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Thread: ClicheStorm

  1. #326
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    I'm confused. Which N was that? It didn't seem like normal time N at all (Especially after spending so much time around both Hilda and Hilbert) , but Kyurem can distinguish between the two Ns... Right?
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

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  2. #327
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    Caught me at a good time when I have a moment to respond... That was normal N. That may be what I need to work on a bit more, but he's hit a state where he says he believes one thing, but his heart is believing another. And he can't even admit to that discrepancy himself because, in his opinion, that would be admitting to failure (and as we've seen, he equates failure in this endeavor as his being worthless, or 'nothing'). So he's on fragile ice to becoming what the dark future N is like. I think that comes up in the next chapter, but I've written so much since then that I'm not sure.

    It should be, though. I'll add it in to chapter 51 or 50 if it isn't. It's meant to be a character in a transitory state, not out-of-character.

        Spoiler:- just something...:
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    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  3. #328
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    Another interesting chapter, it's pretty scary that N managed to beat both Hilda and Hilbert, including Kyurem.

    Please, try not to take offense to this, but I still think the way you describe battles could be vastly improved. How? I'm not exactly sure, but in their present state, they seem a bit too monotone, even a bit stale. Don't get me wrong, they get the point across, which is the most important part. All in all, I consider battle scenes to be the only weak point of this fic, which is pretty good considering that major battle scenes are few and far between.

    As a final note, I've been rereading The Ballad of Deoxys and Mewtwo and am remembering how much I loved it. For any readers of this fic who have yet to read Deoxys and Mewtwo, I highly recommend it.
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  4. #329
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    Quote Originally Posted by GalladeRocks View Post
    Another interesting chapter, it's pretty scary that N managed to beat both Hilda and Hilbert, including Kyurem.

    Please, try not to take offense to this, but I still think the way you describe battles could be vastly improved. How? I'm not exactly sure, but in their present state, they seem a bit too monotone, even a bit stale. Don't get me wrong, they get the point across, which is the most important part. All in all, I consider battle scenes to be the only weak point of this fic, which is pretty good considering that major battle scenes are few and far between.

    As a final note, I've been rereading The Ballad of Deoxys and Mewtwo and am remembering how much I loved it. For any readers of this fic who have yet to read Deoxys and Mewtwo, I highly recommend it.
    I have to agree with the battle scenes part. After reading all 50 parts, I have to say the battling is the only lacking part in the fic. Everything in this fic is good, but the battle scenes are bad. I remember in one chapter you described a battle between Hilda and Cheren in probably less detail than thew games do without battle animations. Granted the battle wasn't immensely important, but that's still really sad. /end rant

    Overall rating, 9.0/10

    Also, subscription post. Everything else in the fic is so good (especially fleshing out the characters, Fedora is by far the best) that I can't wait for the weekly update.
    Yep we should ban baton pass, and weather too. Oh and Trick Room, I'm tired of having to worry about Trick Room all the time. Just ban the move Trick Room, and prankster, it's broken. Ban all status moves on prankster users, they're too cheap. Oh and ban Probopass to it's so cheap. Just ban everything except Magikarp with splash.
    Well, actually Blaziken isn't really Uber because some people whined about how they were getting owned by it. I mean, it doesn't stand a chance in the Uber enviroment.

  5. #330
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    Chapter 51: Balance of Power


    Hilbert was escorted through the prison halls, the Light Stone following close as usual. They were bleak and stern, more for security than anything. On coming in, he had been searched and his Pokemon scanned and registered. One of the prison guards was to stay with him the entire time as well. It was a lot of hassle, he thought as he waited on the red steel doors to slide aside. But it could be worth it. The man he was going to speak to was due to be executed in a couple of days.

    In the visitor's room, he was brought to a table with a simple chair. Sturdy dividers made separate meeting areas, but it seemed he was the only one in today. A pane of security glass was set in the middle of the table, with concrete below it. On the other side, he saw the one who had captured Meloetta years ago, Takumi.

    Unnervingly, he looked an older version of the Shadow Triad he had encountered just yesterday. He had pure white hair hanging short, but some of his bangs still fell close to his eyes. He had human eyes, though, a pale pink with noticeable red veins. That along with his pale skin made him seem ghostly, although the effect was lessened by the bright orange jumpsuit he was wearing.

    “Takumi, this is the White King Hilbert,” the guard said. “He’s requested this meeting with you.”

    Takumi blew one of his hair strands away and gave him a look that clearly said he didn’t care. “The White King, huh? Wouldn’t have thought you’d picked up on my trail.”

    “Meloetta told me that you captured her around twenty-five years ago, and then sold her to Dr. Umber for experimentation,” he stated. Hopefully he would get this man to cooperate by being open like this. “She also said that you had some communication with Ghetsis, who now holds a lot of power in Team Plasna. I’d like to know anything you know about Ghetsis and Team Plasma.”

    He rested his arms on the table, looking at him skeptically. “That’s it, huh? What makes you think I could know anything useful to you? Or even tell you if I did? I’ve got nothing to be afraid of, even if you got some title for nothing.”

    “Something that seems insignificant at first glance might turn out important later on,” Hilbert said. “We don’t know a lot about Ghetsis or Umber, and you seem to know them both. Besides, what good is anything you’ve done if no one knows about it?”

    Takumi snorted, then gave an amused smile. “There is that.” He looked at the Light Stone, which was quietly smoldering there. “If that’s what you’re after, then I might know a few things. Maybe even useful things. So then… yeah, I got Meloetta for Umber and some other guy. It was his student or something, Colridge or something. I don’t remember that guy, hardly saw him. She wasn’t the first Pokemon I went hunting for on their behalf, but she was the first legendary that I tried to go after. It took a while, but she’s not really a fighter, wasn’t that hard once I figured out how to find her. But the strangest thing he asked me to do was to train some gijinkas he had.”

    “The Shadow Triad?” Hilbert made a guess.

    Takumi nodded. “Bunch of creepy kids, if you ask me. He didn’t even tell me what they were at first, just that he wanted to be capable. I haven’t done much training for other ninjas, being disgraced like I was. But that’s a long story about idiots. Those kids didn’t have names, and they wouldn’t answer to any name I tried to give them. I learned to call them Shadow, and they’d answer. All three of them, yet they somehow knew which one I meant. They were talented, basically only needing someone to show them the proper way to do things. On the flip side, they rarely spoke, had no heart or emotions at all, and were so dang serious all the time. I don’t give a damn about anything, and they were beyond even that.”

    “They’re still pretty creepy,” he said, recalling how monotonous their speech was.

    He shrugged. “Met them? They were worse as kids, I guarantee you that. I eventually went to ask Umber what the hell was wrong with these kids, and he told me that they were gijinkas. Not only that, but they didn’t even have proper parents. He had cloned them from my DNA, then modified them with Pokemon genes.” A dark look crossed his face. “Never said a thing about using me like that before that point, then all of a sudden I learn these three creeps I’ve been training are pretty much my kids. I blew up at him and threatened to kill him. To this day, I honestly don’t know how he slipped out of my grasp.

    “But me and my shadows learned something important that day: Umber had no reason for keeping them around. He made them just because he could and once they were old enough, he was going to let the loose without any purpose. I thought, **** that, these kids are as dangerous as I am and they’re still learning. But I’m a loner; nobody works with me, nobody gets near me, I just use my skills for the money. But the only one I could think of that would have any use for three unnatural ninjas was Ghetsis, so I brought them over to him and said, here, take these spooks and make good use of them. And he was happy to get them; apparently he’d been taking in other kids for one reason or another. Probably this Team Plasma ****. He even had a couple of teenage girls who seemed to be slaves for him. Hardly heard a peep out of those two girls, but they were utterly polite and obedient to him that it was disgusting. I never cared to learn more about them.”

    “And you thought Ghetsis would be a good caretaker for your kids?” Hilbert asked, not understanding why anyone would think that.

    From his shrug, Takumi clearly didn’t care. “Because he would make good use of their skills, I told you that. Anybody else would have thought them damaged or whatever and tried to use therapy on them. It would’ve backfired spectacularly, but I know it’s better to have a good purpose than to get what you people think is help. Ghetsis only cared about how useful someone was to him. He even had me kill one of his girlfriends when she tried to take their sons away.”

    “You killed her?” Hilbert snapped. If this man wasn’t going to be killed by the government in a matter of days, then he might have taken the matter into his own hands.

    Takumi smiled at that; maybe he thought that reaction was worth speaking freely about. “So you are one of those boys. Don’t let it get to you. I didn’t know that woman beyond seeing that she was a sappy weakling. Ghetsis called me to come with him when he went after her, saying that he wasn’t a violent man but she had to be gotten rid of. Although it's more like he didn't want to get his own hands dirty with murder and theft. But he did make her apologize and say that she loved him before he had me kill her. Then we dumped the both of you in separate parts of the woods, although he had me keep an eye on one of you, maybe even you, to make sure that a particular person picked you up. I thought it was too complicated, but as it turned out, he was very calculating, as he is in many other things.”

    This prisoner was now one of his few hated people, but Hilbert did his best to keep that down. He clearly liked getting a rise out of people. And the truth had been asked for. “Then what connections do you have with Team Plasma?”

    He watched Hilbert for a moment, possibly wondering how to get him to lash out again. “I did a few jobs for them. Or more particularly, Ghetsis. He told me to steer clear of the public leader, so I don’t know much about N other than he sounds like a real dimwit with a soft heart and inhuman thoughts. That’s how Ghetsis talks about him, but the guy must be useful or he would have been rid of him by now. Actually, I’m in here because my last job was for him.”

    “What was that?” Hilbert asked.

    “He had the Shadow Triad busy in Unova, so he asked me to go over to Sinnoh and get a hold of three artifacts for him: the Lustrous Orb, the Adamant Orb, and the Griseous Orb. They have something to do with legendary Pokemon and each was being held by a different Trainer. But they were all kids, younger than you. I got two away fairly easily, but when I went after the Adamant Orb, a stroke of bad luck got me. To get away with it, I had to attack the kid and a couple of his Pokemon. I got the three orbs back to Ghetsis, but then an old client squealed on me and the police here caught me. I got tried for the attack on the kid and the Pokemon, as well as a large number of other attacks and deaths I’ve carried out for others. I never killed anyone unless someone was paying me for it, but that don’t matter to most people.”

    “That doesn’t excuse murder,” Hilbert said.

    Takumi shrugged. “That’s what everyone says until they want someone dead. Then they talk to me. But that was pretty much it. I knew Umber and Ghetsis because I did business with them, nothing more. And they were both reliable clients, always paying me well for the work. I can’t see how those two can work together for long, though. They both hate being out of control in any situation. Sooner or later, one of them is going to destroy the other as a rival threat.”

    Hilbert asked a few more questions, but Takumi insisted that he didn’t know much else useful. The prison guard wanted to have a statement from Hilbert about a few things they talked about, mostly the revelation about the death of Stacy Gropius and the connection Takumi had to Ghetsis. Then he left.

    And wanted to punch something. “Was that the truth or was he messing with me?” He didn’t really expect an answer, since Reshiram didn’t talk to him a lot like this.

    But there was a response. ‘That was him being honest.’

    “At least he’ll be dead in a few days,” Hilbert said, rubbing his forehead. “But that still leaves Ghetsis and Umber still out there, somewhere.” Then he turned to the stone. “Are you coming closer to waking up? I haven't heard you talk since the crowning.”

    The fire swirled around the horizontal center of the sphere. 'You didn't like what you were told in what he said about your mother's death. While you didn't accept it at face value, you accepted that it could be true. And on being told that it was true, you aren't trying to deny it. With this, our bond grows and I can communicate even in this state.'

    He nodded. “I see. I can't bring Ghetsis to justice if I ignore the truth. But what does it mean for N? He fought against us, but then let us keep our Pokemon when he won.”

    'I wouldn't betray a person's secrets unless it is more dangerous to remain hidden,' Reshiram said. 'Truth can be used to destroy others, yet I feel that's not what you want. Since you are concerned for him, we should wait. You could attempt to call on me now, but that would further divide you both.'

    Hilbert could imagine that happening. What connection they had now was as brothers, friends, and even non-serious rivals. But if he were to call on Reshiram now, N might interpret that as a threat and a challenge. That would turn into a serious rivalry, with them both in command of dragons that could each destroy a good part of Unova. Not to mention, the Shadow Triad seemed to have no qualms in doing as N ordered.

    -+-

    “Are you still drinking? It’s a wonder that hasn’t killed you yet.”

    Umber stopped walking and turned to glower at the one speaking to him. But the blond man just smiled smugly at him. He wasn’t dressed like any of the Team Plasma members. “Colress?” he said, having taken a few seconds to recognize him. “What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you in years.”

    “Ghetsis asked to see me, that’s all,” he said, glancing around the room. “The operations here are quite interesting, so I asked to stay for a bit and poke around. When he told me how you were working down here, well I couldn’t resist coming to see how you were doing. Poorly, it seems.”

    “What the heck are you taking about, poorly,” Umber growled, taking a seat at one of the computers and taking another drink before starting up some programs. “I’ll have you know that I succeeded in the legendary experiment. Brought Keldeo down several pegs and created my own legendary Pokemon. Plus some gijinkas that are more powerful than anything you could have put together.”

    “Well sorry if I wasn’t as interested in modifying genetics,” Colress said in that irritatingly dismissive tone he had when apologizing. “I’ve been looking more into other mysteries about Pokemon. So you’ve got immortality down, huh? Can you change a mortal person into an immortal yet?”

    “No,” Umber said, scowling at the screen as he entered in his password. “But I’m working on it. It’s a hard thing to test without a large supply of subjects and the ability to definitely remove immortality once it appears. And what are you doing?”

    “Just watching,” he said with a smile. He tapped the blue glasses he was wearing.

    “That makes you look even more like a smug dandy,” he retorted.

    “And you’re still a thrall of alcohol, more inclined to masochism than science.” there was a few moments when neither of them said anything, with Umber checking on experiment monitoring programs and Colress did something with his handheld tablet. “I have been doing some research on this visit. Nothing big, just a bit of social science. Did you know, I could sort most everyone in Team Plasma into two groups, based on their objectives and dreams?”

    He snorted. “Social science is a waste of time. But I can tell you’re not going to leave me alone, so let’s hear it.”

    “Very accommodating of you,” he said, oozing with false sweetness. “You see, there are a number of people in here who are like Furrets It includes most of the lowest ranking knights, but goes far up the hierarchy, even to some of the Sages like Ryuko. They like being a part of the group; they’re meek and very faithful. Especially when it comes to N; one would almost think a religion is blooming around your young King. They think it’s all good and will be greatly disturbed if Ghetsis reveals his true self. But they’re here for N. They will be loyal as long as he is there.”

    “Bunch of loonies, them,” Umber said, not really wanting to agree with him.

    Colress nodded. “Possibly. But the other group, they’re like Raticates. They like the darker side of Plasma even if they don’t admit it. They’re here because it allows them to express what they would otherwise suppress: being able to steal Pokemon from others for a reason they see as good, going against the established authority, causing trouble in the name of ideals. They’re not entirely loyal, though. If the group starts to fall apart or show signs of defeat, they’ll be the first ones to bail. But they’re not without use. They’ll be willing to go farther in the name of Plasma, do more violent and nefarious deeds if asked. You just need the right price or motivation to get them to do it, while the Furrets would balk at the thought of turning more violent.”

    “You’re not a part of this, so how would this be useful to you?” Umber asked.

    “I really have no idea,” he admitted. “But it is something to think about. As is giving up your dependence on that junk.” He flipped his hand into the bottle, almost tipping it onto the keyboard. “I’ve seen your recent reports. You are straying further and further from true science with the passing of time.”

    “Leave me alone, you ingrate,” Umber said, pounding his fist on the table. “I taught you and you used that to steal a big grant from under my nose. I don’t care about the rest of these people, whether they’re loyal or not. I do know that your loyalty holds as much weight as a wet paper towel, so get out of my sight.”

    “If that’s what you want, professor,” Colress said in exaggerated politeness. He walked away, only to come back a couple of minutes later. “Oh, Umber, there is one thing I forgot to say.”

    “What?” he said, glaring.

    He just smiled brightly at him and tapped his glasses again. “I have a camera attached to this, and I have now changed the password to your personal network.”

    “What?!” He looked back at the screen, only to see that he had been kicked off. Umber grabbed the bottle; it was glass and he couldn’t wait to smash it against that smug pretty face.

    But a black gloved hand grasped his shoulder firmly and shoved him back in his chair.

    “That’s actually what Ghetsis asked me to come do, find out your password,” Colress said. “Don’t know why he couldn’t do it himself, but maybe you were more guarded around him. I’ve just checked and made sure that I could access everything. You really haven’t changed all that much, have you? Now that Ghetsis has everything he wants from you, I believe he intends to let you go from the team.” He smiled wider. “If you know what I’m saying.”

    -+-

    N was back at Skyla's Gym. He didn't really want to return here, but an opportunity had come up. Later today, he had a scheduled battle against Brycen. Now, Hilda was battling Skyla and the Shadow Triad had brought him to the Gym to watch. They were in an alcove far above the Gym floor, where they could observe what was going on without being seen. Not that being seen was a big problem. Anyone around the Gym was too eager to see Hilda fight to pay attention to who else was watching.

    Hilda was doing much better in this battle than N had done against Skyla. Given the difficult fight she had given him in Chargestone Cavern, it was no surprise. It was only because his friends were determined to help him succeed that he won. Although, it was because her friends were equally determined that the battle had been so hard in the first place. But here, Skyla was using a six Pokemon team, and Hilda was still doing well. She wasn't even relying on Kyurem. Instead, she brought out Mimi every time Skyla brought out a new Pokemon. The Cinccino would put the Pokemon to sleep, then Hilda would bring out one of her others to make a better attack. Or leave Mimi out, which she did against the Swanna.

    On the last (and sixth) Pokemon, she did bring out Kyurem and had him use a move called Glaciate. It was a terrifying move to watch, making N shudder as Skyla's Sigilyph fell to it. For this attack, Kyurem froze the very air around him into ice spears that seemed almost as long as N was tall, threw them at the target, then used the spears to freeze the target solid for a moment. He didn't even seem to be putting a lot of effort into it, doing a dragon equivalent of flicking a wrist to knock the Sigilyph out in one blow. He must have learned it recently, since the fight in Chargestone.

    Watching this, N felt concerned about that battle. Not Hilda, but Hilbert. His Rufflet and Lampent were quite strong, almost equals to the others. But his Larvesta and Alomomola were glaringly behind the rest. What levels were they at? The Alomomola Loch had only managed a Protect, and then a Heal Beam in attempt to help Hilda's Serperior. The Larvesta Ember's strongest attack was apparently the reckless Take Down. Yet in what little he had seen of the four, they were devoted to Hilbert. They just weren't strong enough, leaving an unequal balance of power between the two brothers.

    This bothered N greatly and he wasn't sure why. When they called on Zekrom and Reshiram, the twin dragons would be of equal levels. But the rest of their teams would be unequal and N doubted Hilbert's other Pokemon could catch up in time unless he had lots of Rare Candies around. Eventually they would battle for their beliefs, much like the heroes of history had done. As it was, Hilbert stood a strong chance of losing that most important battle.

    But that was good. Wasn't it? Because that would mean that his ideals would win out and people would have to let their Pokemon go. The Pokemon could live free from harm and fear, and humans could start relying on themselves instead of others. That was what he wanted. But then why did he feel like he didn't want that to happen?

    No, no... he shouldn't even be thinking like that. That was what his penance had been about, banishing that kind of internal treachery. Why was he still paying attention to it? It had to go, along with the rest of his feelings, until he managed to succeed at his life-long quest. Then he could figure out all this confusing stuff. He could attempt to stall until Hilbert's Pokemon were ready to fight on equal terms. But they couldn't delay. It had been far too long already that the corruption had gone on.

    One of the Shadow Triad snapped her fingers. “My Lord? If you mean to catch her, we need to go now.”

    N looked down at where Skyla was congratulating Hilda with a clapping of their hands... or was that what some kid was calling a high five? “Right. Let's wait outside.”

    It didn't take long after teleporting outside that Hilda came out of the hanger in a cheerful mood, followed by Kyurem. “Have you been considering what it is you value?” N asked, making sure to be noticed.

    She spun around to face him... and grinned. “Oh, hi N! Being more sociable, huh? It's better to start out with a greeting, remember? You were pretty good about it at first.”

    He found himself fighting to keep to a stoic smile, not a glad one. It wasn't appropriate to feel happy that she was still being friendly to him... no, keep that away. That kind of confusion was for sorting out later. “You're not answering the question. And why are you happy to see me, after I beat you before?”

    As he might have expected, she jumped on that spontaneous question while ignoring the more important one. “Why shouldn't I be? You agreed to let us keep our Pokemon even though we lost. Thanks for that! I know that you're not a bad guy at heart. Really, you don't have the right attitude to be one.”

    “It was a moment of weakness,” he said, tensing. “It won't happen again. Now if you're not going to cooperate, I’ll ask about the other thing I had in mind. I'd like to speak with Frank again, so would you let him out?”

    She laughed. “Come to check up with your spy, huh? Don't worry, I haven't forgotten why I have him.” She brought out a potion to heal him up, then released the Gothitelle. “Hey Frank, N has something to talk with you about. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.”

    “As if I'm ever,” Frank said, turning around and putting a finger to his cheek. “What's up? Have any more luck picking up girls?”

    “That's not important,” N said firmly.

    The Pokemon gave him a look of pity. “Oh, that's a shame.”

    Right, he was like that. “What's it been like working with Hilda? And what do you think of her?”

    “Is that all?” he asked, tilting his head. “I think it's been great. It's a whole lot of fun and she works out with us whenever she can. It's not like other Trainers who will just sit back and call orders. No, she'll get into some rough and tumble with us, and call on us to take a break if she thinks we're getting tired. And this has got to be the best team I've ever worked with. It's so much fun to talk trash with Fedora and Tarzan, and Olette is such a sweet lady that she helps everyone get along. Mimi's a ditz, but she always means well and can be entertaining. And it's terrific being about to tease Kyurem freely. Oh, and don't worry so much about Hilbert being a rival for Hilda's affections. She's trying to ignore romantic advances from both of you equally, so you have just as much chance as he does still. But I’d keep an eye on dragon boy over there, because he won't admit to having a crush on her.”

    “I don't think that's what he asked about,” Kyurem said, doing his best to be indifferent.

    N tried to ignore anything about romance, especially that odd part about Kyurem. “Right, it wasn't important. So you're all good friends and she is very involved with you all.”

    Frank nodded. “Exactly. If I had the choice to go with any Trainer I've had, I’d stick with Hilda. No offense to you, but her values match up with mine pretty well. She might not be the most dedicated Trainer out there, but I never have a doubt that she cares about me and the others. And, she's more fun to be around than most humans I've met over my travels. I try to give her trouble on principle, but when it gets down to it, she has my respect and loyalty. Friendship too. Even if it comes down to the law making all of us Pokemon be released from Pokeballs, I don't care. I'll stay with her because I want to.”

    “You certainly seem happy,” N said. A brief rebellious thought wondered why he couldn't be happy with pursuing his dreams, but he quickly shut it out. “But if all of you really want to keep that as your ideals, then you need to defend them stronger. We're down to waiting on Dragonspiral Tower to thaw out and that isn't too far away.”

    “We're going to be prepared,” Hilda said with a smirk. “Oh, and you probably shouldn't smile if you're not feeling happy. It comes off as really creepy the way you're smiling now when your eyes look half-dead with stress.”

    “I'm fine,” he said, although the phrase had nearly lost its meaning to him. He'd been saying it so much to stave off the worry of others. “Consider your own inconsistencies before you point out mine.” Then he walked off to the south.

    Once he was past the nearest airplane, the Shadow Triad reappeared to take him back to Icirrus. Dragonspiral Tower still glistened with ice as the sun hit it. But the large spikes had crumbled and the lake was close to breaking free of its icy prison. It wouldn't be long before they could enter safely.

    And then maybe he'd find a real reason to smile.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 3rd December 2012 at 1:04 AM.
    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.

  6. #331
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    COLRESS <3

    You did a pretty good job making him neutral, like he is in the games.

  7. #332
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    Realized a plot hole in the last chapter, eek! Not much, just need to delete a line. I should get back to the last few chapters and give them their proper dates too.


    Chapter 52: The Final Badge


    It took Hilda two days to get through Twist Mountain. The dirt paths were slick with mud, treacherous enough that most of the miners had not yet returned from their winter break. As for the few left behind, they were willing to take a break and battle her. There wasn't a lot they could do until they could start moving equipment around, so they were scouting out tunnels to see how the winter had changed things.

    Once in Icirrus, it was back to the grind of training. Not just to defeat Brycen and get her eighth Badge, but to build her team up in any way she could to better match N's team. Hilbert was training in this area too, checking on the Tower every evening. Sometimes, he seemed to be in a really bad mood, angered over something. But he calmed down as time passed on.

    On the evening of the twenty-seventh of April, she met him by the lake where Dragonspiral Tower stood. The lake ice had all broken up now, leaving a chilly rippling surface. But on the tower itself, some icicles and chunks of ice remained. As she watched, a piece on the second story shifted, then fell off and crashed onto the water. Underneath it all was a mysterious stone tower of black, white, and gray stones.

    “It's almost cleared up,” Hilda said as she came up with Kyurem. “Find a way in yet, Hilbert?”

    He glanced at her. “Oh, evening Hilda.” He looked back at the tower and shook his head. “Haven't figured that out yet. I've heard a few things from Reshiram lately, but he won't answer about this one.”

    “That's not surprising,” Kyurem said. “The way will become clear.”

    Hilbert waved his hand through the air. “What I wish would become clear is the air around here. You can't see it, but time distortions are numerous in this place. They're evading me for now, or giving me visions into other worlds that aren't really useful here. At least I don't see the use for them.”

    “Time distortions?” Hilda asked. But as he said, she didn't see anything aside from the weakening ice and the mysterious tower. “Maybe it's because of Rei here. I mean, we figure that his presence combined with the present Kyurem made the winter harder than normal, and froze up this tower.”

    Hilbert reached over to Kyurem, but stopped when he gave him a look. “I can see the time distortions around him easier here. I've seen such distortions in a few other places, but not as many as are here.”

    “Maybe this place is just that important, that events filter in from other worlds,” Hilda suggested.

    “It might also be that the important event that drove me here occurred at this place,” Kyurem said. “If that's so, then they will remain as long as I am here.”

    Hilda teasingly nudged Hilbert. “Hey, maybe you are a demimortal to whatever legendary Pokemon is in charge of the multiverse and that's why you see into them.”

    “I doubt that,” he said, smiling.

    “Well since you're in a good mood,” she said, making it sound like a threat, “mind telling me what you've been so furious about? Not openly, just there's something bubbling under the surface waiting to lash out and we'd rather that not happen.”

    “Right, right,” he said, turning more serious. Then he told her about what he'd learned from Takumi, the one who had actually killed his mother.

    Hilda listened through it. “He sounds like a nutcase, fitting in with the rest of that group,” she said when he seemed finished.

    “Really,” he said, nodding in agreement. “Him and Umber, and Ghetsis... they don't care about anything but themselves and power. Maybe seeing others suffer. Bad thing is, N's looking for corruption in the world and doesn't realize that it's in people like them.”

    “Well that ninja guy is taken care of, so all we got to worry about is Umber and Ghetsis,” Hilda said, crossing her arms over her chest. “And I heard something interesting from Professor Juniper: someone has released some of the papers Umber wrote about his experiments.”

    “Like his study into immortality?” Hilbert asked, concerned. “Because if that gets out, there's a lot that could go wrong.”

    She shook her head. “Not that one, at least not what she said. Mostly into the gijinka project. It's still only in scientific circles, but sooner or later the news is going to break out to the general public, about people like you and N, and Elesa and all them. It's enough that the police have started a serious investigation into finding him. Although if they release something that links Umber to Team Plasma, N could get in serious trouble.”

    “I'm sure he has no idea what Umber's doing,” he said. “Or else N would have kicked him out. But, that's all out of my hands now. It made me so mad to learn about it, listening to that sociopathic freak. I shouldn't let it get to me. It's just, as I keep learning things, and then stuff like Chargestone Cavern happens... well I don't know what I can really do about it. I tried talking to N, but he's clammed up tight now, thinking that if he focuses on awakening Zekrom and getting the separation made real, then he can deal with his problems later.”

    “That's not going to turn out good,” Hilda said, worried. “His mind is changing, but he's not accepting that. I'm getting annoyed at it too, since he seems to be swapping between extremes so much. I know he has problems, but geez, it's like talking to a robot; you have no idea what affect your words are having.”

    Hilbert kicked at a small rock. “I know. Sometimes Reshiram talks to me, so I think I can awaken him. The rest of my team... well, Regal and Madeline might be able to help, but Loch and Ember aren't even a year old, and quite a ways behind. I don't want to push them too hard when they're so young, because they might turn difficult to handle when they're older. Even if we don't consider that, my team is unbalanced. But they've all become important to me and I don't want to let them go like I did the rest. And with following the legends, I'm sure he's going to insist on battling me. Maybe I can convince him to just duel Reshiram and Zekrom... but I don't know.”

    “Don't a lot of the stories that talk about them fighting end up in the destruction of Unova?” Hilda asked. “Or having to stop the battle so that doesn't happen.”

    “All things being equal, a battle between them will always be a draw,” Kyurem said. “Neither has a strong advantage over the other. Collateral damage is a high possibility.”

    From the sounds of it, Hilbert was still affected by that last battle with N too. That couldn't be allowed. Hilda put her hands on her hips. “But a duel like that with Hilbert and N won't end in a draw.”

    “What makes you think that?” Hilbert asked, looking confused.

    She smiled at him. “If you can talk him down to a dragon duel, you have a better chance of winning. After all, what are you fighting for? You want to prevent the separation of humans and Pokemon. He says he wants to separate them. But, he has doubts about that. He let us keep ours, for one. They're affected greatly by the beliefs of their partners, right? So because you have no doubts, Reshiram will be stronger.”

    Hilbert rubbed his chin, starting to pace around in thought. “You think so? And according to the legends, they used to be one Pokemon until a conflict in beliefs had them split into two. Or three, if we include Kyurem. That might be... although I wouldn't say that I’m without doubts.”

    “But on the main conflict, you are certain about that?” Kyurem asked.

    “Yes, I am,” he said.

    Possibly picking up on her plot, he told him, “Then don't worry about it. Keep trying to reach N and weaken his position, and keep working on forging a strong bond with Reshiram.”

    Hilda slapped Hilbert on the shoulder. “Right! And you have back-up in us. If you can't talk sense into N, then we'll kick it into him.”

    He laughed. “I see. Thanks.” Then he looked back to the path that led to Icirrus. Someone was coming their way.

    It turned out to be Brycen; a white scarf wrapped around his head like a mask, leaving a wide opening for his eyes. “Good evening,” he said calmly. “Lucky that I've found you, Hilda; I was considering making calls to get your contact number.”

    “Oh, does the League have news to pass along?” she asked, turning to him.

    He shrugged. “Not much. Team Plasma has gotten more aggressive, but so have police efforts against them. No, I wanted to talk with you about the Gym battle. You want to keep up with N; he has only one badge left to get as well, and Plasma has been saying they intend to come here,” he pointed to the tower, “in early May. Not only that, but people all over the region are eager to see your last Gym battle. We need to discuss a time to bring in the Battle Show crew in, but still give you time to try again if needed.”

    Hilda grinned. “Oh, that's very thoughtful of you. Although I don't think I’ll need more than one try.”

    Giving her a smirk, Brycen said, “Don't get cocky; that's when you'll fail. But that does seem to be one of the qualities people like about you. April 29th, at 7 PM. That seems like an appropriate time. Since this is your eighth badge, you will need to defeat at least six of my Gym Trainers before that time to be eligible for the challenge.

    She nodded. “Gotcha. Well that sounds good to me too. I'll meet you in battle then.”

    “Looking forward to it,” he said, giving her a respectful salute. Then he walked ahead to follow the shore of the lake.

    “That gives you two days to defeat the Gym Trainers, so that should be easy,” Hilbert said.

    “Well I'd better do some more training in the moors just in case,” Hilda said. She gave a wink. “Because if my fans are going to be watching, I'd better be ready to impress.”

    -+-

    April 29
    Icirrus Gym

    The inside of Icirrus Gym was like a huge cave walled with ice and snow. The ice floors were extremely slick, enough so that it took careful balance and attentiveness to cross the slippery platforms. And there were multiple platforms, connected by stairs and slides that seemed to be constructed out of snow. Bright light filled the whole place. If there wasn't a roof overhead, one might think one was outside on a clear day after a snowstorm.

    Due to the airy design, there weren't many places for an in-gym audience to be. Still, there was quite a crowd tonight. Brycen had quietly added the battle to the schedule on his Gym's webpage, yet the news had spread like wildfire. He was a movie star who had retired to run the Gym, and she was now a star with the Pokemon League. This would certainly be one of the most watched live matches of the year, even if it was only April.

    Hilda had opted to wear the orange and black uniform of an Ace Trainer. It was something that could be easily be mimicked, but after some pestering of people online, she was able to buy an official Ace jacket that she could pin her current Gym Badges on. Normally, there was a battle test in order to join the organization and buy their gear, but they agreed that earning three Gym badges in one month, and high level badges at that, was suitable as proof of her eligibility (although the guy she had talked to had warned her that they could spring the test on her 'unexpectedly' now). It was a widely-recognized achievement to be part of the Ace Trainers, enough to get respect anywhere. So, it seemed appropriate for her final Gym challenge.

    Because it was a live filming of the Battle Show, they had to work with the show announcers. Brycen was quiet for much of the introductions, simply nodding when he was named. He stood in front of a grouping of icicles that disguised a path to the back area of the Gym. In the center of the platform, Hilda was excited as usual. “We've been gearing up for this battle all week, and we're ready to roll!” she said to the announcer, pumping her fist in the air. The small live audience cheered in approval.

    “Excellent!” the announcer said. “So then, we will give the stage over to the coolest star of the Pokemon League, the one and only, Brycen!” He stepped back.

    Brycen beckoned her forward, then walked up to greet her with a handshake. “The time has come for your last challenge before you can embark on Victory Road itself. You've already said that you're ready, but there is something we must take care of first.”

    Hilda raised her eyebrows. This was unexpected. “Is there?”

    Nodding, he stepped back. “You managed to draw attention to yourself in your very first Gym battle, when you made the audacious move to challenge all three of the Striaton leaders at once. There are many who have been following your progress through the Unova Pokemon League ever since. But, there is one battle that they missed out on. The Battle Subway records show that you defeated Iris outside of Nimbasa City, but that one was not taped.”

    “We were out at night on a quiet route, so there wasn't anyone or anything to record with,” she said. But it made her wonder and guess at what he was plotting.

    “True,” he agreed. “But you have been seeking out greater challenges and it is a shame that people had to miss out on that battle. I've decided that this battle will be fought as a Doubles match. You will have only yourself and your team, but my partner,” he gestured to the side, “will be the Opelucid Gym Leader Drayden.”

    And then Drayden stepped out from behind the group of icicles there, dressed in his usual light clothes and showing no discomfort at being in the middle of a icy Gym. He spoke in a gruff tone. “You didn't think I was really going to let you get away without a fight, did you?”

    Brycen and Drayden, recognized as two of the toughest Gym Leaders in Unova... Hilda grinned. “Now that's more like it!” she called, pointing to them. “You're going down, suckers!”

    “I told you, don't get cocky,” Brycen said, tapping his nose. “Now, all participants declare your Pokemon. I have three.”

    “Three here as well,” Drayden said.

    “I have six,” Hilda said.

    “With that, Hilda, you need to show your Pokemon at their best tonight. Begin!” Brycen released a Vanilluxe while Drayden sent out a Fraxure.

    Ice and Dragon. Hilda quickly picked out two Pokeballs and sent out Tarzan and Frank. “Frank, cut off their supply, and Tarzan, knock that cone out of the sky.”

    The Gothitelle nodded and used Embargo against the Gym Leaders' team. Hilda had learned from Skyla that high level Gym challenges allowed them to use high-level healing items, which was a huge pain when the Pokemon were tough. Tarzan had the Vanilluxe down before it could use Blizzard, but the Fraxure swiped at the Scrafty with his tail, somehow forcing him to return to his Pokeball and pulling a random Pokemon out. It was Olette.

    Time to take a chance. “Earthquake, and Frank hit the dragon with Psychic,” she ordered.

    Olette brought her claws up, but it would take her a moment to use her attack. Frank used his mental attack against the Fraxure, making the air around it warp with his power. In the meantime, Brycen brought out a Cryogonal. It turned out to have Levitate, which made Olette's Earthquake worthless against it, a shame when Frank got hit by it too. But her attack did knock out the Fraxure while it was trying to raise its attack with Dragon Dance.

    “Frank, again against the Cryogonal; Olette, you're back,” Hilda called, pulling Olette out of the fight. If it was just Drayden, she'd be just fine, but Brycen made this no match for her to be in long. She brought back out Tarzan as Drayden brought in a Druddigon. The Scrafty immediately got hit with an Ice Beam from the Cryogonal, which managed to freeze him in place.

    A mess of bad luck, although balanced out because Frank knocked out the Cryogonal. Hilda had him attack again, this time the Druddigon as the Embargo would still be in place. She then used an Ice Heal on Tarzan to get him back into the match. That didn't last long, though, as the Druddgion used the tail attack to return him once again.

    But this time, the switch forced Kyurem out. Brycen was down to his last Pokemon, a Beartic. “Get that other Dragon down, Rei!” Hilda called. “Frank, make sure the Embargo stays.”

    The Druddigon manged to strike Frank with Night Slash, knocking him out before he could use Embargo again. Then Kyurem knocked him out, only to get hit with Swagger from the Beartic. That could cause a lot of trouble. But, she already had to bring out a new Pokemon. She decided on Mimi as Drayden brought out a Haxorus.

    “Kyurem, Mimi, Draco Meteor for both of you!” Hilda ordered. Now to hope that Kyurem stayed with his senses enough to attack the other side.

    The Cinccino hopped up in excitement and struck the Beartic with her attack. While it didn't knock it out, there was a definite pause of confusion from Brycen on seeing that. Kyurem growled and struck the Haxorus with his meteor, knocking it out. The Beartic slashed at Kyurem, striking hard but not knocking him out.

    But it was one opponent left and Mimi was quicker. “Okay Mimi, finish it off with Tail Slap. You can do it!” She held off on giving Kyurem an order.

    Mimi cheered in excitement and ran over to strike with her tail. The Beartic was ready to slash, but she was nimble, avoiding his claws while hitting five times in a row. Once the Beartic disappeared in defeat, Hilda recalled Kyurem to make sure that he didn't try to throw Glaciate at the audience in confusion.

    Not knowing that close call, the audience burst into applause and whistles. Mimi twirled around on the platform before running over to Hilda and raising her paws up for a hug. She was a little heavy now to pick up, but Hilda gave her the hug she wanted. “Nice finish,” she said.

    Brycen raised a hand, quieting the audience. Then he came forward with Drayden to meet with her. “Excellent teamwork,” he said as she got back up. “You've met with every challenge we've asked of you with style and cheer, so let's give you the last badge you need to finish off that collection. Here is the Icicle Badge.” He then passed over a light blue and gold medal.

    “Thanks, it was a real blast,” she said, taking it. “My Pokemon are the best!” She tweaked Mimi's ear as she said it.

    “Cii chi!” Mimi squealed, happy to have helped.

    “You've all done a great job,” Drayden said. “We'll be looking forward to seeing how you fare on Victory Road.”

    After all the excitement after her win, in talking to the leaders, the audience members, and the interviewer from the battle show, Hilda brought her team out for an evening snack by the large windmill. “You've all done so well,” she told them. “I love you guys! I'm sure we can go anywhere we want and be perfectly fine.”

    Most of them seemed happy to hear this, but Kyurem was serious as usual. He said, “Now that you have all eight badges, you know what we're going to be doing.”

    “Getting ready to take the Championship?” Hilda asked, smiling.

    “Going back to your home in Nuvema and staying there for the next week,” Kyurem replied. “That's the job I came here to do, make sure you are safe and that you don't die. This is exactly when we need to be most careful, so we're going home.”

    “Auuu chu ci da?” Mimi asked, either sad to hear that or not wanting to stop what they were doing.

    “It's what must be done,” Kyurem said.

    Hilda sighed. “Well geez, I didn't expect to be a homebody so close to the end. But if that's your duty, I'd better not make it more difficult on you. We'll go back home.”

    -+-

    May 1
    Nuvema Town

    Back at home, Hilda helped her mother around the house for a few days, letting her Pokemon take a break as well. Kyurem wasn’t taking a break, continually keeping an eye out in case trouble decided to come find them. Bianca came over a few times to visit and it seemed like she had returned to her old life at times.

    One day, Alder surprised them by showing up at their door. “I don’t mean to be a bother, but I wanted to check up on you.”

    “That’s fine,” Hilda said, opening the door for him. “Come in and visit for a little while if you want. Mom and I were just going to watch N challenge Drayden and Iris.”

    “I wouldn’t mind sticking around for that, thanks,” he said, coming in. “I went back on duty, but there haven’t been many who’ve showed up with a decent chance at winning. Nobody’s made it past the Elites in the past month.”

    “Well now you’ve got two of us to worry about,” she said teasingly. “Mom, Alder’s going to visit for a little while.”

    “Why, hello,” Leslie said, smiling and coming into the room. “Isn’t every day that the League Champion just drops in.”

    He chuckled at that. “Got to keep an eye on the competition from younger folks, don’t I?”

    The battle show wasn’t starting for a few minutes, so they talked while Kyurem stayed watchful. “How are things going with Team Plasma?” Hilda asked.

    “They’re being as noisy as always,” Alder said. “But a number of them have been seen around Icirrus and Dragonspiral Tower. When I saw it this morning, I couldn’t find any ice on it. They’re likely to make their move there any time now. So what are you doing hiding out way over here? We were expecting to see you at the gates.”

    “Apparently I’m supposed to die in the next few days,” Hilda said, letting them know by her tone that she wasn't worried much about it. “Obviously we don’t want that to happen, so I’m staying out of the fire for a little while. But we’ll be up there sometime in May, you can count on that.”

    “Well that’s a good reason to hide,” he said. “Don’t get lazy in the meantime.”

    “Nah, my Mom keeps me busy.”

    When the show came on, they went straight to Opelucid Gym. As with the time they had filmed in Castelia, there were three matches planned for that time slot. N was the highest level challenger; his match was to come last. Iris was the one on the job today, defeating her first challenger and barely losing to the second. Then N came on.

    Even over the broadcast, Hilda could tell that he was annoyed at being filmed like this. His body was tense and he spoke in a slow (for him) and stern manner. “Can we not make a big production out of this travesty?” he asked. “A battle is not something to be celebrated.”

    “You want to honor the Pokemon that fight with you, right?” Iris asked. “But if you don't want a fuss, we’ll start the battle now. Let’s see how well you’ve trained your Pokemon!” She then started off, like Drayden, with a Fraxure.

    “He really doesn’t like this, but his Pokemon still work hard to help him,” Alder said. “You’d think that they would be a strong argument against his crusade, since they are so close to him.”

    “Especially this group,” Hilda said. “But they might be, in their own way.”

    “So are your Pokemon ready for what’s to come?”

    Hilda smiled. “Of course. They’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs.”

    -+-

    May 3
    Dragonspiral Tower

    N’s heart was pounding. The time that he had been waiting for, preparing for, for his whole life… it was that time. He stood in front of the lake Dragonspiral Tower sat in, dressed in his formal black clothes and surrounded by his devoted Plasma followers. Beside him, the Dark Stone was floating. She had started speaking to him after he had won the Legend Badge from Iris. Nothing much, just telling him to do what he felt was right. Hearing Zekrom’s voice was reassuring.

    Other than last-minute nerves, he didn’t let himself feel much. There were many thoughts that tried to distract him or sway him from his purpose, but he’d closed them off. On the other hand, he wasn’t excited, not like he had been prior to his coronation as the Black King. It was disappointing to not feel those positive emotions either. But if pushing them aside kept the negative ones from surfacing, then that was a sacrifice that he had to make.

    “I’m going,” he said, before one of the Sages broke the moment of silence that had come over them on seeing the awe-inspiring (or what should be awe-inspiring) sight. “I’ll come back with Zekrom at my side. Make sure that our enemies don’t disrupt this ceremony.”

    “As you wish,” Ghetsis said.

    N nodded, then walked closer to the lake. At that point, he heard Zekrom again. “Don’t be afraid. Just keep walking straight ahead, into the tower.”

    Straight ahead… through the lake? But if that’s what he had to do, that’s what had to be done. N didn’t slow his pace and he stepped off the land, and on top of the water. That was briefly surprising, but if Zekrom said not to fear, it was simply the way to go. N walked across the lake and up to the closed off tower. They had never found an entrance. Instead, he walked straight through the wall.

    It gave no resistance, just an illusion like some of the things he had seen Zane do with his powers. Or maybe it was a part of the test. The old texts said that those unworthy of being heroes would not be able to make it inside. The unworthy must find the entrance to be as solid as stone, unpassable to their corrupt hearts.

    Inside, there was a stone pathway over sparkling blue water. Further down seemed to be the foundations of this place, but in back there was a staircase following the curve of the wall leading upward. That was where he had to go. Thoughts and memories passed through his mind as he went on, possibly a part of the power of this place. He recalled the Pokemon that had lived with him in Sarasota Forest, hiding out from the cruelty of mankind. He remembered when he had met Ghetsis and the other Sages who worked for him. For the Pokemon that had been hurt by humans, and for the humans who agreed that it had to end, he was following in the footsteps of history.

    But, he also remembered the time he met Hilda and Hilbert. He remembered that day in the desert when he had found his twin brother, and the time that Hilda had gotten him a root beer float. There were also other people he had met on his journey, nurses, doctors, children, citizens… people who were honestly good people but still insisted on keeping Pokemon as pets, companions, and battle partners. How would they handle the great changes to come?

    But he had already decided. N did not let himself linger long on those memories and continued climbing the tower. This wasn’t the time to falter; he had sorted out his thoughts before he had even entered. At least, he hoped he had. Confusion seemed to strike him so suddenly these days.

    He grew tired as he got closer, still not in top condition. But that didn’t matter. He pressed on until he reached the final floor. At that place, there were grand columns in a circle by the wall and an open archway opposite the stairs. There was no roof, just a large flat edge that could possibly be used as a perch by the legendary dragons. Overhead, there was a barely visible energy field that kept entrance from being gained from above. Maybe it even kept the rain and snow from getting inside, because there was no signs of weathering here. There was age, as a few of the columns were cracked and crumbling. But they didn’t support anything but the ledge up there, so he felt no danger being here.

    Finally. N went to the center of the room, then took hold of the Dark Stone and put it in front of him. “It’s time. I thought I might feel joy at having the opportunity to prove my beliefs. But that is still elusive.” He paused. When she didn’t reply, he said, “Then let’s begin. Zekrom, the bearer of ideals and the guardian of the land of Unova, I am Natural Harmonia Gropius, and I have come here to bring the world into a better state where the ideal is made reality. I am seeking equality between humans and Pokemon. Since the inequality is so great, I want to see both sides separated to realize how much they need to respect the other. Please, come to me and help make my dreams a reality.”

    A blue spark snapped off his left hand. N let the Dark Stone go. But, nothing happened.

    For a moment, he watched her, waiting. “Did I… do something wrong?” He shook his head. “We got this far. It has to work. Let me try again.”

    That did not work either.
    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.

  8. #333
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    Dun-dun-DUNN!

    Plot twist!

    ...but if he can hear Zekrom, why can't he release him?
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

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  9. #334
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    I bet that even though his heart isn't corrupt, it's still torn between what he's experienced and what he believes in. There's still a noticeable struggle, especially when he comes into contact with Hilda.

    His heart is purely truth and ideals, but that's the issue: It's not fully idealistic. IMO, he hasn't let go of the 'truth' he saw in the world and experienced with Hilda and Hilbert, and that's preventing him from fully regarding his 'ideals' and thus accepting Zekrom.

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    Hi Ysavvryl, I've only just started reading this awesome story (up to Chapter 9 atm), and I've really loved the humorous twist with the coffee breaks and how it breaks the 4th wall. I was hoping that with your permission, I'd be okay to use something similar in my own stories? As a writer starting out, this story really lets me know where I need to improve so thanks for that


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  11. #336
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    @GildedScizor: Sure, you can use that idea. It's really not my own; I borrowed it from other stories I've seen. I haven't been doing that much lately, mostly because I've been short on time for the past few months.

    Warning: large chapter alert! It was originally almost half this length, but I got hit with inspiration this week that ended up changing this and the following chapter. And I didn't want to give up the actual plot development, so it ended up long. See, in the sequels, you're given a gift Pokemon that belonged to N, but it's one that you never see him using.

    Actually, I really love how the canon story goes at this point. So awesome.


    Chapter 53: Visions of Another History


    May 4
    outside Dragonspiral Tower

    The afternoon sun caused the lake around the tower to sparkle with its wind driven wavelets. Normally this would have been a quiet time, with local Pokemon going for a drink, for food, or anything else of their own business. Despite how much the humans revered this place, not many came to visit on an ordinary day. But this wasn't an ordinary day, and the local Pokemon were keeping away from the lake. There was still a crowd waiting on the southern side, waiting on their leader who had entered yesterday afternoon. No one had seen or heard from him since.

    Although the humans were disrupting the local Pokemon, there was one Pokemon out in the open, flying over the surface of the water and waiting himself. With his brilliant coloration made to mark him as a significant resident of the desert, Rune stood out greatly in this wooded area. He had been taken out of N's team, as League regulations stated that teams could be at most made of six Pokemon. This didn't bother him much. After all, the Sigilyph had helped when he had first been released, and he would continue to do so now. He was waiting too, and thinking.

    This day was something to consider. When he had been patrolling the ghost town of Shira, he hadn't really thought much, lost in the memories of the old kingdom. He had heard from other Pokemon that traveling with humans changed Pokemon, but all of them assumed it simply made them stronger. Rune knew he was stronger, but he was changed in other ways. For one, he was worrying about what had happened to his friends in the tower.

    For another, he was concerned about the myriad of thoughts coming from the crowd of humans nearby. He used to not care about what others were thinking if it had nothing to do with him or his duty to serve Reshiram. It wouldn't be important to his immediate concerns. But now, most of them were worried about N too, but had faith to stay for his return. Rune felt glad that they cared about N too. However, it was those who had other thoughts that really concerned him. Some of the other thoughts were dangerous, wishing to cause harm to others. Not Rune himself, and sometimes not even towards N.

    But there was one who was slowly getting angry that N hadn't come out yet. This one was a potential firestorm in the calm patient woods, looking to disrupt the very structure of Unova. Feeling that distressed Rune and that was why he kept away from the humans, and over the water. But worse than that, the firestorm soul was the one who held great sway over the whole group, most of all over N himself. Rune felt a sense of dread of Ghetsis, one that could destroy so much that he now held dear. Before he left the desert, he wouldn't have even made such connections.

    “What should I be doing?” Rune said to himself.

    Things had been so predictable and orderly in the desert. Now it wasn't and he was confused. Maybe he wasn't as intelligent as he thought he'd been. He looked over at the crowd, wondering if he should do something about the danger. But then he noticed something different. Within the crowd, there was a Pokemon. The humans wouldn't have noticed, though, since the Zorua seemed to be a child of theirs. Only, there hadn't been any children with Team Plasma, not that Rune had noticed. That Zorua could get in trouble.

    It didn't have much to do with himself, or what he was troubled about. However, he knew N would have helped the Zorua not get in trouble. With that in mind, Rune flew over to the southern shore of the lake and spoke to the hidden Pokemon. “What are you doing here, Zorua?”

    What looked like a child with messy dark blue hair blinked at him. “I don't fool you, but I can fool everybody else,” he said proudly, without moving the lips or changing the expression of the illusion. “I came looking for my father.”

    “Oh? But, I think you will be noticed, as a child in a group of adults.”

    The Zorua wasn't impressed. “If I am noticed, it's because you're speaking to me.”

    Rune cooed; he couldn't deny that. “Even so, this isn't a group for you to be around. What makes you think your father will be here?”

    “Mother said so,” he said. “She said that father was going to work for his friend, who was going to summon one of the great dragons here. When I heard that a summoning was going to happen, I had to see it, and meet father. I came all the way here all by myself.”

    It must have been Zane's cub, not too surprising. Rune descended some. “I see. I think I know who you're talking about. Perhaps, I can take you up to meet him.”

    “Really, would you?” the Zorua said, eager enough to yip despite his illusion. The humans around them finally realized something was off about the child with them, giving the 'child' confused looks. “I want to go!”

    The Sigilyph took a deep breath. Was he doing this to help the cub? Or just to have an excuse to check on N? Humans made things complicated. “Very well. But I won't take you looking like that.”

    “Okay!” The Zorua dismissed his illusion, causing some startled gasps nearby. Quickly, Rune picked the Zorua up in his claws and flew him upwards, circling the tower to make it to the top level.

    Up there, he found trouble. He could see a barrier keeping Pokemon like himself from entering the roof from above. He could possibly fly through an archway, even though as a spiritual gate it would feel strange. However, there was a layer of ice covering the gate, bearing a black circle. “I could get in if it wasn't for that ice,” Rune said.

    “What ice?” the Zorua asked. “That gateway looks spooky to go through, but you should be able to go in.”

    Blinking his eyes, Rune shifted his focused and realized that the ice he was seeing was spiritual too. Then he laughed at himself. “Ice that I see on another level. Well, brace yourself, cub. We'll have to pass through a strong power to get in there, but I’m sure that we can.” Then he flew into the gateway.

    The physical realm and the spiritual realm met at that point, such as the space deep within Relic Castle where Rune had met with Reshiram. But for being such a small area, the power here was intense and frigid. The power of lightning and fire were also strong, but not as strong as ice. The feeling was over in seconds and they were in.

    N's other Pokemon quickly noticed them, although N himself seemed to be preoccupied, kneeling in the center of the space with his hands on the Dark Stone, speaking quietly to himself. Rune dropped the Zorua close to the floor, then flew up higher to shake his wings out to be rid of the feeling lingering from flying through the gate. Excited, the Zorua bounced over to Zane; the Zoroark had been lying on the ground, but lifted his head as the cub stood unsteadily on his back paws in front of him. “I've found you, father! I'm right, right?”

    “Say what?” Zane said, sniffing him carefully.

    “How are things going?” Rune asked Tock, settling down. If Zane was busy, then the Klang was the most reasonable Pokemon to talk to. Plus, the two ancient Pokemon were asleep. “I didn't think it would take this long.”

    “We did not think so ourselves,” Tock said. “There is a positive charge and a negative charge about this situation.”

    “Oh? What's positive?” Better to hear the good news first, he thought.

    Tock turned on the spot, looking at the Vanilluxe. “Pierre has been mostly sane today.”

    “Really? That's great.” Rune hummed in good cheer, glad that a teammate was in a better condition.

    Coming over from examining a column, Pierre seemed hesitant, his floating pace unsteady. “They say that, but... this quiet is unsettling. Even if my demons stayed away from my angel, I still heard them from the distance, saw them in the shadows. But ever since we entered this sacred place, there's been nothing but silence in my mind. I appreciated the peace at first, but I don't know what to do with myself now. It doesn't help that N is being strange.”

    “Is that the negative?” Rune asked, looking back to his friend. N hadn't moved a bit and his thoughts were strangely quiet as well.

    “Affirmative,” Tock said, going over to N's side. “We're concerned that he's not going to be sane. But we can't really tell that like you can. He's not responded to much.”

    “I can hardly feel anything from him,” he said, coming to hover in front of N. “I can try to reach deeper.”

    “What's going on?” the Zorua asked, turning to them.

    Zane sat up and put a paw on the cub's head. “It's a long story, kid.”

    While they talked, Rune focused on N. The human's thoughts and emotions were quiet, even hollow. Puzzling... he looked deeper and noticed that his body was in a state-like sleep but was weary and weak despite that. “I hope you haven't given up,” Rune said softly.

    “What's that?” Tock asked.

    Rune turned his attention from N, since there wasn't much more to find. “He's tired and discouraged. Have any of you talked to him?”

    “We tried,” Pierre said. “But his mind is so far away.”

    Escaping from under Zane's paw, the Zorua bounded over. “Well if he's sleeping, shouldn't you wake him up before talking to him?” And before any of them could stop him from being rude, he barked loudly and got onto N's lap. Then he put a paw on N's cheek.

    Startled, N nearly fell over. He looked around wide-eyed, then settled on the Zorua. “What are you doing here?” he asked.

    “Waking you up,” the Zorua said, licking his face. “Hello!”

    “Trouble?” the Archeops asked, as he and the Carracosta woke up. The ancient bird shook itself, then hopped closer.

    “No trouble,” the Carracosta said, coming out of his shell.

    “How are you?” the Zorua asked.

    “Uuhhh,” N replied, not entirely alert. But he did take hold of the Zorua as he shifted his legs out from under him. “Not so good.”

    The other Pokemon gathered around him too. “You should have something to drink and some rest, from what your body says to me,” Rune said.

    “Please don't hurt yourself,” Pierre said, coming close and nudging N with one of his heads. “Even with the peace of this place, it's distressing to see you now.”

    “I'm sorry,” N replied, with little energy to his words. He didn't even try to do anything about it, until Zane got a bottle of water out for him.

    “What is the status of the mission?” Tock asked.

    There was no reply, but Rune felt something troubling in N's feelings. Worse, he couldn't identify what it was. “Don't give up,” he said. “But what do I feel from you? It's something terrible.”

    “What's wrong?” Zane demanded, twisting his ears back briefly. But he was just as worried and couldn't stay angered at N's silence.

    Although he did take a good drink of water, N still didn't reply. He looked at all of them, but the troubling thing only grew. It was... fear? Still in his arms, the Zorua patted him again. “Why're you shaking? I don't see anything to be afraid of.”

    “Something's not right,” N said finally. “I heard from Zekrom at the base of the tower; she told me to enter. But ever since we got here, I haven't heard from her again. What's going on? Why would she tell me to enter and then not respond?”

    Rune looked back at the archway. “Does it have something to do with the ice?”

    “What ice?” Pierre said. “There was ice here, but it's all gone.”

    Coming close to N, Rune brushed his wing against his friend's face. “Look at the gate, with your mind's eye. Like you saw Shira.”

    “I was trying to not be confused by such ghosts,” N said, but he did ask suggested. Then he clutched the Zorua closer. “Ice... there's still ice there. He was right; the Kyurem I've spoken to isn't supposed to be here. The balance of having two of them is off just enough...” then he shivered noticeably, his fear growing instead of settling like it should have. “I-I should do something, but...”

    “But what?” Zane asked. “If there's a problem, it should be fixed.”

    “I told them I would come back with Zekrom.”

    Tock sped up his gears briefly. “It's a problem out of your system, an obstacle you have no connection to. It's not your fault.”

    “N, what's wrong?” Rune asked, feeling like he ought to cry. “There's something wrong in your thoughts and I can't see what it is.”

    “I know I didn't cause this,” N said. “But... it scares me too, but... it was something Ghetsis said to me before we came out here. I was trying to tell him how the things I’ve seen and heard on this journey through Unova are still lingering, like you...” he looked up at Rune, “I let you go and you came back again, and,” he looked over at Pierre and Tock, “you...”

    “What?” Tock said.

    “I want to hate anyone who would hurt you, but I can't hate you for hurting yourself,” Pierre said.

    The Archeops spread his wing out. “Leader! Be brave. Leader better than fear.”

    “Be strong,” the Carracosta echoed.

    “You're helping me,” N said, his eyes going watery with tears. He looked down at the Zorua in his arms, then let him go. “I don't even know what you're doing here. I've never met you before.”

    The Zorua wagged his tail, his red eyes bright. “I came to find my father! And to find you; I heard that you were a great person going to summon one of the great dragons. I was happy to hear that my father was with someone like you.”

    Although he briefly gave Zane a puzzled look on hearing that this was his cub, N didn't seem bothered by learning that. “You're helping,” he repeated. “I’m not a Pokemon; I’m not a human either, really, but you're still helping me. I never figured out how to be around humans, but all of you, and other Pokemon that have been with me, you help me connect to them. But then,” N paused, growing tense. “He said that if I didn't come back with Zekrom, then I might as well jump off the tower rather than continue to live.”

    “Noooo, don't!” Pierre cried.

    “That is illogical,” Tock said, although he sounded just as troubled.

    Zane growled. “What kind of foolish talk is that? I'd never advise someone to choose death if they failed.”

    Even with them saying that, Rune could feel and know what that terrifying feeling in N was. It didn't matter what they said. If this problem wasn't solved soon, then he would choose that rather than to admit to failure. It was because the stigma of being a failure, of having his life be worthless, that was worse than having no life at all.

    Rune felt like panicking. If he had been who he was back when he was patrolling Shira, he would have. But that wasn't going to solve things. “Then you need to get Zekrom awakened,” he said. “If that barrier is there because of there being two Kyurems, then we need to get rid of one. Maybe if you got Reshiram and his King in here, then the power of the both dragons can overcome the imbalance. Or since the barrier is made of ice, we might need the other Kyurem here to hold it back.”

    “Why don't you go get them and bring them here?” the Zorua asked. Because he wasn't as emotionally invested in this, the cub managed to keep a lot calmer and cool headed than even his father. “With all three of the dragons in this place, they should be able to solve the problem better than anybody else. You and I are the only free Pokemon here, and I can't fly.”

    “Right, I can do that,” Rune said. “I can at least find Lord Reshiram easily, and he would be able to find which one of the Kyurem could help best. I'll go.”

    “Thank you, Rune,” N said meekly. “I've set you free twice now, and yet you still freely stick by my side.”

    For a moment, Rune lowered himself to below N's eyes in deference. “I admit that at first it was because I had no other purpose, and Lord Reshiram asked me to watch you. But I am not doing this for him. I am doing this for my dearest friend.”

    Then he flew back through the gateway, to find his old master.

    -+-

    Nuvema Town

    “It has now been thirty-six hours since the Black King of Plasma has entered Dragonspiral Tower,” the reporter said on the late night news. “Yet N has not reappeared and nothing seems to have changed. No one has been able to get in the tower after him and our cameras have been unable to view what is going on at the top level. The members of Team Plasma remain here faithfully waiting for his return. They are certain nothing has gone wrong. It has been many years since Zekrom and Reshiram were last called upon, so it is unknown if this wait is simply a part of the summoning or if something has indeed gone wrong.”

    “What is it?” Hilda asked, leaning back in the couch.

    “It’s unusual,” Kyurem said, watching out the window. “If he is worthy, she would have come within the hour, at most. I thought he was worthy.”

    “It must be frightening for him to get silence,” Leslie said. “I hope there's some other problem.”

    Hilda scratched Fedora’s back. “Well we know that he’s going to stay up there until something happens. You know what’s going on?”

    “My attention has been here, not there,” Kyurem said, turning from the window and coming over to her. “It may be that Hilbert needs to be there, since both are expecting to be called on.”

    “Could be. Maybe I ought to call him and give him a poke.” At that point, there was a knock on the door. “Wonder who it is now,” she thought aloud, getting up.

    “I’ll get it,” Kyurem said, going to the door and opening it. “What?”

    “Oh good, you are here,” Hilbert said. “Listen, we have to talk. I know you’re not going to like this, but Reshiram insists on it.”

    “Speak of the devil,” Hilda said. “We were just talking about you, and about N being at the tower. Let him in.”

    He nodded and came in. Following after him was a Sigilyph, a Pokemon she remembered seeing with N, not Hilbert. “Yeah, I was going to wait until after all the fuss died down. But then Rune came and asked all of us to come. You too, Hilda.”

    “Currooo,” the Sigilyph said in a sad-sounding tone.

    “She shouldn’t be going into Dragonspiral Tower at this time,” Kyurem said sternly. “I’m not going to let her get killed.”

    “You can’t leave her alone either,” Reshiram said in a faint voice from the Light Stone. “And you must come there. Zekrom has been trying to connect to N, but we’re being blocked again by the imbalance caused by having you and the normal Kyurem around. Since you can’t leave this world at this time, you need to be there to pull us through the block. And Zekrom does not want to tell N that she cannot come at this time. It would be dangerous.”

    Kyurem fumed silently for a moment, then said, “You can’t get around the block caused by our power?”

    “We have been trying, but nothing has yet worked. And it is strong enough that I don’t think even both of us working at it with our bodies at the tower would help.”

    “Fine, but the four of us will enter together,” Kyurem said. “We must be careful.”

    Hilda felt a little nervous. But, this was getting too serious. She had to do something about that. “And we need to get properly attired!”

    “Hu-what?” Hilbert asked, staring at her in confusion.

    Over at the couch, Leslie laughed. “You need to be dressed right for the occasion,” she said, getting up. “After all, you’re going to be at this big and important moment not just to impress the masses, but to meet with legendary Pokemon. There’s no excuse to go in looking like an everyday slob.” She teasingly smoothed down a part of Hilbert's jacket.

    “Unless they surprise you,” Hilda said, poking Kyurem in the shoulder. “You still have that crown and coat I got you, Hilbert? That should do just fine, once you brush your hair and wash your face. I think I’ve got something hanging in my closet that’ll be great.”

    “Don’t take too long,” Kyurem said. “We don’t want N going nuts while you’re still getting dressed.”

    “Gotcha!” She started towards the stairs.

    “You can use the bathroom down here, Hilbert,” Leslie said, pointing him in the right direction.

    “Oh, well, I guess that makes sense,” he said, giving in and heading over. “But Kyurem’s right; don’t take too long.”

    Upstairs, Hilda found a dress she had gotten last spring, a white sundress that had tiny blue polka dots on the skirt and blue flowers across the chest. It was a little casual, but finding the white shoes from her Castelia outfit as well as some of her mother’s clip on earrings and a ice-crystal like set of barrettes, it seemed cute and nice enough to go out with. She wore the barrettes low, though, so that she could wear a white sun hat that had a blue ribbon and a snowflake pin on it. Then she grabbed her travel bag and a white umbrella (just because it seemed to fit) and headed downstairs.

    “Let’s see, I think… yeah, I still has some healing stuff in case of trouble,” she said, thinking aloud while checking her bag.

    Leslie smiled and hugged her. “Good luck, dear. And you’d better come back alive from this.”

    “Thanks Mom. I’ll see you again, I promise. Is Hilbert ready?” She couldn't see him, although Rune seemed to be pacing around in the air still.

    She shook her head. “Not quite.”

    “Hilda, can we speak privately for a minute?” Kyurem asked. “Outside.”

    “Oh, sure,” she said, nodding. “I’ll pop back in when we’re done, Mom.”

    She nodded. “Okay, I’ll let him know to wait a bit longer.”

    Hilda headed outside with Kyurem. It was a bright night, with the full moon hanging large in the sky. Nuvema was quiet as usual, with many of the houses lit up but few people in the old streets. Overhead, some wings from Woobats could be heard on occasion. It was peaceful here, not a night when one might expect to die.

    “It seems unavoidable that we go to Dragonspiral Tower now,” Kyurem said, looking around the town. “I would go alone, but those Shadow Triad are hanging around here. I don’t know if they mean to kill, but the risk can’t be taken.”

    “I’ll try not to do anything stupid,” Hilda said, smiling. “I trust you.”

    “That’s good,” he said, looking down. “I had hoped to know more by this point about why you died at this time. Still, I agree with Reshiram and Rune. We don’t know how much power N and Hilbert truly have as gijinkas, and if he snaps in failing to call Zekrom, there is no way to know what he would do. And yet, you may… there is something I need to say to you before we go.”

    “What’s on your mind?” Hilda asked. It was odd to hear him like this. Normally he used as few words as possible.

    Kyurem looked to her. He seemed pensive, even. “I’m grateful that I got to travel with you. I’ve spent many centuries avoiding contact with others, especially humans, but this time has been precious to me. I know that I seem serious to you, but I have been happy.”

    “That’s good,” she said, smiling. “It’s been fun having you around. It’ll be sad time when you have to leave this time, but let’s not think of that yet.”

    “Then you do trust me.” He took her arm and then, to her surprise, kissed her forehead. Then he went on, telling her, “Don’t worry. I’ll be watching over you. What I’m leaving you with is a mark that you won’t be able to see, but will allow others to know that you are under my protection. Not only that, but I’m giving you a gift that you have asked about. You’ll now be able to understand Pokemon just like N can.”

    “Whoa, really?” Grinning, she hugged him. “Thanks Kyurem! Now I’ll definitely have to be coming back in order to make full use of that.”

    Kyurem put his head on her shoulder for a moment. “You do that.” Then he pushed away. “We need to be going. Go get the King and we’ll fly over to the tower.”

    Fortunately, Hilbert was ready when Hilda peeked back in. She hugged her Mom one last time and said goodbye to her (making sure to say she loved her… just in case). Not that long ago, Bianca had lent her a Fly HM so that she could teach Kyurem to use Fly. He took her and Regal took Hilbert, following Rune up north to Iccirus and Dragonspiral Tower.

    -+-

    When they arrived at the lake, there were still a large number of Team Plasma members hanging around. Hilbert looked around, feeling determined to stop this before it turned ugly. “Okay, now we’ll have to see about them letting us in.”

    “They're not all dangerous, but they won't appreciate you being here,” Rune said. The Sigilyph were supposed to be intelligent, he reflected; Hilbert thought that was part of why he could understand him too.

    “That’s not a problem,” Hilda said. Then she stepped forward and shouted, “Hey, move aside! We’re going in!”

    Some of the knights did move aside, but Ghetsis and Giallo came up to meet with them. “Why should we let you in?” Ghetsis asked. “We have yet to hear back from N.”

    Going bold, was it? But, no backing down now. “That’s exactly why you should let us in,” Hilbert said. “We know what’s going on and if you want to help Zekrom appear, then let us help N do that.”

    “And if you don’t, I’ll just freeze you all in place so you don’t interfere,” Kyurem added.

    “You’re here to help N?” Giallo asked. “And to help yourselves, it would seem. But it has been a day and a half now. Good luck.”

    “Thank you,” Hilbert said, heading down with the Light Stone floating beside him, and Hilda and Kyurem walking behind. A part of him felt hurt about how Giallo was speaking to him as an enemy. But his uncle seemed to have closed himself off fully to him. Maybe after this was over with, he'd be willing to listen again.

    As they got closer to the edge of the lake, Reshiram spoke up. “Just move ahead and into the tower. What appears is not quite what is and nothing will stand in your way.”

    “Okay,” Hilbert said.

    “It’s basic if you’re worthy of entrance,” Kyurem said. “Stay straight and don’t turn aside.”

    As they said, and as N had done yesterday, they were able to cross across the water itself and pass through what seemed to be a solid wall. But once they were all inside, Hilbert stopped, unsure of how to proceed. “Hey, you remember when I said this place was thick with time distortions?” he asked Hilda.

    She nodded. “Yeah. They still here?”

    He waved his hand in front of his face, seeing it tinted blue. “It’s a total fog in here. I can hardly see a foot in front of my face now. And when I touch it, that’s usually when I start seeing things.”

    “There’s no way to know when or if you’ll be alert while walking up,” Reshiram said. “That's trouble.”

    Hilda took his hand. “Well don’t worry. I see perfectly fine. I’ll lead you through even if you space out.”

    “That’s good, because there’s no telling when they’ll start coming.” He followed her down the stone pathway, but as he thought, visions of another world passed by his eyes.

    And this time, he knew exactly what he was seeing. He was seeing the history that Kyurem had come from.

    -+-

    May 4
    another world

    Hilbert stepped off the pillars and began to walk up the stairs. This second room had proven an odd obstacle, as ruins of pillars and statues made the way hard to navigate. After checking around, walking over the pillars seemed to be the only way to go.

    But then, the grinding of a stone made him pause. Hilda then passed through from behind it, followed by her dark blue Sawk. “Oh hey, I caught up just in time,” she said, smiling. She waved her hand, in which she was carrying a yellow daisy.

    He stared at her for a moment. “Hilda? But, how? Only one eligible to become a hero can enter this place, and there are only two heroes at a time.”

    She just laughed at him. “Well it seems that I’m worthy, huh? That was easy once I saw you do it; wouldn’t have thought to just walk right in. Come on, let’s get going.” She ran up past him.

    “Hey, wait!” But it took past the next level and up the next stairs for him to catch up. “What are you doing in here? Why did you come?”

    “Why not?” she asked. “I mean, N’s been in here for hours and hasn’t come out. I’m worried about him, so I figured I’d come check on him.”

    A flame of jealousy burned in his heart. “Is that it?”

    “I also thought it might be a good chance to see you succeed in calling your dragon too,” she said, looking back down at him briefly. “What’s wrong with coming to support both of my friends? Come on, no time to waste!”

    “This isn’t a game,” he said as he ran up after her.

    “Does it have to be so serious?” she asked back, although she slowed a bit so they were together. Silly... but that was part of why she was so interesting, wasn't it?

    At the top of the tower, N was kneeling, both of his hands on the floating Dark Stone. He had stopped wondering why he wasn’t getting a response as he was so intent on getting Zekrom to appear. In a weakening voice, he repeated his request for her appearance. He was even ignoring his other Pokemon who were nearby.

    As they got close, Hilbert told Hilda, “I think that in order for Zekrom to appear, Reshiram has to appear too. I’ve got the Light Stone, so once we get up there, both dragons should be able to awaken.”

    “That’s good,” she said, teasingly tapping him with her daisy. “Come on, let’s go! Hey N!” She ran up the last stairs.

    “Wait, Hilda!” Hilbert called, running up after her.

    In the final room, N heard voices but didn’t comprehend what they were saying. It did distract him from his summoning. He felt anger but it was a weak emotion compared to the weariness that had a hold on his body. Without really thinking, he got up and raised his hand to stop the ones trying to interrupt him. Some power swelled within him, but he hardly realized what was going on.

    N fired out a Hyper Beam and Hilda walked right into it. For a moment, there was nothing to be seen but a bright white light. Hilbert's vision cleared in time to see Hilda’s body fall onto the floor. She was still holding onto that daisy, but it was bent and covered in her blood. Hilbert called out in a panic, dropping down beside her, ignoring the masonry rocks underneath him. Several feet away, N collapsed back onto the floor after exhausting himself from the attack. For a moment, death held stillness and silence over Dragonspiral Tower.

    But that couldn’t last. “You killed her,” Hilbert said, his voice shaking with anger.

    N was getting back onto his feet, looking hazily at them as he realized what was going on around him. He saw Hilda, dead from a large wound to her chest, and Hilbert kneeling beside her among the loose rocks of this place. What was he talking about? True, he didn’t agree with them, but he wouldn’t go as far as murder. “I did not,” he said, taking hold of the Dark Stone.

    “You did, you killed her!” Hilbert shouted, getting up with a look like he wanted to kill N then and there. “And that’s the truth of it. I will swear it on Reshiram, you killed her, you deluded madman!”

    “How dare you..?” N started to argue, but then the Light and Dark Stones began to glow. They both moved away from the two boys, heading over to in front of the archway. They grew in a flash and then there they were. Reshiram and Zekrom stood side by side, majestic in real life.

    But a bitter split had erupted violently between the two heroes already.

    -+-

    Hilbert was having a hard time convincing people to do what he wanted today. At first, they were cooperative. Then, looking like they were coming awake from a dream, they would treat him with suspicion. But that didn’t matter when revenge was so strongly in Hilbert’s mind. He used his popularity and clout to get into the Champion’s area of the Pokemon League Stadium without having to fight any of the Elite 4.

    As he approached the main area, climbing all those stairs, it became apparent that N had defeated Alder. Hilbert would have been glad to fight N on the spot. But instead, N called on his castle to appear and make ‘a more suitable stage’. Hilbert pursued him.

    “This isn’t the right time to confront him,” Reshiram said. “Your anger clouds your vision; you should step back to calm your mind.”

    “No, because then he’ll get away!” Hilbert snapped. He continued on, further into N’s Castle. The members of Team Plasma stayed wisely out of his way.

    At the throne room, Hilbert and Reshiram met with N and Zekrom. N tried to conduct the exchange with pompous dignity, but Hilbert wasn’t going to let him get away with that. “I’m not here to challenge you for any fancy ideas,” Hilbert said. “I’m here to show you how damn stupid your ideals are, and to get revenge for Hilda’s death.”

    “I did not kill her,” N said, finally breaking his calm mask to get angry too.

    “Stop being so deluded and open your eyes to your own corruption and insanity!” Hilbert challenged, feeling a giant surge of power run through his body. He didn’t care about what it was as his focus was solely on N. The same feeling of power came out in N, who ignored it too even though large empty crests appeared underneath both of their feet.

    Zekrom and Reshiram noticed. But for as much experience as they had, neither one had a clue about what the empty crests meant. “Wait a moment,” Zekrom said as the energy turned red.

    Then both crests exploded, breaking up into hundreds of red and black arms. Right as N and Hilbert noticed that their rage had turned into an unsettling form, it lashed out towards the two legendary dragons, taking hold of their very life force and ripping it straight out of their bodies.

    The two dragons screamed, unable to resist as their souls were grafted straight into N and Hilbert. For a moment, they were stunned by the feeling of fear and pain from the deaths of their partners. It was soon eclipsed by the pain as their human genes, meant to be unalterable, were forced to change and accept the incredible power of the immortals. The forms of dragon scales began to appear over their skin, especially visible on their arms and legs; white scales on Hilbert and black scales on N. The red crests filled in with what should have been the signs of Reshiram and Zekrom, altered to reflect their new owners. They were turned into dragons reminiscent of the ones whose powers they now held.

    Then, the power theft was complete. The atmosphere of the room calmed down, leaving the lifeless bodies of the two elder dragons and the uncertain forms of the two newly created dragons. What was going on? Who was responsible for this?

    They each felt that the other was the one responsible. Growls were exchanged and then the two began to fight themselves, causing an explosion of power that brought down two-thirds of the castle they were in. Since it was a wreck, both took to the air and continued their fight. Their hatred and confusion left them focused on each other, not realize the destruction following in the wake of their combat.

    ...

    N felt a feral sense of victory, but was utterly exhausted after days of battle. As his mind began to clear, he looked around them. This had once been Castelia City; not a single building was left intact. Many were smoldering ruins. The wailing of alarms sounded in the distance, but there were no screams amid the burning of fire.

    For a moment, N was confused. “What’s going on?’ he asked. He looked down and saw Hilbert. “What’s going on? Hey, Hilbert, get up. Tell me... why do you think I killed Hilda?”

    But he didn’t respond. His vision cleared further but he hardly recognized the body he saw. The power of truth, once Reshiram’s, then Hilbert's, and now his, awakened in his mind. With that, N saw what was going on: the destruction both had caused in their battle, the theft of power from the legendary dragons, the fact that Hilbert was his brother, how savagely he had killed his brother, how he had killed Hilda in a moment of inattentiveness, the corruption of his own ideals… one of his arms had black scales, and the other had white, permanent proof of lives he had taken.

    “No, no...” N trembled and closed his eyes, but that did not block out the truth. Then he screamed in a voice that wasn’t entirely human. Transforming back into a dragon with features of both Zekrom and Reshiram in a tint of green like his hair, N lashed out against his pain. In that moment, the entire region of Unova and many lands around it were devastated.

    But madness had a grip on N and wouldn’t let go with just that.

    ...

    “N!”

    That voice broke through to N’s mind, finally calming him down. That voice was reassurance that things would be okay, that this moment was only a terrible obstacle on the path to a perfect world. This had to be happening for good reasons, N thought. He wasn’t evil; he wasn’t corrupted. He just couldn’t see things clearly. But the one who called him could.

    N descended as a dragon and landed by Ghetsis on top of the remains of the castle. And for once, Ghetsis was smiling for him. “Calm down,” he said, although he still didn't touch him. “You’ve done well, N. I’m proud of you.”

    “Ghetsis,” N said, then burst into tears. He lowered his head, not feeling worthy of the praise. And yet, he felt a burst of happiness on hearing it. He had finally done something worthy of Ghetsis’s expectations of him. What it was, he wasn’t sure as he had caused so much destruction and pain and death. “I’m not evil?”

    “No, you’re not,” he said. “You're just not used to this power and you still need to learn to control it. But now there is no one who can defy your dreams.”

    “I don’t know, I could hardly think until you called my name. And what I’m seeing now is so terrible, I can’t…” he cried out again. There was too much pain in his heart and he saw no way he’d be able to ignore this.

    “But that’s what I’m here to help you with,” Gehtsis said reassuringly. “You leave the planning and thinking to me. We’ll turn this world into what it’s supposed to be.”

    Leave the thinking to him. If he didn’t have to think, then he didn’t have to remember. That sounded like a good idea to N. But there was a problem in that even combined, Reshiram and Zekrom were still not whole. This led N’s power to continue to destabilize as time went on, making it dangerous for anyone to stay too close. Especially when N began losing himself to his emotions. The obvious solution to that was to complete that ancient power by finding Kyurem, and stealing the power from him as well.

    -+-

    May 4
    Dragonspiral Tower

    When Hilbert's mind cleared, he found that the mist had started to clear too. Hilda was bringing him up the final set of stairs, where N was waiting. And where he would attack without realizing it, setting them down that terrible road. “Wait a minute,” he said, stopping and trying not to lose his balance on the stairs.

    “Oh, you finally out off dream land?” Hilda asked teasingly.

    “We can’t go up there, not without being careful,” he said, looking up. “I know what happened in Kyurem’s history, listen.” He tried to tell it quickly, but they had to know how things were going to happen.

    “You stole power from my siblings?” Kyurem asked after he was done, watching him intently.

    “It didn’t happen consciously,” Hilbert said. “We both were angry and the power activated on its own… no, that’s not it,” he snapped his fingers. “Back when Dr. Umber had me, he intentionally goaded me until I lost my temper and a crest like that appeared and turned red. The only reason it didn’t get Genesect was because Umber separated us quickly once it started to appear. We don’t have control of it. But, that seems to be what this whole plan is about.” He looked up the stairs.

    “To mold your lives so that both of you would aim to become the heroes and call on Reshiram and Zekrom, only to steal their immortality from them,” Hilda said. “That’s pretty crazy, but I can see how it fits.”

    “And N doesn’t have control over what happens next either,” Hilbert said. “He just reacted to us coming up there. So we need to get in there without startling him.”

    “We have to be in there for the summoning to work,” Kyurem said.

    “It's already changed,” Rune said, flying ahead of them. “N listened to us this time; you said he hadn't. I see him and... what's that?” He darted up, then turned back to them. “Come up here.”

    “What's going on?” Hilda asked as they came up the last of the steps to the top of the tower.

    They were greeted by an immense flash of light...
    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.

  12. #337
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    Please! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
    Hurry up and put the next chapter out!

    P.S. First response!
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

    This the aquabats song awesome forces:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx4sL0w3SHM
    and here is their song shark fighter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wchrctxFo

    I NEED A BETA READER!
    Check out my fic.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...2#post14945242

  13. #338
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    God damn. Everything makes sense now, and the climax you created was simply brilliant.

    Can't wait for the next chapter!

    Check out the forum World Beyblade Organization! It's a huge forum with over 85,000 members dedicated to the hobby of Beyblading! You can sign up here!

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  14. #339
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    ...Of all the things to be a Chekov's Gun, you pick something I miss entirely on my first read? To solve this conundrum, I have decided to read the entirety of the fic again. This shall provide distraction until you resolve your cliffhanger. A well set up, and awesomely written climax of a cliffhanger, but a cliffhanger nonetheless.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  15. #340
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    Wow, really great chapter. This fic has been great from the beginning, and it hasn't gotten any worse since. I'm kinda sad that it's ending though. How about that sequel?
    I treat my Pokemon like family. Copy and Paste this in your sig if you do too. Started by legolover8.

  16. #341
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    Chapter 54: Victory or Failure?


    May 4
    Dragonspiral Tower

    For being a moment when his fate was completely out of his control, N wasn't feeling as afraid as he had been. There was still some dread of what would happen if he failed, but it no longer seemed as close. His friends were going to come soon, once Rune had found them. While sometimes he wondered if he should worry about them not coming, he felt almost certain that they would. And that gave him hope.

    “I’m not sure why I want them to come,” he said, rolling an empty Pokeball he had back to the Zorua. The young Pokemon was eager to play, pouncing for the Pokeball. “It's not just because it'll make this work.”

    “It's because you like them, isn't that it?” Pierre asked. “If I get alone, I want to see the rest of you again soon.”

    “You act like that if we're gone for more than a minute,” Tock said. “But the idea fits.”

    “I'm not supposed to be liking them,” N said. “Their ideas oppose mine, so we should be enemies. But Hilbert talked to me a lot and he's tried to help me. And Hilda, whenever we had a battle, I got the idea that she really loved her Pokemon and they loved her. If more people could be good like that...” his mind caught up to what he was saying, and he shook his head. “But that's a ridiculous idea, of getting to know people because you've been in several Pokemon battles with them.”

    “Is it ridiculous?” Zane asked. “I got to know many other Pokemon by battling them. Usually not the ones in the forest because they were easily frightened. But when I traveled around, there were others I learned to respect through battle.”

    The Zorua batted the Pokeball back to N. “Battles are fun! There was this one Watchog who thought I was just a foolish child, but then I fought him and he turned out to be not so bad. He even helped me out because he saw that I was determined.”

    “You seem a little young to be an avid fighter,” N said, catching the ball before it rolled off.

    He got up on his hind legs, waving his paws. “Hey, I'm three months old now! And it's not like I'm obsessed with battles. They're just fun. Me and my friends would spar every day and we're close.”

    “What if you get hurt?” N asked. “Battles are a risk.”

    “In a good battle, you don't get really hurt,” Zane said. “Sure you might ache for a little while, but it's not a danger.”

    To give himself a moment to think, N sent the empty Pokeball after Zane. The Zorua raced after it, even when the Zoroark sent it speeding across the room and it made him slide around as he tried to turn too fast. He smiled for a moment, but then wondered if he should be having a bit of fun in this sacred place. Was it disrespectful? The Dark Stone was quiet still, occasionally sparking repeatedly.

    It was supposed to be that they were either friends or enemies. Not friends and they opposed his ideals. Then again, battles could lead to suffering and pain, and yet his Pokemon were not showing any opposition to the Zorua's claim that battles were fun. Could such ideas co-exist? It was so different from how he was used to thinking. Where were things certain?

    That should be settled soon. “You're three months old, huh?” N asked as the Zorua chased the empty Pokeball near him. “I'm twenty years old now.”

    Putting his paw on the ball to pause, the Zorua looked up at him. “Really? Wow, that's a long amount of time.”

    “In the grand system, it's not all that long actually,” Tock said. “I've been living for six years, nine months, seventeen days, eleven hours, forty-two minutes, and three seconds. But that's just a tick to the universe.”

    “A year is a really long time to me,” the Zorua said, shifting his weight and losing the Pokeball as a result. He pounced it and ended up tumbling onto his back with the ball in his paws.

    Then the sound of shoes on the stone floor and a vague conversation caused all of them to pause. That was surprising; shouldn't one of his Pokemon have noticed people coming into the tower? He turned around and saw himself coming from the direction of the stairs, the one with the scaled arms. There was some strange aura around him, so N shifted back to his mind's eye. When he did, there wasn't a human before him, but a dragon of immense power. It was even more than Kyurem displayed.

    “I didn't want to have to come now,” the other N said. “But you told Kyurem to come.”

    “He has to come,” he said, pointing to the archway. “He should be able to take care of that.”

    The other N walked up to beside him, looking out there. “It's his power that caused it. I might be able to, but my power...” he turned to him. “You made a mistake. But perhaps it is necessary.”

    “Maybe I did, but...” he looked at the Pokemon, who weren't sure what to make of another N.

    “You'll need to destroy everything in order to create a world that you can be happy in,” he said.

    “What kind of nonsense are you talking about?” Zane asked.

    “We don't want to destroy anything, much less everything,” Pierre said.

    N got up on his feet, but nearly fell off balance. A wave of tiredness came over him. Seeing as the sky was now dark, he realized that he had been in here without really sleeping for a long time. “I don't want that, I know for certain.”

    Looking down, the other N said, “I didn't want that. But I have seen how much corruption there is... where it is. It would be better to just start over fresh,” he clenched a fist to his chest, “and while there is much I would change, my power is not yet enough.”

    “But your power is greater than any I've felt,” N said, not sure what to make of what he was saying.

    “My power?” He smiled bitterly and laughed. “Maybe. You have the potential... fight me.”

    His heart began thumping. What chance did he stand trying to fight him? “F-fight you? I don't want to... I don't want to fight.”

    The other N raised his hand, creating a white glow. “You should fight, so that I don't feel so bad about killing you. But that is better than letting you continue in your mistake. I'm sure you'll understand.”

    “Why do you want to kill me?” N asked, bringing his hands to his chest. How was he supposed to fight? He could only think of two moves, neither damaging. Maybe one could still help.

    “So that you don't suffer.” He started to shift his stance, getting ready to attack.

    Still, N managed to move quicker by using Flash. The bright light filled the room and for a moment even he couldn't see what was going on. Then the other N's attack went off, a violet burst of lightning that flew right by him harmlessly and hit the wall. While N and his Pokemon were able to blink and clear their vision after that, the other N was squinting, uncertain of where they were.

    “N!” At that point, Rune returned, along with Hilbert, Hilda, Kyurem, and a few of the other Pokemon with them. Hilda was the one calling his name. “What're you doing fighting with yourself?” she asked.

    “H-Hilda?” the other N asked, startled. “But you, no, this isn't there, but you died, and....”

    “I don't know exactly why, but he wants to kill me,” N said.

    “At least you broke his mind,” Kyurem said.

    The other N narrowed his eyes and pointed at them. “Why did you bring her here?! At this time, she shouldn't be here or she will die.”

    “Chill out,” Hilda said, shifting her hat. Being that it was a straw hat and not her usual, it looked a little odd. “I came because I wanted to. Kyurem was the one who had to come.”

    “He should not have come to this history in the first place,” he snapped. A red aura started to show on the floor beneath him. “Why did you run away?”

    “Because my siblings died and I wanted to find a way to save them,” Kyurem said. “It seems that their power lies within you now, so I have no way to bring them back with you around.”

    “Can we solve this without anyone getting killed?” N asked. His other self was shaking with fury. Who knew what he could do if he really lashed out. Not only that, but the aura made him uneasy

    Fortunately, that calmed him down, lessening the power building. “Yes, yes, if no one had to die, that would be good,” the other N said, looking down. “But so many have died already. I can't control what I do and the only way for me to get control is to eliminate him.”

    “The only way?” Kyurem said, walking up to him.

    “What's going on?” Pierre asked.

    “I'm not entirely sure,” Zane said.

    The other N put his hand on his head, forcing a smile. “I tried to ask the others, but so many of them fell. You, you were a part of the dragon that Reshiram and Zekrom came from?”

    Kyurem nodded. “True. I am the shell, the empty circle. I am supposed to be the point of balance, but it seems in a situation like this, I am causing imbalance in this world. That is why I intended to leave the world from here.”

    “Kyurem?” Hilda asked in concern, approaching him.

    Holding a hand up for her to stop, Kyurem didn't take his eyes off the other N. “I’ve heard your story now. Our world changed. You were a big part of the change, but in the end, you are not the cause. Despite that, you now hold the responsibility to set the world right. And from the scent of you, only you have that power now.”

    “I don't know what to do,” he said.

    Kyurem then tapped the other N's forehead, making him wince at the contact. “You will know what to do if you allow yourself to think about it. Every legendary Pokemon has a role and they know that role always. It is linked inextricably to their power. But you do need to learn control. I will reduce your power so that you have to learn it like everyone else. Still, you need to return home. I will not be going back.” A blue aura appeared beneath him, only to conflict strongly with the other N's. “Calm down.”

    “I'm sure he doesn't mean to hurt you,” Hilda said.

    He turned his head towards her, but wouldn't meet her eye. “You're... did you mean to hurt me?”

    “She's not,” N started to say that this wouldn't be the Hilda he knew, if he understood this right. But it was so strange. What did they mean by Kyurem's siblings dying? They were certainly alive. But this Kyurem was supposed to be from another time.

    But Hilda interrupted before he could speak his mind. “No way. N's one of my friends. Yeah, I might mess with my friends a little, but I wouldn't intentionally hurt them. I'd rather make all of you laugh and have a good time.”

    Ghetsis wanted him to succeed, N thought. For that reason, he supported N and pushed him to keep after his goal. Too much so? But Ghetsis had guided much of his life, so if he was wrong, how much of N's life was wrong? Or was this another thing where 'all or nothing' didn't apply?

    “What will you be doing, Kyurem?” Hilbert asked, well-timed to distract N from his thoughts. “Because we can't have two of you.”

    “There will be only one of us by tomorrow morning,” Kyurem explained. The power lock seemed to have taken affect, as the other N's spirit wasn't as intimidating. “Are you ready to go?”

    The other N touched the bracelet on his arm. “I’m not entirely sure how to get back. I was told that I’d figure it out, but it took me so much time to find you...”

    “You'd know if you let yourself think,” he said, focusing his attention to the sky above. “But I can call on one who would know exactly how to use them.”

    “Wait a sec,” Hilda said, looking to the other N. “N, we need to ask you something. Where did you take Keldeo?”

    Hilbert nodded. “Yeah, Cobalion and Meloetta have been searching for him ever since.”

    He seemed puzzled that they would ask. “Keldeo? I returned him to a place important to him, I told them. And I restored his power.”

    “What do you mean, restored his power?” N asked. And, Keldeo was missing? That was awful.

    “He lost his immortality and powers for some reason,” the other N said. “I tried to fix it. I... I don't know how well I really did, but he is alive and he didn't fall to my power. I would know if he had.”

    “If you affected his power, then where is he?” Kyurem asked. “At this moment.”

    “At this... moment?” He closed his eyes and thought.

    In the meantime, a shadow appeared from overhead. N looked up and briefly saw an enormous dragon with four legs and a long neck; a pearl blue orb sat on its chest. Then he disappeared, reappearing in a smaller form close to them. It was much like what he had just been, only five feet tall instead of fifty. “You've found what you were looking for,” he said.

    “Yes.” Kyurem bowed his head to the blue dragon. “Thanks for coming, Dialga. We need your help to send him back home. I can resolve the imbalance here.”

    “Good. But are you sure sending him back is wise?” Dialga leaned closer to the other N. “I can no longer remember what happened in that history, but the last few memories I have turned very dark.”

    “He's the only one that can do anything there,” he pointed out.

    “Keldeo,” the other N said, still with his eyes closed. “I sense him in Unova. But if you were to look, you would not find him. His power is submerged as his spirit heals from what he went through. His memory should emerge naturally in a little while, at least a year. Then and only then will anyone be able to recognize him.” Then he looked at them. “I hope that helps... oh?” He saw Dialga and cringed.

    “It's time for you to go home,” Dialga said. “We hope that you can set things right there.”

    “Well...” he sighed, then nodded. “Was I only causing trouble here? I wanted to make things better.”

    “Start at home,” Dialga said, then vanished with the other N.

    “What's going on?” N asked, looking at the others. “I was wondering for a while if he was just a vision I had once.”

    “Hilbert?” Kyurem asked, but more as a prompt for him to answer instead of an actual question. Maybe; it seemed an odd thing to do to N.

    Still, his brother hesitated before saying, “There was a danger in an alternate history. This Kyurem came back to make sure Hilda didn't die. It would have led somewhere terrible.”

    She smiled, seemingly not troubled at hearing that. “But I’m still here and alive. So Rei, this is why you said goodbye earlier?”

    He nodded. “I had to leave at some time. Is it a problem?”

    “Well I'm going to miss you,” she said, putting her hands on her hips. “But if your memories will pass on to your other self, then you won't be entirely gone. You'd better get going so that the other two aren't kept hanging any longer.”

    “Oh right, I asked Rune to get you to get rid of that barrier,” N said, pointing to the archway.

    “That won't be an issue,” Kyurem said. Strangely, his body glistened as if he had been out in the rain. “You three had best take this time to settle things between you. If you can see the barrier, then you will know when it is down. Goodbye.” Then he closed his eyes, his body and clothes turning white rapidly. Before long, there was nothing but a pile of snow and a bright spirit where he had been standing. His spirit then passed through the gate, making it shine light blue.

    Hilbert then turned to him. “You look pale again. I bet you didn’t bring any food or water up here, right? You’ve really got to take better care of yourself.”

    “I didn't think I'd be here this long,” N said. “But I did have some water. I used up the last of it making sure all of my Pokemon were taken care of.”

    “I have some lemonade,” Hilda said, bringing out a aluminum can and opening it up for him. “Here.”

    N took it and drank most of it in one go. “Thanks. But what are you doing here?”

    “What do you think?” Hilda said, smiling. “I came to see you both awaken the dragons.”

    “Even with this talk about you dying?” N asked. Not that long ago, he had been afraid of leaving this tower.

    “Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said. Then she flicked his hat back, causing it to hang upside-down by his ponytail.

    “She’s the one chosen by Kyurem, so she could get in here too,” Hilbert said. “You had the right idea in that we needed all three of them here. I was going to just wait until you were done. Sorry we didn’t figure that out earlier.”

    “It's good to know for certain that was why she wasn't responding,” N asked, fixing his hat. “I was starting to think that, maybe I wasn’t worthy.” He shuddered. “But I have to be, or all that I’ve done, my whole life, it will be worthless.”

    “Aw, come on,” Hilda said. “You’re not worthless, even without Zekrom. I mean, you can talk to Pokemon and understand them! Do you know how many people have dreamed of being able to do that? I have, for one. There’s so much you can do to help others just by using that.”

    “And you’re smart too, so you can certainly make a difference in the world,” Hilbert said.

    “Maybe,” he said, looking back at the archway. The ice was still there. “But since they will be awakening, we will have to fight for our beliefs, Hilbert.” He looked to his brother.

    “Do we have to?” he asked. “We managed to settle things with that cr...that future version of you without much violence. We can talk this out reasonably.”

    “Weren't you thinking all about that earlier?” the Zorua asked, coming back to N's side.

    N sighed. It had to be the Zorua to say that, a Pokemon that Hilbert would easily understand. “But that doesn't count,” he said. “That was just me trying to figure things out. I don't want Pokemon to be hurt by humans anymore and separating them will make absolutely sure that it no longer happens. I know that for certain, and I still believe that it will work.”

    The Zorua turned his ears down. “Separate humans and Pokemon? But you're so cool! I don't know about this; it doesn't sound fun.”

    “How many Pokemon have you asked about that?” Hilda asked. “Have you asked any of them if they'll miss bacon? Or ice cream? Or anything else that we humans make or do for them?”

    While he knew Hilda was odd from time to time, this still seemed out there to N. “Bacon? That's frivolous, small matters. We need to focus on the large issues.”

    “Kyurem would miss bacon terribly,” she said.

    “Well that might be small, but there are larger things like companionship and love that will be taken away with that kind of separation,” Hilbert said.

    “But talking about this doesn't prove how strong your ideas are,” N said. “If we settle this matter with Reshiram and Zekrom at our sides, then it will prove without a doubt which side is better. Then everything will be clear and no one can be confused about it anymore.” Especially not himself.

    “Must it come to this?” Hilbert asked. Then, with some reluctance, he nodded. “All right, if that's what it will take to convince you. But not now.”

    “Why not now?”

    “You've been up ever since yesterday morning, haven't you?” Hilda asked, checking on something in her item storage device. “Maybe you're hitting a second wind, but you and your Pokemon need to be in good shape.”

    “Well..” that might be. He did have trouble getting to sleep the night before he came here.

    “How about we meet in one week at Victory Road?” Hilbert suggested, looking between them both. “The, the eleventh. We'll settle things then.”

    “That sounds good,” she said, nodding. “You like that?”

    They were giving him time to prepare? N hadn't wanted to waste time. But, having a certain date felt right. He would have until then to be with his Pokemon friends and settle things with them. “That sounds good. I'll meet you at Victory Road, then... no, past it. You'll see me at the Pokemon League stadium.”

    “Kyurem's done breaking the barrier,” Rune said, flying closer to them to make sure N and Hilbert heard him. “The other two are waiting.”

    “It's time, then,” Hilbert said, turning to the archway. “Let’s call them here by name.”

    “If you think only that will work,” N said, glancing at the two stones. They were already moving ahead. Anticipation began to build in him again, more excited than he had been earlier. This was the moment he'd been waiting for...

    “Wait!” Hilda said. Without any more warning than that, she bounded over and hugged N.

    “Gah! What?!” He wasn't sure how to respond, although Hilbert ended up snorting with laughter.

    She let go of him, stepping back and giggling. “I think there's something else to be said first. Happy birthday, N!” She took out a cube-shaped tin that had a scene of Pokemon in a forest printed on the sides and top, then pushed it into his hands without letting him refuse. “I didn't know when I'd get to see you, so I got you a bunch of candy. And I got one for you too, happy birthday, Hilbert!” She then went over to him with another tin when N took his.

    “Oh thanks, I'm surprised you remembered that,” Hilbert said, accepting a hug from her too.

    “Silly, it's on your fanpage,” she replied. “Just don't eat it all at once.”

    Candy was really frivolous; little nutritional value and it was only for consumption. Did that kind of small happiness make for an appropriate gift? It did seem like something worthy, a show that one cared about another. “Thank you for thinking of us,” N said. “I'll try at least one.”

    “I'm sure you'll like them,” Hilda said, cheered by that.

    So it didn't really take much to make another person happy. This would definitely need some consideration. But for now, “Are we ready to get back to the matter at hand?”

    She rolled her eyes. “Okay, I'm done.” She then turned to her Scrafty and whispered something to him. In response, the Pokemon lightly bumped her nose with his fist.

    After setting the tin in his own bag, he looked back at the archway. “Then let's show everyone the strength of our beleifs.” If he ignored the words of any others, even Ghetsis, and focused on wanting to stop others on being hurt, even making them happy in peace, he felt a great confidence return to him. “Zekrom, you’ve heard my pleas; come to me!”

    “Reshiram, awaken and help me spread the truth to the world,” Hilbert called.

    At that moment, three spirits came through the archway. Two returned to the floating stones while the third went to Hilda’s side and stayed there. The Light Stone and the Dark Stone moved away from the group, growing and changing. And then, both Zekrom and Reshiram appeared, side by side in front of the archway.

    -+-

    The two of dragons spoke, but to his disappointment, Hilbert couldn’t understand them either of them. Although thinking on it, he shouldn't have been surprised. He hadn't been able to hear Dialga earlier.

    N stepped forward to reply. “It was a lot of trouble. But it’s fine. You’re both here now.” Then he stumbled and nearly fell over again.

    “Hey N, be careful,” Hilda said, catching him. “You'll get knocked over by a stiff breeze as you are. Zekrom, would you mind taking care of him? Make sure he eats something and gets a nice long rest.”

    Zekrom replied in a tone that seemed half amused and half concerned. After bowing his head, N recalled his Pokemon, picking up the Zorua before climbing onto Zekrom's back. She then flew off the tower with him, to the east. With him in the dragon's care, he should be fine. She might even get him to a place where the others in Plasma couldn't find him easily.

    Reshiram watched them fly off, then surrounded himself in light. After a moment, he reappeared as a human. He was tall, like a brawny man with long full white hair. He wore a crisp white long coat and pants, along with a red belt that flicked like fire and faintly resembled his tail. He wore no shoes, but did have a thin scarf with winged ends. “They’ll be fine,” he said.

    So far, so good. Feeling relieved, Hilbert came forward. “Reshiram, it’s good to meet you in person. I hope that you’ll be able to help me.”

    Reshiram nodded. “You have been faced with many harsh truths in recent days. They were not easy to face, but you have accepted them, even considering what they mean. You are truly worthy of being my hero. N's heart makes him worthy as well, however,” he put his hand to his chin, “he still has much to learn, including breaking the hold of his illusions. But we have watched you both and agreed that this is for the best. He won’t accept truth until we defeat him. And given the potential you both have, we are willing to participate in this battle for the sake of helping him.”

    “See, I told you,” Hilda said to Hilbert. “It's going to be fine.”

    Hilbert smiled and nodded. As the dragon of truth didn't seem worried, he saw no reason to stress over it much longer. “Right.”

    “Although,” Reshiram then turned to Kyurem’s spirit. “We weren’t expecting you to go as far as to destroy yourself in order to save us.”

    “It’s what had to be done,” Kyurem said, cool and practical as always.

    “Which makes you the big hero this time around,” Hilda said, sounding proud and happy.

    “Then what will you do now?” Reshiram asked.

    “It would be unwise for me to reform myself in this world,” he said. “And yet, I can no longer return to my own home time. I will go find myself here and transfer my memories into him. If it works out, I will be absorbed into him, and balance will return here.”

    “That seems reasonable,” Reshiram said. “Don’t worry; we will handle things from here.”

    “I trust you.” His spirit moved closer to Hilda. “Well, this would be goodbye, until my other self awakens and remembers me.”

    “I’m going to miss having you around, but I’d better not hold you back,” Hilda said, staying cheerful. But Hilbert could feel her sadness at losing a dear friend. “Goodbye. I hope I do get to see you again.”

    “Me too.” Then Kyurem’s soul flew off into the night, seeking his other self.

    -+-

    Since she no longer had a flying Pokemon, Hilda called up her Mom on the Xtransciver to let her know that things had worked out. She then checked into a hotel in Iccirus, as she was feeling tired after going up and down the tower. Still, she was uneasy. Without the presence of Kyurem watching out for her, she felt vulnerable. But she couldn't let that get to her. It wasn't like her to be afraid of something like that. So she brought out her other Pokemon to keep her company.

    “Hey guys, I've got big news for you,” she said.

    “What, that we get to kick someone's butt tonight?” Fedora asked.

    She grinned. “No, although that would be fun. Kyurem let me understand you guys like N does.”

    “What, really?” Tarzan asked, looking surprised.

    “That's wonderful,” Olette said, sounding as soft and gentle as Hilda always imagined her 'voice' being like. “I don't have much to say, but,”

    “Ooo, that's going to be lots of fun!” Mimi squealed, jumping up on the bed and hugging her. “Now you can be part of conversations for real reals!”

    “So you get all Pokemon now too, huh?” Frank asked, putting his hand to his chin. When she nodded, he added, “The world's going to get a lot noisier for you, believe me. At least some sensible human can actually talk with us now.”

    “And we can really plot out stuff now, like bridge jumping!” Tarzan said.

    Hilda laughed. “Oh yeah! But nothing that would get us all killed now, bud.”

    Mimi kept a paw on her shoulder, but looked around. “That's nice, but where is Daddy?”

    This wasn't going to be easy, but it had to be said. Hilda took her paw. “Kyurem's gone now. He came to make sure that I would survive an important event, and that his siblings had a chance to defend themselves from danger. Since his job is done, he had to leave.”

    She lowered her ears and sat down. “Really, he's gone? But I was going to stay with him for adventures.”

    “He's not going to be gone forever,” Olette said. “Your heart will find him again, in the future.”

    “That's right,” Hilda said. “Besides, you remember that other Kyurem we met, the one that was really cranky? Our Kyurem went to meet with him and let him know everything that's been going on. And he might decide to come back to us once he's done with that. But who knows? It could be a few months wait.”

    “That's sad,” Mimi said. “But, I can stay with you all, right? Cause I love you all too and I'd be really sad if I had to leave because Daddy's gone.”

    “Of course you can stay with us,” Hilda said, messing with her fur. “As long as you want to stay, I wouldn't dream of leaving you behind.”

    “Yeah, can't leave you out of our gang,” Tarzan said, nodding. “Maybe Kyurem has important stuff to do... gonna miss that big grump. But we're going to stick together to the end, right everyone?”

    “That's the spirit,” Hilda said, cheering up immensely as her other Pokemon agreed. “Well it's late and I'm tired. But Reshiram and Zekrom are awake now, and it's getting closer to the final showdown. We've got to really work together now and show N that it's better that we all stick together as friends should. Then we can taunt Kyurem for missing out on the big event!”

    Besides, it would be a real shame if her new gift of language was rendered useless.
    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.

  17. #342
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    OH JOY!
    WHO WILL GET TO FIND OUT ABOUT THIS!
    How many chapters left till the end!
    My guess is 1-3!
    Can't wait!
    I like how philosophical Olette is. Very deep.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

    This the aquabats song awesome forces:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx4sL0w3SHM
    and here is their song shark fighter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wchrctxFo

    I NEED A BETA READER!
    Check out my fic.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...2#post14945242

  18. #343
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    Mimi is adorable, ahaha.

    As for the actual story, I was surprised to see Dialga. Obviously Gen I-IV still exists, but I was expecting you to follow the original Unova storyline and keep non-Gen V pokemon out. I also thought that it would turn bloody because you set us up to think it was a Hyper Beam, but instead it was just a Flash. The interaction played out nicely, so I guess we'll be having a more amicable battle at Victory Road and the Pokémon League than the rage-filled one Hilbert saw in his vision, which is good.

    Keep it up, and can't wait to finish this! At the same time, though, this is one of the best stories on Serebii so it would be sad to see it go.

    No more Coffee Breaks? Shame, considering everything that's now happened at this point in time.

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  19. #344
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    Man, this is getting intense. Please give us at least one coffe break before the end! Breaking the fourth wall was one of the funniest jokes you used. With the story's tone becoming so serious, a good laugh would be much appreciated. Great story!
    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.

  20. #345
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    Obviously, having a convenient DIalga is the quick way to sole any Time Travel Troubles you may possibly happen across.

    And yes. Taunting Kyurem is absolutely the right thing to do.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

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    Actually, Dialga was in this story before. It was stated way back when that Dialga was the one who got Kyurem to this timeline.
    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.

  22. #347
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    Chapter 55: The Dream of Ideals

    ???

    Emboldened by what had happened at Dragonspiral Tower, N entered the office that Ghetsis worked in at the castle. It had always been grander than his own spaces, N realized, although it was smaller. The things he had, like the engraved dark wooden chairs and matching desk, were beautiful and gave a powerful impression. Instead of being different like N's spaces, this room blended right into the castle. He wondered why he hadn't noticed that before; he had been blind to a lot of things.

    “What I'm trying to say is that I don't think this is the only way to do things now,” N said, standing on the other side of the desk. “Certainly I want to stop terrible things from happening, but those things are not a common as I once thought they were. We shouldn't ignore the pain of a few, but an absolute separation will cause pain of sadness to nearly everyone. I don't want to be responsible to that.”

    “Then what do you think we should do?” Ghetsis said, his back turned to N as he worked on something else.

    He put his hand to his chest and looked down. “I don't know yet. I have learned a lot from this journey, but one thing is that I have not learned enough. We could try just talking more to people, demonstrating to them that Pokemon are also individuals worthy of respect. It used to be better known through the world, but technology has lost knowledge along with gaining it. At least, going to do that will give me more time to think, and see what affects people more positively.”

    He paused a moment. “You know why you can't do that. I've told you before.”

    “Why is that?” N said, although some things came to mind.

    “People won't listen to you. If you tell them that you understand Pokemon, they'll think that you're making it up or that you're crazy. If they even believe you, you'll be seen as a freak. They won't listen to someone claiming to have such strange power. You don't stand a chance out there completely on your own, following your unearthly dreams. Since you'll be ostracized anyhow, it's safer that you keep to yourself and get help from the few who would believe in you.”

    “Am I a freak?” N wondered quietly to himself. He felt awful for not realizing that himself. But then... there were people who believed in him who would not believe in Team Plasma. They saw him as having great potential, even to change the world just on his natural talents. And those people... “Why did you never hug me? It's not that bad, although can be surprising when unexpected.”

    “Because you never liked being touched.” Same answer as always.

    “When did I say that?” N asked again. “I think... you convinced me that I didn't like being touched. And that I shouldn't meet with people unless you approved of them. And that the world would hate me. It's not that way. None of it is that way. Why did you do that?” He leaned forward in his chair. “Why won't you look at me and talk with me like a normal person?”

    “You're not a normal person,” he said, still not looking at him.

    “Ghetsis...” N said, but a sadness was overcoming his anger.

    He finally got up out of his seat. “I took you in when anyone else would have thought you were a freak of nature. I taught you how you could make our dreams come true. I showed you want to do, protected you from the cruelty of the world, brought others to you who could best help you. I gave up much of my time and life to bring you to this moment.”

    “Did you do that for me, or for you?”

    “Does that matter?” He then turned to face him, but in order to fling a knife through N's chest. “If you're going to keep asking questions like this, you're too much trouble to keep around. And without me, you might as well be dead. I can take Zekrom and handle the rest.”

    Although N felt a horrible sense of dread, he didn't feel that surprised. Or, pain. He looked down at the knife in his chest, at the blood. Nothing. He looked up at Ghetsis, not quite seeing his face. It made him think that he must have been dreaming. If it was, what was it trying to tell him?

    Or he was trying to tell himself. People kept telling him that if he listened to his heart, he wouldn't be confused on what to do. While it seemed simple, it wasn't.

    N felt a paw on his face, some Pokemon trying to wake him up.

    May 5
    Victory Road

    When N woke up, he found himself outside, on a rocky cliff where a few tough grasses grew. Where was he? He sat up and looked around, seeing cliffs going above him and cliffs dropping below him. From the reddish hue the dirt and rocks had, this seemed to be Victory Road itself. On one side, Zekrom was sitting on the ground, resting but awake. The Zorua was still with them, surprisingly; he was curled up asleep.

    On his other side, an Audino leaned closer to him, listening with her sensitive ears. “Good, good, you're awake now,” she said. “Come, you need to eat a good breakfast so that you'll be able to get started with your day. I found some things that you can eat.” She then passed over a wrapped granola bar and an apple.

    Zekrom lifted her head. “You weren't well last night, so I called for one of them to attend to you.”

    N nodded. “I see, thanks.” He took a bite out of the apple, taking a moment to savor the flavor. It was a simple thing in this complicated piece of his life, a good distraction to the nightmare lingering in his mind..

    Pleased to have been a good help, the Audino shook her ringlets. “You're welcome. Oh, but you know, when I was listening deeply to your heart, I heard something strange and familiar. You are like a human, and like a Pokemon too.”

    “I know, that's what I am,” he said.

    “Huh, so can you use moves like Pokemon?” she asked, twitching her ears.

    He nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been able to do some things. Nothing very impressive.”

    The Audino chuckled. “Well the fact that you can understand me is impressive. I've been thinking, and I got a great idea. I can teach you one of my best moves.”

    Teach him? He shook his head. “No... no I don't want to hurt anyone.”

    “This move doesn't hurt anyone,” the Audino said cheerfully. “Heal Pulse is what I used on you when you were sleeping last night, and it's to heal others.”

    “A healing move? That would be great, actually.” And so much more useful than a move that hurt others.

    Happy, she smiled and put a paw on his nose. “It is! And I have a feeling that you'll be really good at it, I mean really really good. Here, watch me.” She used it on him again.

    The power felt soothing, a touch of another's love. N put his hand on the Audino's head and focused on that feeling. With that, he found it simple to cast Heal Pulse on her. “Oh... that was easier than I thought.”

    The Audino laughed. “See? I was right! Now grow strong so that you may help many others. I've got to go now; I live with Terrakion and help many Pokemon deep in the caves. Be well.” Then she trotted off back into the caves to get to where she lived.

    “They must have nice lives,” N said, watching her go. “Going around helping others, healing their wounds. Nobody could hate them, or think they were failures.”

    “They would sacrifice themselves in order to help others,” Zekrom said. “It is an admirable devotion, if sad and unfortunate.”

    N looked up at her. “How can it be admirable and unfortunate?”

    She glanced at her claws and started doing some grooming while talking. “It is because we admire how much they wish to help, and yet wish that they never had to go so far as to put their lives on the line to make things better. One should not have to sacrifice one's self to make things better. Better to stay true to one's heart and see the better things come to pass with one's own eyes.”

    “It would be a pity to never see what comes of your work,” N agreed, getting up. “We're close to the end now, so we should get going.”

    However, Zekrom didn't get up or stop fussing with her scales. “Should we? Once you succeed, we'll have to part. I thought you would want some time to talk with me before that happened.”

    He hesitated, feeling torn. “Yes, I did want to... but I spent a lot of time getting to this point and I could have done it sooner if I didn't get distracted with other things. There are Pokemon out there who are suffering under this system and any time I lose is time lost to save them.”

    “Are you sure?”

    After wondering why she was questioning him for a moment, N looked down at the Zorua. “No,” he admitted. “I mean, I don't want Pokemon to be hurt. But then, I've seen that many of them could be hurt by being separated from humans, even just in being sad or lonely. I don't want to do that to everyone. But I also don't want to disappoint those who have been helping me. I'm not really sure what to do now, but I need to do something.”

    Zekrom looked to him. “You do have a lot to accomplish. If you're not certain, then there might be a flaw within the plan, or related to it.” N's thoughts turned to himself, but then the dragon said, “It does not seem to be about you, because if you faltered in your ideals in any way or behaved in an inappropriate manner, you would not have been able to bring my spirit into the physical world like this.”

    That was good to hear. N started to think about what else could be the problem. Did it really have to be as drastic? Hilda and Hilbert seemed to think that if more humans heard about what Pokemon had to say, something he could help with easily, then it would cause more to rethink how they treated them. And what about that dream he had? It might not mean anything, as most dreams were. Then again, he usually didn't remember dreams this clearly, only his visions of potential futures.

    Before the terror of that idea got a hold on him, the Zorua's ears perked up and he uncurled from his sleeping position, yawning and stretching. Zane came up to them. “Someone's coming this way,” he said. “We've been keeping others away from this spot so they wouldn't disturb you, but you're awake now.”

    “Thanks for that,” N said, remembering the gratitude he'd felt for them yesterday. “Who is it?” he asked, already thinking over that again. Most of the humans should listen now that he had Zekrom, but what about the Pokemon? He had assumed that they would too. Or was he assuming about the humans too?

    “One of the Sages,” Zane replied. “Not one I recognize the smell of entirely. I think it's the one you call Ryuko.”

    “Is he older than the ones you know well?” he asked. When the Zoroark agreed that was so, he nodded. “It might be him. I hope it is; he might be able to help.”

    “Morning,” the Zorua said, sitting in his spot. “What are you going to do?”

    “I'm thinking about it,” N said.

    Then someone came out of tunnels that made up much of Victory Road itself. Ryuko always seemed smaller when he wasn't wearing the robes he had as one of Team Plasma's Sages, thin and worn from time. But even if he was close to ninety years old, he was in great health. The fact that he was here, halfway down the cliff that made up Victory Road, was a testament to that. He did have a Golurk keeping close to him; N recognized it as having been in Rood's possession at one point. The Golurk was wearing a Repel of some kind. To N, it wasn't a bad smell (although it wasn't pleasant either), but it did carry an unspoken warning of how powerful the Pokemon was.

    “Oh, there you are,” Ryuko said, smiling. “Good morning, N.”

    He nodded. “Good morning, Ryuko.” Then considering how others spoke, he added, “How are you doing?”

    “Not too bad, just taking a pleasant morning walk while I was seeing if you were nearby,” he replied, although he was now looking up at Zekrom. “And it's a wonder to be meeting you, Master Zekrom.” He then spoke something in a language that N didn't recognize, but it sounded to be full of respect.

    Surprisingly, Zekrom laughed at that, although Ryuko probably wouldn't recognize it as such. “How amusing,” she said, sounding pleased. “I have not heard that tongue in many centuries. It's not perfect, but understandable. Your devotion to knowledge and wisdom is admirable, elder. I appreciate the old honor, thank you.”

    This seemed like a safe place to try out being an interpreter, N thought. Not like back in Nacrene, when he'd tried to translate for that group of teenagers only to get responses from hostile to thinking it was a cute trick. “She thanks you for the old honor,” he said. “It's been a long time since she's heard that language, but even if it wasn't perfect, she understood it.”

    “I don't expect it to be exact,” Ryuko said, although he seemed glad to hear of it. “I read it in old texts and had to do extra research to find out how their pronunciation worked.”

    “What did it mean?” N asked.

    “'Dragon of lightning, may our wisdom soar as high as you',” he said. “'Bless your grand wings. We seek your power for the greater good.' It seems to have been a formal greeting within one of the kingdoms she worked with. There's another blessing that is structured similarly, but is meant to be given to others instead of the dragons.” Ryuko shrugged. “With those people long gone and the language only studied scholarly, it may be only a curiosity to know.”

    “You could use it once, so it is a little more than that to you,” Zekrom said.

    N told Ryuko that. Then he added, “I hope I haven't caused trouble to all of you; I was exhausted when we left the tower.”

    He shook his head. “We were worried, but since you were with Zekrom, many of us trusted that you would be okay. You are okay, right? You seem dusty.”

    Scratching his head, he said, “I woke up not that long ago, actually. But other than that, I'm doing well today. How were things outside the tower?”

    “For a long time, nothing was happening,” Ryuko said. “I had to leave for a time to get some rest myself, but others stayed there the whole while as well. Then yesterday evening, Hilbert and Hilda arrived, along with Kyurem. They insisted on going inside, saying that they had to be there for the summoning to work. We agreed to that, although there were a few like Ghetsis who weren't sure it was the right thing to do.”

    “Sometimes I come alone, but there were extra difficulties this time,” Zekrom said.

    Ryuko continued speaking. “There was a while longer when nothing happened, then the whole tower iced over again. But there was no one else there who could make the entrance that the three of you did. Not long after that, the ice broke again, replaced by spirals of red fire and blue sparks. Once they faded, we saw you flying off from the top of the tower. Hilbert and Hilda came out of the ground entrance several minutes later, with Reshiram instead of Kyurem.”

    N looked up at Zekrom. She bowed her head. “Let them know.”

    Nodding, he turned to Ryuko. “There was something strange going on. I don't know the full story, but I would imagine they do. The Kyurem with them was from a darker future, it seems. He came to this time to make sure his siblings didn't die. I don't know what he really did, but he said that his job was done after he sacrificed his current body to help Reshiram and Zekrom come back. This time, he was here for good reasons.”

    “Really?” he asked, intrigued by the possibility. “I see. I have sometimes wondered about him. Many think he is a force we don't want around, but there were enough stories and incidents I found in my studies that convinced me that he and the others often have mysterious purposes, things we don't need to know most of the time.”

    “Or purposes which would be unreasonable and irrational for a mortal to follow,” Zekrom added.

    “Why did you study the things you have?” N asked. “How did you know you were doing the right things?”

    “Oh, those are two very different questions, but I think I can answer them at once,” Ryuko said, rubbing his chin. “I came from a very religious family, so when I wanted to know why things were they way they were in the world, I was directed towards what our religion stated. I grew interested and studied what texts I could find, eventually branching out to study texts from other religions when I discovered that they stated different things.

    “With all that I was reading, I found many common threads, as well as differences both miniscule and major. I considered many of them, trying to figure out what was right and wrong. I discovered where my own assumptions were and where I could see things more clearly. But you know the most important thing I found out?” He smiled and put his hand to his chest. “That I had grown old and I should have spent more of my life enjoying it, not endlessly studying what life was and what it meant to be good. I think I'm doing a lot more good for the world working with you like this, using my knowledge instead of keeping it as something dusty and scholarly. I'm certainly happier for it.”

    That made N worried for if he wanted to change things at this point. But then Zekrom spoke up, “Some things seemed to be learned right by doing them wrong.”

    Which was puzzling, but Ryuko laughed when N told him. “That's how it happens, more often than you'd admit,” he said. “I try not to let myself regret it too much; that would just drag me down into negativity. I've moved on, trying to make things better instead of just watching.”

    “But how do you know if what you're doing is right?” N asked. “People have told me that I would just know, or with the voice of the conscience, but sometimes all choices seem to be bad, or good.”

    “You learn through experience,” Ryuko said. “But as the lady has said, experience often comes by doing things wrong. You can watch, read, learn, and think about it all you want, but sometimes it really is unclear to tell at the time which choice is right. Not all of the consequences are immediately apparent.” He paused, then added, “Is something the matter? What's troubling you that you're not sure of the morality of it?”

    There was a brief thought that he shouldn't speak of such things except to Ghetsis, or else he might appear weak when the others needed him to be strong. Since even his relationship with his father was coming into question now, N felt a stronger inclination to dismiss that thought. “I'm not sure we should be acting so fast,” he admitted, feeling nervous about how that would be accepted. “Ghetsis has been pressuring me for the past year that we need to hurry things up and get the separation of society done, and I agreed for a while. But with things that I've seen and heard lately, it's become more unclear how things should be handled. I feel like we need time to consider and discuss it more, like with those worried that this will disrupt society in a harmful way.”

    “You need to talk with a lot more Pokemon too!” the Zorua barked, wagging his tail.

    “Yes, and discuss it with more Pokemon, so that they at least know what's going to happen,” N said.

    Ryuko became thoughtful, looking around without really looking at things. “We were counting on the sudden revelation to help others realize what needs to be done. But that time has been passed and many of the more worldly opponents have arguments that people understand better. We especially would want the cooperation of the Pokemon; as long as they stay near the communities and routes where humans live, people can use that as an argument against us. It could be better to rebalance for a possible misstep than to plunge ahead and fall.”

    “Yes,” N said. “We'll have to discuss it with the others, although Ghetsis,” he bit his lip, trying to form his feelings into words.

    Ryuko put his hand on N's shoulder briefly. “I know he's done a lot for you, but in the end, you're our leader and we're your advisers. Don't let him intimidate you so much. I know it can be difficult, as he's got quite a presence, but if your conscious is telling you to slow down and reconsider everything, that's what we need to do.”

    “Thanks,” he said. “Even so, I made an agreement with Hilbert that we would settle things in a week... six days now. That's when I need to be back here,” he looked up towards the top of Victory Road. The League stadium couldn't be seen from here from the angle, even if it wasn't far away. “That's when we'll reveal the castle and I plan on addressing the whole region. I'd like to spend the week talking with Zekrom and other Pokemon, to make sure they're prepared and hear what they have to say.” He turned back to Ryuko. “Still, I should come back with you for today and let everyone know that I'm fine.”

    “That would be good,” he said. “We can head back now.”

    “I want to come and see,” the Zorua said, following after no matter what anyone said.

    Normally when he returned to the castle, Ghetsis would be the first or nearly the first that N spoke to. Today he took his time, speaking to his followers as he came across them. Zekrom came with him, having changed her size to something smaller and easier to get around indoors with. They did come across Gorm, Bronius, Rood, and Giallo; N made sure to tell them about his arrangement with Hilbert and his other plans. Including about how they might not want to be so abrupt about the separation of humans and Pokemon. Rood and Giallo seemed to be in agreement with that suggestion. On the other hand, Bronius wasn't sure that it would be as effective, and Gorm felt that giving others more time would make them more resistant.

    He got invited to eat in the dining hall with a number of the regular people in Plasma, which he accepted. As he was sitting with them, he wondered why he hadn't done that much. It was a little awkward as first, since he was trying to be casual with them when his main knowledge of that was with his friends outside of Plasma, and Pokemon. Once he noticed that humans liked being listened to as much as Pokemon did and that even small subjects could generate talk, he felt more comfortable just conversing with them. They were good people, also hoping to make the world a better place.

    Partway through the lunch, Anthea and Concordia came in. “May we join in?” Anthea asked.

    N looked around; the table was fairly full, but he thought it might still work. “Sure, we could get some room for you both. It seems like a really long time since I've seen either of you for long. I'm sorry for not coming in.”

    “It's fine,” Concordia said as the others slid aside to make room for the two women. “We hope you've been well on your travels.”

    “It's been a lot different than I expected,” he said. “There's good and bad things happening out there, and some things that I won't forget. I think it was good that I went.”

    “Did you see the Charizard Bridge by Driftviel?” one of the men asked. “I always liked that area.”

    “Yes, that was a beautiful place,” N said, starting to feel happy with talking with them. “There's many amazing bridges around, all made with structures to perform their purpose with ease and endure large loads and rough weather, but also made with a beauty to please the eye and compliment the landscape. The color of it was great too, a bright red to go with the blue or gray of the river below it.”

    “I used to take a daily jog back and forth across that bridge,” he said. “And I met some great people on there.” He shrugged. “I guess I never paid much attention to how or why it was built, I just knew that it's a wonderful place that I remember fondly.”

    “It can be important and wonderful for both reasons,” Ryuko said.

    The meal ended up going for well over an hour, after many of them were done eating. It was a good thing and he thought that maybe he should have done that more often. When he finally left to speak with more people and allow the others to go on with their work, Anthea and Concordia came with him and Zekrom. “You seem to have changed much since we last saw you,” Anthea said.

    “It hasn't been that long, but I might have,” N said. “I still need to speak with Ghetsis; do you know where he'd be around this time?”

    “I don't see much of him these days,” Anthea said. “Although I'm mostly taking care of the team's Pokemon now, not so much the forest Pokemon. They've been taking care of their own, it seems. I see a few Pokemon the other Sages work with, but never any from him.”

    “He doesn't let me clean his chambers anymore, only a few of my workers,” Concordia said. “Some days he's working in his office around this time, but other days I'm not sure where he goes. He might be there.”

    He nodded. “Okay. I usually just go back to my area and he comes to me, but I think I'll go there.”

    “Don't annoy him too much by interrupting him,” Concordia said, worried. “That's why he told me to stop cleaning there, although I was just in at my usual time.”

    “I'll be okay,” N said.

    “Well you don't want to get on his bad side,” Anthea said. “N-not that I've tried; I think he hardly knows I'm around any more.”

    The stumble in her words caught his attention. It seems like something he might do. “Does he treat you well, or just ignore you?” N asked.

    “He took us in when we didn't have a home,” Anthea said. “And he never hit us or anything like that. Sometimes he seemed to ask a lot of us, but we did it in gratitude to his help.”

    “But he assigned us to serve you and make sure you're okay,” Concordia said. “We'll keep doing as you asked of us, because we really do care about you.”

    Anthea laughed a little. “Even though I will have to find something else to do. I thought that maybe I should study to be a nurse for humans and help out that way. Do you think that would be a good thing?”

    Previously, he had seen them as kind women who had helped him out with his basic schooling. When he looked at them now, he noticed that they weren't too much older than him. He had met them when he was seven. Maybe they had been young teenagers then, younger than Hilda and her friends now? He wondered how Ghetsis had really treated them. Just ignoring them after they had done so much didn't seem right. “That would be wonderful,” N said, hoping to encourage her in something she seemed to want.

    They parted, and so it was just him, Zekrom, the Zorua, and the Zoroark. Zinzolin was in there talking with Ghetsis, but they stopped when he came in. “I heard talk that you were back in the castle,” Ghetsis said. No real greeting, just a statement. Not even a comment about Zekrom, although Zinzolin looked at her with some interest.

    “Yes, I talked with many others here,” N said.

    But although he thought about confronting Ghetsis about his suspicions and fears, N found himself unable to call up the confidence he had in the dream to speak against him. The results of that dream might turn out a little too real. Still, he managed to tell them about what was to happen next week.
    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.

  23. #348
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    Good Job!
    N is finally getting the idea that for pokemon benefit this: separation < together.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

    This the aquabats song awesome forces:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx4sL0w3SHM
    and here is their song shark fighter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wchrctxFo

    I NEED A BETA READER!
    Check out my fic.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...2#post14945242

  24. #349
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    What ^^^ said. Seperation < Together.

    They parted, and so it was just him, Zekrom, the Zorua, and the Zoroark. Zinzolin was in there talking with Ghetsis, but they stopped when he came in. “I heard talk that you were back in the castle,” Ghetsis said. No real greeting, just a statement. Not even a comment about Zekrom, although Zinzolin looked at her with some interest.
    How many Z'z are there in this zet of zentanzez?

    Also, rereading through this, I worked out that Hilbert really was a kind of vampire. He drains powers from legendaries when he gets angry. And he's Dark typed. This also means that N is a vampire, but not as much of one.

    One final thing; Did Umber steal Keldeo's immortality to give to     Spoiler:- Really dragging up all the old jokes today:
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  25. #350
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    Well since they're supposed to steal souls, doesn't that make them some kind of wraith? lol, but vampire works just fine. And yes, so many Z's there; I couldn't resist when I realized I could. Although, that Zorua still doesn't have a name of his own.

    Anyhow, I know battles are my weakness and for this section, there could have been anywhere from eight to twenty battles. I think that would have ended up boring everyone, so I went with only what was important for the plot.


    Chapter 56: The Proof of Resolve



    May 9
    Victory Road

    The major battle was going to be between Hilbert and N, but Hilda wanted to be prepared too. She had spent much of this week so far training her Pokemon in various places: Trainer hangouts in Castelia, the stadiums in Nimbasa, the Ace Trainer club in Opelucid (they were mostly fond of Triples and Rotation style, but it was still good practice). Today, she decided to try out Victory Road itself. She had heard from the Ace Trainers that the wild Pokemon tended to be very strong around there, in response to the strong Trainers that came through.

    But first, there were the badge check gates. They were huge stone gates built into a crevice in the rocky landscape. On the one in front of her, there was a Pokeball symbol. “These gates won't move unless you have the appropriate Gym Badge,” the gate guard said. He was wearing a dark blue uniform with a patch that marked him as a League worker. “In your case, you should be able to walk up to them and they'll automatically open.”

    “Can't you just fly over these?” Hilda asked, looking at the top of the gate.

    The guard shrugged. “Well there's nothing stopping anyone with a well trained flying Pokemon from doing that. That won't help you get into the League stadium, though.”

    “True. So what's your job, then?” She looked at him. If the gates could automatically open, and they were huge yet easily passed overhead, what was the point of the guard?

    “I do maintenance and make sure the gates get closed again,” he said. “This road's been working like this for many years; some of the gates are aged or weathered worse than the others. If they stick or give you trouble, come back and get me.”

    “All right, dude,” Hilda said, giving him a smile before she headed up to the first gate. It pulled itself open for her.

    There was a large place with tall rock walls to match the gates, making a kind of outdoors room. It was made like a little flower garden, an unexpected place to find. Maybe they did need a lot of maintenance, not just for the mechanisms. Past the second gate, there was a rock garden, with a statue of a Furret. Each of the areas was supposed to represent one of the Gyms, she recalled. Some were simple, but then there were rooms where she had to walk across walk a break in the floor just by strong winds blowing up (had to be Skyla; she wondered how heavier people managed it) or where she walked between large stone dragon heads. Seeing that, she recalled what she had done in the past six months. It had been just six months since she set out, right? Hilda grinned at the thought.

    Past the eight badge check gates, she came to the enormous cliff area that made up the actual Victory Road. There was a group of Pokemon there, a group of large metallic ants as well as a couple of Gigaliths. “Hey, what's going on?” she called out to them, waving.

    They started to scatter, but a few of the Durants got interested in her. “She has a sign of the dragons,” one said. “I don't recognize it, though.”

    “It's Kyurem's sign,” Hilda said.

    The four Durants who were left came closer to her. “Like Kyurem's hero? We heard there was one.”

    “We didn't hear that she could understand us too,” another said.

    “Not many people know about that,” she told them. Wondering if her guess was right, she asked, “Who'd you hear about Kyurem's hero from?”

    It snapped its jaws. “It came through the colony news; a scout came across Zekrom's hero. He was talking about his plans to make Pokemon and humans live separately, and how the heroes of Reshiram and Kyurem were working against it. Is that true?”

    She nodded. “That's right. We're trying to convince him not to do that.”

    “The colony doesn't want that either,” one of the Durants said. “We're proud to share our tunnels with humans.”

    “There's no good of a road that no one uses,” another said.

    “We decided we would help you both, even if it's not much,” the main speaker for the Pokemon said. “We can give you some nice rocks we find.”

    “I have one.” The Durant went back to a pile of rocks and pulled out a dark stone with its jaws. It then tossed it over to Hilda. “I hope it helps you.”

    “Thanks,” she said, although she wasn't sure what it would do. “Actually, I was out here to work with my Pokemon. Mind helping?”

    “No trouble!”

    Later on, she was letting her Pokemon look around the cliffs to take a break from battles. Frank spent quite a while at the edge of the one they were on, looking at the uneven landscape that led back to Opelucid. He was also being oddly quiet. Hilda went over to the Gothitelle. “What's on your mind, bud?”

    “The only one who could qualify as a bud is Fedora, and he's too old now,” Frank said, still looking over the landscape.

    “But that's not what you were thinking until I said it,” Hilda said.

    He put his hand to his chin. “Right. It might be something, or it might not be. Years ago, I was told that if I became a Gothitelle, I would have the power to see into the future of anyone I cared about, even what would be their end. I never thought it would be that useful as I was always more interested in the present, and trying to get the attention of lots of females rather than just sticking with one. But in staying with all of you, I decided to try.”

    Shrugging, she sat down on the edge of the cliff near him. “Seeing the future? Might be cool, but I've heard too much about supposedly dying to really be interested.”

    “I can understand that,” Frank said, crouching down so he could sit there too. “Partly because what I saw didn't make a lot of sense. It was... the night sky and city lights.”

    She looked at him. “That was it for the future?”

    He was frowning. “Not that that was it. That's the best way I can understand that. It was where we will be, only it wasn't normal. The sky was bigger than it should be.”

    “How can the sky be bigger than it is?” Hilda asked, looking up. It was blue with a few clouds, good weather for being outside.

    “It was. There was also something about another harsh winter influenced by Kyurem's power, where many of the cities are coated in ice.”

    She laughed. “That could make for some awesome ice skating. Aw, but now that you say it, it can't be anything as awesome as I imagine it.”

    “Humans do have quite an imagination,” Frank said, amused.

    Hilda punched her hands together. “Yeah, and that's what they count on with movies all the time. Put the most awesome parts in the trailer, but then it turns out that the only awesome parts were in the trailer and the whole thing is one long slog through a story you weren't expecting and don't care about. Bah. I'll take on the future when it becomes the present.”

    Nodding, he said, “Yeah, that sounds better than worrying about something I can't interpret. But if I do see something useful, I’ll let you know.”

    “That'd be cool,” she said.

    He looked at her, indicating the direction behind her. “I can see Hilbert coming this way, but that's with standard powers. You got something earlier that will be of use to him.”

    “Did I?” She thought about it, then pulled out the stone the Durants had given her. It was a deep purple, black from some angles. “It's like that stone I gave Mimi, so it's probably some other evolution stone. When's he going to be here?”

    “Not too long. Should I let you know?”

    “When he's within throwing distance. So does your future seeing power helps you figure out how to get your girls?”

    Frank rolled his eyes. “I wish! But it's about those I care about. Maybe if I did have a life mate out there, I'd see something about her. But nothing so far... then again, I haven't been interested to look for that. Hilbert should be coming out of the tunnels there; his eyes will be adjusting.”

    “Perfect,” Hilda said with a grin. She turned around, saw him, Reshiram, and the Alomomola Loch coming out of the tunnels. “Hey, catch!” she yelled, throwing the stone at him.

    “Huh?” Hilbert said, throwing up his hands and barely managing to catch it. He looked at it for a moment, “A Dusk Stone? What's this for, Hilda?”

    “It's for that Dawn Stone you got me months ago,” she said. “You should be able to use that.”

    “I can...”

    “Pretty!” Loch said, swimming around Hilbert. “But I don't think it's mine.”

    He spent a moment trying to translate that, then nodded. “I don't think so either. But I think, who would be most fitting...” he took another Pokeball and called out his Lampent. “Madeline, you want this?”

    “That's beautiful,” she said, taking hold of it and causing it to float into the fire in the center of her body. “It will help.”

    Getting up and away from the cliff edge, Hilda said, “It'll take a little while, at least it did with Mimi. So what're you up to?”

    “Looking for you, actually,” he said, scratching his head. “I kept hearing you were somewhere training, but then you wouldn't be there.”

    “You could've called,” she said. “What're you looking for me for?”

    “We have plans to discuss with you,” Reshiram said. “We've been considering how to handle what's coming”

    “Yeah, and we want your help with it,” Hilbert said. “Are you going to be taking on the Elite 4 on the eleventh?”

    “I was planning on it,” she said. “Unless there isn't time with everything else.”

    Hilbert nodded. “I think there will be. Let me tell you what we have in mind.”

    -+-

    May 11
    Pokemon League Headquarters

    At the top of Victory Road, they were greeted with the grand stone structure that housed the Unova Pokemon League Headquarters. Next to the imposing entrance was a modest Pokecenter carved into the local stone. There hadn't been many battles to get here today, just a few wild Pokemon who wanted to test them, but Hilda's Pokemon needed to be in top shape for what was to come. “There's already been one young man who's come in to take this challenge today,” the nurse said. “It was that one who is the Black King; I remember seeing him on the news the other day.”

    “How long has he been here?” Hilbert asked. If N got too far ahead, then who knew what would happen. He might even attempt to force the League to shut down again, this time for good.

    “Not that long; I saw him just ten minutes ago.” She handed over Hilda's team. “When you get inside, there will be four ways to choose from. If another challenger is inside, the door will be shut. Good luck.”

    “Thanks,” she said. There was a small counter for a Pokemart there too. After making sure her supplies were well-stocked (overstocked even, since anything could happen today), she, Hilbert, and Reshiram headed back out to enter the stadium itself.

    The guard at the door stepped aside on seeing Hilda's full Badge box. “Once you enter for a challenge, you will not be able to leave until you win or completely wipe out,” he said. “So make sure you're prepared. Oh, and I can’t let you both in, unless you also are eligible to try for the Championship.”

    “Well,” Hilbert said, thinking about how to explain this without taking up a lot of time.

    “They're my groupies,” Hilda explained for him. “They aren't going to fight, but they're coming with me. Besides, did you see the Black King N come through here? This is the White King Hilbert, and the legendary dragon Reshiram himself. They're here to kick N's *** and knock some sense into him, so they have to come in with me in order to get a chance to do that.”

    “Oh, well...” the guard looked uncertain for a moment.

    While he wouldn't have thought to be a groupie to someone else, it might work. He added, “N wants to separate Pokemon and humans, and so undo the entire Pokemon League, including your job. That's why we need to go in with her.”

    “I see.” He bowed his head. “In that case, an exception could be made. I'll make a call to confirm that. But, they cannot assist you with your challenge, Hilda, and you cannot change Pokemon.”

    She nodded. “Gotcha. Don't want to get a reputation as a cheat, after all.”

    Past the guard, there was a large circular lobby with a large statue of a Trainer and a Pokemon in the center. There were actually six ways to go in here. However, one was the way back out and another was marked off as private property, most likely the back area with offices. That left four paths to take to the four Elites, and the northwestern one was shut off.

    “Do you know which one you want to take on first?” Hilbert asked.

    Hilda shrugged. “Who cares? Got to beat them all in the end. I'm going this way; good luck!” She headed to the southwestern door.

    “I'm the one who needs luck?” he said.

    Glancing back at him, she gave him a thumbs up. “You have to deal with N. I just have to beat five of the toughest Trainers in Unova.”

    Hilbert laughed. “Right. Show them a good fight.”

    “No need to worry about that.” Then she headed through the door.

    Once she was gone, he turned on his Xtransciever and called up Cheren and Bianca. They had told a number of people the decided date, but he needed to tell them when they were starting so they could start their parts of the plan. While his end should work, they decided that there should be plans in case it didn't work out.

    A few minutes after he got done with the call, a circle on the floor to the northwest lit up. Circles of energy surrounded it as N teleported onto that spot. It surprised Hilbert to sense that his brother was actually calm today. From what he'd talked about during their talks in the hospital, Pokemon battles made him tense. But he seemed to have confidence in his Pokemon, and the Klinklang following him around was in good shape. “Good morning,” he said, waving to N. “How're you doing?”

    “You did come,” N said, glad to see him. “Good morning. We've gotten past two of these battles.”

    At least he wasn't completely done. “Your Pokemon are doing well, then,” Hilbert said. “Hilda and I just got here. What do you think of the Elites?”

    N looked back at the doors, thinking. “I've only met with Caitlin and Marshal. I thought I wouldn't like them; anyone who'd gotten this far with battling would have to be tough on their Pokemon. But I got here, and...” he stopped with that train of thought and looked back to Hilbert. “Not now. But once I get past this, we will settle things. I intend on telling everyone to release their Pokemon at the end of the day. If you want to stop that, you'll have to win today.” Then he headed to the northeast door.

    The Klinklang paused a moment. “He's depending on you,” it said, then followed after N.

    “What do you think of that?” Reshiram asked.

    Leaning back against the statue, Hilbert said, “He wants to test me, like you are right now. If he's counting on me, maybe he just needs to see how determined I am. But we'll stick to the plan.”

    “Sounds good.”

    Then Hilda appeared on the southwest teleport pad. “Did you get to speak with him?” she asked.

    “He's on his third battle,” he said. Then there was something he had to ask. “Oh, and I've been wondering... why are you dressed normally today, Hilda? After what you and your Mom said the other night about going to Dragonspiral, I thought you would have gone for something special here.”

    “I did,” she said, tipping her usual hat. “This is what I was wearing on the day I started. That was also the day I met N, and you. Remember? I even got the Bisharp patch right, I believe.”

    “That was a long time ago, it seems,” he said, trying to remember back then. He mostly remembered his surprise at seeing that she had Kyurem as such a new Trainer. At the time, he couldn't see how she deserved that. “I wasn't paying much attention to anyone else at the time. But that works.”

    “Got to remember how I started,” Hilda said. “How are the others doing?”

    “I told them we were getting started,” he said. “Haven't heard back.”

    “All right. Well, got to keep moving.” She headed into the northwest door, going counterclockwise.

    While Hilbert was waiting, he got a call from Cheren. “A news report just came out with word from Plasma,” he said. “Ghetsis said that N was going to address all of Unova later on today, but didn't specify a time.”

    “They're probably planning on using the Champion's platform for that,” Hilbert said. “They have cameras in that area, and if N defeats Alder, then he will be able to ask for use of that space for such a proclamation.”

    “They're confident, but with good reason,” Cheren said. “I'm getting things done, but I thought you should know about the report.”

    “Yeah, thanks.”

    Strangely enough, Hilda came back out before N did. “Man, it's almost a disappointment how quickly that went,” she said, coming off the receiving pad.

    “Your Pokemon do seem over-leveled for this challenge,” Reshiram said.

    “Really?” Hilda asked. “Well I'll definitely have to ask if they have a tougher set later on.”

    “If your Pokemon are over-leveled now, think of how it would have gone if you still had Kyurem,” Hilbert said.

    She laughed. “It would've have gone the same so far. I'll catch up at this rate!” Since N was still in the northeast door, she went to the southeast door to challenge that Elite. Shauntal, if Hilbert's guess was right.

    The next wait was nearly ten minutes until N came back. He was a great deal more worried, immediately working on healing up his Pokemon. “Tough challenge, huh?” Hilbert asked.

    “I still don't like seeing them get hurt, but I feel proud of how my friends are doing,” N said. “We can make this world right. But what are you doing just standing here?”

    He shrugged. “Waiting. I'm not qualified to take on this challenge; I don't think any of my Gym Badges count right now. But this is the day we decided on for this duel, so I’m here.”

    That caused N to pause, concerned about him. That made Hilbert feel hopeful. If he cared enough to worry about him, he might care enough to really listen. “You are,” N said. “Is that foolishness or determination?”

    “Maybe both, maybe neither,” Reshiram said.

    “Now why are you being vague?” Hilbert asked of the dragon. “I can understand why Kyurem is that way, but your power is about truth and the truth is certain.”

    “It is true in many ways,” he replied.

    “I thought the truth could only be in one way,” N said.

    “But there are many ways to look on truth, like there are many ways to look at objects,” Reshiram said. He pointed at the statue. “Like that. It looks different from many angles, but they are all true.”

    N looked up at the statue. “Right. Zekrom was saying something like that the other day, about how people will see the same event but think of it differently depending on how they lived. But that doesn't change the basics of morality and responsibility. I think...” then he stopped himself, looking towards the southeast door, the one fight he hadn't taken yet.

    “We'll settle it once you're done here,” Hilbert said, sensing a degree of fear still in N. But now it wasn't clear if he was afraid of being wrong, or of being right. Or his fear could be of the uncertain. Once things were certain by having one of them win, then all else could be explained. While Hilbert wouldn't agree that this battle would settle everything, it would be a good place to start over from.

    “Right,” N said.

    Then Hilda arrived. “Oh hey, I caught you!” she said, smiling on seeing him. “And caught up to you. The biggest part of this challenge is just ahead for both of us. Are you and your Pokemon ready?”

    “We are,” N said. “But what happens if we both win?”

    She put a hand on her hip and thought about that. “You think so? I think so! Well, whichever one of us wins faster in the fourth battles will take on Alder, then will be the Champion that the other challenges. But, I figure that battle is not as important as what you boys have got planned, so I wouldn't mind delaying our battle for that.”

    He nodded. “Very well. I'll see you both later.”

    -+-

    Hilda's last battle had been against Grimsley, and it had been tougher than the other three. On coming out, she had to revive Tarzan, Mimi, and Fedora. But, they had done it. They had defeated the Elite 4 without Kyurem. With that done, the statue revealed itself to be sitting on top of an elevator. Reshiram, Hilbert, and the new Chandelure Madeline were waiting for her, and they rode down to the Champion's area with her.

    There was a huge amount of stone stairs waiting at the bottom of the elevator. More columns lined the way up. Cheren was waiting higher up, as a witness to the battle; he waved as he spotted them. From above came the sounds of a Pokemon battle. However, it didn't last. By the time they climbed all of those stairs, N had already defeated Alder.

    And had defeated him soundly. It was hard to tell what had happened, but Alder had been knocked to the ground at his end of the battle platform. While he was sitting up, he was clutching his chest and seemed to be in pain. His wild red hair was in even more chaotic shape than usual. On the other hand, N seemed to be perfectly fine, walking to the center of the platform. “I had heard that you were a talented Trainer, but you seem to be fighting much too cautiously. How long has it been since you had a battle as the Champion? If it's because of the Pokemon you lost last year, then your heart is too weak.”

    “Hey, you shouldn't be harassing someone you just defeated,” Hilda called over.

    N turned to them. He still had that creepy fake smile, although neither his eyes nor his posture showed the expected emotions for the moment: no excitement, no disbelief, no pride. “You made it. You all came for this moment of fate.” Then he paused, took a step back and pulled something out of his pants pocket. “This shouldn't take long. But, this isn't an appropriate place for a showdown between legends.” He brought the device up in front of him, some kind of remote. “Let me set the stage properly.” Then he pushed a button on the remote.

    Then the ground rumbled as if an earthquake was struck. It was more intense than Olette's tremors, even. While one of the columns below toppled over, the main thing that happened was a building began to grow in front of them, rising up from the ground. What seemed to be open grassland rose high into the air, revealing a grand castle that had been hidden within the earth itself. After just three minute, the castle stopped growing. Nine gates then opened up in the facade of the castle, each releasing a walkway that rapidly bridged the huge gap between the castle and the Champion's battle platform.

    It was a jaw-dropping sight. Once the noise died off, N slipped the remote back into his pocket. “Welcome to my castle, the headquarters of Team Plasma.”

    Grinning, Hilda couldn't help herself. “Wow, do it again!” she shouted.

    “Uh,” that threw him for a moment, but then he shook his head. “That would be a waste of time. I'll meet you in the throne room at the center of the top floor, Hilbert. Don't make me wait too long.” Then he turned and walked up the central walkway.

    His invitation was there. But there was something more immediate to take care of. The group of them ran over to where Alder was, still sitting on the ground by two of the ramps. “Alder, what happened to you?” Hilbert asked.

    “It was his dragon,” Alder said, not sounding well either.

    “Zekrom used a move called Fusion Bolt that released immense electricity into the area,” Cheren said, activating his Xtransciever. “That's when you started having trouble, right? You should get to a doctor quickly; just relax.”

    Reshiram went over and put his hand on Alder's shoulder. It glowed briefly. “That is not surprising. I can give you some strength, but you should rest now, or your body will definitely be unwell.”

    Alder lowered his head. “I thought I was ready to battle again... I was fine with others, but the challenge N presented reminded me. His determination and beliefs both show in how he was in battle; his bond with Pokemon is powerful. You two, if you mean to challenge him, you had better fight with all your heart, like he does.”

    “Don't worry about us, or I'll end up worrying about you stressing out like this,” Hilda said, hoping to reassure him. “We'll handle things now.”

    “Bianca's end of things should be showing up soon, as well as the results of what I did,” Cheren said. “Go on ahead.”

    “Thanks, and hang on Alder,” Hilbert said before checking on Reshiram. Since he seemed to be done with what he could help Alder with, they headed up the ramp.

    Hilda followed after them. “So if his determination shows up strongly enough to increase his Pokemon's confidence and faith in him, is he going to stick to his words or not? He'd have a tough time breaking such a bond.”

    “I don't think his ideals have changed,” Hilbert said. “But he may have realized that his ways of putting them into practice are flawed. He wants to challenge us to fulfill our round of these legends, yet he does want to discuss things now.”

    “Can't drop the momentum in the last act, huh?” She shrugged. “I'm fine with that. Oh, but Reshriam, I want to ask you a few more things.”

    He nodded. “Go ahead. We have a long ways to walk.”

    -+-

    N walked along the halls of his castle, taking an easy pace. The few knights who were in here today, as well as the Shadow Triad, might stall Hilda and Hilbert, but they wouldn’t obstruct them. N didn’t want to wear himself out before the battle.

    Ahead, one of the Knights was kneeling by a Patrat. “Can we play a game today?” the Patrat asked, looking eagerly at the knight. “It was so much fun last time.”

    “What do you want?” the knight asked curiously. He turned his head on hearing N’s footsteps, then got up quickly and saluted. “Oh, my Lord! S-sorry, I’m not,” he glanced at the Patrat, blushing.

    Was there time to deal with this? “What is it?” N asked wearily.

    “Well this Patrat,” he said, nervously fiddling with his armored gloves, “it was assigned to me months ago to help spread the word of your ideas. But, I think I, I mean, it’s become attached to me. I’ve tried to turn it back in, but it keeps coming back, and well, it’s hard to ignore the cute face it gives me. I don’t know if I’m worthy to stay, but I really just wanted to help you.”

    “You…” would have trouble letting go too, N nearly said, but stopped in time. He closed his eyes. “Don’t worry about that. If he likes you… well just go in the room here and keep out of the way. We’ll see what happens and figure it out later.” Then he headed on to the next set of stairs.

    “Oh, um, thank you, Lord N,” the knight said, still uncertain. He spoke quietly to his partner and left the hallway.

    This was going to cause sadness even within Team Plasma? There was something fundamentally wrong with this all if that was so. However, he had come this far and he couldn’t give up now. But then, the next battle would decide things for certain.

    N wondered how things would turn out.
    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.

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