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  1. #126
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    “What is it?” N asked, interested because he was interested in it.
    The 'he' means Ghetsis? I need to read it twice to understand/guess who 'he' is.

    “It’s a puzzle. You turn the rows and columns so that each side is the same color. It’s tougher than it looks, but experts can really make a cube seem to fly. It’s an amazing thing to see. Did you want it?”

    Something that could impress Ghetsis? N nodded. “Yes please.” And it was the first toy that had ever been bought for him.

    …N ran over to Ghetsis, showing off the Rubik’s Cube, which had all the sides the right colors. “Look, I did it!”
    If it's the same Rubik's Cube N has now, isn't it only have one color? Gold/Yellow... It only has one color

    His mind didn’t want him to say anything, but it was also fighting against feelings that were stronger than he had expected. “Well it’s just seeing all of you here, as family and friends, and the way you act around each other. I, I was told I was special, but I didn’t think anything was unusual about it because I just was, but then seeing how other people are and how they relate, like Bianca and her mother, I heard them talking about how she wasn’t doing well in the League but her Mom said it was okay and that she should do what she wants, and to keep calling home every week. I, my father and I haven’t really talked since I started the League, about the same time they did, and I hardly knew Christmas even existed until this morning because we never celebrated things like that. He isn’t bad, he just tells me to do my best no matter what.”
    I never realized until this line:

    He was probably talking too fast again.
    That N, indeed, talked real fast. Even I could feel the speed


    Just to go along with this chapter: merry Christmas! XD
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  2. #127
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    Technically speaking, N doesn't have a Rubik's cube on his belt. It's either a Void Cube, or a Menger Sponge, since you can see the central line of cubes have been taken out.
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  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by hailflameblast View Post
    Technically speaking, N doesn't have a Rubik's cube on his belt. It's either a Void Cube, or a Menger Sponge, since you can see the central line of cubes have been taken out.
    Right, I forgot they're different kind of Cube. My bad.
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  4. #129
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    So that's what that cube thingie is? Well, the Rubik's Cube has already taken some symbolism for this story, so it'll stay a Rubik's Cube.

    Number of people who want to hug N because of this fic: 12
    Number of people who are fans of N because of this fic: more than that

    Yay!

    Oh gosh I've done so much writing for this fic this week! It's one of those times where one project makes me drop everything else because it insists on being written. Castelia wasn't supposed to be that interesting! Makes me worried for how I'm going to be when I finally start writing for Nimbasa. Anyhow, trying to pull myself away to get a POS entry done, but CS will definitely update next week too.
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  5. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ysavvryl View Post
    "And that's exactly what I commented on last time," Bianca said. She clasped her hands together. "And I'm not sure how my Timmy would fall down a well. He floats."
    Put a black hole in the bottom of the well, or something else with a powerful gravitational pull. Problem solved.


    Cheren put his hand to his chin. “We need to put together a plan to make him see that this is better for you. Maybe you can leave some photos of what you’re doing.”

    “Only if we can put in subliminal messages,” Hilda quickly said.
    Perhaps Mewtwo could be of assistance.


    “I was hoping to trap a certain pair to come along,” Hilda said. “But I haven’t seen them in the past few days and I don’t have phone numbers for either of them.”

    “You think it wouldn’t be hard to get numbers from a couple of guys who seem interested in you,” Cheren said jokingly.

    “I know!”
    Nothing says "Christmas" like setting a man-trap.


    With a Darumaka sitting by his side, he seemed uncomfortable and uncertain of how to leave a conversation where the ticket seller was droning on about some story involving a drum line waiting for a subway train.
    I thought the random drum lines only marched through forests. What are they doing in a subway station?


    A tap on his shoulder brought his attention to Kyurem, who had walked up silently behind him. “You are to distract Hilbert.”

    “Huh?” He glanced around and spotted the other boy leaning against the wall, right where the mistletoe had been placed. “What for?” he whispered back.

    “Hilda said just do it,” he replied.
    Interesting to see Kyruem in on a prank. I didn't know he had it in him.


    “O-okay,” N said, without thinking on it much. He was then handed the baby, a girl who was wearing a little red dress and a pink cap.

    “Here, like this,” the mother said, adjusting how he was holding the baby. “That’s better. Thanks.” She then went over to a large bag and began rummaging through it.

    N wasn’t sure what to do. He’d encountered baby Pokémon plenty of times, but they were often up on their feet within a few hours or days. From what he had studied, humans spent a lot longer being dependent like this. Sleepily, the baby girl looked up at him, but decided it wasn’t worth a fuss and closed her eyes again.
    I like babies.


    “Maybe try spoiling yours a little bit.” Hilda considered what she might be able to do to help. Perhaps… “Hey were you still looking to travel with me? Bianca’s traveling with me too, but if you don’t mind hanging around two girls, it should be fine.”
    Don't do it, Hilbert! I've been on multi-night trips with a few female friends of mine, and . . . well, just tell Hilbert to beware. At least I had a couple of my guy friends to back me up. Hilbert won't even have that, unless he can rope in Cheren and N.


    Overall, one of the best chapters yet. I really think this chapter captures the tone of the fic as a whole. We get some deep insights into the characters of N and Hilbert, and to a lesser degree, Cheren and Bianca. It's got deep meanings, stuff that makes you think. But at the same time, it's just a bunch of friends having fun and just enjoying each others' company. That's what's so awesome about this fic, I think.
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  6. #131
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    *grinning* I can't help but say that any fic which starts off with a Disney reference can't be all bad.

    Honestly, I originally just started reading this for the laughs, but it's beginning to be a more serious read for me. I mean, I honestly would prefer to see more of Hilda (I personally view her as the main character) but, as you have stated before, we can all pretty well imagine (read: remember) what she's going to do and so the other characters should be focused on. Still, I have enjoyed her methods of dealing with the things I know are coming: I mean, seriously, who breaks her leg in a dance-off with a bunch of pokémon and has teh gr8-und-mytee Kyurem getting all over-protective of her?

    I would like to see Kyurem start to eat someone whole and have to spit them back out because Hilda catches him; the expressions would be priceless. Kyurem=Drat, foiled again; Hilda=exasperation; person getting eaten=what kind of people are you?!

    Maybe it's funnier in my head than out. Meh.

    Anyway, it has been a fantastic read. Characters are being described well, especially for a fic that was not intended to be so serious (from what I can tell, anyway) that is becoming rather interesting. I anticipate the next chapter with a box of cookies.

  7. #132
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    I nearly forgot to ask, where's the ham and turkey they're eating at dinner coming from? If I were Smoky, I'd be getting a little worried . . .

    Also:

    Quote Originally Posted by October Winds View Post
    I would like to see Kyurem start to eat someone whole and have to spit them back out because Hilda catches him; the expressions would be priceless. Kyurem=Drat, foiled again; Hilda=exasperation; person getting eaten=what kind of people are you?!
    That would be awesome. It could even be another Disney reference, like when Scar attempts to eat Zazu. "Impeccable timing, your majesty."
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  8. #133
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    Coffee Break

    "Oh my god, what have I been eating all my life?" N asked in horror after reading the last review.

    "Hey, chill down," Hilbert said, taking his hand. "It's not actually Pokemon."

    "It's not?" he asked, although he was suspicious.

    "No, there's animals that aren't Pokemon," he explained, picking up a piece of sushi. "Like back when Hilda had that Basculin for a minute, there were other fish like carp in the water."

    N sighed in relief. "Oh good. Don't scare me like that again. And what's this about a Pokemon with a laser cannon hugging me?"

    Hilbert hesitated for a moment. "You know, I don't know what to make of that either. So then, moving on... Giallo's not exactly my uncle... well it get's explained here, so see that. And we did have a scene where Kyurem nearly ate someone, back in the Dreamyard."

    "She wouldn't write another scene like that," N said, but then had to reconsider it. "Would she?"

    The two boys just looked at each other for a moment, recalling what else had gotten written in.

    N put his arms on the table. "So then, what's so bad about traveling around with a group of girls?"

    "I don't know," Hilbert said, "but reading that makes me think it might have been good I didn't do that immediately."


    Chapter 18: Dreams of Reshiram


    As useful as the Dream Connector had sounded, actually using it wasn’t turning out much beyond the first dream Hilda had seen. The dreams of Pokémon were pretty basic: Fedora was usually in a sunny meadow, Mimi would be in the same snowy forest, Olette was usually in a cave, but sometimes in a home, and Lance was in a forest. There would be other Pokémon around, but none had followed Hilda and her Pokémon out of the dream world. Sometimes she got berries, which was handy. And using it on consecutive nights left her and the Pokémon feeling tired in the morning. Hilda wasn’t using it that often because of that.

    But this once…

    She was in the Sawk’s forest, questioning him and trying to find out what he liked other than fighting. She thought it would go a long ways towards making him less nervous. While she was trying to explain how to juggle (even though she hadn’t done so much), the sky went dark. Snow started to fall as the air turned frigid. And all the forest Pokémon that had been around fled.

    “What’s up with this?” Hilda asked, glancing over at Lance.

    He had changed, though; he had grown much smaller, shorter than Mimi. He clamped onto Hilda’s leg as a familiar roar filled the air. And for the first time, she got a strong and clear thought from the dreaming Pokémon.

    I must stay, for my honor. But once I leave, he will kill me.

    Afternoon, 12/30

    The first few days in Desert Resort had not been fruitful for N. He’d only picked up the Darumaka, a female he named Daisy; she reminded him a little of Darcy at first, but Daisy was more fretful and couldn’t read. Now he was back, trying to build up a team to fight the next Gym with. It was going to be a tough one and he needed several Pokémon to assist him.

    Wearing a bandanna around his face to block out the constantly blowing sand, N continued walking. What was Virizion wanting him to find out here? There was supposed to be a palace somewhere out here, but he had yet to see any signs of it. “Do you know where the palace might be?” N asked Daisy, holding her in one arm.

    She had one of her arms latched onto his shoulder, to look around. “I think it’s by the sleeping guardians,” she said, pointing off to the north. “I didn’t go there much because the Sandiles are really territorial and they’ll bite anyone who gets too close.”

    “All right. I’d like to get a Sandile’s help, though. I hope it’s okay.”

    “Um, if you can get it to follow you, I guess it’s okay.” She pulled in closer to him. “But it’s strange that it’s so quiet. Usually there’s all kinds of Pokémon and humans around.”

    It was tough to take a deep breath around here; he hoped it wasn’t Val and Carol intentionally working against him. “Do you have any idea of why that is? Don’t be afraid to tell me anything.”

    “I don’t know for sure, but something poisonous has been around. Some of the sands are toxic and they’re not supposed to be.”

    “Poisonous?” That was odd. Then again, some Poison types could affect their environment.

    “It has a bitter scent.” She tensed at the sound of his Xtransciver. “What’s that?”

    “Don’t worry, it’s just my phone,” he said, putting her down so he could check the screen. Was Ghetsis finally getting in contact with him? Or was it Val or Carol? He didn’t recognize the number, but put it through.

    And Hilda popped up on the screen; the background indicated that she was somewhere in Castelia City. “Oh, hi! I did get you!”

    “How did you get my number?” N asked, concerned and puzzled.

    She shook her head. “No, that’s not how you go about answering a phone call. You say hi back, or ‘good afternoon’ or ‘good’ whatever-time-it-is. Or if you don’t know the person, ask who they are. Geez, I’ve got a lot to teach you, don’t I?”

    “I guess,” N said, not sure what else to say.

    “Okay, let’s try this again. Hi, N!”

    Figuring he should play along or the conversation wouldn’t go anywhere, he said, “Hi Hilda. How did you get my phone number?”

    “Better,” she said, smiling. “I got it at the Christmas party, when you had it off your wrist for a little while. I was darn lucky to catch it then, since I didn’t get to ask for it directly. But I had to get it, cause otherwise I never hear from you unless I run into you out of luck. So how are you doing? What’s with the bandit mask?”

    “It’s not a bandit mask,” N said, touching the bandanna. “I’m doing okay, but I’m in Desert Resort and the sandstorm doesn’t seem to end. It’s actually slow today, but otherwise I’d be breathing in sand all the time.”

    “Ick, but nice idea. I’ll have to remember it when I get to that area.”

    “Why are you calling me? This phone is for…”

    “That’s a good question to ask,” Hilda interrupted with, “but if you’re going to be a polite conversationalist, you should ask how I’m doing back before you get to that.”

    What was with this lesson in politeness? It was unexpected. And yet, not a waste of time even though he wouldn’t get many random calls like this. “Fine. How are you doing?”

    She smiled. “I’m good. Been training up my team; Castelia has a lot of good Trainers around, even if you have to hunt down for matches.”

    “I wouldn’t know,” he told her. “I hardly spent any time in there.”

    “What? But it’s such an exciting place! Me and my best friend Bianca have been exploring it and there’s so many things to do. We’re thinking about checking out a museum in a little while.”

    “I don’t like cities. They’re too crowded and unnatural.”

    “If that’s how you feel about them, I could see why. So what were you going to ask about earlier?”

    Noticing movement, he glanced down to see that Daisy was taking a few steps around, looking. She seemed okay, though. “I was asking why you were calling me. I didn’t get this phone just to chat with people.”

    “Oh, is it a business phone?”

    “Not exactly.” Technically, Ghetsis could call him on Plasma business. But it had been mostly for if he needed to contact Val or Carol, and he declined to use it for that.

    “Well then isn’t a phone for chatting purposes?” She chuckled. “I just wanted to check up on you. You seem like you could be a pretty cool friend to have around, but since I hardly run into you, I had to get some way of contacting you. Make sure you haven’t hurt yourself or something.”

    “That’s it?”

    “That’s it.”

    It was odd. Usually if people came to talk to him, or he went to talk to someone, there was a reason beyond ‘just check up on you’. N might have blown it off as silly, but really, it did make him feel happy that she cared enough to do that. But what did that mean for the ones who weren’t calling him? “I see. Thanks.”

    “No problem,” she said. “Just make sure to add my number to your set’s memory, so you can call me up any time you want to chat with somebody.”

    Someone said something just outside of Hilda’s Xtransiever, causing her to look away from the camera.

    “Okay!” she said to whoever had spoken to her. Then she looked back to the screen. “Sorry N, I’ve got to be going. And next time I call, there’ll be a little test on small talk. How’s that sound?”

    A test on something as unimportant as small talk. Ne found himself chuckling over that. “All right. I suppose I say goodbye now?”

    She grinned. “Talk to you later!” Then she disconnected.

    “Was that your human friend?” Daisy asked, coming back up to him.

    “I guess so,” he said, smiling behind the bandanna. The call had been a good thing after all.

    Somehow, Daisy picked up on his mood lifting and smiled back. “That’s nice. Oh, and there’s someone up there you might want to meet.” She pointed up into the air, at a dark shadow among the moving sand.

    N moved towards the shadow, soon picking out large wings surrounding a spherical body. It was mostly black, but bright vibrant colors seemed painted on with stripes and dots. “What kind of Pokémon is that?” he asked, not recognizing it.

    “That’s one of the Sigilyph,” Daisy said, keeping close to his heels. “They’re really smart. It should know about the palace. But, they’re kind of weird.”

    “But if it knows, it would help.” N continued on until he was a few feet from the flying Pokémon. “Good afternoon, Sigilyph.”

    The flying orb turned to him, three eyes observing him. “Ah, good afternoon, your majesty. We were not expecting a visit from the Black King. Do you understand my speech? I am afraid that there is no translation unit in operation at this time.”

    He nodded. “I understand you. I was sent here by Virizion. Can you tell me where the palace is?”

    “Yes, it lies at the end of this road,” the Sigilyph said, turning to the north.

    Looking down, N only saw sand. “The road?”

    “Yes, the road,” it said patiently. “I am patrolling the streets of this city to keep it safe. You’ll want to open your eyes to see it at its best.”

    Bewildered, he said, “My eyes are open.”

    The Sigilyph clicked, then drifted closer. “You have the proper eyes, but your mind is shut to them. It is curious, but feels like a simple problem to address. Do you mind?”

    He was still uncertain what was going on, but felt curious. “No, go ahead.”

    “Very well. Close your physical eyes and try to empty your mind. Do not panic when I touch your mind; I mean you no harm.”

    N followed the instructions, soon feeling feathers brush against his forehead. And then he felt a presence which was much like when a Ghost Pokémon touched his skin, as something passing right through his body. For a moment, he wanted to fight back against the incoming presence. But he felt certain that this Pokémon didn’t intend to hurt him. He held back on resisting.

    And then images of a city filled his mind, seen as clearly as he saw Castelia with his physical eyes. This city was old and new, though: buildings were made of large stone blocks, in architectural styles not used for centuries. Right below his feet, there was a paved road, running north and south as straight as an arrow. Along the sides, there were large concrete pots that held berry bushes, flowering and fruiting at all stages. There were people too, walking by him, away from him, through him. They were talking and going about their normal business, without the sands that flew in the air.

    “This is our city, home of the White King,” the Sigilyph said. “The city of Shira.”

    “This is amazing,” N said, glancing at some kids running along the street, playing with a ball and a pair of Darumakas.

    “I don’t see any city,” Daisy said, putting a paw on his shoe.

    “It’s right here,” the Sigilyph said.

    N turned back to the Sigilyph and, unexpectedly, the scene shifted. The Sigilyph bowed meekly before Reshiram, trembling. The great white dragon lowered his head and said, “It is over; Shira is no more.” And then the scene changed back to the busy city. N put his hand to his head, feeling disoriented. “What was that I just saw?”

    The Sigilyph flapped its wings a bit quicker, impressed. “Oh! I cannot see what you did, but I saw what it was. Your eyes can see into possibility, what may happen in the future.”

    “Into the future?” N opened his eyes, leading to a peculiar phenomenon. He still saw the old city of Shira, with its peoples, Pokémon, and plants. But he also saw Desert Resort, with its sand and little else.

    “Even we cannot do that,” the Sigilyph said. “And we were meant to see beyond illusion and into the truth.”

    “Are you? I think you’re seeing into the past; there isn’t a city here in the present.”

    “That’s what I was trying to say,” Daisy said. Then she added with a tug to his pants, “I told you they were weird.”

    The Sigilyph twisted its eyestalk, in a negative manner. “That can’t be. My purpose, passed down from my ancestors who were built here, is to patrol the city streets and keep it safe. Many generations of my family have done so. It remains.”

    “It’s a ghost city,” N said. He didn’t like to see the Pokémon fooling itself. “Open your physical eyes and see for yourself.”

    “It is here,” it insisted, but it did shift the eyes on its body. Once it did, though, it started moving jerkily, panicking. “What, what is this? But the city has always been here; we were taught not to rely on physical eyes for illusions but… this is too big for an illusion. When did the city become nothing but a memory?” By now, it was crying.

    Feeling rotten for having done that to the Pokémon, N clasped one of its clawed feet. “I’m sorry, Sigilyph. I wasn’t thinking.”

    “No, if this is the truth…” the Sigilyph sounded uncertain, but then he stiffened. When he spoke again, he sounded more hopeful. “Oh, the master has returned. I could ask him.” It clenched his hand, then let go and flew off to the southeast.

    Curious again, N and Daisy followed. It was odd at first, walking in the desert and the ghost city at once. At least the Sigilyph was flying around the images of buildings still. Two streets over, they found Hilbert looking over the sands. He wore a blue scarf to keep the sand away from his face.

    “Hello?” the Sigilyph said, getting Hilbert’s attention. “I felt Lord Reshiram here. Maybe it’s just his power on this boy.”

    “He can’t understand you,” N said to the Sigilyph. “Hello Hilbert. What are you doing here?”

    Scratching his head, Hilbert didn’t look too confident. “I don’t really know, to be honest. I never liked this place, but the past few days I’ve just felt drawn here.”

    “He has the proper eyes too,” the Sigilyph said. “His are open.”

    Nodding, N went over to Hilbert. “You don’t like this place because of the ghost city.”

    Startled, Hilbert looked right at him. “That’s right. You can see it too? I’ve never met anyone else who could.”

    He started to say something, but then an image flashed across his mind. Hilbert was on the bridge between Nimbasa and Black City, on the edge, his short hair drifting in the wind. Feeling the dark of ignorance and the chill of hatred around him, he couldn’t remember when he’d last seen the light. And to find out that his quest to awaken Reshiram was a waste of time because he wasn’t worthy, he felt like he was a waste of time. There seemed to be no reason left to go on.

    That image chilled N into silence.

    Hilbert hadn’t noticed, looking back at the images around them. “I never wanted to say anything about it in case people thought I was crazy. Uncle Giallo thought I was making stuff up, so I figured it was better not to say anything than to be seen as lying. But in my travels, I’ve found other places like this. There aren’t many, to be honest. They tend to appear in ruins, or in places of great power.”

    Uneasy about the vision but wanting to say something, he said, “I didn’t see it until a few minutes ago when this Sigilyph opened my eyes, or so it said.”

    “Oh, your mind’s eye? Maybe you have some latent psychic powers too.” He paused. “Although it’s kind of weird that you could understand Pokémon if your powers were asleep.”

    “I have been getting glimpse of the future because of that too.”

    “The possible future,” the Sigilyph said.

    “Possible future?”

    Hilbert glanced between them. “Huh, that’s interesting. I’ve always been able to sense what people want. Being able to see a possible future would be handy too. You could change things if you didn’t like what you saw.”

    “Change things,” N said, thinking. He looked back to Hilbert and there was something else. “You see?” N said, pausing in the halls of his castle, turning to Hilbert. “It’s a worthy sacrifice and we can make it happen. But I believe we need your help. Please join me.” And Hilbert considered him, smiled, and shook his hand.

    “If you could figure that kind of power out,” Hilbert said.

    While he wasn’t sure what the meaning of Hilbert’s light was, if making an alliance with him would help things to their ultimate goal, then N felt it was worth a try. “Actually, this Sigilyph said that it senses Reshiram’s power with you.”

    “Really? Well I did get the Light Stone.” He opened up his bag and pulled out a large round white stone. “It hasn’t been… whoa, it’s actually hot now.” Hilbert held it up gingerly, but then the stone itself lifted off his hands. A pink blush began to appear on its surface.

    “Ah, Lord Reshiram, you’re hibernating,” the Sigilyph said.

    “This is weird,” Daisy said, gripping N’s leg tightly.

    “I haven’t seen it do this before,” Hilbert said.

    “This place is Shira, the city of Reshiram and the White King,” N told him, picking his Darumaka up to reassure her. “Perhaps having the stone has drawn you here.”

    “Wait, this is Shira?” Hilbert said, surprised. “So the palace would be here?”

    He nodded. “Yes, I was going there myself, actually. Out of curiosity. The Sigilyph knows where it is. Would you mind coming with us? Maybe it will help you figure out what to do next.”

    “Yeah.” Then he smiled, seeming relieved. “Sure, if you don’t mind. Actually, I would like to work with you some. I, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been doing things the wrong way, with Pokémon, but I’m not sure what’s right. You must know a lot about them, being able to understand them.”

    N smiled back. This was working out well. If he did things right, he could save Hilbert’s life before he got that desperate and gain him as a valuable ally. “Sure, I’ll help how I can.” He then offered to shake hands with him on that, and it was accepted.

    You are holding the hand of your brother.

    Brother? N looked into Hilbert’s face and saw that he had a look of shock as well. Letting go of his hand, he said, “Well, the palace is in the north. Let’s go to get out of this sand.”

    “Yeah,” Hilbert said. The Sigilyph flew ahead of them; N let Daisy back down to walk alongside them as they followed the strange bird. “Hey N, how old are you?”

    “I’m nineteen.”

    “I’m nineteen too. And… well I’m not sure exactly, but the doctors think that my birthday was May 4th.”

    Was that real? “My birthday is May 4th too. I was raised by Pokémon in Sarasota Forest, but my adopted mother Darcy could read human language, and that’s what the bracelet on me said when she found me as an infant.”

    “You were found like that?” Hilbert asked, in disbelief. “Giallo found me in Sarasota Forest when I was about a week old, but I didn’t have anything to identify who I was with. He adopted me.”

    “So we’re the same age, and probably the same birthday, and found at the same time in the same place, but by two different… and we both seem to have some kind of psychic ability.”

    “Are we really twins?” Hilbert asked. “I mean, it sounds so weird, the kind of thing that might happen in legends and myths, so it shouldn’t be really happening. But then, it just matches up too well. And right then, when we shook hands… I somehow knew that was the truth.”

    “I did too,” N said. There was an awkward silence until he added, “Well I’m not really good at small talk. Hilda’s tried to force me to practice.”

    Hilbert chuckled. “She would.”

    “But if we are brothers, we probably should know more about each other.” Although, maybe he shouldn't reveal his being the King of Team Plasma just yet. But they did talk on the way to the remains of the palace.

    After several minutes, they came upon the entrance. There wasn’t much there: about a dozen domed statues that seemed to be of Darmanitans, and a stone staircase going down below the sand. And as they stood there, the pink blush on the Light Stone turned into fiery tendrils of red on its surface.

    “Reshiram’s chambers are deep inside,” the Sigilyph said. “I have visited down there before, but many strong Pokémon are also below.”

    “I can talk them out of attacking us,” N said. “If him having Reshiram with him doesn’t deter them.”

    “True.”

    “Does the Pokémon know which way to go in here?” Hilbert asked. “It might be dark.”

    N was about to say that the Sigilyph could, but then he recalled when he’d been sent to the Eastern Palace. For that mission, he had taken only one Pokémon, a Basculin to help him navigate the underwater passages. When down there, he had to solve riddles to get down to the right level. “There might be guides on the walls.”

    “But I can,” the Sigilyph said, but then flew aside as Hilbert went ahead, looking at a wall.

    “Let him,” N whispered to the Pokémon.

    Hilbert looked up at the stone wall, putting his hand on some carvings. “Hey, you’re right. Wow, is this old runic text? Oddly phrased.” He looked down the hall, then pointed off behind a wall. “There should be a staircase or something over that way.”

    The way down was rough. In some areas, there were staircases made of worn stone. In other areas, there was nothing but a hole in the ground, leading to a sand sinkhole that they had to drop down into. And if they moved in the wrong way, the sinkholes would pull the down to the next level (and likely the wrong area) anyhow. N could figure out the riddles, having done a similar task. But he let Hilbert lead the way.

    “It is sad, when you think about it,” Hilbert said, looking around a large room after they had dropped down into it. “This place is beautiful in the ghosted vision, but an absolute sandy wreck in real vision.”

    N nodded in agreement. This room was carpeted with sand, at least a foot deep outside of the piles here and there. And the paintings on the walls were faded. But in seeing the past, this room was made of polished white stones, lit by way of sunlight streaming in through many air tunnels above. Torches as well as a large fire pit added more light and warmth, enough that large tropical plants were able to thrive in pots down here. Much of the space was open, but what few furnishings were here were grand, fit for royalty.

    The Sigilyph flitted around for a moment, then came back to them. “This is the chamber where Reshiram and his chosen hero, the White King, would come to pray and speak in private. We Sigilyph were allowed in here as servants of them, as well as a few others, but for most people, they had to have an audience aboveground, often in the gardens.”

    After relating that to Hilbert, N said, “Do you think you can contact Reshiram here?”

    “Maybe,” he said. Hilbert clasped the floating Light Stone in both of his hands. In that moment, reality itself seemed to ripple and change.

    -+-

    The Sigilyph recognized the shift; it was used by the elders of his kind to introduce the young ones to their master, Reshiram, when he wasn’t in the waking world. Except this time felt different. There was a feeling of this being not a memory, but something real. The vision of sand and ruin vanished entirely.

    The two humans definitely noticed the shift, but didn’t know what to make of it. “What just happened there?” Hilbert asked.

    “I don’t know,” N said.

    “You’ve been moved into a world of dreams,” a third voice speaking the human tongue said. “I apologize, but that is the easiest way for us to speak at this time.”

    And that speaker was Reshiram himself, sitting on the ground with his wings tucked close to his sides. He dominated the room, as it was sized for his proportions, not humans. The Sigilyph felt a strong sense of awe. This wasn’t the memory of Reshiram that was used to teach, but the actual yang dragon in person. He didn’t think any active Sigilyph had been able to meet the master, even just in dreams.

    “Reshiram… thanks for meeting…” Hilbert glanced at the others, “with us. Although I’m not sure why I came here.”

    “I thought the time was right,” Reshiram said. “We were not aware that there were those seeking us until Kyurem contacted us about it before he sought his ward.”

    “You weren’t?” N asked, clasping the stone on his necklace. “But I had rightfully claimed the Black King Stone.”

    The dragon nodded. “She said that while she had not noticed it, she believes that it was done properly. You are both going through trials to see if you are worthy. You may recognize some of the tests, but you won’t be able to notice all of them. However, we require another month of observation before judgment can be made. I cannot keep you here long, but I will answer what questions I am willing to while you are here.”

    While Hilbert seemed uncertain, N stepped forward. “Where can I find the hibernating form of Zekrom, the Dark Stone?”

    “She lies within a deep cavern on Twist Mountain. If you can get her soon, you should even though you will have to wait. However, be aware that you will be the only one who can take hold of her, even in the limited capacity we have in hibernation.”

    He bowed to the dragon. “Thank you. And these things I’ve been seeing today, of possible futures, are they…?”

    “Possible futures,” Reshiram said, not letting him finish the question. “Perhaps truth, perhaps not. Beware of acting rashly based on what you see, for you will not be able to see the full situation.”

    “I’ll try.” N then looked to Hilbert.

    Hilbert was nervous, being put in the spotlight like that. “I’m just not sure what to do now,” he finally said. “It seems like everything I knew was turned upside down by all this.”

    To that, Reshiram ducked his head down and nudged Hilbert. “You were living with subtle lies, as the people around you were influenced by false emotions. You may have believed in truth, but you were living with a skewed vision of truth. Having such illusions break is hard, but it will be for the best.”

    The Sigilyph wondered if it would be the same way with him. He was still having a hard time believing that he had been fooled by a memory of the city. In all that he was taught, his kind honored truth in accordance to their master. How could they have lived with a subtle lie for so many generations?

    “I just thought it was normal,” Hilbert said defensively. “I’d like to continue seeking your way, but I don’t know if I should.”

    “You are living under truth now. Spend some time considering what you truly want, and find your own truth.” Reshiram straightened back up. “This kind of quest is never easy. And Sigilyph.”

    The Pokémon tensed, then flew closer. “I, I’m sorry, Lord Reshiram. This city somehow died and we never noticed. I have taken on my ancestral duty to protect Shira, but failed it before I was hatched.” He bowed, tilting his body forward humbly.

    Lowering his head to be on eye level, Reshiram said, “It is over; Shira is no more. It only exists as a memory within my power. But do not fret. Your kind has always been loyal and hardworking.”

    The Sigilyph looked up to the dragon. “What should I do now, master?”

    Reshiram motioned towards the two humans; N and Hilbert had started talking to each other again. “I want you to follow N,” the dragon said softly.

    “N?” He looked down at the green haired young man. “But he follows Zekrom. Shouldn’t I work with the one following you?”

    “Not in this case. Both of them, they need balance. I can tell that much. Besides, Hilbert has had his illusions broken; he must rebuild. N still lives in a web of illusions, and his are far stronger. Since you cannot patrol the city, these are your new orders: follow N and help him in every way that you can.”

    They were orders, sacred orders direct from his master. The Sigilyph nodded. “Yes, my lord. I will do so.”

    “Good.” Then he spoke up again. “And so the dream breaks. Hilbert, look to your feet.”

    And reality shifted once again. When Hilbert did as asked, he found the White King Stone buried in the sand.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 25th April 2012 at 5:13 AM.
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  9. #134
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    1. I meant more like Kyurem, in dragon form, has someone in his mouth and is about to start chewing when Hilda breaks it up. I do not recall that scene.

    2. Whooooooa....

    Excellent chapter. Just... Woof.

    Out of curiosity, Shira wasn't in the game, was it? I admit to only having played through twice, so I don't know as much of the in-game lore as I should, but I'm not recalling anything about it. Either way, the way you portrayed it, in a sort of past/present tense that can only be seen by the mind, is awesome.

    Reshiram’s chambers are deep inside,” the Sigilyph said. “I have visited down there before, but many strong Pokémon are also below.”

    “I can talk them out of attacking us,” N said. “If him having Reshiram with him doesn’t deter them.”
    Really not a major set of issues in this installment, but starting off by switching out the bold part with "his" would help it run smoother, while the italics could be switched to:

    “Reshiram’s chambers are deep inside, far beneath the surface,” the Sigilyph said. “I have visited before, but many strong Pokémon live in the lower levels.”
    It may just be personal preference, but it seems to mesh better in my head. *shrug*

    Also:

    “You are living under truth now. Spend some time considering what you truly want, and find your own truth.” Reshiram straightened back up. “This kind of quest is never easy. And Sigilyph.”
    A question mark at the end of the bold or mentioning Reshiram turning his attention to sigilyph would help with the flow.
    The Pokémon tensed, then flew closer. “I, I’m sorry, Lord Reshiram. This city somehow died and we never noticed. I have taken on my ancestral duty to protect Shira, but failed it before I was hatched.” He bowed, tilting his body forward humbly.
    Only problem here is that the normal form is for there to be a dash ( - ) there. "I-I'm sorry, Lord Reshiram." This is assuming he stuttered slightly, whereas simply being hesitant could be more along the lines of "I... I'm sorry, Lord Reshiram."
    “Good.” Then he spoke up again. “And so the dream breaks. Hilbert, look to your feet.”

    And reality shifted once again. When Hilbert did as asked, he found the White King Stone buried in the sand.
    Suggested change: When Hilbert did as Reshiram had said. Reshiram, being a Lord of Awesome, does not ask. Or, if he does, he says please. XD

    I know, I know, nitpicking and all. I'm not terribly happy about it, but at the same time, we could take this as a good sign: there isn't anything larger that strikes me as a foul and evil violation of all codes of morality and ethics of writing.

    Well, nothing more than Kyurem traveling around with a newbie trainer and relatively few people freaking out over his legendary-statusness. srsly, bad nus.

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    A very...interesting chapter, to say the least. The twists you gave to N's side of the story are really good, and I was riveted throughout the chapter.

    *waits on Meloetta/Keldeo/Genesect pouncing N like Victini*
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    And so the plot thickens. First things first, it seems that there is now even more reason to wonder what goes on in Kyurem's brain. While I can only assume his ultimate intentions are good, one must wonder what chaotic power dwells within him . . .

    Now to the main part of the chapter, which I think once again is one of the best chapters yet. The connection between N and Hilbert is strengthened even more. Their more-than-likely brotherhood only increases the numerous parallels between them and the brothers of legend. I can only assume that this is all building up to a massive, region-shaking struggle in which friends become mortal enemies . . .

    By the way, I love the ancient city that you have developed/expanded upon. Where could you possibly have come up with the name "Shira", I wonder? [/sarcasm]
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    Good one. I never would have though N and Hilbert as twin brother. Let alone family. They look nothing alike! You really surprised me with this one. Also, I must say, "Poor Hilbert, having Ghetsis as a father." ...by the way, does that mean their mother is/was a brunette?

    Next one... About Hilda's part... I can't remember which pokemon go with which name you see... So I got confused. Maybe you should add a little description on pokemon-with-nickname when they're mentioned.
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    Lance is her Sawk; admittingly, he hadn't been around that much. I may work on edits later.

    As for how Shira came about, it's from reading Sigilyph's Pokedex entries; both mention that its ancestors patrolled an ancient city. And when you wander around Desert Resort, you can imagine a city being there. Note the shapes of the pits and piles, plus how they line up. hah, and the name is kind of obvious. Writing along quickly thinking 'ack, I don't want to stall at this name!' then staring at the name Reshiram. And then the name stuck.
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    Coffee Break

    "I would love to see Genesect pounce N and hug him," Hilda said, smiling over her cup of coffee.

    "Why?" Hilbert asked. "That Pokemon has got to weigh a ton or something, and he'd probably attack us sooner than hug."

    "Well it would be funny if Genesect hugged anyone," she said. "I'll work on hugging Kyurem without him glowering at me."

    Hilbert shrugged. "If you want, but keep me out of it. I'd rather hug a cute girl."

    "Like who?"

    "The twin thing was a surprise, wasn't it?" Hilbert asked, trying to dodge the question. "Obviously we're fraternal twins. I wouldn't know about our mother, though."

    "It's probably a closer leap to call us related, huh?" Hilda said. "Because our looks are closer than between you and N. That had been an idea under consideration, hadn't it?"

    "Uh, yeah, but I'm glad it got dropped to avoid the whole incest problem," Hilbert said.

    She winked at him. "And why would the issue of incest come up?"

    His face turned pink. "Aaah, can we start the chapter yet?!"


    Chapter 19: Hilda Rules the Streets



    morning, 1/8

    Christmas had passed by. So had the end of a year And Castelia was back in action, with its citizens braving slushy or icy streets to get to work, get to school, get to home, get to a bar, a shop, an art gallery, lots of places. There were crowds by day and crowds by night. If one were inclined to avoid such action, there was always the forest to the south, or one of the small shops hidden away on the side streets. It was a city of opportunity, people said, the backbone of Unova’s economy.

    Near the northern exit of Castelia, Hilbert was sitting on a bench. In his lap, there was a white egg about a foot tall and six inches across. Its shell was flecked with pale green, but that was no indication of what Pokémon was inside it. At one time, he had tried out being a breeder, sometimes swapping eggs with others. Was this from one of his old Pokémon, or from another person’s? And how was he supposed to hatch it? Eggs could go dormant from an amazingly long time, only coming back when another Pokémon was nearby.

    But all of his Pokémon were gone and he was left with just two eggs. In his bag, the Light Stone had reverted back to its lukewarm white state, now that he was no longer near Shira. He also had the White King Stone in there, as he wasn’t sure if he deserved to have it or not. He could admit to himself that he needed to start all over again, reconsidering the process of caring for Pokémon. How was he supposed to start over with two eggs? Three if you counted Reshiram in hibernation.

    He closed his eyes and leaned back. What to do… maybe he should travel with Hilda and Bianca. Would being near their Pokémon be enough? Or maybe he could talk one of them into helping him catch something around here. What kind of Pokémon were near Castelia anyhow? The online Pokedex for the Unova region was in a pitiful state, unfortunately. Hilbert had seen it as too much trouble back when he had a chance to do it.

    Or maybe he could go with N. It was still something of a shock to realize that he had a brother. But in the time he had spent with him, he noticed that N was difficult to work with. He was so focused and driven; after getting the Sigilyph, he had soon caught two other Pokémon to work with. He had even forgotten about picking up the Dark Stone in Twist Mountain, as he was thinking on his team for the Nimbasa Gym. Not only that, but he was obviously more comfortable around Pokémon than humans. He talked freely to them, but got hesitant and awkward speaking to Hilbert. Hilbert didn’t even think that N had noticed when he had left. What had made him that way?

    Also, he could try to get in contact with his uncle. It was strange; usually he got a hold of Giallo after trying a few times. Sometimes he was so absorbed in study that he wouldn’t notice phone calls. But it had been weeks now that Hilbert had been trying to call him and Giallo never replied. Maybe something had happened to him? Hilbert hoped not; he would have liked to return to Village Bridge, but he had no Pokémon to Fly with, there was no subway station there, and the town was surrounded by strong Pokémon.

    Then his senses picked up on something that broke his concentration. Someone had seen him, and wanted him. She wanted to possess him and was willing to do whatever it took to do so.

    Startled alert, he opened his eyes and looked around. He recalled the egg back to its Pokeball; safer if he had to move quick. There were many people, so he might be able to make it through the crowd. No, there she was, coming right up to him. Banshee barreled through a couple who were out on a walk, carrying a squirming tarp bag over her shoulder. “Sorry!” she shouted at them. Then her attention was on him and she grinned like a wolf. “Hi Hilbert! Good thing I found you so quick.”

    “What do you want, Banshee?” he asked, although he knew the answer perhaps better than she did.

    “I want to give you a present,” she said, now using a sing-song voice. “I looked all over Unova, and I finally found a Pokémon perfect for you! Here.” She let go of two corners of the tarp.

    A small Litwick tumbled out, ended up on its side, then frantically flopped until it flipped itself upright. It had a dazzling blue flame above its waxy white body, different from the usual violet. Eyes darting around until it found her, the Litwick squeaked in fright and hopped off under the bench. It wanted nothing more than to get away from Banshee.

    “Hey, come back here!” Banshee demanded, lunging forward.

    “Stop it,” Hilbert said, getting up and grabbing her shoulders. “What the heck were you thinking, capturing a Pokémon in a bag and then packing it around who knows how long?”

    “It’s a gift for you,” she stated, oblivious to doing any wrong. “It’s a shiny one. Got lucky there, and…”

    “I don’t care about that,” he snapped. “You’re not in love with me, you’re obsessed and in love with the idea of being my girlfriend. I don’t want that. Leave me be and go find someone else to obsess over.”

    Briefly, she looked shocked at his anger. Then she narrowed her eyes. “I am not obsessed! I am your most devoted fan, following you across the ocean, going where you’re going, making sure everyone else sees how wonderful you are even though you’ve lost your sparkle. And what of those other girls, hm? They abandoned you, but I haven’t. I deserve your love more than anyone else in the whole wide world. And you’re going to realize that one of these days.” She then stormed off, grumbling to herself.

    “No you don’t,” Hilbert said, even though she probably couldn’t hear him. But now that she was gone, what had happened to that Pokémon? “Litwick?” He crouched down and looked under the bench.

    There was no Pokémon there. However, there was an alleyway behind the bench. Hilbert headed down that alley, searching. He wished briefly that he could sense better than just desire and hate; there were a lot of those emotions in this city, probably many others too. Continuing on, he tried looking and sensing.

    Then he picked up a sharp desire to be safe, to be home, to be away from the scary girl. That had to be it. “Litwick? Where are you?” He took a few more steps. “It’s okay, she’s gone. I won’t hurt you.”

    He saw a sliver of white and a black eye peer out at him from behind a trash bin. It ducked back, so he came over to it and crouched down again. Shyly leaning away from him, the Litwick had large milky tears coming from its eyes. Its body looked roughed up and dirty. He tried to recall where they were found; he was fairly certain it wasn’t anywhere near here. Some tower, but not Dragonspiral…

    “It’s okay. She’s gone.” It was weird dealing with a timid Pokémon. He was used to them quickly warming up to him. If he was there, he could cheer people and Pokémon up with just a smile. But when he smiled now, the Litwick stayed uncertain and intimidated. Then again, maybe it would be better to start over like this. He checked his travel bag, pulling out a hand wipe packet. It wasn’t much, but it had to do. “Here, I’ll,” he spotted something. “Oh wait, that’s flammable.”

    The Litwick sniffled, still watching him warily. He eventually did find non-flammable wipes, in his dsd along with other Pokémon care items he had accumulated but rarely used. With that, he did his best to wipe the dust and dirt off the Litwick’s body. That seemed to calm it down so that it was no longer crying, but it still didn’t seem certain of trusting him.

    “I don’t want to leave you alone out here in an unfamiliar city,” Hilbert aid. “Here, let me at least take you to the Pokecenter, make sure you’re really okay.”

    Reluctant but seeming to find him less scary than the city, the Litwick allowed him to pick it up. The candle Pokémon sat on his arm, watching the people around them, worrying that the pink-haired girl might appear again. Hilbert hoped that she wouldn’t, but was starting to fear if she did.

    Down the street, he came across the central plaza of Castelia. It was quite crowded, with people all around the fountain. On the other side, he could see Hilda battling the Pokémon of a break-dancing troupe, a Pan- trio against her Drilbur, Sawk, and Minccino. Although weak against two of the monkeys, Olette had the middle point position; with a shift in her paws, she caused a massive slide of rocks to fall on their opponents, knocking into them hard. It looked like Hilda was off her crutches too, although the crowd made it hard to tell.

    “Hey, is that a shiny Litwick?” a guy about his age came up to him, followed by another carrying a small digital camera. “Where’d you pick that one up?”

    “It probably came from Celestial Tower,” Hilbert said. That was halfway across Unova, though. Hopefully Banshee took the subway instead of trekking all the way here with the Litwick in the bag. “And technically, it’s not mine. Who are you?”

    Grinning proudly, he said, “I’m the Traveling Ace Trainer, also known as Ramble. I run the best webcast Pokémon show out there, Wilderness Trails Tracker. And I’m poised to start a televised version of it someday soon.”

    ‘Did I come across as such an annoying boaster?’ Hilbert wondered, but kept that to himself. Instead, he said, “I hadn’t heard of that one.”

    “That’s a pity. You ought to take a look at an episode or two. We’re doing a survey of interesting Pokémon to track down in the wild, but the Pokedex project is horribly behind here. Is Celestial Tower nearby?”

    He shook his head. “No. But how’d you know it was a shiny Pokémon if you don’t know where Celestial is?”

    “Seen ‘em around, but this isn’t my home region. So if it’s not technically yours, are you looking to get it a home?”

    “I might take it in myself; it depends. I can handle it.”

    “All right. Thanks for your time, now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got lots more to film.” He waved at the cameraman and headed off to talk with others.

    “Not used to being brushed off like that,” Hilbert said quietly.

    “Shushu,” the Litwick whispered.

    And then he felt that someone was happy to see him, but not as scary as Banshee. He turned and saw Hilda moving through the crowd towards him. “Hey, it’s the fallen star!” she said cheerily, with just a metal brace on her leg. “How’re you and that cutie in your arms doing?”

    “The Litwick is spooked, but it’s calmer,” he said. “I,” he glanced around, but no one was really paying them attention in the crowd. “I might’ve hit rock bottom now. All my Pokémon gone now, except two eggs. Maybe this one too.”

    She nodded. “That stinks. But hey, if that’s true, then there’s nowhere to go but up. Just make sure to really pay attention to your Pokémon this time.”

    “Right. So did you beat them? I didn’t get the watch the full fight.”

    “Yup. Even got some ideas for making battles more stylish from them. Mimi ought to take right to it, but it might be tough with the others. We’re making good progress and I might take on the Gym this evening. Or maybe go back to that one company; they got some good Trainers working there. But Kyurem’s off again, so I have to wait on him.”

    “Where does he go?”

    She held a hand up. “Don’t ask; that’s the deal.”

    “Correct,” Kyurem said, appearing without warning from the crowd. He held up something, offering it to Hilda. “Here, have a present.”

    Hilda stared at the item a moment, a large hefty cloak of red and gold, in odd yet distinctive patterns. Then she took it with a huge grin on her face. “Oh my gosh… did you kill Ghetsis?”

    He shook his head. “Someone else does his laundering.”

    “Should’ve guessed; this thing’s probably dry clean only. Thanks Rei!” She opened it up, looking into it. “Oh hey, it has straps to keep it in place.”

    “Rei?” Hilbert asked, looking at Kyurem puzzled.

    Hilda nodded. “That’s Kyurem’s new nickname. I took him by a naming guru earlier this morning.”

    “It’s better than the last one,” Kyurem said, with a subtle hint not to ask what the old nickname had been.

    “Yeah. Too bad Unholy Avenger of Winter was too long to fit.” By then, she had wrapped cloak around her shoulders. The cloak engulfed her, with the last few inches dragging on the ground. “What do you think?”

    “It might be okay if it was fitted better on you,” Hilbert said. “It overtakes you now.”

    She flipped one edge of it aside to get her hand out of it. “Yeah. Still, this is so cool. Maybe I could get it cut up and made into a dress. There should be enough material.”

    “You sure you want to be connected to Plasma that way?” he asked. It didn’t seem to make sense, but she seemed to be having fun with it.

    “That could be a hindrance,” Kyurem agreed.

    “True. Or, I could have fun with it.” She thought for a moment, then, making her voice deeper than usual, she shouted out, “Team Plasma is going to take over all of Unova because y’all are soft-hearted idiots!”

    That led to a pause in the crowded plaza. Hilbert put an arm closer to the Litwick defensively, but he was more worried for Hilda. All around him, the people were not sure if they should be insulted or not because of what she had just yelled.

    Smiling confidently, Hilda put on a pompous air, with her visible hand on the cloak. “And because I am such a handsome devil and evil genius that none of you can resist my intentionally flawed words.”

    That brought some laughter, and a relief in the crowd to know that this was meant to be funny rather than insulting. Encouraged by that, Hilda went closer to the fountain, to where a box platform was. It had been in use by a judge who watched over battles, but the man wanted to see where this would lead and stepped aside without a word. Hilbert moved in closer, as both he and the Litwick were also curious.

    The box platform wasn’t big enough to pace on like Ghetsis usually did, but Hilda didn’t seem bothered, leaning partly on the podium there so there wasn’t as much weight on her braced leg. She continued on in her attempt to mimic Ghetsis’ voice. “The plan is so simple that you aren’t going to see it until it has flown right by your eyes! You remember back in your school days, don’t you? There was always that kid, or maybe kids, that didn’t want to take up Pokémon battling because the Pokémon got hurt. And deep in your heart, you felt the same way, didn’t you? You don’t like seeing a Pokémon that you’ve raised and cared for hurt to the point of being knocked out, even though they do so willingly in order to help you in the ways they know how. You just didn’t speak these worries as Pokémon battles are so common in our culture.

    “So when I come along and tell you that the Pokémon are really afraid and upset and angry and hateful because of this, you want to believe in it. You want to ignore the signs that a Pokémon who truly loves their Trainer will put forth all of their effort to help them, and that a Pokémon who dislikes their Trainer will not listen to orders and refuse to battle. And you will do this because you love Pokémon and you don’t want to hurt them.”

    Hilbert felt a twist in his stomach on hearing that. He wasn’t doing things right; hearing this just reminded him of how he’d been more concerned with his own winning image when he had battled in the past. But she seemed to have a point about how using people’s sympathy must be part of Plasma’s manipulations.

    And the whole crowd wanted to listen to her, illuminating her in a light that only he could see. She was bold and a little crazy in that way. Even when he had been popular, he wouldn’t have gone for this, dressing in an oversized cloak and mocking a criminal organization in public, in such a large crowd, with absolutely no preparation. It was enough that he soon forgot his unease and was listening to her in wonder. Perhaps like his followers had listened to him, only without the unnatural attraction?

    Enjoying the show, Hilda stayed in character as a mock Ghetsis. “In loving Pokémon and not wanting them hurt, you will hear my words and feel guilty for doing such terrible things to your friends. And you will let them go. It seems such a simple solution, even if it hurts to say goodbye. To keep them from hurting, you will let them go even if they come to tears over saying goodbye, even if they beg you with wide eyes and mournful cries not to break your friendship to them. You will do this because it seems like the right thing to do.

    “But you will be playing right into my hands!” She made a gloating chuckle that got more laughs from the audience. “For you see, we of Team Plasma will keep our own Pokémon, even as we tell you to let yours go. We will tell you to do one thing while we do another, and in a year’s time, we will be the only ones in Unova to have Pokémon. And you know what will happen then? All Pokeballs outside of our possession will be destroyed, all remaining Trainers will be persecuted until they quit or die. And then we will rule Unova because none of you will be able to fight back! And in this way, we shall proceed to take over the rest of the world!” Then she gave a full blown evil laugh, which got cheers and clapping from the crowd. Finally, she winked at the crowd and tapped her head. “And now you know,” she said in her normal voice. “And knowing is half the battle. Remember, listen to your heart and do what you feel is true!” Then she stepped off the box platform to full applause and whistles from everyone in the crowd.

    Except Hilbert. Partly because he still had the Litwick in his arms, and partly because he felt amazed. “She really is kinda crazy,” he said softly. “But… incredible.”

    And then she was by him again, rubbing her throat. “I think I hurt my voice or something doing that; don’t mind if I go hoarse. How’d I do?”

    “Everyone loved it,” Hilbert told her. “I’d say that was spot on.”

    “Good.”

    “You are going to attract hatred from Plasma for doing that,” Kyurem stated.

    She just shrugged. “Eh, we’ve probably got them mad for everything else we’ve done to them. You have a problem with it?”

    “You’re making my job tougher.” But then his expression softened a little. “It was good for the public to hear such a thing. Too bad it couldn’t have been to more.”

    “There might be more that will hear it in time,” Hilbert told them. “There was a webcast crew around and it might have been recorded.”

    Hilda grinned. “I hope so. Now didn’t you need to get that Litwick to the Pokecenter?”

    Finding himself blushing, Hilbert stepped back. “Oh, yes, I do need to get that taken care of. It was good seeing you, Hilda.”

    “You too, Hilbert!” Then she went off into the crowd after something else, Kyurem following behind her. “And make sure to nickname the Litwick, okay?”

    “O-okay!” he called back, then headed off down the street. “Though I haven’t nicknamed any other Pokémon.”

    The Litwick looked up at him, interested in the nickname. But it still seemed uncertain of him.

    “What kind of name would you like?” he asked. “I mean, I can’t really understand you… not even sure if you’re a boy or girl, or something. But I can feel what you want if it’s clear enough.”

    From the Litwick, he got a strong desire to go home. But just under that, it seemed to want a name. Something elegant… and feminine.

    “Elegant and feminine,” Hilbert said. That wasn’t something he thought of as his style, but that’s what the Pokémon wanted. He thought about it while walking down the crowded streets, until a few came up in his mind. “How about Madeline?”

    That got a strong positive response. She wanted that name. “Muusha.”

    “Okay then, I’ll tell them that you’re Madeline.” He paused, then added, “I could use your help, if you’re willing. But if you want to go back home, I can see what can be arranged.”

    In the end, Madeline decided to go with him, at least until she found her way back home again.

    Early afternoon, 1/8

    On her way out of the store, Hilda opened the bag and got out a piece of hard candy. “It might have been a mistake to imitate that man,” she said, her voice hoarse. “I did not expect it to hurt my throat that much.” She took off the wrapper and popped the candy into her mouth.

    “People might say you’re missing the point there,” Kyurem said.

    “I’d make a comeback, but,” she rubbed her neck. Definitely didn’t want to talk too much right now. That might put off her Gym challenge. Maybe she’d go to a different sort of gym and have her Pokémon all work out.

    “Arf!” A Herdier wearing a green paisley scarf came out of the crowd, approaching them. She whined and made antsy steps with her paws.

    “Lassie?” Hilda asked, recognizing the scarf. “What happened? Did Timmy fall down the well?”

    She started barking repeatedly, pricking her ears and hopping up on her back legs.

    “Timmy was kidnapped by Plasma,” Kyurem said. “She ran off and left Bianca in pursuit, but then she lost the man and is worried about both of them.”

    Oh, Timmy the Munna was in trouble. “I see. Would you take me to Bianca, then?”

    Lassie barked, then headed off towards the docks. Down there, the chilly wind was more noticeable as it was coming straight off the sea water. Bianca was standing near the middles of the main dock, downcast and clasping her hands together. With her was a short dark skinned girl who had purple hair that managed to be bigger than Hilda’s. The Herdier ran over to Bianca and whined in worry.

    “Lassie, you came back,” Bianca said, torn between relief and concern. She dropped down to hug her Pokémon.

    “Hey, did you happen to see any other Pokémon wandering around?” the girl asked.

    “Nah, just her. I’m her friend, Hilda; what’s going on?”

    She nodded and shook hands with her. “Oh good. I’m Iris, Drayden’s apprentice. Something awful just happened…”

    “Iris!” The three girls looked up to see Burgh running up to them, his coat sitting crookedly on his left shoulder. It was an interesting coat, made up of many strips of various blues and greens stitched together in a nice shading effect. “I came as soon as I could. What exactly happened?”

    Clenching the handle of a large bag hanging off her shoulder, Iris said, “I came down here to do some shopping and I met this girl here, Bianca. And while we were talking, this man from Plasma just ran right up to us and snatched one of her Pokeballs right out of her hand!”

    “He took my Munna, Timmy,” Bianca said, rubbing her reddish eyes. “And then Lassie here took off after him, but she came back with Hilda. It was just all so sudden and I couldn’t do anything about it.”

    “I see,” Burgh said, straightening his coat. “And it wasn’t that long ago? If we knew where he went, this would be the best time to get him and your Pokémon back.”

    Lassie barked several times. And in this case, Kyurem felt it was best for a direct interpretation. “She pursued him to a building which he entered, but it was guarded so she didn’t want to go in alone.”

    “Huh?” Iris said, looking bewildered at him.

    Burgh just nodded. “All right, thanks Kyurem. Miss Bianca, would you mind if I borrow your Herdier for a little while so she can show me where he went?”

    “Oh, th-that’s fine,” she said, taking out a Pokeball, checking it, then handing it over.

    After taking it, he then turned to her. “Hilda, I’ve seen how good you are. Would you come help out? I’ve got a fresh team of Pokémon with me, but in this case, better safe than sorry.”

    “I’ll come,” she said. “Not exactly on top of my game with my voice, but we’ll do our best.”

    Iris then took Bianca’s free hand. “Don’t worry! I’ll be your bodyguard for today. I’ll make sure nothing else happens to you.”

    “You’ll be safe with her,” Burgh said. “Let’s go, Hilda; show us where to go, Lassie.”

    “Right on,” she said. The Herdier took off wagging her tail, and they followed.

    Hilda knew that the Plasma knight must have gone west, as she had been that way when she was at the store. What was unexpected was when Lassie led them to an office building that was directly across from the Gym. It looked perfectly normal on the outside, but just past the door, there was a pair of Plasma knights standing and watching.

    Burgh nodded, then headed in right through the doors. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded of the two knights there.

    Jumping to attention, the two looked shocked. One even stepped back quick enough to crash into the inner entryway. “Wait, Burgh?”

    “What are you doing here?” the other asked.

    “Do you have an issue with your new neighbors dropping by to say hello?” he asked. Hilda smiled at that while Lassie barked at them. “I have issues with neighbors who are known to have committed crimes relating to Pokémon. We’re here after a stolen Munna and we’re not leaving until we get him back.”

    “You’re not supposed to enter this place without permission,” a knight said, taking hold of a Pokeball.

    “You loony,” Hilda said. “We’re between a pair of doors and there’s four of us. You have a Pokémon attack us and it’s likely you’ll get hit too. Why don’t we settle this inside?”

    “That would be the solution,” Burgh agreed before they could think twice. “Unless you want to make a commotion out on the street and draw people’s attention to this place.”

    Caught by that reasoning, the two door guards relented and brought them into the lobby. It was much like many other lobbies in Castelia: tiled floor, a reception desk, a small sitting area, all in a large open space. Even so, it seemed sparse and unused; a real estate sign was sitting on one of the tables. There was another man in the room, at the receptionist counter. He was wearing large clerical robes like Gorm had been, only his hat was sitting on the counter at the moment. That made it easier to see his wavy black hair and a scarred cut out of one ear. When he didn’t say anything, the two door guards tried to battle Hilda and Burgh, and were quickly defeated by Lassie, Mimi, and a Scolipede.

    The two knights weren’t sure what to do after losing; the sage came out from behind the receptionist area. “What brings the local Gym Leader in here, may I ask?”

    Hilda thought he looked familiar, but she was pretty sure this wasn’t Gorm. Burgh answered, “I’ve come here because of the theft of a Munna from a young lady in this city, by one of your knights. The League isn’t going to be welcoming with you people after all else that you’ve done. For now, I’ll leave once we have the stolen Pokémon. But I will have the police investigating the matter too.”

    “Is that all?” he asked, possibly stalling for time. Hilda glanced around the room, wondering why he’d want that. Kyurem also seemed to be wary, but then again, that was how he was a lot.

    Burgh kept eye contact with the Sage, leaving his Scolipede out; it had begun to sniff around. “You seem to be one of the leaders. Good, because there’s been something that’s been bugging me for a while now. What would you say the guiding principle of Team Plasma is? Because your words are thoughtful, but your actions suggest that you’re simply taking what you want from people.”

    “I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense seen from the outside,” the sage said. “But you are right. I am Sage Rood. About our mission…”

    On hearing the name, Hilda looked back at Rood closely. Yes, that large nick out of his ear should have been obvious. “Wait, Rood? Dad, what are you doing here?”

    Rood seemed to be as thrown by this as the others in the room. It took his attention away from Burgh and onto her. ”Hilda?” he asked, a little confused. When she nodded, he came closer to them. “I thought you seemed familiar somehow. I haven’t seen you since you were a baby, but you have grown to be much like your mother.”

    It was strange; she’d known her father had run out on his family, but she wouldn’t have guessed that he’d still be here in Unova, or be in Team Plasma. Hilda went over to him, noted that he wasn’t much taller than she was, and then punched him in the face. “Yeah, well Mom said if I ever met you, to give you that for her.”

    Behind her, Kyurem barely stifled a laugh.

    Rood quickly stepped back, putting his hands over his nose. “Did she?” he asked in a muffled voice, sounding like he’d partly expected that.

    The elevator in back of the room then dinged, opening its doors to reveal Ghetsis and a third sage. For a moment, the room was quiet. Hilda glanced over to Burgh and Kyurem; both of them seemed serious, as they couldn’t be sure how many of the other Sages were skilled Trainers like Gorm. And the two in the elevator had definitely not been expecting a scene like this, with the two guards staying back and looking crestfallen, Rood still holding onto his nose in pain, and the outsiders looking back warily.

    Ghetsis was the first to compose himself; he stepped into the lobby with the attitude that he owned everything there. “My word, if it isn’t the Gym Leader, Burgh. What an unexpected occasion.” He spoke with a mix of heavy politeness and light sarcasm, as if even the Leader was beneath him.

    “Your people did call a lot of attention to yourselves,” Burgh replied. “Between your location and thievery.”

    “And what did I tell you, Bronius?” Ghetsis said, glancing back at the man who had come out of the elevator with him.

    Bronius glanced aside, his ears turning red in embarrassment. “I thought it would be ironic, to have a working base so close to one of their Gyms.”

    “Indeed,” Ghetsis said, somehow putting a lot of meaning, mostly disapproval, in that one word. “No matter, we already have an exceptional base of operations. What’s going on down here anyhow?”

    “Family disagreement,” Rood said, pulling his hand away a couple of inches before putting it back. “Excuse me; I’m bleeding.” He then went back to the receptionist area and went through a door there.

    “Hmm.” He looked at Hilda. On impulse, she stuck her tongue out at him. Childish, but she didn’t care. But his attention went to Burgh. “Well I’ve been meaning to have an audience with one of you anyways. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the legend of the founding of the Unova region.”

    “Since before most of us could speak,” Burgh replied.

    “Agreed. Then I don’t have to say much: the legendary dragon twins appeared in front of two heroes who sought a way to unite a world torn apart by war and conflict. Together, they united the hearts of the people and thus Unova was created. And once again, we’re living in a world of conflict, division, and corruption. We of Team Plasma intend to bring back a hero and dragon to Unova once again! If we can win the peoples’ hearts and minds, then we can easily create the world that everyone deserves, one of true peace and no conflict.”

    Hilda might have liked to argue that, but her throat still hurt and Burgh spoke up in response first. “But does that mean no freedom as well?” he asked. “Honestly, there’s something in what you’re saying all the time that I just don’t understand. Here in Castelia, we have many different people from many different places. They all have different lifestyles, dreams, ways of thinking. But we all still get along. And, one thing that we all seem to have in common is that we all care about Pokémon. Even if people have never met, they can always talk about Pokémon and get to know each other that way.”

    “Have you really been listening?” Ghetsis asked. But he wasn’t quite as aggressive with this. He even seemed interested, like an Ace Trainer caught off guard by an underestimated opponent. “The friendship between people and Pokémon can be very touching. But there are too many fools in the world to simply trust things to continue as they are.”

    Meanwhile, Hilda felt someone touch her hand. She glanced over to see that Rood had returned to the room, holding a washcloth to his nose. Without a word, he passed her a Pokeball. Hilda checked and saw that it was indeed Timmy the Munna. Briefly, she wondered why he would do that. Maybe he’d changed in the past fifteen years or so. She smiled at him and nodded.

    “I’ve been listening since you gave that speech in Accumula,” Burgh said, keeping the main focus of attention away from that little gesture. “I was there. I had to rethink even my relationship with Pokémon, and for that, I thank you. At the time, I made a promise to myself, that I would dedicate myself to Pokémon even stronger than before! And it didn’t help your case that I was in Accumula because the Pokecenter had been vandalized in the name of Team Plasma. What you’re actually doing, won’t that strengthen the bonds between people and Pokémon? At any rate, Castelia City won’t be following your lead at any time. We celebrate our diversity.”

    Ghetsis looked at him for a moment. Then he laughed. “You’re a hard one to figure out, a little more intelligent that I expected. I like that. Very well! We will submit to your opinion and be on our way. Farewell.” He snapped his fingers and there was a flash of light.

    And then they were gone. This time, Kyurem was rigid, like something had surprised him even though he had seen this trick before.

    “Again?” Burgh asked, concerned. “They’re gone, but what about the stolen Pokémon?”

    Hilda showed him the Pokeball she had. “Rood gave Timmy back to me,” she said. “But if they had any others, I don’t know. I hope they’re okay.”

    “That’s one good thing.” He rubbed his forehead, pacing a few steps. “They can’t have been here for long; this building was on the market a couple of days ago. I’d better ask around and see if anything else had happened.” He then turned to Hilda. “I hope I’m not being rude, but about your father, do you know much about him?”

    She shook her head. “Not really. I only recognized him from pictures as he left when I was really young.”

    “Hmm. Would your mother be willing to speak with us? We in the Unova League have been doing as much research as we can on them.”

    “Maybe. I’ll call and ask.”

    Burgh smiled. “Great, thank you. I’ll give you my number in case she will come. And we’d better get over to your friend Bianca soon.”

    When they got back to the docks, it seemed as though Iris was coaching Bianca through her battle anxiety, as Victini, Suzy, and a strange like Dragon Pokémon were out, with the Dewott fighting a wild Tranquill. Hilda released Timmy; the Munna looked about in confusion, then squealed on seeing Bianca and rushed over to her. Yelping in excitement, Bianca hurried over and hugged him when they met, saying that she was glad to see him again and sorry to have lost him. Timmy just seemed happy to be with her again.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 25th April 2012 at 5:16 AM.
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  15. #140
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    Hilda raises her middle finger to Plasma, and looks FABULOUS while doing it! I can totally picture that cape.

    Allusion to Hilda/Hilbert shipping waitwhat.
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    Hoo~

    I'm interested to find out what would hatch from Hilbert's eggs.

    I'm surprised Hilda would said something that sums up Ghetsis' plan. I wonder if N watch TV... If he does, how would he reacted to Hilda's speech?

    Still, I couldn't believe Sage Rood is Hilda's father.

    And then they were gone. This time, Kyurem was rigid, like something had surprised him even though he had seen this trick before.
    Predator instinct, Kyurem?
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    So now Hilda too has a relative among the Sages. Intriguing. The suspense builds....

    Waiting for the next chapter!
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    I only noticed a few things:

    Christmas had passed by. So had the end of a year And Castelia was back in action,
    "And" being capitalized sort of threw me off for a bit.

    Lassie barked, then headed off towards the docks. Down there, the chilly wind was more noticeable as it was coming straight off the sea water. Bianca was standing near the middles of the main dock, downcast and clasping her hands together. With her was a short dark skinned girl who had purple hair that managed to be bigger than Hilda’s. The Herdier ran over to Bianca and whined in worry.
    "Middles" should be "middle."

    More characters literally related to Team Plasma, huh?

        Spoiler:- Speculation:


    Hilda is an awesome character. Just awesome.

  19. #144
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    I love this fic! Its perfect all around! I do wish Fedora would be back soon though... Any idea when winter will be over?
    Sadly, Kyurem the Bowling Ball is no more... Oh well.
    Also, I love how you turned Hilbert around. At first I thought he would be the same old annoyingly popular rival that thinks he's all that but respects the main charecter in the end. Having him start anew is a wonderful idea. I cant wait to see his hatched pokemon.
    I cant wait till N changes his mind about pokemon liberation...
    Now about Pricila. What happened to her? Did N rerelease her? Is she back in the forest? I felt very bad for her when N released her the first time...
    Dont you think its time Cheren caught a new pokemon?
    One last thing! It seems in the first chapter that when calling out a pokemon a red light appears. However, in the anime the light is white. Recalling a pokemon is red. Also, water gun and ember are not little elemental bullets but rather a straight stream of water and a bunch of condensed sparks.
    Please post a new chapter as soon as possible!
    Last edited by 3D992; 22nd February 2012 at 5:51 AM.
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    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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    This chapter is really nice, I liked Hilbert getting the shiny litwick. Btw, i ended up catching a female SHINY litwick named Madeline. Odd huh?

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    Wow, I didnt realise Lance was a shiny! If only shiny pokemon were this common... Ah well. Hopefully Hilberts pokemon eggs dont hate him so its not only shiny litwick.
    I have:
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    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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    A very interesting chapter, and again one of the best yet. Hilda's definitely on her A-game mocking Ghetsis in front of a large crowd. Way to stick it to the man, sister!

    Man, Hilbert really has hit rock bottom. Hard to believe he was once a world-champion trainer who is now left only with a pair of eggs and a shiny Litwick. Better than one egg and a normal Litwick, I suppose.

    RIP bowling ball the Kyurem . . .

    . . . ALL RISE THE UNHOLY AVENGER OF WINTER!!!

    Timmy's in trouble and Lassie leads the way! ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME!!!

    OMG Burgh has a Scolipede. That could make the Gym battle potentially challenging.

    Rood is Hilda's father? Somehow I find that more bizarre than the fact that N and Hilbert are twins.

    Behind her, Kyurem barely stifled a laugh.
    I think that may be the single strangest thing to happen in the fic thus far. Who knew Kyurem had the capability to express mirth?
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    Coffee Break

    Leslie put her hand to her chin. "I thought Rood was supposed to be joining us this time."

    "I think he's afraid of you, Mom, after I punched him like that," Hilda said.

    "We'll go with that reason," she said. "So I knew you'd be causing chaos in one way or another. Why did you go with that interpretation of Ghetsis' words?"

    Hilda rolled her eyes. "Cause that's totally what I'd be doing if I were the villain of the story. Well, maybe not totally. There'd be free pizza involved, and a lot more special effects if I were running Plasma."

    "You'd certainly get more teenagers involved if there was pizza to be had," Leslie agreed.

    "And it's really sad that I can't have Fedora around." Then she clapped. "Oh, but we do have the date pinned down once again! Chapters 19 and 20 take place on January 11th. That means there's still two months before I can take him back. I'm gonna have to speed train him or something to get him up to par, but I will do it!"

    "Atta girl," Leslie said, smiling. "So who's Pricilla again?"

    "That was N's Purrloin. As far as I know, she's still stalking him. And about Burgh's Scoliopede, of course he has one! Most Gym Leaders have lots of Pokemon, not three." She picked up her mug. "We have to get you in on more breaks, Mom. You make the best coffee."

    "Well I'm already in this story more than most mothers in Pokemon, and I'm glad for that," she said.



    Chapter 20: Family Matters

    evening, 1/8

    The Castelia Gym was designed to be like a honeycomb, with hexagon shaped rooms and brown walls with a waxy glaze. Instead of doors, there were strange curtains that seemed to be thick membranes of golden honey. Hilda put her hand on one; it wasn’t sticky, but stretchy and resistant. If pressed against in the right way, it parted easily.

    “It’s so much more attractive than the Gym that was here in my day,” Leslie said, coming through the curtain behind her. “It was Steel-type back then, and the Leader had no imagination whatever, I swear.”

    “I don’t think Burgh is lacking that,” Hilda whispered loudly. Her voice was getting weaker through the day and her throat hurt now. She was trying not to talk, but that wasn’t easy when she always talked.

    Off in the northwest room, they found the wall the receptionist had told them about. It looked like a dead end, but a sliding panel on the side revealed the edge of a door, which could then be pulled open. The Gym lost the honeycomb motif past that room, as this led to the Pokémon stables, the classrooms, and their destination, Burgh’s office.

    He greeted them at the (regular) door. “Good evening, Hilda, Mrs. Medley… and Kyurem. Thank you for agreeing to come speak with us, and so quickly too.”

    “It’s no trouble,” she said. “And please, call me Leslie.” She and her daughter sat down in some extra chairs, but Kyurem was more comfortable going over to a corner and standing there, watching quietly.

    Also in the room, there was a Sewaddle on Burgh’s desk, Iris sitting with her Dragon lying at her feet (Hilda had learned that it was a Deino), and Cress sitting by the window, where a Simipour of his was peeking out to watch people walking outside. Burgh had pulled his chair out from behind the desk, so he could sit with the rest of them. But he did keep a computer tablet in his hands. “Well as you may have heard, we’ve been researching Team Plasma, as they are a threat to the League. And it turns out that your ex-husband Rood is one of their Sages.”

    Leslie nodded. “I don’t actually know about Team Plasma beyond what’s public. But I’ll tell you some about Rood, if that helps.”

    “We’re hoping it gives us a better picture of what the leaders of Plasma might be like,” Cress said.

    “Would you like to just tell us, or answer questions?” Burgh asked.

    “I can tell you about him,” she said, bowing her head briefly. “I met Rood on the road when we were both in the League; it was around Celestial Tower. We were both seventeen at the time, and making slow progress. But in truth, Rood was an excellent Trainer; he was considered a strong contender for Champion, back when Vanessa was standing Champion. He was just in college at the time as well.

    “And he was doing well there too,” she said, leaning back and recalling those days. “He could never settle on anything, though. He studied architecture for a while, then art history, then philosophy, then politics… I ended up quitting the League and going to business school for a two year degree, but he never finished the League or college. He had enough credits to graduate in either language arts or psychology, while he also had the eight badges and had beaten three of the Elite Four in exhibition matches. I did manage to get him to settle on one thing, and we got married when he turned twenty.”

    Iris and Hilda laughed, while Cress chuckled. Burgh smiled as he made notes. “Then he was highly educated. It matches what Ghetsis has said.”

    “Educated and intelligent,” Leslie agreed. “But lacking a little in common sense. I kept telling him to just graduate, as his tuition bills and loans were piling up. Rood kept saying that he didn’t feel ready, the same thing he said about heading to Victory Road. And then something terrible happened: our Pokémon all got killed by Bloodwraith.”

    “By what?” Iris asked, shivering.

    “It was a computer virus that infected Pokeballs,” Cress explained. “Back then, there were only the basic reds, and they weren’t as secure as modern balls. It was first only known as the Wraith virus, something that its creator only meant to damage a few, in an overblown revenge. But then it went epidemic within days, corrupting Pokeball data wherever it appeared. It got renamed Bloodwraith when over three thousand Pokémon died of it in one day, and many more were left with crippling handicaps. I only know what I’ve heard, and it happened before you were born Iris.”

    “That was a horrible time,” Burgh said, grimacing. “One of my Pokémon was left permanently blind and deaf from it, and she was the lucky one.”

    “That’s awful,” Iris said, sounding hurt. “And you guys lost all of them?”

    Leslie nodded. “Many people did, and there was a time of about three years when nobody wanted to train or capture Pokémon in case Bloodwraith was still active. That time changed Rood; as flaky as he could be sometimes, he really loved his Pokémon and devoted a lot of time to keeping them happy and strong. He quit the League and school out of depression. And then that cult popped up in the aftermath of Bloodwraith, the Green Earth Fellowship. Rood was introduced to them through his friend Bronius and got entangled in them almost immediately.”

    “Oh, GrEF, we should have considered them,” Burgh said.

    “What were they like?” Cress asked.

    “They were like Plasma in that they advocated keeping humans and Pokémon separate,” he answered. “However, they didn’t force it on people outside their group. And they mostly kept to themselves.”

    Leslie frowned. “But they did push their members to turn over all their worldly possessions over to GrEF’s leaders. Rood tried to convince me to join, but Hilda had recently been born and I was concerned about being able to raise her properly in a group like that. Then he went and sold our house in Drift veil without informing me at all that it was on the market, taking that money to move to GrEF’s camp. I had to file for divorce then, so that I didn’t get saddled with trying to cover his school loans when I’d suddenly found the two of us homeless. I moved in with my brother in Nuvema, and I haven’t heard from Rood since.”

    “A lot of people disappeared into GrEF,” Burgh said. “You mentioned Bronius; he’s another of Plasma Sages. How well did you know him?”

    “Enough that I didn’t like him even before GrEF,” she said. “He was a college friend of Rood’s, graduated in Advertising and another media degree. Said he was going to work in television producing, but then started doing stand-up comedy. I saw him as a bad influence, as he’d take Rood out to spend nights in bars and who knows where else. I know he was already one of the higher ups in GrEF when Rood joined; might have been in on the scamming part too. Rood actually believed, but Bronius seemed too slick when talking about it.”

    “In that case, we’d better check up on GrEF,” Cress said. “Plasma could be an outgrowth of them, or they took advantage of the cult falling apart to claim members.”

    Burgh nodded. “Yes; I’ll definitely talk with Clay and Drayden, as they should know more. Knowing this about two of their leaders…” he looked over to Leslie and Hilda. “And another thing we have to discuss is what Plasma may do about the both of you. If it was just about your ex-husband, then it wouldn’t be much to worry about. But Hilda’s had enough run-ins with Plasma that they would definitely mark her as an enemy. It could be dangerous to both of you.”

    “I was just trying to do what’s right,” Hilda said, in her loud whisper. It seemed the others had heard her well enough.

    “That’s fine, but you’re making yourself a target,” Cress said.

    “And we’re worried about what they mean to do,” Iris added.

    Burgh nodded and put his tablet down in his lap. “Yes. We’ve decided not to reveal everything to the public yet; there’s still too much that we don’t know. But as you’re already involved, we here and the other Gym Leaders have decided to tell you some of our information. Don’t speak of it with others, though.”

    “We understand,” Leslie said, while Hilda nodded.

    Since he seemed to be leading the meeting, Burgh went ahead with the explanation. “We have strong suspicions for who the King of Plasma is. It’s mainly circumstantial evidence, but no one fits better. And from what we’ve observed of him and Team Plasma, they seem to be making a strong attempt at recreating circumstances of various Unova myths.”

    “It’s all over their imagery and speeches and such,” Iris said. “Even their uniforms.”

    “Reminiscent of the uniforms of the soldiers of the hometown of the twin heroes,” Burgh said. “One of the parts is lacking, though: they have a single King, not twins. This apparent oversight tells us there are things they have going on that are not in plain sight. Again, we have suspicions about the twin, but even less is certain around him.”

    “And then you pop up as a third wheel, Hilda,” Cress said. “A descendant of one of the Sages, apparently chosen by Kyurem. That does not fit the myths they’re trying to recreate. So even if you hadn’t fought and defeated another Sage, and made fun of Plasma publicly in what is quickly becoming a popular web video…”

    At that, Iris snickered and Burgh smiled. So this morning’s events had gotten recorded and posted. Hilda grinned while Leslie had a ‘what did she do this time?’ look on her face.

    Cress smiled briefly, but went on, “You’d likely still have been a target of theirs, either for conversion or elimination. You do have Kyurem guarding you, but we’d like to make sure that you’re safe. As for how likely Plasma is to get their wish to awaken the twin dragons, we’re not sure.”

    “Their King probably can,” Burgh said. “I’d believe that of him. If the calling had to do anything with the rest of Plasma, probably not.”

    “That is quite possible,” Kyurem said from his corner.

    “What would you want her to do?” Leslie asked. “Leave the region?”

    “That would get both of you out of their reach, if you went with her,” Burgh said. “But it is up to you.”

    “Hmm.” She looked to Hilda. “What do you think?”

    Hilda had been thinking about it while they were talking, as she wasn’t supposed to be talking much. But this did require her input. And… she cracked a grin. “What if we turned their myths against them?” she asked.

    “Just what do you have in mind?” her mother asked, but she seemed as curious as she was concerned.

    “You heard him,” she replied. “I’m already messing with their plans just by existing. Ghetsis said they want to capture the hearts and minds of Unova’s people, apparently by using our myths. But if I get the public’s attention by using mythic imagery as well, then I might just get enough attention that people would get upset if anything happened to me. Then they couldn’t attack me without turning the public against them, and they’d have to keep with the myths which we can predict.”

    “Can you do that?” Iris asked. “I mean, there isn’t as much stuff associated with Kyurem as there is with Reshiram and Zekrom, except the occasional razing of corrupt civilizations.”

    “I have Kyurem with me,” Hilda said. “We can make stuff up as we go along and because he’s with me, it will make that stuff part of his myth.”

    “That is possible,” Kyurem said.

    “Will you two do that, then?” Burgh asked.

    “If he wants to,” Hilda said. “It’ll be fun.”

    Kyurem leaned back into the corner when everyone’s attention went to him. “Sometimes prey will run and hide. But sometimes, you come across one who grows bright plumage and shows it off with seemingly no regards to safety. Yet the predator is less likely to go after the one of bright plumage, for that one must be strong in order to live like that, not worth the effort to hunt down. Very well. I would say that you need to be very showy in order for that to work. However, I feel that you won’t lack for showiness.”

    “You got that right,” Hilda said, glad for his agreement.

    “That’s an interesting way to put it,” Cress said.

    “Yes, but…” Burgh put his hand to his chin. “Hilda, you must have been in Castelia for a while now, yet I haven’t seen you in the Gym. But your voice seems to be failing.”

    She nodded. “And if it goes entirely tomorrow, I’m definitely not going to be able to challenge you.”

    “Oh yeah, that would be so hard,” Iris said.

    Burgh looked thoughtful, then picked up his tablet to check on something. On getting that done, he smiled. “Well if you feel confident in your team and only your voice is holding you back now, may I suggest a date and time for you to come here? To make it as showy as possible?” He tossed the tablet over to her. “The public can’t miss you after this.”

    Catching the tablet, she turned it around so she could read the posting. It was about the official Unova Pokémon League battle show, which played clips of prominent challengers, or even full battles. What he wanted her to see was a scheduled live battle session that was occurring a week from now. This happened sometimes, and usually featured high level challengers that were popular with the public. This show was scheduled to take place in Burgh’s Gym.

    “You’d be on your third challenge, right?” he asked. After she confirmed that and handed back his tablet, he said, “Normally, they wouldn’t take that level for the live show; they’re hoping to get one of the national Aces in a victory here. But I’m sure the fact that you’re battling with Kyurem will convince them to add your match to the show.”

    “And she normally asks for harder challenges,” Cress said. “She did that with us and Lenora, remember?”

    “There is that too,” Burgh said, smiling. “Will that do?”

    “Yeah, that’s awesome,” Hilda said, excited. “I’ll try to have my voice back to normal then.”

    “You might try to stop talking from now on,” Leslie said, affectionately chiding her. “I’ll try to get the word out and get interest stirred in the match. Thank you for letting us in on this. It’s better to know such things.”

    “No, thank you for agreeing to speak with us,” Burgh said, getting up and shaking her hand. “We’ve got some new leads and insight from your testimony. And take care of yourself, Hilda. I’ll be seeing you in the Gym a few days from now.”

    Hilda grinned and shook his hand.

    After some pleasantries, Kyurem, Hilda, and Leslie went back through the Gym to leave. But her mother took her hand. “You know, if you’re going to make a showy impression at a special occasion, then you ought to be dressed for it. Do you have something suitable?”

    Right! While she had some interesting pieces stored away digitally, if she was going to try pulling of being mythic, there wasn’t much. Hilda shook her head.

    That made Leslie grin. “In that case, maybe I ought to spend the night and part of tomorrow here with you. We’ll go shopping for something that will make you really shine!”

    Happy to hear that, Hilda nodded enthusiastically, making her mother laugh.

    Late afternoon, 1/8

    Rood had his nose bandaged up; it had broken, but the doctor didn’t think it was severe. Things were just going to be inconvenient for now. To be honest, he should have expected that. There had been many times when he had regretted what he’d done. But on knowing that it was his daughter, he had let his guard down.

    Things were turning out more complicated that he thought this meeting would be, though. “She’s the one with Kyurem?”

    Ghetsis nodded. “He was that masked boy that was there, the one who didn’t say anything. She was the one who defeated Gorm, and one of the kids who messed up operations in Striaton.”

    She had defeated Gorm. As much as he shouldn’t be, he felt proud of her for managing that. She hadn’t started training that long ago, and yet she’d pulled off that. But he shouldn’t be thinking of her as his daughter when she could be the team’s enemy. It made Rood feel uncomfortable, like an outsider. “She seems to be becoming a large obstacle.”

    “Exactly,” Ghetsis said. “And I don’t want you letting personal issues interfere with our schedule; it will only set you up for disappointment if you get attached to her.”

    “I won’t.” He could still remember when GrEF had started falling apart. He had let personal interest decide over group interest, and that had only made the end of it all more miserable. This time, he was in an official leadership position rather than just having a lot of popularity behind him. Rood didn’t want to see the group burn in the same way through something he was responsible for.

    “Good. I’ve started a background check on her, to find out why she has Kyurem and what can be done about it. Now there was another thing…” he checked over some papers. “Why was there a double fee on dry cleaning charges?”

    “What?” Rood asked, puzzled at the statement. Ghetsis passed the paper over and indeed, there was a double charge from the cleaners. From this morning, even. “I’m not sure. But there are different times. Was it an accident?”

    “I hoped you would know more about that. It has to do with a video that appeared on the web before our run-in with…”

    At that point, the door opened unexpectedly. Ghetsis narrowed his eyes, but quickly changed his expression to one of surprise. Rood turned around and saw N coming in; a Sigilyph was flying just behind him, meeping and looking around nervously. “Ghetsis, I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for several days now,” he said, a little angered but more concerned. “It’s important.”

    “Have you?” he asked. “That’s odd. Is your Xtransciever working?”

    “Yes.” He looked down at Rood and nodded. “Hello.”

    What was he doing here? “Hello again, N,” he replied.

    “What about Valerie and Carol?” Ghetsis asked.

    Facing Ghetsis again, N’s expression darkened. “I told them to leave me alone. They were keeping wild Pokémon away from me.”

    “Why would they do that?” Rood asked, honestly confused. The two girls were supposed to be assisting and protecting the King, not hindering his mission.

    “I don’t know, but even after I told them what the problem was, they wouldn’t give it up. But this isn’t about that. I need to get into Twist Mountain.”

    “You’ve been working around Nimbasa City, if I’m correct?” Ghetsis asked. “Twist Mountain is still some ways off on your progress.”

    “And it’s a confusing place with powerful Pokemon,” Rood said. It had been bad enough back in the days when he had been a League Trainer and they had continued digging all these years. “It’s more dangerous than most locations in Unova.”

    “I can handle it,” N said. “But I haven’t been there and it was hard to tell Rune here how to find it. Zekrom is there and once I get there, I can find her hibernating form.”

    “Are you certain of that?” Ghetsis asked, glancing at his desk, probably looking for files. “We’ve been researching the matter and haven’t narrowed it down that much.”

    N nodded. “I’m certain. I heard it from Reshiram, who I met through Hilbert who’s seeking the white dragon. It took place in the dream world, but I remember it exactly and I know it’s truth.”

    “From Reshiram?” Rood asked. It was amazing, he thought, that N had managed to already meet with one of the legendary dragons that was hibernating. True, it wasn’t the dragon they were trying to awaken, but it was a promising sign. “Then it probably is correct.”

    “Right,” Ghetsis said, thinking.

    N leaned over and put a hand on the desk. “And that’s not it. Hilbert is my twin brother. This Sigilyph awakened some psychic powers in me that I wasn’t aware of, and we both knew it. That was likely how I managed to meet with Reshiram, as the two of us were connected. But I want to make sure that I’m right, so I need to go to Twist Mountain as suggested. And Reshiram did say that I should find her as soon as I can, even though they’ve asked for at least another month of observation before making a decision.”

    “We shouldn’t ignore this,” Ghetsis said. “Rood, you’ve been to that location. Would you accompany him there?”

    Standing up, he nodded. “Yes sir. If you don’t mind waiting a few minutes, N, I need to go change from this uniform. And you should get your heavier winter gear, including shoes for ice. It’ll be harsh in there.”

    “Thanks,” N said. “I’ll meet you at the upper entrance.”

    As Rood left the office, N and Ghetsis had started talking. To get N through a place like Twist Mountain was quite an undertaking. Rood stopped by the supply area to pick up strong potions, revives, Ice Heals, and a number of other medicines. He had a Pokémon team himself, and they might be able to get a lower level team like N would have through the mountain. But it was better to be prepared. Then he went back to his room to dress warmly, including heavy jeans, tall boots with ice treads, a heavy water-resistant overcoat, and a hat with a face cover. Twist Mountain was usually a place to avoid in winter.

    He ended up meeting N going up the stairs; he was wearing his own hooded coat and boots, but holding onto his scarf and twisting it around his hands. The young man nodded at him, then picked up his pace in climbing the stairs. Behind him, his Sigilyph was still flying close.

    “Odd to see a Pokémon in here,” Rood commented.

    “I couldn’t convince him to stay away,” N said, as the Sigilyph clucked. “Rune doesn’t even like this castle, but he insists he needs to stay near me because he doesn’t like it.”

    “Some Pokémon are protective like that.” Mentally running through his own team and what he remembered being in the mountain, he added, “What Pokémon do you have at the moment?”

    N stopped fiddling with his scarf to tap his fingers as he listed his. “Well there’s Rune here, and Daisy; she’s a Darumaka. And then Sal the Sandile; I was surprised to find that he wasn’t too bright, especially when Krookodiles I’ve met are really cunning, but it seems like they get smarter as they evolve. Then there’s Kimi the Scraggy.”

    So he was nicknaming his Pokémon? It made Rood feel better, since he had done that for his own team. He wasn’t supposed to, he had thought, but old habits had returned when he was given them. If N was doing so, then it had to be all right. “Good. Most of them should be okay, but don’t bring out Sal. He’ll be all right in the desert area and indoors, but if you bring him into a frigid and snowy place like where we’re going, it’ll trigger a hibernation period in him and then he shouldn’t be brought into battle for a couple of months.”

    “I see.” After a moment of quiet, he went back to fiddling with his scarf.

    “Is something else bothering you?” Rood asked, worried. He had always thought that it was a huge responsibility on N’s shoulders to be leading Plasma. At first, Rood had nearly left when he’d come and found that they were being led by an eleven year old boy. But N had turned out to be so extraordinary.

    “This mission is turning out a lot more difficult that I expected it to,” N said. “I knew that things were going to be different out there, and that the battles would be hard and Pokémon would get hurt. I’ve managed to tolerate it just enough so that I can get through the mission and set things right. But then there’s stuff that I didn’t expect to be so hard. Like releasing Pokémon. I tell them what I mean to do when I add them to my team, but once the Gym is defeated and it’s time to let them go, some of them get really upset. I even feel guilty about it, even knowing that I should be glad to have them free. It’s almost like they would choose to remain with a Trainer over being free.”

    That had been a pitfall that Rood had worried about himself, although he’d never brought it up. He knew how easy it was to get attached to Pokémon, and N felt so strongly for Pokémon already. If he was having doubts in Plasma’s core beliefs, then maybe… no, it had to be right. The group had come together for the sake of Pokémon and he didn’t want to disappoint everyone.

    “I suppose if you’ve grown a friendship with them, then they’re afraid that the friendship will end,” Rood said. “Everyone’s used to the way things are, even if it’s a disguise for the real problem.”

    “That would be it. I have met some interesting Pokémon doing this.”

    “Really?” With a bit more prodding, N started talking about them. That seemed to cheer him up.

    To get to Twist Mountain, Rood brought out his Swoobat and had him lead the way, while N and his Sigilyph Rune followed along. At the mountain’s western entrance, Rood snapped his hat’s face-cover up, while N wrapped his scarf around so that it could cover his lower face and let him have his hood up. They went inside, with Rune and the Swoobat Seth following along.

    Years of being used for mining left Twist Mountain’s walls and floor chiseled almost smooth. Winter winds blew through the tunnels, leaving ice on every surface. It gave the tunnels a gleaming beauty, although one had to tolerate below freezing temperatures to appreciate it. There were still Pokémon here, ones that did not mind the ice. The rough conditions led to tougher than usual Pokémon.

    They came to the first split, which ran ahead, right, and left. “Most of these tunnels end up going in circles and spirals,” Rood said.

    “Do you sense Zekrom?” N asked, looking to Rune.

    The Sigilyph flew forward a little, its eyestalk twisting about. He clicked, then meeped and flew to the right. After a long tunnel, there was a turn to the left that led outside, into the interior of the mountain. But in the tunnel there, they encountered a Boldore and a Cryogonal Pokémon that seemed to be fighting.

    “I’ll handle this,” N said, heading right for them.

    “Be careful,” Rood said. Wild Pokémon in areas like this would be more aggressive than usual.

    Although he nodded, he didn’t falter or look nervous. Instead, N went over and greeted the two Pokémon politely. The two Pokémon had hostile stances and expressions until N proved to them that he could speak with them. Then they were both surprised, eventually responding to him in reverence. That was always one of the most amazing things about N, the way in which Pokémon reacted to him.

    And there was, in that moment, something simply awe inspiring. The late afternoon sun came down into the mountain, bouncing off into the snow and into these tunnels. N had unconsciously stepped into those sunbeams, putting him in a golden glow. It stuck into Rood’s mind and made words slip into poetry there. As it wouldn’t be easy to write with winter gloves on, he tried to grasp onto those words and hold them. He wrote poetry frequently and wanted to have something to present to his King. It wasn’t easy to get those poems as good as he wanted, though.

    The two wild Pokémon suspended their feud, moving elsewhere so that they could pass. On seeing that, Rood felt a little sheepish for over-preparing. He had expected hard battles against these Pokémon, but N was able to simply talk them into moving aside. The two of them and their Pokémon then went into the interior of Twist Mountain

    At one time long ago, this had been a volcano. After its last big explosion, the top two-thirds of the mountain had collapsed inward, leading to a tall rim, open sky, and a crater interior. People had come in to excavate valuable minerals and stones, eventually forming a pit several stories deep. Today, the sunlight gleamed off of piles of deep snow and large formations of icicles.
    Icicles. Rood reached out and put his hand around one; the tips of his fingers could not reach the tip of his thumb. “You know, when the icicles get this large, they say that it’s a sign of Kyurem’s winter.”

    “A winter made more harsh because Kyurem is awake?” N asked, looking at Rood.

    “That’s right.” He looked back as N was still staring right at him. “Is something odd about this?”

    N finally blinked, now curious. “You’re Hilda’s father?”

    Where had that come from? Rood felt a flutter of nervousness as he replied, “Yes, if it’s Hilda Medley you’re talking about. Did Ghetsis tell you?”

    He shook his head. “No, I just saw it. You may fight her in a Pokémon battle in the future.”

    “I thought that might happen,” he said. “But how did you see that?”

    “I can see possible futures.” He looked over the long steep slope of snow that led down to the lowest level of the mine, then pointed out a path. “Here, that’s the way to go and not fall through all the snow.” N then led the way down, explaining what exactly had happened between him, Rune, and Hilbert in the Desert Resort. Or rather, the lost city of Shira.

    For all of his life, Rood wanted to believe that there could be a person with great destiny who would change the world for the better. He might have hoped for it to be himself when he was young, but that never panned out. And once tragedy struck in the form of Bloodwraith, he thought that the best way to find a purpose in his life was to find someone with a destiny like that and help them. It would be something amazing to be a part of.

    He had only found hope and disappointment in that so far. Maybe this person was the one, he would think, only to have nothing happen, or things would get worse. He had even been concerned about Plasma to some degree, as certain questions kept coming up. It had always been N who convinced him to stay, though. Now, N was telling him things that only seemed to happen in stories: two strangers who meet and have strangely similar lives, finding a lost city that was there all along, speaking with a being who had helped to create the whole region of Unova. If anyone could have a destiny to change the world, Rood felt, no, knew that it was the young man he was following now.

    “I think it could be important to convince Hilbert to join us,” N said as they walked into a tunnel in the deepest part of the open mine. “I mean, people will listen when I call on Zekrom. But if Hilbert has Reshiram and he’s with us, then even more people will agree with our message and stop hurting Pokémon. Ghetsis thought it would be a waste of time, though. He told me I should be more focused on my mission and that I should have had the Nimbasa Gym badge by now. He wouldn’t even answer why he was hardly contacting me.” He shook his head. “I’m not entirely sure what to do, to be honest. He makes sense, but…” he seemed to struggle to find the words, but couldn’t come up with anything.

    Rood clasped N’s shoulder. “I think you should do what you feel is important. Maybe it will slow things down, but I agree that having Hilbert as an ally could be a help. And remember this: whatever happens in the future, I will be on your side.”

    N smiled. “I will. Thank you, Rood. I’d like to try getting Hilda to see the right way of things too, but she’ll be even harder to convince.”

    “Do you know her well?” As much as he wasn’t supposed to be attached to her, he was still curious about how his daughter had turned out.

    “She made me become her friend, more or less,” N said, although he seemed glad about it. “She’s not like anyone else I know. Sometimes I think that she’s really going about things the wrong way. And yet, her Pokémon seem to love her so much. Apparently her Servine fought against hibernation because he didn’t want to leave her team. Then I’m not sure what to think about her.” He paused in the conversation, as they came across a tunnel entrance that was blocked off with a single strand of caution tape.

    “Is that where we need to go?” Rood asked.

    N nodded and went over to a sign. “’High electrical danger; beware.’ That may be Zekrom.” He ducked under the tape to get by it.

    If it was electrical, that meant trouble. Rood recalled his Swoobat, then convinced N to do the same for the Sigilyph. Past a short dark tunnel, they came upon a large room. Strangely enough, it was filled with giant ice crystals and even colder than in the outer mine. Near the largest crystal, there was a black stone that floated three feet off the floor. Blue glows shimmered across its surface; every few seconds, an arc of electricity shot out between the stone and nearby crystals.

    N didn’t seem to be afraid of it, though. “This is a place of power, even if it’s not of her type,” he said as he walked down the slopes to get to the floating stone.

    From the prickles on his skin that weren’t caused by the cold, Rood had to agree. “Good luck.”
    But that wish may have been unnecessary. The stone calmed down even as N approached it, not sparking quite as much. Once he put his hands on it, the static in the room decreased greatly. When they got back outside, the black stone had already lost its blue glow and ability to float. Rood still had no doubt that it was truly Zekrom.

    Morning, 1/9

    As they walked down the subway stairs, Leslie gripped Hilda’s arm. “Well good luck with your Gym challenge later this week. And try not to get hurt again.”

    Hilda nodded, but that made it the right time to bring something else up. She pulled out a notepad and began writing something out. When her mother came back with a train ticket, she passed the note over. It read, ‘I know you’ve already got Fluff and Fedora with you, but I’d like to send you back home with my Sawk Lance too. He can keep you safe if Plasma decides to cause trouble for you too. Besides, he would be happier that way too, I think. He feels like he owes me for accidentally breaking my leg a while ago, but he’s terrified of Kyurem, so it’s like he’s forced to work with the team and is unhappy over that. You should tell him that he can repay his debt by working to protect you instead.’

    On reading it, Leslie asked, “Are you sure about that? You’d only have three active Pokémon on your team then.”

    Hilda nodded. Between Kyurem, Mimi, and Olette, taking on the Bug Gym shouldn’t be too bad even if she raised the challenge level as usual.

    Her mother then smiled and hugged her. “Thank you, dear. That certainly does make me feel more secure. I mean, Fedora’s in no state to battle and Fluff would need a lot of work to get to a good level. Let’s talk to him.” Hilda arranged the gifting status on the Pokeball, then passed it to Leslie so it could register her as the current Trainer. Then she released the Sawk. “Hi Lance. I’m Hilda’s mother, Leslie, if you remember me from a little while ago. She’s sending you with me so that I can be protected; we think Team Plasma might try to cause trouble, or even attack me. But I’m sure if a strong and loyal Pokémon like you is with me, then I’ll be just fine.”

    At first, Lance was puzzled to learn that he was being passed on. But Leslie’s praise worked, as he shifted his posture to a proud stance. Still, he looked to Hilda for confirmation. When she nodded, he replied in kind, then bowed to Leslie.

    “Ah, such a gentleman too,” she said, laughing lightly. She clasped the Pokeball in both hands. “This is exciting! I haven’t had a battling Pokémon since Bloodwraith. Maybe we’ll go out on Route 1 to brush up on my skills when I don’t have to work online.”

    Hilda smiled and patted Lance’s arm. He was looking happier already, knowing that he wouldn’t have Kyurem constantly watching him. Off to the side, the dragon boy watched, but made no comments as Leslie and Lance boarded the subway station to leave Castelia.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 25th April 2012 at 5:20 AM. Reason: fixing silly errors
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  24. #149
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,594

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    Good thing PokeBalls can't get viruses in-game. *shudders*

    The only thing that popped out to me was this:

    The Sigilyph flew forward a little, its eyestalk twisting about. He clicked, then meeped and flew to the right. After a long tunnel, there was a turn to the left that led outside, into the interior of the mountain. But in the tunnel there, they encountered a Boldore and a (crystal snowflake) Pokémon that seemed to be fighting.
    Why is Cryogonal's description in parenthesis?
    Last edited by Ememew; 23rd February 2012 at 12:20 AM.

  25. #150
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    563

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    Great chapter!
    Wow! Now N has Zekrom and Hilbert has Reshiram! I cant wait to see what happens next!
    Bloodwraith? I think I've heard that around here... It sounds devestating... Good thing the game doesnt wipe out all your pokemon as part of the story...
    Keep up the awesomeness!
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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