Pretty good. The name of the plains is Gris? It was never mentioned before.
Pretty good. The name of the plains is Gris? It was never mentioned before.
Ahh, very good. I was hoping that this would be updated sometime soon, and I'm glad that it will be.
I'm eagerly looking forward to the next chapter,
Knightfall signing off...
Edit: And nice pictures, Gris Plains looked exactly as I thought it would.
Here it is, a chapter two months in the making. I sure hope it doesn't disappoint!
The Fields of Battle
Chimchar hated everything.
He hated the Beyond. He hated the army. He hated Piplup. And for all of this, he hated himself.
He’d made a vow on New Year’s Eve that he wouldn’t let his envy get between him and Piplup anymore, but it wasn’t working. Mr. High-and-Mighty Knight was living the life of luxury in the HQ as far as he was concerned. And where was he? Well, not living the life of luxury.
There was a rustle of fabric as Swampert poked his head into the tent. “Yo, Chimchar! You ready to leave?”
Chimchar shook himself from his trance. “Leave? Where are we going?”
“To battle!” Swampert declared. “You hadn’t heard yet?”
“Obviously not,” Chimchar said. “Why now? I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, and all I’ve done is help train the recruits.”
“Ideally, we wouldn’t ask you to join a battle so soon,” Swampert said. “But Deoxys’s army stands poised to strike at our camp. If we don’t march out to meet them, they’ll attack us while we’re vulnerable.”
Chimchar nodded slowly. “I suppose that makes sense. Marching towards death is better than waiting for it to come to us.”
“Don’t be so glum,” Swampert assured. “Kadabra thinks you’re perfectly ready to fight. Besides, you have that.” He pointed at something behind Chimchar.
Chimchar followed Swampert’s gaze and saw that he was pointing at Aureus. The sword practically glowed in its scabbard, a treasured keepsake received from Excadrill. He worried about the blade sometimes. Its power was great and undeniable, but there seemed to be something tainted about it. The dark history of the King was chronicled in the steel of the sword, but that rather disturbing concept would have to wait for another day.
“Alright, I’m coming.” Chimchar grabbed the scabbard and left the tent. Swampert was waiting outside with the rest of the Merry Men. Ninjask and Castform smiled kindly, while Mightyena did his best to strike a heroic pose.
“Merry Men, assemble!” he howled, raising his head to the sky.
Ninjask clicked his wings irritably. “Dude, we’re already assembled. There’s no need for the howling.”
Mightyena sighed. “It was just part of the moment, alright?”
“Let’s quit sucking our thumbs and get rolling!” Swampert cried. He paused as Mightyena, Ninjask, and Castform all glared at him. It took him a moment to come to the conclusion that none of them had thumbs. “Oh, right. Well, you get the point.”
“Exactly!” Mightyena agreed. He turned and began to stride away. “Follow me to victory!”
“We’ll do that,” Swampert said. “But you’re going the wrong way.”
Mightyena didn’t skip a beat as he changed direction. “Very astute of you, Benkei. You pass my test. Good job.”
Three hours later, the stage had been set. The vast empty space of Gris Plains stretched for miles in every direction. The three camps of the Resistance had formed into ranks together opposite Deoxys’s elite forces. The leaders had selected the highest ground they could find from which to observe the preparations. Given the almost absolute flatness of the wasteland, they had to settle for a small hillock just left of their main army. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.
As Chimchar followed Kadabra to the peak of the hill, he was happy to see that Charizard and Meganium were already there, waiting for him. Two other Pokemon were also present. Chimchar recognized one as Sandslash, the overseer of the central camp and overall second-in-command of the present forces. The two had met on a few occasions before when Sandslash had visited Kadabra’s camp for strategy meetings. The larger figure was unfamiliar to Chimchar, but he could only assume that it was the general.
His suspicions were confirmed as Kadabra saluted. “General Golem, sir.”
The general didn’t turn around. “You’re late.”
“Not my fault,” Kadabra said, dropping all sense of formality. “Our good friend ‘Robin Hood’ was up to his old tricks again.”
“No need to elaborate,” Golem said with a sigh. “We’ve all been in that boat before.”
“Amen to that,” Charizard added cheerfully.
Chimchar stepped forward and saluted, following Kadabra’s example. The general nodded approvingly. “At ease, lieutenant.”
Chimchar grinned. “Lieutenant Chimchar, sir. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Golem said. “But we’ve no time for pleasantries now.”
Sandslash rubbed his claws together in anxiety. “Yes indeed. Aerial reports tell us that Deoxys is about to move out. We know that Articuno is present as well.”
Golem snorted derisively. “No surprise there. We all know Deoxys won’t be getting his hands dirty, so there’s got to be one of the Big Three present to inspire the troops.”
“I know I have little experience to speak with,” Chimchar said. “But I can see from here that we outnumber them. Do we have the advantage?”
Every head shook gravely. Kadabra was the one to answer. “We may outnumber them, but Deoxys’s forces are elite. They’re all experts; He wouldn’t have selected them otherwise. He leaves all the others to Darkrai.”
“It’s an ugly business,” Meganium spoke up. “Darkrai’s forces are far more numerous than Deoxys’s, but they lack finesse. Both armies are equally deadly, but while one relies on numbers, the other specializes in experience.”
“Which makes no difference to us right now,” Golem asserted. “What matters now is doing the same thing we’ve spent centuries doing: Surviving.” The others nodded as Golem gave another salute. Then, he issued the final command.
Many miles away, 88 and 89 were preparing for war of their own.
“Who needs it?”
“Amen to that.”
The two charged simultaneously. They batted aside hordes of Pokemon who stood in the way of their destination. 88 was fairly sure that he saw Magby fall during the onslaught, but he didn’t care. Victory was close at hand.
“I got it!” 89 yelled. 88 hurried to follow his voice and was relieved to see him standing next to Lickitung. The chef gave him one quick look, then nodded as his tongue shot forward to 88, gently placing a tray on his back.
“Cargo received!” the Shieldon called. Lickitung withdrew his tongue once again as 88 and 89 bolted from the crowd.
89 grinned ear to ear as he strode up next to his partner. He was also carrying a tray. “The Battle of the Lunch Rush is won!” he declared happily.
“It was a hard-won victory,” 88 admitted. “But a victory nonetheless. Now comes the hard part.”
89 nodded in understanding. “Finding someone to put up with us for a half hour.”
The two wandered among the lunch tables for a few minutes looking for anyone to accompany them. However, they couldn’t see Piplup or Dragonite anywhere. No doubt they were off having some top-secret Knights meeting. What was stranger was that they couldn’t even find Magby or Noctowl. They had probably taken their lunch to go so that they could continue working in the forge. They were on the verge of giving in and sitting alone when 88 felt a tap on his shoulder.
“You could always join us, if you want.”
88 looked up at the unfamiliar voice and found himself looking into a red beaked face with bright yellow eyes. She smiled kindly at him. “Name’s Blaziken. You are?”
“They call me 88,” the Shieldon replied. “My friend here is 89.”
Blaziken raised an eyebrow. “Those are some funny names you’ve got there. You must not be from around here.”
“You could say that,” 88 said. Blaziken reached down and grabbed the tray off of his back, allowing him to climb more easily onto the seat beside her. 89 moved quickly to join them. Across the table, a Delcatty nodded to him and smiled. Next to her, a Beautifly hovered over her stool, drinking from a glass of berry juice with her proboscis.
“These are my companions, Delcatty and Beautifly,” Blaziken introduced. “Be careful around them: They’re more deadly than they look.”
Delcatty barked out a short laugh. “You’re one to talk. You’re not exactly a slouch on the field of battle either.”
“Battle?” 88 said with interest. “So you lovely ladies are soldiers?”
There was a loud slurp as Beautifly pulled away from her drink. 88 gulped and shrank away from the dark stares he was receiving from the two girls across from him. Blaziken laughed delightedly at his discomfort. “Yes, we’re soldiers. I don’t suggest you make too big a deal of it or these two might tear you apart.”
“It’s a promise,” Beautifly said vehemently. She poked 88 pointedly in the forehead with her proboscis. “This thing ain’t just for sipping nectar.” 89 casually scooted away from his partner. This action didn’t go unnoticed by Delcatty.
“You scared, Chrome Dome?” she challenged.
He hesitated before answering. Then he nodded. “Very.”
“As it should be.”
They all looked up as another Pokemon seated himself next to Delcatty. She rolled her eyes in annoyance. “How many times do I have to chase you off, Manectric?”
“Always once more than the last,” the dog-like Pokemon said. He smiled wolfishly at Beautifly. “You are looking ravishing as always, my dear.”
She didn’t even bother looking at him. “Bite me.”
Manectric feigned injury, groaning in pain. “Harsh words for such a pretty butterfly.”
Beautifly turned her glare on Blaziken. “Can I poke his eyes out this time? Just one, please?”
Blaziken rolled her eyes at the whole exchange and grinned lopsidedly at 88. “See what I have to put up with on a daily basis?”
“I don’t get how you do it,” 88 said admiringly. Meanwhile, Delcatty and 89 were doing their best to restrain Beautifly as she attempted to dive at Manectric’s face.
Blaziken sighed. “Well, it’s better than what I left behind.”
88 detected a note of sadness in her voice. “I know I shouldn’t ask, so let me just offer some comfort, if I can. You’ve already shown us plenty of kindness in the past few minutes. It’s the least I can do to offer some back.”
Blaziken smiled weakly. “My problems are long gone. All that’s left to haunt me are memories, and there’s nothing you can do to help with that. Thank you for trying, though.”
“Of course,” 88 said, bowing his head slightly. Chaos erupted opposite him as Beautifly broke away from her resistors and dove headlong at Manectric. He yelped in surprise and darted away with the butterfly right on his tail. Delcatty and 89 quickly took off after them, attempting to minimize the destruction that was already under way.
“This has been fun,” Blaziken said with another grin. “Maybe we should make this a regular thing.”
“I think that can be arranged,” 88 said in agreement. “I’ll get Magby to make some wing restraints for Beautifly.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Blaziken assured. “There are far more . . . permanent solutions.”
He could hear his heart beating. He could feel his heart beating. He swore he could even see his heart beating.
Chimchar glanced sideways at Kadabra, who marched alongside him. The Psychic-type was calm and composed, at least on the outside. He couldn’t even begin to comprehend how his fellow lieutenant could remain unconcerned, but he didn’t dare voice his curiosity. He didn’t trust his voice to function properly under the circumstances.
He adjusted the strap of his sheath on his shoulder for what was probably the fortieth time since setting out. Behind him, Swampert noticed the action and couldn’t resist a jibe. “You seem to be having some troubles up there, chief.”
“Can it, cadet,” Chimchar said irritably.
“Well, the lieutenant seems to be in a bad mood today,” Mightyena said, smirking from the position he held next to Swampert.
Chimchar sighed. “Sorry, I’m just nervous. Incredibly so.”
“Really?” Mightyena said in mock disbelief. “I can’t tell.”
“I can’t help it,” Chimchar said. “It’s my first real battle like this.”
Swampert nodded in understanding. “I felt the same way. Even our good friend Robin Hood had quite a hard time.”
“Don’t make a big deal out of nothing,” Mightyena said defensively.
“You publicly wet yourself multiple times,” Swampert pointed out.
“I was marking my territory!” Mightyena snarled.
“Pretty big territory,” Swampert muttered.
“I heard that!”
“Oh, that’s right, you’re a canine. You’re good at that stuff like hearing and sniffing and chasing your own tail and barking at rocks.”
“I chase my tail for recreational purposes only! And there are some pretty suspicious rocks out there, so I can never be too sure.”
Finally, Kadabra had had enough. “Pipe down, both of you! That’s an order!”
“Yes, Lieutenant,” both meekly replied.
Kadabra shook his head in exasperation. “I swear those two will be the death of me.”
“Don’t say that while we’re marching into battle,” Chimchar said with a shudder.
Kadabra eyed him with a slight smile. “You’re not the only one, you know.”
“Yeah right,” Chimchar said with a snort. “Who else is there?”
“Me, for one,” Kadabra said. Chimchar looked at him disbelievingly, but he nodded in insistence. “Yes, it’s true. No one ever really gets over their pre-battle anxiety, whether it’s the first time or their hundredth. I know they probably wouldn’t admit it, but your friends ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Benkei’ back there feel the same way.”
“But . . . why?” Chimchar inquired.
“The same reasons as you,” Kadabra said. “War is a bloody ordeal. There is nothing grand or glorious about it, and no matter how you train, you never have any idea if you’ll be coming out alive. That is the most horrifying part of all.”
Chimchar gulped. “Are you trying to comfort me?”
“No,” Kadabra said, shaking his head. “I’m trying to prepare you.”
There were no more words between them. The marching column came to a halt. Deoxys’s army faced them, standing a few hundred yards away. Chimchar looked down the line to his left and spotted Golem in the center. Further down still, he could barely make out the figures of Charizard and Meganium where they stood at the head of the left flank. Chimchar then turned back to Kadabra, who simply nodded.
On the other side, there was no sign of Deoxys. Then, suddenly, he was there, levitating upward from the center of his forces. He hovered there, in full sight of everyone else. His eyes scanned the lines opposite him, making contact first with Golem. Then, Chimchar was startled to find himself being stared down by the same unblinking eyes. He glared right back, meeting the challenge there. Then, the contact was broken as Deoxys returned his attention to Golem. The two screamed simultaneously, their cries ringing out across the silent wasteland:
The armies surged forward. Chimchar reacted instantly, drawing Aureus from its sheath and leaping forward alongside Kadabra. Behind him, he could hear the others drawing weapons of their own. The feverish atmosphere engulfed him and he was no longer alone. He was part of the flood, the stampeding mob. Gone was his anxiety. All that remained was an inner drive to keep going to the very end. The enemy was growing ever closer, yet was staying ever distant. Time slowed to nothing.
There was an audible sound as the armies collided, like a meteor striking the earth. Chimchar found himself immediately thrown against Scyther. It slashed at him with its saw-like arms, but he parried with Aureus. A shriek erupted from the bug and blood splattered from its sliced arm. It fell sideways away from Chimchar, who continued to move forward.
Next was a Sudowoodo. It swung a wild punch at Chimchar, who rolled sideways at the last second to dodge. He followed up with an upward thrust with Aureus, which caught its target just beneath its arm. It didn’t penetrate far into Sudowoodo’s stony skin, but it was enough to force it back into its own comrades, who merely swarmed over its writhing body. Chimchar was ready, swinging Aureus in wild arcs at his onrushing foes. He cut down a Weepinbell with contemptuous ease, only for the blade to be caught by the multiple arms of a Graveler. Chimchar attempted to wrench the sword free, but was instead dragged forward by a mighty tug from his assailant. He clenched his eyes shut, preparing for the worse, only to hear a sudden grunt of pain as the Graveler was lifted into the air and tossed back into the mob. Chimchar glanced sideways long enough to see Kadabra turning his Psychic attack onto a new set of enemies and gave him a thumbs up. Then, it was chaos again.
The attackers began to blend together as time passed. Chimchar continuously slashed out, beating aside any who came near him. On his right, he could see Mightyena ducking in and out of the crowd, snapping and clawing at the throats of his targets. Kadabra’s spoon was a blur as he shot beams of psychic energy through the ranks before him. To the left, Ninjask and Castform weaved through the air, dodging enemy fire while unleashing attacks of their own. Golem had long since vanished in the thick of the fighting, but the screams of terror and flying bodies marked his progress through the mob.
Chimchar had no idea if five minutes or five hours had passed when the cry went out. He couldn’t make out the words, but instantly the enemy began to withdraw. He was able to spot Deoxys zipping about in the air overhead, directing his soldiers back in the direction from which they’d come. There were no questions asked; They simply beat away whatever antagonists they were engaged with and fell back as fast as they could. With the intense fighting ceased, Chimchar was able to make his way to where Swampert and Kadabra were watching. Their expressions were grim.
“What’s happening?” he asked. “Is it over? Did we win?”
Kadabra laughed harshly. “If only. No, they’re not retreating. They’re just making room.”
“Room?” Chimchar frowned, not understanding. “Room for what?”
There was an earth-shattering screech from somewhere above. Chimchar gasped in horror as he saw the shimmering blue shape spiral down from the sky to land in the center of the battlefield. The towering figure spread its wings in a display of intimidation, squawking shrilly, daring any to challenge it.
Articuno had arrived.
At first, there was no sign of movement. Then, Golem burst forth from the crowd to stand alone before Articuno in the large square of empty ground which had been cleared. There were no words needed, and none were passed. He fired a barrage of rocky bullets, striking Articuno over and over in the chest. The bird fell back in pain, but it was far from defeated. Drawing back its head, it unleashed a streaking bolt of ice. Golem quickly rolled into a ball of stony armor and bounced forward. The Ice Beam left multiple patches of frost on his body, but it wasn’t enough to stop his Rollout. He slammed into Articuno at full speed and both Pokemon sprawled in the dirt, dazed. The general was the first to recover, rising up over the fallen bird and preparing a Stone Edge to finish the job.
Unfortunately, his attention was in the wrong place. Articuno’s tail suddenly snapped him from behind, causing him to fall forward and fire his Stone Edge harmlessly into the air. The bird rose quickly from its apparent daze and it launched into the air with one flap of its powerful wings. As it left the ground, Articuno caught Golem by the ankle and, displaying incredible strength, lifted him upward into the sky. Despite the general’s struggling, Articuno continued to spiral higher and higher into the sky. Golem was shouting incoherently, though his tone left little room to dispute the nature of his jibes. Articuno yawned, apparently bored with the situation. Slowly, contemptuously, it released its grip.
Every heart skipped a beat as Golem fell. Chimchar watched the descent in horror, then snapped his eyes shut at the last second. In the silence that had overtaken the battlefield, the crunch was absolutely sickening. Opening his eyes, all he could see was the broken body of the general, lying lifeless in the crater where he had landed.
Articuno screeched in triumph. It flew about in lazy circles, as if challenging any other to step up and face it. Of course, it expected to receive no resistance. It had just destroyed the army’s general with little exertion at all. So it came as a complete surprise when it was consumed in an explosion of flames. The massive bird managed to pull out of its downward spiral just in time to land without crashing. Across from it, Chimchar stood alone, a hard look in his eye. He spun Aureus casually in his hand and gestured at his opponent to rise and face him. Glaring, Articuno shot forward, aiming directly at the golden light gleaming before it.
It didn’t make it. A crippling force hit it in the gut as Swampert slammed into it. Winded, Articuno wheeled sideways to avoid its assailant. There was to be no escape. A barrage of attacks hit it as Kadabra, Ninjask, and Castform launched strikes from a distance. Then Mightyena and Charizard were there, hitting beneath Articuno’s wings and driving it back even further. A rain of explosive seeds joined the bombardment as Meganium joined Kadabra and the others.
Chimchar could hardly believe what was happening before him. He had attacked Articuno in complete spontaneity. There had been no organized thought whatsoever, only rage and disbelief at Golem’s defeat. All he’d had to do was take a stand to spur the others into action behind him. And now Articuno was cowering before their onslaught, lifting its wings protectively above it.
He strode forward, growing ever closer to Articuno in hopes that he could finish it all with a point-blank Flamethrower. However, as he drew near, he became aware of an unnatural chill in the air. He squinted to examine Articuno’s hunched form more closely, and he gasped in alarm as he noticed a slight white glow surrounding the bird. This battle wasn’t over yet.
Kadabra had come to the same conclusion at the same time. “The snows are building!” he cried in warning. “Brace for impact!”
As he spoke, he quickly raised a Light Screen which surrounded him as well as Ninjask, Castform, and Meganium. Charizard, Mightyena, and Swampert were all still raining physical blows on their adversary when Kadabra shouted his warning. Instantly, Charizard snatched Mightyena in his claws and rocketed skyward. That left two Pokemon in the range of the attack.
Swampert sized up the situation in a matter of seconds. He knew what attack was coming, and he knew it could well be fatal. He also knew that there was no way that he and Chimchar would make it to safety in time. That left him with one option.
Chimchar had no idea what he was supposed to do. He let loose another Flamethrower, but the tongues of flame dispersed before they ever reached their target. The cloud of cool air was growing increasingly frigid. He was surprised when Swampert charged at him at a full sprint, stopping only just in time to avoid trampling him into the ground.
“Well? What are we supposed to do?” he asked worriedly.
“Just trust me,” Swampert ordered. Across from them, Articuno’s entire body was glowing white and it flexed its wings in preparation of unleashing the building force. “And whatever you do, don’t breath in.”
“Why can’t I – “
Chimchar was cut off as Articuno spread its wings wide and the world went white. The onrushing blast of freezing wind and snow engulfed the two Pokemon in a matter of seconds. Swampert stood over Chimchar, shielding him from the main force of the attack. Not one to disobey an order, Chimchar held his breath. He closed his eyes, which stung with the bite of the snow and ice. Standing stoically over him, Swampert was doing the exact same thing.
The hurricane winds buffeted the two for nearly a minute. Protected as they were by Kadabra’s Light Screen, Meganium, Ninjask, and Castform could feel none of the cold or wind. However, they could see nothing through the sheet of ice forming on the outside of their barricade. Charizard’s view from overhead was not much better.
Finally, Swampert could take it no longer. He said a silent apology to Chimchar and the others. And then, he took a breath.
The subzero air burned his lungs more intensely than any fire. The excruciating pain was like nothing he had ever known to exist. Silently, he screamed his agony into the wind. No sound could escape his lips as he opened his eyes one more time in an attempt to pierce the blank wall before him. Then, slowly, the pain inside him subsided and the white world turned black.
Finally, the storm faded away and its aftermath was made visible to all. Chimchar managed to tiredly drag himself out from beneath Swampert’s legs. “Well, that was some wild weather, eh?” he said with a slight smile.
There was no response.
Frowning, Chimchar moved around to face Swampert from the front. “Eh, buddy? Don’t you agree?” He stopped as he took in his friend’s agonized expression and unblinking eyes. He reached out a quivering hand and placed it on Swampert’s own massive paw. It was cold. Hard. Unmoving.
Behind him, hell broke loose. With the blizzard over, Kadabra and the others had immediately taken the opportunity to hit Articuno with everything they had. The bird gave ground to the onslaught of attacks before eventually turning tail and flying away. Discouraged by this, many members of the main army broke ranks and began to flee as well. The more disciplined warriors held their ground until Deoxys himself ordered the retreat, at which point they gladly spun and ran. Deoxys stayed longer than any other. He simply stood and stared at Chimchar and Swampert, the former still holding his hand on the latter’s. He was surprised to realize that he was viewing the scene with a feeling of sadness, even sympathy. Abruptly, he spun around and began to calmly follow his retreating army. This Chimchar was a very dangerous Pokemon, Deoxys thought. To bring up such emotions in him was unacceptable in the extreme. He would have to be dealt with.
As he stared into the colorless eyes of his friend and savior, Chimchar had to allow himself a weak, sad smile. “Congratulations, Benkei, you got your wish. You went out of this world standing up: The most honorable death of all. Thank you.”
Then, he allowed all restraint to go as he fell to his knees and wept at the feet of the once mighty Benkei.
Next Time: Back in Treasure Town, Grovyle and Dusknoir's investigation of the mysterious Shiftry continues. While following Pawniard, Grovyle happens upon some startling indications towards what has really been happening around the town. Meanwhile in the Beyond, Zoroark launches his surprise assault . . . against Darkrai himself!
Hope you all enjoy it! I hope that the part with 88 and 89 doesn't seem too out of place, but I didn't want this chapter to be entirely reliant and Chimchar and the others. Plus, I didn't really have anywhere else to squeeze it in at. Also, this chapter was initially supposed to reveal what exactly Zoroark's been up to since he left the HQ, but I wound up deciding it would be better to end things off with Swampert's death instead.
Also, sorry that I'm not sending out PMs right away, but it's incredibly late where I live and I really just want to get to sleep. So, I'll send 'em out in the morning. Sorry.
EDIT: Also, to those who may have missed it, here is a link to some DoD-related illustrations I've drawn using the amazing Colors! 3D app on my Nintendo 3DS.
Last edited by GalladeRocks; 30th April 2012 at 2:05 AM.
*Dies in mock horror*
Congratulations. I think you broke your record on not-updatingness. And with a really grim chapter too.
Interesting way of portraying Sheer Cold. I always thought it just froze you all over, at once.
Is this the first time Piplup's not appeared in a chapter where Chimchar has?
"Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn
One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.
It's been a while, hasn't it?
Nice chapter, I agree with scizorstrike this was a little on the grim side, especially with Swampert's sudden demise.
While this chapter was good, it's the next chapter I'm looking forward to.
We get to see what's going on in Treasure Town, and an assassination attempt on Darkrai, what more could we ask for? (Aside from quicker updates...)
Great chapter, glad to see this back on the first page.
Knightfall signing off...
Yay for new chapter! Poor Swampert though. You will be missed . *Gives Chimchar a hug*
Chapter 24 - Grovyle and Pawniard; Zoroark and Darkrai
Chapter 25 - Piplup and Lugia; Darkrai and Deoxys; Combusken and Slowbro
Chapter 26 - Lucario and Mew; Sceptile
Yes, I said it. Sceptile will finally be making his brief return in Chapter 26. What will he be up to? Hey, I have to keep some secrets.
Lastly, I'm sorry that I still don't have the PMs sent out yet. It takes about ten minutes to send them all out, and I frankly haven't had that time to do so yet today. I'll probably get them sent out later this afternoon or this evening.
Last edited by GalladeRocks; 29th April 2012 at 9:23 PM.
*Cries* Poor Swampert. Just one thing. Couldn't he hav faced AWAY from Sheer Cold? I know that it obviously didn't fit what you wanted to happen, but couldn't it have prevented some of the more serious damage?
Wow, we're getting a little dark. Good. Well, good in that war is never happy-go-lucky, so I like where you're going with this. ^^^ Also, while ya, you could turn away from it, but when was the last time you turned away from a rather chilly wind and inhaled warm air?
While I know that sarcastic/dry humor is a staple to this entire trilogy, I wanted to throw out that the banter between Swampert and Mightyena was slightly out of place. Granted, it was funny, and it gave me a rather good laugh, but marching to battle is no easy thing, and a lack of an worry is rather out of place. Kadabra is right in that war is no easy thing to simply accustom oneself to, and their banter doesn't show any signs that they are worrying. Maybe saying something along the lines of Chimchar's or Kadabra's observation in sight or sound. A rushed retort betraying some kind of worry, or frequent darting glances, something. Just a thought.
credits for banner: Avenger Angel
I have claimed Sceptile
Shadow War Trilogy: Book 1. Click the Sig.
UNDER REVISIONAL HIATUS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!
Also read Essense of Law.
Yeah, the air wouldn't be warm, but it wouldn't have frost and ice blowing staight down your throat. I think that Mightyena and Swampert were trying to hid their nevousness and worry by joking and not acting like they are actually feeling.
THREE FREAKING MONTHS. That's how long I've been working on this chapter. I've been trying to get chapters up all summer, but I've actually been working on some other writing I've mine. I'm working with a friend who is a published author on writing an actual novel, which I'd been working on for between four and eight hours everyday up until this week. Now I should be able to get chapters posted more regularly. I still hope to get this fic done by the end of the summer, though I'm not sure how realistic of a goal that is. I'll try my darndest, though!
On the brighter side, this is one of the longest chapters that I've ever written, though I'll warn that it is heavy on words but fairly light on action.
In the Shadows
Chatot was not having a good morning.
He muttered to himself in irritation as he began his routine trek through Apple Woods. The previous night, Wigglytuff had helped himself to a midnight snack, something that he often did despite Chatot’s repeated warnings. When Chatot had awoken the next morning, he’d been horrified to find that the Guild’s entire stock of Perfect Apples had been devoured. If the supply wasn’t replenished by dinner that night, then . . . Chatot shuddered at the thought. The Guildmaster was a good and respectable Pokemon, but he could be a real pain sometimes.
Normally, Chatot was a sensible Pokemon. He was not one to let his guard down in any situation, whether he was expecting trouble or not. But this morning was different. He was irked about having to make another trip to Apple Woods, especially when he’d just made one the previous week. Plus, the Apple Woods route was typically an easy road with few problems from the primitive wild Pokemon. All of this combined with the recent peace in Treasure Town lead to Chatot’s more laid-back approach to the task at hand. The morning was rough enough without having to make the going even slower.
But the day was about to get worse.
Dusknoir was having his morning coffee when a Sableye dropped out of the sky.
He was relaxing in the outdoor pavilion behind the Kecleon market. Magmar, one of the numerous new shopkeepers in Treasure Town, had recently opened the coffee house, which had become wildly popular with the citizens. Loudred and Vigoroth had quickly discovered that caffeine was a bit much for them, but the rest of the town was enamored.
Dusknoir enjoyed his coffee in the early morning hours when it was relatively quiet in town; most Pokemon didn’t come out until the late morning. There was still mist in the air and a general tranquility of the atmosphere in the pavilion. The Kecleon Brothers sat at a nearby table, shooting occasional comments to Dusknoir. The two were the only other Pokemon present in the pavilion; they always showed up early before they opened their shop for the day. On most mornings, the three Pokemon simply enjoyed each other’s company in quiet.
Which was why it came as a complete surprise when a swirling purple vortex appeared in the sky and a Sableye dropped out into the middle of Dusknoir’s table. The green Kecleon leaped to his feet, startled, while his brother teetered backward on his stool and crashed to the ground. Dusknoir paused with his mug halfway to his non-existent mouth, but showed no other visible reaction to his underling’s sudden materialization.
“So,” he said casually. “Any news?”
The Sableye sat up on the table and shook his head to clear his thoughts. The Kecleon brothers had recovered from their initial astonishment and were eyeing the new arrival curiously, though neither had the courage to say anything.
“Nothing major, Lord Dusknoir,” the Sableye said. “We thought we had one with this Typhlosion, then again with a Golem, but the connections weren’t strong enough.”
Dusknoir sighed. “Blast. Oh well, the Land of the Dead is a vast world, it won’t be easy to find someone strongly connected to Piplup and Chimchar.” He paused. “Wait a moment. Where are the two who were with you?”
Sableye hung his head sadly. “They refused to come back with me. They insisted that they continue their search until they succeed.”
The crash of Dusknoir’s fist on the table resounded in the open pavilion, startling the Kecleon Brothers once again. “This is it. I can’t allow any of you to enter that cursed world ever again. Five Sableye have been lost to the spirit world already, and that is five too many.”
“Lord Dusknoir, I must protest,” Sableye said immediately. “We want nothing more than to help you. It is the sole reason for our existence. We will give our entire selves to help your cause.”
“That is exactly why I cannot allow you to return,” Dusknoir said. “My powers as a Dusknoir may allow me to open the portal to the Land of the Dead, but even I cannot prevent its deterioration of the living that enter. Your loyalty to me deserves reward, not senseless sacrifice.”
Sableye clenched his fists at his sides. “But it is not senseless! We may fade into the world of spirits, but so long as we serve you well, that is all that matters in our lives!”
“Argue all you like,” Dusknoir said, rising from his seat. “But my decision is final and I expect you to respect it.”
Sableye gritted his teeth in frustration, but he bowed his head submissively. “As you wish, Lord Dusknoir.”
Dusknoir nodded in satisfaction. “Good. Now go out and do something for yourself. Drink some coffee, grab some grub, whatever. You deserve it.”
Sableye gave a quick salute. “Thank you, Lord Dusknoir. I am sorry that we could not be of greater service to you.”
“You’ve done more than enough,” Dusknoir assured. “Now go.”
Sableye trudged towards Magmar’s coffee counter as Grovyle strode into the pavilion. The two nodded to each other in greeting as Grovyle made his way to Dusknoir’s table. “Good morning.”
“Buzz off,” Dusknoir said.
Grovyle raised his hands defensively before him. “Whoa now, take it easy.”
“Sorry,” Dusknoir said tiredly. “I’m not mad at you. Two more of the Sableye were lost to the spirits.”
“I see,” Grovyle said. “My sympathies.”
“I can’t help but feel responsible,” Dusknoir said, taking a swig of his rapidly-cooling coffee. “I know the way of the Land of the Dead. The living who linger too long become just like the spirits that reside in that world. It was foolish of me to send any of the Sableye there in the first place.”
Grovyle laid a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Don’t blame yourself. The Sableye knew what they were getting into when they agreed to help. They’re happy to die in your service.”
“Well I’m not,” Dusknoir said, crossing his arms stubbornly. “That’s why I’m not sending them back. I’m taking matters into my own hands.”
Grovyle raised an eyebrow. “So you’re planning to search the entire Land of the Dead for anyone connected to Piplup and Chimchar by yourself? Sounds about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.”
Dusknoir waved a hand dismissively. “Please, finding a needle in a haystack is child’s play compared to this. This is more like finding a piece of hay in a stack of needles.”
Grovyle rolled his eyes. “That’s encouraging.”
“Hard as it may be, I have to do it,” Dusknoir said. “I’m not letting any more Sableye sacrifice themselves.”
“Fine then,” Grovyle said. “I’ll go with you.”
Dusknoir nodded. “Okay.”
“That’s it?” Grovyle said in obvious confusion. “You’re not going to argue with it? No heartfelt speech about not wanting to lose me like your other friends?”
“Would you let me go alone if I asked you to?” Dusknoir asked simply.
“No,” Grovyle admitted.
“Then I won’t waste any more of our time,” Dusknoir said.
Grovyle shrugged. “Fair enough. But I think we’ll have to put our search on hold until the trouble here in town is sorted out.”
As if on cue, Cacnea and Hitmontop strode into the pavilion, cackling uproariously about something. Hitmontop flipped a couple of coins onto the counter and Magmar immediately set to work brewing a fresh pot of coffee. The two newcomers took a seat at a table close to the counter, far enough away that Dusknoir couldn’t catch a word of what they were saying. Still, he didn’t want to take any chances.
“Let’s take this conversation somewhere less crowded,” he whispered.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Grovyle said in agreement. They quickly exited the pavilion and crossed Treasure Town’s main square. Grovyle led the way to Sharpedo Bluff and briefly cleared away the pile of leaves, ushering Dusknoir down the steps into the old – and now abandoned – home.
Dusknoir whistled under his breath as he looked around, admiring the scenic ocean view through the ‘jaws’ of the bluff. He eyed the fountain and straw beds curiously. “What is this place? Some kind of bunker?”
Grovyle smiled sadly. “This is Chimchar’s place. He brought me and Piplup here to hide out when we returned from the future.” He paused and raised an eyebrow at Dusknoir. “You know, after the time that you showed up with Primal Dialga and attempted to kill us all?”
“I remember no such thing,” Dusknoir said indignantly. “Frankly, I’m hurt that you’d accuse me of such treachery.”
Grovyle ignored him. “Anyway, this place is apparently a big secret. The last I knew, no one in town had any idea it was here. We were able to hang out here until Piplup and Chimchar finally decided that they had to go back to the Guild.”
“Chatot probably knows about this,” Dusknoir said. “That guy knows about everything. But I doubt we’ll have to worry about him eavesdropping on us.”
Grovyle nodded somberly. “Right. I’ve been doing more research lately and I found some interesting evidence at the site where Sunflora and Loudred were ambushed. There were spines on the ground, indicating a Pin Missile attack. Also, there were signs that a drill-like object had been used to create tunnels, which is what caused the cave-in that nearly trapped Loudred. These clues seem to indicate our new friends, Cacnea and Hitmontop in particular.”
“And if that’s not condemning, then there’s always the time that I caught little Bucket Head by the river when he was literally cleansing his hands of blood,” Dusknoir said. “Bidoof’s wounds indicated that he’d been slashed by something long and sharp, as did Sunflora and Loudred’s, and I doubt that was just a coincidence.”
“The matter still remains of discovering what exactly these goons are up to,” Grovyle said. “We don’t know if they’re working for Shiftry or if they’ve got some deal going on behind his back. We need conclusive proof of what’s really happening.”
“Maybe I can be of assistance.”
They looked up in surprise to see a Sableye standing at the bottom of the stairs, watching them with interest. “How did you find this place?” Grovyle asked in obvious confusion.
“The Sableye in my employment have a natural tracker sense given to them by Dialga,” Dusknoir explained. “Wherever I go, they can always find me. How else do you think they were able to keep on our trail when we traveled the Dark Future together?”
Grovyle raised an eyebrow. “I figured that you betraying me before we’d even formed our alliance had something to do with it.”
“Please!” the Sableye begged in exasperation. “Can we focus on the present for a sec?”
“Right, sorry,” Grovyle said. He looked the Sableye up and down. “Are you the one who was just at the coffee shop? Because honestly, I can’t tell any of you apart.”
Dusknoir stared at Grovyle in disbelief. “You heartless wretch! You can’t even tell Seymour here apart from Maxwell?”
“Actually sir, it’s Samuel,” the Sableye said meekly.
“Shut up, Spalding,” Dusknoir snapped. “I’m trying to make a point.” He shifted his attention back to Grovyle. “Siegfried here has purple skin, while Maxwell’s is obviously more of a violet.”
“Samuel, sir,” the Sableye repeated.
Dusknoir ignored him. He fixed a reprimanding gaze on Grovyle. “Now I want you to apologize to Serebii at once.”
Grovyle turned to the Sableye and gave him a sly grin. “Samuel, I’m sorry that your master is such a dunce.” Samuel smiled back and Dusknoir sagged his shoulders in an attempt to look hurt. “Now please, tell us why you’re here.”
Samuel nodded several times. “Yes, of course. I was keeping an eye on some of those suspicious Pokemon that you were talking about. Anyway, I was out by the crossroads this morning and I saw Chatot from the Guild going out towards Apple Woods. Then, just a few minutes after, that weird fellow with the shiny arms went out in the same direction. He was looking around a lot too, like he was making sure that he wasn’t being followed.” The Sableye’s mouth widened in a toothy grin. “Of course, his keen eyes were no match for my Shadow Sneak. I thought about following him myself, but I didn’t want to get in over my head, so I came to tell you guys.”
Grovyle immediately made for the stairs. “Come on, Dusknoir, let’s get going.”
“Hang on a sec,” Dusknoir said, not making any move to follow his friend. “Let’s think about this for a second.”
“We don’t have a second!” Grovyle said angrily. “Chatot’s in trouble now!”
“Chatot’s a tough old bird,” Dusknoir said confidently. “I doubt this dork can take him down.”
Grovyle stomped his foot impatiently. “Still, that doesn’t mean that we should risk it. Pawniard – assuming it was him, of course – was able to take down Bidoof, Sunflora, and Loudred all with a single blow to the back. He’s obviously a master of the sneak attack. If he manages to set up an ambush then he could still get the better of Chatot.”
Dusknoir tried to rub his chin thoughtfully only to discover that he didn’t really have a proper chin, so he settled for wringing his hands together in what he hoped was a thoughtful manner. “You may have a point. But I want to hang around in town to see if the other goons are doing anything suspicious. “
“Fine,” Grovyle said. “We’ll split up. You keep an eye on Cacnea and Hitmontop and I’ll go after Chatot.”
“Good plan,” Dusknoir said. “I’m glad I thought of it.” He turned to Samuel. “Thanks for the info, Kowalski. You can help me out in town today.”
The Sableye didn’t even bother correcting him, giving him a salute instead. “Aye aye, captain.”
For once, Dusknoir avoided making a reference to the theme song of a popular animated television series and he simply turned to leave, followed closely by the others. Grovyle didn’t even bother with a goodbye. The second they’d left the bluff, he was off.
Something wasn’t right.
Chatot couldn’t place a finger on it, but there was something decidedly strange. He shrugged away the feeling, passing it off as exhaustion or anxiety. He had business to get to. He hopped forward into the wide clearing before him. The massive Perfect Apple tree grew in the center of the clearing, towering far higher than any other tree in the forest. Clutching the knapsack for the apples in his claws, Chatot fluttered the rest of the way to the trunk and prepared to ascend to the branches.
There was a sudden thunk from behind Chatot and he spun around. He was already on-edge from the uneasy atmosphere of the forest and the random noise had nearly caused him to jump out of his skin. However, he quickly discovered that his discomfort was unfounded: a single Perfect Apple sat in the grass.
Chatot looked about cautiously, but he couldn’t see any other Pokemon in the clearing. He took several careful steps towards the Perfect Apple, but nothing happened and he decided that it had simply fallen out of the tree. He opened up the knapsack and leaned forward to pick up the apple.
There was a rustle from above and it was only Chatot’s instincts that saved him.
He dropped the sack and rolled sideways, giving a flap of his wings to accelerate his movement. There was a whoosh as a dark figure landed where Chatot had been standing. The figure lashed at Chatot before it had even landed, catching him across the bottom of the wing and severing a few blue feathers. Chatot hit the ground face first, leaving him no time to react as his assailant prepared for another strike.
Grovyle hit Pawniard like a truck. The two rolled sideways for several yards before Grovyle regained his footing and caught Pawniard’s wrists, pinning the blade-like arms to the ground. The small warrior struggled continuously, but the grip on him was firm and unrelenting. Grovyle looked up at Chatot, who was still laying face-down.
“Chatot!” he called. “Are you okay?”
“I’ve been better,” Chatot said, standing up and dusting himself off. A thin red line had appeared on the underside of his wing where he’d been slashed, but otherwise he seemed to be fine. “This chap will have to do better than that if he wants to do me in.”
Pawniard continued struggling, but his efforts were futile. “Let me go, you stupid lizard! This is all just a big misunderstanding!”
Grovyle raised an eyebrow. “A misunderstanding? So am I to believe that you weren’t attempting to severely wound my friend and steal whatever possessions he happened to have on hand?”
“Of course I wasn’t!” Pawniard said. “I was trying to – ” He stopped suddenly and his body went still. “Uh, yeah. That’s exactly what I was doing.”
“Oh really?” Chatot said disbelievingly. He stepped up to glare at Pawniard, who Grovyle had allowed into a seated position. “It seems to me that you were about to say something else.”
Pawniard feigned confusion. “Who? Me? No, that was it. You found me out. Go ahead, take me to jail. I deserve it.”
Grovyle smirked. “Don’t worry, we’ll take you straight to jail. Of course, your condition upon arrival depends heavily on your cooperation. We just want to ask you a few questions.”
Still holding his wrists, Grovyle marched Pawniard to the trunk of the Perfect Apple tree and sat him down against it. Chatot quickly moved to join them, flanking Pawniard to assure that he couldn’t attempt an escape. Pawniard cast a curious glance at Grovyle. “If you’re the good cop, does that mean that Feathers here is the bad one?”
“You bet your sweet keister it does!” Chatot snapped. Grovyle eyed him with disbelief and the bird winked at him.
“Alright, alright, I’ll talk!” Pawniard said, his voice heavy with the shame of defeat. “But you can’t let anyone know what I tell you, alright?”
Chatot stuck his beak straight in Pawniard’s face. “And why in blazes would we agree to that? You’re completely at our mercy! I’m a Flying-type with a loaded gun who refuses to take his medication! You’re lucky to be alive!”
Grovyle was just as flabbergasted as Chatot by the request, but he didn’t voice his opinion. He placed a hand on Pawniard’s shoulder. “Easy, chum. Don’t worry, you can trust me.” Of course, he had no intention of keeping any such promise, but his prisoner didn’t need to know that.
“Alright, I’ll talk,” Pawniard said, sweat running down his metal-domed head. “Ya see, I wasn’t trying to rob Chatot. I was . . .” He paused and took several deep breaths. “I was tryin’ to kill him!” He immediately raised his hands in front of his face. “Don’t hurt me!”
Grovyle and Chatot were too stunned to even think about hurting him. They stared unblinking, looking back and forth between each other and their prisoner. “K-kill me?” Chatot finally said. “Why? What did I do to you?”
“It’s nothing personal, you have to believe me,” Pawniard said hurriedly. “You seem like nice guys, honest. I’m just doing what I was told to do.”
“Told by who?” Grovyle said. Pawniard looked away and Grovyle gripped him by the throat, pushing him backwards against the tree. “Told by who?” he repeated coldly.
Pawniard defiantly held Grovyle’s gaze for several seconds, but finally the fire from his eyes died down and the struggle went out of him. “Shiftry! Who else would it be?”
Chatot gasped and Grovyle kept his mouth in a grim line. “So it seems that my hunch was correct. I wonder if Dusknoir has found out yet.”
“Shiftry?” Chatot said, still in a state of disbelief. “That kindly Pokemon? I can’t believe that he would be doing anything this bad. He seemed like such a nice fellow.”
“Looks can be deceiving,” Grovyle said tersely. “I seem to recall that you thought the same thing about Dusknoir once, and look where that got you.”
Chatot grimaced. “Oh, you had to bring that up.”
Grovyle turned back to Pawniard. “So, spill the beans. What’s Shiftry up to?”
“You can’t make me talk!” Pawniard said, a vicious tone to his voice. Grovyle and Chatot both leaned forward, glaring at him. He gulped nervously. “Okay, okay, I’ll talk! Geesh, you guys can’t take a joke.”
“We’re not here to joke,” Grovyle said harshly.
Pawniard rolled his eyes. “Yeah yeah, you’re hardcore, we get it! I’ll talk.” He scraped his hands together nervously. “It’s not really that complicated. Shiftry wants the same thing as anybody else: wealth and power. He worms his way into villages, makes friends with the locals, and infiltrates the town with guys like me to back him up. We do the dirty work. We start off small, stealing food and rations in case anything goes wrong, but eventually we set to work killing off the leading members of the town, the ones who could rally against us.”
“Which is why you were planning to kill me,” Chatot said. Somehow, he managed the sentence without sounding insulted.
Pawniard nodded, then turned his gaze to Grovyle. “You’re on the hit list to. Our first strike was gonna to be Chatot to keep information from spreading. Next up was gonna be the police chief to keep the fuzz off our trail.”
“Magnezone too?” Chatot said incredulously. “Just how big is this hit list?”
“Pretty decent,” Pawniard admitted. “After you and the chief was some guy named Skuntank, then Wigglytuff, Dusknoir, and you.” He pointed at Grovyle.
Chatot frowned. “Skuntank? He left town several weeks ago.”
“We figured that out,” Pawniard said. “We just considered ourselves lucky to have one less to set a trap for.”
Grovyle narrowed his eyes. “Alright, so you kill off all of the prominent people in the village. What’s the next step?”
“Same as the other places,” Pawniard said as though the answer should be obvious. “We take over, prevent anyone from going into and out of the village, leave some guys behind to take care of it, and move on to the next. It’s all building towards Shiftry’s personal mafia gaining great riches and the like.”
“So you’ve done this before?” Grovyle said.
“Three times,” Pawniard said. “Those villages are still under Shiftry’s control now. Admittedly, the old citizens are kept under close surveillance at all times to make sure that they don’t leave town and tell of their plight. But you gotta believe me when I say that Shiftry isn’t a completely bad guy. He really takes care of his followers. He takes in people like me who have nowhere else to go. He feeds us and makes sure we have roofs over our heads.”
“Still, the fact that he is controlling innocent villages means that he’ll have to face justice,” Grovyle said. “And now with your testimony, we’ve got all the evidence we need to bring him down.”
Pawniard’s head jerked up. “What? No way! I’m not sayin’ anything bad about Shiftry!”
“You will if we say to!” Chatot squawked. “Or else I’ll rip your stupid metal head right off your shoulders!” He winked at Grovyle. He was having way too much fun with his “bad cop” role.
“Take it easy,” Grovyle said with a warning glare at Chatot. “Look, if you agree to help us when we confront Shiftry, we’ll make sure that you get the proper reward. You can remain free. You can even live in Treasure Town. How about that?”
Pawniard shifted nervously where he sat. “I . . . I don’t know. Shiftry’s always been great to me. I was a street rat before. I had to steal to get by and I never knew where my next meal would come from.” He looked down at his feet and sighed. “Then Shiftry showed up and promised me that he’d take care of me. All that I had to do was help him realize his dream.” He scraped his hands together, making a loud screeching sound. “Sometimes, that means using my special skills to get a few people out of the way. But if Shiftry thinks it’s for the best, so do I.”
Grovyle sighed sadly. “Shiftry may treat you great, but he’s still a bad guy for what he’s done to these villages. Like I said, we’ll help you out if you help us bring Shiftry down.”
Pawniard closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. “Alright, I’ll go back with you. But I’m not promising anything. I’ll talk to your friends, I’ll help you get ready for a confrontation, but I don’t want to directly oppose Shiftry.”
“You won’t be needed to,” Grovyle said. “I assure you, you can just help us out behind the scenes. I won’t ask anything more of you.”
“Alright,” Pawniard said. He stood up and Grovyle didn’t oppose him. “You two aren’t going to tackle me to the ground, are you?”
Chatot opened his mouth to speak, but Grovyle cut him off. “No, don’t worry. You just walk in-between us and we’ll consider that good enough.”
Pawniard nodded and allowed a small smile to cross his face. “Thanks.” He turned to Chatot. “And sorry about the whole ‘trying to kill you’ thing. Are you sure you’re alright?”
“It’s just a scratch,” Chatot said, sticking his wing out and revealing the line of blood along its underside. “It’s nothing that I can’t handle. I’m just lucky you aren’t better at your job.”
“I’ll try not to take that as an insult,” Pawniard said. He paused. “And don’t go thinking that I actually care whether you’re okay or not. I was just hoping that the wound might be deep enough that you’d die of blood loss on the way back.”
Chatot rolled his eyes. “I’m sure that’s it. Now let’s get going. We’ve got work to do.”
“Right,” Grovyle said. The three turned and began to walk out of the clearing. Pawniard stood in the middle, casting cautious glances back and forth between his captors. “We should go straight to Wigglytuff,” Grovyle continued. “He’ll surely know how to address the situation.” He sighed and turned to Pawniard. “Say, did Shiftry have any specific reason for coming to Treasure Town now?”
Pawniard nodded. “Yeah, it had to do with those Piplup and Chimchar guys. You know, those legendary heroes or whatever they are. Since they apparently disappeared, Shiftry decided that this would be the best chance to target a bigger place like Treasure Town. He never said explicitly, but I think he was afraid of those two. That’s why he waited this long to come here.”
“Figures,” Grovyle said. “I was wondering if it was just coincidence. We’ve been planning to go look for Piplup and Chimchar for awhile now and then this blasted trouble comes up and delays us. Who knows? Maybe Shiftry has already held us off too long.”
“Don’t be so grim,” Chatot said. “We both know Piplup and Chimchar. They’re fighters. Why, I’d bet that they’ve already given that rapscallion Darkrai what he deserves a thousand times over.”
Grovyle smiled. “You’re probably right.” He paused and looked up through the canopy of leaves overhead, casting flickering shadows across his features. “And if they haven’t, then I will.”
The guards gave a hasty salute as Darkrai appeared from the darkness of the canyon before them. He gave a quick nod and they moved aside, each grabbing a crank and twisting the massive gates open. With another nod, Darkrai strode forward, passing the guards and entering the castle without a sound.
He quickly crossed the empty courtyard, which was alive with the shadows cast by the towering buttresses overhead. Despite its airiness, the cold stone blocks of the castle walls gave it the atmosphere of a prison. A shiver passed through his body, but he shrugged it off. There was business to be done.
He entered the main tunnel and began the long walk into the castle’s depths. He traversed countless dark corridors and passageways; it had been a long time since he’d seen this place, but he remembered it perfectly. The occasional soldier or servant crossed his path, but he dismissed them all with a simple nod or salute.
Fifteen minutes had passed when Darkrai finally reached his destination. He strode through the final doorway and couldn’t help but marvel at the sight. The room was cavernous and the ceiling was so high it could hardly be seen. The entire room was basked in shadows, which writhed as though straining to escape. On the opposite side of the room, a massive stone was carved out of the wall. Jewels of varying shades of red, blue, and even black adorned its borders. Seated on the throne was a single figure. The figure looked up, his single blue eye blinking in astonishment.
Darkrai rose from his throne and stared in complete disbelief at the newcomer in the entryway. Darkrai didn’t see his own reflection often, but he’d seen it enough to realize that he was looking at a mirror image of himself.
“Before I kill you,” Darkrai said slowly, watching the newcomer carefully. “Tell me who you are and what you’re doing here.”
“Can you not see what stands before you?” the imposter said as if the answer should be obvious. “I am your reflection!” He assumed an identical pose to Darkrai to emphasize his point. “Look deep into my eye. What do you see? Pride? Satisfaction? Horror? Pain? Whatever it is, I assure you, I will haunt your nightmares.”
Darkrai snarled in utter contempt. “You can teach me nothing about nightmares.”
Deoxys chose that exact moment to enter the room. “Hey Darkrai, do you think that –” He stopped in mid-sentence and looked back and forth between the two Darkrai. His facial expression didn’t change, nor did his tone. “Um, I’ll come back later.”
“Please, stay!” the imposter said. “I insist. I think you’ll want to hear this conversation.”
Deoxys shrugged and leaned back against the wall. “Alright, whatever you say.”
In a flourish, Darkrai drew Umbra from its scabbard and pointed it straight at the poser. “Speak the truth, intruder. I know better than to believe that you’re some supernatural reflection of myself. Assume your true form.”
“If that is what you wish,” the imposter said with a shrug. His image quivered for a moment and there was a flash of blinding white light. A second later, the second Darkrai was gone, replaced by a bipedal figure with a long snout and a furry mane of red hair hanging down his back. He bowed deeply to Darkrai with a sarcastic grin. “My name is Zoroark. I am an agent of Dialga. And I know much about you, Lord Darkrai. Much more than your friend Deoxys, I am sure.”
Deoxys leaned forward in interest. “Really? Please, tell me more.”
Darkrai scowled. “An agent of Dialga? Doesn’t that freak have anything better to do with his time than to send dorks like you to spy on me?”
“Master Dialga has plenty of time to do just that as well as anything else he may want to do,” Zoroark said. “He’s the master of time, after all.”
Deoxys smirked. “He’s got you there.”
“Will you stay out of this?” Darkrai snapped. He turned back to Zoroark. “So why are you here? What business has the royal fool sent you on now?”
“Oh, I’m not here for Dialga,” Zoroark said. “I came here of my own accord. I’ve served my purpose here in the Beyond. I just figured I might come here and see what damage I could do.”
Darkrai laughed, his deep chuckle echoing in the enormous stone room. “You came here to face me? Me? Fine! Be my guest!” He swung Umbra experimentally. “I will be happy to put you in your place.”
Zoroark held up a finger to stop him. “Not just yet. I want to talk first. We’ve been here together for 574 years and yet we’ve never had the chance to chat until now.”
Darkrai paled and Deoxys’s eyes grew wide. “Wh-what are you talking about?” Darkrai said hurriedly.
Zoroark feigned surprise. “What’s this? You never told your dear friend Deoxys how old you are? That’s absurd. Friends shouldn’t keep secrets. It weakens the relationship.”
Deoxys turned to Darkrai, the disbelief written on his face. “It’s true? You’re 574 years old?”
Darkrai released a sigh. “Older. I honestly don’t even know how old I am. I was created in times immemorial.”
“Created?” Deoxys said in obvious confusion. “You said you were a descendent of the traitor Electabuzz. I suspected that you were lying, though I wasn’t sure what you were trying to hide.”
“I will tell you all later, Deoxys,” Darkrai said. Deoxys was surprised to hear a genuine ring of truth in Darkrai’s tone and he backed down. Darkrai turned his attention back to Zoroark. “So that’s all you’re here for? To remind me of a past that I wish I could forget and to face me in a futile battle? I must say, I don’t see what it was in you that impressed Dialga.”
“Probably the fact that I’ve lived and worked here for as long as you have without ever encountering you,” Zoroark said. He paused and scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Well, unless you count that one time . . .”
Darkrai frowned. “What?”
Zoroark waved his hand dismissively. “Oh, I’m sure you don’t remember. We bumped into each other briefly in the time stream once, when you were trying to mess up a certain pair of interlopers’ journey. Of course, I didn’t even get the chance to show myself, though I did see you.”
Darkrai’s blood ran cold and he was momentarily at a loss for words. “No. No, it’s not possible. You can’t possibly have . . . ?”
Zoroark laughed, though it was a sound without any trace of humor. “Honestly, Darkrai? You think it’s complete coincidence that your attempt to destroy Grovyle and his human friend resulted in the human turning into a Pokemon and meeting Chimchar? While the irony in you creating Piplup and ultimately your own downfall would be delicious, it’s sadly not the case.” He smiled widely. “I was there too. I made sure that the human transformed and that he wound up on that beach on that fateful day. It was no twist of fate; it was all orchestrated beforehand.”
“IMPOSSIBLE!” Darkrai screamed. He let loose a vicious roar and charged at Zoroark, swinging Umbra in massive wild arcs over his head. Deoxys quickly ducked back close to the wall to avoid the brewing conflict. Zoroark skillfully ducked and weaved around each of the sword blows, which scraped across the floor with a terrible screeching sound that rang off the walls endlessly. Finally, Darkrai stopped, hanging his head and breathing raggedly. His eye burned with hatred. “I am the master of my own fate, and of everyone else’s fate in this blasted universe as well!” Umbra began glowed an all-consuming black as though it sought to engulf everything like a black hole. He raised the sword to strike again. “None can deny my will!”
Zoroark smiled, the same sarcastic grin that he’d worn throughout the entire conversation. “Allow me to argue!”
He zipped forward with lightning speed as Umbra swung down from above.
Next Time: Lugia informs Piplup of his mysterious past while Darkrai does ironically the same thing with Deoxys. Meanwhile, Combusken finally decides on a temporary course of action while he tries to decide who to follow, though his position puts him far closer to one side than he would ever believe.
I hope you all enjoy this chapter!
Last edited by GalladeRocks; 25th November 2012 at 3:47 AM.
Nice chapter! I like Pawniard as a character and Grovyle is still cool too. Out of curiosity I haven't read in a while but is Darkrai still the main antagonist or is it Deoxys?
Wow, this was a really good chapter. It looks Shiftry was caught and there will probably be a huge battle soon. Zoroark is so mysterious. It is interesting that everything that happened at the start of Time/Darkness/Sky was Zoroark's doing. I did not notice one mistake.
Right at the beginning of the last chapter, you said "He let out a vicious roar and charged at Darkrai.....". It should probably be charged at Zoroark.
Well anyways, can't wait for more! Is it going to be another 2 months?
By the way, you said this chapter was 2 months after the previous one. IT WAS ALMOST 3 MONTHS!
Last edited by Torpoleon; 24th July 2012 at 5:57 PM.
Spoiler:- My Pokémon Teams & Video Game Identities:
Claimed: Blastoise, Pokémon XY & Calem from Pokémon XY
It's been a long time.... I'm kidding, it's always good to see another chapter of this.
Great chapter, about time we finally get somewhere in Treasure Town. I can't wait to see what Shiftry does once he finds out that his plans were ratted out by Pawniard. And Chatot fits the "bad cop" role perfectly. I wonder, if Shiftry is defeated, will the villages under his control rebel? That'd be pretty cool.
But what I really can't wait to see is the battle between Zoroark and Darkrai, now that will be something.
I'm glad this is back, and I hope we can expect to see another chapter within the next two months (I'm kidding).
Great chapter, as usual.
Knightfall signing off...
Another great chapter. Loved how Dusknoir kept getting Samuel's name wrong. (Serebii FTW!) Glad Chatot got away unscathed. (mostly)
Thanks for pointing out the mistake, Torp. I got it fixed.
Anyway, don't you guys go getting too used to the Treasure Town gang. They won't be showing up again until Chapter 29. As for Zoroark . . . it will be even longer!
@JD - Darkrai shows up more than Deoxys and plays an overall bigger part on the story, but they're equal in rank, so I guess you'd say they're both the main antagonist.
Last edited by GalladeRocks; 24th July 2012 at 7:39 PM.
Good chapter, as always. Sorry I forgot to read Chapter 23, but I just read that one as well as Chapter 24. Anyway things are definitely starting to get interesting. There's probably going to be a huge battle against Shiftry and we get learn a lot about Darkrai. 574 years old?! Kind of a random number if you ask me.... Also, when Dusknoir called Sableye Kowalski, was that a reference to Penguins of Madagascar on Nicktoons? IIRC, one of the penguins is called Kowalski. What was the theme song Dusknoir was talking about? Oh, darn. Won't be seeing Zoroark or the Treasure Town gang for a while.
Sorry about asking a decent amount of questions.
Yes, Kowalski was a reference to the Penguins, which is in my opinion the second-best currently airing animated television series.
The same song which was referenced multiple times back in the second book. Here's a hint:
"Are you ready kids?"
"Aye aye, captain!"
"I can't hear you!"
"AYE AYE, CAPTAIN!"
You'd think that Chatot would have learned to better counter sneak attacks now. After all, he's been taken out by them twice before. And considering Wigglytuff was strong enough to (in Darkrai's dream) fight off Empoleon, and cause massive earthquakes just by being upset, you'd think that Shiftry would know better about trying to assasinate him. Not to menthion Grovyle and Dusknoir, especially since Dusknoir builtup a massive reputation in-game in just a few months...
I would say something disparaging about your update rate, but seeing as you've already done that...
"Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn
One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.
I just got done reading the story so far and all I can say is that I am really enjoying it. Put me on the PM list please
Sure, you're on the PM list. I'm glad you're enjoying the story!
Sorry that I don't have the next chapter up yet. I'm really trying to up my pace, but I've still had several distractions lately (namely the Olympics).
Reviving the thread. Wanna see what's going on with the rest of the story.
YouTube Pika250, Twitter Pika250
BMGf no. 8125 (Pika25), Smogon no. 8077 (Pika25)
Find me at those Forums too!
My Pokemon Online Dream Team, I am "Scotty" on PO