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  1. #226
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    Another good chapter. I particularly enjoyed the scene where N is visibly torn by the sugar cubes. That seems like exactly the kind of quirky little thing that would set N off, not do mention the fact that there's certainly deep symbolic meaning in the scene. N becoming "lax in ethics" concerning the sugar cubes is exactly what he's been trying to avoid with Pokemon and his mission, so that can only mean . . .

    Also, I've solved part of a very important mystery:

        Spoiler:- Possible Spoilers:


    There was one line in particular that I enjoyed:

    That was something to look forward to today. N nodded. “Okay.” As his father left, he picked up the mirror and looked at his own smile. It really didn't look natural.
    I'm not sure if the play on words was intentional, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. N thinks that his smile "didn't look natural". Natural. So, N's smile literally didn't look like himself. Whether intentional or not, I still found it amusing :3
    Last edited by GalladeRocks; 7th July 2012 at 9:30 AM.
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  2. #227
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    I agree with GalladeRocks, it was Stacy who was murdered in front of Pierre. DUN DUN DUN! I liked this chapter. You made it seem so natural that two people are discussing the morals of life and sugar. XD

    But now I really want to know how Hilda dies. I'll be ending my reply here as I'm in a hotel and typing on an iPod.

    EDIT: Wait a minute. I've got it. It was GHETSIS who murdered Stacy! I have no idea why he would do that, and no reliable evidence to back it up, but I KNOW IT!
    Last edited by Z-nogyroP; 12th July 2012 at 5:57 PM.
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  3. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-nogyroP View Post
    EDIT: Wait a minute. I've got it. It was GHETSIS who murdered Stacy! I have no idea why he would do that, and no reliable evidence to back it up, but I KNOW IT!
    I've been thinking the same thing. I don't have much of a motive for him yet, but I agree.     Spoiler:- Possible Spoilers:
    Last edited by GalladeRocks; 14th July 2012 at 3:37 AM.
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  4. #229
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    No coffee break again this week (dinner's gonna take time tonight). I am amused by guesses, but if it might be spoiler-y, please put it in spoilers.


    Chapter 33: Sequence Breaker


    2/11, late morning

    It was a really good morning that was almost like the old days. Hilda had met up with Bianca a few hours ago, and Cheren joined them not long after that. Thankfully, he had eased up and wasn't being as strict. Perhaps it was only because it was Bianca's sixteenth birthday, but that was good for now.

    They came out of the Musical Theater, laughing and enjoying the company of their Pokemon. At least Hilda and Bianca were. Cheren only had his Emboar out. Bianca hugged her Munna. “Oh Timmy, you get so easily distracted and forget your timing. But you're such a darling on stage.”

    He squealed, happy to be hugged.

    “It is quite interesting, even though the Pokemon were all obvious amateurs,” Cheren said. “Did you see when the Foongus startled the Cottonee into puffing up to twice its size?”

    “I didn't see it happen, but it was funny when it was being blown around by the air conditioning,” Hilda said. “What do you want to do now, Bianca?”

    “Um,” she checked her Xtransceiver for the time. “Actually, I need to go to the subway station so I can catch a train back to Accumula. That way I’ll get back home for my family's party at lunchtime. Thanks for the presents and hanging out with me this morning. I miss you guys sometimes.”

    “We see each other at least three times a week, though,” Hilda said.

    Bianca chuckled and playfully took the boy's shoulder in a hug. “Well then it's good to see Cheren around for once.”

    He smiled. “Sorry, but I have trouble finding places to train in city limits.”

    “Man, you should try going into the stadiums during practice,” Hilda said, elbowing him from the other side. “They got some highly skilled Pokemon and Trainers in there.”

    “I thought they just played sports.”

    “They're really good at battling too,” Bianca said. “What are you two going to do?”

    Cheren scratched his head near his winter hat. “Well I might check out the stadiums if you two say so.”

    Hilda grinned and clapped her hands together. “Me and my team are ditching this town and heading for Undella!”

    “Undella?” Bianca asked, surprised. “I hear the beach is lovely, but it's the middle of winter!”

    “Better to avoid the crowds now,” she said, waving in dismissal of the argument against it.

    “That doesn't make any sense,” Cheren said, frowning. “There's no Gyms out in that part of Unova.”

    “It's partly for the Pokedex project,” Hilda said. “Who knows? There might be some unique Pokemon out that way that most League Trainers don't find because there isn't a Gym there. And some other reasons, but it depends.”

    “Some Pokemon will only come out in the winter, I hear,” Bianca said. “Well be careful out there, both of you. Good luck!”

    A few minutes later, Hilda was walking along Route 16. It wasn't a particularly inspiring route, as it was mostly a concrete road with industrial buildings clustered around. A group of motorcyclists were cruising along there, with their radios blaring heavy metal music and their bikes belching out strong-smelling exhaust; she had to keep to the pedestrian lane. Behind a tall chainlink fence, there was an untouched path of woods that led north into the central part of Unova. She was interested in the eastern exit, though, a gatehouse that led to Marvelous Bridge. It was different in that there was no attendant, nor a visitor's station with a guide screen and message board.

    There wasn't anyone else in there, so she brought out the four other Pokemon with her and Kyurem. “Okay team, I think it's about time we reviewed the plan.”

    Mimi cheered while Tarzan shrugged. Frank smirked and crossed his arms over his chest, and Olette was quietly attentive. “There was a plan?” Kyurem asked in a deadpan voice.

    Rolling her eyes, Hilda said, “Yeah, it kind of happened before I noticed. I got confirmation from Elesa yesterday that they are going to have a League shutdown in the future, but they need some more time to organize. We could challenge her, but I think it will benefit us more if we hold off on that badge and do more training for the rest of winter. Now the trouble with that is that one of the team members is in hibernation until spring. A couple of you haven't even met him; he's a Servine named Fedora and he pretty much started out with me and Kyurem.

    “In the meantime, I need to figure out what to do about Hilbert and N. I need to know a few more things, I think, but I'll look for that on my own or with Kyurem. Best case scenario is that me and Hilbert can change N's mind about Pokemon and humans before the other two dragons get awakened, but we're not sure what a worst case would be. Definitely if the two of them start arguing.

    “I figure that what needs to happen is that we step up our training for now. I'll work on things with those two boys in the meantime. When spring comes and the weather warms up, I'll go back to Nuvema to pick up Fedora and then we'll do a time of just training. We can decide how much time for that later. By then the League should be reopened and we can catch up to N.”

    This little speech got cheers from most of her Pokemon. The Gothita looked impressed; Frank nodded in approval. As did Kyurem. “That seems like a reasonable course of action. If we're going to be in that area, let's avoid Lacunosa. We wouldn't be welcomed there.”

    “All right. But first,” she turned and pointed out the gatehouse's doorway, “we need to cross Marvelous Bridge. It's a really long walkway over the road cars take, made to cross a wide canyon. And I never did get to race across Castelia's bridge because my leg was broken at the time. So let's race across this one!”

    “Don't go running into anyone,” Kyurem warned.

    “Of course not,” Hilda said. “You're joining in, aren't you?”

    He shrugged. “Very well.”

    Hilda held out a hand to Tarzan, who was a little too eager to start running. “Okay, okay.... get ready... and GO!”

    With the cold wind blowing across the bridge, the group took off out from the gatehouse and onto the bridge. The white steel pillars stretched out far in front of them. The excitement and cheer of the race was enough to get all of them smiling and laughing at the end. Even Kyurem, if only a little bit.

    -+-

    2/11, afternoon

    Lacunosa was sometimes said to be the prettiest town in Unova, even above wealthier places like Undella. It was paved entirely in local white stone, surrounded by it in a wall that made it seem much like a castle. Although most of the buildings looked similar, it was a quaint style that had been in this place for centuries. The community kept artistically formed concrete planters all around town filled with a variety of flowers that bloomed throughout the year. It was only little hardy winter flowers now, kept in blossom through constant care and brushing away of snow. Outside the walls were deep drifts of snow, but Lacunosa's streets were being kept snow and ice free.

    Despite the lovely surroundings, Lacunosa was not a popular place to live. There was always a sense of unease here, even fear. While people livened up the street during the day, it was deserted at night. This atmosphere only intensified in the winter. The residents were quiet and solemn, hurrying to get things done while the sun was in the sky. Northeast of Lacunosa was the Great Crater, the place where Kyurem resided. That meant that this town belonged to him and those who lived here were in the most danger when he became active.

    But it wasn't that way this time around, Hilbert thought as he walked through the streets. Kyurem had appeared in Nuvema instead of waking up in Great Crater. Why was that? Hilda said that she knew why he was around but never told Hilbert why. Did she know the truth or had the dragon lied to her? Ever since N had mentioned that he didn't trust Kyurem, Hilbert couldn't stop worrying about if he should trust them or not.

    He also couldn't keep from feeling jealous of N and Hilda. They weren't even really together, at least not that Hilbert knew of. But they could be a good couple, as N would have help breaking out of his way of thinking and Hilda might even calm down. N had no experience in dating, so it would be nice if Hilbert backed off. Yet while that made sense, it made him feel angry to think about. He had been willing to be patient and prove his worth to Hilda without pushing her, but then this... “Why did she have to go and do that?” he muttered to himself. “It would have been a simple thing to get her interested in me.”

    In response, Loch came closer and nuzzled his shoulder. The Alomomola didn't like seeing him upset over something and wanted to help. It did help him calm down since he didn't want to snap at the Pokemon.

    Hilbert rubbed the Alomomola by his fin. “It'd be nice if love was that simple for me too.” He then looked around the area, trying to distract himself with what he had come here to do.

    After being here a couple of days, he hadn't made much luck in tracking down information about his mother. Lacunosa was a guarded community on many levels so unlike in Opelucid, he wasn't able to get old community books to look at. He had been able to search local papers in the library, but nothing had come up for Stacy Gropius or Ghetsis Harmonia (save for current articles about Plasma that had nothing new). Maybe his father had sent him off in the wrong direction?

    Then he stopped and looked at the bridge overhead. Lacunosa had two levels to it, with buildings on both levels. While there were several upper walkways on bridges, this one in particular was familiar. There was an unmarked glass door near the bridge that had tinted glass for privacy, and long flower bed planters. This was where he and N had been in that vision of their alternate history. Was it a valid hint?

    “Behave yourself, Loch,” Hilbert said. “I don't know what their policy on Pokemon is, but I guess we'll find out.”

    Loch gave a positive response, so they went to the door and went inside. There was a jangle as the door opened, so it was probably a place of business still. Inside, there was a lobby and waiting area. There were chairs for both adults and children, as well as a small collection of old toys. On the wall was a large holder for many pamphlets, along with informational posters. There were two desks serving as a receptionist area right near the door, with a level of clutter that suggested a busy if low profit business.

    “Oh, hello,” the receptionist said, sounding uncertain as if either she was new or someone like him dropping by was unusual. “May I help you?”

    “I'm not sure,” he said. “This might sound odd, but I’m looking for information on someone and I’m not sure what this place is.”

    She gave him a puzzled look, then shook her head. “I'm afraid that we probably can't help you. This is a shelter and help center for women and children escaping domestic violence, so I can't release any information.”

    Was that it? Feeling embarrassed, Hilbert scratched his head. “Oh, it's nothing bad. I've been looking for information on my mother, as she died shortly after I was born. It's...” he wasn't an established psychic, so would they really take his word on it? “I had a vision of seeing her here.”

    The receptionist bit her lip and gave it serious consideration. “Well... I suppose if you have proof that it is your mother, I'll see what I can do.”

    “I have my birth certificate, DNA tests, and adoption papers,” Hilbert offered.

    She nodded, so he got the papers out of his digital storage and handed them over to her to look at. It took several minutes in which she checked the authenticity of the papers (especially the change in name), then went through another door to find someone to speak to. Since he was a visitor, he had to stay in the lobby. He took one of the pamphlets for the women's shelter and skimmed over it. He'd never thought a place like this would exist, but it seemed like a good thing to have. Did they have a lot of people to help or not?

    After he'd looked through three different pamphlets, the receptionist came back with another woman. “I'm the shelter's director,” the latter said, shaking his hand. “Thanks for being patient.”

    “No problem,” he said.

    “We did find records that your mother had been here for a year and a half,” the director said. “I wasn't working here at that time, so I don't know anything. We did find this in our storage.” She patted a box that the receptionist had put on the desk. “Stacy left these things behind when she moved out of the shelter. Since you're her son, you're allowed to claim this. The envelope on top has reports from her case worker, so it should help you with finding out more about her history.”

    So she had been here... why? That had to be in the reports. Hilbert nodded. “Sure. Thank you very much.”

    He had to sign the claim form, but then the box was his. It didn't seem like all that much, like a re-purposed box for a pair of boots. Yet it felt like an incredibly valuable thing, a treasure chest. On his way to the Pokecenter, he considered calling N to share opening the box. But then he considered that this was his mission, and he was still irritated about Hilda. He'd look into this himself.

    The Pokecenter seemed quiet, so Hilbert took a table and let his other Pokemon out for a time. After making sure they wouldn't cause trouble, he took the large envelope off the top and opened that first. There were only a few documents inside, much of it was basic information or things that didn't make sense to him. But there was a case review written after Stacy had left the shelter.

    'Stacy Gropius was transferred to this center from the homeless shelter in Castelia City when the staff there determined that she was in need of our assistance. Her location prior to this is uncertain, but her speech patterns, knowledge, and beliefs suggest that she is from an oceanic or sea community, most likely the Sevii or Hoenn Islands. Tests show that she has a low level of education and socialization, but a high intelligence. Her work skills are limited; she would do best as a homemaker. At the time of coming here, she said that she was 17.

    'She was quiet and reserved on most occasions, as well as obedient. On becoming familiar with a person, she talked more freely, but avoided personal matters. She held fast to a notion of saying nothing bad about anyone, so it was difficult to obtain information on her situation. Analysis of her behaviors and craft work suggest that she had an aggressive and violent father, most likely an alcoholic, and a passive mother who stayed at home. Her parents seem to have favored her brother, although she was accepting of this. It is possible that her mother died as a result of physical abuse shortly before she left home, or that she was forced to leave by her father's orders.

    'For some time, I was able to make progress in helping her gain independence and willingness to admit her problems. This progress became stalled when she got into a relationship with a man named Ghetsis Harmonia. We consider him a bad influence due to holding radical ideals and controlling her activities. I was unable to convince of this before he told her to leave our care. She stated that he was not violent and would not hit her; this may be so, but his influence will certainly keep her in her stunted emotional state.

    'Stacy has the capacity to become an independent and capable woman, but unless she accepts the help she needs, she's not going to get there.'

    Hilbert felt a chill in his blood while reading it. This was exactly what he had wanted to find, what his mother was like. And yet it managed to be what he didn't want to find either. He had thought that his mother was a nice cheerful woman; the pictures from the hospital seemed to support that. Maybe she was remarkable, or maybe she was simply ordinary. But this, a hint of growing up in an abusive household and then ending up in a land far away with a man that a group against domestic violence thought was suspicious, this was terrible. Maybe he could hope that at least her life here was nice, but this community was so suspicious and fearful.

    “Shoo ki?” Madeline was near the box, swaying her body. She and Loch had sympathy and wanted to know what was upsetting him. Regal was keeping an eye on him, but had not yet bonded well enough to show such feelings. And on the couch beside him, Ember had picked up that something wasn't quite right; he was snuffling around Hilbert's knee to see what it was.

    “Some things you wish you didn't know after you learned them,” he said. “Maybe it is better that I see this before N, I mean... maybe I should go back there and ask if they can help me with him. They might only help women and children, but they should be able to tell me better ways of dealing with N.”

    Loch came over and nuzzled him again. He'd have their support as long as they were with him, even if they didn't understand the situation. Knowing that let him smile again. And that support was a definite reason. He had to keep N from succeeding with Plasma.

    There was still this box of Stacy's things to look through. He cut the box open with a pocketknife and looked over the contents. Right on top, there was a journal that had a picture of a lighthouse on the cover. A glance inside showed that she had written in it, all the way through. He set that aside and checked on other items. There were more photos, some of her, some of a Wingull that seemed to be hers, and some of the area around Lacunosa. There was a necklace that had a pink coral beads and seashell pendant, with a painting of a Corsola on the shell. In a small cloth bag, there were a number of tiny dolls made of toothpicks and various colors of thread. There were some paper craft items, including drawings in colored pencil. Finally, there were a number of miscellaneous shells, rocks, feathers, sea glass, pressed flowers, and a Heart Scale.

    Hoping he might catch some glimpse of her life, Hilbert touched the items in there. He didn't get any visions from them, leaving him to wonder why she had these things and why she had left them behind when she went with Ghetsis. What did they mean to her? But even if he couldn't make sense of them, he had her journal and that would be a better glimpse into her life. He closed most of the things back in the box and opened up the journal. Her handwriting was small and tidy, with an occasional doodle on the margins.

    Entry 1

    They gave me a new journal, which is great because I left my diary back home. They want me to talk about my old life, which isn't good because I came here to make a new life. I don't want to spread the negativity I left behind.

    This town is odd. Lacunosa is pretty in the day and people are friendly. But it becomes different at night. They say that we can't go outside at night because of some monster. Even when I look out my window, it's spooky out in the streets. The people say it's safe as long as you stay indoors, but they haven't told me what this monster is. Is it some Pokemon? I haven't heard of a Pokemon that dangerous that a whole town goes into hiding, at least not a normal one.

    At least this place is quieter than Castelia.

    Entry 85

    I know I haven't written in a while, but I've met the most wonderful man! His name is Ghetsis and he has a wonderful voice. He's very smart; no matter what I ask him, he knows the answer, sometimes many answers if the topic is deeper than I realize. He's handsome too with the most amazing soft green hair and a face and eyes that project a sense of power; you'd really have to see him in person. And he's wealthy too! He's so cultured that he can be gentle with his words and still possess a powerful will. I almost can't believe that someone like him could exist, but he's there, at the coffeeshop every morning and then at the library in the evening. I actually changed my schedule just so I can meet him more often.

    I think he's starting to like me; he bought me coffee this morning and he asked to take a walk with me in the early evening. I'm writing and waiting on the right time to meet with him. It makes me nervous to be out alone with a man like that, but I think I’ll be okay. I feel safe in his presence.

    He has a lot of ideas that could change the world. He told me about some of it this morning and I was amazed. He wants to make it easier to punish people who hurt others, and to make sure they get punished appropriately so that they never do bad things again. Apparently prisons and fines don't really deter criminals, and some even see it as a mark of honor if they end up in jail for a few years because they can behave in a way to trick the guards into getting an early release. If Ghetsis were in charge, he'd make sure that those who tried to escape punishment would get harder punishment so that being good would be the easier and more obviously better choice.

    He doesn't believe in marriage either, which surprised me. He says it's an outdated notion that people do because that's what's always been done. But because it's been going on so long, people try their hardest to get married and will lie in order to make themselves look like a better spouse. They'll act much better than they usually are until they get married, and then they stop trying and be their normal selfish selves. And then there is so much pressure to be a perfect couple that it stresses the couple out and they end up trying to escape that through terrible means. People get unhappy because their partner turns into a different person, but they were doing that in order to get married too. Since it causes so many problems with so few benefits to compensate, people just ought to not be married and be with whoever they want. He says it will make everyone happier.

    It's a little hard for me to understand, but he must know what he's talking about. He wants everyone to be happy and not be afraid of getting hurt. I would love it if the world really worked like that. I wonder if he'll let me help him do this.

    Oh, it's almost time! I need to go to the meeting place.

    Entry 217

    I haven't told the shelter staff yet, and I haven't even told Ghetsis yet, but I know that I'm pregnant now. I tried two different tests and they were both positive. This is wonderful! I should make an appointment with a doctor, but I don't want the staff to find out. They don't seem to like Ghetsis and the social worker who talks to me says that she doesn't trust him. But they haven't really sat down and talked with him, I know. He seems strange at first because of his ideas, but I know that he's really ahead of his time and he's going to make the world a better place to live in.

    I can probably get Ghetsis to help me make the appointment. I know he doesn't like marriage, but I'm okay with that. He does believe that both parents should help with raising a child, so he should be glad for us. And he should have no trouble supporting me and our children, even if I'm not good for much but keeping a home.

    While I haven't seen a doctor, I know that I’m going to have twins. There's no surprise there, because I have a twin brother, and my mom has a twin sister, and their mom also has a twin sister. I always thought that it was funny that it happened that way, but I’m glad that I know it will happen. I hope I get a boy and a girl, because that would be the nicest pair.

    And I decided what I would name them long ago, as I don't want my children to have ordinary names. I think boys ought to have names that encourage them to be peaceful, so that they grow up to be good and nice men. My boy will be named Natural and he will be like a forest, deep and wise, gentle and sweet. And girls ought to have names that are beautiful so that they grow to be just as confident and beautiful. My girl will be named Charity and she will be like the sea, graceful and steadfast, yet flexible and forgiving.

    If I end up having two girls, then the other girl will be named Lunar, to be mysterious and bright like the moon, enchanting all who see her. If I end up having two boys, then the other boy will be named Solace, to be a good listener with a kind heart, so that he can be there to help and comfort anyone in need.

    Entry 252

    I don't have much more space to write, but that's okay. I'm going to move on again, leaving this life and starting over yet again. But this time, I have someone wonderful to care for me and help me to a better place. Ghetsis says that he knows of a great place where were can both be free to find the future best for us. The shelter staff really don't like him now, even though they don't know that we're moving away. I don't know how they can't see how wonderful he is. I'll be safe and happy with him.

    I'm very lucky to have gotten a man like Ghetsis to be in love with me. I'm not sure what he sees in me; I'm an uncultured girl who never finished school and is so plain and ordinary that nobody would call me pretty in honesty. But he says that I make him happy and he can see the hidden beauty in my soul. I'm going to try my hardest to be a wonderful girlfriend to him, and the best mother that I can be to our children.

    I'm certainly happy. I'm a little nervous about what's going to happen to us, but I think it's just being pregnant is doing that to me. But I really think that he and our children can make the world a better place, so I'm going to do everything I can to help them do so. Although I would be grateful if my children are just safe, happy, and kind.

    -+-

    2/11, afternoon

    N was walking through the forest that surrounded Route 6. Snow was falling and it was pretty quiet. Earlier, Rune had dropped him off here from the castle. N had tried to give him a berry treat in exchange, but the Sigilyph had refused. “Gratitude for a job well done is reward enough,” he had said. Then he departed, although N suspected he was following in the trees.

    He could understand the feeling. When he saw Pokemon that were happy, he felt good for doing his job of representing them. But he didn't want Pokemon to serve him more than necessary. He wanted to put an end to Pokemon enslavement, so it was wrong of him to not reward a Pokemon or keep them captive in service to him.

    While he was musing on those thoughts and reviewing his plan to work with his next team, a Pokemon dashed out of the trees several feet away from him and pounced on something. It was a Liepard... no, it was Pricilla again, and she had a mouse under her paws. Odd to see a regular animal out here; normally they hid away from people and Pokemon, unless domesticated like cows.

    For a moment, he felt sad for her. Even though she had seen the darker side of humans, she continued to follow him in hopes of staying with him someday. Why were Pokemon so set on working with humans? They were strong enough to be independent, and even strong enough to dominate humans if they chose to. But they didn't.

    There was that bond, though, the feeling of happiness when friends succeeded together.

    At that little rebellious thought, N thought over the things he had taught Team Plasma. That was what he was representing out here, and it was embarrassing to recognize that he was still weak when it came to resisting the lies out here. He tried to hide it with a smile, thinking that they would find new reasons to be happy once the world was set right.

    Still, it was rude to just pass on. “It's good to see that you're still well,” N said.

    Pricilla grabbed the half-dead mouse in her teeth, just to make sure that it did not get away, and then looked to him. Her ears twisted back in annoyance at something. Then she bounded off into the trees with her prey, acting so much like she didn't care that it was obvious that she did. She probably had been waiting here for him to reappear all this time.

    That hurt, although N wasn't sure why. He crossed his arms over his chest and continued walking along the path, still smiling and trying not to cry. He had come this far and he couldn't give up now. There were so many people counting on him, and Pokemon that were waiting for a time when they could feel truly safe. And to do that, he had to somehow make his heart stronger, less prone to temporary sentiments.

    Something made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. “My lord,” a solemn male voice said. One of the Shadow Triad was walking alongside him now.

    “Is something the matter?” N asked, trying to sound just as calm.

    He put his hand on N's shoulder. “There is an obstacle ahead. I should take you past it from here so as not to further delay you.”

    “What kind of obstacle?”

    “Nothing you need to be concerned about.” He tightened his grip before teleporting them directly to the entrance of Chargestone Cavern.

    Once there, N glanced back at the road. There was a large stream running through the woods here, and a wide wooden bridge crossed over it. At the bridge, there was some kind of blockade with police officers there. “Why are they...?”

    “Do not worry,” the Triad member said. “We are shadowing your steps. We must enter before they see us.”

    N nodded. They were experts at what they did, so if he said not to worry, there was nothing to worry about. “Okay. Don't startle any of the Pokemon.”

    “Of course not.” Before long, he had blended with the shadows and vanished from sight.

    Electricity caressed his skin as he walked into this cavern. Something about this place generated a naturally high electrical charge. Maybe it was the Pokemon who lived here, or maybe there was something about the large crystals everywhere. He had read about this place many times and had wondered about why it was. But being here in the cool charged atmosphere was far better than just reading it in a book. The feeling was nice, almost refreshing.

    There was a sign on a wall that a shortcut bridge to Mistralton was out, so travelers would have to access the lower levels in order to reach the other side. And it was quiet in here. Maybe the Pokemon stayed away from the upper level to avoid humans. He'd have to go lower in order to find them.

    Hopefully, if this place also wasn't deserted right as he came to it.
    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.

  5. #230
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    Another interesting, if not somewhat sad, chapter. It's good to see that Pricilla and Rune still haven't given up on N. It was also good to see Kyurem actually having fun with the gang and showing off his deadpan sense of humor yet again.

    Still, everything with Stacy made me really sad, and I now hate Ghetsis even more than I already did. He's obviously just playing up on Stacy's insecurities. She was a victim of abuse and his plans for the world conveniently involve the more severe punishment of those who are abusive like Stacy's father . . . he truly is despicable.

    Oh, and one little thing:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ysavvryl View Post
    She gave him a puzzled look, then shook her head. “I'm afraid that we probably can't help you. This is a shelter and help center for women and children escaping domestic violence, so I can't release any information.”
    SEXISM!!! What about MEN who are escaping domestic violence?
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    Great chapter as always, Ysavvryl. I agree with GalladeRocks, this is a sad chapter. You seem to be getting into those, don't you? Poor Stacy, she didn't deserve to die. She seems like such a nice person... Any chance we'll meet her actual dad? If so, please allow Kyurem to attack, freeze, and then proceed to wolf down his puny body so that her soul may have peace. I hate him already. ):<

    Yay for Priscilla and Rune! I love Sigilyph. It's so rare, but so annoying(for your opponent) when you find it! Roost, Psycho Shift, Cosmic Power, Stored Power, Charge Beam, Air Slash! Yay!

    I hope Kyurem will show his love of cooked bacon again. Or, make him like steak! From Miltank!
    I have discovered what a signature is.

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    This is nice.
    please put me on the pm list.
    I hope Natrual and Solace make peace. At least for bowling ball.
    Kyurem: Sorry Ysavvrl. I was just hungy and he called me a bowling ball.
    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

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    Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to mention it, but I don't feel quite as bad for Natural and Solace now that I know that one of them could've been Lunar :P
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    Ah Stacy, you sweet poor woman. I like you, and yet your naming skills stink. Unfortunately, I know of real life parents with the same problem...

    Well the good news is that Hilda's in charge of the next two/three chapters, so not so much depressing stuff coming up. The bad news, for me anyways, is that she's making this part way longer than I intended. But it is fun.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

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    Wow. How doifferent the story wouldve been if Stacy had a boy and a girl.
    I have:
    Platinum
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    White 2

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

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    coffee break

    “Oh my gosh, it's been so long since we've had one of these!” Hilda said, leaning back in the chair with her feet on the table. “And we were getting way too serious there.”

    “You said you wanted epic-ness at one point,” Kyurem pointed out.

    “Yeah, yeah, but at least I get to make trouble again.” She took a sip of her coffee. “Well I don't think we're going to go back far enough to figure out who Stacy's dad is, but seems like we're not going to drop that thread quite yet either. But would you take care of him, Rei?”

    Kyurem shrugged. “I'd rather eat Ghetsis first.”

    Hilda frowned. “Yeah, but then we'd lack a current super-villain to be my rival. And N would get mad.”

    “Better he gets mad that continues under his influence.”

    “True, but I still don't think that's feasible yet. Maybe later. Are you going to eat Rotomknight? Cause that wouldn't be nice to our new follower.”

    He shrugged again. “If he called me Rei, then I would. I'll just freeze him to the spot now.”

    “I can deal with that.” Hilda glanced over the reviews again. “Oh yeah, it was mentioned way ago, but there were plans for me and N to be related, not N and Hilbert. But then it threatened incest or a severe cut in dramatic tension. We didn't like either option, so that was changed. But it might have been fun to have been named Lunar. I would tell everyone to call me Lulu the loony!”

    “Maybe, but you'd actually be named Charity,” Kyurem pointed out.

    “Eh, whatever. Oh hey, did you know that ClicheStorm is now Ysavvryl's longest Pokemon fanfiction? We're going to crush all the others in sheer volume of words, especially now that we're sequence breaking!” She gave a big grin.

    “Not the longest, though,” Kyurem said. “Let's get going.”



    Chapter 34: Treasures and Wars


    2/18, morning

    Black City seemed like a harsh foreboding place. For whatever reason, all of the buildings were made of black or dark materials, save for the Pokecenter which was its usual cheery neon orange. The white snow was turning black, even away from streets that allowed vehicle traffic. It had an air of busyness and business, where most people were hard at work or dealing with money. As Hilda saw it, she didn't think such a place should be at the end of a structure called Marvelous Bridge. She would have passed through a week ago when she had arrived, but she had decided to see how the Trainers here were.

    They were brutally tough.

    Their opponent's last Pokemon had fallen and the moment after let Hilda realize that she was sweating with tension. It had been a narrow margin of victory; even Kyurem was unconscious at this point. Olette was breathing heavily and had started bleeding again. Flexing her claws, she waited to see if it was over. And this wasn't some Gym Leader. No, it was a teen about her age, wearing a black coat with yellow trim, a supposedly normal Trainer for around these parts. “That was some power your Pokemon had,” she said to him.

    “Of course, although yours had definite style, for regulars...” he paused for a moment, looking at the Drilbur.

    She had the glow of evolution around her. Hilda grinned. Not long after their first battle in Black City, Frank have evolved into a Gothorita. Another evolved member of her team would be welcome to come up to the challenge of the Trainers here.

    “Hey!” the boy shouted. Olette stilled, the light dissipating. This caused him to laugh.

    “What was that about?” Hilda said, feeling her blood burn with anger. She had a notion to punch him in the gut, but it wasn't right, not after they'd already had a Pokemon battle.

    He smirked. “Can't let someone like you catch up.” Then he bolted in case she decided to punch him anyways.

    After taking a deep breath to calm down, she knelt down by Olette. “He didn't seem so obnoxious until that. Can you try again?”

    For a moment, the Drilbur focused, keeping her forepaws by her chest and lowering her head. Then she put both of her paws over her eyes. “Aarraa,” she said softly. It sounded sad, although since she rarely spoke up, Hilda wasn't sure if that was her normal voice or not.

    Hilda patted her head, avoiding damaged areas. “It's okay. We can keep training and you'll get another chance. But go back to your ball for now so I can run you all to the Pokecenter.”

    Olette looked at her, reaching up carefully to pat Hilda's cheek without hitting her with claws. Then she agreed to being recalled, letting Hilda secure the ball in its holder, make sure she had all her stuff, then jog down the streets to reach the Pokecenter. A few people glared at her as she ran by, but that didn't matter. They should know it didn't matter if she was a Pokemon Trainer taking care of her Pokemon. Just another way this place was so different.

    At the Pokecenter, the nurse greeted her cheerfully as always. The center itself was oddly quiet, aside from the jerk who gave her a taunting smile as he left and another Trainer who was either working or playing on a tablet computer. “I'll get them healed up shortly,” the nurse said, taking the Pokeballs and setting them onto the table of the machine there. “I've seen you around lately; where's your boyfriend?”

    “What boyfriend?” Hilda asked, puzzled.

    “That handsome young fellow who always wears a mask,” she said, setting the machine to run. “He always seems to be with you.”

    Hilda laughed at that. “That's not my boyfriend. He's my bodyguard.”

    Right on cue, Kyurem appeared in human form by the desk. “What happened?” he asked, giving her a wary look.

    “Nothing bad,” she said, although he still seemed skeptical. “Olette finished up the fight so that we won, but then the guy had to disrupt her from evolving. Then I ran back here.”

    “One who couldn't accept losing, then,” he noted.

    “He was saying something weird, about how we weren't bad for regulars.”

    “That'd be a bit of jargon among some Trainers,” the nurse said, turning back to hand over the Pokeballs. She smiled at Kyurem. “Oh hello, when did you come in?”

    “When I could,” he said. “Explain.”

    To the nurse's moment of confusion, Hilda said, “This jargon thing about regulars.”

    “Right,” she said, smiling again. “It means that you've trained your Pokemon within standards of the Pokemon League. They have restrictions, you know, but most Trainers never have the chance to break those rules. A lot of the Trainers around here and up towards Undella, they have the money and the means to do otherwise.”

    Hilda leaned on the counter while putting the Pokeballs back into their holder. “How's that? I've heard that the scanners check for signs of abuse, theft, and illegal drugs.”

    The nurse nodded. “The drugs are a big part of it; they're usually things that are approved for uses other than Pokemon boosting, like steroids, so the drugs can't be made illegal themselves. A lot of the Trainers I see regularly use performance drugs to make their Pokemon more powerful than they should be, even though there are a lot of risk factors. Part of the trouble is that there's so many organizations and every one of them have their own restrictions and guidelines: the Leagues, the Pokeathlon, the Frontier groups, the stadiums, the tournaments,” she waved her hands. “It's hard to keep them all straight, but one thing I do know is that the tournaments, which have the biggest payouts even if there's less prestige, tend to have the most lax rules.”

    “Then you'd have a lot of people like these going for that,” Hilda said. If the tournaments had a high enough prize, then these Trainers might think it was worth the cost of getting the drugs. Would it really be worth it, though?

    “Now when you look at a League Champion, you know that that person is highly skilled at Pokemon training, and has a great love for them,” the nurse went on. “I still don't know how the League does that, but you never hear of a Champion who's abusive. And when you look at a tournament winner, you're just not sure if it was skill or money that helped them. They talk of other methods, but I don't know what they all are. I do know that I've seen an awful lot of Shadow Pokemon come through here.”

    “What would Shadow cursed Pokemon be doing here at this time?” Kyurem asked. Although Hilda had heard the term and knew it wasn't a good thing, she wasn't quite sure what it was.

    The nurse shrugged. “Frankly, I don't know. My teachers said that I'd probably never encounter one, as it's a rare occurrence. It's been about a year and a half, I think, since I saw the first one, but now I know of a dozen with Trainers who come in here often. I made sure they all knew what was going on, and unfortunately I had to warn a few who weren't making adequate progress with undoing the curse.”

    “That's odd,” Hilda said, standing up straight again.

    “Oh, I'm sorry for taking up your time; thank you for coming.” She bowed. “Take care of yourself, and your Pokemon.”

    “Thanks too, and don't worry,” Hilda said with a smile. “I know why matches aren't as even as they seem now. Besides, seems a little dead in here.”

    The nurse scratched her head. “Yes, usually it's not this quiet even now... oh, you know, I bet it's that debate with Plasma.”

    She raised her eyebrows. “Plasma, huh?”

    “Yes, some of the business leaders in Black City invited them to a public debate. I sure hope that the city decides to take a stance against them. I mean, did you hear that Accumula had to shut down it's Pokecenter a few months back?”

    Hilda nodded. “Yeah, I was there when it happened.”

    She shook her head. “Awful business. And I heard that Lacunosa might be making an allegiance to Plasma public sometime soon, while rumor has it that big names in Undella are in a heated debate over their stance. The Gym towns will probably be against them, but you hear of small pockets all over starting to voice agreement with Plasma.”

    At the mention of Lacunosa, Kyurem briefly glared at the counter. But he didn't say anything about it until they were out of the center. “It might be a good time to assess just how much influence they really have. Their words are spreading.”

    “That stinks.” Hilda looked over at him. “Does it bother you that Lacunosa might support them?”

    He frowned for a moment. “I don't have control over them. I could if I were of mind to, but that's not my mission this time. But personally, it does bother me that the town most associated with me would do that.”

    “Yeah. Well I don't see a point to sticking around here much longer, except maybe to catch a bit of that debate. Want to find it?”

    Kyurem shrugged, so Hilda went to find it.

    It turned out to be held within the mall, a large black building that held many small premium stores. A couple of days ago, Hilda had checked it out but found nothing that could fit within her budget. There were evolution stones, vitamin drinks, luxury furnishings, designer clothing, potent Pokemon accessories, and many more things that would take a major chunk out of her funds (if she could even afford it at all). Now, the stalls had been temporarily closed with anything mobile pulled back to accommodate the crowd. On a raised stage in back, there were two sets of four seats and two podiums. Ghetsis was currently seated with two other Sages, while a fourth was the current speaker for their side. Opposing them were three men and one woman, all dressed in business suits and bearing small signs of affluence: a high quality wris****ch on one, the earrings and necklace on the woman, a jeweled tie tack on another.

    After a while of listening, it started feeling like political debates that hadn't really interested Hilda before. “Don't make this an issue of economy against sympathy,” the man up for Black City said. “Pokemon should not suffer, yes, but you can't solve a problem like abuse of Pokemon by making everyone suffer. The economy on the local, the regional, and the global levels are influenced in large part by Pokemon. Think of all the jobs we have in their care. There's doctors both in private practices and public services that deal exclusively in Pokemon; what happens to them when demand is cut drastically with the dissolution of Pokemon ownership? There are businesses, many of them, that offer items and services that are only good for Pokemon and those who train them. Those will all collapse if your policies go through, leaving a gaping wound in the economic structure of the world, the social structure as well.”

    “The system currently in place is one that uses Pokemon, often without their consent,” the Sage up for Plasma said. “Can you honestly excuse a system that depends on the enslavement and suffering of a significant portion of the world? Whatever troubles you perceive will be temporary. We believe in the ingenuity and strength of the human spirit as well; we can overcome such an abusive dependance and recover quickly, even exceed our current levels. But we won't be able to if people keep clinging to a malignant system.”

    “Hey,” a voice said under the speakers. “Aren't you that girl with Kyurem?”

    Happy for an excuse to stop watching the debate, Hilda looked over to a boy who seemed about her age. He had neatly styled blond hair and dressed in a refined manner of expensive taste (at least that was her guess from the custom fit blue suit and diamond accessories). Having checked on things, she thought she knew who he was. “Yeah, I'm Hilda. And aren't you that Miles Riches guy?”

    He chuckled. “Ah, so we've recognized each other.” He bowed his head. “Yes, that's me. It's interesting that I should run into you here. I was thinking about coming to meet with you somewhere, but I had to be here for family business.”

    “I'm mostly exploring around,” Hilda said. “I heard your family were hot shots in Pokemon training, so I wanted to see how things were too. I'm learning about it and have reasons to improve fast.”

    He rubbed his chin. “Really? I'd have to consult a few others, but perhaps we can help you. For myself, I was wondering how you managed to capture a legendary Pokemon. It's funny that you should say that you're still learning when it usually takes a extraordinary person to just encounter one of them.”

    “I have my reasons,” Kyurem said.

    “Oh yeah, this is Kyurem,” Hilda said, pointing to him. “But if we want to talk, think we ought to skip out of this place?”

    “That would be prudent, yes.” Miles checked his watch. “I need to head back to Undella, though; would you mind walking with me that way?”

    “Nah, that'd be good; I wanted to go visit there myself.”

    Once outside of the mall, Hilda decided to call out Olette to walk with them, and make sure she wasn't still upset over earlier. Miles didn't seem to mind this, but he didn't call out one of his Pokemon to join them. There was a light wind that gave an occasional chilly nip, with a few clouds overhead. On their way out of the all too serious city, they talked about general things, a little bit about Plasma. The Riches were on the side against Plasma, but Miles explained that a number of his peers among the wealthy were willing to let go of their Pokemon pets in exchange for the idea of social liberty. “It's an excuse to feel morally superior when it isn't much of a loss as they get rid of what they think of as a hassle that lets them look good in society,” he said in disdain. “But our family is deeply invested with Pokemon, both personally and economically.”

    The area out of the city and around the route was lovely; various streams ran along forested hills, with a few waterfalls by wooden bridges. The ground was covered in snow, a sparkling white that was covered in Pokemon and animal tracks. As they got further northeast, closer to the ocean, a white mist began to fill the air. Apparently this area was commonly foggy. It was a world of difference from Black City.

    “If you can get here on a breezy spring day, it's really beautiful here,” Miles said as they approached the beach. Pale tan sand laced with ice crystals crunched under their feet.

    “Would be fun to run around the forest here,” Hilda said. “I heard that your family doesn't usually compete in the League, so why're you doing so now?”

    He gave a smug smile. “Well that would be because people said I couldn't. It may seem odd to you, but in my family, we've used methods of training for years now that don't meet the rules for League challengers. It makes the Pokemon much better, but the global organization doesn't believe it's fair. Since others used that to downplay our skills, I decided it was time to prove that we could win with regular Pokemon too. Burgh simply caught me off-guard. If I'd had my normal team, then I would've squashed him.”

    “I've heard that 'regular Pokemon' term,” she said. “And yeah, that is weird that your training doesn't meet League rules. How can you do that without getting into illegal things?”

    “There's ways,” he said, not seeming bothered by her tone. “There's some performance drugs that work much better than the Protein, Iron, and other power drinks like that. Then there's training services, where you have another Trainer work on your Pokemon for you. In order for that to be legal, the Trainer has to have an extra license and the Pokemon they don't intend to use themselves need to be marked by Pokeball data as such.”

    Hilda frowned. “But then you didn't really train the Pokemon.”

    Miles shrugged. “It wins battles, having the expertly trained Pokemon with you. And it takes so much time to do it yourself. I mean, it might not matter to a person like you who earns a living traveling about and being in Pokemon battles daily, but I help out in my family business, doing jobs and taking many classes. We have a reputation as high level Pokemon Trainers to keep up too, so every little bit helps.”

    Although she nodded, she felt like this family couldn't be the great Trainers that people like Valerie believed they were. Maybe they did have high level teams, but it wasn't representative of their work. But he did invite her into his home to see a collection of treasures and rare Pokemon items, and Hilda was too curious to decline the offer.

    -+-

    “Hey, don't they have things like this in the Nacrene Museum?” Hilda asked, looking into a glass case with two clay tablets inside.

    The leader of this household, Miles' father, nodded proudly. “Oh yes, and they've been asking to buy these off me. But these tablets are special; they have some ancient script engraved in them, see? I hear there's a similar collection of engraved tablets in Sinnoh, but we believe that this set tells a different story. Finding the other engraved tablets is something I hope to get accomplished. I have others in storage, but I'm sure we're missing a few from this set still.”

    From some distance away, Kyurem kept an eye and ear open to them. But it seemed that this place was safe; something bad could still happen, but it was looking less and less likely. These people just liked to show off. Perhaps they might try to recruit her as one of their hired Trainers, to improve their teams without having put in the personal effort. He was pretty sure that she would refuse at this point.

    Meanwhile, he was speaking to a Haxorus. The other Pokemon was being kept in a room that had some kind of electric force field keeping him from getting out. It was a large room, furnished with a cushioned bed, various rocks and toys, a small pool of water, and a radio in the wall. Comfortable looking but still a prison, that's what Kyurem thought of it.

    “I don't think you're as tough as you say you are,” the Haxorus jeered, shaking his head and showing off his tusks. “You come in here and I'll gut you.”

    Kyurem crossed his arms over his chest. “So you think. You're in a place where the temperature never changes, correct? I'd subjugate you with sub-zero temperatures.”

    He laughed. “Oh, the ice will be fun to play with. The challenge would be refreshing. Normally I go up to my enemies and knock them over with a flick of a tail. But I'd still win. I always win and if I don't, it's because the other guy cheated so it doesn't count.”

    “And how many battles haven't counted yet?”

    “Careful, that one's a powerful dragon,” Miles said, coming over towards them.

    Kyurem raised an eyebrow. “And that's supposed to intimidate me?”

    “It should!” the Haxorus said, stretching himself up to his full height for a moment.

    “I guess not,” the teenaged boy said. “Now I've been wondering, what are you doing in the region at this time? And with a girl who only started as a full Trainer last fall. Whatever you're up to, you could do a better job with someone who has more resources and experience.”

    Kyurem gave Miles a cold look. In a way, he appreciated the guts and guile it took to try talking him out of his current arrangement. If this boy truly knew who he was dealing with, then it was quite arrogant, the sort of pride that could change society. He suspected that there was mostly greed that was driving this, though. “You are insignificant to my mission.”

    “Excuse me?” he said, frowning. But some facade of politeness kept him from fully getting angry.

    He looked back at the Haxorus. “That is simply how things stand. You have little or no connection to why I am here. I wouldn't be surprised if this visit ends up as nothing more than a day's diversion. On the other hand, she is important to the reason why I awoke now. I didn't know why at the time, but I went with her. Now I know better why, and it has nothing to do with you.” Although he wasn't liking the reason why Hilda was important. She was a strong point of conflict between the twin heroes this time around and Kyurem felt like he didn't want to see her in love with either of them. It was disrupting the cool neutrality he was supposed to have towards humans.

    “Well it's hard to argue against that,” Miles said, getting back his calm face. “Even if I don't agree; I probably could solve a problem or two you're facing. I have the capacity to do a lot more than she can.” He paused, looking at the Haxorus himself. “You like my Pokemon?”

    Kyurem smiled at that. “That I do.”

    The Haxorus bellowed to that. “Cause I'm more awesome than you!”

    “He's the kind of Pokemon I'd normally be looking to recruit,” Kyurem went on. “Proud, strong, no hesitation to battle. He would see war as a game and would give everything he has in order to win. Violence would be his first answer, but he's not damaged or cursed to see things that way. In fact, I would rather like to see him released.”

    “We can't really do that,” Miles said, starting to explain.

    But he brought his right hand up, causing icy claws to form on the fingers. “I think I can see how to take out those force fields. Then I would tell him that his game is to knock down humans, and he would attack all of you that he sees, all in the name of fun. It seems to be your method of training that gives him this mindset, so I'm certain that I could find the rest of your Pokemon and release them in a similar manner.”

    “Oh, that would be the most awesome game ever!” the Haxorus said, excited. He saw nothing wrong in it.

    At this, Miles started to pale. “You wouldn't really do that. Right?”

    Kyurem flicked his hand, dismissing the ice claws. “Right. That's not the role that I'm in today.”

    “Aw rats,” the other dragon said, lowering his head in disappointment.

    “Your Pokemon would be good in battle, but only in battle,” Kyurem added, then walked back over to where Hilda was. She was wide-eyed in excitement, grinning over something Mr. Riches was saying. Meanwhile, Olette seemed nervous over it. He wondered what kind of mischief she'd be getting into now.

    “Hey Kyurem, come on, we're going to go swimming!” Hilda said, holding onto an oddly colored Pokeball.

    “In this cold?” he asked, concerned for her health.

    -+-

    They were out on the water in this cold. Undella Bay was iced over closer to shore, but out here the surface was liquid, with small fragments of ice drifting around. Overhead, the sky was covered in gray; a bright golden haze showed where the sun tried to pierce through the winter cold, but didn't entirely make it. On the water, Hilda was riding on a Lapras that she had borrowed from Mr. Riches. He had also lent her some water repellant boots and pants to go over her usual winter attire, which let her stay dry and warm. Behind her, Kyurem was there in human form, keeping hold on her just in case.

    “And why exactly are we out here?” Kyurem asked.

    Hilda laughed; she had been caught up in excitement, singing for the amusement of the Lapras. “Didn't you get it? Mr. Riches says that there's the ruins of a castle in the bay and I wanted to see it. So he let me borrow one of his Pokemon and the other equipment to go take a look. He says that if we find an artifact that he wants, that'll pay for renting the Pokemon, and he would pay good money for anything else.”

    He nodded. “It'd be Zelthas, the home of the Black King who ruled under the authority of Zekrom. Are you sure about going there in this cold, though?”

    “You have a problem with that?” she asked playfully, glancing at him.

    The Lapras twisted her neck and looked back at them. She cooed, worried to hear that carefree tone.

    He clutched her arm. “It could be dangerous for you.”

    “I'm dressed warmly enough; can't even feel the cool of your skin through this coat. Well good, if you know where it is, then we might have more time. The thing that could hinder us is that when the tides change, the currents in the castle become really strong. That's why we had to set out right away, as we have about five hours to the next change.”

    “We'd want to dive over there,” Kyurem said, pointing out a patch of water further head.

    With that hint, Hilda signaled for the Lapras to do just that. The sea Pokemon summoned up a forcefield around them, giving them air to breath while keeping the chilled water off them, then dove down into the bay. The dark waters soon surrounded them, so Hilda brought a flashlight out of her bag. Hopefully that would be enough.

    Eventually, she spotted blue lights in the water. They faintly illuminated an enormous building of black stone. They weren't enough to see a full layout of the ruins, but there were a few towers still standing, with a long wall running along the ocean floor. At a few clusters of lights, there were piles of rubble from parts that had collapsed. Kyurem pointed the Lapras towards a large open window further in; at that point, they entered.

    Her flashlight and the blue glowing crystals were enough to see by inside the structure. Sea plants were growing all over in the first room, giving hiding places to many small Pokemon and fish. But down a nearby staircase, the plants grew thinner without as much sunlight to reach them. Riding a Pokemon through the watery empty halls, Hilda felt a chill of excitement. She'd love to just explore around and look at things, but she was supposed to find something to give to Mr. Riches in thanks.

    On many of the walls around them, there were strange letters and pictures. “What's all that about?” she asked, waving towards a mural that looked like a trial.

    “Prallllaaa,” the Lapras trilled.

    “Laws, records, directions, lessons,” Kyurem said. “They believed that carving knowledge onto walls and stones would make it endure for all time. Scrolls and papers could be destroyed, rock not as easily. I still brought it all down.”

    “Why'd you go and do that?” Hilda asked teasingly.

    Surprisingly, he gave a serious answer. “Because they had lost the way that my siblings had taught them. Their selfish interests corrupted them and I was asked to demolish their government so that things could be started over again. It happens a lot over your history.”

    They continued to explore for a couple of hours, finding little pearls mostly. But in one room, they found an intact vase and a clay tablet, the latter much like the ones she had seen on display in the Riches' home. While she was able to reach the vase from on the Lapras (the water had stung her bare hand with its iciness), the tablet was in a pile of rubble that the Lapras couldn't get much closer to. Kyurem was able to enter the water to retrieve it though.

    He handed it to her while causing the water on him to freeze. “I hope that's sufficient,” he said, starting to break the ice off himself. The Lapras was waiting on the floor of the room so he could stand and do this within the air bubble.

    “It ought to be, since he collects the engraved ones.” Hilda held it out as it was dripping; the shine of the water in her flashlight's beam gave the letters a deep contrast on the dark blue tablet. “I have no clue what it could be saying, though.”

    “Let me take another look,” Kyurem said, sitting back on the Lapras as he'd 'dried off'. Hilda patted the Lapras' neck, signaling her to go back to the hall and explore some more. After a few minutes, he handed it back. “I recognize the story now. It's about the wars of the gods.”

    Hilda used her digital storage to stow the tablet away safely, along with the vase and pearls. “The wars of the gods? I don't know that one.”

    “It might not be common knowledge,” he said, then paused. “I suppose there would be no harm in telling you.”



    In the early days of the world, there were many legendary Pokemon, all of which were active within the world. Each was given a power and many were given a domain; one would have the power of water with the domain of a portion of the ocean, while another would have the power of storm with the domain of another portion of the same ocean. Some lands were shared, others were exclusive. Some were vast, others small. And we ruled over our domains and all the Pokemon that lived within them.

    As for we, Zekrom, Reshiram, and myself, at that time we were one self, given domain over Unova. I will not say what power we were given... but we were fascinating with knowledge. We wanted knowledge of knowledge itself: how one knows what is, why it is, why it is not, how it could be, why it should be. In trying to figure things out, we attracted some legends who did not have a domain but were interested in the same questions; some of them continue to live here today, such as Victini and Meloetta.

    There were other legends who were interested in power, though. They wanted to become powerful and expand their domains. Over all of us, the Original One watched and kept many in check, but there were still those who tried. There were also legends who did not agree with each other. They got into fights over boundaries, or over what could or could not be done. Some foolish ones even believed they were most important and fought others to prove their dominance. While such conflicts started small, they grew each and every time until we had entered the era of history known as the wars of the gods.

    They had drawn ordinary Pokemon into their battles, sending armies after the inhabitants of their enemy's domain. These soldiers began to die in great numbers, causing anger and grief in their legendary commanders. However, the battles only continued to grow. Legends began to die physically. While we could be reborn from that, exactly as before, the domain of a dead legend would become chaotic and dangerous, spawning natural disasters such as great storms or earthquakes. Famine and plague were also common within such places, and the Pokemon would suffer until the legend could be reborn to correct things.

    And even we, concerned primarily with intellectual pursuits, we got drawn into these wars. A promise of allegiance to another, thinking nothing bad would come of it. But then a war would erupt and we would be drawn into it in order to uphold the promise. A few times, we were uncertain of what to do as we had promised support to others who turned out to be on opposite sides. It wasn't the primal fighting that comes with hunting and being hunted; this seemed much worse as none of the wars were needed and bodies were wasted.

    Then came the worst year of it. Entire species of mortal Pokemon were wiped out; portions of the world were torn apart and rendered unfit to live in for centuries after. And there was a group of immortal legends that were completely killed, body, mind, and spirit, so that they could never be revived. Their loss brought much chaos into the world, driving some other immortals insane temporarily. This was when the Original One came forward and declared that this could not continue.

    At that point, laws were brought into being to control our influence. We were no longer to rule over the mortal Pokemon; we were to serve and protect them, even from ourselves. We had to restrain our raw powers so that such absolute destruction would not be repeated. We were to spend a certain amount of time in hibernation, inactive in the real world during that time. Most of all, we were not to start another war unless someone who had earned our loyalty commanded us to. And the few that we would grant loyalty to, we were to follow their lead no matter what, protecting them and advising them, but always following their will.

    It worked. The time of wars was over and peace returned to the world. However, it worked too well. The mortal Pokemon have a great many abilities, but they lack a true ability and drive to change the world. We immortals were able to see how the world could change and become better; we wanted the world to develop and become greater. But the mortals were concerned with their own lives in the present. The few who could realize the concept of past and future saw no point in changing how things were.

    And so to prevent the world from stagnating because we had restricted our guidance, humans were introduced into the world.



    “Then we're here to keep things interesting, huh?” Hilda asked.

    “You humans certainly do that,” Kyurem said.

    She chuckled. “Well then I've been contributing to that well. And I guess you were able to get around the laws keeping you from interfering because of the other two facing true death.”

    “Exactly.” He tapped her shoulder, then pointed down another hole. “We might wish to go that way. I smell something odd in the water.”

    “We should be heading out soon, but it should be safe to look. Come on, Lapras, you've been a good girl.” Hilda patted the water Pokemon's neck, then pointed her the right way.

    “Kuurrra,” the Lapras responded, happy with the compliment and going further in.

    This hole was not a staircase; hinges and a rusted lock suggested that it had once been a trapdoor with a ladder, but the cover was long gone. The Lapras had only inches to spare getting down the hole, which led to a short unlit hallway. At one time, a massive door had been in place here. It was lying in pieces on the floor as if some explosion had taken it out. Past it was a small room that did not have much in it. There was some rubble, rusted and broken pieces of once treasures, and a stone table that had a crown on one side. For being underwater for a good portion of history, the crown was in remarkable shape.

    After guiding the Lapras over there, Hilda picked up the crown from the table. “Wow, how did this stay so nice?”

    “It has a touch of fire,” Kyurem said. He leaned closer and pointed out the design; bits of red, white, and gold showed through. “And this would be a symbol of Shira. This crown belonged to the White Kings.”

    “Then what's it doing in the castle of the Black King?” Hilda asked.

    He shrugged. “Could be a copy. Could be something they were entrusted with.” He put his hand on the part of the table in the air bubble. “And this... the other crown was here until recently, sometime in the past year.”

    Turning the crown around, Hilda wondered if some cleaning and touch-up would make it look almost new. “N might have it. He'd be the sort to leave the other one.” She turned to see Kyurem's face and grinned. “I have a great idea.”
    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. #237
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    Nicely done. What will Rei do.
    PLease don't freeze me.
    Or eat me.
    I would like reshiram to baconify N and then kyurem eats him.
    *insert evil laugh*
    *walks away quickly*
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  13. #238
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    Having the Undella Ruins as the Castle of the Black king was interesting. Makes you wonder how it sank.

    And nice history there. oh, and ask Kyurem if I can call him Rei, just to irritate him.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

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  14. #239
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    Hello there, Reeeei. Oh, and Hilda too.

    Anyway, that chapter was awesome. Elaborating on the Undella Ruins ftw! I'm so glad that Hilda's the ringleader for the next few chapters, I think we've had our fill of depression and theorizing. Keep up the good work!

    EDIT: Three more things I wanted to say. First, Kyurem, very poor planning on your part. When you openly state that you don't want to be called Rei, it's obvious that EVERYONE will call you Rei, just to annoy you. Also, if you plan on eating me, just know I have a level 100 max Attack/max Speed Choice Band Adamant Metgross with Meteor Mash at my disposal. Just saying.

    Two, that Haxorus is hilarious. It's because the other guy cheated indeed. Please let there be more of him.

    Three, Hilda, ClicheStorm may be her longest fanfiction in terms of words, but Pokedex One-Shots has been going on for far, far, FAR long. Three years longer, at least.
    Last edited by Z-nogyroP; 23rd July 2012 at 10:05 PM.
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  15. #240
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    That chapter was interesting. I liked how you had Rei Kyurem explain the war of the gods. The war of the gods is an interesting idea also.
    I treat my Pokemon like family. Copy and Paste this in your sig if you do too. Started by legolover8.

  16. #241
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    Another interesting chapter. It was incredibly original back when you made the ruins in the Desert Resort be the city of Reshiram and just as much so for the ruins underwater near Undella to be the city of Zekrom. I love how Kyurem just casually talks about destroying the city.

    I'm not even going to joke about calling Kyurem by his nickname because I value my life.

    Story of my life, Haxorus. The other guy always cheats. I feel your pain, bro.
    Last edited by GalladeRocks; 26th July 2012 at 6:08 AM.
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  17. #242
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    This has still got a while before it's my longest fanfic, actually. I'm not counting POS in that either. Anyhow... so much going on in this chapter that it became two chapters!


    Chapter 35: Crowning a King, Part 1


    2/26, afternoon
    Mistralton

    N walked quickly through town, eyes on the ground. Despite the falling snow, people were out today, sharing news and chatter. He hardly heard them, or saw anything of Mistralton. He was on his way to the airport, where the Gym was located. Even after getting five badges, he still dreaded these days. These were some of the toughest battles where the Pokemon were most likely to get hurt. And then he had to release them... no, that should be the good part of the day.

    Today, he felt more nervous than usual. His stomach fluttered and his body seemed completely tense no matter how much he tried to calm himself. He wasn't prepared for this; his team might not be ready. However, he had little choice in the matter. Just that morning, he'd gotten a call from Zinzolin with some bad news: the Pokemon League had announced that they were suspending all League activities for one month, starting tomorrow. There had been something about a review or assessment, but the suspension came at a terrible time. It was going to delay their plans. If he could defeat this Gym today, that would help. If not, it would take even longer.

    The Shadow Triad had helped some by giving him a number of Rare Candies. These special treats could make Pokemon stronger quickly, but the method of making them was a closely guarded secret. And whoever made them never sold them, leaving them as mysterious gifts from an unknown benefactor. Despite this, the Triad said they'd be searching for more. It might help, but N wasn't sure if it would be enough.

    What should he have Plasma do during this month long stall?

    -+-

    Undella

    Unlike previous days, the lobby of the Pokecenter was noisy. Trainers that had come in recently were waiting in a line that snaked across the room, wanting to get their Pokemon healed up from the trek here or battles that had taken place in the outskirts of Undella. On a couch in the waiting area, Hilda was making last minute checks on how her plan was going. A woman from a catering service was talking with her, discussing a change in where things were to be set up. There was a map of the beach on the table, as well as a a small stack of receipts, a vague schedule, a history book opened to an illustration of one of Zekrom's heroes, and a list of people that had been almost fully checked off.

    Kyurem was nearby as usual, in one of the armchairs in the waiting area. But for this moment, he wasn't watching Hilda closely (there were so many people in the Pokecenter that he felt there wasn't a high chance of trouble). His eyes were closed and his body relaxed; his mind was focused in meditation. He had a part to play in the day's events, in making sure that his power wouldn't interfere. In his lap, Mimi had curled up and gone to sleep after he'd made it clear that he wasn't going to play with her. Her presence was simultaneously reassuring and worrying, even if the worry was irrational when he was in human form.

    “Oh my, it's so crowded in here,” a familiar voice said. Kyurem opened his eyes to glance at Bianca passing by his chair; she was wearing a green face mask for some reason. Cheren and Professor Juniper were with her. “Hi Hilda, Kyurem... hi-choo! Oh, sorry, I'm still getting over this flu.” She put her hand to her face, bashful.

    Hilda got up from her seat. “Really? I hope you're feeling okay now. But it's great that you came. You even brought the professor with you.”

    Juniper chuckled. “Well I heard that you were up to something big, so I had to come check it out myself. I'm afraid that your mother is busy, but she told me to give you a hug for her.”

    “Aw, that's nice,” she said, getting up to hug Juniper and Bianca. “I'm just about ready to get things started, but I need to leave the center for a minute. Have to get the guest of honor here, after all. Coming, Rei?”

    Kyurem nodded, then picked the Minccino up gently and carried her outside without waking her. “Things should go well.”

    “Good,” Hilda said, pleased to hear it. “Are you feeling okay?”

    “I have to make my presence as passive as possible,” he said. “I feel lousy. But if this does what you hope, it will be worth it.”

    -+-

    Castelia

    Hilbert stood at the end of one of the piers, listening to the snowy wind and the steady waves. There weren't many out here; there wasn't even a boat at the time. At the moment, it was only him and his four Pokemon. They were keeping active to endure the frigid air, although Loch the Alomomola seemed to have no problem with diving in and out of the water. It wasn't that bad, just cold.

    At this point, he was forced to admit to himself that he'd hit a dead end on finding out about his mother. He didn't even have any ideas on where to look next. There were still a lot of questions he had. At the moment, the one he was considering was what he should do now. Trying to make contact with Reshiram was looking like a good place to start. Shira or Dragonspiral Tower, then?

    His Xtransciever buzzed, breaking his train of thought. It was Hilda; he considered not answering, but not for long. “Afternoon,” he said. “What're you up to now?”

    “Getting wise to my ways, huh?” she asked teasingly. “I'd like to tell you what, but you have to come see it in person. Why don't you come out to meet me in Undella Town?”

    He shrugged. Undella was a nice place, although he couldn't think of any particular reason to be out there this time of year. “Maybe. What time?”

    “How about right now? Or you'll miss it and everyone will be disappointed.”

    Right now? Well, it wasn't like he was doing anything. But what was she up to? “Everyone?”

    “Yeah! Come on, please?” She smiled warmly. “It'll be great but I need you to be here.”

    “I would've liked some warning. But, all right. I'll be there in a little bit.” Hearing that she needed him, even if he didn't know what for, was nice.

    “Awesome!” she said, eager to do whatever it was she had in mind. “I'll have your outfit ready when you get here, so just meet me at the entrance of the Sea Breeze Inn. See ya!” Then she disconnected.

    “My outfit?” Hilbert asked, even more bewildered.

    “Shoo la,” Madeline said, looking curious and interested.

    He bit his lip. “I hope this isn't going to end up embarrassing us. Okay, Madeline, Loch, Ember, I need to recall you three for a bit. Regal, we're going to Undella.”

    -+-

    Mistralton

    This had to be the worst Gym he'd been in yet. The layout was confusing; the walls and barriers were of no uniform size, making the whole place look messy. While there were guide arrows on the floors, the meaning of their colors and sizes were not immediately apparent. The path was forcing him to fight every single Trainer under the Leader, wearing his Pokemon down little by little. His Boldore and Klink were doing okay, but he already had to revive the Joltik and the Ferroseed had nearly been knocked out twice now. While he had Pierre with him, he was trying to avoid using the Vanillish.

    And then there were the cannons. Artillery weapons, things that were symbols of war, were placed indoors to be used as a method of traveling over the various obstacles. It was utterly insane and he expected an equally insane person to be in charge of this horror.

    The Leader turned out to be a rather attractive woman wearing a short blue jacket and equally short shorts. As if this Gym wasn't bad enough, she had to try appealing to base instincts to throw her challengers off. He wasn't going to let that get to him, though. N walked up the steps to the platform where she battled. “Your equipment isn't working accurately; I nearly hit one of the barriers over there.”

    “It's all working within appropriate safety guidelines,” she said, smiling like it was no issue. “It's pretty nice, right? You get to feel like you're flying through the air just like a Flying Pokemon.”

    “I would rather have not experienced that,” he said.

    She tilted her head. “Can't please everyone, huh? Well I'm Skyla, Leader of this Gym. Have you come in for a challenge? If you fail, it'll be a while before you can try again.”

    “I know, that's why I came.” He wanted to add, 'can we get this over with?'. He couldn't see how someone who saw this Gym as 'nice' could be an appropriate person to work with Pokemon.

    -+-

    Undella

    There were a number of cottages that lined the beach in Undella, beautiful homes that were made for those that loved the ocean. During the winter, the town was usually quiet and relaxing. Maybe a person or two would be beach combing when the sun was out. Today, there was quite a crowd at the beach, people talking and waiting for something to begin. There were a few tables set up with a snack buffet. Elsewhere, a small group of musicians were setting up and testing their equipment.

    At one of the cottages, a young woman leaned against the wall near the front door. She wore a long black leather coat over heavy black pants and a black sweater. She observed the crowd, wondering what they were doing. As far as she knew, there wasn't any celebration planned.

    The door opened, letting out another woman who had a very different style. Her hair was long and brown, hanging loose down past her knees. She wore a white and pink coat over one of her usual elaborate frilly pink dresses. “Have you figured out what's going on?” she asked.

    The woman in black shook her head. “Nothing's really started, it seems like. It looks like a party; nobody's checking for invitations, so it can't be a private affair.”

    Smiling, she turned to lock the door. “I think it will be an interesting event. Come on, they shouldn't mind us.”

    “Sure.” They headed down to the beach.

    -+-

    N's Castle

    The parlor area hadn't seemed all the necessary during the planning stages. With a building of this size and this many rooms, though, there ended up being more than they needed. That and N being interested in various styles of architecture at the time led to this two level parlor entering the plans. Now that they had it, Ghetsis had to admit that it was a pleasant room that was useful for getting others to relax, letting their guard down.

    “I don't think Rood is thinking of defecting,” Bronius said. He, Zinzolin, and Gorm were in here with Ghetsis. There were no stated plans for this 'meeting', but Ghetsis was guiding the conversation to get what he wanted. “But I’m not sure what he's doing.”

    “Is he trying to spread dissent?” Gorm asked.

    Bronius shrugged. “I don't think so. He's been encouraging others to stay loyal to N. After that incident with the lights, he's been telling those who weren't there about it. But he has been speaking of doubt in others in Plasma.”

    Ghetsis considered that. He might need to speak to Rood and get control over him once again, figure out what he was doubting. While he was proving harder to manipulate lately, Rood was useful for his skill and knowledge in many fields. Even in Pokemon training.

    “I think it's mostly a fear of failure,” Zinzolin said. “You and Rood were both involved with GrEF, right? In a way, he was burned on the failure of that group, and he's now wary of getting everyone hurt again. I've spoken to him several times the past few days and his heart is definitely still devoted.”

    “We're stronger then they were, and founded on better ideas,” Ghetsis said. “We can encourage him to allay those doubts. At the moment, I'm more worried about this announcement from the League about their shut down.”

    “That's an unwelcome delay for us,” Bronius said. “Do you think they did it because of us?”

    “I can't see how,” Gorm said.

    Zinzolin nodded. “We could use this to strengthen our position if the argument is worded right. Spread rumors that they did it because they're starting to believe in our philosophy and are considering disbanding.”

    “I’m worried that they know who N is,” Bronius explained. “Or that they suspect it and want to see if delaying him will delay our actions.”

    “I agree with that,” Ghetsis said. “They aren't dull idiots, after all. N is so passionate about his cause that he had to have said something to the Leaders, and they would have compared notes to discover the truth. And we do want N to be in a position of authority in the eyes of the public before they know that he is our King and the hero of Zekrom. We could use the extra time to sway popular opinion, but then so can they.”

    “I asked him what he planned to do during the shut down, and he didn't seem certain,” Zinzolin said. “Maybe we should reveal him early? Because according to their rules, they cannot deny his challenges even if the knowledge that he is our King is out there.”

    What would N be doing during this unexpected four week delay? That worried Ghetsis. N's resistance to outside ideas was weakening quicker than he expected; the delay would give him more time to consider them and realize that he had options. And after the last time he had returned, Ghetsis wasn't sure he could use the pressured study to reinforce him again. It might be time to pull something drastic and make N dependent on him again.

    “The public would have more time to say it was a hypocrisy if we revealed him now,” Ghetsis said while he activated his Xtransciver. But he only sent a text message with it. 'Is that Purrloin still following him?'

    “Right, and we don't want him to have bad publicity at any stage,” Bronius said.

    The message was answered. 'yes, and it is a liepard.'

    Not that it really mattered. 'Kill it; make sure that N knows of the death personally but not that you were involved.' To the others in the room, he said, “When he comes back, we definitely need to show our support for him. This has been a stressful time for him and he won't like it getting stretched out longer than it must be.”

    'as you wish.'

    -+-

    Undella

    “I don't know how she talked me into this,” Hilbert muttered to himself, pulling up the other glove and heading into the bathroom. Hilda had let him borrow her room to change into this outfit, apparently something she'd picked out and bought herself. While she didn't say why yet, or what they were even doing, he figured he might as well. He just wasn't used to dressing like this.

    He took his hair brush and worked on that while checking over how he looked. It was a rather fancy outfit, with white slacks and a white collared shirt. Even if those were nice, they paled in comparison to the main piece of the outfit, a white long coat that was trimmed with fake red fur. Not just any red either: it was a bright crimson red with long thin hairs, the fur part being on the collar, down the edges, along the bottom, and around the arm cuffs. It wasn't even a full coat. The torso part came around his chest snugly, but past the waist, it curved back so that the bulk of it was behind him, with the end of it a little above his ankles when he wore white boots. Then there were the gloves, and Hilda had insisted that he not wear a hat. He was allowed earmuffs as long as they matched, but he didn't have any (much less matching ones).

    Actually, when he got over how weird he looked without a hat on, it was an impressive outfit. The quality of it kept it from looking like some costume, although it seemed something more appropriate for a character in a fantasy manga. Maybe this would be something good. And, maybe the fact that she bought this for him meant she was interested in him. But why would she do this after she kissed N? It just didn't make sense, until he realized that he had done similar things in the past. What was her purpose in it? He had only been interested in satisfying his ego, but that didn't seem right for her.

    He left the room and found her waiting. “Well it's not what I'd normally wear, but it's kind of nice,” he said.

    Hilda grinned. “You look handsome in that. That's perfect. Now I had to go put on my outfit and we can get things rolling. Don't worry, it shouldn't take me long.”

    “Wait, what are we doing?” he asked, grabbing her arm to keep her from slipping by. Did she mean dressing up for a date? But why to this extent?

    “Well you're trying to be the hero chosen by Reshiram, right?” she asked with that playful smile of hers. “And that hero is often recognized as a king, like how N is said to be the King of Plasma. So, we're going to get you crowned a king too, today.”

    His jaw dropped. “You're... going to crown me?”

    She nodded. “Yeah. But I have to be ready too; be back in a couple of minutes.” She then went into the room and shut the door.

    Surprisingly, Kyurem stayed out with him. He was holding onto Mimi still. “It was her idea,” he said.

    “You two are doing that?” he asked, still not sure that she was being serious.

    Kyurem nodded.

    “Why?” He wasn't even sure if he was worthy of summoning Reshiram now. After all, he had lived a deceptive life before, even if he insisted that he was always honest. But even a truth could be manipulated into a deception, such as when he used careful wording to excuse never taking a relationship seriously.

    He looked steadily at Hilbert, like a chillingly calm judge (although the effect was lessened due to the fact that he was holding onto a sleepy cute Minccino). After a long pause, he said, “You have spoken with her about this before. Plasma is trying to invoke the spirit of mythology in Unova in order to gain the support of the people. Hilda has decided that she wants to outdo them before they're ready to reveal everything. Thus, we will crown you as the White King and present you to the people of Unova.”

    At that, he felt something he'd never experienced before: stage fright. “Is this going to get recorded?”

    “That's in the plans,” he said.

    “And what if I don't manage to summon Reshiram?” Hilbert asked, the doubt causing his insides to feel all knotted up. “That's not going to help us with stopping Plasma.”

    “Lia hoona so rah,” Madeline said, hopping over to him and using her energy to float up onto his shoulder. Regal seemed to caw in agreement with the Litwick.

    Kyurem looked over at the Rufflet. “They believe in you. They want to help you succeed now. Do you want to give up being with Pokemon? Especially when many of their reasons seemed to be based off a warping of the truth?”

    Hilbert glanced over at Madeline; the Litwick was smiling. Loch and Regal were also being positive; just as Kyurem said, they wanted to help him. And there was Hilda too, so he wasn't going to be alone in this. “No, I don't,” he said, calming down.

    “Then focus your energy on contacting Reshiram, and believe that you can accomplish it,” Kyurem said.

    “Huumuu?” Mimi mumbled, shifting her head and opening her eyes.

    It was quite a contrast, seeing Kyurem's expression soften as he rubbed her chin. “You do need to wake up, or you'll miss all the excitement.”

    It would be a sad state of things to have Pokemon and human separated. But something occurred to Hilbert then. “If having me do this would help people resist Plasma, then I'll do it. But, what am I supposed to be king of? N has Plasma, but I don't own any property and there hasn't been a ruling King of Unova in a long time.”

    Smirking, Kyurem said, “I don't think you need to be king of anything. You just need to be a King, and have the appropriate attitude for it. But if you think of something that won't ruffle any feathers, tell us before we get around to the coronation itself.”

    -+-

    Mistralton

    N was sweating; his heart was pounding. Even with the boost from the candies, Skyla's team was devastating his. He had advantages with type, but she seemed to have experience and strategy to overcome that. Now he was down to the Klink. “You... need this win,” Tock said, weary but hanging on. He spun his gears rapidly to launch one at the Swanna.

    Don't push yourself too much, N wanted to say, but his thoughts were too frantic at this perilous position to actually speak. The clank and shudder of Tock's body as his gear came back made him wince, and again when Skyla used a Hyper Potion to keep the Swanna fighting. He did the same for Tock, but in making his way through the Gym, he had used up most of his supply. Due to that, the healing was not enough to make up for the Swanna's next attack. The Klink clattered onto the ground before N could make himself recall him.

    Had he really lost?

    Then a red light flashed in front of him, followed by a white mist. Pierre had called himself out. “Terror of the sky,” he said softly. “But don't fear, angel. I will fight for you. I must. Just keep those that are not Pokemon away.”

    This wasn't right. He shouldn't have Pierre fighting when the Vanillish was unstable. But, he wanted to, and N wanted to get this badge out of the way so that he didn't have to return to this Gym in a month's time. He nodded and gave out the next command.

    -+-

    Undella

    Hilda was excited. Everything was working out as she had hoped. While she didn't have a lot of money, she managed to get a discounted deal with a caterer for this event and had convinced the guy who ran that coffee shop in Castelia to recruit some musicians willing to play for it. She then found Hilbert's remaining fans online and told them about this, as well as why he had seemingly disappeared in recent months. She also told some local newscasters and others who would be curious about the crowning of a king. And for her efforts, she had gotten quite a crowd at the beach on a winter day, all to put Hilbert's search for Reshiram in the public eye in a big dramatic way.

    It left her without much money, but if she took on a few battles later on, it shouldn't be much of a problem.

    Hilbert had lost the nervousness he had earlier, at least on the surface. He gave others a confident smile, but the past month had toned down his pride to a tolerable and even admirable level. In fact, more people were recognizing him as a famed Trainer despite the loss of his Attract state. All around them, there were whispers of admiration and curiosity. He was refusing to battle his team so far, which was probably for the best.

    As it seemed anyone who would be there was there, Hilda got people to clear out a circle with her, Hilbert, and Kyurem inside. “Hey all, thanks for coming out here today!” she said. “Hilbert here and I have been looking into Team Plasma, with the help of many others that don't want to be picked out. You've probably heard them refer to their mysterious leader as their king. Well we've found out they mean that their leader intends on becoming the Black King, the hero of Zekrom who will potentially lead Unova into a new age under their ideals.”

    This caused some to nod their heads in realization, or to whisper to a friend in surprise. It was an obvious connection to make, but Plasma (especially Ghetsis) spoke indirectly about it, talking of both truth and ideal so that they appealed to many in Unova. If word of this spread, then the dramatic impact Plasma was hoping for would be diminished.

    Feeling the thrill of the moment, Hilda gestured to Hilbert and bowed her head slightly. “What you might not know is that Hilbert has been searching for Reshiram's favor himself, even before he knew of Plasma. Lately he's become quite determined to counter Plasma's actions and use the truth to uncover their manipulations. So we've decided to have him crowned as the White King, in hopes of evening the odds. And that is what you've all been gathered here to witness today.”

    “Actually, you decided to do this,” Hilbert said, getting laughter from the witnesses. Then he bowed, holding the Light Stone near his chest as he did so. “But thank you, Hilda. You as well, Kyurem. iI's odd that I would find help from you. But as I understand it, you're here now to prevent a disaster, not cause one. I hope that I can help with that as well.”

    Kyurem gave a slight nod. “Sometimes even a small effort can make a difference. But one should always try for their best.”

    “So what's he supposed to be king of?” a girl at the inner edge of the crowd asked.

    “I will be the White King,” Hilbert said before Hilda could think up of some nonsensical thing. “That's all that matters. I don't have the authority to rule over our land, but I will serve it in every way that I can.”

    Hilda smiled as others voiced their approval of this. That was probably better than any joke. “Exactly that. Now, you have the hibernating form of Reshiram with you?”

    While she knew this, he went ahead and nodded, holding up the Light Stone in both hands. “He is here with me, at least this small physical presence.”

    “Good. Now then,” she turned to the crowd, looking for the person she wanted. “Hey Alder, get in here.”

    “Sorry,” he said. Other people moved aside so that he could enter the circle. Somehow, he'd found a red and gold coat that went down past his knees, something that looked very formal. It seemed impressive, even with his messy frizzy red hair. Following close behind him was a Volcarona, given a small white ribbon for the event. Alder came over and shook hands with Hilda. “It's good to meet you finally, Miss Hilda. I wasn't sure how serious you were being in your email, but I'm glad to help out.”

    “Thanks, man,” she said. “The old texts I found said there should be a shamanic priest to place a blessing on the new King, but I don't know anybody like that around these days. You seemed pretty close to the description, though.”

    Alder grinned. “Maybe more so than you know. So then, Hilbert.” He turned to the young man and stepped up right in front of him. “You're of the opinion that humans and Pokemon should live together?”

    He nodded. “Yes, as both sides can help each other greatly. There is a need for us humans to have more respect towards Pokemon, but I don't believe it's great enough to call for drastic action. The Pokemon come to us willingly to help us; we should do the same for them.”

    “I see. Since you are taking on such a prestigious role of the White King and the hero to Reshiram, do you intend to selflessly serve the people of Unova?

    “Yes, I will do everything that I can.”

    “Then one last question,” Alder said, leaning closer. “It is known that if one wishes to ask for the favor of the Yang Dragon, one must be honest not only in words, but also in the heart. If there is any deception within you when you call upon it, there is a significant chance that you will be burned severely, possibly to death. Knowing this, are you willing to take on this role fully?”

    Answering without hesitation, Hilbert said, “Yes. I have had to face my own deceptions recently, some so deep that I still don't know why they were. But now I am continuing to work on living an honest life.”

    Hilda caught sight of Kyurem giving a slight nod in approval to this. Some in the crowd even cheered that statement. “Good,” Alder said, taking a small glass bottle out of his coat pocket. “So then, do we have another authority to perform the actual crowning? And a crown? Since it's not much of a crowning if we're missing that.”

    Among some of the amused laughs, Hilda grinned and nodded. “Yeah, we've got a crown. Mimi, Tarzan, Frank, come over here!” The first two Pokemon came out of the crowd, each holding a handle of a white box (and Tarzan using his other hand to keep his skin from tripping him up). The Gothorita followed after them, carrying a book. “And I'll do the crowning.”

    “If anyone wishes to doubt her eligibility for this, you have to take it up with me,” Kyurem said in a cold serious tone. The general mood of the crowd earned this statement chuckles and cheers.

    “If Kyurem says so, then it must work,” Alder said, nodding. “Hilbert, if you would kneel please.” Once he did so, Alder got a bit of the bottled oil on his fingertips, then traced out a symbol relating to Reshiram on Hilbert's forehead. “Spirits of the world, spirits of the heavens, be with us now. We bring before you a seeker of truth, and a friend to Pokemon, Hilbert Godfrey. He wishes to call Reshiram into the world and halt a great change that lies ahead of us. After much consideration and thought, I believe him to be sincere and earnest in this. Please give him your blessings and watch over him as the new White King.”

    Had Alder really put a lot of thought into this? Hilda hoped he had, as this was not a time to be insincere. As for herself, she had spoken with Hilbert the other day about his attempts to track down his mother. If he put that effort into this 'battle' with Team Plasma, then things would greatly improve. They might not even have to come to a confrontation about this; they just had to sway N's mind away from that.

    Hilda then waved Frank to come over with her; he handed her the book. Smiling at the Pokemon for doing as asked this time, she flipped the book open to the marked page. “Now then... I have a modern translation of the Oath of the White King here. Keep your hands on the Light Stone and repeat the lines after me.” She then read from the book, pausing regularly for him to speak it.

    There had been an older and more formal translation in the book, as well as a few others that depended on different circumstances (like having Reshiram there in person). However, the modern one was clearer to her, and still suitable for the occasion. After a formal introduction, it went, 'I have perceived a need for the clarity and simplicity of the truth in our homeland, to cut through the veil of ignorance and lies. In order to bring about a new age of peace, prosperity, and wisdom to Unova, I swear that I will serve the sacred Yang Dragon, Reshiram, as well as the people of Unova, with integrity, honor, and respect that comes from the depths of my heart. If the spirits of the world and the heavens find any fault with my intentions, then I ask that they strike me down before I cause further harm to the home that I love.'

    At the end of it, Kyurem simply stood there, still observing. The clouds overhead were breaking up, allowing a few stray sun rays to fall through the air. The crowd was silent, as if waiting to see what would happen. Since nothing did, Hilda passed the book back to Frank and opened up the box Mimi and Tarzan were carrying. She pulled the ancient crown from Zelthas out and brought it in front of Hilbert. On seeing it, his eyes widened in recognition and disbelief.

    “Your Oath has been recognized and witnessed by the good people and Pokemon here,” Hilda said, following the ceremony described in the book. Mostly. “I, the chosen hero of Kyurem, thus crown you as the White King, to serve Reshiram. May the spirits of the world and the heavens guide you well.” Then she put the crown on his head.

    Just seconds later, Hilbert grabbed both of Hilda's hands without warning. It startled her, but then she saw that the Light Stone was now glowing red and floating, similar to how Kyurem's hibernating form had acted when she first got it. The difference was that Reshiram's form burst into flames, enormous ones that soon enveloped both of them. Around them, there were gasps and calls of concern, but Hilda didn't feel in danger. The flames touched her, but more like a warm hug than anything else.

    Hilbert stood up, still holding onto her hands. “Don't worry,” he said softly, leaning closer. “It won't hurt you as long as you hold onto me.”

    Shortly after he said that, the flames ended. The Light Stone remained as a stone, but now floating between them. The concern around them turned to relief and awe at seeing them untouched; there was applauding and cheering before long. But for a moment, she hardly noticed them as Hilbert was there, smiling with a look of adoration in his eyes.

    As nice as it was, it wouldn't help with the problem of avoiding disaster. Hilda let go of his arms, smiling herself. Then she turned to the crowd around them. “Ladies, gentleman, and Pokemon, I present to you, the White King!”
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

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  18. #243
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    Man, this stuff's getting deep. They're invoking the arrival of Reshiram when Hilda doesn't even have four badges yet? Intense.

    I like the way this chapter is written, broken up in short segments in different places up until the end. It really builds up a sense of rushing towards something huge.

    Now, onto the sadder stuff. Pierre's appearance and general unstable nature makes me think he's going to cause some harm in the battle with Skyla.

    Lastly, Ghetsis and the Shadow Triad can not kill Pricilla. I will not allow it! Kyurem! Go eat them! NOW!
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    Maybe N will play his trump card and say he knows bout Carol/Val are part of the shadow triad. But if Pricilla dies someone will not have a hand. *Looks at the shadow triad, Ghetsis, and Yssavrl*
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    Oh, sweet Arceus, no, not Pricilla!

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    I agree with the general sentiment on Pricella.

    And I would also like to say that you're doing remarkably well on messing up the timeline. Congratulations.
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    ...

    ...No.

    No. They cannot kill Priscilla.

    If they do, I will break through this monitor and horribly murder the people involved for revenge.

    In happier news, Tock is an awesome name for a Klink. Better than what I came up with(Flo Rida, because you spin my head right round right round). Anyway, do you have plans for N actually keeping Tock as the Klinklang we see at the final battle?

    Maybe Pierre will evolve during the battle with Swanna! I know that thing was a monster to take down for me, I ended up down to the wire with my Ferrothorn after missing Power Whip twice and down to about half health. Luckily, I did end up smacking that bird and taking it out. Also, when did N capture a Klink? Or, Boldore or Ferroseed or Joltik, if you're going by game teams. It seems like a lot of N's captures are offscreen.

    I can't wait for Hilda to face Elesa!

    EDIT: Rank up, yay!

    EDIT2: Will you be putting a Coffee Break in the next chapter? Because if you are, just reminding you about the Metagross, that's all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-nogyroP View Post
    In happier news, Tock is an awesome name for a Klink. Better than what I came up with(Flo Rida, because you spin my head right round right round).
    Heh, that made me laugh :3
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    Metagross?


    Chapter 36: Crowing a King, Part 2


    Mistralton, afternoon 2/26

    Too close; much too close. Skyla's team shouldn't have been that hard. She had all Flying types. He knew their weaknesses and strengths. For the ones he had gathered, it should have been a simple match. But he was out of healing items, was out of ideas... was out of Pokemon. And she still had the Swanna in front of her, barely hanging on, perhaps only out of willpower. “I have done my duty,” the Swanna said, modest but with a strange love and loyalty to Skyla.

    N had lost.

    “Wow, that was a real nail-biter,” the Gym Leader said, smiling while flicking some ice off her arm; one of Pierre's attacks had gone a little wild. But the smile didn't last long. “You have a good mind and heart for this, but you could have used more time to bond with these Pokemon.”

    Bond with them? Feeling his face burn with anger or embarrassment (or both), he clenched his fists. “What do you know about bonding with Pokemon?” he snapped. “You can't even understand them.”

    “There's more than one way to understand things,” Skyla said.

    N tried to respond to that, but his mind was flooded with thoughts, sympathetic pain, disappointment in himself, and concern. There were too many things to say and not the right words to say them with. Then a peculiar feeling caused him to tense. Oddly enough, it felt like the air in Chargestone Cavern.

    And then a bolt of lightning came right through the building and struck him.

    For a moment, N couldn't see or hear a thing, only white and a ringing in his ears. He did feel something new, a presence very close to him, like a mind greater than his own briefly making mental contact. It was Zekrom. Without words, she apologized for the unexpected lack of contact. There hadn't been much they could do, as some force blocked off their ability to see into the physical world. Now, she would be watching him, waiting for the right time and the right place.

    Then his vision returned, if blurry for a moment. Skyla was close to him; the Swanna was nowhere to be seen. “N? We can call the hospital.” Her voice seemed to be coming from far away.

    “No, I'm fine,” he said, taking a few steps back. He turned, but recalled that there was one of those barriers there... and all around them. “How do you get out of here?”

    “Teleport pad, over there,” she said, pointing her thumb over her shoulder.

    His bag shifted, so he opened it up while walking over there; he'd just ignore Skyla for now. The Dark Stone floated right out of the bag and came to drift alongside him. Although he had believed it when he felt her, he was momentarily glad to see this. But only a moment. His Pokemon friends had suffered because he had failed to prepare properly and took this challenge before they were ready. Once he was on the other side of the Gym, he took off running for the Pokecenter. Several people gawked at him, or more accurately, at the sparking black stone following after. But he ignored them too.

    While he had once suspected them, he now felt that the Pokecenters were trustworthy. Misguided, yes, because their work depended on the wrongs of the current system. But they did good work and the nurses seemed to put their hearts into it. It would be a pity to have them all shut down, but they would not be necessary in the future. After an antagonizing few minutes where he had to wait in line, N had the Pokemon healed, thanked the nurse, then headed off.

    But not far. He got to the waiting area up front and wasn't sure where to go from there. So he dropped into one of the seats with a sigh and tried to think through things rationally. The Dark Stone came to his side and stayed there.

    N looked over at her. “You picked a terrible time to show up like this,” he whispered. He had lost a battle, he had put his and Skyla's Pokemon through unneeded pain, he felt like he was still stumbling in trying to find his way back to what he should be doing. Then he realized the rudeness of that and rubbed his forehead. “Sorry, I don't mean...” he found tears that were hot with shame.

    Why was he crying? He shouldn't be crying. N spent a moment trying to think of anything else, even nothing, in order to get a grip on his emotions. Right now, the matter should be deciding what to do with the Pokemon with him. He would be keeping Pierre, as he still needed help (and probably needed more now). But the others, should he train them over these four weeks? He had kept his Nimbasa team a fairly long time, although that just led to another hard parting. It seemed better to just let the others go. He had already failed them, so he shouldn't make them work even harder.

    Someone in the Pokecenter turned up the volume on the TV nearby, which initially annoyed him. But then he heard something that caught his attention. “Now we bring you a special report on an unexpected event, the crowning of the White King in Undella Town.”

    “The White King,” N said to himself, looking over at the screen. And yes, it was Hilbert, dressed in a regal fashion that was perfectly suited for his role as a seeker of Reshiram. His ceremony was performed by Alder and Hilda, with Kyurem watching closely. It was held outdoors. While it was technically the proper format, it was done with a bit of informality that could be expected from Hilda. That didn't seem to detract from meaning of it.

    Seeing the recording, he was reminded of his own crowning. It had been all formality, done precisely as the records they had found. He had even spoken his oath in the original language it had been written in, something that he had had to practice continually for over a month to get right. As a religious expert, Ryuko had recited the blessing over him; as his father, Ghetsis had then crowned him. N had not been prompted with the oath like Hilbert had, having spoken it from memory. There had been no Pokemon there as witnesses, something that had disappointed him but was more fitting of their ideals. And all of the Plasma members of that time had been there as witnesses, in the throne room of N's castle. They had not spoken until the end, and then only to give statements of their loyalty to him. Feeling the burden of their hopes and dreams had kept him calm and serious through the event, even though he had felt an inner excitement over it before.

    Did the difference make one of them more worthy than the other? N wondered that as he watched. He was surprised to see the crown Hilda had. Wasn't that the one he had left behind in Zelthas? He had thought that it had been part of his test there, to pick out the right crown for the role he was seeking. He wasn't as surprised when the fire enveloped the two of them. If Zekrom's manifestation had struck him with lightning, it only made sense. Then he saw the warm look Hilbert had as he was holding Hilda's hands.

    Jealousy clenched at his mind before he realized it. How dare he... he knew that N liked her, so why was he trying to snatch her first? It didn't matter that she seemed to deflect the look to continue on. What mattered was that Hilbert was trying to steal her away before N had a chance to figure out how to attract her.

    After the initial reaction, N bit his lip, feeling like someone should slap some sense into him. He was trying to cut off Hilda's distracting influence, so if they wanted to be together, then that should be fine. Seeing that shouldn't make him feel like punching his brother in the face. At least Hilda didn't seem to be returning that look.

    Once the clip was over, the reporter started talking with Hilbert himself.

    -+-

    north of Iccirus

    Due to the lay of the land, Iccirus tended to be the first town in Unova to get cool in autumn, and the last to get warm in spring. It never got as cold as Lacunosa could reach, but it was said that parts of nearby Twist Mountain were cold all year long, just like with the Great Crater. Residents here were used to snow and ice, although even they felt that this year was rather hard. Some even claimed that the town was easier to get around during the winter.

    To the north of town, there were two locations that ice skaters liked during the winter. The marshy area to the northeast was larger, but tended to have more obstacles sticking out of the marsh ice. The lake around Dragonspiral Tower was smaller and clearer, making it popular with kids. On that day, the twenty-sixth of February, there was a group of children skating on that lake, racing with each other and debating on starting a hockey game (if they could find something to use as sticks, and as a puck).

    One of the kids was new to town. She skated over to one of the boys. “Hey, you said that the heroes would go into that tower to meet with the dragons.”

    “Yeah, they do,” he said.

    “But there's no door,” the girl said. “I just skated all the way around it.”

    “Maybe they have to fly in,” another girl said. “Or there might be an underwater entrance.”

    “It's a secret entrance,” the one boy said. “But I haven't found it yet. I will, though! I hear there's some people who might get in there, so I'm going to watch for them.”

    “Unless it's very secret and they won't tell you how,” the new girl said, turning her skates around to look at the tower. “It's weird, being shiny like that and made of stone.”

    “It's usually not shiny,” the other girl said, looking up with the rest of the kids. Despite what she said, the tower did have a noticeable gloss on it, like sunlight hitting polished metal.

    As they watched, something happened. Ice began to form unnaturally fast all over the tower. Within a minute, pure white ice had encased Dragonspiral Tower. And it was still growing, now into patterns of spikes. The air on their skin was turning colder as well.

    “Wow, I've never seen ice build that fast,” one of the boys said. “Hey look, the lake is starting to mist.”

    It was a growing mist, only a few inches off the lake's icy surface. Then, without warning, a spike of ice taller than any of the children there rose out of the lake. More ice spikes erupted out as the children scrambled to skate off the lake in time. None of them got hurt, but it was obvious that something very cold was sealing off the tower.

    -+-

    Undella

    “Actually, I know who the King of Team Plasma is,” Hilbert told the reporter. Once the crowning was over, a party had started in celebration. There was music playing in the background, as well as people dancing, talking, and eating snacks. “He's the Black King. But, he's also my brother, and he doesn't want to come out into the open just yet. I must respectfully decline saying who he is, then.”

    The reporter looked surprised. “Is that so? But you've already spoken out against Plasma's goals, so won't you come into conflict with him?”

    “I do have a disliking for Plasma,” he replied. “But I really want to avoid starting a fight against him for now. I'd like for things to be solved in a more reasonable manner. I think I can be done that way too.” If they could just get N to stop listening to Ghetsis, it could be resolved without actual conflict.

    “That would be wonderful,” the reporter said. “Now this crown of yours, it looks a lot like the royal crown of Shira. Is it the real thing? Where did you get it?”

    He touched the gold crown on his head. “As far as I can tell, it is, but I'm no expert. Hilda was the one who got it and I have no idea where she did. I asked her and she just said, 'Oh, around someplace'. I know her well enough that I don't think she stole it, but it would take a lot to replicate it, and I don't think she has the money to buy something like this. I think she must have been exploring around someplace and came across it. Maybe even in the ruins of Shira.”

    After the interview, later on in the party, Alder started refereeing some Pokemon matches. He seemed to be in high spirits today, his happiness bright and infectious. While Hilbert wondered what had triggered that, he wasn't sure he should ask about it. He went ahead and approached the older man, where he was observing Hilda's friend Cheren battling his Pokemon again the small teams of a pair of ten-year-old kids. “Hey, mind if I ask you something?” he said quietly.

    Alder glanced over, smiled, then looked back over the match. “Go for it.”

    “What did you mean earlier, when you said you might be a closer match than Hilda thought? About the shamanic priest? Because that kind of role fell out of favor generations ago.”

    He put a finger to his lips, but seemed lighthearted about it. “It's much the same as you being the White King with nothing to rule over. The shamans were picked because they were people who understood Pokemon extraordinarily well. Probably not in words as your gifted brother does, but they still knew. When people struggled to created a friendship with one Pokemon, before the invention of Pokeballs, the shamans could make a dozen Pokemon, or more, their friends. So the kind of person needed for this ceremony is more common that most people would think.”

    “Oh, so it's a matter of attitude, then,” Hilbert said.

    “Maybe, maybe not,” Alder said. The battle ended, with Cheren having his Tranquill left standing. “Good fighting on both sides,” he said, stepping closer to the battle area on the beach. “You two kids go on to the Pokecenter to get your Pokemon healed up.”

    “Yeah, the Pokemon were having fun,” the little girl said. “Thanks!” She and her friend then ran off into town.

    Then Alder waved Cheren to come closer. “You've got good technical skills,” he said, “but you could stand to be less strict on your Pokemon and show them more love. The way they are right now, they might not come through for you in a pinch.”

    “I've treated them well,” Cheren said, defensive about it. But underneath that, there was a strong worry about himself not being good enough.

    “There's treating them well, and then there's treating them like friends,” Alder said. “Keep thinking on it, kid.”

    Hilbert could sympathize with Cheren on that. He wanted to become a powerful Trainer fast, but was toeing the edge of going too far. Hopefully he could be drawn back before he went over that edge. It might be something Hilda would want to know about.

    “Okay, then who'd like to come up next?”Alder asked. “Remember, I do have a special bonus for someone who shows me a good win.”

    “My team and I will give it a whirl,” Hilda said, stepping out from the crowd. She was still wearing that sparkly white dress, making her look amazing now that the sun had broken out of the clouds. There were cheers in the crowd, with sparks of excitement at seeing her battle in person. Hilbert was interested as well, seeing how she had progressed so far.

    But Alder, he wanted to give her a real challenge. “Excellent; I've heard that they're quite a sight in person. But we ought to give you a real chance to shine.” He smiled, a touch of mischievousness there. “I thought I saw... hey Cynthia, come up here!”

    A blond woman dressed entirely in black came forward; she seemed amused at this. “Good afternoon, Alder,” she said, playing along. “Did you want something?”

    “Yeah, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind battling Hilda here. She's something of a rising star here in Unova, so I don't want to set just anyone against her.”

    “Hmm.” She looked over Hilda, then nodded once. “Very well.” She turned to face her, confidence and grace showing in every motion. “Caitlin and I came out while you were setting things up to see what was going on; very glad that we did now. I hope you and your Pokemon are ready for this.”

    To Hilda's credit, she did recognize that Cynthia would be a serious challenge, given that Alder had picked her out and that the woman was not intimidated at all that Hilda's team had a legendary dragon on it. But she also didn't seem to recognize the name, and couldn't resist a chance to be flashy. “I hope so too,” she said cheerily, grinning. “Let's put on a good show then!”

    “Excellent,” Alder said, stepping back. “Challengers ready.... and begin!”

    Oddly enough, the first Pokemon Cynthia called out was a Rufflet, one that was eager to prove its worth to its new Trainer. Hilda had started with her Drillbur. “You're setting her against Cynthia?” Hilbert asked quietly when Alder got back. “I'm not sure if she even knows that she was the Pokemon Champion of Sinnoh at one point.”

    “Well that will make things more interesting,” Alder said back, also keeping quiet even though Hilda would have been paying attention to the match. “She's going to be important in events to come, isn't she? And not just because of her connection to Kyurem, although that will certainly factor into things. As that's so, I want to see how she performs under pressure, and faced with a challenge that she can't beat.”

    Hearing that, Hilbert nodded. It made sense, to test that out now in a controlled safe setting instead of a more dangerous situation later.

    “Did you want to have a battle today?” Alder asked.

    He shook his head. “No. My Pokemon are good and I feel that I can trust them. But, I don't feel confident in battling publicly like this.”

    “I hope we can resolve things without conflict, but there is a strong chance that it won't happen that way.”

    -+-

    Chargestone Cavern, Mistralton entrance

    N was a few steps inside of Chargestone Cavern with his current Pokemon out with him, all but Pierre. “I'm sorry about what happened in the Gym,” he said, smiling in an effort to remain calm. “We shouldn't have gone so soon. But, they're closing down for a long time, so I’m going to go ahead and release you all so that you're not in captivity the whole time. Again, I'm really sorry if this was all a worthless bother.”

    “You need to get a way lot better if you're going to pull this off,” the Ferroseed said, his eyes narrowed in a frustrated matter. “You didn't even try to talk to us most of the time.”

    “Well that,” N stopped, feeling his throat tense up. He had tried not getting too attached to these Pokemon this time, even though he felt horrible the whole time for doing so. Even though most of them were fine with being released, his guilt was just as strong.

    Most of them were fine with it. Before he could release the Klink, the gear Pokemon came up and nudged him in the arm. “You have a resistant load to move.”

    “What?” N asked, not sure what it meant.

    The eyes on both gear faces glanced at each other. Was it thinking? This Pokemon was an odd one, so sometimes even N wasn't sure what to make of it. “Heavy load to bear?” the other face asked. “That an appropriate phrase? We think of it as tough resistance.”

    “That would be right,” N said, bowing his head. “Thanks Tock, but I have to keep going. I don't want to make you work longer than you have to, though.” He started to put the ball in the release mechanism.

    But Tock nudged his hand away. “You suffer greatly in it. It's like your gears are out of alignment; that's what we thought when we saw you trying to restrain yourself in talking to us all. You should go with what's natural for your being, or else you're going to get stress fractures as a result of not operating as you should.”

    “I don't think the mind works like that,” N said, although he was making a guess at what it was trying to tell him. Although having stress fractures in one's mind was a horrifying thought. What if it did work that way?

    “We would stay with you to find out who you really are,” Tock said. “It does not bother us; there is nothing that we would stay here for. We wish to come with you.”

    The word 'no' was there, as he had forced himself to say every time before. There was a part of himself that didn't want to, as before. But Tock was a calm Pokemon; its observations were unnervingly speaking to something he couldn't quite word. Hearing that it wanted to know who he really was, he had to struggle to keep his promise.

    His resolve broke. Maybe it was because Tock could help with Pierre, as it was calm even around the Vanllish's outbursts. That had to be the reason. “Okay,” N said quietly, but with a great deal of relief. “I meant to have one final team for the last couple of Gyms and Victory Road; you could be useful for that.”

    “We will do our best,” the Klink said, both of its gear faces smiling. It made N feel happy, even if he was still uncertain about what was right with this situation.

    “N!” A blur of colors moved at the edge of his vision; he turned to see Rune the Sigilyph coming in, frantic. “You must hurry, Pricilla's in trouble.”

    Fear and concern quickly made every other thought in N's mind fall away. “Where is she?” he asked, running off after Rune when he flew back out of the cave. Tock and the Dark Stone followed after him.

    -+-

    Undella Town

    There weren't many people in the Pokecenter in the afternoon, as most Trainers would come in to heal from the few battles on the beach, then head back out. Hilda thanked the nurse as she took her team's Pokeballs back. Nearby, Kyurem had appeared as soon as he was able; he was quiet as usual, just watching Cynthia closely as she turned over the few members of her team that they had managed to hurt. Hilda had figured it'd be a tough battle, but she knew now that she was outclassed in that, far worse than in Black City.

    “It might have been nice to be warned that you were a Champion at one point,” Hilda said with a smile. “But I still would've fought you.”

    “That's good,” Cynthia said, smiling back. “It seems like you started out later than many, but you are doing quite well despite that. Even accounting for your bodyguard here.”

    Hilda shrugged. “It seems like we started late, but me and my friends have been working with Professor Juniper for several years now. We've had to handle a bunch of different Pokemon over that time.”

    “That does help. I mean to head back home tomorrow; good luck with your efforts.”

    “Thanks.” She thought of just saying goodbye, but then something popped back up in her mind. “Oh, but do you mind if I ask you something? I noticed that you had a reptilian dragon on your team, that Ground one, I think.”

    “The Garchomp, yes,” she said.

    “How do you get him to be alert enough for battle in the middle of winter? It's not that cold today, but I started out with a Snivy, a Grass-type reptile Pokemon, and he's been in hibernation since December.”

    She gave it a moment's thought. “Hmm, is that the Pokemon's first stage?”

    “He's in his second right now,” Hilda said. “I think he has a second evolution at some time.”

    Cynthia took her Pokemon back and thanked the nurse as well before heading out with Hilda. “That's one thing; a fully evolved reptile Pokemon can be used in winter provided you pay special attention to its needs, giving it extra food to compensate and trying to limit how long it's outdoors during that time. Did you want to be using him again?”

    She nodded. “If I can mange it safely. I mean, the League is going to be shut down for a month here, so I'm going to be doing lots of training of the rest of my team. He's going to fall further behind even if I can get him right at the start of spring. And with what's going on, I'll need the help of all of them. Don't want to hurt them doing it, though.”

    “And it could be just as bad trying to train him up so quickly,” Cynthia said in agreement. “Since he's a Grass type, that makes it tougher. But if you can find a way to train him indoors, there might be a way to wake him up early and keep him up with the rest.”

    “You think so? Mind telling me?” It would be good to see Fedora again, and every little bit would help.

    Cynthia chuckled. “Most people, I wouldn't. But I've seen how your Pokemon fight and how they feel about you. They have a great love and trust in you, even the one that seems most recent. And you show great love and respect for them. I don't mind.” She took Hilda's arm. “Now what you should do is...”

    -+-

    around Mistralton

    They were discussing how to get N to the scene when the young King appeared anyhow. The Sigilyph and Klink were with him, but Ghetsis had only given instructions on the Liepard. “I don't know what happened,” the Sigilyph said, frantic and upset. “I felt her pain and came to see, but she was alone, already gone.”

    The Liepard was dead; they had moved quickly when given the chance, as N was in the area and they wanted to limit the chance that he or other Pokemon would see the deed. Or hear from her. It was a relief that the Sigilyph had not seen or felt anything more. In disbelief of what he was seeing, N dropped to his knees and touched her head, as if trying to find any way to save her. They had seen to it that there was no chance.

    Hidden from view of others, the three looked at each other. It was a death, no more, no less. It meant nothing to them. But to him, it would mean an awful lot. They would be the ones to deal with him immediately. Their male member was a total loss at this kind of dealing. While the two females felt no more emotions than he did, one of them was a lot better at mimicking it. She nodded and came out into the open, by N's side.

    “My lord,” she said.

    He wouldn't look at her at first. “Who did this?” He looked up at her then, so she shook her head. “Someone killed her; you have to find out who. They can't be allowed to get away with this!” N cringed and looked back at the Liepard, clasping her paw. She had been stabbed through the spine and heart.

    “There's a strange haze I can't see through,” the Sigilyph said.

    The Shadow Triad member didn't pay notice to the Pokemon's words, but it was a testament to their skills that they'd blocked the truth of it from a Psychic. “We will look into it,” she said, although he was not to be told. “But it may be an enemy of yours seeking to break your resolve. They might have noticed that this one has met with you many times.”

    “No, no, it's not,” N shook his head, trembling. “She should have just stayed near Striaton, and then she wouldn't be hurt. How could anyone want to kill her? What happened!?”

    His emotions were keeping him from thinking straight. She took a risk and grabbed his shoulder. “You could be in danger if your enemies are still around, my lord. We'll take care of her; I should take you back to the castle.” Her brother and sister appeared before N as well. They probably would handle the body in a way that others wouldn't discover it.

    “I don't care!” He started mumbling, fighting to keep from weeping.

    Figuring that he wouldn't be moved in this state, she went over to the others and let them know what she thought. They ended up burying the Liepard with N there, to keep her from predators and scavengers. Then he finally let them take him back to the castle, barely fighting them in his state of shock. Once they were there, Ghetsis was conveniently not busy to come deal with N better.

    It really didn't mean anything to the Shadow Triad, but then again, few things did.
    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.

  25. #250
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    I thought of putting 'I'm expecting death threats' in my signature, but felt that was a bit too much. Before anyone says anything (maybe?) Pricilla's fate was decided a long time ago. I did consider her saying some final words to N, but in the end, it wasn't in character for the Shadow Triad to leave her half-dead instead of fully dead. I'm sorry.

    What else... yeah, N's captures are mostly off-screen because he goes through so many Pokemon (I feel a bit sad that his Driftveil team didn't get much screen time, well, aside from Frank). That was his in-game team at the end of Chargestone Cavern, save for the Vanillite. Plus as you can see, he was trying to not pay attention to them so that leaving them wouldn't hurt as much. The twisted logic people will try in desperation...

    ...and the whole point in bringing in Cynthia here was an excuse to bring back Fedora sooner, haha! Although I didn't think I could do justice to her team curb-stomping Hilda's team. But you know that's what would have happened even though I downgraded one of her team.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 3rd August 2012 at 9:53 PM.
    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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