on someone towards the back of the room to voice their answer to the question. A soft voice laced with shyness answered with a volume that was barely registered towards the front of the room where Titus sat.

    “Umm… that’s Lucario isn’t it?” his fellow student replied hesitantly.

    “Very good young lady!” Professor Birch exclaimed as his booming voice completely outshone the student who had answered him. “This wonderful creature is known as Lucario, the Aura Pokemon. Now this classification branches from a Lucario’s unique, one-of-a-kind ability to sense, read, and manipulate the energy known as Aura. Not much is known about this energy other than it permeates from every living being and apparently varies in strength between each. Now generally speaking, humans do not have especially high Aura levels. The select few that do however are very lucky in that they are potential candidates for capturing this majestic creature. A Lucario will never ally itself with any Trainer that it considers unworthy, and unlike many other Pokemon it can afford to hold this distinction as a fully grown Lucario has the potential to be extraordinarily powerful.”

    With this mention of power, many of the potential trainers in the auditorium perked up in their seats and many raised their hands. With a grand smile on his face, Professor Birch pointed one of them out and asked for his input. The chosen student spoke very loudly, and much blunter than his predecessor as he asked the question that was riding every student’s mind.

    “Where can you catch a Lucario sir?” with this question, the attention of the entire auditorium turned almost palpably to Adam Birch, the man with all the answers.

    “Well now that’s the golden question son,” the Professor said with a knowing glint in his eye. “Quite simply, I don’t entirely know. No one truly does. At least, that’s the official word on it. The last man to officially capture a Lucario released his approximately twenty years ago, and will not confess as to where he captured it. This man, the Sinnoh League Champion for a number of years, claimed that his Lucario found him, not the other way around. So, in the end, we don’t have much to go on as far as Lucario habitation is concerned other than the fact that they are found somewhere in the Sinnoh region and only seek trainers with high concentrations of Aura.” With that, one could hear the entire gathering of students sigh in disappointment at the unfortunate news.

    Professor Birch was not one for bad moods however, and he followed this bit of bad news with some good. “Hold on now! We have made great strides in recent years concerning the Lucario population. Although study on habitat location has stalled, we have learned a great deal about physical makeup, combat technique, and even the evolutionary line of Lucario.” Having recaptured the undivided attention of his audience, Professor Birch continued by changing the image on the screen behind him.

    “This, ladies and gentlemen, is Riolu…”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Now, a year and a half later and not even a week into his journey, Titus saw live and in person what the rest of the world would hardly ever get the chance to see even in a picture. What he saw was what seemed to be a miniature version of Lucario. According to the description that was still being rattled off by Titus’s Pokedex, the extraordinarily rare Pokemon stood at a little over two feet tall. Much like its evolved counterpart, this small canine creature’s color scheme was almost entirely black and blue, the only exception coming in a small tuft of tan fur on its neck. Its upper legs, arms, and tail were all a medium blue and its torso and lower legs were a deep black. The Riolu’s face was considerably less profound than a Lucario’s, but still held the same color scheme and interesting design. Other diminished features included its ears, which were tiny nubs compared to the regal protrusions of a Lucario, and its sensory appendages of which there were only two as opposed to four. Perhaps the most noticeable feature however, was the absence of the spikes. There was no semblance of metal on its chest and only what could be described as a pair of steel bumps on each forearm. Overall, it was not the most intimidating creature, but its red eyes had a look of dark suspicion unbefitting of one who appeared so innocent.

    These eyes darted back and forth between the trainer and his Bulbasaur, obviously confused and clearly wary of what the two strangers had to do with his drastic and sudden change of circumstances. Titus saw the apprehension creep across the Riolu’s face, something the trainer readily expected, and was not entirely surprised by what followed. The bipedal canine quickly struck a fighting pose and squared off against the two with a snarl and bared teeth, a kneejerk reaction to the supposed threat they posed. Both trainer and Pokemon flinched quite visibly in reaction, despite this being a relatively foreseen event, but quickly recovered and began attempts at calming the new arrival down. Zagreus began a bit panicked and rambled incoherently for a few moments before righting himself with a breath and restarting.

    <Um okay…> he began slowly and calmly, <so I guess I should start with names… Right? Alright well my name is Zagreus and this is Titus. What’s your name?>

    The Riolu’s eyes continued darting as confusion began to creep into its face to join the anxiety and suspicion. Evidently, it was expecting a much different reaction from its captors than this nervous combination of stutters and clumsy introductions. After a few tense moments of appraisal, it spoke out in a harsh, male voice that had an undertone of defiance almost exclusive to adolescents, human or Pokemon.

    <You will get no such thing! Now where am I?! Who are you?! Explain yourselves!>

    Both Titus and Zagreus were somewhat surprised by the tone of voice used by this supposedly mysterious and regal creature, especially the post-pubescent accents of it. After getting over this miniscule speed bump, Zagreus opened his mouth to speak once again, but was cut short by Titus stepping forward.

    “Like my friend here said, my name is Titus,” he spoke softly, lacing his voice with compassion as best as he could, “and I’m a Pokemon Trainer. We’re in Kanto, just north of Viridian City to be specific. We found you a while south of here being transported in a cage by a couple of thugs from the basement of the abandoned Gym. You looked like you were in a lot of trouble so we did what we thought was right and got you out of there. We were found out though, so we had to get out of there ourselves. So what ended up happening was that I ended up hiding from them almost all day until I finally lost them and settled down in this field here. And well that’s about it.” The young trainer finished with a smile and hoped his friendly explanation would help ease the tension.

    To Titus’s surprise and pleasure, it seemed to work as, after a few moments of heart stopping silence, the Riolu finally lowered his arms. This change in position did not change the look in his eyes, but it was a start. Both Titus’s and Zagreus’s bodies followed suit with their new arrival’s and released a great deal of stored tension, relaxing each of them individually and the situation as a whole. All three of them stood there, relaxed but still at a loss as to where to go from that point. After a little while, even the Riolu’s eyes lost a bit of their suspicious edge as he considered what Titus had just told him. This softness did not last for long, much to Titus’s chagrin, as the Riolu had stumbled upon something in his mental breakdown that alerted him greatly.

    <Where’s Astor?!> he exclaimed suddenly.

    “I’m sorry who?” Titus asked, confused.

    <Astor! He was with me when I was… captured. We were…> the eminence Pokemon struggled to find the correct word for a second or two, but soon settled on a suitable one, <…friends…>

    A fallen look overtook Titus’s face as he realized what exactly this distressed Pokemon was talking about. He replied solemnly, “I only had enough time to save one of you… I didn’t see into any of the other cages so I’m not even sure if your friend was even there. Plus I don’t know how I would’ve been able to either. I only had one Pokeball-”

    <Pokeball?!> Before he could finish his regretful explanation, Titus was abruptly cut off by the Riolu. <You put me in a Pokeball?! That’s how you “saved” me?! This is awful…>

    Despite expecting this type of reaction, his savior was visibly annoyed by the final trailing statement the Riolu made and spoke accordingly, “Now hold on! Awful? It’s gotta be better than that cage! You were in terrible shape when we found you and this Pokeball is specially made to heal. I didn’t expect you to be glowing with praise but I figured you’d at least a little grateful before I released you geez…”

    <Released me? You planned on releasing me?> the Riolu inquired, now more confused than ever.

    “Well yeah,” Titus said matter-of-factly, “I didn’t catch you fairly so I figured it was only right to have you released once we reached Pewter City. It’s about a day or two walk from here but once we get there I can officially have you released from the Pokeball.”

    The Riolu took in this last statement with a bit of difficulty. However, he soon recovered his defiance and swagger with a final retort, <Right then… Well hurry up and return me to that ball so I can heal further… I’ll need to be at full strength once you release me so I can find Astor…>

    Titus was about to advise against the emotion-driven rescue mission, but he realized it would be useless to argue further with the stubborn creature and merely complied with his wishes. The young trainer unclipped the Pokeball from his belt once again and returned the Riolu to his temporary home in another flash of red-orange light that engulfed the Pokemon and retracted into the ball. With a sigh that revealed a mixture of relief and a trace of disappointment, the young trainer turned to Zagreus and gave him a quick nod before returning him as well. Titus then gathered the rest of his things and set off into the nearby underbrush and back towards Route Two. He trudged through branches, dirt, and an inordinate amount of prickly leaves for a few good minutes before emerging into the mid-day sun of the clear dirt road. It took a few moments to recover his bearings and sense of direction, but once he did, Titus set off towards the Viridian Forest and ultimately, Pewter City.

    As he walked down the Route, Titus began to notice a strange rustling noise in the taller grass to his left. Initially, he brushed it aside in his mind, assuming it to only be a Rattata or something similarly annoying trying to goad him into battle. These suspicions were seemingly confirmed moments later as the rustling gave up following the young trainer and stopped altogether. With a smirk and a semblance of pep in his step, Titus continued on heartily. That is, until the rustling returned, this time on his right-hand side. He continued his strategy of feigning ignorance, convinced that it was the best way to neutralize this annoyance. However, this time the rustling chose not to stop and even intensified as he continued to approach the ever-nearing Trainer checkpoint at the entrance of Viridian Forest. Finally, once the checkpoint appeared as small, dark blip on the horizon, the rustling creature made its presence known in a big way.

    The ground before Titus exploded in a flurry of dirt and rocks as a small yellow creature emerged violently from within the earth. It rolled around on the ground for a few seconds, nothing but a blur of yellow, before snapping out of its spherical shape and into what seemed to be a fighting stance at the startled trainer’s feet. This Pokemon was no more than two feet tall and had a rather round figure, slightly less so than when it emerged from the earth, but round nonetheless. Its body was covered in hard, yellow scales that covered everything but the two beady eyes on its head and the soft, white underbelly. It had mousy features overall, and its limbs were all short and stubby, each ending in a pair of white claws. This creature was fairly common in caves, mountains, and deserts, but to see one this close to a forest was rather unheard of. Before Titus could question its appearance, the questions were explained by a voice emerging from behind him.

    “Hey there! It’s about time you stopped to chat!’

    Fearing it was the thugs from the abandoned Gym, Titus turned slowly and beheld something, or rather someone, much less intimidating. It was a small boy, about twelve or thirteen years of age, with a pasty complexion and a wild mess of brown hair. He wore a bright yellow t-shirt and a pair of blue denim shorts that were held up by a black belt bearing two red-and-white Pokeballs. The young boy stalked up to Titus and blew right past him, stopping a few feet behind the mouse Pokemon and turning to face the rookie trainer. In a few seconds it was obvious to Titus what this kid wanted. He wanted a battle.

    “Well send out your Pokemon! I know you’ve got at least two on your belt there,” the mystery boy shouted indignantly. “I haven’t got all day!”

    Titus complied with a smirk and, in one fluid motion, released Zagreus from his spherical confinement in a flash of white light. The trainer was brimming with an uncharacteristic confidence in lieu of his opponent’s unimpressive identity, and even dared to smile at his chances. After the hectic events of the last couple days he was happy to return to anything even remotely less terrifying than grown men chasing him down for his life. Pokemon battles were not Titus’s forte, but the memory of his wondrous comeback during his last battle was fresh in the rookie’s mind. Besides, if he wanted to become a champion, he would have to start battling seriously sometime. With a confident breath, Titus locked eyes with his opponent and, for the first time, began a battle on his terms.

    “Start things off with a Vine Whip Zagreus!” he exclaimed heartily. Zagreus, invigorated by his trainer’s confident command, complied dynamically and, just as Titus commanded, whipped out a vine with full force and swiftly smacked his opponent across the face. The mouse Pokemon hit the ground rolling once again, but this time it was not by choice. It rolled and rolled until it was able to right itself with clumsy application of its tail and stubby arms. Titus saw a ghost of himself in his opponent as the young child’s face was frozen with frustration in reaction to his Pokemon’s misfortune. Unlike Titus in his first few battles however, the boy channeled his frustration and was able to successfully command his partner in the face of this turn of events.

    “Don’t take that Sandshrew! Use Scratch attack and get ‘em back!” he declared excitedly. His partner responded in turn and quickly rushed toward its opponent, claws raised. The claws never did reach their mark however, as Zagreus’s still extended vines harshly kept the shrew Pokemon away with well timed strikes and parries. Both the opposing trainer and Pokemon were visibly aggravated by their inability to pull off a successful attack and the very young trainer eventually thought of a different strategy. His look of frustration turned, almost comically, to one of absolute delight as he shouted out his new command, “Sandshrew change to a Dig attack!”

    The shrew Pokemon complied with gusto and immediately stopped its pointless assault, instead switching to a subterranean method of attack. Sandshrew lowered its claws below its head and straight to the ground, quickly shoveling its way into the earth and beneath the outstretched vines of its opponent. At a loss for strategy, Titus could only watch as the disturbed ground snaked its way through the battlefield until finally reaching Zagreus’s underside. The earth beneath the Bulbasaur’s feet viciously exploded outward and his embattled opponent drove out from underneath and struck Zagreus’s underside with considerable force. This blow took a considerable toll on Zagreus as he stumbled off weakly to the side after being catapulted a good amount of feet.

    Despite this momentary adversity, he stayed strong and retaliated quickly and without prompt with a powerful full-body tackle. The resulting contact sent the small shrew Pokemon flying even further than Zagreus had just flown, high up into the air and then roughly back down to the earth. Pokemon and ground met with a resounding impact that sent up a small cloud of dust. Once it all settled, it was clear that the Sandshrew was no longer capable of battling as it lay motionless and unconscious. The small boy despondently took in his defeat and returned his partner back to its Pokeball and the ball to his belt.

    Titus was nigh ecstatic in his first true victory. It was a long time coming, but he had finally recorded his first victory as a Pokemon Trainer, a wondrous occasion for any up and coming trainer. Or so he thought. His celebration was cut short by the surefire sound of a Pokemon being released from a Pokeball. With a flash of white light, the opposing trainer had released a second Pokemon onto the field of battle, this one being a small bird.

    The bird Pokemon was enveloped in contrasting brown and cream colored feathers that each covered one half of its body. Its tiny body was held up by a pair of even tinier pink talons for a few moments before it lifted itself into the sky with a pair of feathered wings that together doubled its unimpressive size. The last of its features were a pair of black rings encircling its eyes and a small beak that’s color mirrored that of its talons. It was a rather unimpressive creature overall, but it was one that anyone in Kanto would recognize in an instant, a Pidgey.

    The initial surprise at its sudden appearance washed away quickly as Titus assessed the miniscule bird as a minimal threat. He was not expecting a two-on-two battle, especially since the last thing he wanted to do was bother that Riolu he “caught” with a battle it would certainly see no point in fighting. However, the fact that the second Pokemon was one as common and notoriously weak as a Pidgey erased his doubts and he set forth with continued vigilance. With a quick clearing of his throat, Titus shouted another set of encouraging commands to his besieged partner, “Alright Zagreus I know you’re tired, but you can take this one out too! I’m countin’ on you buddy, let’s show ‘em what we’re made of with another Vine Whip!”

    Zagreus took a moment or two to soak in his newest commands and gather himself before resetting himself in a powerful stance and reasserting his current battlefield dominance with a barrage of vines that quickly rained down upon his new opponent’s head. Both the young boy and his Pokemon were taken by surprise by this sudden offensive, perhaps thinking that Titus would opt to defend with Zagreus worn from the last battle. The Pidgey was defenseless against the blows hailing from above and its trainer was doing nothing to help it, his face screwed up in a visage that seemed to say he was thinking a bit too hard. His tiny avian soon became weary of its trainer’s inaction took it upon itself to bank low under the vines and smash head on into Zagreus, sending him sliding back a few feet and causing him to retract his flailing vines.

    The Pidgey’s sudden action took both trainers by surprise, but the younger trainer’s surprise was quickly veiled as he attempted to take credit for the brilliant maneuver. “Yeah that’s it Pidgey! Just like we um planned! Good job, now follow it up with a Quick Attack!”

    Titus was about to call the young boy’s bluff but his time was cut short by the youngster’s battle commands. As his Pidgey banked once more in preparation for its strike, Titus called out to Zagreus hurriedly. “Quick buddy jump to your left!” The Bulbasaur immediately complied and dodged the oncoming bird narrowly by lunging clumsily out of the way. Bulbasaurs were not meant for that kind of quick motion however and Zagreus’s momentum carried him much further than he wanted. This unfortunate mishap eventually resulted in a loss of balance and a Bulbasaur on his back, unable to roll back over due to the awkward way he was resting on his bulb. The Pidgey seized this opportunity effortlessly and began violently barraging the helpless dinosaur Pokemon with successive pecks and scratches.

    Once it was clear that Zagreus was completely unable to continue in the battle, the small bird Pokemon perched itself on the ground next to him and stared at Titus expectantly. Defeated and dejected, Titus robotically removed Zagreus’s Pokeball from his belt and returned his partner back to the comfort of his ball with a flash of red light. This acceptance of defeat was apparently not enough for the Pidgey, as its stare continued to pry Titus for something more. It was only when Titus saw this look mirrored in the eyes of its trainer that he understood what his opponents were looking for. [i]Oh man what am I gonna do?[i/] the distressed trainer asked himself. I can’t ask the Riolu to battle, especially after I just saved him from who knows what. I doubt he’d listen to me anyway. I should’ve just put his ball in my bag; they only expect me to have another Pokemon because I put the ball on my belt.

    Titus racked his brain for excuses for a few moments before finally coming to a conclusive one, “Well you see… My other Pokemon fai-” His quickly planned excuse was immediately rendered useless, despite his best efforts, by the emergence of something none of the combatants saw coming. In a brilliant flash of red-orange light, the Riolu Titus had just been excusing from the battle burst forth and materialized before the pair of shocked trainers. He gave a quick look and nod to Titus and then turned viciously towards his newfound opponent and assumed a powerful fighting stance.

    Before Titus could issue a command or the opposing trainer could question the mystery Pokemon’s appearance, Riolu struck. He took two long, lunging strides and launched himself with blinding speed towards the Pidgey. Within the blink of an eye he was upon the bird and pounded it with two powerful punches before retreating to Titus’s side. Both trainers were struck with awe and speechlessness at the display that left the tiny bird Pokemon beaten and unconscious several yards from where it had originally stood. With nothing else to do, the younger of the two returned his partner to its ball and without a word, stuck his tongue mockingly and turned tail back towards Viridian City.

    He left the pair of victors standing in awkward silence that permeated the air for a few long seconds before it was finally broken by Titus. “Why’d you do that? I wasn’t going to ask you to battle…” he inquired bluntly.

    <I sensed you were distressed, so I released myself from that ball. Once I saw the other two, it was obvious what you needed so I took care of it.> The Riolu replied with an air of pride in his voice indicative of his recent victory.

    At a loss for anything else to say, Titus responded with a simple, “Thank you.”

    The bipedal canine Pokemon was taken aback a bit by the trainer’s sincerity but swiftly recovered his composure. <It was no problem,> he said with a nod. He then took a few moments of thought and continued, <And if you need any help with fights until we reach wherever we’re going… Just ask… I’ll need the practice if I want to save Astor from those men.> The Riolu seemed to struggle with offering his help, but softened up a bit once he found a self-serving reasoning to it.

    Titus took his offering graciously and spoke in return, “You got it. I’ll call on you if I need any help on the way, but do you want to rest up in the ball until then?”

    Very little consideration was given to this offer, as the black and blue dog nodded almost immediately. It was slowly becoming apparent that the display he had just put on took a bit more out of him than he cared to admit. Noticing this, Titus quickly snagged the ball from his belt and was about to return his temporary partner to his temporary home when he was interrupted once more by Riolu.

    <Hold on,> he spoke assertively. <My name… it’s Romulus.>

    “Well it’s a pleasure to meet you Romulus.”
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  7. #7
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    Sorry for the wait, I've run into some computer problems. There may or may not be a similar wait for the next chapter as well. If anyone is actually reading this that is... C'mon people, leave some reviews!

    Chapter Five
    Not Out of the Woods Yet


    It was a gorgeous day on the wooded dirt road known as Route Two. The Pidgeys were chirping, the Rattata were playing, and even the occasional Nidoran would emerge for a few wonderful moments of sun. At the moment, said sun was shining gloriously in the mid-day sky and washed completely over the northern and southern portions of the Route, illuminating the beauty of nature. Despite its best efforts however, the center of the Route received very little sunlight, or at least very little of it ever reached the ground. The central portion of Route Two was covered by the maze of trees and brush known as the Viridian Forest, and trees of this forest tended to be quite enormous, obscuring the glory of the sun from the ground level. This unique, contained ecosystem drew in bug Pokemon enthusiasts from all over Kanto and was cause for very unusual occurrences on occasion. Perhaps the most interesting features of the forest on this day were the three figures emerging from the northern edge of trees and foliage.

    The trio of figures was heavily obscured by an innumerable amount of branches, leaves, and clods of dirt, but their overall appearances were still vaguely discernable. The largest of the three by far was an adolescent boy with a jet black nest on his head and a uniform of tired and tattered clothes. To his right there stood a two foot tall mass of nature. This mass seemed to be centered on a giant green bulb. The rest of its body was a mix of dark brown grime and splotches of blue-green skin. The third figure stood on two legs like the boy, but hardly reached his knees in height. It was the least obscured of the three, canine features and black and blue fur were readily visible amongst the sporadic spots of grime. The three were Titus, Zagreus, and Romulus respectively, and they had just escaped from the maze of Viridian Forest. After about a day of wandering, no sleep, and countless battles with weak, but numerous bug Pokemon, they were all very exhausted. They were all clearly exhausted and seemingly at a complete loss of breath. Their breath would not be gone for long though, as Titus and Zagreus began cracking up in hysterical laughter.

    They tilted their heads back and let loose booming howls of unabridged joy. Titus even leaned so far back his legs gave out beneath his own weight, landing him square on his backside, an action that elicited even more laughter from the pair. The two of them were at such a loss for a reasonable reaction that their only avenue was amusement. The joy of escaping from the godforsaken maze of a forest seemed to be forcing its way out through their hysteria. Throughout it all, their third companion kept a stern visage, the only variation coming in the form of some confusion creeping into his eyes. By the time the pair finished, the confusion was at the forefront and noticed instantly by Titus. After fighting short, hiccupping breaths to recover, he swiftly questioned the Riolu’s confused look.

    “What’s wrong Romulus?” he inquired.

    “Nothing… It’s just… What’s so funny?” Romulus struggled for a bit for a bit, looking for the words to say, but at the end decided it was a question best asked bluntly.

    Titus had some problem responding himself, and could not actually find a suitable answer. So he retorted with a shrug and a simple, three-word response, “I don’t know.”

    Romulus was clearly not satisfied by the answer, but brushed it off to save himself the trouble of trying to understand. He merely motioned that they should move on and began to do so himself by striding quickly away from the forest. The Riolu was soon joined by his giddy companions, and the three of them marched on down towards Pewter City, not knowing that they were being watched very carefully from the trees lining the route.

    The thing waiting in the trees watched silently, slowly and surely following alongside the trio with its eyes fixed intently on Romulus the entire time. It stepped stride for stride with Titus, making sure not to make a sound and surrender its position. As the three companions approached the Pewter city limits, the observer decided it was time to make his presence known. However, he was promptly stopped, if only for a moment or two, by a sudden change in posture by the Riolu. He had suddenly snapped from a semi-casual, yet agitated stride to a sharp and alert fighting stance, red eyes darting around the surrounding area in apprehension. His two companions quickly followed suit in stopping their strides as well, but both bore looks of confusion as opposed to the trepidation exuded by the bipedal canine.

    Before either could ask what the cause for such a sudden change was, Romulus gave them their answer, “Someone’s watching us… I can feel it...”

    At this turn of events, the being in the trees gave a sigh and burst out through the trees, loudly and obnoxiously making his presence known. He was revealed to be an adolescent male, not much older than Titus, with messy brown hair and a rough, dark complexion. He was clearly stronger than the lean Titus, sporting a well defined, but not too overpowering, musculature despite being a few inches shorter than him. Over his toned frame, the stranger bore a tight black shirt and a pair of medium tan cargo pants that fell over a pair of plain brown hiking boots. The ensemble seemed to scream outdoorsman and the stranger’s physique certainly backed that theory up. However, what he wanted of Titus was, as of yet, unclear. He simply stared the young trainer down with a pair of squinted eyes framed by a rugged face spotted with childlike confidence and swagger.

    Titus’s platinum eyes locked with the stranger’s for a few tense moments of silence. This silence eerily permeated the air, quieting the wild Pokemon, the rustling of the branches, and even the breeze itself. That is, until, Titus hastily broke it. “Who are you?” he asked. “And what were you doing in those bushes?”

    His counterpart gave a smirk and answered Titus’s question with a strikingly similar query, “Who am I? I think the real question here is: who are you? And do you have a permit for that foreign Pokemon?”

    The mysterious boy’s counter-question was met at first by a look of bewilderment from Titus. But as he had time to process the question, this bewilderment slowly shifted to distress. The laws behind this permit the stranger was referring to had gradually crept their way into the forefront of Titus’s mind, and their contents were what frightened him. As he now recalled, this particular law stated, in essence, that no person, Pokemon Trainer or otherwise, may own a Pokemon that does not naturally inhabit his or her home country without a special permit. This was generally in place to preserve the natural habitats of the Pokemon in each country, but most just saw it as a way to keep each separate Pokemon League different and interesting. At the moment however, none of these specifics mattered to Titus. What mattered was that he was currently in violation of this law. His forced capture/rescue of Romulus gave him illegal possession of a Pokemon only ever found in Sinnoh. This had been only a minor detail up until now, lost in the rush and confusion of the past few days. However, he was now faced with a major problem in the form of the stranger, who was now clearly a police officer or some other kind of official, since those were the only occupancies able to deal with such offences.

    Once it was clear what Titus was guilty of, he quickly began stammering, trying to defend his “possession” of Romulus. “A-Ah w-well I u-uh… What happened was um…”

    The mysterious official’s smirk grew in response to Titus’s stutters, clearly taking them as an admission of guilt. He then reached a powerful hand behind his back, grabbing for something in his back pocket. All the while thinking out loud, “That’s what I thought…” However, before he could reveal what he was reaching for, Titus interrupted with his first clear thought.

    “Hold on! I can explain!” he shouted urgently.

    His opposition removed his empty hand from behind his back and replied with a simple, “Oh?”

    Titus took a quick breath and began the abridged version of what had transpired to bring the Riolu to him. “Well I was heading out of Viridian ‘cause there was this whole big problem with this girl and some mugger… But that’s a different story. Anyway, I was passing by the old gym and I heard something so I decided to check it out. Turned out there were these guys carrying out all kinds of covered crates from the basement. I thought it was weird so I kept watching and one of the covers fell off. I saw what looked like an abused Pokemon so I had Zagreus, my Bulbasaur, slip a Pokeball in with his vine and I caught it so I could get it out of there. I didn’t know it was an illegal capture of anything like that. I was just trying to save him. I would’ve gotten help or something, but they saw that Romulus wasn’t there and started chasing after me. So I had to hide on Route Two until they were gone. Once they were, I didn’t want to head back that way so I just headed towards Pewter.”

    Titus’s explanation was a quickly spoken and, at times, incoherent block of speech, but the mysterious official seemed to understand. Despite this however, he once again began to reach behind his back. Seeing this, Titus panicked and began a second jumble of speech, this one a slight bit shorter.

    “It’s not even like I was gonna keep him!” he blurted. “I thought it was kinda unfair catching him like that and he wanted to go after his friend, who I guess was caged up too. So I was just gonna release him once we got to Pewter…” Titus trailed off at the end, seeing that his frantic jabbering wasn’t doing anything to slow the hand of the stranger. His hand once again disappeared behind him, but what it removed from back there was something Titus did not expect. Instead of a walkie-talkie or a pair of handcuffs, he pulled out a Pokeball.

    The stranger’s smirk continued as he saw Titus’s look of surprise. He then asked a question that seemingly came from the same place he pulled the Pokeball from. “So you’re obviously a trainer. Are you competing in the Indigo League?” When Titus responded with a slight nod, the stranger continued his strange display. “I see…” he said, while playfully tossing his Pokeball up in the air and catching it.

    “I don’t see…” Titus began.

    “So you never told me your name,” the mystery boy interrupted.

    “Oh… um Titus… Titus Polloa.”

    Titus’s last name struck the usual chord of recognition in the stranger’s facial expression, a mix of surprise and intrigue, but he did not miss a step in his routine. He responded immediately by tossing his Pokeball violently into the ground. In a flash of bright white light, the ball revealed a large, four-legged Pokemon. It stood a little taller than Zagreus, but was much more massive. The beast’s entire body was covered in grey plates of solid rock that were segmented in certain places to allow for movement. The Spikes Pokemon’s head was the most intimidating feature. It came to an absolute vicious point in the form of a small horn at the apex of the rock-hard skull, and was enhanced even further by a pair of ferocious red eyes. This rock Pokemon was something Titus recognized right away as a Rhyhorn.

    As his companion gave a loud roar, the stranger spoke once again, “If you can beat Spike here in a one-on-one battle, then I’ll let ya go. If I win though, you’re comin’ with me.” He ended with a knowing glint in his eye and stared intently at Titus, waiting with great anticipation for his response.

    “A-Alright then,” Titus replied hesitantly. He then turned to his two partners and inquired, “So which one of you two wants to battle? Personally I think Zagreus should, since Grass-“

    “I’ll fight,” Titus was cut off mid-sentence by Romulus who was simultaneously stepping forward to face the Rhyhorn. “I’m in much better shape than Zagreus right now… and this is partly my fault as well.” The last bit was a bit forced, but it was obvious to Titus that the young Riolu held good intentions, so he gave him a somewhat cheesy thumbs up and looked up once more at his opponent.

    “Alright,” Titus spoke again, this time much more confident, “let’s do this.”

    The stranger’s grin exploded into a huge smile and he responded with great enthusiasm, “Okay! Spike, start things off with a Horn Attack!” The Pokemon responded to the mysterious boy’s enthusiasm with some fervor of his own and gave the ground two heavy stomps before charging headfirst towards the stationary Riolu.

    Romulus did not stay put for long however, as he leapt expertly to the side to avoid the charging Rhyhorn. He then leapt forward back at his opponent, who was now skidding to a stop, and struck him directly in the side of the head with some considerable force. Despite this force however, the Spikes Pokemon did not budge an inch and instead whipped its head around, plowing into Romulus with his pointed horn. The Riolu tumbled and rolled a considerable distance before stopping and righting himself, a look of shock creeping its way onto his face. It was clear that the young Pokemon was not used to this disadvantage or, at the very least, did not like it.

    Romulus responded to this adversity with a stubborn abandon and once again rushed headfirst towards his much larger opponent. He lifted a single paw and began bringing it down harshly towards the Rhyhorn’s head. He was however, met once again by the rock solid horn of the Spikes Pokemon that struck him squarely in the chest. For the second time, Romulus was thrust backwards with great force. But the young Pokemon would not give up. Again and again he charged at the Rhyhorn, and again and again he was thrown back. Both trainers remained quiet during the exchange, but one look at both of their faces would tell one that they were silent for completely different reasons.

    The mystery trainer’s face gave off waves of confidence as he watched Spike parry and knock away any attack attempt by his much smaller opponent. It was clear that he had the utmost confidence in his partner, and he was silent for the simple fact that he knew that if things kept going the way they were, he was going to win decisively. Titus’s face, on the other hand, was screwed up in frustration, as if he was straining to hold words back from exploding past his lips. His partner was taking quite a beating, and yet Titus was not giving any commands, despite the fact that he looked as though he desperately wanted to.

    Strangely enough, this complete lack of constructive instructions had been at Romulus’s behest. The cocky, young Pokemon had refused to listen to any commands issued by Titus in the forest over the past few hours, and had not given any indication that he wanted to now. The Riolu was very prideful and did not see Titus as an equal whatsoever. So he would not listen to anything the inexperienced trainer would say to him, especially during battles. Romulus took it upon himself to fight, and never asked for any kind of help, even when he was surrounded by a horde of Caterpies and Weedles in the Viridian forest. He staved off any attempts Zagreus made to help him and took on the entire nest of Bug Pokemon by himself. And now, in the face of a clearly superior foe, he still would not ask for any help. Regardless of how much Titus wished to help his temporary partner, Romulus would never allow it.

    This would turn out to be quite a costly decision for the Riolu too, as he was currently being pummeled by the strange trainer’s Pokemon. The massive Rhyhorn had Romulus pinned up against a tree with his horn and was slowly grinding against the small metal bumps on the Emanation Pokemon’s forearms. Romulus had managed to cross his arms before himself in an attempt to stave off the brunt of the damage, but was still taking a good amount of injuries at the hand of the Spikes Pokemon. Eventually, after a few heart wrenching seconds of punishment, Romulus’s opponent finally backed off, looking satisfied with the damage he had done. Romulus followed this by sliding slowly down the tree and back to his feet, where he wobbled for a few seconds before collapsing in a heap.

    The mystery trainer gave a smirk that mirrored the one he had held on and off for the duration of his interaction with Titus and cockily tossed his Pokeball up in the air a few more times before returning his victorious companion in a beam of deep red light. Placing the Pokeball back into the mysterious realm behind his back, the young officer began walking towards the defeated Titus, who was now following suit by returning Romulus to his temporary home. Despite being quite a bit shorter than Titus, the stranger seemed to tower over him in his moment of triumph.

    “Alright kid,” he began, arm reaching towards Titus, “I won. You know what that means…”

    Titus replied emptily, “Yeah… I-I understand…” His eyes were pointed emotionlessly at the ground at his feet and his body had begun shaking ever-so-slightly in realization of what was about to occur. Would he be arrested? Going to jail? Titus was not very clear on the specifics of this law, but it was clear at the very least that his journey to become a champion was going to be interrupted quite abruptly. At least it was clear he would be interrupted until the mystery official doing something that Titus never expected under the circumstances. He was laughing

    That’s right, the man who had berated Titus for disobeying the law and subsequently thrashed him in battle to apprehend him… Was now laughing hysterically at the circumstances that preceded. He was either some kind of sick, sadistic *******, or there was something that Titus just was not getting.

    In light of the fact that the stranger’s hand was now lightly tapping Titus on the shoulder, things seemed to be pointing towards the latter of the two. Something the stranger then illustrated with a smile and a forced handshake between his free hand and Titus’s limp one. The young trainer responded with a look of pure puzzlement that plainly illustrated his confusion in a picture the whole world could see.

    The stranger saw this look, gave one more chuckle, and began his explanation, “Calm down buddy, I’m not gonna arrest you or anything like that. You seem like an alright kid, and I really don’t think you’re lying. It’s not really a big deal. Just make sure you head to the International Pokemon Registry in the Museum when you get to Pewter.”

    “I-I don’t understand,” Titus stammered.

    The stranger replied, “Listen, I’ve never really been one for the law-upholding part of the job, especially in matters like this. There’s way too much paperwork for my taste. Plus, I’ve heard a lot about you, not anything too personal, but never anything negative. So don’t worry about nothin’ I won’t be arresting you or anything like that. That being said, you’re gonna want to work on your relationship with that Riolu of yours. A Pokemon and its Trainer gotta battle together if they hope to win. You can’t just let your Pokemon do whatever they want, especially when they’re outmatched. I know you said that you’re just gonna release him once you get to Pewter, but when you come to battle me again you better be prepared regardless. Cause I’ll mess ya up.”

    With his opponent’s speech finished, Titus had more questions than answers, and began to voice them hesitantly, “Well hold on a sec-”

    The strange instantly cut him off, “Don’t worry about it, you’ll figure it out. For now though, I got to go, there are a lot of people waitin’ on me.” That said, he patted Titus on the shoulder one last time and headed off north towards Pewter City. Before he left however, the strange trainer had some last words for the rookie. “Oh yeah,” he continued, “take this card here. Mention my name and no one up ahead should give ya trouble about your Riolu. Plus, it should help speed up the process at the IPR once you get there. I’ll mention you’re coming.” With his final words, he flicked a card out from what looked like his sleeve and tossed it to the mystified and confused Titus. He then continued on his way to Pewter.

    Titus let his freedom sink in for a few seconds before bending down to pick the small white square up off of the ground. He fumbled for a moment or two with his hand until he was finally able to grasp the card firmly. Flipping it over, Titus met the card halfway and squatted down while moving it up towards his face. He took a second or two to read it, and what he read shocked him beyond all belief. At the same time however, it answered a lot of his questions about what the stranger was saying. His face was a pure visage of shock, whatever he had read there was definitely not what he expected.

    <What is it Titus?> Zagreus asked hesitantly.

    “That guy…” Titus responded. “His name is Forrest… He’s the Pewter City Gym Leader…”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Meanwhile, all the way on the other side of the continent, a strange figure was smoothly and quickly moving its way through the town of Lavender. The sun was just setting in the east and a coat of darkness was slowly creeping its way over the town. Doors of houses closed almost immediately as the darkness passed them, an eerie cacophony that seemed to follow the figure as he was walking with the darkness. The figure moved in silence, green eyes fixed sternly in its goal: the Pokemon Tower. This Tower was a monolithic structure that reached so high it was said to scrape the heavens open for lost souls to enter. Rightfully so too, as the tower was a multi-storied mausoleum; an enormous tribute to those long since past.

    The figure stopped for a quick moment to appraise the enormous tower, looking swiftly up and down with emerald eyes. He then opened and slid through the solid wooden doors at the foot of the tower before him and entered the first floor of the mausoleum. Within the antechamber of the Pokemon Tower there hung a low mist, no higher than the figure’s knees. The walls were all a deep shade of purple and the chamber was lit by numerous candles set upon golden stands that lined those walls. To the figure’s right there was a counter about waist-height behind which a strange old woman sat in silence. Her wrinkled face did not budge an inch with the sight of the imposing stranger and she merely motioned with wispy grey eyes to the graveyard that filled the chasm of a room beyond.

    Like the many other floors of the great tower, there were hundreds of tombstones lining the ground of the main room on the first floor. Directly past the antechamber in which the figure now stood was a monolithic room filled to the brim with the remains of deceased Pokemon. So, with a nod to the older woman, the figure headed past the candle lit walls of the antechamber and into the artificially lighted main burial ground. Although the light source was different from the one in the room prior, the main chamber was still eerily lit and the cool mist still danced about the figure’s feet as he entered it. Also, with the sight restrictions of the antechamber lifted, the figure could see the full dreary glory of the Pokemon graveyard.

    On either side of the enormous room there were staircases that led on to the floors above and portraits of famous Pokemon who were buried in the cemetery. The graves that lined the floor were placed in a symmetrical fashion, as four even squares centered about a single point, and would have looked from up high as a sea of grey. Even the floor of the cemetery was grey. While it had once been painted green to resemble the grass of a true cemetery, the color had faded with age and now sat stagnant and bland. The most interesting feature of the room however, was the large statue that resided in the middle of it all.

    It was a breathtaking silver structure, at least ten feet tall that drew all attention to itself immediately as one entered the room. The structure represented a wondrous, quadruped Pokemon with a long, flowing, and gracious form that seemed to be residing over those who rested there. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the statue was the glorious ring that encircled the center of the mythical beast. It extended outward in four directions, with small divisions at both the top and bottom of the ring. This sculpture was a tribute to a Pokemon like no other, the ultimate being. This statue in the center of the graveyard was a representation of the Alpha Pokemon: Arceus.

    The mysterious figure once again took a moment to let the presentation before him set in before he headed off once more. This time he was heading noiselessly towards the center of the room. He moved uncaringly past the hundreds of deceased Pokemon that lined the ground at his feet and quickly approached the great statue of the Creator. Once there, he ran a partially gloved hand over the surface of the podium on which the statue stood, walking slowly around it at the same time. As he walked, the figure’s eyes slowly scanned the room for any mourners. Seeing there were none, the figure turned back to the statue, which he was now behind, and stopped walking. He then shoved a hand into his long, black jacket that billowed off of him like a cloud yet hardly covered the front of his body at all and removed from within it a stone key of sorts. The key was a strange object. It was a good foot long and ended in a cross that coincidentally matched the cross-shaped indent in the podium of the statue directly before the figure.

    With one swift motion, he plunged the stone key into the slot and gave it a harsh turn to the right, an action that was quickly followed by a loud clicking noise. This noise was in turn followed by a loud rumble and the grinding of some stone at the feet of the strange figure. This grinding was the result of a small opening that was slowly but surely revealing itself at the bottom of the podium. It took a few moments, but once the grinding was finished the figure hunched down and shimmied its way into the base of the statue and into complete darkness.

    Once he was safely inside, the opening closed behind the figure, much faster than it had opened, leaving him in absolute darkness. The figure had apparently been here before however, as he confidently made his way down and around the spiral staircase he had emerged onto. After a minute or two of walking, the figure had run out of steps, signifying that he had reached the bottom, and began groping around for something about waist-height. His hands felt about in the darkness for a second or two before finally brushing against what the figure was after, a stone structure of some sort. The figure then felt his way about the structure’s smooth surface until he found the top and the coarse sand-like substance that ran along the structure in a circle. With a smile lost in the darkness, the figure lit a match and threw it upon the top of the structure, lighting the powder up in a circle of flame that partially illuminated the otherwise pitch dark cavern.

    The light did not bring forth much of consequence in the cavern, a few rocks and some sand mostly, but there was one feature that stood out against the far right wall. It was a doorway, kind of. At least the outline of a doorway imprinted into the cold, hard stone. It was seemingly chiseled into the rock by the same hands that had expertly crafted the statue of Arceus above, flawlessly depressed into the rock-face. The impression was no ordinary impression though. With the lighting of the flame at the center of the cavern, the “doorway” had lit up as well, except the light from the doorway seemed to be originating from somewhere far beyond the rock. This light grew and grew in intensity until it lit up the entire cavern in white brilliance. Fearless, the figure walked upright into the emerging light.
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    3,038

    Default

    (These are reviews for the prologue through chapter three. It's getting too long as it is and there's a lot of information here to digest).

    Prologue:

        Spoiler:- Prologue:



    Chapter 1:

        Spoiler:- Chapter 1:



    Chapter 2:

        Spoiler:- Chapter 2:



    Chapter 3:

        Spoiler:- “Chapter 3”:


    I know I referred to it several times, but your main issue is the way you describe. While the description is perfectly fine and detailed as it is, it's really heavy when it doesn't need to be. You often do a “set up” paragraph that sets up what a place or person looks like, then jump back into the action, the stop to describe something, then jump back into the action. It really disrupts the flow and interrupts the mood. Think of it like watching a movie and someone nudges you to explain what he sees. Why does he need to tell you if the movie speaks for itself (this was just a long metaphor for the old “show, not tell” rule). It's honestly okay if you don't set up the reader with what things look like before diving into the action/movement of the plot. Use the action to describe things at the moment. For example, you sometimes repeat what the character looks like (he threw his red bag over his shoulder, rubbed his whatever colored eyes, and so on). If you're doing it like this, there's no need to “set it up”. Readers usually fill in detail if it's not already said anyway. Of course it's important to describe things, but you should really spread it out and merge it with the action/plot.

    Everything else I pretty much said with each chapter's review. The plot looks promising. I do think certain aspects are somewhat unbelievable (I pointed them out) that could probably fixed with some fine tuning.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    In the dark corners of my mind
    Posts
    250

    Default

    Thank you for taking time out to review Breezy, it was very helpful. You make some very good points and I will be certain to address them in coming chapters. Although at the moment I am not sure I will be able to give each part of your review the time it deserves in response. You see, my previously mentioned computer problems have persisted and all but cut off my access to Serebii and, on a larger scale, the internet as a whole. On top of that, the trouble slowly seeped its way into my writing processor as well.

    So all in all, I apologize to both Breezy and my readers (if they're out there) for the extended wait. However, I will not let this fic die. I should be getting a new computer very soon, which will rectify all problems. When that time comes (some time next week), I'll be able to give you (Breezy) a more in-depth response to your insights and questions, and give my readers an estimate on the arrival of the next chapter. (And perhaps a preview!)

    Once again, I apologize for this, but I'll be back soon. Oh and if your wondering how I got this response up... I'd like to thank my good friend John for allowing me to use his laptop.

    ~Kyuu
    ~Divine Casualties Vol. 1: Aphotic Dawn~
    Silly little mortal. You think because you've lived more than one lifetime you can sway the Creator's will? Do not overstep your bounds. You lower beings are nothing more than tools.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Blackthorn City, Johto
    Posts
    378

    Default Procastinators Unite! ... Tomorrow.

    Mmkay, so I basically went overboard reading your fic several days ago, but I never actually got around to writing a review for it 'till now. I'm sorry. x.x Procrastination kills, I guess. Anyways, I really like what you have going here. It's actually a really fun story to read (and it also got me wanting to go back to FireRed/LeafGreen and playing through again, or maybe re-starting SoulSilver. Since I don't wanna go through Kanto for like the 50th time on FR/LG, I settled for the second choice xD).

    Anyways, here goes. Hope this helps. For the most part, if I see grammatical errors or something, I'll just quote it and bold what I think the correction should be. If it's punctuation, I'll underline it to make it easier to see the correction. Not all might be right, though.

        Spoiler:- Prologue:


        Spoiler:- Chapter One: Partners and Promises:


        Spoiler:- Chapter Two: Defeat and Victory:


        Spoiler:- Chapter Three: Shades of Viridian:


        Spoiler:- Chapter Four: A Rare Rendezvous:


        Spoiler:- Chapter Five: Not Out of The Woods Yet:


    Woohoo. Okay. I managed to review all five chapters. Yush! >:3 Super long review for you to read if you do, but yush! Hahahah. Again, I'm sorry for mostly just going "Error. Fix this. Error. Fix this." over and over again. It was a lot of chapters to review and I'm tired. x__x'' All in all, though, I'm a very big fan of your work here. If you have a PM List or something set up, feel free to add me to it. I'd love to know when your next chapter is up. Hopefully I'll see more of Titus, Zagreus and Romulus soon! >
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