18th July 2011, 4:10 AM
Solluna Academy: First Year
So I've been watching the Harry Potter movies, and I've always enjoyed the magical school in various books I've read, whether it's Earthsea, Harry Potter, or the Academagia game.
I combined it with an idea I once had for a Pokemon camp, and thought I'd give it a try.
Story starts three years after the prologue btw, at the *standard* Pokemon License age. And yes, the same age as HP.
Prologue: In the Beginning.....
The sun was just setting behind Mt. Moon when the last of them arrived. There were fifteen in all—all veterans of wars and politics and being forced to watch golf for an entire afternoon. At times they had been enemies. Other times they had been the firmest of allies. What they were now was simply friends. And co-workers.
“Is this…..a mistake?” Sam Johnson stared at the sheet of paper he was being presented with. The seven year-old wasn’t quite sure he believed what it said. He read through it again. He wasn’t that good so it took him three times as long as his parents would have taken. “I didn’t apply for anything.”
Sam looked up at his parents. Mom was staring in shock at an identical copy of the letter he held in his hands. Mom was tall, thin, and had long, black hair that reached to her waist. Her brown eyes that always carefully watched over him were wide, reading and rereading the impossible letter. The mouth that said nothing but encouragements was spread wide in a grin that stretched across his face.
Dad peered over Mom’s shoulder, not quite believing what was plainly in front of him. The beard that stretched across his face moved in tandem with his lips as he mouthed the words that were lying innocently on the paper. His fierce emerald gaze turned from the letter to Sam. “Samuel,” he said, in the way that he only said Sam’s full name when he was super serious. “Do you know what this means?”
Sam frowned as he thought about it for a moment. It took him a little while because he wasn’t that smart, no matter what Mom said. Most of the time she was right, but everybody at school said that he was just a stupid bighead. Everybody couldn’t be wrong, could they? Mom said that it was all right being a bighead, and that she was one too, but what did Mom know that everybody else didn’t?
“What’s a scholarship?” Sam asked quietly.
“A scholarship to the Sol Institute,” Mom said quietly as she handed the letter to Dad and knelt down in front of the chair that Sam was sitting in. “Means that you’ll be able to go to a new school—a better school—and that we wouldn’t have to pay anything. That’s what they mean when they say a full scholarship.” There were so many emotions that Mom was going through. So many.
“It means,” Mom continued quietly. “That you’d need to leave Saffron City, and go live at the school for a little while.” Sam nodded quietly as Dad came around and put his hands on Sam’s shoulders. “You’d be able to come back for the summer and the holidays, but except for that, you’d stay there.”
For the first time since he had gotten the letter, doubt caused his searing excitement to flicker. “You’d get a good education,” Dad picked up when Mom didn’t seem like she would continue. “And you’d get a good start on the knowledge needed for Pokemon Training.”
“I’d get a Pokemon?” Sam asked curiously, staring up at Dad.
“Yes,” Dad said. It looked like it was hard for him to say. Sam knew that money was tight, even though it grew in trees, if what Dad said was right but it had to be right because Dad was never wrong because he was Dad and he was always right. He knew that Dad couldn’t afford a Pokemon, and that if he wanted one when he was ten and could get his license, that his was his only chance.
“I wish we didn’t have to give them an answer now,” Mom said quietly, looking sad. Why was Mom being sad? He was going to get a Pokemon if he went to the school! Something that Dad had said many, many times that he wasn’t able to afford—not even a Rattata. “Why do they need us to schedule it three years in advance?”
“Sabs,” Dad said quietly, “You know the Sol Institute is one of the best schools around. It takes a mountain of money to even send in an application, and a lot more to actually attend. They are the best. And they know it. That’s why they need to know so far in advance.”
“You think that I don’t know that?” Mom snapped. Sam recoiled. Mom was never this angry. She was always the kind person who put band-aids on him when he was hurt. She pulled Sam to her chest, and whispered just loud enough for Dad to hear. “He’s my baby, Charles. My baby.”
“Mom?” he said, tugging at her sleeve. She looked down at him, indescribable pain in her eyes. “I think I want to go,” Sam said.
Mom turned away, looking like she was going to cry.
Three Years Later...
“All right,” the leader growled, her practical blond ponytail slung over her right shoulder. “We’re all here, let’s review what we’re about to do. Between us we faced the Rocket hordes when they overthrew the League. We invaded the Distortion World and faced off against Giratina itself when that idiot Cyrus tried to wipe out our entire planet. We smacked some sense into the Hoenn idiots who were playing at war.” She took a deep breath, and her one, good eye peered around the group, taking in every last detail of the crew with whom she was about to take part in an untested, untried venture. “But now we’re about to undertake what will likely be our most trying endeavor ever.”
“Stop being so dramatic, Alora.” a bored voice cut in. “We’re only gonna be teachers at the school this year.”
The blond woman raised her eyebrows, above her good eye and the patch covering the empty socket that had been claimed in a war long before. “That’s exactly what I’m saying, Duplica. Have you seen the crap the kids are into these days?”
Last edited by Ash_Junior; 18th July 2011 at 4:16 AM.
24th July 2011, 9:27 AM
Chapter 1: On the Road....
Sam had often wondered how he would get to his new home. He had thought of many possible modes of transportation. Often he wondered if his first glimpse of the new school would be from the back a flying Pokemon, specially sent to pick him up and deliver him to the school. Or maybe an enchanted train would pick him up. Or a dragon. Or a helicopter. Did the Solluna Academy have its own airstrip?
In his wildest dreams he hadn’t imagined being picked up in the rattling yellow school bus that had pulled up in front of his house at the appointed time. His parents weren’t expecting anything like it either, and they had double-checked to make sure that this was, in fact, the mode of transport that had been supplied by the school to ferry students. The bus driver, a young, kindly-looking man with dark brown hair, had nodded. Yes, he had said, there was no mistake. Sam was part of a pilot program that didn’t have quite the budget that the rest of the school had. If all went well, the bus driver had explained, in future years the ratty old bus wouldn’t be necessary. The bus driver had helped Sam load his luggage into the back of the bus, and then had set off again as soon as Sam had found a seat. They were, the bus driver pointed out gently, on a tight schedule to keep.
For the first ten minutes, Sam had kept to himself, only sparing quick, furtive looks at the children around him. They all appeared to be his age, and all were heading to the same place he was. Some were sleeping, some were talking amongst themselves, and still others were amusing themselves with other activities.
Sam was just about to say something when a small, pink and white Pokemon trundled down the aisle, holding open a bag of cookies, offering one to each person as it slowly passed down the rows. He studied the Pokemon after taking a cookie. It was small, had big ears, and had strange, curling tendrils that grew out from underneath its ears. The Pokemon curtsied briefly, before continuing towards the back of the bus.
“It’s an Audino,” Sam looked up to see where the source of the female voice was coming from. A glittering smile greeted him from beneath golden locks. “Pretty rare in the League countries, but found pretty much everywhere else.” The girl shrugged. “This one helps Axle out.”
“Who’s Axle?” Sam asked, watching the Normal-type Pokemon trundle to the back of the bus, slapping the hand of a kid who took more than one cookie. It chittered reprovingly, and then continued on its assigned task.
“Axle’s the bus driver,” the girl explained patiently. “And my name is Karen.” Sam blinked up at the girl for a moment, not quite understanding why she sounded so annoyed.
Then he reddened. “S-sorry,” he said quietly. “My name is Sam.”
Karen giggled, and was about to say something when Karen’s seatmate popped her head over the side of the seat. “And I’m Lizzy!” Lizzy’s chubby face was framed by short, black hair. Her bright blue eyes glittered cheerily.
Sam opened his mouth to say something, but suddenly both of the girls looked distracted. At the exact same instant, their eyes unfocused, and their heads cocked at an angle, as if listening to something Sam himself couldn’t hear. Concerned, Sam half-rose out of his seat, opening his mouth to say something to the bus driver, this Axle fellow, but stopped when he found the driver looking at him through the giant mirror above the windshield. For a long second, they looked at each other. Sam looked around and saw that all of the other kids looked distant and not really paying attention to anything. Conversation and chewing stopped mid-conversation. The bus was completely silent except for the growl of the bus’ engines and the sound of wheels on asphalt. Then with a start, they all started what they were doing again. The sounds of the bus were drowned out by dozens of voices talking at once.
Sam slowly settled back into his seat. “That was weird,” Lizzy said, rubbing her forehead absently. “He cut off mid-sentence.” She rested her chin on the back of her seat, looking at Sam.
“I know,” Karen said, looking over her shoulder curiously. “I didn’t know. I didn’t even suspect that—“
A squeal from the bus’ intercom system cut her off. “All right kids, sorry about that. For reasons I’m not going into right now, I’ll talk with you over the intercom from here on out.” Sam looked up at the mirror, and saw that Axle’s eyes were still locked on Sam’s reflection in the mirror, even as the bus driver held the microphone to his mouth. What, Sam wondered, did he mean by all of this? What was he apologizing for?
“Like I was saying,” The driver continued, much to Sam’s puzzlement. “We just left Route 26, and are heading Northwest towards the Solluna Academy. In about an hour, we’ll be passing Mount Moon. From there, it will be just another half hour until we reach the mountain that was called, in ancient times, Belle Sol. As some of you may know, this is the reason why Mount Moon, being only half the size of Belle Sol, and the only other mountain around for miles, received its name.”
The bus driver’s eyes flicked back to the road, and for some strange reason, it felt to Sam like he was doing more than just talking and driving. Almost like—Sam shook the feeling away and forced himself to listen.
“When we get there, there will be a brief welcoming ceremony, and then we’ll all have supper.” Axle paused before continuing, with a tone that could only mean that he had a smile on his face. “The new cook at Solluna, and my close personal friend, Marie, cooked up a wonderful batch of pies for us tonight. Pecan, pumpkin, apple, strawberry, French silk, and lemon meringue.” Murmurs of anticipation rippled up and down the bus as Axle started naming off each of the types of pies. “So hang on, folks, and we’ll be—“
At that second, there was a loud bang from the back of the bus, and the bus swerved. Sam tumbled from his seat into the aisle, catching himself on the seat opposite, and looked up in time to see the driver, microphone forgotten and swinging freely beside him, expertly turn the wheel. For a moment, the vibrations of the bus felt different, and then everything was back to normal as the bus slowed and pulled to a stop on the right side of the road. Axle opened the doors at the front, and grabbed the microphone again. “All right, kids,” he said, strain obvious in his voice. “Off the bus now, quickly. Leave your things. One at a time, thank you. Mrs. Robinson, if you please.” He said, and placed the microphone back in its holder before preceding them out the door.
Sam got to his feet and started for the front of the bus with everyone else, Lizzy and Karen already excitedly chattering amongst themselves. Sam tossed a smile up at Axle as he proceeded off the final step, only to stop when he saw the man’s strained concentration broken only by a very thin smile. “Off you go, kid,” Axle said, without the slightest hint of irritation. “Fourteen,” the driver said to himself. “Keep the line moving.” The man’s gaze flicked to the back of the bus and for a split second Sam could have sworn he saw a small amount of worry on the man’s grease-stained features. Then he was smiling that tense smile, and looking at the next kid coming off the bus. “Tony Dupree from Lavender Town, fifteen,” Axle kept counting. “Keep on moving.”
Sam moved off into the ditch, and lay down on the grass, staring up into the sky. He admired the cumulus clouds, and was beginning to imagine shapes from their features when a shadow fell over him. “You’re the only one whose name he didn’t know.” A voice said. Sam sat up and shaded his eyes. It was a boy his age, wearing a Pokemon League T-shirt and a pair of khaki cargo pants. The kid’s eyes turned back to the bus, and Sam followed his gaze.
The last kid went off the bus, and Axle closed his eyes in momentary relief. Only to open them a split second later, and watching to make sure that all of the children were several yards away from the bus. His shoulders suddenly drooped, and he exhaled a breath he wasn’t even aware of holding. The bus sagged towards the side of the road at the same time Axle’s shoulders fell.
“What?” Sam said, not quite understanding.
“Like he said before,” the kid that was now sitting next to Sam said. “Flat tire, we need to pull over.”
Sam frowned and turned to face the newcomer. The interloper’s brown hair was tousled and curly, but flattened significantly on one side where Sam remembered seeing the other boy sleeping on it. “Fred,” the other said, grinning.
“Sam,” the owner of the name said slowly, turned back to the bus, just in time to see Axle rounding the front of the bus, a toolkit in his hands. “But the driver,” he began slowly. “The bus driver never said anything about a flat tire. All he said was to get off.”
“Yeah he did,” Lizzy said, throwing herself down next to Sam, on the side opposite Fred. “Right after he regained control.” She plucked a blade of grass and inserted it into her mouth, whereupon she began chewing it absently.
Sam shook his head vigorously. “No,” he said firmly. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“You wouldn’t hear anything, would you?” Karen said, sitting down carefully next to Lizzy. “You more think it. I hope this grass doesn’t stain,” she added quietly.
“Think it?” Sam asked, bewildered.
“Yeah,” Fred said, watching Sam closely now. “Think it. Remember? Before he switched to the microphone, where he was thinking to us?”
“What?” Sam demanded. “I have no idea what you mean.”
Silence fell on the little group. “But that means,” Karen began slowly. Sam turned to her, to see fear written across her young face.
“That means that you’re a—“Lizzy stared at Sam as if he’d grown a third head. Which would have been something, considering he only had one.
“Shut up, both of you,” Fred snapped. “It don’t mean nothing.” Sam looked to his left. Instead of the fear and apprehension he saw in the girls’ eyes, he saw nothing but support from Fred. A fierce look of what almost looked like determination in his eyes. “I had a friend like Sam here once,” he added, glaring at the girls. “Didn’t stand up for him when the bigger kids came for him. He had to move away, the bullying got so bad.”
“What?” Sam demanded, frightened now. “What am I, do you think?” He racked his brain, trying to figure out something that would set him apart from others. “I know that my parents don’t make much, but I got a scholarship.”
“We all got scholarships,” Lizzy said pointedly, looking at him with a bit less fear, and a little more curiousity.
“That’s why we’re here on the bus,” Karen added, her nose wrinkled and her eyebrows lowered decisively. Her mouth was a thin line as she glared at Sam.
“Fine.” Sam said, getting more than a little scared now. “But what am I?”
“You’re a Darkling,” Fred said quietly.
Sam’s blood froze. Darklings weren’t real. They weren’t. They just weren’t. They were something from fairy tales parents tell to get you to bed and to eat your vegetables. He wasn’t some kind of ogre that likes to eat babies. He liked chocolate and was short for his age and his mother told him he was handsome!
“You’re wrong and you’re mean!” Sam shouted at Fred. He got up and ran for the bus, forgetting for the moment that Axle was working on the bus.
“Aw, man,” he heard Fred say. “I thought you knew! Come on, wait up!” He heard Fred running after him, but he ignored the taller boys’ pleas.
Sam darted up the stairs into the bus. He heard a muffled shout come from underneath the rear end of the bus. There was a quick flickering of translucent blue in the air in front of him, and a feeling like running through a spider web. And then it was gone. Sam whirled around to see that the air in front of him was glittering that same light blue.
Fred came charging up the steps, not paying attention to anything, and barged down the aisle, running after Sam. “I’m sorry!” He began. “I—“ Fred slammed into the blue wall, and rebounded. He landed on the aisle, and quickly rose, rubbing his nose.
Sam ran through the blue air, the feeling of spider webs was on his skin as he passed through it. Then he was through, and was kneeling next to Fred. “You okay?” Sam asked.
“Neat trick,” Axle’s tired voice came from the stairwell. Fred scrambled to sit up and Sam got to his feet. Axle slowly came up the stairs. He stared at Sam, and for a second, Sam’s stomach crawled. Axle was staring at him with something between the fear he had seen on Karen’s face and some other emotion Kyle couldn’t’ read. “Fred, go join the others,” Axle ordered. He didn’t ask. He told Fred what to do. “Psychics from the Academy are arriving. They’ll take you and the others to the Academy.”
Axle turned to Sam. “As for you,” he said quietly. “We have a few things to discuss while we wait for your ride to get here.”
Last edited by Ash_Junior; 24th July 2011 at 9:31 AM.