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Thread: ClicheStorm

  1. #176
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    It's Hilda; she was trying to confuse you. The death is in the vision.

    She is such fun to work with, but sometimes...
    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.

  2. #177
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    Great new chapter! Cant wait for the gym match! "I dont mean to bug you..." - Burgh
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

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

  3. #178
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    Is Hilda's gym battle going to be aired on TV? 'Cause Hilbert won't be able to see it if it's not~

    I wonder if Cheren and N are watching her gym battle... How did Cheren take in the news that Kyurem amputated someone anyway?

    What about Bianca?

    I wonder if N or Rood or Ghetsis knows about Hilda's little stunt yet. You know, the reason Hilda lost her voice.
    FF.net
    Click this too~!

    Shippers of: Ikari, Special, Contest, OldRival, FerrisWheel, Frantic, DualRival, Tea, Commoner, Graceful, Mew, SoulSilver, MangaQuest, Colloseum, Quest, Jet, Wishful

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  4. #179
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    OMG! YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING ON HIATUS AND YOU LIED! I'M FURIOUS NOW!
    ...
    You didn't buy that, did you? Good!
    Well, first off, this is one of the (scratch that, the)best fanfiction I have ever read. The detail is so amazing, and the way you started and ended the chapters is just...wow. Honestly, I'm lost for words. But so far, the read has me gripped and ready to read a new chapter. WHY MUST THE BEST GAMES COME OUT SO LATE???
    I'm now going to do something I have never done before: A top five list. These are my top 5 favourite characters(both human and non-human).

    5. Rune(N's Sigilyph): Rune is just plain funny, especially after he freaked out(sorta) over the fact that Shira was gone. I also love Sigilyph in themselves, but that's my opinion.

    4. N: In the games, I thought he was some sort of weirdo hippie. Now, I actually understand what he's going for, and I'm actually supporting him. He's peaceful, innocent, and doesn't like conflict(though I still wish he kept Priscilla, Peter and especially Lucky).

    3. Hilbert: At first, I figured he was going to be the big jerky rival who make amends with Hilda in the end. And I hated him. Now he's humble and doesn't think that he is the best person on earth. And he's awesome.

    2. Hilda: Well, she's the main character, what did you expect? Oh, and also, I love how spontaneous she is, with a hint of crazy and just a little bit of cunning(case in point: She tricked N into going on a date with her. That was just pure genius in every sense of the word).

    1. Fedora(Hilda's Servine): He is just, just...wow. I don't know how to describe him. I love the Snivy line, and Fedora has the, well, fedora to boost its awesomeness 200%. By far my favourite Pokemon in this fic. PS: CURSE YOU REALISTIC WEATHER AND REPTILE METABOLISMS! PSS: I was rooting for Perry, too, but Fedora is still great.

    1a.Ok, ok, before he comes to eat me, Fedora is the most awesome NON-LEGENDARY in this fic. Kyurem would have been #1, but I didn't want to cut out Rune. He's mysterious, ominous, and protective of Mimi(sometimes almost to a fault). I also really wanted to see Kyurem eat someone whole, but an amputation is good too. Especially on Banshee, who was trying to kill Hilda. Psycho.

    Wow, that took a while. One more thing though. I can see the Coffee Break now:
    "Wow," said Hilda. "I can't believe someone likes my Servine more than me." ;D
    I have discovered what a signature is.

    This is Bidoof. Many people loathe it with their lives. If you are of the few people who love this little beaver, put this in your sig. Started by Warrior Scolipede

    I've claimed Castform. It will never rain on my parade.

  5. #180
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    I might be ending the hiatus early, like sometime in May. On looking back over plans, I think I'm okay with the next few chapters.

    It may not look like much, but there was a massive update to this fic today. I went back and fixed some persistent errors, like Pokemon name misspellings and Striaton (although I have a sneaking suspicion that there's an error that I've seen but didn't fix, and now I can't remember where it is). And some consistency issues. Apparently I couldn't decide if Carol's hair was pink or white. She's supposed to have pink hair. Not that it matters that much. Finally, I changed the early chapter titles to hopefully more interesting ones.

    But the change that most matters is that this fic is now dated! Yay! Meaning it includes dates for events. This tells me that Hilda, Cheren, Bianca, and N all started their journey on November 11th. Glad that's up.

    Just some quick comments, yes, Hilda's Gym battle will be broadcast. That's the whole reason she scheduled it for that time, to get onto a live battle show.

    @Z-nogyroP: heh, thanks! I definitely have more fun stuff to do with all of those characters you listed.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

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

  6. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ysavvryl View Post
    I might be ending the hiatus early, like sometime in May. On looking back over plans, I think I'm okay with the next few chapters.

    It may not look like much, but there was a massive update to this fic today. I went back and fixed some persistent errors, like Pokemon name misspellings and Striaton (although I have a sneaking suspicion that there's an error that I've seen but didn't fix, and now I can't remember where it is). And some consistency issues. Apparently I couldn't decide if Carol's hair was pink or white. She's supposed to have pink hair. Not that it matters that much. Finally, I changed the early chapter titles to hopefully more interesting ones.

    But the change that most matters is that this fic is now dated! Yay! Meaning it includes dates for events. This tells me that Hilda, Cheren, Bianca, and N all started their journey on November 11th. Glad that's up.

    Just some quick comments, yes, Hilda's Gym battle will be broadcast. That's the whole reason she scheduled it for that time, to get onto a live battle show.

    @Z-nogyroP: heh, thanks! I definitely have more fun stuff to do with all of those characters you listed.
    Yes!!! May is just around the corner! This and Adventure of Adventureness are my favorite fanfics of all time! You're such a great writer! (Of course you're a profesional but still) Your writing style and portrayal of characters is amazing. I'll be right here for the next chapter!
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

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

  7. #182
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    Ysavvryl, I forgot to ask, but can you add me to the PM list?
    I have discovered what a signature is.

    This is Bidoof. Many people loathe it with their lives. If you are of the few people who love this little beaver, put this in your sig. Started by Warrior Scolipede

    I've claimed Castform. It will never rain on my parade.

  8. #183
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    Coffee Break

    "We seem to be a month ahead of schedule, or something," Hilda said. "That was a nice break, but let's plow ahead!"

    "Given all the snow that's around, I'd rather have a snowplow at hand," Giallo said.

    "You wouldn't have to wreck the scenery if you had snowshoes," N said. "Anyhow, wouldn't it mess with the story if you died this early?"

    Hilda chuckled. "Geez, I was kidding. I knew he'd react to that."

    "Do you have to tease Kyurem like that?" Giallo asked. "Not only is is disrespectful, but even the readers can tell that something's not entirely good with him. The condition this winter is in proves that further."

    "I ain't worried about that," she said. "And I'm happy that someone else loves Fedora! I miss him. Since there's not much else to comment on that hasn't already been responded to, let's get this show back on the road!"

    "Show?"

    "It's an expression, N."


    Part 23: Princess of Snow, Pt 2


    evening, 1/18

    After checking the time, Giallo headed out to walk through the streets of Castelia, a stony look on his face. No one paid him any heed. As he had opted to take a heavy black plaid overcoat instead of his sage robes, he looked more like anyone else on the street then someone important. Not that he was that important, really. As a sage, it was his duty to instruct and guide the King on his path to glory. He was proud to do so.

    But he was in a sour mood today, not just about the phone call from Rood. Maybe it was just personal matters, but there had been too much unnecessary conflict and hassle. While he would like to go over and take Hilbert home now, Ghetsis had asked him to go to the Gym first and watch this girl challenge Burgh. It didn’t make much sense, as this was to be recorded and broadcast live; surely they could watch it in the castle if it was that important. But Ghetsis insisted and with what Giallo got in exchange, it was a worthy trade-off. Now he just had to shake this mood by the time he picked up Hilbert from the hospital, as he didn’t want to worry the young man.

    Thankfully, he was able to step away from his Plasma duties for a while and take care of Hilbert. Although Giallo called him his nephew, there were times when he felt like he was more of a son instead. He might have spoiled Hilbert some just to see him smile, Whenever he was away, Giallo always wondered what kind of power the boy had to make him sparkle like he did; it was too much to think about when in his presence. He just hoped that he had managed to teach him to be a good person as well.

    Maybe he had been getting too wrapped up in his work with Plasma. It had been N who told him that Hilbert was in the hospital, and thankfully N who had given him immediate permission to take as much time off as needed to see to Hilbert’s well being (Ghetsis had been against that, but N's word carried more weight). From that conversation, it seemed the two of them had become friends. It was something Giallo had always wondered about. N had a kind of sparkle too, but his wasn’t as obvious and ensnaring as Hilbert’s could be. At first, he had seemed to only be a socially awkward child. But once N started talking with Giallo, he had realized that his student was mysteriously wise beyond his years and highly intelligent. It quickly became difficult to treat him as a child. Rather, he inspired the awe and respect of a sage himself.

    When they had been about nine, Giallo had considered introducing the two boys to each other. They were different in some ways, but they were both big dreamers who wanted to put things right. Then again, at the time Hilbert had been excited for his chance to become a Pokémon Trainer and explore the world, and N had nearly come to tears when he was told about Pokeballs and the League. That kept him from following that idea through, or even bringing it up with the others.

    In thinking on today, he wondered if Rood was on to something. In his phone call, N had mentioned Hilda, so obviously he knew her. Why did Ghetsis want him to investigate her? N would tell him anything. Maybe she had a presence like the two boys did and it wouldn't be as obvious to their leader. There was something odd about the three young people appearing, and them being drawn to the dragons. It could be their fate. In that case, the only thing to do was wait and see what would happen.

    He entered the Gym and one of the Trainers working there offered to take his coat and hat to the coatroom. After leaving his gear with the clown, he headed in to the main arena. It didn’t seem like a full audience yet, but many of the seats were taken. He took a place on the left side, not obvious but near the aisle where he could leave quickly and quietly once the match he came to see was over.

    He hadn’t been there long when someone took the seat beside him. There were plenty of other open seats, so he was annoyed until he saw the familiar face beside him. “N?” Giallo asked. “Good evening.”

    He nodded. “Good evening. What are you doing here?”

    “I was asked to come check out a couple of these battles, for intelligence gathering,” he said. “What about you?”

    “I came to see a friend of mine compete,” he said. He bit his lip, then sighed. “I didn’t really want to come, but I got the Nimbasa badge this morning and she was all excited about this. I’m hoping to find something to help convince Hilda to join us instead.”

    Maybe he could find more from N here. “Oh, another friend of yours?”

    “Yes. Actually, she confuses me. She should be someone that Pokémon don’t like, as she’s so loud and unpredictable, and really deep into the misconceptions of the public opinions. But her regular Pokémon seem to be happy around her. Even Kyurem seems to have gotten close to her, I think.”

    There was a cheer from the crowd as the host of the battle show came onto the arena floor. “Good evening, people of Unova!” he called into a microphone, getting a round of applause and cheers that blocked any more conversation. “And welcome to today’s live action Unova Battle Spectacular! It is the eighteenth of January and we have one wild show lined up for you today here in Castelia City. But first, may I present the man of the hour, the irrepressible artist, the master of the Bug type, Leader Burgh!”

    The battle show had gotten a lot flashier, Giallo thought as Burgh entered the arena lit up by spotlights. The colorful floor shone with a pattern like a butterfly wing, despite the bee motif that dominated much of the Gym. He could remember watching these shows with Hilbert years ago. Back then, the Gyms were simpler and the Leaders… well the men were men and the women were women. The flamboyant styling of Burgh here would have gotten him laughed at. Amazing how much could change in a little over ten years.

    “How’s things looking tonight?” the host asked as he shook Burgh’s hand.

    “Simply amazing,” he replied, smiling brightly. “My Pokémon and I are all buzzing with excitement. We’ve finally got Nathaniel to show his face around here, so that will be a match to look forward to. But I think all three matches we have lined up will be thrilling for all.”

    “Wonderful, then let’s get this show on the road. Your first challenger for tonight is Miles Riches from Undella Bay, taking his fifth badge challenge!”

    There was a small section of loud cheers as a teenager in a fine white suit and a purple tie came into the arena. This wasn’t who either of them were here to see, so Giallo spoke quietly to N. “So how are things going for you?”

    “I’m behind where I want to be,” N said. “But if I get lucky, the next Gym shouldn’t take nearly as long to prepare for. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow, though.”

    “Why’s that?”

    “I have to let this team go.” There was clapping building up in the crowd as Burgh and Miles prepared to battle their Pokémon. N’s thoughts were obviously far from this arena. “Some of the Pokémon didn’t want to leave before, and I’ve worked with these four for longer than them. Especially the Darumaka; I’ve had her for nearly a month now. On one hand, I feel bad about keeping her that long. But then, I know she’s attached to me. Most of them seem okay with the plan when I meet them, but then that changes.”

    “It must be hard on you to have Pokémon get sad like that,” Giallo said. “But it is for the greater good.”

    “I know,” he said, but he still sounded dispirited. “And I’m going to have to say goodbye to all of them sometime soon.”

    Through the first match, Giallo tried to reassure N with what was in Plasma’s philosophy. But even though he’d agreed that those things were important before, it didn’t have a noticeable effect on him now. He was too worried about his Pokémon and this guilt he was feeling. Was it possible that N was losing faith?

    Giallo wanted to doubt that. Life in the past few years had been like witnessing a legend being reborn to fix modern day ills. There were many things wrong in the world today, many things that needed to be changed. And in those old legends, you didn’t have the leader lose faith and turn from his mission as everything else was rushing towards a fulfillment of destiny. Clearly the world outside the castle and the forest was wearing N down. Giallo would have to talk with the others about this when he made his report later on.

    The first match ended rather swiftly, as Burgh’s team managed to prove stronger than Miles had expected. There was a short break for commercials, for Burgh to do some healing and team switching, and for a couple of the clown Trainers to come in and do a quick clean up of the arena. Giallo kept talking with N until the host had called out, “And the second challenger for tonight is something of an exception, but not to make it an easier battle. Please welcome Hilda Medley from Nuvema Town on her third badge challenge!”

    Good, they weren’t going to have to sit through all three matches tonight. Giallo watched as the girl walked in; she seemed about fifteen or sixteen. And while Miles had seemed overdressed in his white suit, he paled in comparison to how Hilda looked. She seemed more like she was going to a school prom rather than a Gym match, or trying to play a princess on Halloween. It was something of a surprise that she didn’t have a tiara.

    He glanced at N and noticed that he had a quite different reaction. N was watching her with great interest. “She said she was going to make this something special, but I didn’t expect her to come out looking that amazing.”

    This could turn tricky to handle. “This is your friend?”

    “Well I didn’t want that at first,” N said. “But she’s been nice to me and, well, she always seems up to something interesting. She’s helped me out a lot more than Val and Carol have. And... wait, that necklace she's wearing, I thought there were only the two King Stones.”

    Looking back at the girl, he briefly caught glimpse of a black and white circle pendant. The symbolism came to mind immediately. “The three are connected in being born from the original whole dragon; Kyurem was the shell left behind in the birth of Reshiram and Zekrom. That would be the sign used.”

    “Is it real?”N asked, confused.

    It shouldn't be real. But then, “Maybe.”

    In the arena, Burgh clapped his hands. “Wonderful to see you here, Hilda,” he said. “You've been a big help to me recently, standing up to any challenge with a smile. And now you've got to face me.”

    “Right on, bug man!” she said with enthusiasm, grinning and facing him with confidence. “I don't know how much of a challenge it'll be, though. I'm in my element with the season, and you're not. You're going to get froze out of a win.”

    “Big talk from a little princess, isn't it?” Burgh replied, playfully mocking her. “I know how to work disadvantages as well as advantages. Now how about you show these people why you're here. Declare your Pokemon; I have four.”

    “I have three,” Hilda said, taking a Pokeball in hand.

    “He only had three when I challenged him,” N said, behind the crowd that was getting excited already. “Maybe it is like the King's Stones. He called her a princess.”

    “Is it words or is it something else?” Giallo wondered aloud.

    The TV host raised his free hand. “All right, then competitor's ready? Let the battle begin!” He brought his hand down, signaling the two to call out their first Pokemon. Burgh released a small Dwebble, looking like a stray rock with a claw sticking out from this angle.

    And Hilda released Kyurem, dwarfing the Dwebble greatly. The blue parts of his body shone under the bright lights. While he snorted at the small opponent he had, people in the audience were cheering that she had brought him out early or whispering in disbelief that she really had a legendary Dragon under her command. Some were intimidated, but others seemed to be in awe. That was the sort of awe they would have for the heroes for Zekrom and Reshiram, but neither N nor Hilbert would be ready for a couple more weeks.

    This could not be good. Giallo felt a chill in his blood. “Does her team fight well?”

    “Apparently,” N answered, as the first exchange of the battle was Sand Attack against Dragon Rage. “You know, I can't figure out why these Pokemon don't seem to mind being in a Pokeball. There were many in the forest that dread being captive again, but even the ones that were okay with me releasing them seemed neutral about the issue at worst. I thought there might be some brainwashing element in place, but I can't figure out how that would be done. It's not the balls themselves, I'm sure, but the Pokecenters seem okay; it's not an issue with items. I just don't know.”

    “The Sarasota Pokemon may be different from most,” he said, as the best explanation he could think of right off the top of his head. “We're outside at times, but aside from when we're with you, we don't see them often.”

    “I run into less Pokemon out here than back home.” He closed his eyes, briefly annoyed. In the meantime, Kyurem had knocked out the Dwebble with a second attack. “I hope that won't be an issue any more. I'll have to speak to the Pokemon in more depth.”

    In the arena, Burgh released a violet centipede Pokemon that was nearly as big as Kyurem. The Scolipede raised itself up as high as it could and made a proud clattering sound with its mandibles. Kyurem snorted and stood a little higher, but not at his full height.

    “I definitely didn't fight that Pokemon,” N said on seeing it. He put his hand to his chin. “And the Gym Pokemon are proud about their role. The Scolipede was saying that he's here to test them to their limits, for the honor of the Gym. And Kyurem said that it's not going to be much of a test because if he went to his limits, he would demolish much of the city.”

    “We must seem like insects to the immortals like that” Giallo said.

    He frowned at that. “So then why do they take orders from us? Why do they follow our lead? I hadn't really thought about it, but you're right. The legendary Pokemon, they created the whole world and everything in it.” N clasped the stone around his neck. “But if that's true, why would they chose to listen to us, short-lived beings who must keep learning what's out there?”

    “We don't know, but they've been doing this for thousands of years. They must have their reasons.” Giallo looked around to see the reactions of the crowd (and make sure no one was listening to them). At that moment, there were gasps and calls from the rest of the audience; the Scolipede had managed to poison Kyurem and was focusing on intensifying the poison's pain with Venoshock. The dragon growled as he flung a cluster of rocks at the 'pede, knocking it out. His wings and tail seemed to take on an extra shine.

    “I don't have a clue what that could be. He is holding back.”

    Turning to N, Giallo said quietly, “My Lord, maybe you should come back to the castle for a few days and think through things. When you're exposed to the ignorance and the corruption of the greater world constantly, it can erode the greatest faith little by little.”

    He lowered his head. “That could be. As much as that would help, though, I'm still behind on where I want to be. I think I can manage Driftveil Gym in a shorter time if I can contact the right Pokemon. Then I might come back for a little while.” He then looked at Giallo. “Would you bring Hilbert by the castle when I'm there? I want him to work with us; it'll be better in the end.”

    He nodded. “All right, just let me know when a good day would be.”

    There was a loud cheer from the crowd. It seemed that Burgh had called out a Leavanny, but Kyurem had knocked it out in one blow. As a result of that Ice Beam, the floor was glistening with ice. “And they've gone from possibly losing their first member to poison back to being in good condition, all while pushing Burgh back to his last Pokemon,” the host said, stirring up the excitement.

    On his end, Burgh brought up his last Pokeball and held it out in a manner like a dare. “At the end of the line? But I did pick out this one just for you. Go Escavalier!”

    The Pokemon that appeared was naturally armored with steel, like a red-crested helmet and snail shell body. It jabbed its twin lances at Kyurem, possibly grinning. Like before, Kyurem didn't seem to care about their challenges.

    “I'd like to get Hilda on our side, under our protection,” N added.

    “Her?” From where they were, they could see her standing to the side of and behind Kyurem some distance. Hilda seemed to be considering the situation, but had no nervousness to her stance. There was nothing about her that indicated a need to be protected.

    “I keep seeing images of her death.” He was obviously concerned. “She could be a good help if we could convince her. I just have to figure out how.”

    “Does she know the truth about you and us?”

    He shook his head. “Not yet. But I think I'll meet her somewhere in Nimbasa tomorrow, if I can. Do you know of some of our people that I could call on for help?”

    Giallo considered it. “I'd ask Zigzolin; he's stationed in Driftveil.”

    “Really? What's he doing there?” And like Rood had suggested, N didn't know.

    “He was working on convincing the people there and freeing Pokemon.”

    “I see. What's everyone else doing?” Then he got distracted for a moment by the battle. The Escavalier was withstanding a lot of Kyurem's attacks, but its attacks weren't too graceful. After a wild and barely hitting Fury Attack, Burgh had called it back to use Bug Buzz.

    “Do Val or Carol fill you in on things?” Giallo asked.

    “I don't trust them at this point. They're interfering with my mission and even when they contacted me, they didn't give me much news.” N put his hand over the wrist-worn Xtransceiver. “And I haven't heard from Ghetsis much. Is he busy?”

    “Really busy, but I'm not sure of everything he's doing,” he admitted. He started to tell N some of what he knew was going on.

    But then there was a huge cheer from the audience around them. People were getting out of their seats in enthusiasm. A girl's happy yelp was in the center of it. “And the winner of this match, without a single knock on her side, is Hilda with Kyurem!”

    “That was simply a-maz-ing!” Burgh said, his voice carrying over the crowd, primarily due to turning his microphone back on. He brought a hand up to calm the audience. “I don't always see someone stroll in here with a legendary at their side,” this caused some laughs in the audience, “but I heard you started with him at the very base level, so it is still an accomplishment. And so I have no qualms in giving you this.” He walked over while speaking and passed a badge and a TM case to Hilda.

    “All right, thanks!” she said, taking them, then proudly showing off the badge to Kyurem and the audience, the latter of which started cheering again. The dragon lowered his head closer to hers and nudged her hand.

    “Let's get out of here,” N said, to which Giallo agreed to.

    After speaking to him some more and promising to contact him more often, Giallo left N to his mission. The sage went a few streets over to the hospital, finally getting to what he wanted to be doing. There were some people in the hospital lobby, mostly what seemed to be one family, as well as a young man with a Litwick and an Alomomola. At the counter, he got the attention of the receptionist. “Excuse me, but I'm here to meet up with Hilbert Godfrey; he's my nephew.”

    She brightened at that. “Oh yes, I heard he was around here. But I haven't seen him, actually. It's weird; you used to always be able to read what he was doing online, but in the past month, it seems like he's dropped off the face of the Earth, or nobody's interested in him anymore.”

    “It has been odd,” Giallo said. It was something he'd wondered about, as he liked reading some of those things (but generally not the stuff from the lovestruck girls). “Can you tell me what area he's in?”

    “I'm right here.”

    When he turned to see the young man, Giallo felt a kind of dissonance. It was Hilbert; he knew that face, the short rat-tail hairstyle he kept, and his usual attire. But there was something else to him that he didn't recognize, making him nearly a stranger. Lacking his usual air of confidence, his shoulders were sagging and he stood as if he were ready to get out of here. It might have just be the stay in this hospital, but there was something else off that Giallo couldn't put his finger on.

    “Oh, sorry,” he said. “Have you been released already?”

    “Yeah, I was just waiting on you.” The Alomomola, floating around in a water bubble, went closer to Hilbert and nudged his arm.

    “You're Hilbert?” the receptionist asked, puzzled. “You don't seem like what I thought you'd be.”

    “Because I'm not,” he said, sounding hurt to admit it. He tapped the pink Pokemon between its eyes to acknowledge it. “You don't have to worry about it. Uncle, everything's all settled with the hospital, so we can just go.”

    “All right.” He nodded to the receptionist, then headed out with Hilbert. “I'm sorry about not recognizing you. It has been a while, but it was...” he brought his hand up, trying to word it.

    “It's a test of Reshiram's that I have to pass,” he said, not interested in why Giallo had been out of contact yet. “Look, I hope you don't hate me for this, but...”

    “I don't see any reason to hate you.”

    On the way through Castelia, Hilbert told him about how he somehow had an ability like Attract, and that was the reason that everyone loved him so quickly. It sounded strange, and yet Giallo readily believed it. For one thing, Hilbert was a really bad liar and hadn't tried since he was a small child. For another, Giallo could look back on his memories and fit that kind of power in easily. But why would he have a power like that? He was special, but this went further than the old myths.

    Then again, wasn't it the same way with N's new ability to get glimpses into the future?

    At that point in the conversation, they were riding an elevator up one of the taller skyscrapers. “You know how I used to say that it was all bright all around me?” Hilbert asked. “It's a lot darker now, and I only pick up a few spots of light these days. Really, you've been great to me all my life; I hate the thought of having manipulated you and everyone else. Please forgive me.”

    Giallo put his hand on Hilbert's shoulder. “You didn't even know you could do that, so I don't think you're at fault. You're still my family, though. I'll try to be here for you more often.”

    Shifting his hat, Hilbert looked down. “Thanks. Why are we going this way anyhow?”

    “It's a faster way home.” The elevator doors opened and let them out onto the rooftop of the building.

    There, a large black helicopter was waiting on the helipad. It was the one Team Plasma owned. Borrowing it for this trip was why Giallo had agreed to go to the Gym match. At the door, one of the pilots was out of uniform, playing a game on her cellphone. She saluted them as they came up. “There you are. Come on in; we can take off in a couple of minutes.”

    “Thank you,” Giallo said.

    “You got a helicopter?” Hilbert asked, looking at it but with only a little disbelief. In his arms, his Litwick shrank back, while the Alomomola looked up at the large blades. “Stay down here, Loch.”

    “I borrowed it, as it seemed like the best way to get us to Village Bridge from here.”

    The two of them climbed in, followed by the pilot and the Pokemon. As it was made to carry around a dozen passengers, it was a little large for this purpose. Hilbert sat down, put his Litwick on the bench, and then looked around at the interior, black and fairly simple in design. Then he turned to him. “Giallo, you're working in Team Plasma, aren't you?”

    That startled him for a moment; he thought N hadn't mentioned that to either of his non-team friends. “Why would you say that?” he asked, having to raise his voice some as the helicopter's engines were starting up.

    “You brought a helicopter to pick me up from the hospital,” he said sarcastically. “That's just another sign, though. I was thinking about things today and I realized, N's the leader of Team Plasma, right? I don't know how I didn't pick that up right off when I met him in Desert Resort. Plasma addresses its leader as a King, and N had the Black King's Stone this whole time. And he has the same ideas that Ghetsis and the others have been preaching, he just doesn't communicate them as well. Then that got me to thinking that he was able to get a hold of you when I've failed to do the same in the past few weeks. I can't remember you saying what you've been doing the past few years but it did keep you busy a lot. And Plasma has only really emerged publicly just before I got back. This has been what you've been doing.”

    “That's true,” Giallo said. “I'm one of the seven Sages.”

    For a moment, he looked angry. But he got control over that quickly. “How long have you been with them?”

    “Well I met N and Ghetsis about twelve years ago; I didn't fully join until nine years ago, as that's when things got formalized. Almost ten, now that I think of it.”

    Hilbert almost said one thing, but stopped and gave him an incredulous look. “N's been leading Plasma since he was ten?”

    Giallo nodded. “Well you've met him. He was just as extraordinary back then. We've been helping a lot, but he gives us our guiding principles and goals.”

    “Why would you do a thing like that?” Hilbert asked, wary but not hostile of the idea.

    While Ghetsis didn't seem to think this would help, N wanted to convince Hilbert. “The world is changing. We've noticed the signs and we're going to make things right.”

    -+-

    evening, 1/18

    The seven of them gathered around a table in the castle, to discuss all of the discoveries that had occurred in the past two weeks. Although, N wasn't there. It might have been better to wait on him, but their King had to focus and they could fill him in later. The room was clean and sparkling, from the white stone tiles on the floor to the brass chandeliers overhead. On the table, there were some pitchers of ice water.

    Ryuko sat at one of the corners farthest from Ghetsis, who was at the head of the table. Giallo was at the end nearest the door; he had come in late with his uniform not as neat as usual. Then again, he was concerned about his nephew and would be first to leave to get back to him. Gorm was on Ryuko's other side while across the table, Rood was fiddling with a pen nervously and sometimes exchanging a quiet word with Bronius.

    Then again, there were things to be worried about. Ryuko had his computer tablet in hand, making notes with his stylus. In one window, there was a list of signs and characteristics common in legends of Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem. In another window, he was noting current relationships, signs, and characteristics. The similarities were astounding:the original twins that had called on the original dragon, they had been discovered together as young children in the wilderness being raised by Pokemon much like Ghetsis had found N. But then there was another story where the heroes were twins separated at birth to live lives that were different in surrounding, yet they had many parallels when they were reunited.

    Both N and Hilbert had unusual unexplainable powers. On one hand, understanding Pokemon, wisdom beyond his years, and now seeing potential futures. On the other, knowing the desires of people, an amazing way of attracting people, and potential visions into alternate realities. “He says that it was true, but not for here and now,” Giallo had said. “It would give him ways to consider what's going on now and what could have been.” The boys were different on the surface, but some things were the same, like a desire to know what really was and why things were they way they were, as well as the will to pursue that questioning.

    While he looked over it, Ryuko had a strong feeling that he had picked the right side for these events. The gods had clearly blessed these two boys and were drawing them to change the world. And they were all going to be involved in that change; it was empowering, and pushed him to help the group work together as well as possible.

    But then there was the piece of the puzzle that none of them had expected to appear, the one that hinted at an entirely different picture. And that was Rood's daughter. “I didn't say anything about them because I didn't think it would affect anything,” Rood said, putting his pen down for a moment. “It had been six or seven years since I'd seen them at that point and I thought Leslie would have moved out of the region.”

    “It seems to have come up anyhow,” Ghetsis said. “So what's the girl like?” He looked across the table.

    Giallo hesitated a moment, then said, “You could ask N. He knows Hilda and seems to be friends with her. Hilbert too, they all managed to meet each other on the road.”

    Hearing that, Ryuko made notes on his tablet. The two boys were related and they both knew the girl. And they were all in their teenaged years, so that could be a concern if the relationships were unbalanced. Or maybe they were just friends. The fact that they found each other wasn't surprising; destiny had a way of bringing the right people together at the right times.

    “But on talking to them, she seems to adapt how she acts to what people are around her,” Giallo went on. “She is generally very enthusiastic, likes to make a scene, and tends to be impulsive. I saw that in watching her match against Burgh as well. She grandstanded the whole time and showed no signs of losing her nerve even when Kyurem nearly got knocked unconscious by poison. Not only that, but she dressed to impress the audience, as seen in the video.”

    “And that necklace she wore is close to the King Stones, only with Kyurem's symbol,” Ryuko noted while adding onto his lists. “We don't have any precedence for a chosen hero with Kyurem, but just looking at that picture, she's aiming for an icy or snowy royalty.”

    “That is no mistake,” Giallo said. “The way both she and Burgh spoke during that exchange, it was all but saying that she was also a chosen hero, but that she'd been chosen by Kyurem instead. And the audience caught on quick and loved it.”

    “She could be working with the Gym Leader on this,” Ghetsis said. “It was the two of them who got into the building in Castelia.”

    Giallo nodded. “Possibly, but when I reviewed the tape, I'm certain that the fight was not staged. Burgh didn't fight any differently... well, not quite. He had a team that he would normally use against a four badge team, not a two badge team. And even then, he doesn't usually put Scolipede and Escavalier on the same team. So he made things harder and she still won.”

    “This is trouble,” Bronius said. “People are talking about the myths being a reality, but not in terms of N. It's Hilda that's the focus, even though no one seems to know what to expect out of her. Some people are saying she's dangerous and terrible for having Kyurem at her side, but others admire the fact that she commands him and he listens. If she keeps going with the League, she could be more popular than N.”

    “She is more popular than N,” Zinzolin said. “He should be heading for Driftveil Gym next, but no one in Driftveil is talking about him. They are talking about Hilda, though. Mostly about that video where she was mocking you.”

    “Right, that,” Ghetsis said, more annoyed than angry. “I've had to spend more time recovering from that attack than progressing with the teachings. She seems to be quite the planner.”

    Giallo cleared his throat. “Um, about that, no. Hilbert was there and spoke to her before and after that video took place. She didn't plan it; she had been given that cloak and made up that speech right on the spot.”

    Ryuko noted 'quick thinker' on his list on Hilda. That and the impulsiveness gave him an idea. “She isn't going through the League as fast as N, but if we want to insure that she won't interfere, maybe we could get her distracted with something else. Most young people don't stay dedicated enough to go through all eight Gyms and if she is that impulsive, pushing back her progress in the League can't be that hard.”

    “That's a good thing to consider,” Ghetsis said.

    “N wants to try convincing Hilbert and Hilda over to our side,” Giallo said. “He feels that something bad could happen to either of them and wants to see to it that they're safe. Since he cares about them like that, we shouldn't do anything too extreme against them.”

    “She's already fighting against us,” Gorm said. “And Hilbert's probably leaning that way too. There usually is a conflict between the heroes of Reshiram and Zekrom; it's happened many times.”

    “I would think that none of us, especially N, would want the kind of violence that accompanies those times,” Ryuko said.

    “He already doesn't want us to continue on with the enforced release program at this point,” Giallo said. “I asked him about it and he said it makes us look bad in the eyes of most of the people he meets. I plan on contacting him more often about such issues, since he seemed behind on issues.”

    He was? Ryuko glanced at Giallo, but he seemed to be telling the truth. Across the table, Rood inexplicably seemed glad to hear of it. Bronius said, “He was?”

    “He doesn't like the two girls that were sent with him,” Giallo said, nodding. “He's flat out ignoring them now and says they interfere with his work. So he hasn't gotten news from the contacts we intended to have with him.”

    “I thought that the three of them should have been introduced months ago,” Rood said. “It takes him longer to trust people than to trust Pokemon.”

    “Why wasn't he brought into this meeting anyhow?” Ryuko asked. “It shouldn't last that long.”

    “He was busy with something, but we could have scheduled it later,” Giallo said. “I'll get in contact with him later.”

    “I should speak with him too,” Ghetsis said. “Any more ideas on what to do with Kyurem and his apparent 'hero' now?”
    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.

  9. #184
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    OMGoodness! A new chapter!?! I have to read it!!!

    EDIT: That was great Yasvvryl. Cant wait for more action from Hilda's POV. Fedora!! I want Fedora!!
    Last edited by 3D992; 5th May 2012 at 3:38 AM.
    I have:
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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.

  10. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3D992 View Post
    Fedora!! I want Fedora!!
    I second this.

    Also, I noticed two things. One, near the beginning, when you were talking about Giallo, you put "then" where you should have put "than." Two, whose Alomomola(gosh, I hate that name) is that? Is it the receptionist's or Hilbert's? Did I miss something?
    I have discovered what a signature is.

    This is Bidoof. Many people loathe it with their lives. If you are of the few people who love this little beaver, put this in your sig. Started by Warrior Scolipede

    I've claimed Castform. It will never rain on my parade.

  11. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-nogyroP View Post
    I second this.

    Also, I noticed two things. One, near the beginning, when you were talking about Giallo, you put "then" where you should have put "than." Two, whose Alomomola(gosh, I hate that name) is that? Is it the receptionist's or Hilbert's? Did I miss something?
    I noticed that too. I guess its hilberts. Or maybe gaillo.
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

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

  12. #187
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    Coffee Break

    "Alohamomo?" Bianca asked.

    "Alololololomomoloma," Hilda said.

    "Aromamomolaora."

    "Locomomola."

    "Alolola."

    "Amoral," Hilda said, forcing them both to burst into laughter.

    "Alomomola," Cheren said, frowning at the two of them. "It's a palindrome."

    "I always thought it weird that the word 'palindrome' was not a palindrome," Hilda said.

    "Language doesn't work that way," he said.

    "Well it should!"

    "That Alomomola belongs to Hilbert, and was one of those two eggs," Bianca said. "It was introduced kind of early, though."


    Chapter 24: Friendly Rival Shift


    early morning, 1/19

    It was early morning, misty and slushy, but there were still plenty of people on the streets of Castelia. The two girls were laughing and talking, not minding the people who gave them curious or wary looks as they passed by. Although many of the pedestrians now recognized that the masked boy following them was Kyurem, some attention was given to Victini, who hanging out by hanging onto Bianca's shoulders in a piggyback manner. Mimi had decided to do the same thing with Hilda, but the Minccino didn't cause as many stares as Victini did.

    “You sure about moving on to the next town with me?” Hilda asked.

    Bianca nodded. “Yeah, it's fine. I mean, I still just have this one badge, but it's a lot of pressure that doesn't make it fun anymore.” She nudged Hilda. “Plus it's crazy thinking that I could match how you and Cheren do in battles. Oh, and that N guy too! I saw that he was already halfway done.”

    “Wild isn't it?” Hilda asked. “I was joking that he'd be done before spring, but yeah, he might actually do that. And Cheren beat Burgh a week and a half ago.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Man, am I falling behind.”

    “But your battles are so much more fun to watch!” Bianca said. “You ought to go to another region sometime and become a Coordinator. You and your team would be total show stealers, I know.”

    “Only if I can find a way to get Kyurem to sing and dance,” Hilda said mischievously, glancing at him.

    “No,” he replied firmly.

    Bianca, Hilda, Mimi, and Victini broke into giggles at that. “Aw, that's such a pity,” Bianca said, giving an overdramatic sigh.

    “Yeah.” She looked up at the gate as they approached it. “And here we go on another stage of the journey,” she said. Then Hilda spun around and cupped her hands around her mouth. “Goodbye Castelia!”

    There were some chuckles, and somebody was nice enough to yell back, “Goodbye!”

    Grinning, Hilda added, “I LOVE YOU, MAN!” Then she turned back and headed through the gate. “Aren't they so sweet?”

    Through the gate, they came onto Route 4. There had already been sand inside the gatehouse, and out there the sandy winds were blowing steadily. From the winter moisture, most of the sand here was crusty and packed down, leaving clear tracks behind them. Hilda and Bianca took a moment to put scarves around their faces, although Kyurem and the other two Pokemon didn't seem to mind. Hilda decided to bring Olette the Drilbur out as well, since it seemed like the kind of environment she would like. With that, they set out down the paved road.

    There was a sturdy chainlink fence on one side of the route, blocking off what appeared to be a construction site. There was even a partially buried bulldozer on the other side. “I hear they were planning on linking Castelia and Nimbasa into one enormous city a few years back,” Bianca said, looking over it.

    “Yeah, I remember it being on the news,” Hilda said.

    Her friend nodded. “But then they couldn't do anything about this sandstorm which was messing up all of their machinery. The systems they thought would work failed to do anything. It would be crazy if they could manage fusing the two places, wouldn't it? Castelia's huge as it is. I don't know how big Nimbasa is, but that might make it one of the largest cities in the world.”

    “How long as this sandstorm been going anyhow?” Hilda asked.

    “At least since Reshiram was last awake,” Kyurem said.

    After some distance, the pavement ended, leaving a large stretch of sand along the route. At that point, they found Cheren over on the left side of the route, healing up his Pignite. Hilda nudged Bianca, then called over, “Hey Cheren! Fancy meeting you out here!”

    He looked over to see who it was, then got up. “Oh, it's you two. Hi.”

    “Is something wrong?” Bianca asked, picking up on a lack on enthusiasm in his voice. The two girls decided to go over where he was.

    Cheren frowned. “What are you two doing out here anyhow? I thought you were going to go back for Lenora's badge, Bianca.”

    “Um, no, I decided to drop out of the League totally,” she said, getting a hold of Victini's paw and having him drop to the ground. “I'm still doing some battles, but I'm finding other ways to get money and other things to do. So I'm traveling with Hilda.”

    “And I just beat Burgh yesterday, so I'm heading up to check out Nimbasa,” Hilda said.

    “Yeah, I saw that,” he said, now annoyed. “Weren't you supposed to not be relying on one strong Pokemon? You were just showing off.”

    “There were reasons behind it,” she said. “No seriously, what's bugging you?”

    He looked to Hilda. “I heard some people talking about you. I know most League challengers don't get attention until they have four or five badges, but here I've been working hard with my team every day, training them to be stronger, and you've been goofing off probably more than you've been training and everybody's talking about you. We have the same number of badges now, but hardly anyone notices me.”

    “Well she does have Kyurem,” Bianca said, shifting her scarf in the blowing sand.

    “And we did a lot of training, maybe not every day,” Hilda said. “But yeah, it's kind of hard for me not to attract attention. You should know that.”

    “Have you even decided if you're going to stick with the League?” Cheren asked.

    Hilda shrugged, wondering why he seemed hostile about it. “No. It's been fun so far, but there's lots of things to be doing.”

    “And you can't even take that seriously,” he said, disappointed. “Why should I have to compete with you? With all the trouble you could be in with Plasma and Kyurem, I'd think it'd be better if you stop acting like a kid and really worked at something.”

    Stop acting like a kid? He should know that she was always like that and it wasn't entirely childish. “It's not like that,” she argued. “There isn't anything that says I have to get something done at some specific time. It's not like my life has a deadline.”

    Except that it did, Hilda thought but kept to herself. And she didn't know when it was except that it was some time before next winter. She still didn't see it as a reason to hurry to get anything done and there was no way she'd worry her friends about it. At her side, Kyurem shifted uneasily, then looked up at something.

    “We don't have to fight about this,” Bianca said, looking between them and clasping her hands together. “It's just how we always are.”

    “One would hope that certain people change for the better,” Cheren said, crossing his arms over his chest. “Anyhow, I don't think you could keep up winning without using Kyurem.”

    “You want to see how my other Pokemon are?” Hilda asked. “Sure, we can battle. I was curious on how you were progressing.”

    Bianca tried to talk them out of it, but wasn't successful; she went off to the side to stay out of the way. Thinking he might start off with Smoky as the Pignite was out already, Hilda called her Drilbur forward. Only, he brought out his Liepard instead. Hilda decided to have her use Hone Claws to boost her attack, then Slash to knock out the Liepard. Cheren tried to counter Olette with his Simipour, only she managed to slash it out in one hit too. With a Rock Slide for the Tranquil and Dig for the Pignite, the battle was over faster than either side expected.

    “I trained Olette and Mimi up for the Gym too, just in case,” Hilda said.

    “How do you manage to do that with her?” Cheren asked, tensing in frustration. “How come we work everyday and you don't, and you still beat us? We've been out here on this sand saturated route for over a week, and what have you been doing?”

    “I've mostly been fighting against other Trainers in the past month.”

    “Would you want a legendary Pokemon to work with you?” Kyurem asked out of the blue. Although Hilda suspected he had some purpose behind the offer. “I could arrange things if you're willing to work to prove your worth.”

    “I,” he started to say. But then a yellow and orange Pokemon dropped out of the sky and crash landed into the sand. At that, the conversation completely halted as humans and Pokemon stared at the interruption.

    The Pokemon pushed itself off the ground and shook his head vigorously, sending sand flying. Then it did the same with a rather long length of extra skin. At that point, it noticed them. “Neff ka grag,” it stated, then pulled its skin up and strutted off across the route.

    “What was that about?” Hilda asked, interested.

    “Oh, him,” Cheren said, adjusting his glasses. “The workers around here call him Tarzan. He's a wild Scraggy that climbs around the unfinished structures and causes problems. He was probably swinging off the crane again.”

    “That is awesome,” Hilda said, watching as the Scraggy started climbing the fence on the other side. She suspected that he was a Fight type, and since she'd given her Sawk to her mother, it'd be nice to have one of them around again.

    “Anyhow, I might need to switch my team up,” Cheren told Kyurem. “But I want to be recognized on my own merit, with Pokemon that I've trained up to be powerful. I don't want to be known just because I happen to have a legendary Pokemon.”

    Quietly, Hilda stepped out of the conversation. When they didn't seem to be paying attention to her, she went across the route and over to the fence. She gripped the chain link fence and tested it; she might be able to do this. Above her, the Scraggy had noticed and stayed to watch.

    “You do have to merit the attention from a Pokemon such as myself,” Kyurem said to Cheren. “We wouldn't listen to just anyone.”

    “Maybe, but most people wouldn't see it that way.”

    Hilda reached up to get a secure grip, then started climbing the fence as well. Tarzan stayed where he was on top of it, watching her. Once she had pulled herself onto the bar on the top, she spent a second steadying herself. “Hey, did you really swing yourself off a crane through the air?”

    “Gru kuh rah naja?” He noticed she didn't seem to understand, so he nodded.

    “That sounds like a lot of fun,” she said, pushing herself up into a sitting position. “I always wanted to try something like that, only my bodyguard over there would throw a fit.” When the Scraggy smirked, she added, “And did you meet a guy called N? He has green hair.”

    He made some comment, then hopped backwards on the bar. Then he waved his hand in a way that seemed to be daring her to do something. Fight up there?

    “Dunno if my other Pokemon can manage up here,” Hilda said, getting her feet on the bar. Then she carefully stood up. “Maybe Mimi.”

    “What are you doing up there?” Kyurem demanded, finally noticing that Hilda had left the conversation.

    The sandy wind kicked up, causing her scarf and coat to flare out. There wasn't a lot of space to balance up here, but she still held her hands out and took a couple of steps towards the Scraggy. “Making a new friend, maybe. I've walked on fences a lot.”

    “Not that high,” Bianca said, coming over with Kyurem.

    “I'll be okay,” Hilda said, trying to reassure them. She was within a few steps of Tarzan, who had decided to stay where he was and watch. “Where'd Cheren go off to?”

    “He said there was a rest house for the construction workers around here where he could heal his Pokemon. Although he did complain that you definitely weren't listening to him.”

    “I didn't mean to make him or anyone jealous, but he is being uptight about this.” She stopped in front of the Scraggy and touched his head. “Tag!”

    At that point, the fence trembled. Tarzan dropped down quickly and clasped the bar with his hands. Hilda felt her balance waver, but then an arm wrapped around her chest. “We could do without you getting injured again,” Kyurem said from behind her. Then he jumped back off the fence with her, somehow slowing their descent so that they landed gently.

    “I could've gotten down on my own,” she said. When he glared at her, she smiled. “Okay, thanks for that.”

    There was a thump as Tarzan jumped off the fence too, but without the benefit of a slow fall. Grabbing up his loose skin, he ran over. “Ha chu ka tri,” he said, letting go to point at Hilda and wave a challenge at her. Although he seemed to be going for tough, it was weakened when his skin comically slipped down to his legs.

    While Bianca chuckled, Kyurem shrugged. “He wishes to challenge you and see if you really are someone he'd want to go with,” the dragon boy said.

    “Oh, the workers might appreciate you taking him, if he's troubling them,” Bianca said.

    Hilda grinned under her scarf. “And I'm all for being around another troublemaker. All right, Tarzan my boy, let's see how you fight. Olette, you're up.”

    -+-

    late morning, 1/19

    Nimbasa was a bright and garish city. Lights and colors were everywhere, with flags blowing in the breeze, neon signs flickering and flashing, gates lighting up with racing bulbs, and color-exploded buses driving the streets. When one walked down the streets, there would be loud music from the stores and homes, endless talk about all the events going on, and laughter. It wasn't as dense as Castelia, but it was still overwhelmingly concrete and artificial.

    Away from the main streets, N met with three of his followers. There was a fountain nearby that was running on heated water, giving a mist effect over its surface. A chilled breeze blew in from the nearby river and bay. “No, don't take her Pokemon from her,” he said. “Find out if she's here, then get her to meet with me over in the amusement park. But don't let in that I’ve asked you do to this.”

    “Why do you not call her with that device you own?” Rune asked. The Sigilyph was out observing the meeting, along with two other of N's current team. It was too cool here for the Sandile's liking.

    “It's not that simple,” N quickly said to him. Hilda had a way of taking over conversations, plus she might decide to train along Route 4 instead of coming straight to Nimbasa.

    “We'll do as you wish, my lord,” one of the men said to him. “We would try to free her Pokemon, but if you don't want it...”

    “Her team is too strong for you to handle,” N said. The teams these three had currently would not measure up to those Pokemon, he was certain of that. “And I'll handle convincing her of the right way of things.”

    “Of course.”

    “Someone's coming in range,” Rune warned.

    Moments later, a woman in a long yellow and black coat approached them. A Blitzle walked alongside her. “Excuse me, but I believe that I've told you people to stop harassing people in this city,” Elesa said. “Go on and leave this young man alone.”

    There was a strange moment where N wasn't sure why she was telling his followers to leave. But it must have meant that his cover was secure and they didn't expect him to be a part of Plasma. Thankfully, the three obliged and left the small plaza. “We weren't doing anything wrong, just talking,” one of them called, but then they ran for it.

    She sighed. “Nothing that we've caught you doing,” she said. Then she came a couple steps closer to him. “It's not that I doubt your abilities, N, it's just that they're suspected of using dirty tactics to win and steal the Pokemon of others. Be careful around them, and don't accept any bets they offer.”

    “I thought they were just talking to me, but maybe not,” he said. Wondering, he added, “What kinds of things are they doing?”

    She shifted posture, causing the decorative wires on her headband to move and snap against each other. “Mostly, they've been challenging little kids who don't entirely know how to battle and then stealing their Pokemon when they lose, telling them that's how things are done. It's horrible, making the kids upset as their Pokemon friends are taken away. But they've also been known to take advantage of other Trainers who aren't able to think clearly or fight back decently, like those who've been drinking or shy folks who rarely battle their Pokemon. Their speeches might be convincing, but it's their actions that mark them as hypocrites.”

    “I see.” Hopefully that would lessen in the future, as he had made it quite clear to Giallo that he didn't like how they were handling the current freeing of Pokemon. It was impressions like this that he wanted to avoid.

    “Hmm, I'm sorry for ranting a bit there,” she said. “It's an issue that's been on my mind a lot lately. I hope you have a good day.” She then headed back onto the streets, apparently on a jog with the Blitzle.

    “You too,” N said, if only to appear polite. And now he had to wait on Hilda.

    -+-

    noon, 1/19

    Hilda and Bianca entered the gatehouse to Nimbasa. Sitting on one of the benches, Professor Juniper was working at a laptop. “Hey Professor!” Hilda called, going over there. “You called us right at the perfect time; we were coming here anyhow.”

    “Great!” she said, temporarily closing her laptop. “I had some work to do here and I thought you might be. I wanted to thank you all for your hard work on the Pokedex. You've managed to fill out a lot of entries, Bianca.”

    “I usually just catch and release them,” she said, shifting nervously. “I like the core members of my team.”

    “It's still a help to get a large sampling,” Juniper said. “And the ones you keep are good for extended study. I've been getting interesting data from you, Hilda, especially about that Minccino you got from the dream world. She has an ability that hasn't been recorded for her kind so far.”

    “She's been a real big help,” Hilda said. Maybe it was that ability; she'd have to look that up.

    “I imagine. So, I have a reward for you.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a pair of the plastic containers that Pokeball sets came in. “Here you are. These are Ultra Balls. They're a lot more powerful than the regular ball and have less of a chance of accidental breaks when capturing. Of course, if the Pokemon really doesn't want to come along, they can still break out, but it should help if you run into an unusual or tough specimen.”

    “Thanks!” Bianca said as the girls took them. “These are supposed to be expensive.”

    Juniper shrugged. “It certainly costs more, but some would say it's worth the price. I'm going to wait here a little longer for Cheren. Go enjoy yourselves in Nimbasa, or if you want, you can head out west of Route 4 over to Desert Resort. There's some interesting sights and Pokemon out there, if you can tolerate the sand.”

    “That would be neat,” Hilda said. “But I think we'll be exploring the city today. Don't work too hard!”

    “It's not work if it's fun,” the professor said, grinning, then opening her laptop up again. The two girls then headed through the gatehouse and into Nimbasa.

    “Oh, what should we do first?” Bianca said, looking excited. “I’ve heard of so much about this place.”

    “We can go take a peek at everything!” Hilda said, grinning. They had walked much of the morning towards this place (and checking out the half-finished construction, and battling wild Pokemon and trained Pokemon), but she was far from tired. It was only noon. “But maybe lunch first. Oh here, you want these?” She offered her set of Ultra balls.

    “But the professor gave them to you,” Bianca said.

    “Yeah, but if you're catching and releasing, that'll go through a lot more Pokeballs that I ever will. Even when I go to catch for another, they usually provide the Pokeballs. It's fine.”

    “Well I'll take three, if that's all right. You should keep two in case you run into a Pokemon you really want.” Hilda agreed to that and gave her three of the Ultra balls.

    “We might have trouble,” Kyurem pointed out, indicating what was ahead of them.

    At the first crossroad on the path, there were two Plasma members lecturing with an elderly man. “You're still confining a lot of Pokemon outside of their natural habitat,” one of the grunts said. “And you do have a lot of them, don't you? You ought to release them back to the wild.”

    “They're not my Pokemon and I can't do something like that,” the old man said.

    “Well then shut down your business,” the other said. “It's a bad thing to be doing.”

    “Hey, quit hassling him!” Hilda called, moving a little quicker towards them.

    “What do you mean by butting...?” the grunt turned, recognized her, and changed his mind. “Wait, it's you, the one who's been messing with us.”

    “Yeah, cause you're messing with other people. I suppose it's okay for you guys to be talking about it, but you sound pushy and unreasonable there.”

    One of them came up to her, picking out a Pokeball. “You're the unreasonable one. I'll show you who's got the right ideas around here.”

    “Okay then,” Hilda said sarcastically, and called out Tarzan to help her. Although he was currently the weak one on the team, he still took out the grunt's two Pokemon with little trouble. “You might want to put together a decent team if you want to try that tactic again,” she said.

    The old man then added, “And by your own logic, shouldn't you release your Pokemon now?”

    “Ah, you see...” he took a step back and glanced back at his partner. “Let's get out of here!”

    There was a blue flash on the ground as Kyurem brought his hand up and made a curling motion with it. Ice spontaneously formed under the grunts feet, causing them to slip. To make sure that they were stopped, he also clamped some ice over their feet. “Not this time,” he said. “I wouldn't even bother eating you.”

    “I've got the police on the phone,” Bianca said to them, then turned back to her Xtranciever and talked to the operator.

    “Phew, thanks girls,” the old man said. “I run the Pokemon Daycare on Route 3 with my wife. I did have some Pokemon with me, but they're ones we're taking care of for other Trainers. Those two have some funny ideas of what's good and bad.”

    “You have mistaken ideas of good and bad,” one of the grunts said, trying unsuccessfully the break out of the ice clamp.

    “I'd like to do something to reward your kindness,” the old man said.

    Hilda shook her head. “Nah, it's fine. We'll keep an eye on these two jokers until the police come to pick them up. You go on with your day.”

    Smiling, he shook her head. “Still, I'm grateful to you. Have a good day.”

    After the police arrived to take the two Plasma grunts into custody (they were suspected of taking other Pokemon from Trainers too), Hilda and Bianca headed off to find somewhere to eat lunch. Then they went exploring town. There were interesting shops, a large subway station, a Pokemon battle institute, and not to mention the amusement park where the Gym was located. Some of the more interesting things were to be found in the northernmost part of Nimbasa. There were two sports stadiums. At the large one, there was a football game in progress which didn't interest either of them. But at the small one, there were several groups of tennis players who were practicing with their Pokemon partners. And they had no problem with people coming into the lot and challenging them to Pokemon battles. It was all a part of their practice too.

    “I think I know where I’ll do a lot of my training in this town,” Hilda said, grinning.

    Bianca nodded. “Oh yes, they were really good at battling. Oh, and did you see that Simipour that was practicing serves? He seemed to be having so much fun at it! I wonder if I could get any of my Pokemon to do that.”

    “You do love playing tennis,” she said, seeing a chance to encourage her friend in something. “Maybe they'll show you some tips.”

    “Maybe.” She glanced over at Timmy; the Munna was keeping close to her, but observing the sights around him with wide eyes. “Victini and Suzy are the only ones with hands, though. But then another one of the Pokemon there didn't. Hmm, I'll have to think of that.” Then she pointed over the rooftops. “Look, you can see the Ferris Wheel from here!”

    “It's a really tall one too,” Hilda said. “I wonder if you could see clear to Nuvema from up there.”

    “Maybe if it was a really nice day. It's getting late now.” She giggled. “I always thought that kind of thing was romantic, you know. Just a nice calm ride with a beautiful view and nobody to overhear you. Maybe if I found some nice boy, I'd ask him to take me on a date here.”

    “That would be sweet.”

    Bianca touched Hilda's shoulder. “Oh, but you know... I’m kind of glad that the Plasma people we saw earlier didn't seem to notice me. Maybe it's selfish of me, but I think they're after Victini. I had some of them come up to me before, but either you were with me, or I have gotten a little better because of what Iris told me when we hung out.”

    “It's okay,” she said reassuringly. “That's not too selfish. It does stink that they're trying to steal him. Hey, is this another stadium or something else?” She looked over at the building to their left. While it certainly looked the same size as the Small Stadium, it had a lot more lights and crazy decorations.

    “I dunno. What's it say... Pokemon Musical Theater.” Her eyes brightened. “Oh yeah, we have to go check this out!”

    “Right! Come on, Rei!” The two girls hurried over to the theater, while Kyurem tried to look unconcerned while he kept up with them.

    Inside, they were met with a grand lobby with lavish furnishings and a large sweeping staircase. There weren't many people there as a show was going on, but the receptionist didn't seem to mind if they peeked into the darkened theater. It was a packed house, so there weren't even any seats in the back to sneak into. On stage, there was bright scenery depicting a field; a small orchestra was playing as six costumed Pokemon on stage attempted to play along with some human actors. It seemed unrehearsed, but still amusing.

    The girls came back out into the lobby so they didn't get caught in the way when the show ended. “Oh gosh that looks like so much fun!” Bianca said, jumping a little in excitement. “We should see if we can have our Pokemon participate too.”

    “Yeah,” Hilda said, getting one of her mischievous grins.

    Kyurem looked at her sternly. “No. I refuse to be a part of that spectacle.”

    “Aw come on, have some fun with us.”

    “No.”

    “Please?”

    “No.”

    “Mimi would be just adorable in a musical,” Bianca said.

    “She would,” Kyurem said, relaxing some.

    Hilda clutched Kyurem's sleeve. “And she'd want you to play along too.”

    “No.”

    “Oh fine, spoilsport,” Hilda teased. Then she went over by the stairs and released Mimi. “Hey, this place is a theater, where you could dress up and go on stage to dance and sing for an audience. Would you like that? You've even got an accessory already.”

    “Chi?” she asked, eyes wide. The Minccino pawed at her yellow flower, then twirled around on the spot and started chattering.

    “Squeee!” Timmy squealed and whirled around Mimi, making her giggle.

    “Oh, you girls have such lively Pokemon,” a man said, coming over to them. “Are you participating in the evening musical?”

    “We don't know yet,” Hilda said. “We just arrived in town.”

    “It wouldn't cost you anything,” he said. “Pardon me for not introducing myself so far, but I am the owner of this theater. We give out free prop cases to anyone who's interested, with some decorative accessories to start with. Would you both like one?”

    Bianca smiled. “Yes, that'd be wonderful. Thank you.”

    He smiled back. “All right, and I should have some on me. The accessories are cunningly made with various attachments to secure to your Pokemon safely.” He pulled a storage device from his pocked and scrolled through the list until he came up with two pink and purple cases. “There you are.”

    “Thanks!” Hilda said, taking one along with Bianca.

    “You can try it out here in this mini staging area,” the theater owner said, indicating the decorated space under the stairs. “The current show should be ending in a few minutes, so keep your Pokemon close.”

    For the next few minutes, Bianca and Hilda checked out what items were in the prop cases, then tried them out on Mimi and Timmy. The Minccino already had her flower hairpin, but Hilda found a yellow scarf to go around her neck and a ribbon to tie onto her tail. She was excited about that and kept whirling around trying to see the tail ribbon (causing Kyurem to chuckle and place her in front of a mirror). For her Munna, Bianca spent some time getting a small black top hat and a matching bowtie on him. Then she gave him a cane so that he looked classy. However, Timmy kept shaking himself, making the top hat slide off to the side.

    Once the show let out, the lobby became crowded, so they left. The sky was taking on a brighter hue as the sun was starting to set. “You know, I thought I could figure out what I wanted to do by traveling around,” Bianca said. “But now that I am, I see so many more things that I could do and I want to do, and I just don't know what to do.”

    “It's not like you have to decide right away,” Hilda said. “I try a little bit of whatever looks interesting.”

    “I guess I do too,” she said, putting her hand to her cheek.

    But then they got interrupted by the sound of Hilda's Xtranciever ringing. She glanced at it and grinned. “Hey, it's N!” She accepted the call. From the picture on the screen, it seemed that he was also in Nimbasa. “Good evening! What's up.”

    “Good evening,” he said. “You're in Nimbasa, right? Would you mind meeting me at the amusement park? I need to talk to you.”

    “Sure, I can get over there in a few minutes. See you then.”

    “Right, see you then.” Then the call ended.

    Bianca laughed. “Did he just ask you out? That's so sweet.”

    “I wouldn't say that,” Hilda said, although she was smiling. “He probably actually has something to talk about. But hey, nothing says I can't nudge it in another direction.”

    “I don't think that would be wise,” Kyurem said. “Hilbert's already interested in you.”

    “It's not like we're serious or anything,” she said, slightly annoyed. “Sure, it was one date, but he said he wasn't sure. We'll be okay.”

    “I'd better go find something else to do in the meantime,” Bianca said. “I hope it goes well.”

    “Me too.” They waved each other goodbye, then split ways.
    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.

  13. #188
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    Havent read it yet though I will next chance I get!

    EDIT: More time than I thought! I cant wait for N to talk to Hilda about him being king plasma. That is, if he does that next chap... Still no fedora.... *cries in corner*
    Last edited by 3D992; 12th May 2012 at 12:51 AM.
    I have:
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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.

  14. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ysavvryl View Post
    "I always thought it weird that the word 'palindrome' was not a palindrome," Hilda said.
    Finally! Someone with my logic! Now if only we could figure out why abbreviation is such a long word...

    Awesome chapter, and IMHO, Kyurem needs to lighten up. I see no reason for him not to put a top hat on, hold a cane, and dance. Hopefully Hilda can figure out a way to do this... *grins evilly*
    I have discovered what a signature is.

    This is Bidoof. Many people loathe it with their lives. If you are of the few people who love this little beaver, put this in your sig. Started by Warrior Scolipede

    I've claimed Castform. It will never rain on my parade.

  15. #190
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    Coffee Break

    "It's pretty quiet in here," N said.

    "And it's just you and me this time," Hilda said, winking.

    "Uh, not that that means anything," N said, blushing.

    She put her elbows on the table. "Sure it means something. It means that we have the most screen time in this chapter. Or text time, or something. I miss Fedora too."

    "The author had a message, didn't she?" N said, checking his pants pocket and finding a folded up note. "It was... 'make sure to play this part of the game at sunset some time'. Which game?"

    "The game," Hilda said.


    Chapter 25: Good Intentions


    evening, 1/19

    There weren't many people in the Nimbasa amusement park. It was mid-January, after all, and the whole afternoon had been chilly. But the sky was clear and it wouldn't start snowing again until tomorrow. N had stayed around the entrance for most of the day, figuring it wouldn't be hard to spot Hilda or his followers from here.

    But things hadn't worked out well. Two of the three Plasma followers had been arrested by the police around noon and the third hadn't had much luck in encountering Hilda and her friend. For the past few hours, Rune had kept suggesting that N call her instead. As the sun started to set, he figured he'd better take the Sigilyph's advice.

    “It would've worked faster if those two hadn't gotten arrested,” N said to Rune. “Now I've gone and wasted another day.”

    “Is it really necessary to hurry?” the Pokemon asked.

    He crossed his arms over his chest. “The sooner I can get done, the sooner things will be better on everyone. And Ghetsis is already upset with me being behind. I don't want to disappoint him further.”

    Clucking, the Sigilyph drifted closer. “You're the leader of your group. He should be worried about disappointing you, not the other way around.”

    “I don't want to be selfish,” he said, shaking his head. “He's put a lot of work into this too. I have respect for all of them.”

    At this point, a Minccino wearing a flower hairclip ran out in front of him. “Hiiii!” she squealed happily. “I'm a distraction.”

    “You're what?” N asked before he fully caught the meaning.

    “NNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!” came a shout right behind him. He froze at that, wondering what in the world was going on. That only made it easier for Hilda to tackle him in a hug from behind.

    Briefly panicked, N threw her off and stumbled around. His heart was racing, more so when he saw she had that crazy grin on her face. Concerned, Rune flew closer, but bumped into N and made him jump. This was definitely not how he wanted to start this.

    After sputtering a bit more, N managed to say, “What was that for?”

    “I just wanted to say hi,” she said, still grinning. Kyurem stood a little behind her, smirking. But he got distracted a moment later when the Minccino ran up to him and started talking.

    N looked at Hilda for a moment (also trying to calm himself down). “Is that normal?”

    “No,” she admitted.

    “Then could you not do that again?” Okay, need to get back on subject... no, not back, but on subject.

    “All right.” She looked more serious, thankfully. “Sorry, didn't think you'd freak out like that.”

    Was he strange in that? Or was she the strange one here? N rubbed his forehead. “I don't like people touching me, that's all.”

    She looked puzzled at that. “Really? You don't seem to have an issue with Pokemon doing so.”

    “Because they're Pokemon. I don't mind them, but humans touching me is different.”

    After considering that, she shrugged. “Okay, if you say so. What'd you want to talk about?”

    “Actually, it's a private matter.” There weren't many people around them, but there was Kyurem, and a few others were near the Gym. “Would you like to come on the Ferris Wheel with me? No one should bother us there.”

    She smiled again, pleased to hear that. “Sure, sounds fun! Oh, but I don't know if three people can go on.” She looked at Kyurem.

    The dragon boy considered both of them. “Fine.” Then he glared at N. “But heed my words: don't hurt her. I won't tolerate that.”

    “I won't,” N said, feeling a chill at the look. But would this hurt her? He didn't know how she would react, but he knew he had to do this.

    Kyurem nodded, then waved to the Minccino and walked off with her. N then went with Hilda over to the Ferris Wheel. “Sorry if he comes off as harsh,” she said. “But he's dedicated to his duty. And that ride looks so cool, right? I've never been on one.”

    “Me either,” N said. “It is a remarkable thing. It's a mathematical perfection, being strong and balanced, yet beautiful and airy. Every piece has a purpose and they all work in perfect harmony.” That's what he would like the world to work like.

    At the ride's entrance, there was no line. All of the cars looked empty, so they might get extra time if this took long. N paid fares for both of them, then led her to the platform. As the Wheel was in constant motion, they had to catch a car as it moved across the lowest level. But it had been designed to give them plenty of time. An attendant even pulled open the door for them and shut it securely when they were in.

    There wasn't much space in here, just enough for two people (maybe a small Pokemon too, but not more than that). At either side, there were benches to sit at. And the walls were fully transparent, with only the door handles in the way. Yet the structure was secure, built to last.

    “Engineering like this has always fascinated me,” N said, looking at the internal structure of the Wheel. “It's amazing what people can do.”

    “Yeah but I wouldn't know much about that,” Hilda said. “Looks like we hit the perfect time too! Right at sunset.” And she was right in a way. The sky overhead was almost entirely orange, with a bright red-gold disk of the sun on the horizon, and the blackness of night creeping up on the eastern horizon. Over that way, a pair of planets shone as the first 'stars' of the night. And they were slowly coming up over the city skyline and the trees, to see the land out below them.

    “It seems so.” N took a deep breath, reviewing his thoughts one more time. “I know you have Kyurem with you, but I'm still worried about you. I haven't figured out how to see things on command, but when I see the future, I see some amazing things. Like a world in a peaceful balance where things are as they should be. I want to make that kind of vision real.”

    She smiled at him. “That'd be great. Now you just have to figure out how to get there. Zekrom should be able to help you.”

    N nodded. “I hope so. But I also see many bad things that could happen. Like I've seen things where you've died, four different scenes now.”

    Strangely, that seemed to amuse her. “Really? I didn't think anybody hated me that much.”

    “Could you take this seriously?” he asked. “I'm concerned about you. Even if you confuse me a lot, I don't want that to happen to you.”

    “Because I'm confusing?” she asked, although it wasn't apparent if this was serious or teasing. “And you want to figure me out.”

    “Maybe.” Mentally, he braced himself, then said, “I could help protect you, if you would accept my help. I'm the leader of Team Plasma.”

    “What?” Hilda asked, a bit of sharpness behind her voice.

    The fading sunlight made the landscape around them glow, but neither of them were paying attention to that now. N went through the words he had chosen for this moment. “I’m working to end the injustice and corruption of the world. I've known many Pokemon who have suffered immensely under the system the world lives in. You know that Tympole I had? He had been injured badly, so was released by his Trainer and left to die because that person didn't want to take responsibility for him. There have been others who were used as mere decoration and cared for badly, or just outright neglected because their Trainer didn't respect them as living creatures. I didn't want that to happen anymore, so I told many people about what Pokemon felt about all that. They listened and have come to me under the name of Plasma, in order to create a better world.”

    “That sounds well and good, but that's not what I’ve seen in Plasma so far,” she said. “What I've seen so far are a number of obnoxious jerks who don't seem to care if they hurt people or Pokemon.”

    “That is not what I mean to happen.” he said, feeling angered at the accusation but trying to fight against it. She was still in the dark.

    She crossed her arms over her chest and looked critically at him. “But that is what's happening. I've seen a couple of those guys throwing rocks at a wild Munna to capture it, and there's been a bunch of little kids that get really upset when their Pokemon are taken from them by Plasma, cause the kids can only tell that someone's taking away their friends. Then there was the daycare man just this morning who was being told that he was a bad person because he spends a lot of time and money taking care of the Pokemon of others, and keeping them happy while their Trainers are away. And they've been harassing my friend Bianca because she has Victini with her, even stole one of her other Pokemon trying to get him.”

    Those were probably lies, N wanted to tell himself. There was nothing constraining her to be honest. But she did seem to be serious, and that was worrying. “There might have been some personnel issues, but I'm sure we'll get that problem weeded out. I don't know what the deal with Victini is, though. He told me that he wanted to spend some more time with humans, which I don't agree with but if that's what he wants...”

    “What about the other Pokemon who want to stay with their Trainers?” Hilda asked him. “Or is Victini special because you know him?”

    “That's not the point here. Our goal is to bring peace and freedom from harm to the world.”

    “Well then you should make that clearer to your followers and be a better leader.”

    He wasn't doing well? He face felt warm, at the same time his nerves seemed to rage. “I'm doing the best I can, but people like you are so blinded by popular belief that you don't realize that your Pokemon are better off without you. You're not even trying to make things better.”

    She didn't even look guilty at that. “Maybe because there isn't a problem. Are you actually listening to the Pokemon? Maybe there are some bad cases out there, but most of them seem happy enough.”

    “Do you know that for certain or are you just assuming that? I've seen a lot of people who aren't aware that they're being hypocrites in limiting their Pokemon while claiming to love them.”

    “I would think the same about you guys because you speak of the freedom of Pokemon and use them in battles, just like everyone else.”

    “That's because it's the only way most people will listen. You even sell Pokemon when you don't have any right to own them. Isn't that slavery?”

    Without them realizing it, the Ferris Wheel car had dropped down to the loading platform again; the door unlocked with a loud click. Hilda glowered at him a second, then brushed past him and headed out the booth. She couldn't just walk away from this. Clenching his fist, N went after her.

    “I know it's hard to accept such a large change in belief,” he started to say. Kyurem had been there waiting, but N barely noticed.

    “There's something not quite right with it,” Hilda said, turning back to him. “It sounds good but the evidence you say is everywhere isn't. Are you sure it isn't your idea that's the wrong one?”

    “I know right from wrong,” N snapped, taking hold of one of his team's Pokeballs. “And I've been pursuing right from the very beginning. Why don't you prove your side to me?”

    “Even if the battle is against your beliefs?” she said, mockingly. But she did take a Pokeball and glance at it.

    Moments later, it was N's Sandile against her Scraggy. After giving his orders, N said, “I haven't seen you before.”

    The Scraggy was distracted a moment, then bounded over and knocked out the Sandile in one blow with a Brick Break. The Sandile had been too caught in the sudden cold to react in time. Biting his lip, N knew that had been a mistake (and at such an important time too). And then the Scraggy grinned at him. “Nah, we met. You weren't that interesting for me to follow. But she was.”

    Taking a bit more time to be careful, N called out his own Scraggy. “What do you think of her?”

    “Dunno yet.”

    “What's going on?” Kimi asked, looking over at her peer. “Why're we fighting that idiot?”

    N told her to go ahead and attack; she was able to move quicker than the male, knocking him out. Due to their type arrangement, they were weak to each other's strongest attacks at the moment. Hilda next called out her Minccino, which N thought was a mistake. That is, until she had her use Retaliate, which was enough to overcome the odds and let her win that match-up. “Wooo, nobody had better be mean to my teammates,” Mimi cheered, skipping as she went back to Hilda's side.

    “Why are you with Hilda?” N asked her, calling out his Darumaka.

    “Because daddy's with her, and I love him,” she replied without hesitation. “And I love Hilda too! She's so much fun and let's me play and be pretty.”

    She seemed to be a simple creature, which could account for why she loved both of them. But then, was her devotion because she wasn't intelligent enough to consider the rights or wrongs of a situation? Possibly, that made her no different than a child. Daisy was the same way. And unfortunately, Daisy lost that match-up too.

    N considered that he might be getting distracted in thought, so he focused on the battle as he was forced to call out the last member of his team, Rune. The Sigilyph was much tougher than the rest of his Pokemon, able to survive the Minccino's first hit and shift the winds to his favor, so that he was faster. Possibly worried, Hilda ordered Mimi to use Sing. N had to resist smiling, as he knew status effects weren't as potent against Rune.

    However, the notes came to his ears and brushed away any thoughts of battle. It was that beautiful lullaby. And it didn't even give him a second to resist before he fell asleep.

    -+-

    When he said that he wanted to protect her from death, Hilda was pretty happy to hear that. She tried not to think about that possibility too much and get all mopey or fearful about it. And surely having more people look out for her would help. But then N had told her that he led Team Plasma. It had taken quite some effort to resist slapping his face.

    Sure, they gave her an easy target for mocking, but they were bullying her friend because she had Victini, as well as pushing around that old guy, the little kids, and even innocent Pokemon, all in the name of ideals that went against those actions. All in the name of their King, who turned out to be someone she had been trying to help. Their ideals didn't even make that much sense; people and Pokemon had been working together for thousands of years. She didn't think there could be an ideal where the end result would be worth changing that fundamental part of society.

    Hilda had been mad enough about it that she didn't care if it was N. She would beat his team with some of her weaker members and prove her worth. But then the unexpected happened and forced her to cool down a little. N had fallen asleep towards the end of the battle.

    The Sigilyph had noticed right away and got frantic about it; it flew closer to him and tried to wake him up by calling him. At this unusual event, Mimi hesitated, looking up at Hilda curiously. She held her hand up, agreeing to a stop of the battle until this was sorted out. “Don't think I've heard of a human that falls asleep to Sing.”

    “You shouldn't do so,” Kyurem said.

    The Sigilyph said something in a series of beeps and chirps.

    “Even raised by Pokemon is a stretch,” he responded, walking over to N. But then the strange bird got defensive, giving him a tone of warning. This time, Kyurem acknowledged it. “I wanted to check something, but I wouldn't hurt him at this time.” He came back to Hilda. “It's possible he may have some condition that prevents him from sleeping normally, or even just a high level of stress. That could cause this.”

    “It might be the stress then,” Hilda said, as the Sigilyph flew up and vanished in a blue light. Maybe she'd unknowingly attacked him in a vulnerable spot when she told him he wasn't being a good leader if his followers were being hypocritical. Even if Plasma didn't have the right ideas, he certainly believed in it and wanted to make things better. Or maybe there was something to what N was saying.

    By then, N had been flown away from the scene by his Pokemon. “He told you that he was the leader of Team Plasma,” Kyurem said.

    She nodded, then thought about it. “Yeah, but how did you know?”

    “Victini told me, but he didn't want me to tell you right away.”

    “Ah, I should've guessed that.” She dug into her bag, searching for a Revive she'd picked up a while ago. “I got mad at him for it, but now that I'm thinking on it, he might not be the problem. He's genuine about caring for Pokemon, while the others I can't really say.”

    “What are you going to do about it?”

    “Ah, there we go,” Hilda said, finally getting the Revive to use on Tarzan. “Well I know what I'd like to do, but you've been uncooperative about it.”

    He rubbed his nose just below the mask. “Pardon?”

    She smiled at him. “I want to talk to some people and Pokemon about this, and find out what they think about Plasma's ideals. Not their actions, what they say they follow and what N believes in. That'll help me if we get into that discussion again. And if he is right, well, I'll have to find some other way of going about this. But I can't understand Pokemon, and you translate sporadically.”

    To that, Kyurem smirked. “If you have the right reasons for wanting that, then I will act as a translator. And if that's what you're after, then yes, I'll work with you and other Pokemon to get their message across.”

    Hilda grinned, feeling the excitement of a plot in action. “All right! Might as well start with you guys,” then Mimi squealed and hugged her leg, “although that might not reveal much that I don't already know.”

    He nodded. “Very well.”

    -+-

    N walked out the south gatehouse of Nimbasa, looking down at the sandy road and feeling tense. He was quietly grateful that he hadn't run into Hilda on the way from the Pokecenter. Falling asleep like that when he should have been focused on guiding the battle, that was embarrassing. And how dare she accuse him of being a terrible leader when she had no idea before today that he was the leader of anything? Although, there were all the things that Giallo had told him about in what the team was doing while he was on the road. Why hadn't anyone called him before? Or why hadn't Val and Carol made a better effort not to irritate him into not listening to them?

    Or maybe he really wasn't that great. What should he do?

    “What's troubling you, N?” Rune asked, flying closer to him. “Are you tired? Or is it about what she said?”

    He sighed, feeling his energy ebb when it was mentioned. “Both, probably. But I need to let you guys go now.”

    “Are you certain of that?”

    “Yes.” He went down the construction road towards Desert Resort, but stopped partway in. There weren't many people around, so the Pokemon could get to safety in good time. He brought the other three out, as well as his release tool. “I'm sorry about that last battle. But, you guys have done a lot for me, beating the Gym and even more than I asked for. But it's time to say goodbye.”

    “What?” Kimi asked, forgetting to clasp her loose skin over her torso. “No way!”

    “Do you have to let us go?” Daisy asked, scrunching up her small red body even further. “You're nice and I don't mind working for you. I want to stay.”

    “I told all of you before,” N said. “It was only supposed to be for one Gym and then I’d let you go. But then things didn't turn out as I planned and it went on too long. So I need to keep my word before I move on.”

    “Aw, forget about that,” Kimi said. “We work good together and I think we can get really strong together.”

    “Yeah, we'll keep working hard,” Daisy added, agreeing with the Scraggy for once.

    At his ankles, Sal came up and gripped N's pants with his teeth, gently tugging at him. The Sandile never said much, but right then, he said, “Stay?”

    N gritted his teeth. There was an impulse to lash out (why did they keep making him feel guilty?), but he kept that quiet. “This is for the good of everyone. Besides, I'd have to let you go eventually to keep in line with the future I mean to bring about. It's better to leave now than much later.” When it might hurt them to leave even more. But it shouldn't hurt, not like this.

    They pleaded, but he still released them from their Pokeballs and said goodbye. He left the four of them there not long after, not sure if he wanted to punch someone or cry. But neither option was good and it was better to keep such extremes to himself. At least Rune hadn't fussed, but the others...

    No, it was Rune too. N heard him coo as he flew behind. “I was careful not to let them know that I followed.”

    “You should go back to your own life now,” N said. “I mean to separate all humans and Pokemon.”

    The Sigilyph didn't heed that. “I cannot return to my previous life, now that I know Shira is nothing but a memory.”

    “Well then find a new life. I have to get back on track.”

    “What shall I do?” Rune asked, flying ahead of N and stopping in his path. When he didn't reply, Rune went on speaking, “I was made to serve. A life in what you call freedom would be a failed and worthless life in the eyes of my peers, and my own. Also, Lord Reshiram asked that I personally serve you. I am bound by his words and can do nothing against that until he says otherwise. I will continue to follow you.”

    “I don't want servants!” N said, trying to brush him aside. “I don't want to burden anyone else with what I should be doing myself. I certainly don't want to make a Pokemon work for me.”

    “We all fight and serve you out of our own free will,” Rune said. “You would not agree to take us otherwise, correct?”

    “That is right,” another Pokemon said. To his left, a Liepard came slinking around to join them. She had a faded scar where her fur didn't grow right.

    Was it her? “Pricilla?” N asked. “You're still following me? And you evolved.” He reached out to pet her, but she kept just out of reach.

    “Well somebody's got to watch your back,” she said, swishing her tail.

    “She's been near us the whole time, save for when I flew you elsewhere,” Rune explained.

    They were doing this of their own free will. And it had been long enough since he'd released Pricilla that she shouldn't be affected by brainwashing techniques. Maybe it was all social expectations that were difficult to throw off. Or maybe Pokemon really wanted to be with humans.

    But that would mean that he was wrong, that he'd mislead a great number of people, and that he didn't deserve to call on Zekrom.

    “I'll be fine on my own,” N said, then headed into Nimbasa to find a place to stay for the night. They didn't follow him, but while that should have satisfied him, it left him feeling lonely. And no matter how he tried to quiet his thoughts, they kept examining things from every angle and coming up with troubling conclusions.

    It was another sleepless night.
    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.

  16. #191
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    New chap! I'll read it later.
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

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

  17. #192
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    Whooo, I haven't posted in a while. Yes I am still alive. No, I'm not a zombie just pretending. Yes, I know how stupid that could sound.

    Interesting chapter. That's an idea I'd never thought of, with Sing not really affecting humans... On that note, dosen't N's Sigilyph have Magic Guard?

    One last thing;

    Quote Originally Posted by Ysavvryl View Post

    "The game," Hilda said.
    You lost it.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

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

  18. #193
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    Coffee Break

    N shook his head. "No, Rune has Wonder Skin, which keeps status effects from happening as much. Although I think that I might need to use that Sing effect to get to sleep; it's been rough lately."

    "That might become addictive," Hilbert said. "That happens with sleeping pills."

    "I suppose that would be detrimental in the end." He took a sip of tea, then sat back. "So that's the only question this time. Now what?"

    Hilbert shrugged. "We could appreciate the quiet because Hilda isn't around this time."

    "True."


    Chapter 26: Second Thoughts


    1/20, morning

    The snow was falling in large puffs, lazily floating along the breeze. Now that he wasn't training in the heat trap that was Desert Resort, N had to deal with below freezing temperatures. He had a dark green and brown long overcoat that helped to keep him warm, as well as sturdy brown boots to get through the snow cover with. The Patch Hat was not nearly warm enough to deal with winter, so he had to wear a wool cap instead, along with a scarf and gloves. Even with all that protection, he could still feel the chill occasionally. It seemed like the coldest winter he'd experienced, certainly was the snowiest.

    Right outside the gate leading to Route 5, N found a Sigilyph waiting. “Rune, what are you doing?” he asked, speaking louder to compensate for the scarf over his face.

    “As I told you, I am here to serve you,” Rune replied. “You need to build a new team, correct? You should find the break in that fence, and search the wooded area there.”

    Looking over in the direction the Sigilyph was facing, N saw a roadside fence that was missing a few sections, perhaps intentionally. It was partly hidden by a trailer that served as a roadside kitchen and eatery. “Why over there?” he asked. “I know what kind of Pokemon I want, and they'd be easier to find on the other side of the river.”

    “That is as expected. You should try something unexpected.”

    “What do you mean by that?” His plans were known by several members of Team Plasma as it was a logical progression. What would deviating like this accomplish?

    “Try it and you'll see.” Rune then flew over the fence and into the wooded area.

    He decided it was worth a try. The Pokemon he was after should live around the river, so he might run into one here. Once he got down the path a short ways, it was hard to tell that he was near a city anymore. There were trees surrounding him instead of buildings. The only real sign of humans was the footpath, which could have been made by the paws of Pokemon. Off in the trees, he heard Pokemon calling and talking, saw their footprints in the snow.

    Not only that, but he saw over a dozen Pokemon in this opening between trees, not including Rune. That helped him to relax; this was how things should have been all along. “Good morning, Pokemon,” N said, smiling under his scarf.

    “Good morning,” a Solosis said, apparently out of politeness.

    “Yay a person!” An black and yellow squirrel Pokemon glided out of the trees and landed on his head. “I came out of my winter den hoping someone would come today. Are you going to fight me?”

    “No, I don't want to fight right now,” he said.

    “Ah poo... wait, do you understand me?” The Emolga then rapped on his forehead.

    N took the Pokemon's paw. The others watched. “Yes, I do. My name is N.”

    “It's the truth,” Rune said, staying at the edges of the trees.

    “Oh, wow wow wow!” the Emolga said, nearly sliding off his head in excitement. “Can I travel with you, huh? That'd be so much more awesomer to travel with someone who knows what I'm saying.”

    “Aw, I wanted to go with him first,” the Solosis said.

    Caught off-guard, N wasn't sure what to say. They wanted to go with him? And he didn't even have to talk them into it or let them know about his mission? “It would be nice,” a Trubbish said, sounding hopeful.

    “You want to come with me?” N asked, with echoes of Hilda's claims coming into his thoughts. “Why? When people capture you, you get used for fighting, made to work, are kept confined in a ball...”

    “I hear it ain't so bad,” the Trubbish said, odd chinks comgin from its body as it shifted around. “You don't have to scrabble around all day for your food and if you do well, you get stronger and better.”

    “Have you ever been captured by a Trainer?”

    “Nope, nope,” the Emolga said.

    The others gave negative signs too. “No, but I'd really like to be,” the Trubbish said.

    “And humans have so much more interesting lives!” the Emolga said. “They have sports, and plays, and all kinds of stuff that Pokemon would never think of. I want to go live with a human and get to play their games. But I’d go with you, cause then we could talk!”

    Any sense of relaxation was gone now, replaced with a mental disorientation. “But other humans aren't that great. I've heard a lot of bad stories about Pokemon who get hurt or even killed due to humans. I'm working to get recognition through the League...”

    “I can fight in Gyms!” the Emolga said, gripping his hat. “I think I can, anyhow. I wanna try.”

    “I don't know...” N said, thinking that since Elesa used them, an Emolga might not help against Clay.

    “I could give a Gym a try,” the Trubbish said. “I'd really like to make someone happy for fighting well.”

    “Yeah yeah yeah,” the Emolga agreed. “We can make you proud.”

    “You might not want that,” he told them, trying for some secure idea. When his thoughts treacherously went back to Hilda, he added, “Some people dress up Pokemon for amusement.”

    And the Emolga and Solosis both giggled. “That'd be fun fun fun!” the squirrel Pokemon on top of his head said. “Humans are so nice! Like like, the lady who works in the thingy out by the fence, she leaves us nuts and seeds when its tough weather like this. I wanted to work for her, but she's already got three Pokemon and didn't want any more. But I would love someone who'd dress me up.”

    “But I'm working to separate Pokemon and humans so that no one gets hurt and everyone can live better lives,” N said, for the moment feeling like it was his last defense.

    The Emogla sniffed. “Feh, that's lame. I want to go live with a person. So even if you can hear us, I don't want to help someone who'd ruin that dream.” It then jumped off his head and onto a nearby tree, which it climbed to look for someone else. The other Pokemon in the area got disinterested as well and went off to another location.

    All except Rune, who stayed nearby. “N? What troubles you?”

    At that point, he realized that he was trembling. “This can't be right,” he said in a quiet voice. “Tell me that didn't just happen.”

    The Sigilyph blinked. “I cannot lie. That conversation did happen.”

    N clenched his fist, but turned away before he did something rash. He took a few steps, then stopped. While he should just ignore it, he knew that he shouldn’t and he knew that he needed to talk it out. Wanted to talk it out. Even if it made no sense. Why did all those thoughts conflict with each other? “I've never met a Pokemon that wanted to come with me right away,” he said, turning back to Rune. “After they get to know me, yes, that happens, but some I've had to convince, by telling them of my dreams or by promising just one Gym. But not like that.”

    “I always lived and worked in Shira, so I wouldn't know what's normal for them,” Rune replied.

    “It can't be normal,” N said. But the words he said caused other memories to bubble up, other instance where something strange to him turned out to be normal. Like what a normal family was like and how his fa... Ghetsis seemed so distant.

    That wasn't the same! He felt his face heat up, but tried to explain it as some effect of the cold as he turned away from Rune and began walking again. A short distance later, he spotted a Minccino. Without a flower hairclip, so it couldn't be that one with Hilda. He went to greet the Pokemon, but then she ran to him. “Oh, hi! Are you a good Trainer? I want to be with a good Trainer. Why don't you fight me and prove your worth?”

    “No!” N shouted without thinking. The Minccino puffed up in a fright and ran off into the trees. Great, now he'd scared a Pokemon without thinking. Being out here was turning him as bad as the other humans. He really shouldn't have left his forest.

    But those thoughts all made him feel horrible, so he tried to bite down on them and find a Pokemon that was more normal to him. Yet no matter how far he went into these woods, he kept finding Pokemon eager to join a human. None of them saw anything wrong with it. Maybe there wasn't... but then it couldn't be because that meant what he was doing was wrong and everything that he thought he was was wrong. Or that meant the Pokemon were wrong, which could be, or that they were being deceptive. He didn't want to think all of them were being deceptive, especially not Rune who was acting on behalf of Reshiram.

    After some time, N came to the banks of the river. It was all iced over, with a layer of snow on top of that. When he swept some snow cover off, he could see that there seemed to be water flowing underneath. It was only the surface; the whole river getting frozen would be worrisome. But that was hardly a problem compared to the mess in his mind.

    He crouched down at the river's edge, as the snow wouldn't be good to sit in. The big lazy flakes continued to drift down from the sky, occasionally getting caught on his face. It was all social expectations, he told himself. What ones he had asked admitted to never having been captured before. They didn't know what the world was really like. They didn't know, and it would be a terrible lesson to learn. If only there was some way he could tell them all to move deeper into the woods, where the humans didn't go. Then they'd be safe.

    Even as he thought it, he knew it would be a tough thing to convince them of. They really thought that was the way to power and friendship. They even dismissed him when he told them of what he meant to do. If only he could convince one of his Pokemon friends from home to come out with him and tell the naive wild Pokemon of what really happened when they were captured. But that might mean the other humans would go further to capture them. Maybe once he succeeded with the human side, he'd find a way to convince the Pokemon side of his ideals too.

    Another vision struck him as he watched the frozen river.

    It was hot and the sun shone brightly over this river. There were a few young Pokemon that dared to play out here so close to the human areas, but they were keeping away. They were happy and healthy; things were as they should be. Feeling satisfied with that, N headed back to Nimbasa, seeing no other human until he got to the route. As the new ruler of Unova and the ambassador between Pokemon and humans, he was the only one allowed to go off into the wilderness areas freely.

    People greeted him, being highly respectful. But he didn't feel a strong connection to them because he wasn't like them. Strangely, it was the same way these days with Pokemon. He had succeeded in convincing them of the right way, but now the ones who didn't know him avoided N as another human. No matter where he went, he was different. Held above everyone else. Isolated. It was a strange sad feeling. But, he'd made his ideals come to life. Things still needed tweaking, but it was good.

    Ghetsis found him and began walking with him, to discuss matters of state. N had trouble feeling any of these matters were important, though. Yes, he knew he had to keep things fair, just, and peaceful, but he didn't feel the drive that had possessed him before. He did his best, but it was like trying to walk upstream in a deep strong river.

    A few things were still important to him. “Have our agents located Hilbert yet?”

    “No, nor the others who are trying to restore the old ways.”

    “I see.” It made him feel sad that his brother had refused to see how this way was much better. Now Hilbert was a definite enemy, someone N had to imprison and punish. Perhaps even kill if he went too far. There was a twinge of guilt at that thought, but those feelings had plagued him so much during his League journey that he could ignore them most of the time.

    Back at the hotel, N excused himself and went back to his room. He felt less alone here, even though Ghetsis and all the others weren't with him. Taking off his cloak to hang up, he said, “It's really hot out there. Some people are saying you could fry an egg on the pavement, although I don't think anyone would want to eat it.”

    There was no response to this.

    He went over to the window and found Hilda where he had left her, sitting in the chair which was faced so that she was looking out the window. Maybe. N went over and knelt by her, taking her hand. “It's been dull lately, but things are almost as they should be. Humans are learning to live independently and the Pokemon are safe and happy. And I protected you like I promised I would. You lived when you should have died.”

    She didn't respond though. She didn't respond to anything lately.

    Sighing, N put her hand to his forehead. “I’m going to find a way to fix you. Then life will truly be good.”


    A hot summer like that seemed far off when he was looking over a snow coated river. So then he could succeed. Although it was worrisome to think on what might happen to Hilbert and Hilda. What had gone wrong then? But at least they'd both be alive, which had to be an improvement over the death visions.

    And there was something else about that vision, recalling how he had held her hand like that. It tempted him to try it, or maybe something closer. But wasn't that inappropriate to think of now, when she was still against them? He felt embarrassed, hoping that there wasn't anyone to notice.

    There was a crunch of snow behind him. N tensed and glanced back, but it turned out to only be another Pokemon. This was a Gothita, looking like a woefully under-dressed tiny girl, what with that little black dress (or whatever it really was) seeming not enough to protect against the cold. And it had to plow its way through the snow, since the six or eight inches of cover came up to its waist. “Hey, are you the guy others are talking about?” he asked (and once he spoke, N knew the Gothita was a male). “The one who understands us?”

    “Yes, that's me,” he said. “I'm N. You didn't have to trouble yourself with the snow to come see me.”

    “Eh, it's not that bad and I wanted to.” The Gothita came over to his side and looked him over curiously. “I’ve been all over the place and I haven't met a human who could speak with Pokemon. Though I have been hearing all kinds of rumors this winter.”

    N looked down at him. “You've been all over?”

    He nodded. “Yup. Was born far northeast of here, and then I've been traveling around. Sometimes by my own two feet, sometimes by being captured and let go.” He laughed. “Oh, the look on some of their faces when they find out that the cute little girly Pokemon they got is actually a guy. I love that! I did stick with one long enough that he named me. Everybody calls me Frank now.”

    “Frank, huh? Does it bother you that they keep rejecting you?”

    The Gothita shrugged. “Not really; it's kind of funny. Although I would love to stick with some human, you know. I'd get trained up to be a powerful Pokemon, and then all the females would be trying to attract me as a mate.” He grinned at the thought.

    Well that would be one attractive reason for them, N thought. “Can't you become powerful enough to evolve on your own?”

    “I could,” Frank admitted, “but then you can't deny that human trained Pokemon are stronger and better all around than self-trained Pokemon. I've always wondered how you guys do that for us, but the only answers I can find are that it's because you have stuff that just makes us better, or that it has to do with the whole reason why humans are here in the first place.”

    “Why we're here?” That was something N hadn't considered. He had wondered why humans were here, whether evolved away from Pokemon or animals, or having arrived through other means. But... Pokemon could be stronger due to humans?

    “But that's ancient history, not that important,” the Gothita said, waving it off. “What I want to know is, what are you doing here?”

    N hesitated, recalling how the other Pokemon around here had acted. But then he decided to tell Frank anyhow. Thankfully, he didn't dismiss it right out. He listened and gave it some thought, asking some questions when he had them.

    And he had one for the Gothita. “Is it just the Pokemon in this area that are strange, or are they what you'd usually find?”

    “They're pretty normal for what you'd find near a human population,” Frank said. “See, a good number of Pokemon would agree with you; they just live further from places like this. But just as many of us are hoping to work with humans someday. So we live in places like this, hoping to attract attention from a Trainer. I find it strange that you haven't run into many Pokemon like us. They should be all over near the routes.”

    “I really wasn't expecting to hear that,” N said, still feeling lost. “I've heard so many bad things about training over the years, and then today just puts a whole new twist on my thoughts. I'm not sure what to do now.”

    Frank put his hands on his hips. “I suppose that it is perplexing from your point of view. Are you going to keep at your mission?”

    “Yes. I'm sure I can find a way to convince both people and Pokemon that the current ways are flawed.” Because he'd just seen that it was possible.

    “I see. Well would you mind if I come with you for a bit? Yeah, I know your deal, just one Gym, and I'm cool with that. But seems to me like you've only been speaking to downtrodden Pokemon, the ones who already agree with your ideas.” Frank smiled and held a hand out. “Maybe you should have a more ordinary Pokemon like me around? And I'd get what I want, some training and proof that I am as great as I say I am. What do you say?”

    “That sounds reasonable,” N said, gently taking the Gothita's hand. “Thanks.”

    -+-

    1/25, evening

    His old home at Village Bridge was much as Hilbert remembered it: a narrow three story home that used up any space it got because it didn't get much space at all. The walls were painted light colors in a hopeful attempt to make the space look larger. At the east wall, there was a narrow and steep staircase heading up to more private areas of the house. The house was decorated with ancient things: framed and protected pieces of parchment, old stone tools, colorful artifacts, and even a few recreated ancient items. And in one area, there were degrees and awards that Giallo had gotten in his research, as well as awards Hilbert had gotten for his accomplishments.

    How much of that was real accomplishment and how much wasn't? Hilbert tried to ignore that; it wouldn't do him any good to continue in regret. He had to figure out what to do with his life now. However, he wasn't sure staying at home was helping any. Everywhere he looked, there were reminders of his childhood and his old life. And then there was his uncle.

    Giallo was in the kitchen, preparing supper. There were occasional chinks of utensils against the pans, but no conversation. Or any music; Giallo used to have the radio on when cooking, but not now. This led to an uneasy silence in the house. Conversations had been strained lately. Or an outright argument, that once.

    And it didn't help much that Hilbert's second egg was hatching today. The first one had hatched while he was asleep in the hospital. That thought made him smile, recalling how he'd woken up to wet kisses on his cheek, then saw the pink-scaled Alomomola hovering in its water bubble only an inch from his face. Loch turned out to be very affectionate. It was nice to see how a Pokemon that authentically liked him (even in a parental substitute manner) behaved.

    Currently, Loch was drifting around the air, watching the egg curiously but keeping away as asked. Madeline the Litwick kept away on a high shelf; it seemed that she didn't want to hurt the hatchling, something that puzzled Hilbert. Whenever he met up with N next, he'd have to ask about why she felt that way.

    The egg itself was sitting on one of the kitchen chairs. Hilbert had left his jacket and scarf around the egg for the past few days, hoping that might help. Since the first cracks had appeared, he'd removed the items so they didn't get messed up. But now he was wondering if he should have kept them there. It had been over an hour and the egg hadn't fully hatched yet.

    He tried to recall what had been advised about hatching eggs. Was this normal, or should he try to help? He knew that the hatchling should be left to rest in most cases, but that was after. The crack had grown, but not in the past few minutes. The more that he thought on what he knew, the more he realized how much he didn't know. He'd breezed through life before, but that could no longer be.

    While he was thinking, Giallo put a filled bowl in front of him. “Supper's ready,.” he said.

    “Oh, thanks,” he said. It was a soup tonight, vegetable, beef, and barley, along with rolls from the store. With how cold and snowy it was outside, it was a welcome warm meal. Village Bridge generally got icy fast; many residents would move elsewhere for the winter to avoid it.

    There never seemed much to talk about, now that Hilbert knew his uncle was working in Plasma. They used to talk about Pokemon and the League, years ago, and that turned awkward lately. Perhaps mythology as that was Giallo's area of expertise, but that might lead into what was going on in Unova now. What to say?

    “What are you going to do about Pokemon like these, hatched with humans?” Hilbert asked, trying to find something and realizing it might not be good after he said it. But since he had, might as well press on. “They might not have the skills they need to live in the wild.”

    “Pokemon are adaptable,” Giallo said. “They should be able to adjust, and older Pokemon usually help younger ones.”

    “Will that be enough though?” Hilbert asked, as Loch came over and nuzzled his shoulder. The Alomomola was getting better at not soaking anything his water bubble touched. He patted the Pokemon on the nose, pleasing him. “And what about the people who really depend on Pokemon? The blind ones who use Pokemon for sight, or deaf ones for hearing, and any of that?”

    That actually caused him to think. “I'm sure we'll find other ways.” He left his spoon by the soup bowl for a moment and looked over at him. “Hilbert, the truth is is that fate has marked you and your brother for something magnificent. The world is going to change and there's nothing that can be done to stop that change. We should then get ready for it and not try a fruitless fight against fate.”

    “But how do you know what that fate is?” he said. “Nobody should be able to know.”

    “I think N knows some of it.”

    To that, Hilbert recalled when N needed Christmas and Pictionary explained to him. Maybe he had been more impressive as a child, or when his knowledge gaps weren't so obvious. He'd have to talk more in-depth with him later. Still, no matter how much he disliked the idea of separating humans and Pokemon, he couldn't forget how he had been.

    There was a crack from the chair where the egg was, so Hilbert dropped his spoon in the bowl and looked over there. There was definitely a larger fracture now, one that ran all the way down the side of it and splinted off all over. After another push, the newborn Pokemon finally broke out. Shell fragments collapsed onto its brown furred back, and it had to shake a larger piece off its head. The Pokemon twitched its antennae; on finding nothing of alarm, it started kicking eggshells aside with its six legs.

    Hilbert scooted his chair over to pluck the eggshells off the newborn's back. “It's a Larvesta,” he said. The Pokemon was briefly concerned about his touch, but once the Larvesta got a good scent of him and realized he was helping, it relaxed and settled down to rest.

    Thankfully side-stepping the controversial matter for now, Giallo said, “That's interesting. Maybe it's from your starter.”

    He checked the status screen of the Pokeball. “He has to be. She was the only other Larvesta I've owned.”

    And that almost seemed like another sign, as he recalled what had happened with her.



    It was Hilbert's tenth birthday party and every kid who lived in Village Bridge was there. In fact, kids who weren't from Village Bridge were also there. No matter where he went, people loved him and wanted to be his friend, which made Hilbert feel like the best and happiest kid in the whole world.

    But even more exciting than the crowd was the idea that he'd be getting his first Pokemon today. He was hoping for either a Deino or an Axew, as his current subject of admiration was Drayden, the Gym Leader in the neighboring town of Opelucid. If he managed to get one, then he was absolutely confident that he could impress Drayden enough to become an apprentice to him.

    “And here's your last present,” Giallo said, smiling and handing him a red and white Pokeball. “Since you're all eager to start the League right away, you need a great Pokemon to start with.”

    “Yeah!” Hilbert said, grinning as he accepted the ball. He could feel the excitement others had for seeing what he had, as well as his own. There was so much he wanted to do on his journey, not just beating the League, but finding his real parents and seeing lots of great places. So he happily pressed the release button, revealing a rather unimpressive looking tan Bug larva. For a moment, he wondered if it was a mistake.

    “This is a Larvesta, an extremely rare Pokemon,” his uncle explained to him. “A very rare type too, a Fire Bug, so no one else will have something like it.”

    “Really? That's neat, I guess.” But he still wasn't impressed.



    It was late summer when Hilbert finally came back to the Daycare to pick up his Larvesta. She had been difficult to train, plus not what he wanted to be using. But although she'd been there a while (and her return fee was high), she still hadn't changed from that unimpressive brown bug. It was a little embarrassing to admit this was his starter, so he usually avoided mentioning it when he could.

    “Oh, young man, you should take this,” the woman at the counter said, passing over a Pokeball. “This contains an egg that we found with your Pokemon just this morning.”

    “All right,” he said, wondering what he should do with it.

    “Take care.”

    After putting the egg into storage, Hilbert traveled over to Striaton. There, he met with another Trainer; Alder had been talking earlier about how he was interested in finding certain unusual Pokemon, especially rare Bug types. After talking the older boy into a good mood, he brought out the Pokeball. “Hey, I have this Larvesta here that isn't fitting into my team. Would you trade your Deino for it?”

    Alder's eyes went wide. As Hilbert had figured, he really wanted this particular Pokemon. “Sure, that sounds great! Thanks a lot, Hilbert; I'll treat it really well.”

    Having traded off his starter for the Pokemon he really wanted, Hilbert was satisfied. But his other plans had changed and he didn't intend to train with Drayden anymore. He was going to make himself famous all over the world, not just in Unova.

    And he completely forgot about the egg a couple days later.



    A starter Pokemon was supposed to be a special one, Hilbert thought. It seemed like every Trainer kept the first one they were given for life, no matter what. But in his case, he had traded away his starter not even four months after he'd started. He hadn't cared about her. Come to think of it, he hadn't really cared about the Deino either. The dragon had been more of a status symbol. Also a pain to train, which caused Hilbert to lose attention after a few weeks. He had eventually gotten it to a Hydreigon, but he didn't see it as a living being. It had been just another prop to his being 'amazing'.

    He was up in his bedroom now, watching the Larvesta, now nicknamed Ember, crawl along his bed and investigate it. Frost patterns formed on the window, causing Loch to look at them in interest. On the dresser, Madeline was watching over all of them. They didn't constantly surround him with the light of admiration. But in being that way, Hilbert was finding it easier to see them as their own beings, ones that he truly was responsible for. And having them seemed more amazing than what he'd done without effort. Especially in thinking on how long that egg had taken to hatch, and now seeing the Pokemon trying to learn about a pillow. Ember gripped it with his front pair of legs, touching it with his feelers, sniffing it closely, even giving it an experimental lick to see if it was edible. Then he crawled on top of it and consulted how his weight sunk into the pillow's mass.

    “I was pretty rotten back then, but no one could point it out to me,” he said. Loch and Madeline paid attention to him when he started talking, but the Larvesta didn't seem to notice. “Maybe you guys can help me figure things out. But then they want to take Pokemon away. Not sure what I should do.”

    “Shu hu nai,” the Litwick said, swaying in place. It seemed she wanted to encourage him.

    Hilbert sat up on his bed, looking to her. “I wonder if I could learn to understand you guys. N can.” Then he recalled something. He had wanted to find his parents originally, back when he was ten. Apparently Ghetsis was his father, which wasn't that great. But there was a hint to something further, right? He grabbed his Xtransciever and called his brother.

    When he answered, N appeared to be outside somewhere. It wasn't snowing, but he was dressed up warmly and the thermos he had in his other hand was steaming. “Good evening, Hilbert. Why're you calling? I thought you were restricted on activity.”

    “Good evening,” he said. “I'm feeling all right and I really just had one question. I remember you said that you had a hospital band when Darla found you in the forest. It had your full name on it, right? What was it?”

    “Yes, it did. Natural Harmonia Gropius.” He looked puzzled. “Why do you want to know?”

    I hope my birth name wasn't half as embarrassing, Hilbert thought. But then realized that he'd share the last two names, so that didn't help much. “Well I always wanted to find my mother, at least to know about her. And knowing your name, I think I might be able to find a birth announcement or something in public records.”

    N was interested to know that too, so Hilbert agreed to share what information he found. With that taken care of, he chatted a little with N (he meant to challenge Driftveil Gym within a few days, which seemed impressive) before hanging up. Then he went to the household computer to search for that name.

    And within a couple of minutes, he got it. A birth announcement for twin boys, Natural and Solace (Hilbert smacked his forehead and felt determined to keep control of who knew that name), born to Stacy Gropius and Ghetsis Harmonia in Opelucid City.
    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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    Congratulations; you have come up with the stupidest surname I can think of. No offence if you actually know somebody with that name.

    Yeah, sleeping pills get addictive; I had that problem once. Got over it by staying up for three days solid.
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    Okay, well, that was an eventful chapter. I think we all saw it coming that N and Hilbert were twins. Nice plot twist.

    I wanted N to catch the Solosis, because then, the Solosis starts following him around. And finally, Rune+Priscilla+Solosis gets the fact across to N that Pokemon like travelling with humans. Then, in a big dramatic moment, they find out N's Solosis is Caitlin's Reuniclus's daughter, and they have some big battle over her ownership, because Reuniclus has been all depressed ever since Solosis left.

    Well, at least I still have my idea that
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    Interesting ideas. Although I prefer what Frank the Gothita does. That chapter was fun to write.
    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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    Well, I suppose Frank can work with her Gothitelle. Actually, that would work better, since Gothitelle is her strongest Pokemon. Other than that, I still think my idea would work! Hooray! Despite the fact that you won't use it! Please don't post saying you won't use either of them! That would crush my hopes and dreams!
    I have discovered what a signature is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-nogyroP View Post
    Well, I suppose Frank can work with her Gothitelle. Actually, that would work better, since Gothitelle is her strongest Pokemon. Other than that, I still think my idea would work! Hooray! Despite the fact that you won't use it! Please don't post saying you won't use either of them! That would crush my hopes and dreams!
    Do you prefer your dreams crushed or ground?
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    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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    Coffee Break

    "Hey, guess what I'm serving today," Hilda said, fiddling with the coffeepot.

    "Coffee with extra caffeine?" Bianca asked.

    "I hope not," Kyurem said.

    "No, coffee made from ground up dreams! One of the readers suggested it." She pulled the pot out of its base. "So would you serve this straight, or with milk and cream?"

    "Depends on the source material," Kyurem said. "I'll take one."

    "I'm not sure if that's a good idea," Bianca said. "Because you might have really weird dreams afterwards."

    "Can't be any weirder than finding out your birth name is dumb."


    Chapter 27: Chitchat


    1/26, morning

    “Are you going into Desert Resort?” the gatehouse attendant asked. She was dressed in the usual uniform of a blue dress and blue hat. “The ruins are blocked off at this time. Please be careful and watch your Pokemon.”

    Hilda paused by the desk. “Is there some trouble there?”

    “There shouldn't be,” she said, shaking her head. “But a while ago, a number of poisons showed up in sand samples. They were driving Pokemon away, making it so that you could hardly find any out there. We've done a lot of clean-up, but we're still checking if we got all of it. However, the Pokemon seem able to detect it. If any of yours seems reluctant to go somewhere, heed their warnings and let us know when you leave.”

    “Where did the poison come from?” Kyurem asked, before Hilda could ask the same thing.

    “The police are still investigating that matter. I'm sorry, I don't have any more information than that.”

    “Hmm, well thanks for the tip,” Hilda said, then headed out into Desert Resort.

    For the past few days, she'd been talking with Pokemon in Nimbasa, figuring out how they felt and what they wanted. Most of them seemed happy to be with humans. Sometimes, they ran across one who wasn't happy, but so far those cases were easily solved with Hilda and Kyurem intervening on the Pokemon's behalf. Stuff like a Purrloin that didn't like his tail being pulled by his young Trainer, or an Unfezant that disapproved of his Trainer's hairspray (for being horribly stinky, to him). There were other cases where communicating between Trainer and Pokemon helped, such as a Herdier who didn't understand why he had to get baths. But so far, nothing was bad enough to necessitate the release of a Pokemon.

    For today, though, she wanted to get away from that and explore around some. It was too bad that the ruins were closed off, but maybe the desert itself would have something interesting to see. But it didn't take long to realize that the most one could see here was the sandstorm, thicker with airborne particles than Route 4. There were some battles to be had, but with the ruins closed off, there didn't seem to be much to do.

    “Hey there!” she heard a guy call out in the storm. “You up for a Pokemon battle?”

    “In this weather?” she called back. “Sure, once I can see you.”

    He came into her vision, with his winter coat hanging off one shoulder. This area was warmer, surprisingly. Although he had a rough look with his pierced nose and red tipped black hair, he had an Audino walking alongside him. “Yeah, it's like this about every day. Wait a sec.. you're that girl with Kyurem, aren't you?”

    “Yeah, that's me.” She smirked at him, although the effect was lessened due to a protective scarf. “Having second thoughts?”

    He chuckled. “Well yeah. I mean, my Pokemon are good, but I dunno if they're that good. But since you're here, can I ask you about something? I heard you two were going around talking to people's Pokemon in Nimbasa. Think you could help me out some with that?”

    Hilda glanced at Kyurem. “I can try to talk him into it. What's up?”

    “It's my Audino here,” he said, patting the pink Pokemon on the head. She tilted her head up towards his voice. “I caught Bossa here a while ago and I was thrilled to have her along. But she hasn't seemed too happy with me lately, and I dunno what I'm doing wrong. Could you tell me what she says?”

    “Bo hoba lo auda ee,” Bossa said, leaning towards her Trainer and looking at Kyurem warily.

    “Don't worry, I won't let him hurt you,” Hilda said, guessing that she was intimidated. “Would you do that, Rei?”

    He nodded. “Very well. What is the problem?”

    Bossa took a couple steps forward, nervously clasping her paws to her chest. She spoke at length about something, eventually putting her hands to her ears and shaking her head.

    When she'd stopped, Kyurem nodded. “She says that you're a musician who plays very loud music with your friends. It hurts her ears and gives her a headache whenever you guys are playing.”

    “Really, that's it?”

    “All Audino have sensitive hearing, or so I've heard,” Hilda said. In particular, it had come up in the research of one of Juniper's colleagues, and he had told her about it while Hilda and her friends had been doing work for the professor.

    The guy put his hand to his chin. “Huh, well that's a bummer. I always thought they were nice and wanted to raise one for a bit.” He looked down at Bossa. “But I don't want to be hurting you either. I'm sorry. Maybe I ought to let you go after all.”

    “Hoda ba ri sa aunna jo,” she replied, bowing her head.

    “She says that you're a good person, but she's not going to stand in the way of your dreams,” Kyurem said.

    He nodded. “I see. Well thanks for your help. I think I'll be more careful with what Pokemon I try to get next.” They said goodbye, and then the musician walked off to return the Audino to where he'd caught her.

    Hilda waited until they were hidden by the sandstorm to say, “Well that's one Pokemon that needed to be released out of, what, 200 interviewed?”

    “Seems like that,” Kyurem said.

    They continued on exploring Desert Resort, eventually coming upon a castle tower sticking out of the sands. Taking some protection from the sandy winds, Cheren was over there with his Tranquill and Liepard, looking through his Pokedex. Hilda felt tempted for a bit to not speak to him, after how he'd been last time. But, he was her old friend and she'd rather not give up on that. “Hi Cheren!” she called out.

    He looked up, then shrugged. “Hi. What are you doing out here?”

    “Looking around, thinking of doing some training with my team,” she said, continuing to approach him. “Mostly I've been checking out how much truth might be in Plasma's words.”

    Cheren raised an eyebrow. “Really, you're doing that? They don't make sense; it doesn't need research to know that.”

    “Well I found out that I know people in Plasma.” She put her hands on her hips, standing a few feet from him. “So I thought I'd try. Kyurem's helping.”

    “You know people in Plasma?” he asked, puzzled.

    Hilda frowned. “Didn't I tell you that in an email a while ago? You know how my Mom said my dad's a jerk and a slacker? Turns out he's one of the bigwigs in Plasma, and he helped me a bit once. Him and another person who's a lot nicer and genuine about it. For them, I'd check things out.”

    “Then what have you found out?” Cheren asked, putting his Pokedex away.

    “Most Pokemon are happy enough with humans, although if there were more ways to communicate with them, I think a lot more people overall would be happier.”

    “Could we speak with yours?” Kyurem asked. “They seem tense.”

    “I suppose so, although it might just be the effect of you being here,” he said.

    “I'm not letting him hurt any of the Pokemon we talk to,” Hilda said. With that out in the open. the Liepard and Tranquill spoke some with Kyurem. “So you doing anything other than training?”

    He frowned. “No, that takes up much of my time. I'm only in Nimbasa to spend the night, and clean up from all this sand.” To prove the point, he shook his sleeve, causing sand particles to fall off.

    That had her concerned. “What, you don't do anything just for the fun of it anymore? Surely it doesn't take that much time.”

    “We do have to work that hard if it means keeping up with the likes of you and your team,” Cheren said, annoyed. “I'm out here to prove that I'm independent and capable. If I slack off, my parents will say that they expected that and talk about how much better my brother was at my age. That's what they always do.”

    “Well if you're independent, you don't really need their approval, do you?”

    “It's not that simple. Your mom supports you no matter what; you wouldn't understand.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “So let me do things my way, all right?”

    “If you could do the same for me and Bianca,” Hilda said. “But I do want to help you, if you want it.”

    He sighed. “I feel the same way about you two. I'm worried that you won't reach your full potential in the way you're both going.”

    She shrugged (causing some sand to shift off her shoulders). “Well we don't know what we're going to end up doing, while you do.” She then chuckled. “Kind of hard to prepare for something when you don't know what the something is.”

    “Your Pokemon are tense with anxiety,” Kyurem said, abruptly interrupting the conversation. “They're worried that they're not coming up to your expectations no matter how hard they try, and that you're going to take them out of the team because of that.”

    “Is that it?” Cheren asked, looking down at his two Pokemon. The Liepard looked down at his paws, while the Tranquill cooed uneasily. Hilda thought of saying something, but he asked, “Well could you leave us for now? I may have to speak with them, after I consider what's going on.”

    “All right, but don't be a stranger,” she said. She walked off a few steps with Kyurem before yelling back, “Call me sometime, remember!”

    There wasn't a response to that.

    “Man, he always was serious, but this is taking it rather far,” she said, walking north of the lingering tower. “We would've helped him talk with them. Right?”

    “It might be something he needs to discover on his own,” Kyurem said.

    “Well I hope he hangs out with me and Bianca again some time. Her birthday's coming up, you know.”

    Not far from the tower, they came upon a cliff that made a very definite end to the land, although the sandstorm still blew out past it. Down below, Hilda could see the Alma River, a dark mass through the yellow sand. There was a riverbank down there, apparently of good size.

    “Is there a way down this cliff, I wonder,” she said, glancing along the cliff.

    “There were stairs at one time,” Kyurem said, pointing off to the east.

    What stairs they found were eroded down into a rough ramp, but it was still possible to go down to the riverbank. The sandstorm wasn't as potent down here, the winds weaker. Because of that, Hilda decided to bring out her whole team and play football with them. It was good exercise and they liked it. Although Kyurem hung on the sidelines more often than not.

    One time when Tarzan had to go running after the football, he came close to an odd white mist hanging around the river's edge. There was sand mist everywhere else, and then this one patch of water mist. The Scraggy ignored it, throwing the football back at Olette, but Hilda went over to check it out. Before she even got close, a Pokemon burst out of it, causing the mist to dissipate. It looked strangely like a living ice cream cone, but its cone was sharp and sparkling ice. Coming into the middle of their game, it seemed to stammer something out, causing puzzlement among the other Pokemon.

    Hilda reached into her bag and tried to find the Pokedex, to figure out what this was. “Hang on, guys. It if doesn't want to be disturbed, we can leave it alone.”

    “Hacha per ila mi cichi,” Mimi said in a friendly manner.

    “Kikikiki cha chi hssffri ki ki ri, ai...” the stranger wailed, trembling. “Cha cha ki sssss ffft.”

    Kyurem frowned. “This Pokemon is making no sense.”

    Finally finding her Pokedex, Hilda flipped it open and aimed the camera at the stranger. Its name popped up quickly: Vanillish. “Is it speaking French?” she asked, half-joking.

    He shook his head. “He's speaking complete jibberish. It's something like if you were to put together a bunch of words that could mean something separately, but don't mean anything when put together.”

    The Mincinno then came over to Hilda and Kyurem. “Mish, cha cho hai lichi cho.” She seemed sad, maybe in sympathy.

    “If you wish,” Kyurem said softly. “He seems to be troubled by something, she says.”

    “I could've guess that,” Hilda said. The Pokemon stranger turned to her, but floated backwards, seeming to try hiding his face behind his cone body. “We don't mean you trouble, Vanillish. But if you want some help, you could join us. We'll try to figure things out.”

    The Vanillish closed his eyes, mumbling about something. Then he shifted his stance, with his cream head coming further out of his shell. “Ssshhh.”

    “He'd like the usual challenge, but you should know something first,” Kyurem said, speaking quietly next to her. “This Vanillish is at least ten levels higher than any of us, and so is technically a powerful opponent.”

    She nodded. “Okay, thanks.” After a few seconds thought, she figured she'd try to use Tarzan to weaken the Vanillish, and then swap over to Mimi to put it to sleep before trying to capture it. It was important that he see how her team was to impress him, because even a sleeping Pokemon could break out of a Pokeball.

    But then, she did have the Ultra balls on hand.

    -+-

    It was redundant to add the Vanillish to the team. But Hilda wanted to see if she could help it, so Kyurem didn't mind all that much. He was glad to be out of that desert, not because of the memory of Shira there, but because that constant sandstorm was irritating after long enough. It slipped under his clothes, and even under his mask. And since he couldn't fully remove that, it took a little while for Kyurem to get all the sand particles out from under it.

    Back in Nimbasa, Hilda was getting dinner for the group. He half kept an eye on her and half watched over for the four other Pokemon. “You don't have to be so scared,” Mimi told the Vanillish, whom Hilda had nicknamed Pierre. “We're a team! And we'll get through anything together.”

    “And we'll do anything together,” Tarzan said, clutching his loose skin close. “Like cliff diving!”

    “I object to that,” Kyurem said. “Some things are too dangerous.”

    “Well what've you got to worry about that?” he asked. “You're supposed to be unkillable or something.”

    “I can't be killed permanently.” Temporarily, yes, but his soul would remain and seek to be reborn.

    “And you don't have to worry about Kyurem, cause he's on our team,” Mimi said.

    “Team?” Pierre said, probably the first thing the Vanillish had said that actually made some sense. “Okay, somewhat fine, grass to sky, but the eye was there. Them, it was them. Here and there is leppas and oran. Refined.”

    “I like oran berries,” Mimi said, trying to talk with him.

    “I didn't know about working on a team either,” Tarzan said. “Cause someone like me should shine brightest when on a solo career, you know? But after being with them a little while, it seems pretty nice. We've got each other's backs, right?”

    “Right!” Mimi cheered, pumping a fist in the air. “We're all friends, Hilda and all of us. And you'll be a friend too.”

    “Although I don't think I ever caught what you were here for, Olette,” Tarzan said, looking over at the Drillbur. “You don't say much.”

    She put a clawed paw to her face. “I don't need to say much,” she said with a smile. “But I like listening to the rest of you. I'm here and I hope to stay here because I think we're part of something bigger than any of us. I'll be here and do my best so that we can do what needs to be done.”

    “There isn't much that's bigger than Kyurem here when he's a dragon,” Tarzan said.

    “I don't mean literally.”

    “Literal is dangerous,” Pierre said, shuddering enough that flecks of ice came off him.

    “Oh, Hilda!” From nearby, Bianca waved to them. A young woman (but older than the teens) was with her; she was dressed in a long black winter coat with speckled brown fake fur on the edges. “Can we join you?”

    “Hi, sure!” Hilda said, coming over to the table Kyurem was sitting at. “We're having supper, actually; join us if you want.”

    “I've already fed my Pokemon, but haven't eaten myself,” the woman said. She shook hands with Hilda. “I'm Elesa, the Gym Leader here. I happened to meet your friend by chance, but I did hope to speak with you as well.”

    “Sure, good to meet you,” Hilda said, smiling.

    Elesa smiled back, then went to go order a meal with Bianca. As she walked, two wires hanging off her hat flipped into each other and snapped with static. There was something strange about it. And about her, Kyurem thought. However, he couldn't quite say what that strange thing was. She smelled different than most humans, something that should have made her distinctive if not for the fact that he'd notice that with several other humans he'd met since joining Hilda. Maybe it was just something these humans wore, as a great many things had changed since he'd last been awake. Not that he'd been around humans much over his life.

    At first, the dinner conversation wasn't terribly important. Hilda and Bianca were getting caught up on what each other was doing (Bianca had spent much of the past week at the Small Stadium with the tennis players, seeing if she had what it took to take it seriously), and the girls and Elesa got to know each other. But having these Gym Leaders as allies was a good move, as they held authority within Unova's communities. For that, he would tolerate their chit chat.

    “I did have some news to pass along to you guys,” Hilda said, toning down her voice so it'd be harder for other tables to overhear them. “When I was talking with Burgh, Iris, and Cress, they said that you suspected who Plasma's King is. I know for certain who it is now. Oh, and Bianca? You should keep this quiet too.”

    “Okay,” she said, nodding.

    “It's N.”

    “Oh my, him?” Bianca said, eyes wide.

    But Elesa nodded knowingly. “I see. That was who we thought it was. How did you find out about him?”

    “He told me so himself,” Hilda said. “Thing is, something still not right about all this. N really believes in it, but he seems like such a sheltered person. I can agree that the rest of Plasma might not be able to influence Zekrom, but N definitely can. How did you figure him out?”

    “What he was saying to us at the Gyms, that's what singled him out,” she explained, leaning on the table. “He does have a very strong connection to Pokemon in being able to fully communicate with them, so we can hope that he is convinced otherwise. But if other members of Plasma are manipulating him for their own goals, it's going to be tough. Do you know why he's participating in the League? We can tell that it bothers him when any Pokemon gets hurt, not just his own.”

    Hilda thought about that for a moment. “Well based on what I know of him, it's because he thinks that's the best way to get his voice heard. And if you think about it, really good Pokemon Trainers are respected a lot. If one of them presents an unpopular view, people are more willing to consider it from them rather than someone else. That doesn't exactly explain why the rest of Plasma is using Pokemon.”

    The conversation paused for a moment, so Kyurem looked at Elesa and asked, “What are you?”

    “Excuse me?” Elesa asked. But she tensed at that question; there could be something to his suspicions.

    “That's an odd question,” Bianca said.

    “You keep crackling,” Kyurem said.

    She took one of her wires, which snapped a little. “Oh, you mean this? It was a gift from a dear friend, years ago. Don't worry, it's not dangerous. It uses very little power.”

    “That is neat,” Hilda said, and that was pretty much the end of that subject.

    Kyurem still thought there was something she wasn't saying.

    -+-

    After the meal, Hilda, Kyurem, and Bianca walked with Elesa towards the Gym. “What do you plan on doing about Plasma now?” Elesa asked as they were walking in front of the subway station.

    “I'm not sure,” Hilda said. “But I'm thinking of trying to convince N to change his views. Kyurem's been helping me talk to Pokemon too, so I'll have better grounds to debate with him later on.”

    She nodded. “That would be a good thing to try. We'll see how they react to that.” She glanced around, then added, “The League has been been considering some serious actions to work against them, such as suspending Gym activity temporarily.”

    “What, you mean that no one can challenge the Gyms then?” Bianca asked in a hushed voice. “Why that?”

    “Since they want prestige, possibly even the Championship for that influence, then suspending things will stall their progress too.” Elesa tapped her chin. “And since N changes his team with every Gym, that will give any rivals he has for Championship the opportunity to build their team's power and catch up. Such as you, Hilda, and a few others who are strong contenders.”

    “That could be good,” Hilda said. Although, it depending on how long the suspension was. She could level up most of her team, but Fedora wouldn't be out of hibernation for a while yet.

    “It won't happen right away, if it happens,” Elesa added. “But there's a strong chance that we will do so.”

    Then someone else's voice dropped into the conversation. “Bianca, there you are.” Her father Peter came down the steps of the subway station and approached the three of them. “You've come a long ways.”

    Bianca stepped closer to Hilda. “Oh, Dad. Wh-what are you doing here?”

    “I've come to see if you're ready to come home,” he said. Hilda noticed that he didn't seem as sharp about it now, at least not yet. “You've been gone for a long time, but I don't want to see you get hurt.”

    “I'm doing fine,” Bianca said, losing some of her nervousness for anger at being treated like a child still. “I mean, I still don't know what I'm going to do, but I've found out lots of interesting things I could do, and I've learned a lot more than I could have if I'd just stayed at home.”

    “But you've only gotten one badge in all this time,” he said.

    She hesitated. “Well...”

    “If you don't mind me,” Elesa said, her headband wires giving a particularly loud snap, “one doesn't have to be good at battling to be good with Pokemon.”

    “Yeah, she's even got Victini's respect,” Hilda said.

    “Who are you?” Peter asked, suspicious of the woman of the group.

    “I'm Elesa, the Gym Leader here,” she said patiently. “I've only met your daughter this evening, but it seems to me that she is a capable young lady. Besides, it's only natural for teenagers to go out and explore their possibilities. Didn't you do something like this in your youth? Most everyone has.”

    Surprisingly, he didn't get angry about this. Instead, he nodded somewhat calmly. “I see, it's like your mother said. Bianca, I'm sorry about how I’ve been acting lately. You kids seem to be growing up so fast; I didn't want to believe that you were that old already.” Then he smiled. “You should be making your own decisions now, not listening to me all the time. Although I do hope that you're being careful.”

    Bianca blushed. “Oh, Dad... um, thanks for coming to say that in person. I didn't really want to make you upset.”

    “I was being childish. So you girls are looking out for each other?”

    “Of course,” Hilda said. Good, he'd finally come around to accepting their journey... even if it was two and a half months into it. “We always keep in touch.”

    “Good, that helps. I have the evening off; would you mind showing me what you're doing, Bianca?”

    “Uh, sure, that'll work,” Bianca said. After some discussion, she and her father went off to see the sights in Nimbasa.

    “I'm not sure what was going on, but it looks like it turned out well,” Elesa said to Hilda. “I need to get back to the Gym.”

    That gave Hilda an idea. “Oh, if that's so, may I come along? Not to challenge you; my team hasn't really prepared. No, I'd like to speak with the Gym Pokemon. If I'm going to try to sway N's opinion's, it would be good to know what they think.”

    Elesa smiled and nodded. “Yes, that would be an excellent thing to know. All right, you can spend the evening with us. We'll even take the back way in.”

    Located right past the entrance gate to the amusement park, Nimbasa's Gym took the form of a series of indoor roller coasters. The cars were all sleek and the tracks were covered in brightly colored flashing lights. That much could be seen from the large windows on the front. However, Elesa led Hilda to a small hidden path that went along the side of the building and to an unremarkable gray door close to the far end. There were signs warning the general public away.

    Inside the back door, they came upon a large open space that served as a barn for the Gym Pokemon. There were close to four dozen Pokemon here, all allowed to wander around freely while there weren't any battles to fight. As could be expected, they were all Electric types: Emolgas, Blitzles, even a couple of Galvantulas. Before long, an Emolga and a large greenish eel Pokemon came up to them, greeting Elesa.

    “This is Glint the Emolga, and Nessa the Eleektross here,” Elesa said. “Whenever you get a large group of Pokemon together, one or two always emerge as the leaders, and that would be these two in this Gym. They're actually too powerful to use in a Gym challenge, but I keep them as part of my high level team.” She patted the Eleektross' head. “Nessa, Glint, this is Hilda, and Kyurem. They want to talk to you Pokemon about some things, so make sure the others are cooperative.”

    “Shhhharr ssssshsssa sssssuuussss,” Nessa hissed.

    “Not at this time,” Kyurem said. “We're just talking, not fighting.”

    Once reassured of that, the Gym Pokemon were quite happy to speak to them.
    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. #200
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Texas
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    I think there were two mistakes (as little as "eleektross"). Not much happened but thats ok.
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

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

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