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Thread: Angels and Demons

  1. #1
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    Default Angels and Demons

    Ah, yes, your eyes do not decieve you. Dan Brown's novel has a fanfiction...and it involves some Pokemon. Why? Because I have New Plotline Syndrome. :P

    Pushing that aside, this fic is based on Angels and Demons, but strays from the original book's total plotline and message. I've combined original characters from the book, other series, and my own characters to create a little different atmosphere. Plus, I have made the title literal. Think about that as you read.

    Pokemon figure in lightly. If you haven't read my former fics, most of my main characters are Aquapolian, half human and half Pokemon. They have a human body, but Pokemon elements and powers. They look exactly like humans, but wear a pendent around their necks to set them apart. Aquapolis is an island set south of Japan in the real world, including in this story.

    Other than Aquapolians, I have incorporated six legendary Pokemon and other original Pokemon characters into the story. I know what you're thinking: it's going to be...wild and weird.

    Note to those who have read the book and seen the movie: I have changed the names of several characters. I've mostly based this off of the movie (I'm currently reading the book), so I've mixed up the names of original characters:

    The camerlengo- I've kept his movie backstory and name, Patrick McKenna. It serves my purposes much better.
    Cardinal Mortati- Cardinal Strauss in the movie, but I've kept his book name cuz I like it better. :P
    Commander Olivetti- Of the Swiss Guard...I changed it to Richter. Is that in the movie? I don't remember.

    So...let's do this!



    Prologue

    “Let’s talk about religion,” the professor said, turning on the overhead powerpoint projector. “From the beginning of its recorded history, Aquapolis has retained a monotheistic religion. Strangely enough, when the ambassadors from Aquapolis reached the Mid-East around 1000 B.C., they discovered that they worshipped the same god as the Hebrews did. This, however did not make them Jewish. They had different customs, but still followed the laws and commandments of the Hebrew god.”

    After the death of Christ, Aquapolis underwent a rapid transition to become the first official Christian state in the world. In fact, it was a Christian state within two decades of Christ’s death. As time went on, Aquapolis became a Protestant state, separated mostly from the Catholic Church until the 1100’s.”

    The professor turned to his computer, and with the click of a button, a sky view of the Vatican appeared on the screen. Tiny sparks of recognition filled some of his students’ eyes. These same students, of course, were the ones who actually knew what the Vatican was. Their classmates either slept or stared at the picture blankly, waiting for him to go on. He sighed. Why couldn’t he have more Aquapolian kids in his class these days? Human kids were starting to look boring in comparison with the bright minded and fresh-faced Aquapolians.

    Snapping briefly out of his daydream, he pointed with a flourish to the screen. “Believe it or not, since the twelfth century, there has been an Aquapolian cardinal off and on inside the Vatican. Of course, there have been no Aquapolian popes.” No KNOWN Aquapolian popes, that is. “Depending on who the pope was at the time, the Aquapolian cardinal was either shunned or embraced by the church. The longest period of exclusion from the church came during the Renaissance.”

    Again, some sparks of recognition, mostly from the Aquapolians. Seriously, how had these human students graduated from high school? Some of them must have been asleep. He grinned inwardly. Once he reached the most interesting part of his lecture, he would turn heads.

    “During the Renaissance, many intellectuals were questioning the church’s validity on certain scientific subjects. The most famous of these subject cases was Galileo Galili’s famous declaration that our solar system is heliocentric.” As a picture of Galileo flashed on screen, he skipped over explaining what “heliocentric” meant. That was what dictionaries were for. “As the church faced attacks from this group of intellectual’s, it started to become paranoid about the presence of Aquapolians. Some intellectuals were questioning the validity of the claim that, like humans, Aquapolians were created by the Christian god. Not only were they about to question the church, they were about to question Christianity itself. That was when the Aquapolian cardinal was shown the door until the eighteenth century.”

    Another picture flicked onto the screen, depicting a grand temple in the ancient Greek style that stood polished and neat in the center of a huge clearing. “The Aquapolian church kept to itself until the Catholic Church invited the Aquapolian cardinal once again into the church. The past few popes, including the recently deceased one, have openly embraced Aquapolis and its customs and traditions…including…”

    This was it. He pressed a button on his laptop and a splendid Renaissance-era painting filled the screen. Many of the human students gasped, while the Aquapolians sat, their attention fully on this familiar face.

    An angel adorned the painting, tall, golden blonde, and robed in white. There was something about her appearance that both comforted and warned. She clutched the Holy Bible in her left hand, the book opened to some unknown passage in the text. In her right hand was a powerful sword, adorned with Aquapolian crystals all along its hilt. She gripped it with experience, as if she could face any enemy and cut him in two.

    Most striking were her eyes. Aquapolian crystal was a rare stone found only in Aquapolis from which all Aquapolian pendants worn by the people were made. No one on Earth had the same color eyes as this angel, a prophecy silently sought out by even many humans in academia. Her eyes were brilliant, sparking with intelligence and fierceness. This was no peaceful angel. She was one worthy to fight at the head of God’s army. If only the professor believed such things were true. He was one of the few of his kind very doubtful…

    “The legend of the Chosen One is thousands of years old, dating back to the origin of the Aquapolian race. The legend told of a great war between the powers of land and sea and of an angel descending to quell the fighting. Another prophecy tells us that the Chosen One will return in the future to stop another cataclysmic war from destroying the Aquapolian and human races. She is, in essence, an angel, but the Catholic Church has always shied away from the fact of an angel being so predominant in the Aquapolian church. She’s not worshipped, but many fear that she is raised to almost goddess standard in the church.”

    The professor sighed. “Whether or not she is accepted, these prophecies can mean disaster for all if they come true in the future.”

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

    The halls were too dark for his taste. Everything in his life had seemed to grow shrouded in darkness for the past month. Since the pope’s seat had become vacated, he had become restless, continuously pacing the Vatican halls, waiting for a sign that all was well.

    He knew all was not well. He could feel the convergence of shadow inside the city of Rome. Suspicious Aquapolians roamed the streets, several even coming up to observe the Vatican steps, as if surveying the land. None of the other cardinals would listen to his suspicions…except for Cardinal Mortati, the Polish cardinal. Though Mortati believed that something was wrong, he continued to tell Reed that circumstances were not as dark as he believed they were.

    “My friend, it is quite late. Are you having trouble sleeping again?”

    He turned as Mortati slipped down the hall towards where he stood in front of one of the floor to ceiling windows that decorated the side wall. Mortati was at least five years older than he was, with a wizened, wrinkled face and a shock of white hair. He looked away from the cardinal’s icy blue eyes, his one dark blue ones swinging back to the window.

    “The night is growing darker. I fear it may be time…to speak to the camerlengo about this.”

    Mortati sighed. “We have yet to experience any trouble from this darkness. Maybe it is time for you to visit home again and…”

    “The monks at the Cave of Origin are as on edge as I am,” he snapped back. “Something is coming.”

    Mortati looked away. He didn’t know what to do with the Aquapolian cardinal, but he knew what must be done if his suspicions were right. “Maybe…it is best for you to speak to the camerlengo about this…”

    “About what, cardinal?”

    Both cardinals turned as a much younger man strode into the hall. He was dressed much plainer than the two older man, shrouded in a black shrift while the two cardinals were dressed in the elaborate red and white of the concave. He had dark brown hair and dark green eyes, intelligent, but reserved. Mortati looked from him back to the Aquapolian cardinal.

    “Padre, Cardinal Reed believes he must speak to you about his recent…suspicions. If you may excuse me, I will leave you to speak…” Mortati looked once again at Reed, then turned to exit the hall, leaving the two alone.

    “What did the monks at the Cave of Origin say, David?” The camerlengo asked, informally addressing the cardinal. They had known each other for years, so an air of familiarity while alone was extremely important.

    Reed couldn’t help but glance back out of the window before he answered. “They will not act yet, but they believe it is time to…look into this gathering outside of the walls. They think it is best to ask the concave to release what we have kept from the people…”

    “That may not be necessary yet,” the camerlengo said instantly. “We have not been attacked. No one has been attacked…”

    “Do you not sense them, Patrick?” Reed interrupted. Of course not, he thought. The camerlengo had been raised as a human… “We need to show that we are well prepared to face their threat, before it is too late.” He lowered his voice as he stepped closer. “I know how much you fear for her safety, but NOW is the time we have prepared for all of these years.”

    It was now time for the camerlengo to look out the window, his dark green eyes flashing with concern. “I’ll speak to her about this…while you visit Aquapolis tomorrow.”

    Reed nodded, only slightly satisfied. “She will do well, Patrick. You underestimate her power.” With that he stepped away, leaving the camerlengo to think to himself.

    Several hours later, the camerlengo was still pacing in his quarters, wondering how he was supposed to break the news of the conversation to her. She was such a willful child, she would most certainly want to go out and beat the suspicious Aquapolians into submission for all the world to see. And all the world was out in St. Peter’s square, awaiting the appointment of a new pope.

    He heard voices outside, panicked and strained. Someone burst through the doors of his study, one of the Swiss Guard. Three of them followed him. Mortati burst through after them.

    “What’s going on?” He asked as Mortati advanced toward him.

    “Outside!” Was all the cardinal shouted, leading the camerlengo to the window that looked out onto the courtyard right below his study. He could see flames, and for a brief moment, he thought the building had caught fire. Then, another scene caught his attention.

    A body floated face-up in the fountain in the middle of the courtyard, alight with flames. A cord was tied around his neck, but the camerlengo recognized the dark blue eyes, even from where he stood.

    It was Cardinal Reed.

    “My God…” the camerlengo gasped, taking a step back from the window, his hands shaking. “He was right.”

  2. #2
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    FIRST POST WOOP

    Loving it Chosen! You are an amazing writer (as discussed) and I really applaud you for attempting to write something that's already on paper and improve it and change it to fit yourself. That's a difficult feat but from the Prologue and how well you've set yourself up I believe that it's a feat that you can easily accomplish! : )

    Good Work!

    Most Recent Chapter - Chapter 31: Don't Forget Me - Posted 26/01/13
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar

    I will pursue You, I will pursue Your presence

  3. #3
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    Wow! I loved how you actually coincided it with your other Fics (will this affect them in anyway?) and how you've taken another idea and made it your own! PM list? If there is one?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    Am I the only the person that sees this announcement as somewhat frivolous? To be straightforward, who cares?

    Thanks so much for letting us all know, we can take refuge that you're still God. While your at it, make another announcement about how your not really fat anymore, just to make sure we all know.
    ...

  4. #4
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    Actually, this fic won't coincide with my other fics, it just contains Aquapolis and Aquapolian legends in a different context than from before. So, think of this as another, totally different story of Aquapolians in the real world and their struggle with demons.

    And, yes, there will be a PM list.

  5. #5
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    So, this is a long chapter, but fast-paced. A few quick notes: If any of you have read Angels and Demons, you will notice right off the bat that I changed the four elements and cardinals to six. This is for purposes for my story. Second, the recording of the caller in Richter's office is taken word from word for the movie, except for the number. I changed that.



    1

    It was a typical spring day at Harvard. Students swarmed the greens, chatting about parties and exams, teachers and notes. Professor Robert Langdon had just finished his first lecture series on Aquapolian religion with a successful start. Walking down an archway, he shoved his lecture notes into his briefcase, humming to himself. He loved spreading the knowledge of his subject to his students, even if the only students who paid attention were the ones who had grown up listening to these same stories.

    He rounded a corner, nearly running smack into a man dressed in a white lab coat. Langdon nearly mumbled only a sorry, then took another look at the man he had just run into. He was Langdon’s height, with curly brown hair and dark charcoal grey eyes. His face was instantly familiar to Langdon, whom he hadn’t seen in a while.

    “Professor David Rowan? What are you doing here?” He asked cheerfully. He held out his hand to shake that of his colleague’s. Rowan had the firmest grip he had ever experienced, and Langdon wondered if he had ever broken a human’s hand while shaking before.

    “I came to do some research on Aquapolian religion, and I heard that you’ve been doing a lecture series on it. I’m sorry I missed the first class, I was going to sit in and listen to you speak.”

    “You’re in luck. I’m giving the same lecture down in Russell Hall in about ten minutes,” he said as they strode down the walkway together.

    “I was just down at Russell Hall. There’s some man in a suit looking for you in the lobby.”

    Langdon stopped. “Who is it?”

    Rowan shrugged. “I don’t know who it is. He looks important though.” He nodded toward Langdon. “I’d like to check it out and see your class, but I am extremely late to a meeting. Good luck, Langdon.”

    “I’ll catch up to you later,” Langdon called after Rowan as the professor walked toward the main building. He had wanted to catch up with Rowan, but it seemed as if he wouldn’t get a chance. There was no telling what this man in a suit wanted with him. Important or not, he needed to go and see what was up.

    The lecture hall was quiet with one lone figure standing near the blackboard at the front of the room. Sunshine filtered through the floor to ceiling windows, illuminating the wooden desks with a bright morning shine.

    “May I help you?” Langdon asked as he entered the room. He looked the man in front of him up and down. First thing he realized was that this man was only a year or two older than his students, with light blonde hair and dark brown eyes. The second thing he noticed was how this man carried himself with a militaristic air.

    The man looked up from the briefcase he had set on the desk in front of him. “Professor Robert Langdon?”

    “Yes, that would be me. May I ask who you are?”

    “My name is Carlo Ventra. I am here to ask your opinion of…”

    “You’re from the Vatican?” Langdon asked, gesturing to the briefcase. The man flinched slightly at his interruption, then calmed down and gave him a quizzical look. “That’s the symbol of the Vatican…I didn’t think I was popular there any more.”

    Ventra snorted. “You may not be, but extraordinary circumstances have occurred. Last night, the Aquapolian cardinal David Reed was found burning in a courtyard fountain. And this was left by his body.” The man pulled a piece of paper out of his suitcase, handing it to the slightly shocked Langdon. On the paper was printed a word in old style lettering. Langdon shifted it around, turned it upside down to read the word again.

    “Illuminati…” He murmured. He looked back up at Ventra. “It’s an anagram. It reads the same forwards and backwards. But…what would the Illuminati have to do with the Aquapolian cardinal?”

    “Sir…that is a question we called on you to answer.”

    Langdon glanced from the paper and back to Ventra. “Okay…where do you want me to go?”

    A few hours later, Langdon boarded a helicopter that bore the Vatican seal on its side. It took off as he explained to Ventra about the Illuminati.

    “They were a human organization dedicated to science and the arts. Persecuted by the church during the Renaissance. If they striked back, though, why would they strike back at the Aquapolian cardinal, whose position has been persecuted for years. They’re in the same boat, though they don’t share the same beliefs.”

    About three hours later, Ventra led Langdon through a passageway into the headquarters of the Swiss Guard. The plane ride there had been crazy, especially for Langdon, who was borderline claustrophobic. He realized something important must be going on. The man left to find his captain, leaving Langdon in a waiting room with a tall woman who sat in a worried state on a chair on the side wall, clutching the same piece of paper Ventra had given him.

    “Another piece showed up?” He asked. The woman turned to look at him, hesitating before she spoke. She had long, flowing dark brown hair and olive skin. He guessed she was Italian.

    “Yes…You must be Professor Robert Langdon. I am Dr. Vittoria Vetra from CERN,” she said, standing up to shake his hand.

    “Sorry if this doesn’t connect…why was that piece of paper left…I assume…at CERN?”

    Vittoria looked away, then back at him. “A vial that contained a gram of antimatter went missing from our laboratories yesterday. This was left in its place.”

    Langdon’s eyes widened. “Antimatter?”

    “Yes. It’s highly explosive. The people who stole it killed my partner as well,” she said through gritted teeth, crunching the paper up in her hands.

    Langdon flinched at her sudden change in tone. She had seemed so in control and so self-possessed before her minor outburst. He wondered how long she had worked with this certain partner on this…antimatter…project. He had no clue what antimatter was in the first place. But now that he knew it was highly explosive, he could vaguely guess why it was stolen.

    “Professors Langdon and Vetra?” A tall, blonde-haired main stepped into the room, exerting a dominating air as soon as his presence was known to the two academics. His bright green eyes looked from one to the other, putting a hand on his hip, exposing the gun strapped to his belt. When both nodded, he breathed a slight sigh of relief. “I am Captain Richter. Come with me.”

    Richter led them around several bends, weaving between offices and around men in coats wearing walkie talkies and earphones with guns strapped to their belts like their captain. Langdon was mildly surprised that not all of the Swiss Guard wore the standard red and blue striped dress uniform the soldiers had originally worn since before Renaissance times. He guessed that even the Vatican had lapsed into the Twenty-first Century.

    Richter breezed through the offices effortlessly, skirting past young, militaristic guards half his age that gave him admirable and reverent looks. He burst into a glass lined office at the end of the hall, barely opening the door enough for Langdon to get through. The professor held the door open for Vittoria, who almost scoffed at his action. Was chivalry dead in Italy?

    “I called on you, Professor Langdon, because of the note that was left beside Cardinal Reed’s body in the courtyard fountain outside of the papal offices. I have been…advised…that you are an expert in Aquapolian and human religious symbology.” He said this with a smirk, as if he didn’t hold Langdon’s position in a very high mark in his mind. “And…Dr. Vetra here called us when she discovered a similar sheet of paper…and marks of the Vatican sign on the back. She says that a container of what is called antimatter is missing from her laboratory.” Richter stood behind his desk, crossing his arms. “We are still investigating Cardinal Reed’s death, but, as you know, today is NOT the perfect day in which to deal with these incidents.”

    Langdon suddenly remembered what was going on that exact day in Vatican City. Fifteen days before, the pope who had served for several decades had passed away in the night. This particular pope had sympathized greatly with Aquapolis and had been reputed to be great friends with the Aquapolian cardinal. Now, both men were dead, and both in the space of merely two weeks. Now, the scheduled conclave, the tradition of electing a new pope, was to begin that night, the night after one of the cardinals had been found floating and on fire outside of the papal offices.

    “So…here is what I am going to do. You, Professor, are to investigate this symbol and what it meant to Cardinal Reed. From what my agent told me, you said it was…Illuminati?” Skepticism seared through his words, and Langdon tried to keep from rolling his eyes at the commander. “And, Mrs. Vetra, you need to tell me how this canister of…antimatter..disappeared from your lab and what is exactly dangerous about it.” He motioned to a guard at the door to follow Langdon out.

    “Wait…where do I start? Are there any Aquapolians here that I can speak to?”

    “Why would you need to? Everyone knew him.”

    “Yes…but…another Aquapolian may know what this symbol meant to him.”

    Richter sighed. “There is one person who was quite close to him. Your guard should be able to lead you to her.”

    “Her…?” But Langdon was too late. The commander was already conversing with Vittoria about the antimatter.

    “This way, sir,” the guard said, leading Langdon out of the office and down a narrow passageway. They emerged in an courtyard, deserted except for one figure sitting near a fountain in the middle of the clearing. Langdon looked at the guard, puzzled when he motioned to the figure. This was the person Richter was talking about?

    The figure near the fountain was actually a girl Langdon thought was around eighteen or nineteen years old. She had long, golden blonde hair tied up in a ponytail that reached halfway down her back. She wore a black dress shirt and pants with black sandals and clutched a small paperback book in her hand. Langdon approached her slowly.

    “Excuse me?” He asked. She looked up, and he nearly gasped aloud. Her eyes were the same color of the Aquapolian crystal pendent that hung around her neck. His hands instinctively flew to his own pendent. “Commander Richter told me I should speak with you about Cardinal Reed and the note that was left by his body.”

    The girl’s eyes misted over for a split second before she answered. “And you are?” She placed the book down on the ground, and Langdon took a sneak peek at the title, gaining a second surprise when he read The Art of War.

    “I am Professor Robert Langdon. I was…called in to look at the symbol placed beside the cardinal when he was killed.”

    The girl stood up and brushed the dirt from her pants, extending her hand to shake his. “My name is Katharine McKenna. I...live here.” She gave him a laughing smile.

    “You live here?”

    “Well, I work here during the summer as well, down in the archives. I usually am in Aquapolis during the school year, but I move back here during the summer.”

    “You work in the archives?” Langdon was impressed. “What kind of strings did you have to pull to get that job?”

    “Well, I was adopted by one of the priests who works here when I was six, so…you could say I had someone on the inside to pull the strings for me.”

    “So, as an Aquapolian, you knew Cardinal Reed well?”

    “Of course. There are very few Aquapolians here. There are some in the Swiss Guard. One or two of the cardinals from various countries are secretly Aquapolian. But…he was the only person here who understood what it was like to be an Aquapolian and to know of the legends that go along with our people.”

    Langdon felt a small prick of shame at the back of his head. He had grown up as an American-Aquapolian and had failed to go to school in Aquapolis like his counterparts. His parents wanted him to grow up in a human society, but, unfortunately, it had resulted in his natural faith being stripped away, something that never happened to full blood Aquapolians or those who had been educated in the home country. He also felt envy course through him. This young woman had grown up in Italy, yet she had been given the chance to experience Aquapolis…and really know what it was like to be Aquapolian.

    Suddenly, he realized what he was doing. Sure, this kid was probably smart and knew a lot about Cardinal Reed, but would she really know anything at all about the symbol of the Illuminati that was left by his body. Well, he could give it a shot…

    “The symbol left by Cardinal Reed’s body. I said “Illuminati” in ambugrammatic script. Can you make any connection between Illuminati and the cardinal?”

    To his amazement, she knew exactly what he was talking about. “Weren’t the Illuminati supposed to be a human organization?”

    She had got him there. “Yes, but they had housed several Aquapolians over the years…”

    “Cardinal Reed was not Illuminatus.” Her eyes had started to flair dangerously. From what he knew off the top of his head about her powers, he didn’t want to get her riled up.

    “No, no, I wasn’t’ suggesting that!” He threw his arms up in the air to defend himself. To a girl who was younger than even his students. That was not what he was here for. “I just…”

    “Professor Langdon!” He sighed as he heard Richter’s voice call across the courtyard. Katharine looked past him as the commander practically marched up to the two Aquapolians, giving the girl a scowl. “We have received a phone call from an unknown source outside of the Vatican. I need you to come to my office…now.”

    It was an order that Langdon was not going to disagree with. He wondered if the commander actually scared some of his guards half to death. He couldn’t believe this man was not an Aquapolian. Then again, if he had been born as one, he would be even more intimidating.

    The academic followed Richter, surprised when Katharine stepped behind him. The commander shot her another scowl, but didn’t tell her to leave. Langdon wondered who her adopted father was and if he had a high enough position in the Vatican to discourage Richter from ordering Katharine around.

    Vittoria and several other guards were crowded around Richter’s desk, staring at a tape recorder nestled between stacks of paperwork. They looked truly stunned, especially Vittoria, who jumped when the door opened. She breathed a small sigh of relief when she saw Langdon, then gave Katharine a questioning look before Richter pressed the playback button.

    “We will destroy your six pillars. We will brand your perferiti and sacrifice them, then bring your church down upon you. Now the city will be consumed by light, the star at the end of the path of illumination.”

    The voice was a man’s, his voice accented with an Irish lilt. Katharine took in a sharp breath as Vittoria sank into a chair nearby. Langdon stood, frozen. This was unbelievable. For years, he had studied the Illuminati and the legend of the secret society. Now, his studies were coming to life in a horrible way. The only thing that blew him off track was the number six. Six was not one of the sacred Illuminati numbers he had seen all over the reference materials he had used. Three and five were Illuminati numbers, but six was definently not. Even four…

    “Six…six doesn’t represent anything in Illuminati legend. They value three, four, and five. Four elements of science.”

    “There are four elements of HUMAN science,” Vittoria stressed.

    “Exactly. The Illuminati is a HUMAN organization, so why would they talk about six?”

    “Six is a sacred number in Aquapolian legend,” Katharine offered. “There are six elements in Aquapolian science.”

    Richter tilted his head to one side. “There is a distinction between the two?”

    Vittoria nodded. “Aquapolian science contains more of an air of…philosophy than human science does. Plus, Aquapolian scientists tend to be mostly Christian.”

    As are most other Aquapolians…Langdon thought. He was really out of touch with his own country.

    Vittoria ducked her head as she continued. “Aquapolian science is shunned at CERN. The scientists there believe Aquapolians twist science to prove their theories about God. That’s why my partner and I had to keep our antimatter project secret…as well as the fact that we are Aquapolian.”

    Langdon wasn’t surprised. Aquapolians were shunned in many institutions, from history to science. Though the race in general was incredibly intelligent, human scientists did not want to contend with the air of religion that usually followed any Aquapolian academic.

    “Your project was secret?” Richter interrupted Langdon’s thoughts. “Then how was this…antimatter stolen?”

    Vittoria sighed. “I don’t know…There is no way it could have leaked out. I can’t imagine my partner telling anyone about it…”

    “We’ll come back to that later,” the commander sighed. “Now, tell me about these six elements and how they’re different.”

    Langdon lit up like a Christmas tree. He loved talking about the subjects that he had dedicated his working life to. “The four elements of human science are earth, air, fire, and water. In Aquapolis, they have six elements: land, sea, sky, time, space, and dimension. Even before the dawn of modern science, Aquapolian scientists were aware of the elements of time, space, and dimension in the universe, so they added them to the three traditional elements of land, sea, and sky.”

    “The only question is…what are the pillars?” Katharine asked. Richter looked annoyed at her question. Wasn’t he just going to kick her out soon, or did he just put up with her? Langdon had to admit she had some valid questions, but he was afraid she would get in the way later on.

    Richter looked back at Langdon and Vittoria, his face blanching slightly. Langdon absentmindedly looked out at the extremely busy offices around them. Was the Swiss Guard just extra busy because of conclave? Or…was something else going on?

    “We are performing a search right now…of no importance to you, Professor,” the commander said defensively. Katharine turned to stare at him, as if this were news to her.

    “The light at the end…what do you think it means?” Vittoria skipped ahead, shifting in her seat. “A star? And what is this path of illumination?”

    “The Path of Illumination was the first test for those who wanted to join the Illuminati. It’s hidden out of sight of the Vatican…only for those who seek scientific enlightment. The Illuminati were hunted by the Vatican during the Renaissance, around the same time that Aquapolis was cast from the church.”

    “Then why would they kill the Aquapolian cardinal? It would seem to me that they would sympathize with someone who was historically also ostracized from the church.”

    Langdon tilted his head to one side. A guard burst into the room, causing him to flinch. Why was everyone so jumpy today? The guard turned on the monitor over Richter’s desk. “Commander, we have something to show you on the security tape.”

    Vittoria gasped at the image on the screen, leading him to believe this was an ominous scene. What looked like a glass canister sat on a wooden platform, illuminated by a bright desk lamp nearby. A light clicked at the bottom of the canister. A bright blue cloud shone inside.

    “It’s the antimatter. The canister…” Vittoria gasped, jumping up from her seat. “Where is that security camera?”

    “We’ve tried to locate it,” the guard said, “But…we’re spread thin at the moment.”

    Richter shot him a glare that was supposed to shut him up, but the guard’s statement had already caught Langdon’s attention. They were looking for something important, he figured.

    “Commander? What are your guards looking for?” Katharine asked, crossing her arms and glaring at Richter. Langdon himself was afraid to challenge the commander, so he gave her an admiring look.

    Richter glared back, but Katharine didn’t wither. “We are missing six cardinals from conclave. The il perferiti.”

    “What?” Vittoria and Langdon gasped, almost simultaneously. Katharine’s jaw dropped open.

    “You…You’re just now telling us that? Who else knows this?” Her voice carried over the sound of guards hurrying around outside of the office and shouting into walkie-talkies.

    “Miss McKenna, may I remind you, no matter how many years you have trained with my guardsmen, you are still not one of them,” Richter shot back. “I do not allow them to ask me what my motives are, and neither will I let you. We are currently investigating this situation. It is most likely that they are still in Vatican City. While we search for the cardinals, we’ll also search for this antimatter.”

    “This isn’t good…” Langdon muttered. The six pillars…six cardinals missing. This had to be more than a coincidence. Then, he had a thought. The path of illumination…six missing cardinals. He needed more information. “I need to see the archives.”

    Richter sighed, turning back from the guard he was muttering to. “Professor Langdon, this is not the best time to lodge another complaint…”

    “No, I need to see the archives for a different reason. I know where we can find the key to the first part of the Path of Illumination.” He prayed that the commander would give in. Puzzle pieces were lining up in his head, and he needed the final key to put them all together.

    Richter looked from Vittoria to Langdon, then glanced over to where Katharine stood, her hands clinched into fists. “There’s only one person who can grant you access to the archives…”

    “I’ll take you to him,” Katharine interjected, not allowing the commander to finish his sentence. She shouldered open the office door, Langdon and Vittoria following after her.

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

    Katharine had never fully liked Commander Richter. He was always coming down strictly on the Aquapolian members of the Swiss Guard and never approved of her comings and goings inside the Vatican walls. She had always been careful to avoid breaking security clearance, but Richter never cared. He was always complaining to her adopted father when she was home during the summer, never understanding that the reason she practiced her powers in the courtyards and spent all of her time in the archives was that she was always striving to keep in touch with her Aquapolian roots. She had even been encouraged by her adopted father and Cardinal Reed to do so often. And for good reason.

    She knew that the instant Langdon had laid eyes on her, he knew what should have been apparent to any Aquapolian who met her, or at least caught sight of her eyes. It was difficult growing up in a human country…especially with the burdens she had been bestowed with from birth.

    The Swiss Guards following them toward the papal offices were her favorites. They were both a few years older than her and both were Aquapolian. She constantly trained with them, and neither felt embarrassed or angry that she beat them regularly. They knew who she was….and she always had a suspicion that they were supposed to be her body guards.
    The papal offices were huge, with marbled floors, tapestries, and Renaissance era painting. Langdon couldn’t help but stare around at the wonderful sculptures that decorated the halls, and Katharine couldn’t blame him. Growing up around such art was amazing. The appeal never grew old, though Katharine believed she could probably take a job as a tour guard for the entire Vatican complex.

    They finally made their way to two large double doors that led to the inner part of the pope’s appartments. She turned back to Langdon and Vittoria. “I’ll come in with you to introduce you.” A look of nervousness crossed across Langdon’s face. She laughed. “Don’t worry. He doesn’t bite.”

    Langdon and Vittoria looked at each other before following Katharine in through the doors. The hall inside was laid with red marble floors and filled with antique furniture with polish has dark as Vittoria’s hair. Katharine stopped at one end of a long table. At the other end sat a priest dressed in a simple black set of robes, pouring over a file of papers intently. Had he even heard them come into the room?

    Katharine cleared her throat. “Father?” The man’s head shot up, and Langdon was surprised at how young the priest was. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, nearly a decade younger than Langdon. The man had dark brown hair and deep emerald green eyes. Langdon suddenly realized who he was about to speak to.

    The priest stood up, sliding the papers away from him as his eyes fixed on the visitors. “Who is this, Katharine?” He asked as the Swiss Guards took their positions on either side of the double doors.

    Before Katharine could open her mouth, Langdon stepped forward to introduce himself. “Professor Robert Langdon. Commander Richter called me to investigate the symbol left beside Cardinal Reed last night.”

    “Really? I didn’t know there was a symbol left beside his body.” The man spoke with an Irish accent much different from that of the caller who had phoned the Swiss Guard office. His was much less harsh. “My name is Patrick McKenna. I was the late pope’s chamberlain.”

    Katharine could hear Vittoria let out a small gasp as she realized whom they were addressing. The pope’s chamberlain, the camerlengo, was an advisor to the pope and took over the duties of the papal office when the pope passed away. The current camerlengo was extremely young compared to the ones before him and was a priest, not a cardinal. Langdon glanced back at Katharine, making the connection between the two. As he suspected, her adopted father WAS in a high position in the Vatican. At that moment, he was in the highest position possible.

    Vittoria snapped out of her daze and walked forward to introduce herself. “Dr. Vittoria Vetra. I found a similar symbol next to the body of my research partner yesterday in our laboratories at CERN.”
    “A scientist was murdered?” The camerlengo frowned. “Have you drawn any connection between Cardinal Reed and him?”

    “Well…all I know is that they were both Aquapolian. Beyond that…”

    “We have an idea who may have done this,” Langdon interjected. He needed to pick and choose his words carefully. From how Commander Richter acted, no one else in the Vatican knew the Swiss Guard was avidly searching for six cardinals due in conclave in an hour, and Langdon didn’t want to be the one to break the news to the camerlengo. “The symbol that was left…” He fished around in his pockets, retrieving the fax he had been given by the Vatican correspondent. “Points to the Illuminati.” He turned the fax around for the camerlengo to see. A look of recognition and understanding crossed against the young priest’s face.

    “The Illuminati has supposedly fallen apart over the past half century. Besides…it is a human organization that sympathizes with Aquapolians. Why would they kill two?”

    “We don’t know, but we have made contact with them. One of the supposed members called the Swiss Guard about half an hour ago,” Katharine spoke up. “He left a message…”

    Langdon suddenly felt anxious. He was going to have to break the news after all. Thankfully, his confession was stalled for a time when Vittoria interjected.

    “My partner was killed in order for the intruder to obtain a canister of antimatter from our research facility. Antimatter is highly explosive…highly dangerous in the hands of the killers.”

    “You think the antimatter is here?” The priest asked, looking from Vittoria back to Langdon.

    “We KNOW the antimatter is here,” Langdon confessed. “One of the security cameras has picked up an image of the canister here in the Vatican. Unfortunately, the camera has been moved, so they can’t locate it easily.”

    “The Swiss Guard is very busy at the moment, Father,” Katharine said. “The caller spoke of branding six pillars…and, at the moment, we’re missing six cardinals. The il perferiti.”

    Langdon reeled from Katharine’s blunt statement. There was no dancing around the issue with this kid. The camerlengo stared at her, shocked. “How is that possible? I just spoke to them merely an hour ago.”

    “One of the Illuminati may have been able to sneak into the building…” Langdon suggested.
    Katharine sighed. No matter how much she was annoyed by Richter, he was good at his job. “That would be nearly impossible. This is the most secure place in Europe…”

    “And yet they were able to murder our only Aquapolian cardinal right outside of these offices,” the camerlengo interjected. “Something must be done.”

    “I need access to the Vatican archives,” Langdon said. It was his turn to be blunt.

    The camerlengo shot him a surprised glance. “What is there in the archives that can help us?”

    “The caller talked about the Path of Illumination that the Illuminati used to recruit members. I believe I know where I can find the key to this path…and it’s in the archives.”

    The priest looked from Langdon to Katharine. She could tell he was trying to make a decision. From what Langdon had told her on the way to the papal offices, he had petitioned many times in order to view the archives. Katharine walked freely through them only because she was trusted. Finally, she could see the camerlengo give in.

    “I can give you access, but, Professor, I must speak with you privately first.”

  6. #6
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    Wow! I loved the change between the book and this! But also that you've kept the main points of the story! Really good! Keep it up!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    Am I the only the person that sees this announcement as somewhat frivolous? To be straightforward, who cares?

    Thanks so much for letting us all know, we can take refuge that you're still God. While your at it, make another announcement about how your not really fat anymore, just to make sure we all know.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeGreenan View Post
    Wow! I loved the change between the book and this! But also that you've kept the main points of the story! Really good! Keep it up!
    Thank you. I'm trying to keep the characters with their original personalities and outlooks, but, of course, I'm trying to infuse the situations with my own storytelling style. We'll be veering off the main points halfway through, but you will see some scenes that will be quite familiar to you.

    The next chapter should be up sometime in the next two weeks. School is winding down for me once again, so I will be receiving more writing time soon. Plus, of course, I have Shadow and Light to edit as well.

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    Hm, a story based off of a Dan Brown book? Should be interesting. I admit, part of the reason I came to this thread is cause I too have based my fanfic, Nothing, Everything, off a Dan Brown book, more specifically The Da Vinci Code. XD As I was reading the prologue and first chapter though, there are a few things that caught my interest and some things that were weird to me. D:



    Now, rea l quick you mentioned about Aquapolis in your intro, the Cave of Orign (which is located in Hoenn), and of course Boston and Vatician. I assume you’re going for the real world but also has the Pokemon regions in it thing? One problem is I’m kinda confused if you’re going for the real world setting or the Pokemon world setting.



    Another mention real quick is your writing style. For the most part I do like the way you describe the thoughts and gives me that Dan Brown vibe there when you did that. However, there are a few times you were showing, not telling. For instance:



    About three hours later, Ventra led Langdon through a passageway into the headquarters of the Swiss Guard. The plane ride there had been crazy, especially for Langdon, who was borderline claustrophobic. He realized something important must be going on. The man left to find his captain, leaving Langdon in a waiting room with a tall woman who sat in a worried state on a chair on the side wall, clutching the same piece of paper Ventra had given him.
    Here you could have mentioned how Langdon is caustrophobic. Does he shifted a lot on the seat during the ride? Unable to breath and only way to calm himself down is counting Mareep (okay, not the greatest example XD)? Body always twitching? Hm, I can’t remember off the bat a good example of Langdon being claustrophobic in Angels and Demons, but in Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol Brown is able to describe well of Langdon’s claustrophobia when he was in an elevator. I can scan the pages of one of the books if you want. XD



    Hm, honestly I’m not sure if going about having the characters from Angels and Demons be mixed up in Pokemon. Part of the problem is this seems like a crossover of sorts, even though you didn’t specially say it that it is. Now, crossovers aren’t a bad thing as many people do that all the time, but it’s not easy. You have to make sure the interactions of characters from two different fandoms/media/series is as realistic as possible and also that the two fandoms actually relate somehow to one another. For instance, the TV shows CSI and Law & Order have been through a couple crossover episodes, but the crossovers work well together because both shows dealt with crime and investigations. Pokemon and Angels and Demons, on the other hand, are two totally different media and different themes. Pokemon is game/anime adventure about training and traveling with your monsters while Angels and Demons is more of a thriller where cypts, science, and relgion play a hugerole in the story (whether the facts in the stories are true is awhole other debate :P).



    One reason I feel weird about what I mentioned above is Langdon being a half Pokemon (or so I assume). I read all three Langdon books and I see him more as an academic able to adapt to any situation he’s in and not someone that can use a Pokemon attack. I actually admire you’re able to have Langdon in character for the most part when you were describing his thoughts, for instance the prologue while he mused about the difference between the human students and the Aquapolian students. However, I just can’t imagine him able to interact with Pokemon and the Pokemon characters without him running away and suddenly want to research more about Pokemon. D: One instance is I found it kinda weird Professor Rowan and Langdon interacted with one antoher. Reason is both actually have different professions, despite the title professor. Rowan is more researching on animals, or Pokemon for that matter, while Langdon is more relgion and crypts. So yeah, two totally different researching fields.



    Another reason is religion and history play a big part of this story. Now, I don’t mind religion in fics because I feel fine with that. However, what I’m afraid of is of the historical and religious facts twisted to fit for your story. True, Dan Brown has been criticized for that, but the thing is the historical and religion facts he mentions (whether true or not again is another story) is base around the real world and the religions and history are already well known in terms of the basics. Here you’re having a lot of the real life religion and history facts center around Aquapolis, which I get is a place with people half Pokemon and half human. Instances of those are mostly from the first part of the prologue. The thing with Pokemon is a lot of times there will be references of world history and such, but most of the time Pokemonized or at the most vaguely mentioned. I remember hearing there are real life references too, but only a few and nothing too dramatic like Galileo. Also the religion part of Pokemon is itself Pokemonized in terms of Sinnoh, or at least to me. So Christianity and other religions are not outright being mentioned due to controversy and such. In short, not saying to outright get rid of the real life religion and historic facts being mentioned, but to be careful about them when dealing mixing those facts with the Aquapolis culture you mentioned, so that’s why I believe you’re better off instead maybe do vague messages or somehow Pokemonized it.



    Because of how I feel uncomfortable with the Angels and Demons characters suddenly in a situation where Pokemon is involved, I feel it’s probably better if you have original or canon characters instead of them. Now, I’m not saying to get rid of the plot. Heck, I actually thought it’s quite interesting the story is going with six elements relating to the legendaries from Hoenn and Sinnoh and also the Aquapolis culture is very fascinating too. However, again I think it would be better if you go with a new set of characters. True, a lot of elements from the original novel you have put in so it’s natural to want to put in the original characters too, but you also said you’re going to stray from the original plotline and message, so on the other hand it’ll be weird for the original characters to be in there.



    Oh wow, sorry for the long explanation there! D: I just feel you could do better with you have this story base off of Angels and Demons but instead with new characters and perhaps not outright go through with real life historic and religion facts but instead Pokemonize or have vague references. For instance, with Nothing, Everything I have the plot almost the same as The Da Vinci Code, but I have different characters and a lot of the situations were different too. Also, I vaguely referenced real life religion and history stuff like the Crusades by having the events relating to mentions of Pokemon canon. Maybe if you read my story you’ll get what I mean what I said. Not saying my story is the best example, but again it’ll give you a better idea of some of the things I said in this review on how to approach a few things. D:


    So yeah, in short there are some nice stuff there like Aquapolis, but the characters from the original novel and having history and religion facts mixed in the Aquapolis culture I’m not so sure of. I mean, I find it cool you’re going to have this story based off of Angels and Demons and I’m interested in how a Pokemon story related to that story will fare, but at the same time the delivery you have right now is on the sketchy side. I’m actually curious where you’re going with this, which is good, although to me it would be better if some changes were made. Well, I’m not going to force you to do the changes, but there were just suggestions I feel would make this story more sense also more of a Pokemon fanfiction based off and a homage to Angels and Demons instead of just Angels and Demons with some Pokemon elements. Good luck with it either way as I’m looking forward to your progress!
    Last edited by Bay; 5th May 2010 at 3:30 AM.


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    Whew, Bay, you're making me read today.

    I see what you're talking about, especially with the concept of religion and how Pokemon factors into Angels and Demons. I agree, when looking at my own fic from outside of my own eyes, it probably does look a bit sketchy. True, I'm not going into big Dan Brown like detail with my characters because that's not how I write.

    Hrm...what else? Oh, the Pokemonization of this fic...meh, look at Aquapolians from a slightly different aspect. When I think of Aquapolians, I don't think of Pokemon. I think of humans with powers. I DO think about the legendary Pokemon (for my own reasons), but Aquapolians basically look and act (well, some of the time) like humans, so I'm really not changing Langdon much personality-wise by being an Aquapolian. In this fic, he was born that way, so he's used to it. He's just a bit weird for an Aquapolian.

    As for the characters, I am bringing in a bunch more that are not in Angels and Demons. A couple are my own characters. A couple of them are canon Pokemon characters. A couple of them are from other...should I say...stories. This is kind of how I write. I like picking up characters from all over and throwing them into this kind of situation. When you take a Dan Brown character and a Pokemon character, it's interesting to see how they interact. Rowan will be back, BTW, so you'll see how it interacts with Langdon and others.

    I'd like to cover more that you said, but I decided just to read and keep your advice at heart as I continue. Thank you for reading.

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    Loved the Chapter Chosen! Awesome use of tension there and I'm really gripped now that I want to know what it is that the Illumanati are up to and why they killed the Aquapolians! I noticed a few misplaced words though but that was the only problem I found.

    Well done : )

    Most Recent Chapter - Chapter 31: Don't Forget Me - Posted 26/01/13
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryheart View Post
    Loved the Chapter Chosen! Awesome use of tension there and I'm really gripped now that I want to know what it is that the Illumanati are up to and why they killed the Aquapolians! I noticed a few misplaced words though but that was the only problem I found.

    Well done : )
    Thank you. Yes, we'll definently find out in the future why the Illuminati killed the Aquapolians.

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    Before we dive into this chapter, I wanted to make a note about the locations of each of the markers along the Path of Illumination. As you may have noticed, I have changed the number of missing cardinals from four to six, so I have had to add churches to the plotline and rearrange some of the original markers from the story. The marker for Land in this chaper is located at the same place as Earth in the book and movie, but from there, I've mixed up a few places, referring to the book and making up some things in later stages.

    Also a note, religion plays a large role in Angels and Demons, and, naturally, it plays a large role here (you'll see what I'm talking about in a speech I quoted from the movie). I'm not pressing any beliefs on anyone. I myself do not happen to be Catholic, but I am Christian. I've tried to disconnect from my beliefs a bit and only focus on what the characters believe. So...there, that's the only thing I'm going to say about religion in this story.



    2.

    The cardinals had been on edge all day long. As per usual, they toured the Vatican museum and conversed about current affairs, but instead of speaking about their countries and congregations, all talk was directed on Cardinal Reed’s ghastly death the very night before conclave. No cardinal was more shaken than Cardinal Mortati, who had been chosen the Great Elector to preside over the conclave practice that year.

    Mortati had known Reed for years, going back to when they were both young priests in the Italian seminary. He had always thought that Aquapolian cardinals studied with the monks in the Cave of Origin, but, then again, Reed was completely different from any other man of faith he knew. Reed talked fast and walked like a warrior, unusual traits for a priest. Mortati didn’t know what to make of him at first, but soon came to respect the intelligent Aquapolian.

    Mortati himself was Italian-Aquapolian, though that was kept secret in the church. He knew of several other cardinals who were Aquapolian, but known spoke of their heritage. He simply chose not to. The church already had enough to deal with when the one Aquapolian cardinal visited the Vatican…and now he was gone. There were only two in the Vatican who knew the secret now…Four had known merely a month before. The Pope, Reed, Mortati, and the young camerlengo all knew…and now Mortati feared, their knowledge may be needed.

    Perhaps Reed had been right. The perferiti had been strangely absent all day and the Swiss Guards were looking tense. Maybe shadows were gathering outside their walls after all.

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

    Langdon almost begged for Katharine and Vittoria to stay in the room, but, obviously, the camerlengo was the only one who could order Katharine around and Vittoria wasn’t going to argue with him. The two stepped out of the room, leaving Langdon to speak to the camerlengo. A strange thought went through Langdon’s head. He was extremely curious about one thing…and, for some reason, he wanted his question answered if at all possible.

    The camerlengo had turned to look at the crowds gathering in St. Peter’s Square outside. Whatever he had to say to Langdon was going to wait for a few seconds, so the professor pressed on.

    “How many here know about Katharine?”

    The camerlengo’s head whipped around, and Langdon flinched. Maybe he shouldn’t have asked the question…then, he realized the priest had misunderstood it in the first place.
    “You mean…how many know I adopted her?”

    Langdon shook his head. Let’s try this again…”No, I mean how many know…” How was he going to put this? “That she is the…” This was going to be difficult.

    Luckily, the camerlengo had caught on. “That she is the Chosen One?” He finished, a slight bit of sadness crossing his features. “As of last night…only two of us. Cardinal Mortati and I are the only ones who know now…now that His Holiness and Cardinal Reed have passed on.”

    Langdon felt a bit excited. He had spoken of the Chosen One legend merely twelve hours before, and now…it was right in front of him, like an ancient artifact he had seen for years in a favorite book and was now in his presence.

    “We don’t get many Aquapolian visitors…so she goes unnoticed in this part of the world,” the camerlengo continued. It was then that Langdon spotted the small pendent around his neck. Aquapolian crystal. Of course…

    “I suspect this is the best place for her to be…I guess…” He trailed off, looking at the ceiling and praying that the camerlengo wouldn’t point out his mistake.

    Instead, the priest asked, “On this note…Katharine has brought up your name once or twice.”

    Langdon’s jaw nearly dropped. He had only met the girl that afternoon. Then, of course, you didn’t have to meet a person to speak of them, right? Langdon had written several books on Aquapolian history over the years. Maybe Katharine had picked them up? If she had…then she surely saw the streak of cynicism. Cynicism that probably affected her personally.

    “You write about Aquapolian religion, but it seems as if you don’t exactly take stock in what you study. May I ask you a question?”

    Langdon felt he didn’t have a choice, so he simply nodded.

    “Do you believe in God, sir?”

    The most blunt of all questions…Langdon nearly reeled…What was he going to say? “Father, I simply believe that religion…”

    “I did not ask if you believe in what man says about God. I asked if you believe in God,” the camerlengo said firmly, fixing Langdon with his emerald gaze.

    “I’m an academic. My mind tells me I can’t understand God.”

    “And your heart?”

    “Tells me I’m not meant to. Faith is a gift I have yet to receive,” he confessed. Out of all of the Aquapolians who walked the Earth, Langdon was one of the few who believed in a God. He was an oddity. He sighed. What a great impression to make on an Aquapolian priest.

    The camerlengo paused. “Katharine will take you into the archives. She knows them very well. Be careful with our treasures. Katharine will be watching you.”

    The last sentence seemed like a threatening statement to Langdon.

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

    The busy streets of Rome did not slow down as evening approached. If anything, they became even more packed and fast-paced. Katharine strode across the street that separated the papal apartments from the archival building, Vittoria by her side. Langdon struggled to keep up with the two younger women, who out walked him even in his fittest state.

    The guards seemed to be used to Katharine’s comings and goings. Maybe Richter was right. Maybe the girl was a security risk. Langdon couldn’t care less. She was a helpful security risk. If she did know the archives backwards and forwards, his search would be much easier.

    Langdon knew exactly what he was looking for. For years, he had seen a set of numbers scribbled on Illuminati documents: 503. He had originally thought the number was five hundred and three, but after several months of searching, he had found his answer. The Illuminati was historically connected to Galileo, who wrote numerous discourses, even when he was on house arrest for his teachings on heliocentricity. 503 was actually Roman numerals for DIII, Galileo’s third discourse entitled Diagramma.

    Katharine led them to a glass elevator inside the lobby of what looked to be a library. Langdon guessed it was filled with religious text. He made a mental note to at least try to get into this Vatican library in the future…if it was still there. He shuddered. He was ashamed of his thought…but, if this antimatter proved to be as explosive as Vittoria claimed, what about all of the Renaissance artwork? Was there time to move it?

    Langdon’s claustrophobia almost kicked in as they slid underground, solid rock faces lining them on all sides as the descended into the archives. Katharine rocked back on her heels, giving Langdon another glance of her brilliant eyes. She even looked similar to the Renaissance painting in his presentation. Another wave of giddiness at this living artifact overcame him before they reached the bottom floor.

    “Now…” Katharine said as they stepped out of the elevator and into a sea of glass rooms. “What exactly is it that you’re looking for, Professor?” She led them down a row formed by two glass rooms filled with Renaissance paintings. Langdon couldn’t help but stare and gawk at the artwork. Vittoria even followed suit. Katharine seemed to be immune to the artwork’s hypnotic presence as she stopped and waited for Langdon to answer her question.

    He snapped out of his daydream. How many pieces would they have to evacuate? “I’m looking for a manuscript by Galileo.”

    Katharine nodded. “It would be in the Italian writers section. This way.” She veered off to the left, not waiting for Langdon and Vittoria to catch up. They followed her all the way to the end of the row, their reflections following them on the glass panes. She turned to face a keypad on the door of a smaller room that was filled with manuscripts from floor to ceiling with only an examination desk in the middle. The moment she punched the code in, the doors hissed open.

    “There isn’t much oxygen in here, so we really shouldn’t stay long,” she explained. Langdon had been in archival vaults like this before. Low oxygen levels helped to preserve documents from fading. He guessed that if the older men of the church could stand the lower level of oxygen, he could too.

    Katharine paused, thinking, before she stepped further into the room. “I remember seeing Galileo’s work somewhere…” She stepped over to a bookcase on the far wall, its shelves lined with thick tomes of manuscripts. “He’s here,” she said, motioning to a shelf towards the top of the stacks. Langdon grabbed a ladder nearby and ascended it to read the titles.

    He scanned each title, overcome by how old and well preserved each manuscript was. Finally, he found what he was looking for. Diagramma stood staring out at him like a beacon. He gripped the tome carefully and literally jumped down from the ladder, making his way to the examination table.

    Vittoria and Katharine crowded around as Langdon sat down to examine the manuscript inside of the tome. At first look, the book was huge, but when opened, it revealed a small pamphlet of a manuscript. Langdon’s eyes searched for any archival tools that might be nearby and grabbed a pair of tweezers off of a shelf near his head. The two women seemed to hold their breath as he slid the pages open with the tweezers, careful not to touch the manuscript.

    Inside were…diagrams. Diagrams of heliocentricity, of the heavens. Diagrams filled the pages with Galileo’s handwriting flowing at the bottom, outlining his ideas. Langdon continued to turn pages, looking for anything that might be important, such as numbers or dates or names of people. He had almost skipped over something important when Vittoria cried out, “Go back!”

    Langdon flipped back a page to a row of diagrams of the sun and moon. He scanned the page, wondering what was significant about the drawings. Then, he saw them. Lines all the way up and down the seams of the pages. He pushed the pamphlet open further to read the lines…in English.

    From Santi’s earthly tomb in demon’s hole,
    ‘Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold.
    The path of light is laid, the sacred text,
    Let angles guide you on your lofty quest.

    Different thoughts flashed through each Aquapolian’s mind. Vittoria wondered why the lines were written in English and not Italian. Katharine’s mind flew to angels and the thousands of statues representing the heavenly host in Rome. Langdon was focused on the first line and the fact that he had just discovered the key to the Path of Illumination.

    His mind raced to decipher the first line. Santi’s earthly tomb? Where was Santi buried? Before he could think, Vittoria asked, “Who is Santi?”

    It had not occurred to Langdon that neither of the women would know the last name of one of the most famous Renaissance artists ever to live. “Raphael Santi. It must start at Raphael’s tomb.”

    “It’s in the Chigi Chapel,” Katharine broke in. When the older adults gave her surprised looks, she sighed. “I’ve grown up exploring the history of this city…I’ve picked up some things along the way. He’s buried in the Chigi Chapel.”

    “What time do you have?” Vittoria asked, smirking as she gestured toward Langdon’s Mickey Mouse watch. He rolled his eyes. Now was not the time to make fun of his Disney apparel.

    “Five o’clock. We have to get going.” He started to fumble with the manuscript. Vittoria shook her head, reached forward, and snatched the page with the poem on it out of the pamphlet. Langdon and Katharine gasped in shock.

    “We don’t have time,” she explained. “We have to go…now!” She started to exit the room, Katharine and Langdon right on her heels.

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

    Stepping outside, they searched around for a car. Katharine dashed forward to one of the Swiss Guards, grabbing the keys he held out for her. She rushed around to the driver’s side. “I’m driving!” She snapped at Langdon and Vittoria. Langdon started to protest, but instead kept his mouth shut as he slipped into the passenger side.

    Katharine careened out of the alleyway between the archives and the papal apartments. Langdon gripped the door handle tightly, his knuckles growing white as he held on for dear life. Vittoria tapped him on the shoulder, pressing her hands up against the backs of the two front seats in order to stop herself from lurching to the left as Katharine turned a sharp corner.

    “Are you sure she’s right about Raphael being buried in the Chigi Chapel?” She asked, flinching as Katharine narrowly avoided hitting a biker on the side of the road. She suddenly regretted not protesting the young woman’s decision to drive the car. Did the Swiss Guard know she drove this recklessly? Then again, this was an emergency. She thought briefly about the antimatter canister that had been stolen from her research laboratory the previous night. The battery contained in the canister had only a twenty-four hour life after it was removed from its charging station, which would place the battery death at around midnight.

    Langdon looked at her, surprised by her question as he tightened his grip on the door. She could tell he was sharing the same regret and praying they did not hit a car or a pedestrian. He seemed to focus on her question for a few seconds before answering, “Well, Raphael was originally buried in the Pantheon, but from what I’ve studied…it doesn’t contain any demon holes.”

    Vittoria’s brow scrunched up as Katharine took another sharp curve, snapping loudly at the college-aged pedestrian who had jumped out into the crosswalk almost seconds before she sped through. “What are demon holes?”

    “Sometimes, when chapels were built and became burial places for wealthy families, a demon hole would be bored into the floor of the chapel when space ran out for a crypt-style burial and deceased family members were dumped inside of the hole. The Chigi Chapel contains demon holes that were used for the members of the Chigi family during the Renaissance.” Langdon’s eyes snapped back on to the road, nearly missing Chigi Chapel as it passed by to his left. “Left! LEFT!”

    The sound of screeching tires filled his ears as the car swerved sharply to the left, nearly throwing Langdon across the passenger seat. Car horns honked from all four sides, angry drivers shouting curse words in Italian at the teen driver. The Chigi Chapel came into view once again as Katharine braked sharply in front of it. Langdon took a few deep breaths before throwing the car door open and glaring at Katharine.

    “Next time, I drive!” He snapped as he slammed the door shut. Katharine muttered something under her breath, and he almost replied childishly back, then remembered who was three decades older in the conversation.

    The Chigi Chapel was actually a smaller part of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Katharine led them through a back alley, expertly stopping at a heavy metal door on at the side of the church. Langdon recognized it as a secret entrance for the clergy and very heavy if chained. He had a suspicion that they wouldn’t be stopped at the door for long.

    “Stand back,” Katharine said as she backed up almost to the other side of the alleyway. Vittoria took a cautious step backwards away from the door. Langdon took a few more steps backward just to be safe. He hoped Katharine’s driving abilities didn’t reflect how she used her powers.

    The way an Aquapolian used his or her powers was nearly always graceful and natural. There was nothing super hero, comic book like to it. Powers could be explosive depending on the personality of the Aquapolian. Katharine pressed her back into the wall of the church that stood across from Santa Maria and breathed deeply. With an exhalation of breath, a blast of energy slammed into the door head on, the outer borders of the beam pushing Langdon and Vittoria back a few feet like a strong blast of air. The door caved in, revealing a dark hallway.

    Langdon had never found a use for flashlights. Being a fire-type had its advantages, after all. He could feel the heat of the air around him center on one spot as he almost unconsciously willed a small sphere of fire to illuminate the hallway. The fire danced, casting shadows against the stone walls and throwing flames up around itself only a few inches in diameter. Vittoria started slightly at the orb of fire as if something of the sort had never appeared before her. Being one of the only Aquapolians in the world of human science, she had not encountered the actual use of Aquapolian elements beyond her own.

    Katharine led the way down the hallway as Langdon’s sphere of fire darted from one side of the room to the other. Inside of a church, Aquapolian powers twisted a bit due to a huge invisible barrier that was formed whenever a church was consecrated. The barrier kept malevolent Aquapolians out. If the Illuminati symbols had not shone up as they did, Langdon would have thought the real killers were the Shadow Followers, a force of Aquapolians nearly five thousand strong that spoke out against the human race and called for its destruction. Then again, the barrier around the Vatican had to be huge and impenetrable to a Shadow Follower.

    The chapel was completely empty of all people. The only signs of life were candles flickering in the windows, lit by the priest before the church closed for the night. It had closed earlier than usual due to conclave. They spread out, looking for the demon’s hole.

    Katharine scanned the floors with a keen eye, looking for any holes covered with adornments or jewels or any cracks in the floor’s surface. The dim light was hard to look through, so she slid to her knees to look at the marble underneath her feet. Vittoria imitated her, slideing to the cool floor and searching the surface. Within a few seconds, she sensed something. No…she drew back. She smelled something. Something horrible…like rotting flesh.

    “I…I think I found it…” She gagged, jumping to her feet to get away from the bulk of the stench. Langdon and Katharine slipped across the floor to where she was standing. The professor slid to his feet, running his fingers along the floor until he felt smooth grooves cut across the marble surface. He pressed up against the bottom of the grooves, and the cover started to move slightly. Katharine kneeled beside him and pushed her finger up under the embellished surface, helping him to lift the cover away.

    The stench blew across their faces, making Langdon gag and Katharine wrinkle her nose violently. He had prepared himself for the stench of centuries worth of decaying bodies, but at the actual moment, it was worse than he had believed. The sphere of fire dipped into the hole, illuminating the sides and revealing that it was only ten feet deep, enough to drop into. The floor illuminated beneath them contained only dirt, and Langdon frowned. Had the decaying bodies been cleared away by the killer?

    Katharine was the first into the hole, sliding to the ground with a thump, and getting used to the darkness almost instantly before Langdon’s fire sphere followed after her. Vittoria followed after her, nearly tripping over a rung of the ladder that passed between floor and ceiling.

    Langdon’s shoes made fresh marks in the earthen floor as he slid down to the demon’s hole. Land…this had to be it. But the room was empty…He scanned the floors for anything that might have been buried by a few layers of dirt. Nothing.

    Katharine let out a short squeal as she tripped over something solid and metal. Sheepishly, she turned to the two adults, her face red at her childish impulse. “There’s something buried over here…” She dropped to her knees to feel along the metal surface. “It’s…big.”

    “We don’t have a shovel…” Vittoria commented weakly. Langdon nodded. She was right…but they had something else.

    “What type are you?” He asked, not believing that he hadn’t thought to ask before. She turned to look at him funny, and he sighed, hoping that she would at least indulge him before she reasoned through how her element could assist them.

    “I’m a psychic-type, but…” She looked down at the metal object. “Maybe…we can move the dirt around enough to expose it.”

    Katharine nodded, taking a position across from her in the room. She could tell Vittoria had not used her powers often at CERN from the way she stiffly flexed her arms before focusing on the ground in front of her. Just like muscles, powers could atrophy if not used for an extended period of time. Vittoria held her hands out in front of her, her mind focusing only on the buried object. Katharine closed her eyes, sensing the object through the floor with her mind. She could make a faint outline of its shape. What she saw made her breath catch in her throat as she and Vittoria pushed it to the surface.

    The wooden panels surfaced, bare and smooth against the metal edges. Vittoria let out a small gasp as she too realized what it was. Now sitting in only a few inches of dirt was a wooden coffin. The three Aquapolians stared at it for a few short seconds before taking action.

    Langdon dropped to his knees, and slid his fingers up under the lid, heaving against it. Nailed down, it didn’t give way. “Help me out here!” He grunted. Katharine kneeled across from him, placing her hands under the lid as well. Both Aquapolians let heat seep into the nails, melting them completely. Langdon accidently set part of the wood on fire, but the flames didn’t last long in the sordid air. The lid came off and clattered to the floor.

    Katharine gasped at the sight of the cardinal lying in the coffin almost peacefully. He was still dressed in his robes, which were torn to reveal his chest. Langdon let out a sharp breath as he took in the brand seared on the man’s chest.

    Land.

    Vittoria bent forward to check his pulse, Katharine staring at her, holding her breath as she waited for the verdict. She could instantly tell the news what bad as the woman’s eyes teared up. “We’re too late…” She whispered. “There’s no pulse.”

    “N…No…” Katharine choked out, her hand flying to her mouth. Tears started to drip down her face as she sunk even lower to the ground. Langdon looked away from the two weeping women, trying to keep himself together enough to call the Swiss Guard. He shakingly reached for his phone and dialed Richter.

    “Yes?” The commander answered, obviously preoccupied with other thoughts.

    “We…we’ve found the first cardinal, sir…”

    “Where?” He snapped back. Langdon could hear him shush several guards in the room.

    “Santa Maria del Popolo. Sir, we were too late.”

    He could hear the commander let out a sharp breath over the line. “We’ll be right there.”

    “We have to get moving, commander.” Langdon checked his watch. It was nearly six. “We need to find the second cardinal as soon as possible.”

    “Fine, just tell Miss McKenna that the camerlengo WILL be hearing about the car she took from our force.”

    Langdon couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the statement as he shoved his cell phone back into his pocket. He started to climb back up the ladder, then looked back. Vittoria and Katharine stared up at him.

    “I need to find the next marker,” he explained.

    “The next marker?” Vittoria echoed, clutching the pendent that hung around her neck.

    “One of the lines of the poem, ‘Let angels guide you on your lofty quest.’ I need to find an angel in the church,” he explained as he ascended out of the chapel. Vittoria and Katharine reluctantly followed after him.

    Langdon scanned the church and the niches that lined the walls. Katharine scanned the front part of the altar for any angel images. Suddenly, Vittoria spotted a sculpture. “I found one!” The sculpture was of two beings, one human and one angel in flowing robes. Langdon pushed forward to see it.

    “Habakkuk and the Angel,” he breathed. “It’s a Bernini sculpture. Now…all we need to know is in what direction…” He took another look at the artwork. “The angel’s is pointing in one direction. Where…?”

    “The west!” Katharine gasped, her head snapping around in the same direction of the angel’s finger. Sensing the four directions was a skill many Aquapolians possessed only if they were conscious of it. Those who spent too much time in power dormacy slowly lost the ability to sense in which direction objects were moving or buildings were placed.

    “What’s to the west…?” Langdon murmured, making his way back down the passageway they had come through. He needed to get a better look at the direction and the churches to the west. He cursed himself for not bringing a map with them, though Katharine seemed to be a walking tour guide. She may already have had an idea of where the next marker could be.

    He could hear sirens outside, alerting citizens to the presence of the Swiss Guard. What were they doing arriving so loudly? Only a half a mile away stood the Vatican, in front of which dozens of news stations had parked their news vans and equipment. If the news of the missing cardinals (one dead now) reached the reporters in St. Peter’s Square, then all chaos would break out…and the remaining five cardinals would be in even more danger.

    They burst into the evening air, Katharine hurrying down the alleyway to the car parked outside of the church. Langdon could tell she was going to dive straight in to the driver’s seat. “Wait!” There was no use in crashing the car before they reached the other cardinals. Besides, did she even known where she was going?

    “The next element is sea!” She shouted back, slamming the door shut. “Hurry up!” Several guards were making their way toward the church. None had noticed the car yet. Langdon wondered if they would stop her once they realized she was driving one of their cars. He and Vittoria dove into the backseat and the teenager peeled out of the street in front of the church.

    “Father’s going to be mad,” she muttered as she drove west down the crowded streets of Rome.

    Langdon had to agree.

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

    Barely an hour before conclave was to start, Commander Richter and Cardinal Mortati appeared in the pope’s apartments, Mortati concerned, Richter furious. The camerlengo had been pacing the floor, his mind racing over the current situation and preparing for the sealing of conclave. Cardinal Reed’s death the night before had shaken each of the cardinals, but none of them knew how ominous his death really was. He had been muttering about darkness for days, but the only ones who took stock in his worry were Mortati and the camerlengo. With Reed’s death came a foreboading neither could deny.

    The appearance of both Richter and Mortati in the apartments was strange. Under normal circumstances, they would not be in the same room together discussing the same subject. But that night…circumstances were far from normal. Richter made a slight breach of etiquette by speaking before Mortati, who graciously gave him the floor, sensing how dire the situation was.

    “We’ve located the first cardinal, signore.” He paused as Mortati and the camerlengo gave him looks of dread, fearing the outcome of the commander’s statement. Richter drew in a deep breath to continue. “He was in Santa Maria del Popolo, but we were too late to recover him.”

    Mortati’s face fell, but the camerlengo had an even deeper reaction. Things were spinning out of control…as were his thoughts. Reed had been right. The darkness was coming, and they weren’t as prepared as they thought they would be…Mortati knew this, but he wasn’t as concerned for her safety as the camerlengo was. She was in danger of being killed if his suspicions were correct.

    “What’s more,” Richter continued after clearing his throat. “We’re missing one of our cars. It appears as if Katharine has taken some matters into her own hands.”

    The camerlengo froze. “Did she go alone?” She was wise enough not to go out on her own, but sometimes, she behaved rashly. At times, she behaved like the free-spirited being that God had created her to be. When she set her mind to something, no one could stop her from achieving her goal.

    Richter frowned. “No, Professor Langdon and Mrs. Vetra left with her. They found Cardinal Lemasse buried underneath the Chigi Chapel. It is enough to have the professor and Mrs. Vetra become involved with this group without having to worry if Katharine would crash one of our vehicles or get in the way of our investigations…”

    “I will speak to her, Commander,” the camerlengo said, cutting Richter off in midsentence. He gave the clergyman a startled look as if he couldn’t believe he had interrupted him, then nodded sternly. Second by second, Mortati looked more and more agitated, as if he had something extremely important to say to the camerlengo…but not in front of the commander. “For now, continue your investigation. We still have conclave to begin in an hour.”

    After Richter left in a huff, Mortati turned to the camerlengo, concern showing in his features. “Patrick…”

    But the camerlengo was already halfway to his desk. “I’m concerned as well. But before we speak…I have a call to make. It’s time we enact the plan we made years ago.”

  13. #13
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    This is a brilliant chapter and I love the way you've been developing the characters to a really deep level and I'm looking forward to seeing them become deeper shortly in your upcoming chapters.

    May I also ask what was significant again six o'clock again, I can't remember. I liked the introudcutcion of the deaths (I've never read or seen Angels and Demons) so this came as a surpirse. I certainly didn't see it. The way you also described Santa Maria del popollo was also extravagant, although not in too much depth it was enough to allow my imagination to get to play which I absoloutely love being able to use! : )

    I loved the end, and the development you gave Katharine as well because it would be awesome to see her get into a bit of a pickle! I was surprised thjough about the sirens, that did make me wonder whether the Swiss Guard are somehow involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by chosen_one386 View Post
    Langdon was one of the few who believed in a God
    This I presume I think you were trying to say was one of the few who doesn't believe in a God. I also noticed a few other speeling errors such as putting 'the' when you wanted to say 'they'
    Quote Originally Posted by chosen_one386 View Post
    She was in danger of being killed if his suspicions were correct
    Again I think here you meant to say He was in danger unless a women was somehow involved in that last scene now...

    But besides that everything is okay and I think that you're grammar and spelling have really improved since I read Aftermath. So this is most definitely a monumental moment! : )

    Most Recent Chapter - Chapter 31: Don't Forget Me - Posted 26/01/13
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar

    I will pursue You, I will pursue Your presence

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    Quote Originally Posted by harryheart View Post
    This is a brilliant chapter and I love the way you've been developing the characters to a really deep level and I'm looking forward to seeing them become deeper shortly in your upcoming chapters.

    May I also ask what was significant again six o'clock again, I can't remember. I liked the introudcutcion of the deaths (I've never read or seen Angels and Demons) so this came as a surpirse. I certainly didn't see it. The way you also described Santa Maria del popollo was also extravagant, although not in too much depth it was enough to allow my imagination to get to play which I absoloutely love being able to use! : )

    I loved the end, and the development you gave Katharine as well because it would be awesome to see her get into a bit of a pickle! I was surprised thjough about the sirens, that did make me wonder whether the Swiss Guard are somehow involved.



    This I presume I think you were trying to say was one of the few who doesn't believe in a God. I also noticed a few other speeling errors such as putting 'the' when you wanted to say 'they'

    Again I think here you meant to say He was in danger unless a women was somehow involved in that last scene now...

    But besides that everything is okay and I think that you're grammar and spelling have really improved since I read Aftermath. So this is most definitely a monumental moment! : )
    Whoops, well, in the book and movie, one cardinal was killed once an hour. I kind of decided not to follow the once an hour thing, so, just focus on 12:00, when the antimatter goes off.

    Yeah, that is the exact opposite of what I wanted to say about Langdon. Thanks for catching that. :P

    Actually, I meant to say she was in danger. Sometimes, like in the prologue, when members of the church or of another organization that is about to be introduced talk about Katharine, they sometimes don't say her name, they just refer to her as she or her. Luckily, I can do this since there will probably be a total of four women in the entire fic. So, when this appears again when the camerlengo or someone else is thinking...just automatically think about Katharine.

    And, yes, we'll talk exactly about the pickle Katharine is in in the next chapter.

    Thank you for reading! I know it's kind of hard for those of you who haven't read or seen Angels and Demons to automatically catch on to the characters, but, in a way, I'm glad, since I'm trying to convey my own perception of these characters, and not Dan Brown's. The third chapter should be up sometime during the next few weeks.

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    3.


    The sun was starting to set over the horizon as Katharine made another sharp turn into Via del Coronari, her eyes scanning for pedestrians and her ears listening intently for any police cars or Swiss Guard vehicles that might be following them. Her grip tightened on the steering wheel as she remembered what Langdon had told her only a few minutes ago as they drove away from what looked like a crime scene at Santa Maria del Popolo. Actually…it had been a crime scene…

    Gripping onto the handle above the car door, Langdon gave her a half-scathing, half-frightened look before saying, “Commander Richter said that…the camerlengo is going to hear about you taking one of the Swiss Guard vehicles.” He flinched as she slammed her fist into the horn, urging a dog walker out of the way. “Have you…done this before?”

    “No,” she snapped, glancing at him for only a second. “But I’m not exactly authorized to drive one of these vehicles.” She chided herself mentally for saying that. Now Langdon was going to insist that he drive, though he wasn’t authorized either.

    “No kidding!” He gasped in fake shock, shaking his head. He smirked and she glared at him. “What? Don’t you want me to drive so you don’t get into any more trouble with the camerlengo?”

    Katharine smirked back. “For your information, I’m not going to be in trouble with him. He’ll be mad for all of two seconds…Just wait and see.” As she said it, she knew it was only half true. She wasn’t doing anything highly dangerous, but the camerlengo had been a really…protective parent over the years. She couldn’t really predict whether she had given him a heart attack or made him extremely angry by her actions that night. Maybe both.

    As she pressed hard on the brakes to park on the side of the street, Katharine shook her head. It didn’t really matter. If all of the prophecies were true, she would have to face even more dangerous situations in the future as she fulfilled her role as the Chosen One. Maybe the crisis she was in now would help the camerlengo understand that she really needed to be given the opportunity to learn to fly before she was pushed off of the ledge.

    “Where is the second marker?” Vittoria spoke out from the backseat as Katharine shifted the car into park. They through open their car doors, scanning the area for any other Swiss Guard vehicles as Langdon waited intently for Katharine’s answer.

    “The Piazza Navona. Follow me, quickly!” She hissed as they made their way across the busy street, dodging cars and taxis. Langdon thought over her destination choice for a few seconds before realizing that the piazza was the perfect second marker.

    The piazza was almost deserted of tourists at that time in the day. Katharine guessed most of them were in St. Peter’s Square, and, for that, she was grateful. If they ran into the killer here, their encounter could injure any human bystander that happened to be around.

    The fountain in the middle of the piazza contained symbols of the four great rivers of the world-the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio Plata. It was covered in pagan symbols, with a dove at the top of the massive sculpture. Katharine raised her hand to stop the others, and silently crept forward. “He’s not here, yet,” she whispered. “We should spread out.”

    Langdon slipped down one side of the piazza, making his way in the direction of the sculpture that represented the Nile. Vittoria made her way silently and softly to the other side, pretending to be a tourist examining the sculpture from all sides. Katharine had no time to find a stake-out spot before a black van pulled into the piazza.

    The van was closest to Langdon, who stopped to observe the movements of the person inside. He cursed at the tinted windows, and stepped forward as van parked beside the fountain. Before he could walk any closer, the side door slid open...and he heard a large scraping sound.

    The sound attracted Katharine’s eye to the van’s door as what looked like a hospital gurney slid out of the car and into the fountain. In what seemed like slow motion, the van’s door slid shut and the vehicle roared out of the square. Langdon shouted from his position near the fountain, running desperately toward the person trapped in the gurney underwater. Katharine’s breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t see him, but she knew the person had to be one of the cardinals.

    Langdon reached the cardinal first, nearly tripping over the marble edge of the fountain as he splashed into the water, reaching out to grip the sides of the gurney. He tried to push it up out of the water, then gasped as he met with resistence. Weights had been tied to the bottom to keep the gurney underwater, and he didn’t have the strength to pull them up by himself. Seconds later, Vittoria splashed into the fountain and heaved up the same side of the gurney.

    Katharine’s feet nearly flew across the rough Roman pavement, her mind focused on the fountain and the struggle Langdon and Vittoria were going through to get the cardinal above the water’s surface. Her brain registered a movement to her right seconds before a body slammed into her, knocking her to the ground and making her scrape her knees.

    In one fluid motion, she leaped back on her feet as her attacker advanced to restrain her. She tried to push him back with a blast of frigid air, but he was too quick. The shine of Aquapolian crystal caught her eye as he grabbed her elbow, sending shock waves of electricity up her arm. She cried out, spinning around to try and knock his hand away, her knee connecting with his stomach, pitching him backwards. He spun around to regain his balance before he hit the ground.

    Langdon and Vittoria were fighting a losing battle. The gurney refused to lift with both of their efforts. Vittoria started to cry out for help, but no one answered. The piazza was deserted. They had no time to call for the Swiss Guard to help…And Katharine had been delayed. Langdon’s eyes searched for her until he spotted the brawl that had ensued on the other side of the piazza.

    The man’s eyes shone with dark malice, as deep as the crystal pendent’s color around his neck. This made no sense to Katharine. Didn’t Langdon say that the Illuminati was a human organization? Why was an Aquapolian fighting for them? Something else blurred her vision. She could sense some type of energy surrounding her attacker. It made her fearful, but, at the same time, it made her furious, as if the very thought of this man killing the cardinal made her want to tear him limb from limb.

    Langdon and Vittoria continued to shout for help and attempt to lift the gurney out of the water. The force they needed to help was with Katharine…She twisted around, slamming her knee once more into her attacker’s chest. He groaned, then aimed a punch that caught her upside the head. Electricity surged through her, causing every pain receptor in her body to scream out as she leveled him with a blast of air. He slammed into the pavement, the wind knocked out of his lungs moments before his head hit the surface. He didn’t stick around long enough for her to see if he had suffered any brain damage, bolting up right, giving her a murderous look, then sprinting from the piazza.

    Katharine bolted toward the fountain as Langdon and Vittoria continued to struggle with the gurney. Grasping the other end, she heaved upward, lifting the cardinal above water. They slid him out of the fountain and onto the pavement’s surface. Vittoria checked his pulse, and shook her head, only speaking with a shaking, “He’s dead.” Langdon couldn’t help but stare at the brand on his chest.

    Sea.

    “No!” Katharine cried out helplessly, dropping to her knees beside the dead cardinal. Tears started to run down her face as she cursed, trying to catch her breath. Langdon’s eyes trailed up to the fountain, trying to find the next marker. There were no angels on the fountain….but there was a dove, and it was pointing toward the Vatican.

    “Are there any sculptures that represent sky near the Vatican?” He asked.

    Katharine turned to stare at him, trying to gather her thoughts. “I…no…” She breathed heavily. “But…there’s a mural…”

    Langdon, whose body was worn out from trying to lift the heavy gurney, turned to catch his breath as Katharine explained in a shaking voice. “In St. Peter’s Square, there is a tile in the surface of the marble that shows a head blowing air in five directions. I haven’t…really looked at it closely enough to see if it’s an angel…but it could represent sky.”

    Langdon turned to look at the teenager, finally seeing all of the bruises and cuts across her arms and face. With a shiver of foreboding, he wondered how a human could cause her so much damage without a weapon of any kind. She wasn’t speaking about her attacker, so he assumed she didn’t want to talk about her encounter. He simply said, “You’re bleeding.”

    In a distracted voice, she answered, “I know,” then turned to make her way back to the Swiss Guard vehicle. Langdon followed after her, not looking at Vittoria as he shoved his cell phone into her hand. She fought back tears as she dialed Commander Richter, wondering how everything could have gone so wrong so fast.

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

    As expected, St. Peter’s Square was crowded with onlookers. Katharine had to park a couple of blocks away in order to get a spot remotely close to the Vatican. She prayed that none of the members of the Swiss Guard that were on duty would spot it, and breathed a sigh of relief as she heard their sirens head toward the Piazza Novana.

    Langdon elbowed through a group of American tourists, each glaring at him as he made his way through the crowd. Surprisingly, he ran into several Aquapolians who had come to observe the precedings. The Catholic Church in Aquapolis was small, but most of its members had flocked to Rome since the pope had passed away. The Aquapolians gave him wry smiles as they spotted the pendant that hung around his neck. He nodded to them, wondering if they would smile as brightly if they knew he didn’t share in their belief system.

    Instead of spreading out, they carefully made their way around the square, staring down at the ground until Katharine stopped dead in front of one of the marble tiles. “This is it,” she said, pointing to the head that blew five streaks of air in all directions. Langdon glanced around the square for any indication of the killer. Katharine looked up into the sky as if it would give them the answer.

    Then, they heard the scream. Katharine was the first to bolt in its direction, swirving around tourists deftly until she reached a little Italian-Aquapolian girl who clutched a Mareep doll to her chest. She was pointing toward the fountain as her mother reached to snatch her away. Katharine dove in the fountain’s direction, stopping short when she saw him.

    The cardinal was dressed in borrowed black robes and was slumped against the edge of the fountain. His head rested on the marble surface of the sculpture, his eyes closed. Katharine’s stomach lurched when she saw him, and she backed away, her eyes slipping to the ground at the scarlet pool that had formed around him. She had never been squeamish in her life, but at that instant, she felt a terrible nausea overcome her as helplessness ran through her mind. They were too late again. Her head started to spin and she fought against it, taking a step toward the fountain. They had to get him away before the media saw him…

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

    Heath Dragonstone rammed the door to his news van shut, shocking his camera man as the Aquapolian stalked toward the outskirts of St. Peter’s Square. If it weren’t for all of the Fox News and CNN reporters camped out around the square, he would have gotten a better position from which to shoot the precedings of the Vatican conclave. One CNN anchorwoman he had run into on the way there had bluntly asked him why he was covering this particular story. Such rudeness was common with American reporters, he guessed. It was never tolerated in the Aquapolian newsrooms, where rude anchors could easily find themselves in a physically painful situation if they ever mistreated a guest or each other.

    He smirked. He had actually witnessed an anchorwoman being threatened by one of her guests after she had made a snarky remark about his heritage. Her co-anchor, another tall and respected anchorwoman, had given her such a nasty glare on camera that he wondered if she had sided with the guest after the lights went down. Not to say that the Aquapolian media was an extremely rough business, but one knew when to respect guests and co-workers both on and off air. In the Aquapolian media and government, people didn’t take crap lightly.

    Families were like that as well. He belonged to a family that was a well known dragon tamer clan. Both of his cousins were involved in the Aquapolian government. One was a gym leader, the other an Elite Four member. Their family gatherings were always interesting…

    Dragonstone finally reached the row of news reporters that lined the square and found the perfect place to report. He had a nice view of the front of the basilica. Any Aquapolian could appreciate wonderful architecture, but he had a job to do. He hoped his boss wouldn’t mind if he spent an extra day or two in Rome after conclave ended.

    “We’re going live in five minutes!” He shouted cheerfully to his cameraman. A Fox News anchor turned to see who had just interrupted the sounds of the crowd he was capturing nearby, then smiled when he saw Dragonstone. The Aquapolian reporter smiled. He was friends with this man, one of the only American-Aquapolian reporters that Fox News hired. The other American-Aquapolians that the company hired were those who had primetime news shows. Bill O’Riley was the first to come to his mind. Glenn Beck was second, but he was crazy even for an Aquapolian.

    The cameraman turned his equipment on and they began.

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

    Langdon panted heavily as he reached the cardinal’s body near the fountain. Swiss Guard were already on the scene, calling for a stretcher to carry him away. Langdon couldn’t get close to the body, but he could see the brand on the man’s chest.

    Sky.

    He searched for Katharine, who had bolted after the cardinal before him. He had expected her to be at the scene, but she was no where in sight. Perhaps the Swiss Guards had told her to leave. He glanced around again, trying to look through the crowd to find the teenager.

    She was standing only a few yards away, frozen as a statue with her hands clinched into fists and her eyes on the cardinal’s body, following him as they took the stretcher away. When Langdon approached her, she didn’t seem to notice his presence until he was a few feet away from her. She flinched when he put a hand on her shoulder, her Aquapolian crystal eyes warily glancing up at him.

    She had to be tired, Langdon thought. He was already tired, and it wasn’t even seven o’clock in the evening yet. The events they had witnessed were enough to shake someone his age, and he hadn’t even known the cardinals who died. Katharine knew them. She had been close to Cardinal Reed. How badly was she shaken?

    “I think we need to get you back inside the Vatican,” he sighed. He hated to admit it, but maybe the best solution to this was to grab one of the Swiss Guards who knew the city well and leave Katharine to rest and recover at the Vatican. She was still bleeding from the wounds on her arms and face. She needed medical attention soon before she passed out.

    Reluctantly, Katharine followed him as he grabbed her arm and guided her to a group of Swiss Guards nearby. She knew she needed rest, but that didn’t necessarily mean she was going to get some anytime soon.

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

    Langdon, Katharine, and Vittoria entered the papal apartments right behind one of the Swiss Guards, Langdon’s mind partly on the next marker and partly on how the camerlengo would react to Katharine’s injuries and her stealing the Swiss Guard vehicle. Vittoria stayed behind to speak to one of the guards about the ongoing search for the antimatter, leaving Langdon and Katharine to face the camerlengo by themselves.

    They stepped into the pope’s study, where the camerlengo was getting ready for conclave to start at seven o’clock. When he spotted Katharine, he froze. “What happened?” He asked as he advanced toward her, gripping one of her arms to get a better look at her injuries. “Who did this to you?”

    “I was attacked at the Piazza Novana by an Aquapolian,” she explained, looking away as he continued to stare at the cuts on her arms.

    “An Aquapolian?” He paused, looking up at Langdon. “Why would an Aquapolian be aiding the killer?”

    Langdon shrugged. “We don’t know. Maybe they’ve been hiring Aquapolians…”

    “I don’t think that’s it,” Katharine shook her head and winced as the camerlengo’s grip on her arm grew tighter.

    The door to the study opened, and Langdon turned, expecting to see one of the Swiss Guards. He gaped at who instead had walked through the door.

    “I’m sorry I’m late,” the man said, glancing at Langdon curiously. “Well, Langdon, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

    “Rowan? Why…how…?”

    “Well, I was called when Cardinal Reed was killed last night. Seems as if the Swiss Guard believe that I can help shed some light on his death…and on the appearance of these Aquapolian element brands.”

    The camerlengo let go of Katharine’s arm. “It’s been a while since we last met, professor.”

    Langdon, confused, looked from the camerlengo to Rowan. “You know each other?”

    The professor laughed. “You seem to be forgetting I teach in Aquapolis. I teach Katharine at Sakuragoaka Academy. I’ve kept in touch with the camerlengo because of…well…special circumstances.”

    Langdon nodded. He understood.

    “I heard a commotion in the square a few minutes ago. I finally had to get the truth out of one of the guards that they found the third cardinal near the fountain with the word ‘sky’ branded on his chest.”

    “We need to find ‘time’ next…” Langdon muttered. “The marker is still in the square.” He turned to leave. Katharine instinctively took a step forward, but was held back by the camerlengo. Her head snapped around to look at him, but he wouldn’t let go. Rowan nodded and left with Langdon.

    “I can help them!” She gasped.

    “It’s too dangerous,” the camerlengo muttered. “Especially with Aquapolians now fighting…”

    “There was only one…” She trailed off as she looked down at her arm where the camerlengo had gripped it. The cuts were already gone, and she could feel the cuts across her face healing quickly.

    “It doesn’t matter. Now that Professor Rowan is here, you can stay in the Vatican until he and Professor Langdon returns.” He glared at her. “You’ve done enough.”

    Katharine sighed and sank into a chair beside the wall. “I haven’t done anything or saved anyone,” she said, tearfully.

    The camerlengo was struck by her comment, but didn’t say a word to her as he left the room, telling one of the Swiss Guards to make sure she didn’t leave while he was gone.

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

    “It’s pointing south,” Rowan commented as he and Langdon examined the marker in St. Peter’s Square.”

    “What kind of sculpture can represent time?” Langdon thought aloud.

    “Well, I don’t know any with clocks, do you?”

    “What about seasons?”

    Rowan frowned. “Seasons?”

    “Seasons represent time. I know of a sculpture carved by an Italian-Aquapolian artist that sits to the south.”

    Rowan glanced back down at the marker, then up to Langdon. “Let’s go.”

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

    The church that Langdon and Rowan pulled up in front of was closed for renovation. Langdon slammed his car door shut and walked to the side of the building, looking for another entrance. Rowan followed after him, scanning the sides of the old church for any windows they could climb into. If they couldn’t find a door that would open on this side, they could always try and tear through the front door of the church. Human structures, after all, were not fire-proof.

    Langdon brushed aside several low growing branches that blocked the entrance to the back end of the church. He tugged at the handle of the door. Locked. He released heat through his hand, focusing on twisting the metal out of shape. The heat from his hand melted the lock inside, and the door swung open as the handle clattered to the ground. Rowan rounded the corner, slipping in after Langdon and pulling the door as far closed as was possible.

    The church inside was pitch black, the sun already having set beyond the horizon. Langdon focused his fire into an orb once again, adjusting his eyes to the sudden flash of light that illuminated the chapel. Rowan glanced around, observing the differences between the human chapel and the Aquapolian temples back in his home country. Though both were for the worship of the same god, Aquapolian temples tended to be more open air during worship surfaces and most were led by a monk from the Cave of Origin. There were icons of the legendaries scattered throughout the room. In this chapel, scenes from the Bible dominated the stained glass windows.

    Rowan knew nothing about Renaissance sculpture, but a lot about the six elements of Aquapolian science. He was himself an Aquapolian scientist who worked with similar minds at Yale and in Ever Grande, specializing in the history and use of the six elements. His mind flitted back to the call from the Vatican he had received earlier that day. The caller had contacted him just as he had asked. With the addition of the appearance of an Aquapolian fighting for the kidnapper and killer, he was afraid that the day they had prepared for was finally here.

    Langdon slipped across the chapel to the sculpture located behind the altar. As he had told Rowan, the marble represented the four seasons, each depicted as one of the saints of the church. Langdon wished he could stand there and study the sculpture for more than a few seconds and explain to Rowan its history, but they were there for a different reason.

    Rowan couldn’t shake the sound that poked at the edge of his conscience. A ticking noise, maybe? He looked at his watch and smirked slightly as Langdon studied his own Mickey Mouse watch. Langdon had heard the sound as well, obviously, and he still wore the watch he had worn when they had met years beforehand.

    His smirk disappeared instantly when he happened to look up at the ceiling. Rafters criss-crossed over their heads, but the beam directly above them caught their eyes. The ticking noise came from a timer set somewhere out of their sight above the rafter. It was attached to two pieces of rope, one weighed down with a weight. Another piece of rope looped around the neck of an obviously distressed cardinal who looked to be older than the others. He sat on one of the raftors, unable to move unless he fell off.

    “We have to get him down!” Langdon cried, looking around to see if he could climb up to the ceiling. “I can’t burn the ropes from here.”

    “If you do, he’ll hang,” Rowan said grimly. “Stay down here, I’ll take care of this…”

    The words were barely out of his mouth before he heard a whooshing sound fly past his ears. A knife buried itself into the wooden raftors overhead, barely feet from the startled cardinal. Rowan twisted around to face a man that had seemed to come out of the shadows behind him.

    The man was taller than he was with jet black hair and dark eyes. What was more startling than the knife was the clothes he wore. He was dressed in a head to toe purple ninja uniform.

    “A ninja?!” Langdon couldn’t help but gasp at the absurdity of the man’s entrance.

    Rowan smiled mockingly at the man. “Hello, Koga, long time no see. What exactly are you here to do? Fight alongside the Illuminati?”

    Koga gave him a cruel smile. “Fight alongside humans? No…I have a different agenda today.” Before Rowan could react, Koga pulled another knife from his uniform and lunged for him, aiming a slice at his chest. Rowan dodged backwards.

    “Langdon! Take him! I’ll get to the cardinal!” Rowan dodged backwards again, allowing Langdon an opening through which to attack. An inaccurate blast of fire careened past Koga, charring the wall behind him.

    The ninja laughed. “You must not be pure Aquapolian. Tell me, do they teach the art of battle in America?”

    Langdon frowned, lunging forward with another fire attack. This one connected with Koga’s arm, but he seemed to shrug it off. Langdon cursed. His uniform was fire proof.

    Rowan positioned himself below the rafter that held the frightened cardinal, prepared to launch himself upward. Being a psychic-type had its perks. He was about to levitate upward when another knife flew over his head.

    “I said you take him, Langdon!” He shouted, then noticed Langdon had Koga cornered against the wall. He turned around to watch as a young woman dressed in a similar ninja uniform advanced toward him, shouting as she held up another knife in her arm.

    Rowan expertly dodged her strike, burying his elbow into her stomach and knocking her back. The girl flipped through the air, landing hard on her backside before wheeling around to kick out at him. He reached out to grab her leg and perry the attack, but she was too fast, her knife slicing through the air right over his head. The incessant ticking of the timer above his head sent a surge of urgency through his mind, and almost without thinking, he conjured up a wall of psychic energy that slammed into his attacker, rays of light splaying out in all directions as the wall pinned her to the floor.

    Langdon was having an increasingly tough time beating off Koga. All of his fire attacks were expertly dodged by the ninja attacker, and the knife was getting increasingly more accurate. Langdon had avoided any major cuts to his limbs or body, but now it seemed as if this was what Koga was intending to do. The ninja was merely playing with him, easily taking down his own ability level to that of Langdon’s before he went in for a more powerful strike. Langdon wasn’t going to give him a chance.

    When fighting in close combat situations, always go for a Fire Punch or Blaze Kick. Langdon’s roommate at Harvard decades before had been an Aquapolian with powerful fire capabilities. He had grown up in Aquapolis, where children were taught from age five how to master their elements. Langdon, who grew up in America, had no such education, so he had to learn it all from his roommate years later.

    Langdon dodged to the left, kicking out in a blaze of fire that stunned Koga, who hadn’t expected such a powerful attack from the American-Aquapolian. The knife flew from his hands and clattered to the floor several feet away, leaving Koga wide open to attack. The ninja was still stunned by Langdon’s sudden move. Langdon reached forward and grabbed Koga by the front of his uniform, slamming him into the stone wall directly behind him. His head connected with the stained glass window, jarring him. Langdon slammed him into the wall again, feeling fury well up inside of him. He had to get rid of this guy.

    Something in Koga’s eyes infuriated him. There was something about this man that made Langdon want to punch the living daylights out of him. Not just because he had participated in the attempted murder of an innocent soul, but because he had dared to look down on a human…and try to kill him. Langdon didn’t know if it was his own mind or that of his instincts that made him throw Koga through the window, but either way, the glass crashed forcefully into the ninja as he fell to the ground outside, knocked out by the power of Langdon’s attack.

    Rowan reached out to grab one of the rafters, pulling himself up as the ticking grew more urgent in his mind. He heard the sound of glass shattering below him, but he paid it no attention. His mind was on the contraption that held the cardinal at bay. He reached out for the timer, wondering if he could jar it with his powers. It was electronic…maybe he could mess with the magnetic fields…
    A stabbing pain rushed through his leg, making him cry out unexpectedly. He lost his hold on the rafter and swung to the ground, careful not to land on the knife that was protruding from his left leg. He hit the ground hard, carefully pulling the weapon away from him as a wall of fire pushed the young woman back, immobilizing her.

    Rowan heard the clock stop ticking above his head, and as the weight dropped a few yards away from him, he knew that they were too late.

    Time…had run out.
    Last edited by chosen_one386; 21st May 2010 at 9:02 PM.

  16. #16
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    Three more deaths! This is really starting to become a thick plot but also a very deserved story for the characters. I'm absolouetly loving all the Pokemon references! Very well done! And teh addition of Koga and Janine also was intriguing, I would never had depicted him as evil! That's for sure!

    This is again amazing writing Chosen and you deserve the best out of this story! I can't wait to read more and I'm hoping that at least one Cardinal gets rescued, but I'll have to wait and see!

    Most Recent Chapter - Chapter 31: Don't Forget Me - Posted 26/01/13
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar

    I will pursue You, I will pursue Your presence

  17. #17
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    Well, Koga is evil in Pokemon Adventures, so I drew inspiration from there.

    Thank you for reading. I'll have the next chapter up soon.

  18. #18
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    I love this chapter because you are starting to make this your own now and also I like the fact how you are adding in stuff from the anime like Koga and Janine! I am wondering how you will make the storylines of each character end as a whole but big thumbs up!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    Am I the only the person that sees this announcement as somewhat frivolous? To be straightforward, who cares?

    Thanks so much for letting us all know, we can take refuge that you're still God. While your at it, make another announcement about how your not really fat anymore, just to make sure we all know.
    ...

  19. #19
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    Seeing as Koga is one of my favorite gym leaders of all time, I had a fun time putting him in this chapter.

    Oh, and, BTW this fic does not end with the events of the Angels and Demons book and movie...let's just say it has an expanded storyline.

  20. #20
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    Wow, after a month's time, here's the next chapter!


    4.

    Katharine glanced out of the windows of the papal apartments, nervously searching for some sign of Langdon and Rowan returning to the Vatican. Sirens sounded in the distance, and she sighed.

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

    “None of the other cardinals know of the perferiti missing. At best, they may just believe they are late,” Cardinal Mortati told the camerlengo outside of the Sistine Chapel. “I will try to keep their questions at bay. Is she still in the Vatican?”

    “Yes.”

    “…I thought we spoke of this earlier? She cannot be prepared to fight unless she’s given the opportunity.”

    “She’s not prepared to fight,” the camerlengo protested.

    “And we know this, how?” Mortati shook his head. “If she is willing to fight, let her do so. The darkness is approaching quickly.”

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

    Langdon and Rowan slipped out of the church after taking a good look at the statue that had brought them there. Swiss Guard were already rushing to the scene as they pulled away from the church.

    “Well now…that’s two more Aquapolians that we’ve encountered,” Langdon muttered, looking at Rowan’s wounded leg. “You okay?”

    “I can walk,” Rowan said simply. “Now, where are we going?”

    “Tell me the definition of ‘space.’”

    Rowan paused. “Well, it can mean space as in…dimensional space. Or…outer space.”

    “Let’s try outer space. The only angel in that statue pointed in the direction of one of the few monuments to Galileo still present in the city’s churches…” Langdon said, swirving back onto the main streets.

    This church, unlike the other one, was open, but deserted. The clergy had left to observe in St. Peter’s Square. Once again, they circled to the back of the church in order to break in.

    It was pitch black inside the chapel, causing Langdon to ignite another of his fire orbs in order to see even a foot in front of him. As the sun had fallen, the deserted chapels and buildings throughout Rome had grown pitch black without priests or nuns to light the rooms within. Langdon felt a small pang of guilt for breaking in so violently. Whoever showed up at the churches the next morning had a clean up job ahead of them. In most cases, they would have to repair back doors. He hoped that thieves would not walk in between their visit and the next morning.

    This chapel was larger than the last, spanning several more yards and boasting an even taller ceiling. Langdon and Rowan did a quick once over of their surroundings, making sure that the missing cardinal was not inside the chapel itself before they scanned the rest of the church. Langdon’s eyes fell on the sculpture that had led him to believe that this was the marker of space. The angel held open a book with no title, his eyes intent on the contents of its pages. He wondered why the sculptor had not given the book at least the title of Holy Bible. Then again…the artist had intended the sculpture to mark a spot along the Path of Illumination. The great thinkers who had walked the path may have been thrown off by the title of Holy Bible. Then again, so would the Church.

    Langdon resolved himself to catch another look at it again before they left. His eyes rolled up to the ceiling, guiding his orb up into the thick rafters above their heads. He noticed that the ceiling was not divided between the rooms of the church. In fact, the back wall opened up at the top to give the building a uniform ceiling. The cardinal was nowhere in the chapel…

    “Let’s check the back rooms,” Rowan suggested, making his way carefully toward the door to the back of the church. Both men were a little shaken up by the appearance of Koga and the female ninja at the last church. Langdon noticed that Rowan walked with a limp and made a mental note to get him medical attention later.

    They entered the back of the church, careful to check their surroundings as Langdon’s fire orb swung over the back wall and into the room. Something in the back of the room caught Rowan’s gaze, and he took in a sharp breath of air.

    “Up there,” he pointed to where the rafters made a triangle above their heads. Wooden boards kept a chair balanced on the rafters. A cardinal sat on the chair, bound to it with ropes. What looked like a timer was strapped to his back.

    “Another bomb?” Langdon asked aloud.

    “Not this time…” Rowan said, looking around for a way to get up to the ceiling. He found a ladder nearby and climbed up, Langdon close behind him.

    Langdon nearly fell off of the rafters the instant he stood up. Rowan skillfully walked toward the triangle, keeping his eye on the cardinal instead of his feet. Langdon followed after him, crawling on his knees. He was a bit embarrassed at how unbalanced his legs were. Rowan was showing him up quite a bit in the skill department, even though his balance was impeccable due to his psychic nature. Langdon’s eyes stayed on the rafter until he reached the large wooden triangle and scrambled to his feet, swaying a bit as he clung onto a beam above his head for balance.

    Langdon had never seen a contraption quite like the one attached to the cardinal. Ropes kept his arms and legs bound to the chair tightly as a metal device snaked its way around his neck. The device, like the hanging mechanism at the previous marker, was attached to a timer that was quickly ticking away. Rowan ran his hands over the device, trying to find a way to free the man from the chair’s hold.

    “What is this?” Langdon asked in an almost whisper, his hands suspended over the metal framing that connected the device to the timer. He was not about to melt it apart until he knew what he was dealing with. What if an abrupt disconnection from the timer caused the device to trigger violently?

    “I’ve seen these used on prisoners of the Aquapolian criminal syndicate. The device contains a deadly poison that can kill an Aquapolian in less than a minute. Once the timer goes off, it will be injected into the bloodstream…”

    Casting aside his question of how Rowan was placed in the situation to see this used by a criminal syndicate, Langdon asked, dreading the answer, “How fast can it kill a human?”

    Rowan paused, looking up at him. From the look he gave Langdon, the academic knew that his colleague had no idea how to free the cardinal from the device. “Less than half a minute…” Rowan looked down at the rafter. “We can try to tear the timer away from the device, but we might trip something.”

    Langdon glanced at the timer. They had a minute left to think of something. “What if I melt the timer itself?”

    “Are you sure you can do that without burning him?” Rowan looked at him skeptically. He was right. The heat from Langdon’s attack could either burn the cardinal directly or travel up through the device to singe him. Langdon looked helplessly at the timer, feeling their chances slipping away. He grasped the timer between his hands and felt heat flow into it.

    The impact with the floor and his back knocked the wind out of him. He had not been prepared for the hard wooden surface to almost knock him unconscious, but when the timer nearly exploded in his hand, he knew he was in for a rough landing. Rowan had fallen on the other side of the rafter, clutching his still injured leg and gasping in pain.

    Langdon knew they had failed, and a sense of helplessness washed over him. What was he doing here? How was he helping? He was an Aquapolian who knew nothing useful, who couldn’t fight as skillfully as his countrymen. He was just an academic…book smart about the sculptures and artist and religious symbology of Rome. And even then he did not have the ability to save the cardinals. Each had died one by one. Something in the back of his head screamed for him to sit up and look at the sculpture in the church…to find the next marker. Only one was left…then…the antimatter…

    Rowan fought through the pain in his leg to think about his next actions. A sense of dread had creeped up on him since he had received the news about Cardinal Reed’s death and the six missing cardinals. But the dread had been creeping up on him for years. What should have been a joyous moment in the Roman airport terminal that day twelve years ago had contained a sense of foreboding that he hadn’t shaken since.

    As he tried to collect his thoughts about their next steps, he thought back to the six-year-old girl he had first met in that terminal. She had just parted with the cat she had spent most of her life with, and she was trying to be sullen and excited at the same time about her first trip to Aquapolis. She kept on darting around, looking at everyone and everything, her hands gripping a small blue backpack slung across her shoulders. He was standing in the waiting area beside the gate that led to the Aquapolian airlines, and remembered her running into the area, way ahead of the young man who accompanied her.

    “What are you reading?”

    He hadn’t noticed her sneaking up on him until she was only a few feet away. He was flustered at first. She didn’t even know he was the professor who had come to collect her for her first year of Aquapolian school, yet she still was curious about a book that a stranger was reading. He laughed and held the book out for her to see.

    “It’s a book about the legendaries of Aquapolis. The six powers.”

    Her Aquapolian crystal blue eyes – so brilliant – widened. “Wow…”

    “Katharine!” The girl turned around instinctively at the sound of her name. The young man who had been almost running after her had the most brilliant emerald eyes Rowan had ever seen. Obviously, he didn’t know who Rowan was either, because he immediately started apologizing for the girl’s bothering him.

    Rowan couldn’t help but smile as he tried to push himself into a sitting position on the chapel floor. The sight of the jumpy, blonde girl who could not stand still and the young man in his late twenties dressed in priest’s clothing who looked at her in a worried fashion had been odd to him even at that moment.

    Langdon pushed himself to his feet, his eyes trained on the Galileo sculpture. The angel’s finger pointed to somewhere in the east. He tried to think of a church in the east that had a statue of dimension.

    “What can represent dimension?” He asked aloud. “We already have space here. What do you think?”

    Rowan pushed himself to his feet. “Honestly, I don’t know. Not much is known about dimension outside of the modern knowledge of separate spaces…Which churches are in that direction?”

    Langdon thought for a second. There was yet another church that contained several monuments to Galileo to the east. Then, he froze. “There’s Saint Katharine’s.” Rowan’s jaw dropped at this. “That has to be it…” Langdon continued. Rowan groaned once again, dropping to his knees as another wave of pain shot up his leg. “We need to get you back to the Vatican. There aren’t any Aquapolian hospitals around here…”

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

    Katharine sat staring out of the window in front of her blindly. Her mind worked over ways she could convince the camerlengo to let her join Rowan and Langdon on their hunt. He paced behind her, his eyes glancing out the window every once in a while as if he could see what she was staring at. Suddenly, a knock sounded at the door.

    “Yes?” The camerlengo called. The door swung open and Katharine turned to see Langdon in the doorway.

    “We know where the last marker is,” he said simply. “We had to come back because Rowan is injured.”

    “How badly?” The camerlengo asked.

    “Just a knife wound to the leg. He’ll be fine once it’s bandaged up.” Langdon waved away the professor’s injury as light. “After he can get out of the Swiss Guard’s offices, we’ll be heading for the final marker.”

    Katharine bolted out of her chair. “Where is it?” She stepped closer.

    “We believe it’s at Saint Katharine’s church.”

    “Saint Katharine’s?” The camerlengo whispered to himself. The symbolism was not lost on him.

    “The element of dimension is symbolized by the legendary named Giratina, but since it’s the most powerful of the elements, it’s sometimes symbolized as the Chosen One.” Langdon glanced at Katharine, as if trying to memorize her face. It was impossible for her to look so much like the paintings and statues that had been created by artists for centuries…and yet, standing in front of him, her pose carried as an eighteen-year-old, she held so much of the energy and power of the images the Renaissance artists created. From the curve of her nose to her small and delicate hands, she looked like a modern day version of the Chosen One painting in his powerpoint, the comparison strange in his mind as he looked at her plain black t-shirt and jeans.

    Something was symbolic about her plain attire on this very special day for the Vatican. True, she was Protestant, but she LIVED in the Vatican itself. He suddenly realized that she was out of place here. Not just because of her age, gender, or religion, but because of who she was. Though there were a few Aquapolians in the church, she was even unique among them. She carried herself differently from them. She dressed in a more modern fashion than they did. She talked in an accent foreign to them, even to the camerlengo, who was Irish. She was an enigma in these modern times just as she would have been in ancient times.

    Something sparked in Katharine’s eyes as she looked from Langdon to the camerlengo. This was it. The last cardinal and marker. Surely….surely the camerlengo would allow her to help Langdon and Rowan, especially since her teacher was injured. They would need help, she reasoned. Simply taking the one or two Aquapolian Swiss Guards would not do. They didn’t know how to fight in the Aquapolian style. They were like the camerlengo and Cardinal Mortati; raised in a foreign country without any contact with the traditions of their homeland. She knew how to fight in the old style. She could be of great help.

    Langdon could see the urgency in her eyes. He wondered if it were her very nature that pressed her to help, to fight. Suddenly, he wanted her out there on the battlefield, not only to see her amazing powers, but also for her to fulfill her given role. Langdon’s beliefs had been shaken in the past few hours by even her small display of power. Though he didn’t believe in a higher power, he certainly accepted that she was born with a purpose.

    “I’ll watch her,” he finally said, looking straight at the camerlengo, silently giving him his word that he would protect the girl. “I’ll bring her back unharmed. I promise. Just let her fight for what she was born to protect.” He spoke each word strongly, knowing that it would take persuasion and a stubborn will to make the camerlengo give up what fears he had of letting her go.

    Katharine’s gaze turned to the camerlengo’s, her eyes silently pleading as she reached up almost unconsciously to wrap her right hand around the Aquapolian crystal cross pendent that she wore around her neck. He had given it to her after adopting her from the orphanage only a few streets away from the Vatican. Sapphires ringed the edges…her birthstone. They cut into her hand as her grip tightened protectively around the stones.

    Katharine could see the camerlengo’s resolve loosening as he looked from her to Langdon, almost helplessly. The time had come to let go, and he found himself unwilling to do so. Finally, as if he had given up, he muttered, “Fine, you may go with the professors.” He fixed his emerald green eyes on her as he said sternly, “Just be careful.” There was no need to tell her not to do anything stupid. But smart choices were not always ones without risk.

    The corners of Katharine’s mouth twitched up in a surprised smile, and she resisted the urge to hug him in front of Langdon. Something in her was dying to fight, to save lives. Her true nature was shining through…and, perhaps, it would lend her the powers she needed to take down this Illuminati. The camerlengo didn’t know much about her powers, but she knew that she was strong enough to face this challenge. That was why she wasn’t as reserved as he.

    Langdon nodded slowly, already thinking through the route to Saint Katharine’s in his head. It was east of them, straight across the several highways that circled and swirved through the city. He would drive, of course. There was no sense in getting into a wreck before they reached the last marker. His hands were already on his keys as they left the papal apartments, the camerlengo shooting one last worried glance at Katharine.

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

    Rowan had sustained a limp from his injuries, but, beyond that, he was perfectly fine. His leg was stiff, however, and he groaned, wondering if he could somehow find some kind of walking staff or cane to use before they left for Saint Katharine’s. He smiled to himself, thinking about one of his good friends who had also sustained a leg injury, but one of a different kind that had left him with a permanent limp. It had never slowed his friend down before. In fact, he believed his friend moved around faster than before, much to the chagrin of those who worked for him.

    Langdon’s conclusion about Saint Katharine’s was both stunning and perfect in Rowan’s mind. Where else to end the Path of Illumination but at a church that paid tribute to the angel that symbolized knowledge and power? He shook his head. But, of course, the Illuminati missed the entire point of her symbolism. She, in reality, stood as a shining beacon to all Aquapolians and humans and as a warrior in the heavenly host.

    Rowan waved off the guards who had escorted him to the car, wishing to make his own way to the church without any help. If Greg can do it, so can I. The thought rushed through his head seconds before he caught site of Katharine. It both scared him and heartened him. What if these enemies were even more dangerous than they had anticipated? The dark times were coming…and if the Chosen One were hurt or killed now…He shook his head. No, Katharine knew enough of her powers to face any challenge short of that from a legendary. He had made sure of this in her education. He wondered how much talking she and Langdon had to do before the camerlengo let her step out of the Vatican.

    They were silent as Langdon eased the car into an abandoned parking lot across the street from Saint Katharine’s. As the brakes eased them to a stop, Katharine took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. This was it. If they failed here…all they could do was try desparately to find the antimatter container. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears, blocking out all else as she stepped from the car, anticipation rising.

    Then, it hit her like a curtain. Something pulsing in the air around the church, creeping through the currents as if it were alive. It overwhelmed her senses, driving her vision into darkness for a few seconds. She could feel the cold wrap around her, and she shivered to shake it away. Suddenly, past the initial fear, she felt an intense hatred. She had to dispel this darkness, for it was about to kill.

    The doors to the front of the chapel were no obstacle. The wood was torn from its hinges by a great burst of power, caving inward to allow entry to Katharine and the two Aquapolians hurrying behind her. Rowan and Langdon experienced a much fainter sense of the curtain than Katharine had, but all the same, they were appalled at the sight before them.

    Waves of darkness pulsed and rippled in the air, occasionally lashing out from the cloud’s dark center and brushing the wooden rafters, leaving scars of grooves on their surface. The cloud was contracting slowly, squeezing into itself second by second. In its middle, suspended only by the pure dark energy around him, was the last cardinal.

    Cardinal Baggia. Katharine had seen the Italian cardinal day to day in the Vatican. He was friendly and not at all indifferent to her as the other Italian cardinals had been. For a human, he embraced Aquapolis and had been friends with Cardinal Mortati for years. It hurt her to know that he was the last target, for he had been the one out of the il perfereti most likely to become the next pope.

    “What is it?” Langdon gasped, staring at the cloud of darkness with an awed expression. So this had been the source of the dark curtain that had obscured his senses only moments before. He instinctively knew it was pure dark energy, powerful and potent. His second thought, however, was that no human, no Illuminati, could have conjured this cloud. And that frightened him. They were facing higher powers.

    “I’ve only heard of it, never seen it,” Rowan answered, his eyes only on the cloud. Langdon could see he was shaking, which was not a good sign… “It’s a Dark Aura. Once that cloud completely collappses, it will kill him. The curtain can be destroyed by enough energy crashing into it…but I don’t know if we have enough.” He glanced over at Katharine. Her eyes were fixed on the curtain.

    Rowan turned back to the cloud and stepped forward, throwing his hands out in front of him as a huge blast of psychic energy collided with the cloud, causing it to pulse rapidly and shudder away from them. Langdon followed suit and a huge burst of flames connected with the curtain beside the psychic energy blast. The cloud shuddered once more, but it failed to give way under the two powerful attacks. The curtain continued to shudder and close in on the cardinal.

    Katharine squeezed her eyes shut, her mind racing through possible ways to tear the curtain apart. She had nearly every elemental attack at her disposal, but Shadow energy was tricky. Though she knew almost nothing about it, she could see from the way it withstood Langdon’s fire and Rowan’s psychic blast that she was best off not using a base attack. Her pulse pounded in her ears and her heart raced as if her body was urging her to take flight. She could feel her various powers well up inside of her being, pressing her forward.

    Darkness is dispelled by light. The simple mantra flashed through her brain, voiced by an source alien to her mind. Her eyes flew open and focused their crystal sheen on the curtain as her arms rose up in front of her, lifted by an invisible force. She focused on the dead center of the curtain, breathing in deeply and methodically. Her breaths took on a rhythmic pulse as the air around her started to shudder in time, a wind flashing around her.

    The outburst of energy nearly threw Langdon and Rowan off of their feet. Langdon gritted his teeth, trying his best not to fly sideways into his colleague as he stole a glance at Katharine, the beam of light energy issuing from her hands nearly blinding him. Through the light, he could see traces of change surround the young woman. She had seemed to grow taller and stood straighter and more confidently than before, as if she knew exactly how to dispel the darkness in front of them. He swore he could see the faint outline of wings falling gracefully behind her form and sweeping the floor with light strokes.

    The curtain recoiled underneath the surge of energy, cracks forming in its surface as if it were made of glass. Rowan could hear a faint shattering noise as the curtain started to give way, slowly releasing its grip on the cardinal. Finally, with one more great shudder, the glass shattered, sending dark shards flying towards them. Rowan reflexively ducked and covered his face to avoid getting cut by the shards, but, to his surprise, they simply evaporated in mid-air.

    The beam of light energy dissipated, leaving faint sparkles that danced in the moonlight streaming through the windows around the chapel. Without missing a beat, Katharine was the first to reach the cardinal as he dropped to the floor with a loud groan.

    Rowan and Langdon helped him to his feet as he shuddered and tried to catch his breath. His eyes stayed focused on Katharine as if he had seen something awe inspiring. He breathed heavily until… “Thank you…Chosen One…” He whispered. Katharine was taken aback. Cardinal Baggia was a human…and, as far as she knew, few in the church knew she was the Chosen One.

    Rowan’s eye caught a large statue in the back of the chapel. He almost lost his grip on the cardinal’s arm in surprise. It was an almost exact replica of Katharine, except taller and more serious. She was dressed in ancient robes and carried a sword in one had and a book in the other.

    Langdon retrieved his cell phone, calling the Swiss Guard as Katharine stepped forward to examine the statue. “Wow…” She whispered. Her eyes caught sight of the text on the book. St. Peter. Her eyes widened when she realized what it was. “I think I’ve found the last marker.”

    Langdon put down his cell phone. “What does it say?”

    “St. Peter.”

    Langdon looked at the ground for a few seconds, gathering his thoughts. “It must mean where St. Peter is. He’s buried…underneath the Basilica.”

    “That’s where the antimatter is…” Rowan muttered. “We need to get you back,” he said to the cardinal. “Can you stand to be teleported?”

    “Of course I can,” he said almost cheerfully. “I’m a psychic-type myself.”

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

    The camerlengo paced his study. He hadn’t heard a word from Katharine, Langdon, or Rowan. He continued to look at the clock. They only had half an hour left before midnight…

    Suddenly, the door flew open. Langdon was the first inside the room. “We know where the antimatter is. It’s in St. Peter’s tomb.”

    The camerlengo didn’t stop to think. “Follow me,” he said, leading Langdon from the room.

    Rowan, Vittoria, and Katharine were gathered in the Basilica near the 99 Lights in the middle of the building, the entrance to the tomb. They followed Langdon and the camerlengo down the winding staircase and into the tombs below the Basilica. Katharine scraped her elbow on the narrow walls’ surface as they entered the inner tomb.

    The tomb was dark, and would have been pitch black inside were it not for a small pinprick of light issuing from a passageway around the corner. They approached the passageway cautiously, Katharine wondering if one of the supposed Illuminati had been ordered to stand guard in case they actually found the antimatter.

    The passageway opened up into a smaller room where a cloth had been laid over an opening. Light issued from behind the cloth. Rowan pulled it inside, and a sharp intake of breath issued from every one in the room.

    The antimatter canister stood upright on a chair, the battery symbol flashing, almost expended. Vittoria stepped down into the opening and carefully picked the canister up, setting it down on the floor above her at the others’ feet. She checked the battery.

    “It’s drained more than I thought it was…we may have less time than we think.”

    Langdon groaned and turned away. What were they going to do? Katharine’s eyes were on the battery symbol, her mind racing through solutions.

    “No…” The camerlengo muttered to himself. “We’ve got to get it out of here…”

    Before anyone could react, he snatched the antimatter canister from Vittoria and took off down the passage.

    “Father!” Katharine shouted, taking off after him.

    “What are you doing?!” Rowan shouted, right behind her.

    The camerlengo ignored them, dashing up the stairs past the 99 lights and through the Basilica to the Square. Katharine and Rowan followed behind him with Langdon and Vittoria bringing up the rear.

    He was halfway across the square when Katharine grabbed the sleeve of his robes, pulling him back. “What are you doing?” She shouted above the crowd.

    He turned to face her, and grabbed her shoulders with her free hand. His eyes met hers, and he said firmly, “DO NOT follow me, Katharine.” He let go and bolted to a nearby news helicopter, leaving her stunned. Rowan finally, caught up to her.

    “What is he doing?”

    A few seconds later, the helicopter took off above their heads. Katharine looked at the ground and whispered, “No…What are you doing?”

    The helicopter climbed and climbed. Langdon and Vittoria watched it, frozen on the Vatican steps. Finally, they lost track of it in their sight.
    Katharine’s eyes stayed on the spot of light that had once been the helicopter. Seconds before the sky exploded, she felt energy ripple through her, as if her own body were responding to the blast. She could feel the antimatter rip apart far over their heads. Her senses went in every direction.

    Her ears started to ring the second the heavens split open.

  21. #21
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    Oh my word! An amazing chapter! Where to begin eh?

    I loved the description again and also your slight take on it all, very good actually because it's quite nice to see a different perspective to it that does show how Christianity and Science can get along if in the right cirvumstances. There really isn't much to say because you've done amazing work on this chapter! Well Done!

    Most Recent Chapter - Chapter 31: Don't Forget Me - Posted 26/01/13
    Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar

    I will pursue You, I will pursue Your presence

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    Yeah, I'm definintly trying to steer away from the message Dan Brown portrayed in the book and the movie. Thank you for reading!

  23. #23
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    This chapter is when things start to veer off track from the original plotline.



    5.

    The impact flattened everyone in the square. Katharine fell to her knees, pushing her forehead to the concrete underneath her and pressing her hands against it to stop from being blown away. She counted the seconds as the waves of energy pressed over her, keeping her eyes averted from the sky above. She could feel Rowan’s strong grasp press down on her back, keeping her from flying backwards. He had caught up to her seconds before the antimatter erupted.

    Tears started to run down her face as the wind whipped past her. The realization that the camerlengo was most likely not returning from his helicopter flight hit her as hard as the blast had. She heard glass shatter in the windows around the square, and a shattering sound echoed around her from an unknown source. Finally, the waves died down, leaving light winds to breeze across the square.

    “Are you okay?” Rowan asked as he helped her to her feet. Around the square, people were slowly making their way to a standing position. She nodded, and looked up into the sky, her eyes on the shining waves of color that emanated from the epicenter of the blast. Then, she gasped. The helicopter was gone…but she could just make out a parachute flying away from the blast center.

    It took the parachute several minutes to make its way into the square, and by then, the camerlengo was unconscious. Several of the Swiss Guards and bystanders, including an Aquapolian newscaster, scrambled after the parachute as it finally touched down on the Vatican steps, its passenger crumpling and the top. The Swiss Guards pushed their way to the front, keeping bystanders away from the camerlengo. Katharine pushed her way through the crowd to the steps, flying up each one until she made her way to the small crowd.

    “Wait…stand back!” She shouted at the Swiss Guards, pushing her way to the camerlengo’s side as several started to pick him up off the ground. The halted as she reached out to grab his sleeve. “Father!” She gasped, shaking his arm. “Father?”

    He slowly opened his eyes, much to her relief. His emerald gaze finally met hers and she smiled. “You’re okay,” she whispered.

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

    Langdon and Vittoria stood in one of the glass Swiss Guard offices, watching as several nurses patched up the camerlengo’s wounds on his head and arms in another glass room. Rowan was speaking to him in a hushed tone. Katharine was in the room with Langdon, slumped in a chair, her eyes on her teacher and her father.

    “That was incredible,” Langdon muttered to Vittoria. “Split-second thinking. I doubt if any of us would have had the courage to do that.”

    Vittoria shook her head. “I’m just wondering why he didn’t leave it to the Swiss Guard to take care of it…Surely, they’re trained in helicopter flying…”

    “Father is, too,” Katharine interjected softly. “For a time, he was in the Italian army Aquapolian division. He would only fly a helicopter instead of handling a weapon.”

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

    Rowan crossed his arms, trying to stop himself from shaking even harder than he had been out in the square. Small sparks of anger rushed through him from time to time as he watched the nurses clean the camerlengo’s head wounds, which were already healing considerably. The priest’s healing nature wouldn’t save him if he were blown apart by an antimatter bomb. What had he been thinking? Few people knew of his healing powers, because he refused to speak of them in front of strangers.

    Rowan had only learned of it after visiting Katharine during the summer when she was young. Her cat had decided to climb up on one of the roofs of the Vatican, and the camerlengo had insisted on getting it down himself instead of letting her climb up there. He had ended up saving the cat, but dislocating his shoulder in the process. Minutes later, his shoulder was perfectly fine, and he shook off Rowan’s question if Katharine’s healing powers had advanced so far. Finally, he confessed that he had elementary healing powers. Rowan snorted. Even powerful psychic Aquapolians couldn’t heal as fast as the priest had.

    Rowan gritted his teeth. With Cardinal Reed dead, they had lost part of the knowledge they had about the Chosen One’s powers. Years and years of study, gone in just one night. What if the camerlengo had perished along with the antimatter? Another part…an even larger part. Rowan was a practical man. Though he knew the sadness one felt of someone close dying, he also knew of the knowledge lost with one’s death.

    Finally, the nurses left the room, leaving Rowan and the camerlengo to themselves. The priest tried not to meet Rowan’s furious gaze for several minutes, and the professor had to remind himself that this man, though intelligent and mature, was still a decade younger than he was. And had just escaped a terrible death. Rowan cleared his throat. “You need to tell her…now. Otherwise, I’ll tell her.”

    The camerlengo’s head shot up. He fixed Rowan with his gaze for several seconds before saying, “Fine…” He shook his head and looked back down to the floor.

    “Just don’t do anything like this again,” Rowan snapped, leaving the glass room and holding the door open for Katharine to walk in. He glanced back into the room before joining Langdon and Vittoria. “Well, things are going to change a bit around here.”

    Langdon smirked at Rowan’s understatement. “Hopefully, this will raise the Swiss Guard’s awareness to future threats. Especially…Aquapolian ones.” He frowned, still trying to process the fact that all of the enemies that were supposedly part of the Illuminati were Aquapolian. Something was off about this fact, and he was dying to know exactly what was wrong. He had an itching feeling that they were not in fact facing the Illuminati, but he couldn’t be quite sure until he gained access to the Vatican archives again.

    Rowan shook his head. “The only way the Swiss Guard could defend the Vatican efficiently against Aquapolians is to appoint more Aquapolians to its rank. Humans don’t know how to fight Aquapolians that are trained to kill.”

    A shiver ran up Vittoria’s spine as she listened to Rowan’s words. It was bad enough that the antimatter had detonated as promised, but the fact that they were up against trained Aquapolian killers was enough to scare anyone speechless, especially an Aquapolian who was not trained to fight and was born in a human state like Langdon and Vittoria. Rowan and Katharine alone wouldn’t be able to fight them off if the supposed Illuminati decided to stage a physical attack after they realized their plan had failed.

    “Did anyone else hear that shattering sound?” Langdon interjected into Vittoria’s thoughts. So she hadn’t been the only one to hear it. It had been almost deafening and had shook her to the core.

    Rowan dismissed it. “It was probably all of the window’s of the square being blown out at once. Nothing more.”

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

    The crowd was slowly recovering outside of the Vatican’s walls. Newscasters were hurridly re-positioning themselves in their original spots, desparate to report this news to their individual countries. Heath Dragonstone had been the first to recover, and the first to switch back on the cameras. He couldn’t stop shaking for some reason. The shattering sound that had accompanied the blast had unnerved him terribly, and he didn’t know why.

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

    Eric Reed pushed through the crowd in front of the Vatican, desparately searching for a Swiss Guard. He pushed through several groups of native Italians and Italian-Aquapolians, before finally catching sight of the Aquapolian newsanchor, Heath Dragonstone. He was talking to his cameraman, preparing for his next piece.

    “Excuse me, sir?” Heath looked up at the young man. “Do you know where any members of the Swiss Guard are around here?”

    Heath looked him up and down, surveying the clean cut young man carefully. He wore a simple black collared dress shirt with dark jeans and black boots, so he could either be American or Aquapolian depending on his choice of dress. His eye’s went to the young man’s neck, instantly spying the Aquapolian pendent. The boy’s sandy blonde hair was pushed out of his light blue eyes, which contained a certain urgency that Heath was sure rushed through every Aquapolian in the square at that moment.

    “Is someone hurt?” He asked, staying on guard in case Eric meant trouble. Nothing was particularly off about the boy. He looked like a standard trainer, well built and tall. Still, one could never be too careful these days.

    “No, not that I know of. I just need to get in contact with someone I know, and I can’t find them in this crowd.” Eric tried not to look directly at Heath as he answered. His words were true, but his intentions were not to find someone in the crowd. He knew she was in the Vatican inside, and he had a very slim chance in finding her. Aquapolian reporters were not nearly as cutthroat and slick as human reporters, but they still knew a good story when they had one. And this…this situation was the story for the century for all newsmen and women, both human and Aquapolian.

    Heath happened to glance over and spy a Swiss Guardsman nearby, helping several older Italians to their feet. He nodded in the man’s direction. “There’s one over there.” Then he smiled as he recognized Eric. He would have to interview him later. Eric Reed was one of the up and coming trainers in Aquapolis. “Would you mind stopping by the truck before you leave Rome, Mr. Reed?”

    Eric did mind, but didn’t express his true opinion. He simply shrugged before telling him thanks and hurrying toward the guardsman. If his grandfather’s suspicions had been correct, Eric didn’t have that much time to waste in the square. He needed to get into the Vatican as soon as possible.

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

    Katharine stood in the glass room, her arms crossed. The camerlengo avoided eye contact with her.

    “You could have killed yourself!” She snapped, driving away tears from her eyes.

    “So I’ve been told,” he muttered.

    She groaned and turned away. After a few seconds of collecting herself, she turned back. He finally looked up at her. “Promise you won’t do something like this again,” she said firmly.

    “I don’t think I’m going to get another chance to do something like this again…”

    “Promise.” She repeated more sternly.
    He sighed. “I promise.”

    She nodded, turning away again. His eyes fell back to the floor as he tried to think through the situation. Suddenly, she threw her arms around him, burying her face into the shoulder of his robes and crying. He wrapped his arms around her until she stopped. He took a deep breath before he started speaking.

    “I have a confession to make,” he muttered. She drew back a few steps, her head tilted to one side to hear him. “You don’t remember your parents in Aquapolis, do you?”

    Katharine shook her head. “Not at all.”

    “The truth is, they adopted you as well.”

    She tilted her head to the other side, her brow furrowed in confusion. “They weren’t my real parents?”

    “No. Your mother contacted them soon before she died to ensure that you had a safe place to live.”

    “Who was she?”

    “She introduced herself as Caroline Locklear…but her real family name was Dragonstone.”

    Katharine took in a sharp breath. “The Dragonstone Clan?”

    “I guess so…She was an oddity in her family, apparently she didn’t train dragons. She left Aquapolis to research Aquapolian religion and spent a few years searching the Vatican archives. That was when I met her.”

    Katharine nodded, and he pressed on.

    “You were born here in Rome, but she died shortly after. She was…killed, but her killer was never identified. We believe it was someone who was searching for you. You disappeared, taken to Aquapolis, I presume.”

    Katharine waited for him to say more, but he seemed to be stuck, unable to think of the right words to say next. “So, was my father from Rome or Aquapolis?”

    It seemed to be the right question. There was no skirting around this one. The instant Cardinal Reed had been killed, a chain of events the camerlengo could not stop had been sent into motion. It was time to stop the lies, as helpful as they had been over the years. He wished she would stop fixing him with those crystal clear eyes. He wondered sometimes over the years if God had given her the ability to see into the soul.

    He took a deep breath before answering. “He was from Rome…Katharine…I am your father. You’re…biological father.”

    Katharine froze, unable to say a word.

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

    Langdon and Vittoria stared at Rowan after he revealed the same confession the camerlengo was making to Katharine at that moment. He continued, “They fell in love while she was researching here for several years. The child’s identity was only known by the pope and Cardinals Mortati and Reed for safety purposes.”

    “How do you know?” Vittoria asked.

    “The camerlengo decided to send her off to Aquapolian school shortly after finding her in a Roman orphanage after her adopted parents died. He decided to tell me so that I could protect her while she was in Aquapolis.”

    “This was all for her safety…” Langdon stated, glancing over to the glass room.

    Rowan nodded. “And it worked for twelve years.”

    -----------

    “I’m sorry. It was meant to protect you in case they tracked you down after your mother was killed,” the camerlengo said. Katharine still didn’t speak for several minutes, just staring at the floor. “I should have told you sooner…”

    “No, I understand,” she interrupted, looking back up at him. She wasn’t angry, just shocked. “It doesn’t change any opinion I have of you, because…” She looked away and smiled. “I’ve always thought of you as my real father.”

    The camerlengo smiled with relief, glancing out of the room and catching Langdon’s eye across the way. The professor held up a nondescript book, pointed at it, and said, “We need to get back down to the archives!”

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

    “What do you think we’re going to find down here?” Vittoria asked.

    “Something that may clear a few of our questions up,” Langdon said as they exited the elevator and entered the archives. “Is there an Aquapolian section?” He asked Katharine.

    She nodded. “It’s smaller than the others, but there is one…over here.” She turned a corner sharply, and the others following after her sped up to follow her, Langdon right on her heels. No one had the slightest idea what he was doing, but he was following a hunch he could not ignore. Something bugged him constantly about these supposed Illuminati, and he was going to find out exactly what it was.

    The group pushed into the Aquapolian section, which was a room big enough for all of them to move freely, but much smaller than the others. Langdon bypassed the table and brushed his hand over a pedestal. Of course, in the air-lock chambers, no dust could accumulate on it, but he was sure a book had been placed on it recently.

    “What book are you looking for, Langdon?” Rowan asked, glancing around at the titles that lined the shelves.

    “The Book of the Chosen One,” he muttered as he scanned the shelves above his head.

    “The what?” Vittoria asked.

    “It’s usually on this pedestal,” Katharine commented as Langdon scanned another row of shelves, grabbing a ladder and scaling it.

    “Found it!” He said, grabbing a white book with detailed carvings along its surface.

    “The Book of the Chosen One?” Vittoria asked.

    “There are only two copies in the world. One is in the Cave of Origin in Ever Grande. The other was made during the Renaissance as a gift for the Vatican right before the Aquapolian cardinal was kicked out again.” Langdon placed the book on a table, and everyone gathered around it as he opened the cover. “Whenever the monks at the Cave of Origin update it, this edition updates as well.”

    “Updates? That’s impossible.” Vittoria frowned.

    “You’ll find that pretty much nothing is impossible in Aquapolis, Dr. Vetra,” Rowan replied.

    Langdon flipped almost to the back of the book, running is finger down a list of element names.

    “You know how to read Italian?” Vittoria asked, looking at the page closer.

    “It’s not in Italian…” Katharine said, frowning.

    “Yes it is…” Vittoria protested.
    “Italian’s your first language, right?” Langdon asked.

    “Yes…”

    “Then that’s the language you’ll see the words in the book written in.”

    “I don’t understand…”

    Langdon pointed to the numbers beside each element name. Before their eyes, the numbers changed constantly, up and down.

    “That’s impossible…”

    “This is the number of Aquapolians alive who are of the fire type,” Langdon said, pointing to a number that went up and down like the tide. “Now, for what I was looking for.” He flipped to another page that read “Shadow Registry.” A list of names scrolled down the page, unmoving against the ancient parchment. Langdon traced each name with his finger, reaching the two names that he was afraid he would find.

    Langdon could deal with the Illuminati. It was a human organization that would fight with guns or explosives or even lives…but the Shadow Forces were different. They were backed by the demons of the Demon Council, the supposed reigning force in hell. Langdon was skeptical of its existence, but he had another reason to fear the Shadow Forces, which he knew were quite real. They were an anti-human group who used their elemental powers and Pokemon to terrorize humans around the world. They had killed thousands over the past decade, and millions all together since the beginning of the 19th Century. They had much more power than the Illuminati, and they were much more willing to kill.

    Langdon’s stomach turned as he read Koga’s name on the registry, followed by Janine’s, who was his daughter. Janine was a gym leader who had taken over her father’s gym when he became an Elite Four member. Langdon didn’t know much about Aquapolian politics. All he knew was that the Elite Four members were high ranking officials, and one had gone rogue, possibly upturning one or two of the regions in Aquapolis itself.

    “What does it mean?” Vittoria asked, her eyes fixed on the page in front of her. Like Langdon, she did not know much about Aquapolian politics, and she had not been present when Koga and Janine attacked Langdon and Rowan. He could see her visibly shaking, obviously still unnerved by the violent impact the antimatter bomb had made.

    Before Langdon could speak his fears, a Swiss Guard banged on the door to the room. He surveyed each Aquapolian inside until his eyes fell on the camerlengo, who had been quite silent during their search for the Book of the Chosen One, almost fooling the others into thinking he wasn’t there. “Padre!” The Guard called out through the class. “Commander Richter needs to see you in his office!”

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

    The Swiss Guard was annoyed at Eric’s questioning. He had no time for this Aquapolian kid. What he was asking was also a waste of the Commander’s time inside. He sighed, putting his hand on his belt and glaring at Eric. “Who is it that you want to speak to again?”

    Eric was fed up with this Swiss Guard. He had presented his Vatican security pass he had been given years ago, but apparently it didn’t work on this particular night. “Please tell Commander Richter that this is Eric Reed and I am here to speak to him about a matter of security. At least run my name by him…PLEASE.” He started to twitch with nervousness. What if they didn’t let him in in time? It could mean the deaths of all of the humans in the square…

    The Guard reluctantly pulled out his radio from his pocket and messaged in to Commander Richter’s office, keeping his eye on Eric to make sure he didn’t try to make a move for his gun…

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

    “What is his name?” Commander Richter asked into his radio as the camerlengo, Katharine, Rowan, Langdon, and Vittoria stepped into his office. It was a bit crowded, but the commander did seem to have enough room for everyone. Katharine waited until the commander was done with his call.

    “Eric Reed?” Katharine’s head shot up and a look of recognization crossed Rowan’s face. There was no way Eric was in Rome. Why would he be here? Out of all places? Before she could think, she waved her hand to get the commander’s attention. He rolled his eyes and placed a hand over the mouthpiece of his radio.

    “I know him! He’s perfectly fine…”

    “He’s not a security risk,” Rowan interjected, getting to the heart of their argument. The commander cast him a glance before continuing.

    “Send him in.”

    “Who is Eric Reed?” Vittoria asked.

    “One of my students and one of Katharine’s classmates,” Rowan replied.

    “Reed? His last name is Reed?” Langdon asked. “Is he related to Cardinal Reed?”

    Katharine frowned. “I don’t think so…”

    A few minutes later, Eric entered the room, glancing around and nodding at Rowan. Then, his eyes widened when he saw Katharine. “What are you doing here?”

    “I was about to ask you the same question…”

    “I came to Rome after last night. The rest of the family couldn’t make it…”

    “Wait, your grandfather is Cardinal Reed?”

    “And you actually live in Rome?”

    They stared at each other for a second, before both said, “I thought you were kidding!”

    “Coincidence…” Rowan muttered.

    “So you two have been going to school together for years, and thought you were kidding about both having connections in the Vatican?” Langdon asked.

    They both nodded, and the commander sighed. “Mr. Reed, why did you want to see me?”

    “Well, now that I know who’s here, I have to speak to all of you…” He looked at the camerlengo. “You probably noticed that my grandfather was acting strange for the past few months.”

    “Yes…” He nodded.

    “Well, when he came home for a week’s vacation, he was nervous all of the time. He tried to tell the monks at the Cave of Origin that something was about to happen, but they didn’t listen to him. There were no prophecies or premonitions that they knew of, so they dismissed them. So, when he died, I knew exactly who killed him.”

    “Who was it?” Langdon asked. All eyes were on Eric.

    He took a deep breath. “The Shadow Forces. They killed him to keep him quiet so he wouldn’t give away their plan.”

    “How did he know their plan?” The commander asked.

    “Well…I guess since he’s dead…it’s okay to tell you…My grandfather, decades ago, was a Shadow Follower. He was one of the lucky ones. He got out and joined the church. He got out alive. Each Shadow Follower for the past two millennia has been told the plan…to be acted on in a future date. They must have sent out the signal to begin the plan a few weeks ago…”

    “What exactly is this plan, Eric?” Rowan asked, cutting straight to the matter. The way Eric was shaking and stuttering, this was something huge…something life-threatening.

    Katharine could see Eric trying to focus and felt sorry for him. He had come to Rome shortly after his grandfather’s death to be caught up in all of this Illuminati, or rather Shadow Forces, business. They had been friends since the beginning of her school years in Aquapolis, and she couldn’t bear to see him suffering like this.

    Eric finally stopped shaking and took a deep breath. “The plan…their mission…is to attack the biggest church of the human race. The plan was created two millennia ago, and there was no way to predict which church or even religion would be the biggest in the world at the time of action…so…”

    “It’s the Catholic Church…One billion souls…” Langdon muttered. “They’re targeting the Vatican.”

    “So that’s what we sensed in St. Katharine’s…” Rowan said. “Shadow energy. It makes since now…Except…”

    Langdon waited a few seconds before asking. “Except…?”

    “Shadow Followers can’t enter churches once they’re consecrated,” Rowan said. “Only those who are skilled enough to hide their aura can, and…that’s only a few…There’s a barrier…”

    “The shattering sound…” Vittoria murmured. “The barrier was broken by the impact of the antimatter canister….”

    “They were going to blow up the church…but now they have the next best thing.” Eric said.

    “We have to stop them…all of those humans in the square…” Katharine said.

    “We have to raise our own signal,” Eric replied.

    Katharine thought for a second before saying. “The one signal every Aquapolian is tuned in to.” She bolted from the room.

    “Hey! Where are you going?” Eric asked before following after her.

    Katharine didn’t stop. She ran until she reached the Vatican steps and the large crowd that still lingered. She spotted an Aquapolian reporter nearby and ran to him. “Can I borrow your microphone?” She snatched it from him and plugged it into a nearby speaker system, taking a deep breath before she addressed the crowd.

  24. #24
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    Dec 2005
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    I know it may seem as if I'm hurrying through chapters, but truth is, I've happened upon a lot of time on my hands as well as the fact that the start of my college career is looming in the near future. Come late August, the chapters will progress very slowly in both this fic and Shadow and Light.




    6.

    “Excuse me!” Katharine cleared her throat as her voice echoed over the loudspeakers. Several Aquapolians and humans picked up on her words and turned to see who was speaking. When some of them discovered that it was only a teenage girl, they shook their heads and went back to what they were doing. Her mouth went dry. Who was going to listen to her? From the crowd’s point of view, she was a nobody, simply an Aquapolian girl speaking about crazy things like Shadow Followers attacking the Vatican. She didn’t even know what to say. She had hoped the words would come to her, but now…

    She tried to center her thoughts. What did she want? She wanted the alert to be lifted amongst the Aquapolians in the crowd that Shadow Followers were present. Non-shadow Aquapolians had a natural tendency to attack Shadow Followers; that is if they noticed their aura. Up until now, the aura had been hidden very well. Once alerted, the aura may be zoned in on by the Aquapolians and the Shadow Followers taken down. Secondly, she wanted protection for the conclave. Six Aquapolians were not going to cut it. She needed at least twenty to stand in front of the Sistine Chapel in case of an invasion.

    Katharine tried to speak again, cursing herself as a wave of fear of public speaking overcame her. Of all of the times for this particular fear to hit her, it had to be at the most critical point in her life. Of course she was nervous when she had to give speeches and reports in front of her classes in Aquapolis, but usually, her knees weren’t knocking like they were now. The microphone literally shook in her hands. What am I doing? What am I DOING?

    At the last second, before she could bolt inside and away from the curious gazes she had attracted, the microphone was snatched from her hands. Before she could protest, the camerlengo pushed past her into the crowd’s view. Of course, everyone in the crowd had seen him parachute out of the helicopter. They knew he had saved the church and their lives. Plus, with the added fact that he was now the head authority of the church in absence of the pope, most of the crowd promptly shut up and turned as whispers flowed through the crowd.

    Katharine let out a small sigh of relief. Not only had the camerlengo senses her impending breakdown in front of a crowd of thousands, but he also knew that, outside of Aquapolis where she was known by many as a high-ranking trainer, she would not gain the attention she deserved at this critical moment.

    After a few minutes, all eyes in the square were on the camerlengo, and a hush descended on the crowd. Cameramen were focused on him, and newsreporters waited for a news worthy speech. Katharine realized that the Aquapolian reporter had his eyes on both her and the camerlengo. With a shock of recognition, she remembered this particular reporter interviewing her after one of her conference titles. His last name was Dragonstone. She wondered if he was her cousin. His cameraman was also trained on the camerlengo…

    The camerlengo started to speak. “As you know, we have just survived an attack on the church. We have identified who our attackers are. They are known as the Shadow Forces, and they are here in the Square tonight.”

    A murmur arose from the crowd. The Aquapolians started to search with their eyes, several of them whispering fervently to each other.

    “This is an alert to all of the Aquapolians in the square, but I believe you had better take orders from someone who is more experienced in Shadow matters than I am.” The camerlengo turned to Katharine. “Such as the Chosen One.” He held the microphone out to her.

    Several loud gasps rang out from the square. “The Chosen One?” Someone shouted. The humans were confused. The Aquapolians stared. Dragonstone turned to his cameraman and whispered to his audience back home. “Aquapolis, this is it…The time of darkness has arrived along with our Chosen One.”

    Katharine took the microphone and stepped forward, encouraged by her introduction. “The forces of darkness are gathering. We need twenty Aquapolians to help guard the Sistine Chapel in case of attack.” Instantly, Aquapolians started to raise their hands, volunteering. “As for the rest of you, I need you to protect the humans of this city. Citizens of Rome, please trust those who have gathered here tonight from Aquapolis. The war is about to begin.”

    “I found one!” An Aquapolian screamed from inside the crowd. He pointed fervently at a man trying to leave the square. Several humans pushed him back in. “He’s a Shadow Follower!” Before anyone could act, the screaming Aquapolian attacked the Shadow Follower, knocking him to the ground with a psychic blast. Several more cries issued from other places in the crowd, and the police went into action, moving the humans along as several fights broke out.

    “My God…” The camerlengo watched in awe as the Aquapolians in the crowd singled out each Shadow Follower and attacked. “It worked…they’re so…effiecient.”

    “Cover me!” Dragonstone yelled to one of the other reporters in the van. He ran up to a man nearby and slammed into him, joining the fray himself. Before he attacked again, he handed the microphone off to a shaken FOX News reporter. “Why don’t you show America some real news?” He snapped before hitting the Shadow Follower again.

    Exactly twenty Aquapolians gathered on the steps, silent as they awaited more orders from Katharine. She surveyed each one. They were of various ages, ranging from late teens to early fifties. Some looked as if they were even older, but Aquapolians tended to stop aging after fifty, so she couldn’t tell their real age. “How many of you are from Sinnoh?” About four people raised their hands. “So you know Professor Rowan, correct?” They nodded and responded with several, “Yeah’s” and “Sure Do’s.” “Good. He’ll be organizing you inside in front of the doors to the Sistine Chapel. Do as he says, and this should go smoothly.” At her orders, they stepped inside, flanked by two Swiss Guards who would lead them to Rowan.

    Katharine turned to the camerlengo, who was still watching the Aquapolians in the square fight, a shocked look on his face. Of course, he had never attended school in Aquapolis like most other international Aquapolians, so he had no idea that it was practically hammered into each child’s mind to hate Shadow Followers. Those children who did end up as Shadow Followers had to be convinced heavlly to do so…or either threatened.

    “Come on, we need to get back to the Swiss Guard’s office.”

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

    Back in the Swiss Guard office, Langdon, Vittoria, and Eric stood around in the armory, waiting for Katharine to return. Finally, when she and the camerlengo entered the room, Eric exclaimed, “Can’t you feel it?”

    “Feel what?”

    “They’re already here…”

    Katharine thought for a moment, then grabbed and old-fashioned sword from the armory.

    “Do you know how to use that thing?” Langdon asked.

    “Of course, every Aquapolian schoolchild is taught how to use a sword.”

    Langdon gawked as Katharine rushed from the room, Eric behind her.

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

    Katharine’s footsteps echoed on the Basilica’s marble floors. She rushed into the middle part, scanning the area for any Shadow Followers. The rest had followed after her.

    “Katharine? There’s nothing here,” the camerlengo said.

    “Yes…there’s something…”

    She couldn’t see beyond the light of the 99 candles. Some kind of darkness had descended inside of the Basilica. It was chilling, causing her to shiver as if she were in the snowdrifts of northern Sinnoh. She clutched the sword tighter in her grip, trying to see inside the pitch black darkness as a hush descended inside the hall. Katharine advanced forward, drawing her sword back as she inched into the darkness.

    To her surprise, it surrounded her like ink. She couldn’t see anything in front of or behind her. She started to panic. She hated surrounding darkness and didn’t even know what was inside the shadows with her. Katharine started to whimper like a child. That was what she was…a child. Though she was technically an adult…her mind was still like a child’s. “Father…” She whimpered, wishing he had come after her.

    “Child…” The voice sent terror striking through her heart. It was not the camerlengo’s voice. It was the exact opposite, substituting his warmth with cold frigidness. “You’re just a child…They send a child after me? Even if you are the Chosen One.” The voice grew closer. She could sense someone in the dark in front of her. The sword started to shake in her hands, clanging against the floor as her shaking figure dropped it. What was she doing?! This…person? He was going to kill her!

    Terror paralyzed her as she felt a cold touch on her arm. The voice was right in her ear now, and a cold breath washed over her. “You dropped your sword, Chosen One.” The sword was thrust back into her hands as a cold grip enveloped hers. “Or should I call you Katharine? Since, after all, you’re just a child…”

    She could feel tears slide down her face. A few seconds later, and she would be begging for light, pleading against suffocation by the darkness around her. “You’re scared…” The cold voice hissed. “Who will save you now…Katharine?”

    “Katharine!!” Another voice jolted inside her head. This one came with a warm hand on her shoulder, gripping her tightly. The voice…the joyous voice to her ears…The other hissed like a Seviper, letting her go as she stepped halfway back into light.

    “Let go of her, priest!!” It snapped. “She’s…MINE!” A large cracking noise filled her ears as she was blown back into candlelight. She landed on the hard marble floor, her sword clattering to the ground beside her. She could hear a body drop further behind her and craned her neck to see the camerlengo scramble to his feet.

    “NO!” She screamed when he tried to advance back toward the darkness. “He’ll kill you!” Her hand gripped instinctively around the handle of the sword, pulling it closer. Langdon stepped forward, grabbing the sleeve of the camerlengo’s robe, pulling him back. He resisted, easily twisting out of the professor’s grasp. Suddenly, both men froze, staring straight ahead in terror.

    The man standing over Katharine was cruelly handsome. She hated to admit it, but he was. He had jet black hair that swept over his eyebrows and into his pitch black eyes. A black overcoat swept across the floor near his black booted feet, stirring up a slight wind that hit her in the face. He wore a simple black shirt and black pants, completing his dark garb from the top of his head to his feet. From Katharine’s judgement, he was in his early twenties, only a few years older than she.

    He tilted his head to meet her eyes and she shivered. They were as dark as the curtain of shadow she had just stumbled out of. He smiled at her, and terror seized her once again. She scrambled to her feet, grabbing the sword from her side.

    “She’s right you know,” the man said, turning to look at the camerlengo. “I wouldn’t hesitate to kill a priest that stood in my way.” He stepped forward, surveying the area around him and nodding. “If it weren’t for your clever thinking, however, I would never have been able to step inside these…hallowed walls.” He spread his arms out and laughed. Vittoria shivered, backing instinctively away from him and closer to the far wall.

    “This is a matter that I must take up the Katharine,” the man said. “But, of course…I’m being rude. I haven’t introduced myself.” He smiled at his frozen silent audience as if being rude was completely not in line with his nature. “I am known as Ojinan in both Aquapolis and Japan. In ancient Aquapolian…my name translates simply to ‘demon.’ It’s…a fitting name.”

    “No way…” Katharine could hear Langdon mutter. “This isn’t real.” He and the camerlengo had backed up a few steps from the glaring man, both shaken by his sudden appearance. “He’s and actual…demon.”

    “Right you are, professor!” Ojinan said. “Very good. I would appreciate it if you allowed me to take up my quarrel with Katharine. Of course…” He turned to smile at her. “She wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt…” She glared back at him. “Now…I believe I’m here to topple the church. Where is the conclave?”

    Everyone stayed silent. Ojinan nodded. “I figured as much.” He spun around, preparing to attack the camerlengo.

    “NO!” Katharine cried, rushing at him with her sword raised high. It crashed into a barrier inches from Ojinan’s head, but was enough to distract him. He spun around and sent her flying with a shadow blast of energy. She skidded across the marble floor and sprang to her feet.

    Langdon pulled the camerlengo back to stand with Eric, Vittoria, and Rowan, who had just appeared in the Basilica. They watched as the demon stalked toward Katharine.

    “That was a rather weak attack, Katharine. I’m sure you can do better…” Another shadow blast surged toward her, and she ducked, allowing it to sail over her head. “Though you are admittably fast…”

    Katharine dashed forward, swinging her sword at the unarmed demon, who skillfully dodged her attack. From a sheath on his black belt, he pulled out his own sword, slicing through the air at her head. It came within inches of her cheek as she stepped backwards. He brought his sword crashing down on hers, forcing her to the floor. She teleported out of the way before he could attack her again.

    Attack after attack was perryed easily by the demon. Katharine could not land a blow with her sword. She pushed him backwards with a blast of energy, but he simply sailed back a few feet before stopping. He cast her a wicked smile before attacking, swinging through thin air as she dodged.

    “What’s the matter, Katharine? Are you afraid to show your true form?” He taunted, slamming into her with a shadow blast that sent her flying into a pillar nearby, knocking the wind out of her. She gasped for breath as he stalked toward her, his sword raised. She looked up to meet his eyes and frowned with determination.

    “No, I’m not afraid,” she said through gritted teeth. With a yell, she jumped to her feet and pushed him backwards with a blast of energy, sending him spiraling on to the marble floor. It was her turn to stalk toward him, leaving sparks of light energy in the wake of her footsteps. Some kind of change was coming over her…

    Ojinan laughed to himself. “So the Chosen One awakens…” He tried to aim another shadow blast at her, but it simply bounced off of the barrier surrounding her.

    “I’m giving you one chance to leave…” Her voice sounded deeper, more powerful. The sparks around her started to grow brighter as the Aquapolians in the back of the room started to gape at the energy surrounding her. She lifted her sword to Ojinan’s neck.

    “Never!” He cried out with a laugh, knocking her back with a shadow blast. She merely skidded across the marble on her feet as he jumped to a standing position. He pointed at her. “Are you going to defend this church by yourself?”

    She smiled, her eyes narrowing as she tilted her head to one side. “Yes…yes I am…” Another shadow blast rocketed past her and he flew into the air, coming down hard on the barrier surrounding her. The sparks completely enveloped her, shielding her from view as Ojinan was sent flying.

    The sparks were blinding to the onlookers. Langdon cringed and put his arm in front of his eyes, wondering what was happening to her. Rowan muttered something he couldn’t hear to the camerlengo. He made out a few words. “…transformation…this early?”
    Ojinan shielded his face before firing another shadow blast, which bounced off of Katharine’s barrier. The light rushed forward, blinding everyone for a few seconds before it subsided.

    “My God…” Vittoria whispered when the spots cleared away from her eyes. Standing where Katharine had been only a few seconds before was a different version of herself. She looked a few years older and taller. Her hair reached all the way down her back and almost to the floor. Her eyes portrayed the cool and calculating calm Langdon had spied in the Renaissance painting of Quamachi he kept in his powerpoint. She was dressed in an ancient sort of military uniform. A long white tunic that draped over a knee-high skirt. Knee-high sandals were strapped around her feet, and her Aquapolian pendent shone brighter than ever. The sword had seemed to grow brighter. The blade was now white.

    The most impressive thing about her new transformation were her wings. Snow white feathers draped across her back and spread out to the floor. They beat once as she raised her sword, remaining silent as she glared at the demon in front of her.

    Ojinan laughed. “So…Quamachi awakens.” He slowly stood up, smiling at her. “Fitting for an angel to take a stand for the church. Especially when we have a person present who seems not to believe in angels and demons.”

    Rowan shot Langdon a pointed look. Langdon ignored him, his eyes still on the two fighters in front of him.

    “Now…let’s see if you still have your powers after three millennia…” Ojinan raised his sword and brought it crashing down on Quamachi. Lightening fast, she blocked the blow and slammed into him with a powerful blast of light. He skidded backwards and flew at her again.

    “Neither of their blows are advancing this battle…” Rowan commented. “Even with her transformation, they’re an even match…”

    “Someone’s got to throw a powerful punch to end this…Preferably Katharine…” Eric muttered.

    Quamachi blocked another attack from Ojinan, skidding backwards as he pushed her away. The air around him was starting to grow darker, shifting and changing. “Enough of this…” He muttered. “I’ll just destroy you right now.”

    Quamachi simply stood in front of him, waiting for his next move. As the air around him grew darker, she closed her eyes, calmly biding her time. The air around her grew brighter and brighter. When she finally opened her eyes, they shone a deep crystal blue. She turned to the onlookers and said in a deeper voice, “Stand back and shield your eyes.” Reluctantly, they all followed her directions. She gave a nod to the camerlengo before rushing forward.
    The impact was explosive. A surge of energy pushed the onlookers back into the far wall as Quamachi and Ojinan met. A blinding light filled the Basilica. They covered their eyes to avoid becoming blind. Finally, when the wave diminished and the light faded, they heard a clang. Eric unshielded his eyes, his gaze falling on the white sword. Quamachi and Ojinan were gone.

    A few seconds of silence gripped the onlookers. They stared at the sword, waiting for something to happen. Finally, the camerlengo walked forward to pick it up. “Where is she?” He muttered, his eyes on the sword.

    The others were silent for a few moments. “She may have jumped through dimensions,” Rowan proposed.

    “She can do that?” Langdon asked.

    “Well…she has the ability to do it…I don’t know if she…knew how to…”

    “Could the blast have…destroyed her…?” Vittoria whispered.

    “The impact could have…We…can’t be sure…”

    “So she’s gone?”

    They turned to the camerlengo, who was staring at Rowan, his hand gripped tightly around the sword’s hilt. A look of grief was starting to appear in his eyes.

    “We…don’t know yet,” Rowan replied.

    “Sir!” They turned as a Swiss Guard appeared in the hall, addressing the camerlengo. “The conclave wishes to see you! They have finished voting!”

    He hesitated before following the guard, leaving the others to stand in the Basilica. Eric shook his head. “I know Katharine. She wouldn’t go down like that…She has to still be alive…”

    “There’s nothing we can do now, Eric…Except wait,” Rowan replied. Langdon studied his friend and colleague for any sign of hope that may lay in his soft brown eyes, but all he could see was confusion and sadness. His heart fell. Rowan was supposed to be an expert on legendary powers…and if he believed that there was a chance that Katharine was not able to survive the impact of the two forces colliding…then hope was as good as lost.

    Vittoria was in worse shape than the men. Though Eric hurt terribly on the inside, she showed his pain on her visage. Tears had started to roll down her cheeks uncontrollably. Somehow, she believed that Katharine’s possible death was her fault. If her lab had been better secure…if only she hadn’t tried to attempt the experiments with antimatter…the young woman would not have had to fight with the forces of evil.

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

    The conclave was waiting as the chains on the Sistine Chapel’s doors were broken, allowing the camerlengo to enter. The cardinals inside stared at him and the white sword he held in his hand. There was a moment of silence before Cardinal Mortati spoke.

    “We heard the sounds of battle outside these walls. What happened?”

    The camerlengo hesitated before answering. “A demon appeared in the Basilica.” Shocked gasps issued from the cardinals around him. “The Chosen One was able to fight him off…”

    The human cardinals in the room glanced at each other, while the few Aquapolian cardinals smiled. Mortati nodded. “Where is she now?”

    The camerlengo dropped his gaze to the sword in his hand. Mortati understood what his gesture meant. He sighed. “Conclave is not over. We have several more matters to discuss…but for the time being…Is that the sword the Chosen One fought with?”

    The camerlengo looked up. “Yes…”

    Mortati nodded. “Leave it here. It will remain here as a symbol. It has been a hundred years since the Aquapolian cardinal was accepted back into the church. As a symbol of Aquapolis and the Chosen One…we will keep the sword here.”

    The camerlengo nodded, walking to the table that stood in the middle of the room and placing the sword on top of it. He glanced around for a few seconds before leaving the chapel. Mortati watched him go, hoping that the Chosen One was not injured badly.

    ------------
    “There’s a hotel nearby where we can get several rooms,” Langdon said to Rowan. They still stood in the Basilica. “I think we all need some sleep.” Vittoria nodded. Eric looked over to where the camerlengo stood near the 99 lights, his eyes on the place where they had found Katharine’s sword.

    “Are you coming, Eric?” Rowan asked. Eric turned his eyes to the professor.

    “I’ll catch up to you in a few minutes, professor,” he said. He watched as Langdon, Rowan, and Vittoria were escorted out of the Basilica by a Swiss Guard. When they were gone, he cautiously approached the camerlengo, whose eyes were on the ground.

    “Sir?” The camerlengo looked up. “I just wanted to tell you that Katharine was confident enough in her powers to survive this…”

    “How long have you known her?”

    “We started school together twelve years ago.”

    He hesitated. “What was she like in Aquapolis?”

    “I assume she was just the same person as she was here. She was always willing to help, even if she did spend most of her time training. She was known as one of the most skilled trainers in our school and was always kind to her Pokemon and classmates…” He smiled. “And she was really smart. No one could outwit her on the battlefield.”

    “It sounds as if she made a mark in Aquapolis.”

    Eric nodded. “She made a mark everywhere she went, sir.”

    A few moments of silence passed between the two. “You should get some sleep. I believe Professor Rowan found a hotel nearby…”

    Eric nodded again and turned to go, then turned back. “If you don’t mind me saying sir, I think you need to get some sleep as well.” With that, he walked away, leaving the camerlengo to his thoughts inside the Basilica.

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

    The next morning, Langdon, Rowan, Vittoria, and Eric entered the Swiss Guard’s office to speak with Commander Richter.

    “Now that you have been attacked by Aquapolians…don’t you think you should train more Aquapolians to the Guard?” Rowan asked.

    Richter frowned. “We’ve sent word to Aquapolis. The government is sending over some men to be trained next week.”

    “What does Aquapolis think of what has happened here?” Langdon asked.

    Richter sighed. “The Aquapolian government shut down its airports yesterday. It seems as if thousands were trying to leave the country for Europe.”

    “Why?” Vittoria asked.
    “They were trying to get to Rome…They could sense the Shadow energy collecting here…” Rowan replied.

    “From thousands of miles away?”

    Eric nodded. “They just wanted to help…like Katharine did.”

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

    The Basilica was quiet. The camerlengo stood alone in the same spot, his eyes on the marble floor in front of him. He was tired from no sleep. No one had bothered him while he stayed in the hall. He had not given up hope.

    He turned to look at the 99 lights for a few seconds, wondering when Mortati would join him. Maybe the cardinal was staying away like the others.

    A loud thump issued from the marble floor a few yards away from him. Startled, he spun around, nearly losing his footing on the floor. He gasped.

    Lying on the floor, unconscious, was Katharine, dressed in her normal clothes she had put on the day before. He stepped forward, wrapping his hand around the Aquapolian pendent around her neck. She was alive.

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

    A Swiss Guard knocked on the door of Richter’s office. The commander motioned him in. “Commander, the camerlengo told me to send word to you and the professors that he has found Katharine.”

    “What?” Eric asked, his eyes on the messenger.

    Rowan smiled. “See? She jumped between dimensions after all.”

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

    A knock sounded from the door to Katharine’s room. She was still unconscious, but she was still alive. The camerlengo called for whoever it was to enter. The door opened to reveal Rowan and Langdon.

    “Is she asleep?” Langdon asked as they stepped into the room.

    “No…unconscious,” the camerlengo replied.

    “She knows more about her powers than we thought she did…” Rowan muttered. Another knock issued from the door and in stepped Cardinal Mortati.

    His face brightened when he spotted Langdon and Rowan. “I must thank you both for helping to save Cardinal Baggia. Without the aid of two leading Aquapolian professors as yourselves…who knows what could have happened?” Both men ducked their head at his praise and smiled at each others’ reaction.

    “Now, I would like to speak to the camerlengo, for we have chosen a new pope.”

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Posh lil' England, ennit
    Posts
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    Wow! I love the change of this story compared to the actual book/film.

    It just seems to suit it more and it also links to your other stories. amazing!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    Am I the only the person that sees this announcement as somewhat frivolous? To be straightforward, who cares?

    Thanks so much for letting us all know, we can take refuge that you're still God. While your at it, make another announcement about how your not really fat anymore, just to make sure we all know.
    ...

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