Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 160

Thread: Hero's Path

  1. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Flesh and Blood

    Sorry for the delay of this. Vacation prevented a more timely posting.

    Cole stretched and arched his back. He’d slept on a rock for most of the night, and didn’t realize it until now. He was rather sore, though he wouldn’t admit it to his seven new traveling companions. Zephyr was already awake, and poking the dead embers of the fire.

    “Hey,” he said with a smile. “You a morning person too?”

    Cole nodded, grinning back. “Yeah. What about the rest of them?”

    “Oh, they’ll be up soon. It’s only Lexa you have to worry about. But, the early Pidgey catches the Weedle, you know?”

    Cole nodded, and pulled out his berry pouch and a slightly crushed loaf of bread. “I’ve got four slices left. Want a sandwich?”

    “Sure! Hang on, I’ll stoke the fire and we can toast them.”

    The two of them munched on their breakfast as the others woke up. Kim looked over at Cole. “So where are you headed in Canalave City?”

    Cole shrugged. “I’m going to battle Nick, but after that, I think I’ll just head out. Canalave is a means to an end. I’m really headed for Mt. Coronet. What about you guys?”

    “Well, I want to check out the library.”

    Seithios nodded. “And Byron’s an old friend of mine. I was going to stop by and say hello. After that, we were heading over to Iron Island for some training.”

    “Iron Island is pretty cool,” Cole agreed. “If you see a guy named Riley, tell him Cole says hi.”

    They broke camp quickly, and started off before the sun crested over the trees. As they walked Cole started talking to Seithios. “Hey, that Rhydon of yours is pretty impressive. Ever thought of evolving it into a Rhyperior?”

    Seithios shrugged. “Yeah, but I can’t find a Protector anywhere. Lexa’s had the same problem with her Electabuzz.”

    Cole smiled. “Hang on a sec.”

    He swung his backpack off and dug through it, procuring two items. “My Rhyperior and Electvire died at the Entralink. Someone sent these to me.” He passed Seithios the Protector and Electrizer. “It didn’t feel right to replace them so soon. I’ve been carrying them around for a while, just because I forgot to take them out of my bag. They’re yours if you want them.”

    “Thanks, Firebrand!”

    “Please, don’t call me that.”

    They walked for several hours, before hearing the bustle of Sinnoh’s main port. Anna grinned. “Almost there!” Her Vaporeon danced around happily.

    Scathatch appeared from her pokéball, and took the form of an Infernape. Cole realized this was an ideal disguise, because the body types of a Zoroark and an Infernape were rather similar, with long arms and a flowing mane. No one would bump into something that wasn’t actually there. Plus, Infernape, while not exactly common, were native to Sinnoh, while Zoroarks were rare even in their home region of Unova.

    Nick glanced at Cole as they emerged from the forest that bordered Canalave to the west. “Hey, you probably want to restock, right? I’ll meet you at the Pokemon Center in two hours for our battle.”

    “Thanks,” Cole replied. He pulled out his debit card, and picked his way through the canalled streets to the Pokemart.

    ***

    Zephyr sat with Lucian on the embankment of the main canal. Anna and Lexa lounged by a crystalline pool while Vaporeon and Anna’s Milotic swam with other trainer’s water-type pokemon. Lexa’s Pikachu splashed around nearby.

    Kim thumbed through a book she had borrowed, while Seithios went through an exercise that looked like Tai Chi. Lucian turned his sightless eyes to Nick’s general area. “You sure he’s coming?”

    “He’ll be here,” Nick replied. “He said he would be.”

    Cole ran through the sliding glass doors of the pokemon center’s back entrance. “Sorry, sorry! Got held up! Some kids recognized me, and wouldn’t stop until I gave them autographs…”

    Nick laughed. “It must be tough being a celebrity!”

    “You have no idea,” replied Cole. “I really am not crazy about, sure and I’m not.” He pulled Charizard’s pokéball off his belt. “Well, at least I get an excuse to have some cool battles. Ready?”

    Nick and Cole tossed out their Charizards at the same time. “Let’s go!”

    Cole crossed his arms and nodded to Charizard. “We’ll let Nick and Flayme move first.”

    Nick raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure? Okay.” He nodded to the Charizard clone. “Flayme, use Iron Tail.”

    The slightly yellow Charizard leapt into the air, beating hiss wings as it bore down on Charizard. Flayme’s tail started to sparkle with silver light, and he swung down.

    “Charizard, Heat Wave!”

    Cole’s Charizard responded immediately, shooting a torrent of fire and blistering hot air from his mouth. It collided with Flayme’s tail on the downswing, and both dragons felt the recoil.

    Flayme spiraled through the air, trying to recover, as Charizard shook off the backwards force of his assault. Flayme seemed to have taken the most damage, but Charizard would not underestimate this opponent.

    “All right, Charizard,” Cole said, his mind working rapidly. Charizard specialized in fire and flying type moves, which were obviously not going to be as effective in this situation. What else could he do? “Dragon Pulse!”

    “Flayme, Dragon Claw!”

    Charizard shot a wave of indigo and violet energy, while Flayme dove down, his claws glowing with blue and red fire. The clone slashed through Charizard’s attack, dispelling the energy, and delivered a slash onto Charizard’s right flank.

    Charizard roared in indignation. “Charizard, I’m not going to give you any more orders!” Cole shouted. “You know how to handle this better than I do! If I see an opening, I’ll tell you to take it!”

    Charizard nodded, and shot into the air. He buffeted Flayme with his wings and powerful legs, similar to a Staraptor using Close Combat. Flayme responded in kind, using Dragon Claws and Iron Tails. The two dragons engaged and disengaged, eventually foregoing formal attacks all together. They slashed and snapped at each other; sometimes creating small bursts of flame as they colided, wrestling fifty feet off the ground.

    Finally, Nick gave a command. “Flayme, fall back!”

    The clone Charizard broke away, and held a pattern in the air. Charizard retreated to Cole’s side of the battlefield. Both Charizards panted with exhaustion. Cole did a quick estimation. “I think our next attacks will be the last. Time to finish this. Charizard, activate your Blaze and use Heat Wave!”

    “Flayme, Overheat!”

    Charizard’s tail flame began to burn white hot, while Flayme’s became blood red. Two columns of fire shot across the sky, and collided with a boom. Nick and Cole dove to the ground to prevent being hit by any aftershock of the blast.

    The smoke cleared, revealing Charizard and Flayme gasping for breath, once again on the ground. Each was likely on it’s last legs. They were evenly matched, and neither was going to give up.

    “Charizard, Heat Wave!”

    “Flayme, Overheat!”

    Charizard sent off another burst of high-pressured energy that crackled with latent fire. Flayme shot off a second Overheat, but this one was considerably less powerful.

    The Heat Wave collided with Overheat, but this time there was no concussive blast. Charizard’s attack absorbed Flayme’s, and turned it against itself. It struck Nick’s Charizard in the center of its chest, sending it flying backwards. Flayme crashed into the ground, and slid for a few feet before coming to a stop. He tried to lift his head, but fell back to the ground, utterly spent.

    Seithios, who had stepped up to referee, held up a hand. “Flayme is unable to battle. Cole and Charizard win!”

    Nick ran to his pokemon’s side, and placed a hand on Flayme’s face. “I’m sorry. So, so sorry.”

    Cole laid a hand on Charizard’s side. “Great battle, old friend. You’ve never let me down.” Charizard growled softly, his way of showing contentment. Cole walked over to Nick. “That was atruly heated battle." Mentally, Cole slapped his forehead. What a cliched gym leader thing to say! "Flayme is really something.”

    Nick looked up at the Firebrand. “Yeah. I guess he is.”

    “You know, I’m surprised. Most trainers have their Charizards learn special attacks, but Flayme focused on the physical. That was rather unexpected.”

    Nick shrugged. “Flayme’s pretty Adamant about that. He accepted that he was different from other Charizards, and so he wanted to embrace that in his battle style. That’s why we decided to focus on the physical aspect, both offensively and defensively.”

    Cole nodded. “Interesting. Charizard is rather Serious, so he played to his natural strengths, special attack and speed. I got to say though, Nick. I find your strategy and move set interesting.”

    “Well, we kept Overheat as sort of our ace in the hole. Since we focus on the physical, the special attack drop doesn’t matter so much to us, because it’s usually our finisher, right Flayme?”

    The clone Charizard opened his eyes a fraction, and nodded.

    Nick stood up and returned Flayme. “Rest now, and we’ll heal you up.”

    ***

    In the Pokemon Center, Flayme and Charizard sat with their trainers in the recovery ward. Neither had sustained any major injuries, so the resident Chansey had fixed them up in a matter of minutes. The biggest problem now was that both Charizards were exhausted. Nick glanced at Cole.

    “I kind of wondered why people are always so interested in Flayme, y’know? I guess its kind of novel that he has these markings and is a little lighter than normal, but there’s not much different between him and your Charizard. Except yours is taller.”

    Cole thought for a moment. “I guess because he was created in a lab. Collectors want him just so they can say that they do. He’s best off with a trainer like you, who doesn’t view him as a machine, a killing engine or a tool. Or worst of all, a collectible. If he truly is theCharizard Clone, then Mewtwo oversaw his growth, and probably made him quite powerful.”

    Charizard growled low in his throat, and started conversing with Flayme. Cole smiled, and continued. “I think, in the end, it doesn’t really matter how you were born. Or created. Or formed. Or whatever. Because in the end, you’re just flesh and blood, all the same. The circumstances of birth are irrelevant. It’s what you do with the gift of life that measures your true worth.”

    Nick glanced at Cole. “Well, you’ve done a lot.”

    Cole lowered his head, hiding behind his ragged, untrimmed bangs. “Not too much that I’m proud of. All I do is fight. Sure, I helped win the Omega War. But in the end, I killed Ghetsis. That's it. I took a life. And every day, I remember that. It’s a terrible burden to live with.”

    Nick leaned back in his chair, stretching his back. “I think I’d rather remember something horrible then not remember anything at all.”

    Cole remembered Nick telling him he was an amnesiac, and suddenly regretted saying what he did. But Nick seemed rather at ease, and looked at the Firebrand. “I think we’ll spend the night here. Flayme needs the rest. We’ll catch the Iron Island Ferry in the morning. What about you?”

    Cole shrugged. “I planned to fly to Mt. Coronet on Charizard, so… yeah, I think I’ll stay too.”

    Rooms had opened up that day, so the Seven and Cole did not need to camp outside of town. Cole realized he had not slept in a proper bed since leaving his gym, and relished the comfortable down mattress that night.

    Zephyr was on the bunk above him. The boy was between fourteen and fifteen, but his cheery and slightly naive manner made him seem younger, especially when compared to his rather serious and somber friends.

    When Cole woke up for a drink of water in the middle of the night, he glimpsed a small brown bundle in Zephyr’s arms. Cole peered in for a look, careful not to rouse the boy. He realized that it was a Pidgey stuffed animal. It looked rather worse for wear, and a little tattered, as if Zephyr had it for a long time.

    Cole smiled, and sank back into his bunk. Suddenly, he liked Zephyr a whole lot more for that. Zephyr was able to cling to his childhood from that little ball of fabric and cotton, unlike Cole, who had been forced to take on responsibility at age ten, a burden no child should have to bear.

    The Firebrand suddenly felt very paternal towards Zephyr, which frightened him a little. He was only nineteen. He felt with a pang that he had grown up too fast. His childhood could never be reclaimed.

    He wondered what his mother would have said in a situation like this. Cole remembered her with a deep longing. She had died when he was young, very young. Sickness had wrenched his mother away from him. Before he was ready to say goodbye.

    When Cole slipped into his dreams, he was once again in his mother’s arms. Instead of being pale, sickly and unable to do more than sit up, she was as he remembered her from when he was a young child, vibrant, full of life and energy, and always knowing exactly what to say.

    In his sleep, the Firebrand smiled.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 4th August 2011 at 1:37 AM.

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Storm Front

    At dawn, he went with his new companions down to the dock, and watched as they boarded the ferry. As the ship pulled out of the harbor, Cole waved and saw the Seven waving back. When the ship passed out of the shelter of the bay, Cole called out Charizard.

    He mounted the dragon’s back, deciding on a whim to ride bareback. Charizard wheeled once over the harbor, before shooting east to the looming peaks of Mt. Coronet. As Cole passed over the blue expanse that was Lake Verity, he suddenly felt a pang of guilt.

    Ammy’s gym was down there.

    He considered telling Charizard to land. But no. The purpose of his journey, the one he had been afraid to admit until now, was that he needed to escape his past. His old friends could have no part in this venture. Besides, he would only hurt her by stopping in and then leaving just as abruptly.

    In the end, Cole just pressed on. Twinleaf Town, Sandgem Town, and Jubilife City raced by below. Several other trainers flying by called out in greeting, but Cole ignored them. He had his hands wrapped around Charizard’s neck, and his duster billowed out behind him.

    They passed over the Oreburgh Gate in a heartbeat. Charizard veered, angling towards Mt. Coronet. He could tell that Cole was eager to continue on. The orange dragon swooped in low, gliding along the mountain face.

    Cole scanned the face for the Gate. A glint against the blackness alerted him to it. There was a small ledge along a sheer slope, and the obsidian arch stood there.

    Charizard saw it too, and slowed to a stop. Cole jumped off his friend’s back, running while simultaneously rubbing his sore thighs. He stepped up to the gate and placed his hand against it, the way he had back in the Jungle Ruins.

    Nothing happened.

    “Maybe you’re doing it wrong?” Athena quipped from within Cole’s pack.

    Cole pursed his lips and began to tap the stone with his knuckles. “Come on!” he muttered. “Open sesame! Uh, the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx is Man! I wish we could go there. Wherever there is…”

    Cole was beginning to worry. He had hastened to this gate because, like Magnus had said, the Gates would take him to where he needed to be. He had thought that the reason he had been brought here was to meet the old man, and then subsequently the Seven. But perhaps he had to go see Ammy too, before the gate opened?

    There was a scrabbling on the rock face below. A hiker emerged from over the edge, and regarded Cole with a mixture of amusement and concern. “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere? I feel like I’ve seen you on TV.”

    “I was on Sinnoh Now the other day,” Cole lied, not wanting this man to recognize him.

    “Ah. Well… what are you doing?”

    “I have no idea.”

    There was a rush of wind, and a bright flash of light. Cole sighed in exasperation. “Seriously, Universe? That’s the riddle? What am I doing? Come on!”

    There was another rush of wind, and the gate started to drag Cole and Charizard closer. “Hey!” the hiker cried. “What’s going on? Where are you going?”

    “I have no idea,” Cole replied, and then vanished.

    The hiker watched the strange young man vanish into thin air. He shook his head, pulled a bottle of aspirin from his bag, took two, and resolved then and there to go back to his psychiatrist. This retreat into the mountains was not helping at all.

    ***

    Cole fell forward with a grunt. A hissing rain fell all around him. Lightning flashed in the sky above. Charizard growled in irritation, trying to shelter his tail flame. Cole returned the dragon, seeing no sense in keeping him out any longer.

    Cole took in his surroundings. Where was he? There were plenty of trees, and a large grove of tall, chest high grass. But as far as Cole could tell, there were no people anywhere, and he could not hear the sounds of wild pokemon. A waterfall hissed somewhere in the distance, and the only other sound was the cascading rain.

    Cole spied a signpost in the distance and hastened to it. “Route 119?” he muttered to himself. That was in Hoenn. And when he had traveled through this region before, this route had been full of trainers. Where was everybody?

    The Firebrand turned up the collar of his jacket, trying to keep the rain out of his eyes. He plodded along the trail, looking for a place to wait out the rain shower. He remembered that there should be a house around here somewhere, a woman who bred Wingulls for the Hoenn Postal Service.

    After twenty minutes of walking, Cole saw the yellow glow coming from a cabin. He trudged over and knocked on the door. “Please, can I come in?”

    “Go away!” a woman shouted from within. “We don’t want any trouble! Just go!”

    “That’s not very nice,” Athena muttered from Cole’s shoulder. She was braving the rain to get a look around.

    “It’s strange,” Cole said, still standing on the front step. “The people of Hoenn are renowned for their kindness, especially this woman. She always let weary travelers stop by. Something must be going on.”

    “Are there any cities around here? Maybe we can shelter there for a little while.”

    Cole shrugged. “Fortree City is a few miles up the road as the Murkrow flies, but it’ll be a lot longer on foot, because we’ll have to zigzag our way there. Not exactly practical. Our best bet is to find some shelter and wait until this storm abates.”

    The two of them wearily plodded on. While they had only been traveling for a few hours since Canalave, it was late in the afternoon here, and the rain was dampening their spirits. Cole just set his eyes on the middle ground in front of him and willed his feet to move.

    Athena sniffed, and sneezed. Cole sheltered her within his jacket. He didn’t want her to come down with hypothermia. He was just as at risk, but he would have to chance it.

    He remembered as a younger kid passing through this route for the first time, and being captivated by its beauty. There had been a light rain then, nothing at all like this, just a slight mist that dampened his face.

    He had battled several trainers, and remembered gazing fondly at the majestic waterfall with his Swampert. Now, the waterfall just sounded like a savage, hungry beast. The route was no longer beautiful. He wanted nothing more than run as hard and fast as he could to Fortree City. But the footing on the cliffs he walked along was treacherous, and he needed to move with caution.

    Lost as he was in his thoughts, he nearly missed what was right in front of him. In the distance, an orange glow emanated. A fire. Cole quickened his pace, hoping for a reprieve. There had to be shelter there, because this downpour would suffocate any natural blaze.

    Cole came upon a rocky ridge with several figures seated underneath. They huddled around a small fire; it’s glow reflecting off the walls and ceiling. “Hello?” Cole ventured.

    A young man jumped up. “Magma!” He stepped in front of his companion, a rather attractive young woman. “Dusty, Damin! We got to keep Lisana safe!”

    A Gallade and Typhlosion stood up, and moved to their trainer’s side. An Aipom on his shoulder chattered nervously. “Quiet Chifumi. We can do this.”

    “Sin, stand down. I can protect myself.” The young woman stepped forward. “Kelrick. Anjaru. Thalia. There is an intruder in our midst.”

    An Arcanine, Froslass and Pidgeot loomed up behind Cole. Somehow they had snuck around him as he drew closer. Cole held up his hands in surrender. “Easy, easy! I’m just looking for a place next to your fire! I’m freezing!”

    The young man, who had been called Sin, glared at him. “A likely cover. Look, you can just keep on going. Fortree is a few miles. You can meet up with your fellows there.”

    “My fellows?” Cole was a little taken aback. “I’m traveling alone.”

    Lisana’s brow was furrowed in thought. “You know, Sin. He doesn’t really look like a Magma. And he’s certainly not an Aqua. I think he seriously doesn’t know. All right traveler. Come on, share our fire.”

    The Arcanine pushed him forward with his nose. The Froslass and Pidgeot swept past him to stand by their mistress. Cole sank down next to the fire, and held out his hands. He shrugged out of his duster, and laid it out to dry.

    The Arcanine curled up around Cole, and he absently stroked the dog’s flanks. The fur radiated warmth, and Cole instantly started to feel better. “My name is Cole,” he said to his benefactors. “A pleasure to meet you, and my sincerest thanks.”

    The young woman smiled. “I’m Lisana. And this is Sin.”

    “Odd name.”

    “None of your concern,” Sin replied sharply. “Why are you out here?”

    Cole tried to think of a plausible situation, but couldn’t think of one. The truth, then. “Would you believe that I cam through a Gate from Sinnoh? That I appeared here in Hoenn just two hours ago?”

    “No,” Sin said.

    “Maybe…” Lisana cut in. “Look, Sin. He had no idea what was going on. He obviously came from outside. Otherwise he wouldn’t be wandering around like this.”

    “What’s going on?” Cole interjected. “Why shouldn’t I be wandering around?”

    Sin sighed. “Arceus, you really have no idea! I guess they’ve been keeping it out of the news. Magma and Aqua are back. Maxie and Archie broke out of prison a while ago, and they’ve returned with a vengeance.”

    “You’re kidding!”

    “No, I’m not. They joined forces and took over Hoenn. Everything. That’s why there’s no one on the roads. It’s all but forbidden. They have checkpoints on major routes that you can’t get by without papers. There isn’t one here, because it’s not heavily trafficked.”

    Lisana nodded. “They’ve been taking people, making them work in camps. It’s awful. And that’s not the worst of it. They succeeded where they failed years ago. They’re controlling Groudon and Kyogre.”

    “Well, why doesn’t someone go get Rayquaza?”

    “They can’t,” Sin said softly. “Because they got Rayquaza too. Archie and Maxie are all but gods now.”

    Cole was quiet for a long while. “Well, I already have my quest. I beat them once. I’m sure someone else can step up now. I just don’t know if I can bear to fight another war…”

    “You what?” Sin cried. “No… no way! You’re the Firebrand! I don’t believe it! You can free us!”

    “Shh!” Cole hissed. “Don’t throw that name around, especially if things are as bad as you say. I could probably be taken to one of these camps you mentioned just for being me.”

    “Do you have Charizard? And Athena? Oh, what about Masamune? I’m sure you could do something about this!” Lisana’s eyes had lit up.

    Cole shook his head. “I have all three of them, plus Scathatch, Thor and my Weavile, Maeve. I can try and help, but I really can’t stay in Hoenn. I already have a journey, and the last war; with Omega… it did things to me. I don’t think I could do it again, especially not without the Journeymen to help.”

    “Can’t you call them?” Lisana’s excitement was contagious, and the pokemon were starting to get invigorated. “They can swoop in and save the day!”

    Cole felt terrible. “I sort of temporarily served ties with my league. But if things are so bad here, they’ll hear about it, and come as soon as possible. Trust me.”

    Sin sank back against the wall of the ridge. “I thought… you know, we’d have a hero to help us. To avenge Harrison.”

    “Who?” Cole said.

    “Our mentor,” Sin clarified. “We were staying with him when this happened. Lisana and I come from Kanto, you know. But we were staying with Harrison, and Team Magma broke in and took him away.” He buried his head in his hands, and his Aipom made comforting noises.

    Lisana picked up the tale. “We were out in the forest at the time, but when we came back, we found his house ransacked. He was gone without a trace, probably taken to Mauville City. Their biggest camp is there.”

    “And that’s why you’re out here,” Cole said, finally understanding. “To stay safe.”

    Sin’s Gallade, who had been called Damin, nodded. “Look,” Cole said slowly. “I just don’t have the firepower to free all of Hoenn. But I’ll do what I can. I don’t know where I have to go next, but I know the Gates want me to do something here. I’ll help you get to Fortree tomorrow, and we can figure out what needs to be done there.”

    “How?” Sin asked. “They patrol the borders of all the cities and towns.”

    Cole tapped a pokéball on his belt. “I’ve got an ace in the hole.”



    This begins my tie-in to Xman96's Pokemon Professor X.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 5th August 2011 at 4:20 PM.

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Master of the House

    From here on out, every chapter will be PG-13 until I say otherwise. Right now it's just for some swears, but soon it'll get pretty violent.

    Sin’s breath came in short gasps as they sprinted alongside Scathatch. It was with a heavy heart that Cole sprinted by the abandoned, broken shell of the Weather Institute. He had friends who had worked there, and he hoped that they were safe. From the way it looked like the building had been attacked, he had his doubts.

    The Zoroark had conjured an Illusion around them, simply omitting them from an outsiders view. They ran down the last stretch of land, the treetop houses of Fortree rising up ahead of them. Chifumi, Sin’s Aipom, chattered excitedly. “We’re going to make it!” Lisana hissed.

    And then they saw the barbed wire fence. “Damn, and double damn!” Cole snapped, knowing the illusion would hide his voice as well. “How are we going to get around that?”

    “We can use attacks, and still stay hidden, right?” Sin asked.

    “Well, yeah, but…”

    “Damin! Go!” Sin cried, throwing out a pokéball. “Psycho Cut!”

    A scythe of purple energy shot from one of the Gallade’s arm blades, and hurtled towards the fence. It cleaved through the barricade, making a gap just large enough for Cole and his companions to dart through.

    Men and women in the uniforms of Team Magma and Team Aqua flocked around the gap, trying to determine where the assault came from. Cole pulled Sin and Lisana around the trunk of a broad tree, and recalled Scathatch. “Now, when we come out, just try and look casual. We’ll head to the pokemon center, and then figure out what we’ll do next.”

    “Thank you,” Lisana whispered.

    “It’s nothing. Look, Hoenn isn’t safe for a couple of kids like you anymore. If I can get into contact with some old friends, call in a few favors, I think I may be able to get you out of here.”

    “A couple of kids?” Sin hissed. “You’re not much older than we are!”

    “You’ve never been in a war, Sin.” Cole fell silent, and began to walk away. “C’mon.”

    He positioned his shoulders so that it looked like he had purpose, but not enough to be arrogant. To any observer, he was merely walking through Fortree City, headed to the pokemon center. Sin and Lisana copied him.

    The glass doors slid open with a hiss, revealing a lobby filled with trainers who looked dejected, depressed, and most of all, tired. A newscast was playing, talking about how ‘Magma and Aqua’s saving grace had fallen upon Lavaridge Town despite the efforts of Flannery the Heretic’. The newscaster looked very nervous as she read this.

    Cole’s fist balled. He was good friends with Flannery, and had bonded over an affiliation with fire types. Why couldn’t the world stay saved for any length of time? He didn’t want to fight another war.

    Lisana found a row of three seats all together. A table with several days of newspapers was in front of them. Cole leafed through them; trying to gather data, draw a conclusion.

    Sin lowered his voice. “We have to be careful. Most of our pokemon aren’t native to Hoenn, and it’s not like we’re near the Battle Frontier. Which was one of the first place to be attacked, by the way. If people see too many of our pokemon, we’ll draw attention. And we can’t afford that.”

    Cole nodded absently, busily scanning a small article from two weeks ago about how Groudon had rampaged on Route 116, with casualties estimated to be around thirty. The next day’s paper revealed that the actual total was closer to fifty. He threw the paper down on the table.

    “If you want to piss off the Firebrand, then this is a good way to start.”

    “Shh!” Lisana murmured. With a tip of her chin, she pointed the nurse approaching them. Cole’s hand clenched on Maeve’s pokéball, ready to call her out if the nurse brought any grunts.

    The woman inclined her head. “I’m sorry, you three, but we’re completely full. This lockdown has strained my center to its breaking point. I don’t know how you got in, but I won’t report you. I at least still have my honor.

    “It’s just we have people sleeping on the floor, and rooms packed to bursting. You’ll have to find other accommodations, or sneak out the way you got in.”

    “Getting out isn’t an option,” Cole replied.

    The nurse nodded slowly. “I understand. Listen, there’s an inn nearby. The prices are a little steep, but…”

    “Right. We have no choice. Thank you. We’ll be on our way.”

    With a flare of his duster, Cole left the pokemon center, Lisana and Sin following close behind. Sin lowered his voice. “Cole. Lisana have almost no money.”

    “I do. I’ll help you.”

    Chifumi chattered nervously. “Ai! Aipo! Aipom! Aipom!”

    Cole looked where she was pointing. An Aqua Grunt was staring at them. “You know,” he called out. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around. And I’d remember a pretty face like yours, lady. Why don’t you come over here? It’d be a shame to report you…”

    Sin leapt forward. “Bastard! Leave her alone!”

    The man threw out a Crawdaunt. “Snatch her.”

    “Damn, damn, damn!” Cole spat. “We can’t stand and fight. Run up to the walkway! That thing can’t follow you! Athena and I will deal with it!”

    “Cole, no!”

    “I’ll catch up! Go!”

    Sin and Lisana took off. Cole squared his shoulders. The Aqua Grunt scoffed. “Listen buddy, just get outta my way. It’s the lady I want.”

    “Shut up, you pirate wannabe.”

    “What did you call me?”

    Cole glanced over his shoulder. “Athena? Sic ‘em.”

    The Victini leapt from Cole’s backpack, already gathering electrical charge. “Fusion Bolt!” she shouted, and slammed into Crawdaunt. The crustacean howled in pain, and the resulting smoke cloud aloud Cole and Athena to run away.

    Cole soon caught up to Sin and Lisana. A sign on a rather tall building below them caught his eye. “Rocket Inn? That must be the place! Jump!”

    “Are you serious?” Sin yelled. “We’ll kill ourselves!”

    Cole had already leapt from the wooden walkway, rolling down the roof. Lisana followed him, and Sin begrudgingly after her. They jumped down onto the padded forest floor, and darted through the inn’s doors. Several rather drunk patrons, many wearing Magma or Aqua uniforms, slumped around the common room. A man with lanky blue hair was polishing glasses behind the counter. A Meowth was curled up on a windowsill, sunbathing. The innkeeper’s red-haired wife walked around picking up empty glasses.

    Cole cleared his throat and moved to put his duster on a nearby coat rack. The coat rack moved, giving Cole a salute. “Wobbuffet!”

    Cole swore as he backed away. The man behind the bar looked up. “Uh… may I help you?”

    “We’re looking to get two rooms.”

    The woman’s eyes lit up. “James! Customers! We finally have customers! Real, true customers!”

    A pounding at the door startled them. “Open up! You’re harboring fugitives!”

    The man behind the bar pushed Cole and company away from the door, hiding them with his body. “Oh really? Why don’t you take a look inside?”

    It was the same Aqua grunt that accosted them outside. He looked around the innkeeper. “Sir, I just…”

    “Most of the patrons I have are your accomplices. Now sir, I have a business to run. Unless you’d like to purchase something, please carry on.”

    “But… I swore that… I know…”

    The innkeeper slammed the door in the man’s face, brushed his hands on his apron and smiled. “I can’t have him scaring off the first customers I’ve had in weeks! Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Clarence! Joseph! A little music please?”

    Two men, who had been lolling around in the corner, snapped to alertness. One pushed his chair over to a piano, while the other picked up a saxophone.

    (A/N: Okay, normally I'd never put an author's note in the middle of the chapter, but here it's vital. The next sequence is taken exactly from the song Master of the House, from the musical Les Miserables. I highly recommend listening to it for this next part. You can do as much here. Read the narration, but trust me, just listen to the song.)

    James swept Cole, Sin and Lisana to a table. “Welcome Monsieur, sit yourself down, and meet the best innkeeper in town.” Cole opened his mouth to say that James was the only innkeeper in town, but the man continued on.

    “As for the rest, all of them crooks, rooking their guests and cooking the books.” Clarence, the man on the saxophone, played a rather jaunty series here. James sat down across from them and leaned forward. “Seldom do you see honest men like me. A gent of good intent who’s content… to … be…”

    He leapt up and crossed to one of the drinkers. “Master of the house, dolling out the charm, ready with a handshake and an open palm. Tell a saucy tale, make a little stir, customers appreciate a bon-viveur.” He snatched the drunken man’s wallet, and began counting the bills. “Glad to do a friend a favor, doesn’t cost me to be nice. But nothing gets you nothing, everything has got a little pri~ice.

    “Yes, master of the house, keeper of the zoo, ready to relieve ‘em of a buck or two. Watering the wine, making up the weight, picking up their knick-knacks when they can’t see straight!” At this, he swept a watch off an unconscious Aqua grunt’s wrist, much to the mirth of the patrons who were native to Fortree.

    He returned to Cole’s table, polishing a beer glass. “Everybody loves a landlord, everybody’s best friend. I do whatever pleases Arceus! And won’t I bleed ‘em in the end!”

    The Fortree drinkers now joined in on the song. “Master of the house, quick to catch yer eye, never wants a passerby to pass him by! Servant to the poor, butler to the great! Comforter, philosopher and life long mate! Everybody’s boon companion, everybody’s chaperone!”

    James winked at Lisana. “But lock up your valises! Arceus! Won’t I skin ya to the bone!” Then, he slunk over to Cole, and helped the young man set his backpack on the floor. The Firebrand warily kept track of his movements, not ready for any of his scant possessions to be stolen. And still, James continued singing. “Enter Monsieur, lay down your load, unlace your boots, rest from the road. This weighs a ton, travel’s a curse, but here we strive to lighten your purse.” He gestured to his bar counter. “Here the bird is cooked, here the fat is fried, and nothing’s overlooked ‘till I’m sat-tis-fied…”

    He again swept back to his bar. “Food beyond compare! Food beyond belief! Mix it in a mincer and pretend it’s beef! Kidney of a horse, liver of a cat, filling up the sausages with this and that. Residents are more than welcome. Bridal suite unoccupied. Reasonable charges plus some little extras on the side…”

    Much to Cole’s surprise and Sin’s laughter, he leapt up onto the bar counter and began to dance a bizarre jig. “Charge ‘em for the lice, extra for the mice, two percent for looking in the mirror twice! Here a little slice, there a little cut, three percent for sleeping with the windows shut! When it comes to fixing prices, there are lots of tricks he knows! How it all increases! Holy bits and pieces! Arceus, it’s amazing how it grows.”

    Once again, the townie drinkers joined in. “Master of the house, quick to catch yer eye, never wants a passerby to pass him by! Servant to the poor, butler to the great! Comforter, philosopher and life long mate! Everybody’s boon companion, gives ‘em everything he’s got…”

    James leapt down from the bar and grabbed another desensitized grunt’s wallet. “Dirty bunch o’ geezers,” and as he flipped through the wallet: “Arceus what a sorry little lot!”

    His wife, Jessie, slumped down in a chair and began to sing. “I used to dream that I would meet a prince… Arceus almighty, have you seen what’s happened since?!” There was a general chuckle all around.

    She continued. “Master of the house? Isn’t worth my spit! ‘Comforter, philosopher’ and life-long ****! Cunning little brain, regular Voltaire! Thinks he’s quite a lover but,” and then, dropping her voice to a mock whisper to Lisana, “there’s not much there.”

    This aroused genuine heartfelt laughter from all the inn patrons. Jessie shut them up with a wave of her hand. “What a cruel trick of nature, landed me with such a louse! Arceus knows how I’ve lasted, living with this bastard in the house.”

    “Master of the house,” James and the patrons sang.

    “Master and a half!” Jessie cackled.

    “Servant to the poor, butler to the great!”

    “Hypocrite and toad and inebriate!”

    The drinkers laughed raucously. James held up a mug. “Everybody raise a glass!”

    Jessie snagged one off a nearby table. “Raise it up the master’s ***!”

    The drinkers chorused as one “Everybody bless the landlord! Everybody bless his spouse! Everybody raise a glass to the master of the house!”

    Clarence and Joseph finished the number with a flourish. The grunts, Sin and Lisana all applauded as the Fortree townies laughed.

    Cole was quite taken aback by the self-deprecating, contradictory, and obviously well rehearsed song that James and Jessie sang. He wondered if it was a common occurrence, as several of the patrons seemed to know exactly when to break in. Their Meowth rolled over in its sleep and groaned.

    “Can’t you two clowns keep quiet for a few minutes?”

    “Did that Meowth just talk?” Sin cried.

    The Meowth sat up and blinked sleepily. “Yeah. So? What’s it to ya?”

    “Hey!” Cole said, suddenly having a revelation. “I know you guys! You’re the one who bungled the Rocket Operation in Kanto! It’s because of your screw up that Red was able to get into Giovanni! I remember battling you two! My Charizard and Pidgeot took down your Weezing and Arbok!”

    James leaned forward. “Oh ho! You are! Cole, all grown up and in the flesh! Who would have thought, the Firebrand stopping in for a visit!”

    Cole winced, but the Magma and Aqua patrons seemed to drunk to realize what was going on.

    Jessie sidled up. “Why, that practically makes you family! We’ll give you a special discount! If you buy a meal, we’ll give you dessert double half price!”

    Lisana scowled. “Isn’t that just normal full price?”

    “Not when you say it special,” Meowth said, flopping onto his back. “There’s a sucker born every minute. Just our luck we haven’t met one yet.”

    “Quiet you!” Jessie sneered, and threw Lisana’s spoon at him. “Sorry, dear. We’ll get you a new one. That’ll be three dollars.”

    Cole couldn’t tell if she was serious or not. “Uh… can we just order?”

    “Sure, Firebrand. What’ll it be? Tauros flank steak? A tall cold beer? How about some sausage?”

    Cole fought back the urge to vomit, remembering the offhand way James had referred to their sausage in their song. “Uh, I’m actually a vegetarian. And we’re not old enough to drink…”

    “We don’t check ID here. If you want one…”

    “No,” Cole said emphatically, glaring at his companions and daring them to challenge him. They held up their hands in surrender.

    “You two vegetarians too?” Jessie asked.

    “Just bring us three salads,” Cole replied, thinking that was the safest course of action. “And some water.”

    “You’re no fun,” Jessie quipped as she walked away. She returned a few minutes later with three plates of salad. She set them in front of them, along with a tray with a receipt. Cole scanned this carefully, making sure he wasn’t being cheated, and then paid the requested sum.

    The three ate their meal, and James sauntered over. “Anything you kids need?”

    Cole sighed. “Rooms. And a way out. Oh, and a phone call. Don’t they give you one of those in prison? That’s what this is, right? The lockdown?”

    James pulled out a chair. “Cole, I like you. I know, it seems weird, but you making Jessie, Meowth and I blast off again prevented us from being caught in the Rocket Bust. We moved out here, started a new life. And in the end, it’s you we have to thank. So I want to help you.”

    “Okay…”

    James glanced at the Magma and Aqua grunts who were staggering out of his inn. “Look. These guys are bottom tier. We’re scraping by on them because we can, and at the end of the day we feel like we’ve added a point on our side.”

    Meowth slunk over. “Yeah, but these guys are way more powerful than Team Rocket ever was. The Boss… he’d be proud ‘a what Archie and Maxie have done.” The cat wiped a tear from his eye.

    “Giovanni’s gone,” Cole sighed, thinking it was only fair to tell them. “He committed suicide, in Tohjo Falls.”

    Jessie stopped in midstride. “What?”

    “Yeah. When Team Rocket tried to take over Johto again, they sent out a radio broadcast. Some of my friends and I were poking around the falls to train, and we stumbled into the cave he was living in. He said that he was sick of living with his past. So he pushed past us, and jumped.”

    “Boss…” Meowth sighed. “Did he have Persian with him?”

    “I don’t know.”

    Meowth flicked out his claws and inspected them. “He shoulda gotten rid of that fleabag years ago.”

    James gave them two room keys. “Top floor. Left side. There’s a shed below, in case you need to get away. Just… let us alone for a little while.”

    The three travelers left the common room as the former Rocket Agents mourned the loss of their leader.



    This chapter begins the Les Mis ripoff- I mean, tribute. Uh-huh, Sin and Les Mis.
    Also, the saxophone player here, Clarence, is named in homage to the recently deceased saxophonist from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 7th August 2011 at 3:31 PM.

  4. #29

    Default

    YES! This is the subtlety I hinted at, well done, an awesome chapter! James was perfect to sing that song it...it's all just genius, keep it up!

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Fool's Errand

    “We’ll get you out of here, you just have to trust us,” James said as he, Jessie and Meowth sat with Cole at one of the inn tables. They had closed the inn for business, so they would not be interrupted. Sin and Lisana sat nearby.

    “Sorry, I just have a hard time trusting criminals, reformed or not.”

    Meowth jumped up onto the table and grabbed Cole’s shirt. “Look. We’re gonna help ya. And you’re gonna get outta here, and call in the cavalry. It pains my heart, but you’re the only one who can do this. So you’re gonna suck it up and let us go to work.”

    Cole nodded. “Al right. I guess public disruption is what you do best.”

    Jessie grinned. “We’re not the glorified speed bumps you faced back in Saffron all those years ago. We’ve learned a few tricks.”

    Sin stood up. “When do we move?”

    James smiled. “Midnight. Be ready.”

    ***

    A curfew had been imposed on Fortree City. Cole, Lisana and Sin crept from shadow to shadow, trying to avoid being spotted. They padded up to the last gap before the eastern barrier. Cole checked his Xtransceiver. “Three minutes to midnight. Be ready.”

    Chifumi made a muffled cry on Sin’s shoulder. The younger man treated her in the same way Cole did Athena, never making her wait in a pokéball. Cole scanned the trees and barrier.

    Several grunts walked along its length. They would have only one shot at this, and needed to make it count. A rustling made Cole snap to attention.

    “Here they come,” hissed Lisana.

    James and Jessie leapt from the trees. “Prepare for trouble, dropping in from the skies!” Jessie called.

    “From beyond the stars a nasty surprise!”

    Jessie theatrically covered one side of her face. “A force as old as the galaxy!”

    James procured a rose from somewhere. Cole was impressed by the sleight of hand. “Sent to fulfill our destiny!”

    “To protect our home from devastation!”

    “To unite all peoples within our nation!”

    “To support the cause of truth and love!”

    James lifted his hands high, revealing that he held several pokeballs. “We extend our reach to the stars above!”

    “Jessie!”

    “James!”

    “Anywhere there is evil in the universe!”

    “Let Team Rocket be the name they curse!”

    “Team Rocket, coming at you at the speed of light!”

    “Surrender now or prepare to fight!”

    “Meowth, that’s right!” The feline had snuck around and clobbered a grunt with a length of pipe.

    Cole allowed himself a grin. “They certainly have been working on the motto.”

    “Go!” James cried, throwing out his pokeballs. “Cacturne, Carnivine, Chimecho and Mime Jr.! Go, Weezing!” Then, he cried out again as one of the energy pulses reversed its trajectory, clamping down on his head. “Carnivine, fight them, not me!”

    “James, stop playing around!” Jessie shouted, throwing out her pokemon. The resulting flash revealed her Arbok, a Seviper, Dustox, Yanmega and her Wobbuffet. “All of you! Attack!”

    The pokemon surged forward as the grunts hastily called out their pokemon. “Yam yam!” Yanmega droned, unleashing a wave of Sonicbooms.

    A Camerupt launched an Overheat at James’s Cacturne. Jessie physically threw Wobbuffet in front of it. “Mirror Coat you sentient obstacle!”

    Wobbuffet glowed red, redirecting the attack back at the grunts. Cacturne leapt over the blue pokemon, smashing a Needle Arm into an approaching Sharpedo.

    Mime Jr. danced around a Tentacruel, tangling up its tentacles. The giant jellyfish shrieked in outrage, but Dustox put it to sleep. Seviper and Arbok twined through the crowd of pokemon, lashing out with their poisonous fangs. Chimecho used psychic attacks to hurl enemies away.

    Meowth let out a savage cry. “I don’t know if I can learn Rage, but I’m sure feelin' it! Fury Swipes!” He jumped at a Magma grunt, clawing at the man’s eyes.

    One woman tried to organize her accomplices. “Powerful special attacks! Aim at the man!”

    A line of fire, electricity and ice shot at James. Wobbuffet appeared in front of him, glowing red with Mirror Coat. The grunts dove away from the reflected attack, blowing a hole through the barricade. “Mime Jr.!” James called. “Mimic!”

    The small creature glowed intensely bright, and launched a powerful attack at the palisade. Another hole was rent through it, and Cole motioned to his friends. “Come on! Let’s go!”

    They sprinted through the chaos, vaulting over pokemon and sliding past grunts. A cry went up from the houses of Fortree as angry townspeople called out their pokemon to aid in Jessie and James’s crusade. There was a shriek, and three forms eclipsed the moon. Winona descended on her Swellow, followed by her Skarmory and Pelliper. They strafed the enemy lines as reinforcements for the Rocket duo arrived.

    Cole, Sin and Lisana broke free of the village, and ran hard. Cole fumbled on his belt for Charizard’s pokéball, as Lisana did the same with Anjaru’s. “No, wait!” Sin cried.
    He pointed in the air as Magma and Aqua’s flying pokemon took to the skies, looking for anyone who escaped. “We have to get to cover!” Sin hissed. “The cave on the Scorched Slab!”

    “No!” Cole replied. “Too exposed, too obvious! Registeel’s crypt!”

    Cole led them south over several rope and wood bridges that spanned the lakes and rivers of the route. The hugged the trees, keeping out of sight and in the shadows. The Firebrand led his friends up the sheer cliff to a small cave, out of the hissing rain that had began shortly after their departure. “In here,” he whispered. “Quickly, quickly!”

    They stopped within the shelter of the cave, gasping for breath. The rain intensified outside, pouring down with a harsh staccato. Sin poked around the antechamber. “A lot of tools in here. Picks. Crowbars.” He picked up a length of iron. “We’re going to have to make a stand. They’ll find us. Dusty, Damin, get ready.” He called out his Typhlosion and Gallade.

    Lisana nodded. “I’m afraid you’re right. Anjaru, Thalia, Kelrick, you too.” The Arcanine, Froslass and Pidgeot came to attention, readying their attacks.

    Cole took his five pokeballs in hand. “Charizard, Masamune, Maeve, and Thor, get out here.” Then, he called out Scathatch. “You take Athena and Chifumi. Hide with an illusion. Whatever happens next, you need to get out of here.”

    Scathatch and Athena protested, but Cole was adamant. “We don’t have a choice. We’re outnumbered fifty to one. There are not many places to hide. They’ll find us eventually. Just be ready.”

    Masamune and Charizard took up positions at each other’s backs. Maeve hid next to the entrance, ready to leap onto the first unlucky soul to enter. Cole sat on Thor’s back, a pickaxe in hand, ready to make a cavalry charge.

    They waited in utter silence for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the scrabbling of hands, paws and other appendages sounded on the cliffs outside. Shapes eclipsed the scant light that came through the chamber entrance.

    “The trail ends here,” someone said. “They’ve got to be in there.”

    Cole tightened his grip on the pickaxe. There was a clicking noise as pokeballs expanded. “Everybody ready?” another voice asked. “Let’s go!”

    “Charge!” Cole shouted.

    They surged forward, slicing into the Magma and Aqua strike force. Cole swung his axe at a Graveler, only to have it break off. Cole glanced down at the useless length of wood in his hand and noted a piece of masking tape on it. "Property of Jo Morgan," it read. Cole winced. A quarter of his mind hoped that his friend was okay, while another quarter hoped she would never find out it was him who broke her equipment. The remaining half screamed at him to get his mind back on the fight at hand.

    Thor lashed out with his hooves, and then dropped back using Volt Switch. Cole grabbed a crowbar from the cave floor, and brandished it like a sword.

    Kelrick and Thalia launched tandem ice and fire attacks, weaving gracefully through the foe’s ranks. Damin sliced and hacked with savage beauty. Dusty created giant infernos from the fire on his back.

    Masamune and Charizard combined their respective powers, alternating waves of attack. Maeve struck from the shadows, swiftly appearing and disappearing. Anjaru buffeted foes with his mighty wings and wickedly sharp talons.

    Camerupts lowed as Torkoals cried out. Pellipers mobbed Anjaru, only to be electrified by Thor’s Discharge. Sharpedos shot through the air, gnashing their fangs. Cole slammed his crowbar into a Golbat, sending the creature flailing through the air.

    Over the sound of the battle, and rumbling was heard. An hexagonal pattern of red lights appeared from the darkness of the adjoining chamber. There was a hiss, and then a strange cry. “Regiiiiii.” Then, there was a strange sound of distortion and what appeared to be radio static.

    “Damn,” Cole spat. A yellow glow emanated from the stone archway. “Everybody down!”

    Cole, Sin, Lisana and their pokemon fell flat as a giant pulse of electricity shot by. “Zap Cannon,” Cole murmured to Sin. “We have woken up Registeel. This is bad. Very, very bad.”

    The ground started to shake, and Cole rolled over to the far wall, dodging enemies. “Quickly now!” Registeel barreled past, crashing into the Magma and Aqua forces with an Iron Head.

    It glowed brightly, and it’s eye pattern flashed. A beam of red, orange and white light shot out of it, and Registeel spun around, trying to hit everything with its Hyper Beam.

    When it paused to recharge, there was the sound of quiet applause from the entryway. “Bravo, children. You have done half my work for me.” A man in the red Magma uniform flicked out a pokéball. “Porygon Z, go.”

    The purple creature flew forth, and into Registeel’s body. The iron titan struggled for a moment, and then fell still. The man smiled. “Perfect. Registeel’s power is now mine to command!”

    Cole realized what just happened, and it chilled him to the core. Because Registeel was biomechanical, Porygon Z had hacked into its body, putting it under this strange man’s command.

    The man stepped through the troops to stand before Cole and company. “Your pokemon. Return them.” When they did not move, he scowled. “Now.”

    Cole nodded slowly for Sin and Lisana to obey. The pokemon disappeared in flashes of red lights. “Now. Give them to me.”

    “No!” Sin shouted.

    The man backhanded him. “Magma Admin Jasper is not one to talk back to! Your pokemon. Now.”

    Cole ruefully gave over his belt harness that had his pokeballs clipped to it. The man, Jasper, took Sin and Lisana’s as well. “Pathetic. Chain them.”

    Two Aqua grunts came forward, and handcuffed the three escapees. They were dragged out of Registeel’s crypt and into a truck waiting below. They were unceremoniously thrown into the back.

    A man helped Cole to his feet. “They got you, eh? Shame, shame.”

    Cole nodded slowly. The man helped Cole sit on one of the benches attached to the wall. “My name is John. This is my daughter, Colette.” He nodded with his chin to a young woman helping Sin and Lisana to a seat. “And I believe you already know these two.”

    Jessie and James looked up from the opposite side of the bench. “We’re sorry,” James said softly. “They tried.”

    Jessie sniffed and tried to wipe away a tear, no easy task when wearing handcuffs. “They took Meowth!”

    Cole looked to see two other figures slumped over, two young women. One he recognized as Winona, the Fortree Gym leader. “Hey there,” she said. “Looks like my wings got clipped.” Then she sighed and fell silent.

    The other woman looked at Cole and his companions. “Call me Julia, if you must call me anything.” And then she refused to say another word.

    They drove in silence for some time. “Where are they taking us?” Lisana finally asked.

    John’s shoulders slumped. “The Safari Zone, most likely. Or what was once the Safari Zone. It’s a camp now.”

    They were silent again until the truck stopped abruptly. There were sounds of a struggle outside, and finally a chained man and woman were thrown into the back with them. The man looked up, and despite the rather nasty black eye on the side of his face, he managed to smile.

    “Hey there. Marcus’s is the name. Mind helping me up?”

    John helped him to the bench next to Cole. Marcus sat down gingerly. “Ah, that hurts. I really thought I’d gotten away. Damn it. I was so close, too.”

    His woman companion looked at the group. “Marcus, what do we do now?”

    “I don’t know, Epiny. I don’t know.” But then he squared his shoulders. “My father always said a man is at his best when he’s been kicked to the ground, so long as he keeps his head up. So that’s just what I’ll do.”

    John nodded and put a hand on his arm. “That’s all we can do for now. That, and hope, and pray.”



    Let the tie ins begin in force!
    Last edited by Firebrand; 14th August 2011 at 9:30 PM.

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Look Down

    “Look down, look down, don’t look ‘em in the eye. Look down, look down, you’re here until you die,” the workers chorused as they spilt the ore-rich rocks with their pickaxes. Cole didn’t like the song, because it stank of hopelessness, but it had a steady rhythm, and the guard seemed to like it.


    The chain on his ankle cut into his leg. Beside him, Sin’s face was a mask of grim determination, as his pickaxe came up, down, up, down. John raised his voice to begin the first verse. “The sun is strong, it’s hot as hell bellow.”


    “Look down, look down,” the gang chanted back. “There’s plenty more to go.”


    “I’ve done no wrong,” Marcus called. “Sweet Arceus hear my prayer.”


    “Look down, look down, Arceus doesn’t care.”


    “I know he’ll wait, I know that he’ll be true,” Julia sang out.


    “Look down, look down, they’ve all forgotten you.”


    A man near Cole, a man named Fredrick, threw down his pickaxe. “When I get free, you won’t see me, here for dust!” The axe shattered the chain around his ankle, and he bolted. The overseer, a thickset man named Koyev, blew his whistle.


    Fredrick was immediately set upon by a group of Magma and Aqua grunts that beat him mercilessly and dragged his limp body away for interrogation. “Fool,” James hissed, on Cole’s left side.


    “Look down, look down, don’t look 'em in the eye.”


    “How long, Arceus?’ John cried out. “How long until we die?”


    “Look down, look down, you’ll always be a slave, look down, you’re standing in your grave.”

    ***



    Far away, in the admin’s encampment, Jasper surveyed his work camp. “Sir?” his rather timid aid said.


    “Yes?” Jasper turned on his heel and glowered down at the girl. Oh, how he loved being intimidating! “What is it?”


    “Th-Th prisoners in Group 13, sir. They’re singing again.”


    Jasper folded his arms. “Excellent. Let them have their faint hope.”


    The sound carried to him, even here. That girl, Lisana, was singing now. “Look down, and see the beggars at your feet. Look down and show some mercy if you can.”


    Her friend, the one they called Sin, the one who had backhanded him with a shovel, began. “Look down, and see the sweepings of the streets. Look down, look down, upon your fellow man.”


    Jasper procured a pair of binoculars from a pouch. He peered at Group 13. All the people who had defied him that night were in that group. That defiant young man, the one who had roused Registeel, the one who attacked them from a Zebstrika with a pickaxe, was conspicuously silent. He broke the rocks with grim determination, his mouth in a firm line.


    Jasper realized that the young man had never given a name. All he knew about him was his number. He was prisoner 24601, member of Group 13, in Barrack 6.


    Jasper smiled thinly. It did not matter. He would break just as the rest did. He turned his ear to catch their song. “Look down, and show some mercy if you can. Look down, look down, upon your fellow man. Look down, look down.”

    ***


    That night in the barracks, Cole sat with John, Sin, Marcus and James. Two weeks in this blasted camp, and they had achieved nothing but the tiniest of sabotage. Cole had revealed to those in the truck with him that he was the Firebrand, and Marcus had instantly promoted him to leader of a resistance that couldn’t seem to get off the ground.


    Fortunately for them, Jasper’s camp guards had put them all in the same chain gang, along with Julia, Colette, Epiny, Lisana, Jessie and Winona. In the woman’s barracks nearby, they too tried to rally support. Neither group had much success.


    “Just give it up already,” one man groaned as he turned away.


    “Why?” Sin demanded. “Are you content to just lay down and die here? At least we’re doing something about it!”


    “Yeah, what?” another man challenged.


    Marcus jumped to his feet. “Hey! We made that truck lose control the other day!”


    “And the dynamite backfired!” Sin added.


    “Boys, boys,” John said consolingly. “It is their own choice. But in the end, it is by their inaction that they are damned.”


    Cole looked up from the rough map of the camp they had drawn on an overturned crate, with a knife they stole from the dining hall. “We’re cutting wood in the forest tomorrow, right?”


    James nodded. “The overseer leaves often. The wild pokemon sometimes attack the fringes, and he has to deal with that.”


    Cole chewed his lip. “There are some herbs growing in the forest. Medicinal and edible. If we gather a few each time the overseer looks away, we can build up our strength, and stash some in case someone gets sick.”


    “Sure,” a voice somewhere called. “We’ll fight Magma and Aqua with freaking herbs!”


    Marcus growled and leapt to his feet. “Who said that? Get out here, now! At least we’re doing something, you lazy bastards!”


    A muffled sob cut him off. Cole glanced over. Garret. The young boy had just started out on his journey when he was captured. He only had a Torchic and Zigzagoon to protect him against the might of an Aqua admin, and he was soundly beaten, and his pokemon stolen.


    Cole padded over to him. “Hey. What’s wrong?”


    “I just want to go home,” Garret said softly.


    “We’ll get you there.”


    “And I want my pokemon back.”


    “We all do.”


    “It’s not fair.”


    Cole glanced up to the bunk above Garret’s. One of the people who though Marcus’s rebellion was stupid. He felt no regret ripping a shred of blanket to wipe Garret’s eyes.


    “Just stay strong, okay? Chin up? No matter what, we’re going to pull through this. And we may need your help.”


    Garret flopped over on his side. “I doubt it. I can’t do anything.”


    Cole smiled thinly. “There’s a lot a little person can do. I was only twelve when I fought against Team Rocket. Red won the Indigo League at fourteen.”


    “Yeah, but I’m only ten.”


    Cole rubbed his shoulder. “Soon, you’ll know what you can do. Garret, I bet you’ll be vital to what happens.”


    When the Firebrand sat down next to John, the older man smiled. “Well played.”

    ***


    Cole’s axe came down with a thud. “You there, girl! Work faster!” The overseer was barking at Colette again.


    “I’m trying, sir! Really, I am!”


    The overseer grabbed Julia’s hair. The woman hissed, but said nothing. The red welt where she had clawed him the other day was still fresh, but the bruise on Julia’s ribs was more prominent. “I’ll just have to make this one do double the work!”


    “Hey!” Sin snapped. “Julia’s the best one here! She’s cut more than anyone! And more than you could ever do, you fat Grumpig!”


    “What did you say?” the overseer growled.


    “Did he stutter?” Marcus sneered, his voice dripping venom. This was a gamble, Cole could see that. How short was the overseer’s temper? “In case you’re deaf, man, he called you a fat Grumpig. But I think you’re more of a dumb Slowpoke!”



    The man’s fist lashed out, knocking into Colette’s temple. She crumpled with a cry. “Colette!” John cried, trying to get to his daughter.


    “Back to work!” the overseer shouted. “Or I’ll hit this little bird!” He grabbed Winona’s wrist. “I’ll snap her like a toothpick.”


    “Unhand me, you bastard!” The Fortree Gym Leader struggled against his grasp.


    “You coward!” Sin shouted. “You’re hiding behind those weaker than you! Just give me five seconds out of these chains…”


    The overseer threw Winona to the ground. “You’ll what? I don’t care, really. Because if you make one move, I’ll crush your little girlfriend here.” His hand wrapped around Lisana’s neck.


    ****, Cole thought. Now he’s done it. Well, he had it coming for picking on the women. And they thought chivalry was dead…

    “I’ll kill you!” Sin cried, and leapt at him. The chain clanked as it held him back. The overseer threw Lisana into Epiny. Both of them stumbled, and fell on Colette.


    “Get up!” the overseer taunted. “C’mon, get up!” Colette struggled to get out from under the two other girls. “Lazy, aren’t we?” The overseer kicked Colette, making her fall back.


    “You piece of shi t!” Marcus shouted. “How dare you!” He was closer to the overseer than Sin was, and his fist collided with the man’s jaw.


    “Marcus, no!” Epiny shrieked.


    “Why you!” the man fumed. “I’ll have you flogged for this!”


    “Leave him be,” Cole hissed.


    “Ah, the silent man speaks!” the overseer chortled. “I suppose you can stop me, 24601?”


    Cole nodded. “I can. First, I’ll break both your legs, so can’t get away. And then I’ll break your fingers, one by one. From there, I’ll move onto the wrists. And then your arms. And once that’s all said and done, I’ll snap your neck.”


    “Big talk. Can you back it up?”


    “Probably, but I don’t have to. John will do it for me.”


    The big man slammed the overseer’s head with the flat of his axe. “How dare you hurt my daughter! Were I not a man of honor, I’d kill you here and now!”


    “Oh, just stop it already!” another prisoner moaned. “You’ll get us all in trouble!”


    James glared at the man. “Are you kidding? Every day this man abuses us to the point of criminality, and you want to defend him?”


    “What is the meaning of this?” A group of guards had arrived on the scene. A pack of Mightyena snapped at their heels. They saw Cole’s group gathered around the fallen overseer. “Who has done this?”


    Marcus walked out as far as his chain would allow. “This man, no, this monster, was brutalizing the women! How can you allow this? He deserves to be flogged!”


    One of the men, who wore the striped shirt of Aqua, raised an eyebrow. “So you say you were in the right beating him to a bloody pulp?”


    “We only hit him with an axe,” Cole said softly. “He had it coming.”


    One of the grunts, a woman with dark hair, glanced at her fellows. “Well, Group 13 does have the best output rate in camp. And we all knew Koyev was an idiot. I don’t think they should be flogged. It’ll hurt production.”


    One of them, a Magma admin that Cole recognized, sneered. “Looks like I won’t be able to break out my whip today.”


    “Oh, shut it Gregor. Tell you what. These three will… be banned from the next three meals. A little hunger in their stomachs might mellow them out. Well? What are you standing around for? Back to work! We’ll have you a new overseer tomorrow. Until then, I expect these logs split!”


    The guards turned and walked away, dragging Koyev behind them. Group 13 was left to finish their work unsupervised.


    Cole’s axe once again thudded into the bark, and then he shook his head. “Listen everyone. Just move this out of sight. And the rest of them too. We can use them later.”


    The prisoners in their gang looked at him suspiciously. Cole nodded. “There’s a gully a little ways away. We’re chained to each other, but that’s all. We’re not fixed to a post or whatever. If we work together, we can move these fallen trees out of sight, and then use them to build a palisade.”


    The workers pushing the logs to a distance a mile away took up the remainder of the day. Then, they worked in tandem to raise them up, and supported them with other logs and stones in their vicinity. The display of defiance against Koyev seemed to have given the members of Group 13 heart. They complied with Cole’s commands.


    John had the strength of a Machamp, levering a pillar all on his own. This superhuman feat drew a round of quiet applause from the work gang, but it was quickly hushed for fear of discovery.


    Epiny, Marcus and Colette finished propping up the final log, and Marcus glanced at Cole. “We might have a shot now.”


    Cole crossed his arms. “Maybe. Maybe not. We still need weapons. Start collecting pipes, rods, anything. Rocks, too, for throwing. When we get a chance, we can bring them to the Palisade. And then, when we’re ready, we can fight back in earnest.”


    He looked at the other prisoners. “Spread the word in the dining hall, but keep it quiet. The Rebellion has begun.”


    Somewhere deep inside Cole, the old spirit of the Firebrand stirred.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Braven Town, Orian
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Wow...this is really amazing. Your writing style is absolutely brilliant. I'm from the Review Exchange, and so, here are my comments:

    Team Aqua and Team Magma - no idea what's going on, which is the thrill. All I know is that you are fighting. This is exactly the setting I crave when I read, in the middle of a war, or something of the sort, with the start of a rebellion.

    I also have a high respect for your idea of the "Look Down" song in the most recent chapter, it helps establish the mood of depression that is necessary for the rebellion to become exciting and interesting.

    I truly can't wait for more.
    *Subscribed!*

    Devil's Apprentice
    CREATOR OF
    [IMG]http://i53.*******.com/9uxgy1.png[/IMG]
    Fan Fiction - Click to Goto Thread

    [IMG]http://i52.*******.com/b7cbbk.jpg[/IMG]
    10 - 13 - 11

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Fallen Fire

    Barracks 6 soon became the hub of the Rebellion. Messages would be passed in code from work group to work group, eventually making their way to Cole’s circle of command. A similar arrangement had been formed with Barracks 12, where the group’s women slept.

    Cole sat back against the wooden bunk frame. “What’s the news?”

    Sin smiled. “Group 8’s sections are prepared.”

    “Group 3 is straining at the leash,” Marcus added.

    “Cooks, workers, everyone, there’s a river on the run,” James rhymed. “Like the flowing of a tide, the camp is carving to our side!”

    John nodded. “The time is near. So near, it’s stirring the blood in their veins. But yet beware. Don’t let the lust go to their brains.”

    Cole stood. “Yes, the army we fight is a dangerous foe. With the men and the pokemon we never can match. Oh, it’s easy to sit here and talk. But the actual deed will be hard, harder than you can know.”

    Sin jumped up. “We need a sign! To rally the people! To call them to arms! To draw them in line!”

    James glanced at Cole. “You. The Firebrand. What better symbol of their freedom than the famed war hero?”

    “I left that life behind.”

    “It can’t seem to leave you alone,” John replied. “It seems you were born for this sort of thing.”

    Cole stalked away. “I’m done with war. I’m just going to get you out of here, call in the Journeymen, and get out. I can bear to do what I did in the Omega War again. There’s enough blood on these hands.”

    Sin moved to go after him, but John shook his head. “Let him go. He needs time to cool off.”

    Marcus looked at John. “Can I speak to you privately for a moment?”

    John shrugged. “I suppose. You won’t find much privacy here, but I’ll keep it as low as you want.”

    “Please, sir. Let me be frank. I do believe… rather… Oh, Arceus, how to put it words?! You must forgive me, John, but I think I’m in love with Colette!”

    John smiled wryly. “I thought you and Epiny…”

    “She is a childhood friend, nothing more.”

    “I wonder if she feels the same…”

    Marcus clasped John’s shoulders. “Please, man! Give me your blessing! I don’t know if we’ll survive this! I must know if you approve!”

    John gently removed Marcus’s hands. “Colette is her own woman. If she chooses you, then I respect her wishes. But in the end, I will give you my blessing. Are you satisfied with that response?”

    “A thousand times yes!”

    Sin glanced at Cole, and followed after him, ignoring John’s advice. “You know, what you said earlier. About how they have pokemon and we don’t… If we only had Charizard or Masamune or something, I’m sure it would make all the difference. I bet we can find where Magma and Aqua are keeping them!”

    Cole shook his head. “I don’t know Sin. It’ll be tough, for sure. And I won’t risk anyone doing it. I think we’ll just keep doing what we can for now.”

    ***

    The next day, as they mined ore, John decided to sing a song of defiance instead of the usual subservience. “Follow my lead when you pick up the words,” he hissed to Julia.

    Then, he raised his voice so that all could hear. “Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drum, there is new life about to start, when tomorrow comes!”

    Marcus began. “Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Will you give all you can give so that the banner may advance? Some will die and some will live. Will you stand up and take your chance?”

    “The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of Hoenn!” Lisana sang.

    Then, the entire work gang broke out into the chorus John and Epiny had written, singing at the top of their lungs. “Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is new life about to start, when tomorrow comes!

    “Such petty defiance,” someone drawled behind them.

    Shi t,” Epiny hissed. Cole ventured a glance over his shoulder. Jasper walked behind them, his shined boots clicking as they struck the rock. He looked at Group 13, and Group 5, who labored on the opposite side.

    “Did you really think singing would change your fates?” Jasper asked conversationally. His eyes were like daggers. “Did you think these defiant words could save you? Don’t you think I know you’re planning a rebellion? Do you take me for a fool? And I know just who’s behind it!”

    “Please,” John murmured as Jasper walked past. “We were just singing. It makes the hours go by. Sir.” He spat the last word like a curse.

    “Oh, really? Just innocent words, you say? Liar!” He struck John with a cudgel.

    “Papa!” Colette cried.

    “It’s all right,” Marcus muttered beside her. “Everything is going to be all right. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.”

    Jasper slunk through the ranks, joined by several operatives of both Teams Magma and Aqua. “Yes, I know just who started this rebellion, who is giving my prisoners false hope!”

    Damn, damn, damn! Cole thought. I’m finished! They’ll kill me!

    “And it is you, sir! The Firebrand!”

    Cole waited for the hands to descend, to drag him away as they dragged away Fredrick. But they never came. He turned, and saw the grunts holding a man with hair much like his, of his build, and his size.

    “Yes!” Jasper crowed. “It’s the Firebrand! I’ve caught the Firebrand! Oh, won’t Maximillian be pleased!”

    Cole couldn’t believe it. A man who looked so like him, in the same camp. And now he’d be dragged away, to meet Cole’s fate. He was saved. By an innocent man. Who would suffer in his place…

    “He thinks that man is you,” Lisana whispered.

    “He knew him at a glance,” Epiny added.

    “This stranger he has found…” Sin’s face was a mask of disbelief. “This man could be our chance.”

    Cole heard almost none of this. He had retreated into his own mind, silently murmuring to himself. “Why should I save his hide? Why should I right this wrong? I’ve come so far. We’ve struggled for so long! If I speak I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned…

    “I am the leader of the Rebellion; all of these people, they all look to me! Can I abandon them? How can they go on if I am not free? If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent I am damned…”

    He shook his head, dispelling his doubts. “Who am I? Can condemn this man to slavery? Pretend I do not see his agony? This strange man who bears my face, who goes to judgment in my place? Who am I, that I conceal myself forever more? Pretend I’m not the man I was before? Must I lie? How can I ever face my fellow men? How can I ever face myself again?”

    Cole straightened his back. “Who am I?” Then aloud, “Who am I? I’m Cole Culain!”

    Seeing the shocked look on the admin’s face Cole grinned. “So Jasper, you see it’s true! This man bears no more guilt than you! Who am I?

    I'm the Firebrand!”

    “24601?” Jasper’s face went from shock to awe to contentment. “Firebrand, at last. We see each other plain.”

    Then, he turned to his guards. “Seize him!”

    As Cole was unhinged from his chain gang, he glowered at Jasper. “What, no song? We could have done a duet, you know. A very good one, where you flesh out your tragic troubled past, as I muse on what the future will bring and on my ultimate fate, at the end of which I elude you once again.”

    “Shut up,” Jasper rasped. He backhanded Cole, silencing him effectively. Sin and Marcus, ever the loyal friends, started forward, but Jessie and Epiny held them back.
    “Please,” Cole whispered. “Let me at least say goodbye to my friends.”

    Jasper sneered. “So that you can pass along secret plans? You must think me mad.”

    “In mercy’s name, two minutes is all I need! I just want to say goodbye. I’ll probably never see them again!”

    “Anything you wish to say, you can say in my presence.” He motioned for Cole’s fellows to come closer. With a clanking of chains, they complied.

    Cole sighed, his mind racing on how to pass the torch on. He met John eye to eye, and tried to convey his thoughts as best he could with that gaze. “From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring. Renewed shall be the blade that was broken, the crownless shall again be king!”

    “Let me guess, next you’ll say ‘I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and if by life or death I can save you, I will’?” Jasper sneered.

    Cole rolled his eyes, but inwardly he winced. He had hoped Jasper wouldn’t catch the reference. Then, he sighed. “Look. Just… keep singing, okay? It’ll help the days go by.”

    Jasper tapped his watch with a flourish. “All right, time’s up. Take him away, boys.”

    Cole was dragged between two burly Aqua operatives. Colette buried her face in Marius’s shoulder, as did Epiny. Julia refused to meet Cole’s eye. Lisana clutched Sin’s hand. John had a look of grim determination, while James and Jessie could only wave solemnly. Winona looked at Cole, and her gaze spoke volumes. “I’m sorry,” she mouthed.

    “Goodbye,” Cole mouthed back.



    There's a lot of Les Mis goodness in here. Cookies for every reference you spot. Also, a rather obvious nod to Lord of the Rings again.
    Also, a warning. This is where things get really gritty from now on.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 19th August 2011 at 5:12 PM.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Echoed Past

    Cole hung limply. He had been chained for… a long time. His arms and legs were fastened to the wall. He felt like a Staryu. Jasper strode into Cole’s dungeon, his heels clicking rhythmically against the concrete. Cole glanced up and sighed.

    “A dungeon, huh? A little old fashioned for my taste. But I suppose it has the proper gravitás…”

    “Silence!” Jasper snapped. “You have a very important visitor, one who has been wanting to meet you for a long time. Best behavior.”

    Cole glowered at the man. “Jasper. One day, somehow, I’m going to get out of here. And when I do, you’ll pay for your crimes.”

    “My crimes?” Jasper roared. “Firebrand, you have committed grave offenses! It is by your hand my brothers were killed!”

    “The only man I’ve ever killed is Ghetsis!”

    Jasper drew a riding croft from his belt and lashed Cole across the cheek. The Firebrand sucked in a breath. That hurt, damn it! Jasper drew closer. “My two brothers were in Team Omega! They died in your war!”

    Cole took a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself, to keep the high ground. “They made their choice. What happened to them after they donned the black is no concern of mine. And I'll thank you to never again refer to it as my war. I may have ended it, but I did not start it.”

    “I heard what you wanted to do!” Jasper screamed. “You were to engage Red or Ghetsis in single combat! My brothers’ deaths were the result of your cowardice!”

    “I was adamant in meeting one of them in single combat. It was not that I was a coward, Jasper. Rather, my friends were headstrong. Truly, I’m sorry about what happened to your brothers. Many people and pokemon died that day. My own pokemon perished.”

    Jasper hit Cole’s other cheek. “You think that’s good enough? That can ease the pain I feel?”

    “That’s enough, Jasper.”

    The camp admin whirled around. “O-Of course.” He bowed at the waist. “Please, come in.”

    The shadowed figure in the doorway scoffed. “I believe you should leave now, Jasper.”

    “Of course, sir. My lord. Your holiness.”

    “Sir will suffice, Jasper.”

    The man nodded and hurried out of the room. The man in the doorway stepped into the faint light of Cole’s prison. “Well hello, Firebrand. I trust you know who I am?”

    Cole lifted his aching head and took in the man before him. A tailored suit of red and black. Close cropped brown hair. A well-trimmed beard. A pendant around his neck with a red orb.

    “Maxie. It’s been a while since I kicked your sorry arse.”

    The leader of Team Magma smirked. “I’d be careful Cole. It seems I hold all the cards at the moment. A word from me could mean life or death for you.”

    Cole struggled to look as imposing as possible. Not an easy task when one is chained to the wall, dressed in a grungy prison uniform and half starved. “Listen Maxie. You can laugh now, but soon enough the Journeymen are going to come down and ruin all your fun. I’ve already called them.”

    Maxie smiled wanly. “I doubt it. I know you’re bluffing, Firebrand. I’ve heard about your little leave of absence. You haven’t contacted any of your fellows in quite some time. People have already started referring to you as the Lost Leader, the Fallen Star. But it matters not. Your friends can come, but we will destroy them.”

    “We took down Ghetsis and Omega. They can take you and Captain Archie Sparrow, too.”

    “Archie Sparrow? His last name is Stern.”

    “Like, Jack Sparrow? From the movie? Eh, forgive me if my witty comments are a little lax. I’m a little tied up right now.”

    Maxie shook his head. “Cole, listen to me. Ghetsis was an ambitious man. So is Archie. While they used that ambition to rise to great power, I am of a more practical sort. Zekrom chose you because of your ideals. Well, I have ideals too.”

    He tapped the orb around his neck. “Do you see this? This controls Groudon. While Archie may wish to use Kyogre and Rayquaza as war machines, I have greater purpose in mind. Sea levels are rising, Cole. We both know that. In a few hundred years, maybe sooner than that, there won’t be any land left. But with Groudon’s power, I can ensure that there will be land. Plenty of it. I can raise roads from the seafloor, enhancing trade through troubled seas. I can cut through the darkest storm, bring light to the furthest corners of the earth.

    Can’t you see what I’m trying to accomplish? In the end, it's for the greater good. Think of what I'm doing as a cull. The strong will survive this ordeal, and be made stronger because of it. The weak will fall, because they didn't deserve to stand in the first place. When only the strong, the wise, the worthy are left, I will rise up against Archie, and take the power for my own. I'll rule over a better world.”

    “I hardly see why you feel the need to justify your case to me. I’m your prisoner.” What Cole left unsaid was the deranged, naive logic Maxie had to have to believe that would work. The strong would crush the weak simply because they could, not because of any divine right. There was nothing honorable about what he planned. The young man scoffed.

    Maxie stepped closer, and placed a hand on Cole’s arm. “It hurts, doesn’t it? The chains? I can get them to take them off.” He spoke comfortingly, and Cole was rather surprised. “Cole, join me. You are a master of fire types. All the world knows that. And you’re a proficient user of many other types as well. If you join me, I can make you a general. An entire army, yours to command! Don’t you want that? Together we can conquer the world!”

    Cole recoiled as much as he was able. “Why is it that the bad guy always tries to bring the dashing, valiant hero to his side?”

    Maxie shrugged. “I assume it must be because the ‘bad guy’ recognizes his adversary’s skill and seeks to have some measure of control over it.”

    Cole spat at Maxie’s feet. “Well, screw that. I’m not joining you, Maxie. Get the hell outta my dungeon.”

    Maxie nodded. “I see. You always were a defiant one… Well, I’ll be on my way then. I expected better from you.” He turned a fraction and smiled knowingly.

    “I expected better from my son.”

    “What?” Cole cried. But Maxie was gone.

    The Firebrand retreated into his mind. How was this possible? One of the most nefarious men in the world was his father? His! He had dedicated his life to ridding the world of people like Maxie!

    He stayed in this blockade of denial for hours. Maybe days. A grunt in an Aqua uniform appeared to pour a bowl of water down his throat. Cole barely recognized the man’s presence. The room he was in had no windows. He had no idea how much time passed. But Cole was silent. He never said a word.

    Finally, a muffled boom broke the utter stillness of his dungeon. Was that the Rebellion? Were they out there fighting even now? Were his friends dying, as he stood chained to this wall?

    Another boom, this time closer. The concrete blocks that made up the wall shook with the force. Finally, a third boom, this one very loud. The space just a few feet down the wall from him exploded into dust.

    A figure emerged from the dust, coughing and waving its hand to clear the air. “Really, Hamlet, you must work on your aim.”

    “Magnus?!” Cole gasped.

    The man turned with a grin. “Ah! Cole! There you are, boy! Come on, get down from there! We have to go! Your journey awaits!”

    “Magnus… I’m chained to the wall. And how did you get here?”

    “Don’t be a fool! I can use the Gates, too, you know! And of course, of course, we’ll get you down, won’t we?”

    A blur shot by Cole, followed by the clatter of his chains descending to the ground. Another rush of air, and he was stopped mid-fall. “Scathatch!” Cole cried with delight. “Did you show Magnus where I was?”

    Athena poked her head out of Scathatch’s hair. “Yup! We ran like you said! We hid in the forest for a while, and then Magnus appeared next to us, and told us to come here! There’s a lot of fighting going on!”

    “The Rebellion,” Cole grinned. “Where’s Chifumi?”

    “Out in the woods. She convinced the wild pokemon to go help. She’ll go back to Sin when this is over.”

    Magnus tossed a bundle he had concealed under his cloak to Cole. “Here, take this, boy.” Cole grabbed it in the air. It was his pack, his clothes, his duster and his belt harness!

    He quickly changed out of his prison clothes, and threw on his traveling gear. He returned Scathatch, and checked to make sure all of his pokemon were safe and in order.
    Magnus gestured to the hole in the wall. “Come. Your journey must continue. The next Gate is at Mount Pyre. I’ll take you there.”

    “But…” Cole protested. “My friends…”

    “Will be fine without you. Didn’t you say you didn’t want to fight any more wars, anyway?”

    “Never to you,” Cole muttered, but followed Magnus out of the hole, out of the prison, and into the evening air.

    Screams were everywhere. Men and women in prisoner garb and Magma and Aqua uniforms ran helter skelter. Prisoners pelted grunts with rocks and lashed out with steel pipes. Team operatives charged their pokemon to attack prisoners. Others lashed out with whips.

    Magnus grabbed Cole’s arm. “Come on, let’s go. We can’t fly, Rayquaza’s somewhere in the upper air. We’ll have to run!”

    Cole followed close behind the older man, who ran at a very brisk pace. They ducked through a hole that had been ripped in the fence, and ran as hard as they could for about two miles.

    Mount Pyre rose in the distance, a lightning storm flashing around the peak. Magnus hissed through his teeth. “Look there, see all the flying types? I’ll bet that Archie has stationed himself there with Kyogre. This will make our lives a hell of a lot tougher.”

    Cole could only stare straight ahead. “What have I done? Arceus, what have I done?”

    “What are you talking about, boy?”

    “I’ve become like a thief in the night, a dog on the run! Have I fallen so far that nothing remains but the cry of my hate? The cries in the dark that nobody hears?”

    Magnus seemed to realize Cole was ranting, consumed by guilt at leaving his friends behind. “If there’s another way to go, you missed eight years ago!”

    Cole stared hard at the old man, but didn’t really see him. “My life is a war that could never be won! They gave me a number! They murdered Cole! They chained me and left me for dead, just for getting in over my head!”

    It seemed to Magnus that years of pain and guilt and agony were finally catching up to Cole. The young man shook his head. “How could I allow that man to get to me? He gave my life! He called me ‘son’! My life he claims! Can such things be?”

    “Snap out of it!” commanded Magnus. “Come on, we must go!”

    Cole turned on his heel, looking back at the camp, still muttering. “Take an eye for an eye! Turn your heart into stone! War is all that I live for! Battle is all that I know!” He began to sprint away, back from where he had come from.

    “One word from him and I’d be damned,” Cole continued, muttering to himself. “Beneath the lash, upon the rack. Instead he offered me freedom. I feel my shame like a knife… He called me ‘son’! What madness is this? Is there another way to go?”

    He stared hard into the night. “I’ll escape now from my past. Cole is nothing now. Only the Firebrand can go on!” He pumped as hard as he could, his legs flying over the dry, dying grass.

    “Cole, where are you going?” Magnus shouted, his robes flying out around him in a sudden gale.

    “Back!” the Firebrand cried. “I’m going to free the pokemon! And then… it’s war!”



    Cole's ranting monologue at the end is from the Les Mis song What Have I Done?
    Last edited by Firebrand; 22nd August 2011 at 7:52 PM.

  10. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    786

    Default

    Whas that son part a Star Wars reference?
    Anyway, I liked this chapter, keep them going.
    Though there's one thing I keep wondering about. Weren't Maxie and Archie imprisoned after the Omega War? And how is it possible that this war started so short after the other and Cole didn't knew about it? There could've been some communication between the regions, or do I just totally not get the picture? (which is very well possible...)

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default

    It's supposed to be a tie-in to Xman96's Pokemon Professor X, in which Archie and Maxie break out of prison and harness the power of the weather trio. However, he's taking a break from fic writing at the moment, so I'm just setting the stage.
    Also, keep in mind that Hoenn has been on lockdown, with little news getting out, and Cole was on his journey for about six weeks prior.

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    786

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Feralninja View Post
    It's supposed to be a tie-in to Xman96's Pokemon Professor X, in which Archie and Maxie break out of prison and harness the power of the weather trio. However, he's taking a break from fic writing at the moment, so I'm just setting the stage.
    Also, keep in mind that Hoenn has been on lockdown, with little news getting out, and Cole was on his journey for about six weeks prior.
    Okay, thanks, it explains a lot. I suppose I'll have to wait for the breakout then

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Call To Arms

    John glanced at Marcus and Sin. “This is it.”

    “Today’s the day.”

    ”We’ll only get one shot at this.”

    John looked at Julia. “Do you have the picks?”

    “Already took care of James and the women. You three are the last ones.” She ducked low, and with a few clicks of some sharpened metal tools, the chains around John, Sin and Marcus’s legs fell away.

    Marcus cracked his knuckles. “Let’s do this.”

    The entire Group 13 turned on their overseer. “Hey!” the woman cried, panic etched onto her face. “Wh-What’s going on? Where are your shackles?”

    “Shut up,” Jessie growled, and clubbed her with a concealed lead pipe. The woman fell with a thud. Sin wondered if she was dead, and then was only vaguely surprised that he didn’t actually care.

    The group of workers nodded to the other work crews around them, and they procured their own picks. Their chains fell away, and some scattered to go help their fellows. The rest sprinted to the palisade in the forest, drawing pipes, crowbars and hammers from beneath their clothes, and striking down any Magma and Aqua grunts that dared stand before them.

    John snapped his fingers at Sin, Marcus, Winona and Julia. “You lot. With me. The rest of you, get to the barricade. Let’s make the Firebrand proud.”

    They stalked through the camp, and as they passed their fellow prisoners, a chant began. “We are the point! We are the edge! We are the ones that the Firebrand led! We are the point! We are the edge! We are the ones that the Firebrand led!”

    ***

    Jasper sipped his coffee and glanced up. “What is that racket?”

    His aide raced into the room. “Sir! The prisoners! They’re revolting!”

    “What?!” Jasper roared. He hurled the small table where he sat at the wall, where it splintered. He grabbed his pokéball harness and began barking orders.

    “Get Registeel! Arm the guards! Full alert! I want this rebellion squashed!”

    “Sir,” his aide mumbled. “They have demands.”

    “What right do they have to demands?!”

    “They’ve taken hostages sir. They say that they will kill them if you do not parley. Should I alert Archibald and Maximillian?”

    “No!” Jasper cried. “I’ll crush this before word reaches them!” Then, he paused a beat, considering his options. He growled. “Fine! I’ll parley!” He stalked out to his lavish foyer. “Where are their emissaries?”

    “Down there, sir.” The aide pointed at a group of five prisoners standing before the garrison. They were singing. Before, Jasper had enjoyed their hopeless chanting, but now it infuriated him to no end.

    “Look down, and see the beggars at your feet! Look down and show some mercy if you can!” they chorused up to him.

    “You’ll get no mercy from me! I’ll fix your bloody heads on stakes!”

    “Look down and see the sweepings of the streets! Look down, look down upon your fellow man!”

    One man, the one called John, stepped forward. His muscles bulged against his prison uniform, and despite his age, he radiated power. “Surrender now, Jasper! Every prisoner in this camp has turned against you and yours! Your defeat is imminent!”

    “You doddering old fool!” Jasper roared down. “You think that my camp guards are my only resource? Even with them we far outnumber you, and we have pokemon!”

    “Actually,” the second man, Marcus, growled, “your guards are all you have. You can’t go to the brass for help. How pathetic would that look, the mighty Warden Jasper, cowed by a bunch of prisoners?”

    Jasper hissed through his teeth. “I’m told you have demands? Speak them!”

    “Freedom for our people!” Winona cried. “You have no right to do this! You are a monster!”

    “And the Firebrand released to us!” Sin added.

    Jasper smirked. Why not crush their hopes a little bit? “The Firebrand is dead.”

    “You bastard!” Marcus roared.

    He charged forward, only to be intercepted by two guards. With a swing of a pipe, he felled both of them, and rushed onward. Jasper pulled his aide in front of him, using her as a human shield.

    “You’re worse than trash!” Sin cried, running to Marcus’s side.

    “Regiiiii…”

    “Get down, you idiots!” Julia shrieked, and not a moment too soon.

    Sin and Marcus had just dropped to their stomachs on the dirt when a gigantic pulse of white light shot across the air where they had just stood. The possessed Registeel loomed up behind Jasper.

    The overseer chuckled as Sin and Marcus got to their feet and moved to John’s side. Jasper shrugged. “I’m a man of my word, and I won’t violate the terms of parley. If I am not attacked, I will not send Registeel on you again, at least until we have adjourned.

    John glared at the man. “We have. I see there is no reasoning with you. The next time we meet, it will be on the battlefield.”

    Jasper nodded. “I see.” He thrust his aide away. “Marshal the men. We will destroy your petty resistance by nightfall. You will burn away like your precious Firebrand.”

    Winona snarled. “Cole isn’t dead! We’d know if he was!”

    Jasper smiled again, a feral grin. “Oh, he is most certainly dead. His blood is on this hand!” He brandished his right arm.

    Bastard!” Julia shouted, and hurled a stone at him. The round object struck Jasper in the forehead, knocking him back. “Now my friends, we run.”

    They sprinted for the cover of the forest, Jasper roaring orders behind them. The growls, snarls and blood-hungry cries of pokemon filled the air. Men and women shouted orders, and Sin tightened his grip on his own length of iron, and whirled on his heel, suddenly overcome with a rush of bravado. He grabbed Julia’s wrist with his free hand.

    “Sing with me.”

    “What song?”

    “Something defiant, but brief. I want to rub salt in the wound, but I don’t want us to get killed.”

    The slightly older woman nodded, and stood by Sin. Together they cried out. “At the end of the day it’s another day dawning! And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise! The waves crash on the sand! The chains will be shattered, and there’s gonna be hell to pay! At the end of the day!”




    The way I wrote this chapter made it massive, over twelve pages long. So I broke it up into two parts. Expect the next chapter sometime in the near future. Also... a good amount of Les Mis nods here, mostly from Act I.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 25th August 2011 at 3:43 PM.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default First Attack

    Lisana clutched at a round stone in her hand as she stood at the edge of the palisade. “Are you sure you want to be here?” Sin asked her, his voice full of concern.

    James nodded his assent. “Some of the other prisoners have taken shelter in a cave deeper in the forest. It’s more defensible than the front line.”

    Lisana looked at the two of them. “No. If everyone here is going to fight, then I will too.”

    “But, Lisana!”

    “No, Sin. I’ll fight by your side.”

    James smiled. “Jessie said much the same.”

    Down on the ground below, Marcus took Colette aside as she and some of the others made preparations for their flight into the forest. “Colette, please. A moment. I have something to say.”

    Colette blinked with innocent blue eyes. “Well… all right Marcus. But I’m rather busy here…”

    “It won’t take long. Just here me out.” He clasped her hand. “Colette… it’s very possible that I may not live through this. Hell, I might be dead before dawn. So there’s something you need to know. Ever since that night in the truck, since I first laid eyes on you, I’ve loved you. You are the angel who has kept me going these weeks. I sought your father’s blessing, and he has accepted me. Colette, I love you, and I would die for you, so that you may live.”

    Colette hugged Marcus tight. “Marcus! I… I love you too! But don’t think of me as something to die for… rather, something to live for. Here,” she stammered, taking a handkerchief probably intended to be used as a bandage from her waist. “Knights in the Old Stories carried favors from their betrothed. So carry this. For me.”

    Marcus grimly knotted the cloth around his forearm, and kissed Colette on the cheek. “Until we meet again, my lady. Fly now, with the wind behind you!”

    A few meters away, tears of rage and jealousy burned unnoticed in Epiny’s eyes.

    Julia stood next to Winona and John near the edge of the palisade. She slapped a bowie knife, stolen from a grunt, against her palm. “Looks like Sin and I pissed them off real bad.”

    “Rage blinds a man,” John replied. “Perhaps in their haste and anger they will make a fatal misstep.”

    Winona lowered her eyes. “Whatever happens, they have pokemon and we don’t. We have the distinct disadvantage here. Oh, Swellow! Where are you?”

    John placed a paternal hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry. Once this is over, we’ll find them. Until then, be ready.”

    Winona nodded, and drew a lead pipe. “Let’s take some heads.”

    John climbed up the ladder to the top of the barricade. The Magma and Aqua host mustered in the distance. He turned to his troops and raised his voice. “Here upon these stones we have built our barricade, in the heart of the forest we claim as our own! Each man to his duty, and don’t be afraid!”

    Sin looked at him. “Wait! We’ll need a report on the strength of the foe! We can outlast the first salvo, but after that we’ll need an edge.”

    A man climbed up to stand next to them. “I can find out the truth! I know their ways! I’ll sneak behind their lines and get their movements.”

    John nodded. “You’re a brave man… uh…”

    “Kain.”

    “Yes, Kain. You are a brave man. We have taken some uniforms from our hostages. See if one fits you. And godspeed, man. We’ll hold for the night perhaps, but after that…”

    Kain nodded, and departed into the dusky light of the forest. James looked out. “Everyone to battle stations! They’ll be here soon!”

    John nodded grimly. “Aye, and be ready!” He drew his hammer.

    They stood atop the palisade, the one they had built with the Firebrand, by the sweat of their brow and the strength of their backs. “Now we pledge ourselves to hold this barricade!”

    “Let their legions come!” Marcus cried. “They will be met!”

    “Have faith in yourselves, don’t be afraid,” James shouted.

    Sin leaned forward. “Let’s give ‘em a screwing they’ll never forget!”

    “This is where it begins!” John hollered, and the prisoners shouted a wordless battle call. “Let them come if they dare! We’ll be there!”

    As if a spell was cast, a great clamor arose in the distance. The thudding of claws, feet and fins reverberated through the forest. A scythe of energy cut through the trees, revealing Jasper standing before Registeel. Grunts and enemy pokemon snarled behind them.

    “Charge!” Jasper called.

    They surged forward, rushing towards the barricade. “Strike the fire types with stones!” John shouted. “They mustn’t burn the barricade!”

    “Ready… launch!” Sin shouted. A hail of stones descended on the approaching pokemon. Some tried to break ranks and flee, but the cracking whips of their trainers behind them drove them forward.

    “Come on then, close the gates!” Jessie shrieked. The giant slabs of wood they used to open and close their ragtag fortress started to slam shut. Winona peered out from the top. “Troops behind the pokemon fifty men or more!”

    “Ready… launch!” Sin shouted again. Stones rained down again. Some brave souls rappelled down from the wall to hold the line with pipes and steel. Sin and Lisana quickly joined them, beating at rock, ground and dark types as Magma’s fire types sought to regroup.

    Jasper raised a megaphone. “Hey you on the barricade listen to this!” His eyes burned with manic fire. “No one is coming to help you to fight! You’re on your own! Give up, or die! If you surrender, you will be shown mercy!”

    James turned to the stone-throwers. “Damn their warnings, hang their lies! They will hear the people rise!”

    Julia echoed the cheer, changing it just slightly. “Damn their warnings, hang their lies! They will see the people rise!”

    Soon, all the throwers were shouting it, and used it as their rhythm for casting down their missiles. However, down at the base of the palisade, a different cry resounded.
    “We are the point, we are the edge, we are the ones that the Firebrand led!” Sin chanted this as he beat a Camerupt back with his pipe. Lisana was busy fending off the razor-edged teeth of a Sharpedo. Sin tossed his ‘sword’ into his left hand, and used the right to fumble in the pouch on his waist.

    His hand wrapped around one of the stones he carried, and he hurled it with all his might at Lisana’s assailant. “Take that!” he hollered.

    The stone whizzed through the air, and struck Sharpedo on the nose. The shark screamed in indignation, and fled. A trumpeting cut Sin’s triumph short. A pack of Donphan could be glimpsed in the distance, rolling closer. With their momentum, they could decimate the rebellion’s ranks, and do terrible damage to the palisade. Magma and Aqua forces pulled back, allowing the Donphan a clear alley.

    Winona and James whistled from the barricade. They tossed down several sharpened spars of wood. Sin caught one, as did other fighters. “Jam them into the ground! We need a pike line!” Winona cried.

    Sin nodded, and gripped his tightly. Then, as the Donphan drew closer, he drove it into the ground. Some distance away, Lisana did the same. Now the approaching creatures were met, not with an open plain, but a bristling line of spears.

    Some turned away in time, but other Donphan were not so lucky. The toughness of their hide prevented them from serious injury, and the spears were not as durable as metal, so many snapped. But still the Donphan obtained many gouges and punctures, driving them into fear and retreat.

    Atop the wall, Marcus let out a cry of victory. “We got ‘em on the run, boys! Now, charge!”

    The gates of the barricade were thrust open, and a hundred and fifty angry prisoners ran forth, brandishing whatever rough weaponry they could find. They ran at the retreating grunts, and set upon them in a murderous rage. The prison guards were forced to use their pokemon’s special attacks to keep the prisoners at bay as they stumbled back to the open area before the forest.

    “Here we make our stand!” John bellowed as loudly as an Exploud. “They flee before our might! Give them something to fear!”

    “We are the point! We are the edge! We are the ones that the Firebrand led!”

    Marcus, Sin and Lisana led the charge, holding aloft their weapons. “Come on!” Jasper shouted from behind his troops. “Don’t break lines! Get them!”
    And the two armies collided.

    When asked, no one really remembered what happened that night. To Sin, it became a blur of swinging arms, panicked faces, figures moving in the smoke of home-brewed explosives, and the occasional scream or yelp. Fire burned in his peripheral vision, scorching the earth. Sometimes a shout would go up, a command that no one heeded. This was beyond battle.

    This was war.

    There was no order, no flow. It was simply lashing out at whatever came close; anything he realized was an enemy. He might have killed many people that night, but Sin would never know. As soon as the threat passed, Sin moved on. Pokemon jumped at him, and attacked him. More than once, he instinctively called out for Dusty or Damin to come to his aid, before realizing they were gone.

    He fought alone.

    Lisana was sometimes at his side, offering what support she could. But they never spoke. They fought in grim silence, determined to survive the night. To Sin, Lisana appeared to be a brave warrior from the Old Stories, her blonde hair a brilliant corona of light, piercing through the chaos.

    Above his head, the stars slowly faded with the approaching dawn. “Retreat!” John shouted. “Pull back to the Palisade!”

    Sin suddenly became aware of how tired he was. He needed to rest his aching muscles. Beside him, Winona staggered and nearly fell into the dirt. He grabbed her wrist and hauled her up. “Come on. I’m not losing you now.”

    “Get them!” Jasper cried. “They’re tired! Get them!”

    A clamor of bodies was all Sin could recall from their hasty retreat. They shambled back into the forest, piling over each other in their haste. James and Marcus lifted Winona from his shoulders. The gate slammed shut, and someone placed wood and steel bars across it.

    Sin and Lisana clawed their way up the ladder to the top of the barricade, where John gazed out with his hands behind his back, still standing tall. He turned to face his haggard troops. They had suffered only a few casualties, but everyone would bear scars, both physical and mental. The cries of pokemon echoed from some distance away.

    “We survived, brave ones. We lasted the night.” John’s face seemed to have more lines in it. “Just one day more. Arceus, that’s all we need. One day more.” He sighed and leaned against the rough wood. “One day more. Another day, another destiny. This never-ending road of agony… These men will surely come a second time… one day more…”

    ***

    Marcus sighed wistfully. Even in his ragged, tired state, all he could think of was Colette. “I did not live until today. How can I live if we are parted?”

    ***

    “One day more…” John muttered again.

    ***

    Colette, from her defended cave deep within the forest, stared out at where she knew the palisade was. “Tomorrow you’ll be worlds away. And yet with you, my world has started…”

    ***

    In the shadow of the barricade, Epiny crept along, dodging the view of the Magma grunts on patrol. “One more day all on my own.”

    ***

    “Will we ever meet again?” Marcus wondered.

    ***

    “One more day with him not caring,” Epiny hissed.

    ***

    Colette sent out a silent prayer for Marcus’s safety. “I was born to be with you…”

    ***

    Sin moved to stand next to John, supporting him despite his tired body. “One more day before the storm.”

    Lisana looked at her brave friend. “Do I follow where he goes?”

    John nodded to them. “At the barricade of freedom-”

    “I will join my brothers here,” Sin affirmed.

    “When our ranks begin to form…”

    “Do I stay and do I dare?” Lisana muttered.

    Sin looked at Lisana, and stretched out a hand. He reached for a trusted friend, a beloved comrade. “Will you take your place with me?”

    ***

    Marcus and Sin caught the eyes of Julia and Winona, and said as one: “The time is now. The day is near.”

    ***

    John, lost in his own thoughts, cried out. “One day more!”

    ***

    Jasper, surrounded by his army, ranted to his commanders. “One more day to revolution, we will nip it in the bud! We’ll be ready for these fools! We will spill their precious blood!”

    ***

    “One day more…”

    ***

    Jessie glanced at James and smiled. “Watch ‘em run amuck, catch ‘em as they fall, never know your lot when there’s a free for all!”

    James grinned, feeling the old Rocket spirit rise within him. “Here a little dip! There a little touch! Most of them are goners so they won’t miss much!”

    ***

    Julia looked at her new friends. “One day to a new beginning!”

    “Raise the flag of freedom high!” Winona said back, strong and confident.

    “There’s a new world for the winning!”

    “There’s a new world to be won!”

    Lisana shouted out to Jasper, knowing full well he could not hear her, but feeling enlivened by it all the same. “Do you hear the people sing?”

    ***

    From far away, there came a mighty explosion, ripping apart the buildings constructed for the Magma and Aqua operations. Hundreds of figures ran from the resulting smoke, and all manner of shrieks and roars issued forth. The sound struck a note of pure terror in the hearts of all who heard it.

    One mighty roar sounded above the rest, and a column of red and orange fire shot high into the air. A Charizard flew from the smoke, and seated on his back was a young man in a flapping black leather duster. He led the procession of imprisoned pokemon through the enemy’s ranks, slicing through them like a knife through butter.
    His voice rang out, carrying over the forest. “My place is here! I fight with you!”

    John smiled. “Firebrand. You’re back.” The pokemon he had liberated drove towards the barricade, crying out for their trainers. The doors swung open, and the tide of creatures swept through. Shouts of joy went up as old friends were reunited.

    Cole landed next to John. “Tomorrow we’ll discover what our fate has in store.”

    John nodded. “One more dawn, one more day.”

    Lisana smiled. “One day more.”


    The song featured in this chapter is One Day More, but I have also included parts from "Upon these Stones" and it's redux.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 30th August 2011 at 2:54 PM.

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    427

    Default

    Hey, I just caught up on this story, and it's come along really well. I do have one question though, is Cole going to stay in Hoenn, or is he just going to lead this mini rebellion and then continue on?
    3DS FC:0533-4900-6084

    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in thier shoes, that way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have thier shoes.

    Shiny Expert: Xander
    After Xander loses the Unova League, he gets a mysterious call from Prof. Rowan saying that he must come back and see what he's found. Xander has no idea what's in store for him.

  16. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default

    No, this trip to Hoenn is nearly over. Cole will be traveling around the world for a while, though he may make one more trip to Hoenn, so I can squeeze in a little scene I want.

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Somewhere... No, I'm home.
    Posts
    197

    Default

    This fic is great. A bit sadic, but great.
    I'm chilean. I'm dislexic. But I can write in English. 73% of teenagers would cry if they saw Justin Bieber standing on top of a skyscraper about to jump. If you are the 27% sitting there with popcorn and 3D glasses, screaming "DO A BACKFLIP!", copy and paste this in your signature.
    This is Turtwig, he was the most under appreciated starter in Diamond & Pearl. If you picked Turtwig as your starter, put this in your sig. Started by Dax-360


    I've claimed Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories! One of the best GBA games. Got it memorized?

    I've claimed Duosion. Fear the cell.

  18. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DarknessInZero View Post
    This fic is great. A bit sadic, but great.
    It's not sadistic, it's MORBID :P

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Somewhere... No, I'm home.
    Posts
    197

    Default

    That is a point.
    I'm chilean. I'm dislexic. But I can write in English. 73% of teenagers would cry if they saw Justin Bieber standing on top of a skyscraper about to jump. If you are the 27% sitting there with popcorn and 3D glasses, screaming "DO A BACKFLIP!", copy and paste this in your signature.
    This is Turtwig, he was the most under appreciated starter in Diamond & Pearl. If you picked Turtwig as your starter, put this in your sig. Started by Dax-360


    I've claimed Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories! One of the best GBA games. Got it memorized?

    I've claimed Duosion. Fear the cell.

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Hero Rising

    Kain looked at all the assembled leaders of the resistance. “Listen my friends, I have done as I said. I have been to their lines, I have counted each man. I’ll tell what I can.” He took a deep breath. “Better be warned, they have armies to spare, the danger is real. We will need all our cunning to bring them to heel.”

    “Have faith,” John murmured. “If we know what their movements are we’ll spoil their game.”

    The Firebrand nodded. “There are ways that a people can rise. We will overcome their power.” He absently stroked Athena’s head.

    Sin noted that ever since Cole had returned, he had been very distant. He described his imprisonment in short, one sentence phrases, brusquely relaying that he had been chained in a cell in the basement of Jasper’s garrison, and an explosion in the fighting had freed him. He had met up with Athena and Scathatch, who had escaped initial capture, and retrieved the stolen pokemon. He dismissed any questions they had, saying the details were unimportant.

    Kain chewed his lower lip. “I have overheard their plans. There will be no attack tonight. They intend to starve us out before they start a proper fight. Then concentrate their force… hit us from the… right…”

    “Liar!” Garret, the small boy who had shared their barracks, sauntered over to the command table.

    The Firebrand glared at him quizzically, and Lisana cocked her head to the side. Garret strode up to Kain and doffed an imaginary cap. “Good morning dear inspector, lovely morning, my dear.” He turned to the commanders. “My friends I know this man, his name’s Captain Kain. So don’t believe a word he says, ‘cause none of it’s true.” Then he turned back to Kain. “This only goes to show what little people can do.”

    John and Marcus immediately grabbed Kain’s arms. “You little runt!” Kain roared. Any doubts as to what Garret had said were absolved. Kain tried to break free of the powerful hold, but to no avail. Garret’s Torchic and Zigzagoon glanced up from their position at their trainer’s heels.

    Garret crossed his arms. “Never kick the dog because he’s just a pup.”

    “I’ll show you!” Kain lashed out with his feet, and caught Garret in the chest. The boy fell back into Julia’s arms with an oof.

    His Torchic puffed up its feathers and began chirping angrily at Kain. The man smirked and kicked it too. Zigzagoon ran to Garret’s side, but Torchic trembled with anger. “Tor, tor, torchiiiii!”

    It glowed with a brilliant white light. Sin gasped. “It’s evolving! Oh, Kain, you’re screwed now!”

    The light cleared after a final brilliant flash, and it revealed… nothing. Torchic was gone. Then, there was a flash of red and yellow as Combusken slammed it’s claws into Kain’s abdomen. Kain crumpled in John’s grasp. Combusken turned and haughtily stalked away. It knelt by Garret and helped him to his feet.

    Marcus and John dragged Kain’s limp form up the palisade. “Hey Jasper!” John shouted, only half caring that the man probably couldn’t hear him. “Take your damn spy back!”

    They threw Kain over the edge, and watched as his body fell, fell, fell to the scarred ground below. There was a crunch, and then all was still. The Firebrand surveyed the broken form. “Dead, probably. Severe trauma at least.”

    Athena gazed up at him. “But… but…”

    “He was a bad man, Athena. He got what he deserved.”

    The Victini stared up at him. “You’re different now.”

    The Firebrand nodded. “I have to be. To get these people through. I have to embrace what I have tried so hard to repress. I’m sorry, Athena. Come on, let’s go check up on the Rockets.”

    He slid down the ladder and called Thor out. He leapt onto the Zebstrika bare-back. “Find James.” Thor nodded brusquely and cantered through the slightly open gates of the barricade.

    They galloped through the trees for some time. The Firebrand cocked his head, sensing something amiss. It took a little thinking to realize just what it was.
    The forest was silent.

    Even when they had been laboring out here, there had been at least some noise of wild pokemon, or even a breeze through the branches. But now, there was nothing.

    Absolute silence. It was as if the entire world was holding its breath.

    They found Jessie, James and Meowth shoveling with a crew of the less-injured workers. “All right, this one’s done!” James called. “Let those fools come and we’ll have some fun!”

    The Firebrand smiled, remembering the tearful reunion that morning when Meowth had been reunited with the two former Rocket agents. There had been hugging and crying enough to last for years. The feline glanced up as Thor approached. “Hey there, twerp.”

    “I’m hardly a twerp anymore, Meowth. I’m not the naive little kid I was six years ago. Not to mention I tower over you now.”

    “Ah, old habits die hard kid.”

    The Firebrand smiled. “Don’t I know it. What are you doing here again?”

    Jessie looked up. “Why, Firebrand! It’s our specialty! Pitfall traps!”

    The young man chewed his lip. “I don’t know… What if one of our allies falls into them? Or if we’re trying to retreat and we all fall? Then we would have serious problems.”

    Julia appeared out of the forest, riding sidesaddle on her Tauros, named Orrin. She brushed some of the bull’s mane in a manner quite unlike the hardened woman the Firebrand had come to know. “There won’t be any retreating this time,” she said softly. “This last battle will be a fight to the end. We have our pokemon back, so now we’re on the same ground as Magma and Aqua.”

    The Firebrand nodded. “I see. So these pitfalls, they’re just a precaution, in case they attack first?”

    “Yes.”

    Julia motioned for him to follow her, so the Firebrand got on Thor’s back once again. They rode to the fringes of the forest, where Jasper was marshalling his troops.

    “More arrived about an hour ago,” Julia reported. Orrin shook out his mane and pawed at the ground. His three tails whipped through the air angrily as he glared at the people who had separated him from his trainer.

    “Some came by truck, and others flew in,” Julia continued. “It seems Jasper has overcome his arrogance to realize that he needed the help.”

    The Firebrand nodded curtly. “Well, they may have the numbers advantage. But you fought them before and won. Now we have pokemon to aid us. I don’t think the circumstances have changed too much since last night.”

    “Well, someone needs to report that to John. What do you think, Cole? Are we going to attack again soon?”

    “I think so. Sundown is what I’ve heard.”

    Julia turned Orrin around. “Well, we’d best get some rest then. I haven’t slept since the revolution began.”

    On their way back to the Palisade, they met with Lisana and Kelrick, her Arcanine. She nodded to them, and reported that the pokemon of those who went away the night before to the fortified cave had arrived safely. They had set up a hospital for anyone who was severely injured, and some of the stronger pokemon were taking fighters there now. Winona was in charge of that.

    The Firebrand led them back to the gates, and they slipped inside. The Palisade itself was built in the apex of a ravine, so that it was impossible to get around it. One would have to scale a sheer rock face to get level with the wall, or trek two miles around through dangerously open territory, where the rebels could pick off the opposition at their leisure. It was a well-fortified post, and the rebels could hold up here for a time, if only they didn’t have such a desperate need of food.

    For too long they had been subsisting on a bare minimum of food given to them by the camp wardens. Now that they had escaped, it was only what they could scavenge. The wild pokemon had vanished from the forest, so they could not even hunt. John and Marcus had, after much consternation, ordered that all returned pokemon would have to fend for themselves if they needed food. There simply was not enough to go around.

    Pokeballs had some measure of life-support, but it was no substitute for proper nutrition. Many pokemon had been kept locked up for some time, and they were starting to show the signs of malnourishment. The Firebrand had seen this in his own pokemon, and it pained him. But there was nothing he could do.

    John and his Machoke met them as they entered. His Alakazam waited nearby, along with his Noctowl. He tied a letter to the leg of his Starly, and then threw it into the air. The little bird winged away to the northeast.

    “A letter to Colette,” he said with a smile. “I worry about her, even though she has her Umbreon and Kirlia to protect her now.”

    “A father’s compassion is nothing to be ashamed of,” Julia said.

    The Firebrand cringed at the word ‘father’. But no one knew… he had no reason to feel shame. And he would never tell anyone.

    “How is everyone holding up?” he asked John. “Are they sleeping in shifts like I ordered?”

    “Yes, they needed the rest. Julia, Lisana, you should go now. Your duties are done, and I’ll need you at sundown.” He smiled as the two women left, then his expression grew weary. “Cole, I haven’t slept in… I don’t know how long. And even then, I haven’t slept for more than two hours straight since I arrived here at this blasted camp.”

    “Get some sleep, John. You’ve earned it.”

    “You’re one to talk!” the man growled affectionately. “You’ve worked harder than I have today, and you had to deal with worse hunger than us, locked up like you were.”

    The Firebrand shook his head. “I still have… I’ve got… plenty of… energy… Get some… some sleep John. I’ll handle things… Sin… and I…”

    Then, he pitched forward. Thor cried out in alarm, and Athena shrieked, “Cole!”

    John and his Machoke caught him before he crashed into the ground. “Poor boy,” John murmured. “He’s run himself into the ground. Machoke, go let Sin know he’s in charge until Marcus reports back. You know the hand signal? Good. I’ll take our Firebrand here to the bunks.”

    ***

    He woke some hours later with Athena jabbing his arm. “Come on! Come on! It’s almost sundown! John was up hours ago, and everybody’s looking to you for orders. Let’s go!”

    The Firebrand nodded, and turned to Thor. The Zebstrika had slept beside his sleeping pad at the base of one of the cliffs, but the equine creature was now fully alert. The Firebrand swung up onto his back, foregoing a harness in case he and Thor got separated in the fighting. Such equipment would only hold the electric-type back.

    As he rode, he called out his other pokemon. Charizard soared over his head, while Scathatch, Maeve and Masamune loped alongside. They reached the ladder on the Palisade, and James motioned for him to climb up.

    In the dying light, the Firebrand saw the rebel prisoners marshaled outside the wall; their pokemon crouched at their sides, ready to attack. In the distance, the enemy host loomed like a malevolent shadow.

    Marcus looked at John and then at the Firebrand. John smiled. “Well? Why don’t you do the honors? I got to last night.”

    The Firebrand nodded curtly, and raised his right fist. “My brothers! My sisters! Hear me now! It’s a good day to die! Charge!”

    Charizard swooped through the open gates, and the Firebrand jumped from the Palisade onto his back. The dragon roared and flew off to the coming battle, their army running just below.



    The bit at the beginning, with Kain and Garret, is loosely based off of "Javert at the Barricade".


    And just when it's starting to get really good, I think I'll be taking a week off to build up a buffer, stay on track with running, and deal with the start of school. Yup, I'm a black-hearted evil scoundrel.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 1st September 2011 at 3:04 PM.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Revolution

    Charizard flew over the chaos as the two lines met. Pokemon shouted out an echo to the human battle cries. The Firebrand shouted out orders that were only half-heeded. Below, Maeve and Masamune fought with physical attacks as Scathatch and Thor darted by.

    Athena jumped into the air and summoned an electrical charge, sweeping through the enemy ranks with Fusion Bolt. Charizard ducked low so that she could return to the Firebrand’s shoulder. As they came in for the pass, Sin shouted, “Firebrand! Catch!”

    He threw up a steel rod that tapered to a sharp point on the end. The Firebrand caught it and smiled. It was no Excalibur, but it would service well enough for a makeshift sword. He battered at a flock of Pelliper who came to intercept Charizard, and Winona on her Skarmory finished them off.

    As Charizard came down low again, the Firebrand leapt from his back and slammed his ‘sword’ onto the collarbone of a Magma grunt. He rolled along the ground to recover, and fell in line with Sin and Lisana.

    They fought in stoic silence for some time. Maeve fought side-by-side with Damin, the Gallade’s twin arm blades flashing in the dying light. Dusty the Typhlosion bathed Kelrick in intense fire, igniting the Arcanine’s Flash Fire ability. Thalia the Froslass drifted serenely through the crowds of people and pokemon, chilling them to the bone with icy blasts. Anjaru swooped through the skies above, protecting his mistress with talons, wings and beak.

    John, his Machoke and his Alakazam charged past them, hurling their foes aside with telekinetic and physical force. His Noctowl swooped overhead, launching psychic pulses from its eyes.

    The muscular older man bellowed a charge, and the rebels drove forward. The Firebrand ran a quick calculation in his head. “No. John, no!”

    “What?!”

    “John, they’re too strong! We shouldn’t have done this! We could have fought them from the barricade! We’ll all die if we continue to press!”

    “We can do!” John roared back. “We just need to clear the gate!”

    The Firebrand fought his way to John’s side. “And go where? Fortree is occupied! Lilycove is too! And what about Colette? And the others back at the cave? How will they get out?”

    John’s shoulders dropped. His face seemed to age five years. “Firebrand… it’s pointless for me to keep this charade up any longer. I’m going to die here. Somehow, I know this. But I’m going to make as big a difference as I can before my time comes.”

    “No!” the Firebrand shouted. “John, don’t talk like that!”

    “It’s true, my friend. This is my final chapter.”

    “We can re-write it! Come on John! We can get through this!”

    “Did you not just tell me we would lose?”

    Suddenly, the Firebrand didn’t feel heroic at all. He just wanted to fly far, far away from all of this. No more war, no more fighting, just him and Charizard and the open sky.
    Cole wanted to run away from a fight, for the first time in his life.

    A loud boom resounded through the early night air. Atop a hill not far away, a section of the fence exploded. A large cloud of dust rose up into the clouds, and it was drawing closer. A brilliant light shot from the front of the column, illuminating an old man in a long white robe. He carried an ash staff in his right hand, and he held it aloft like a beacon. He rode atop a majestic Rapidash whose mane glowed blue and gray. Next to him an Abra, the source of the Flash attack, glided through the air with telekinetic force.

    “Magnus!” Cole cried. “You came!”

    “Jasper!” Magnus roared in a voice that seemed to shake the earth itself. “Begone!”

    “I’ll destroy you, you foolish old man!” the camp warden screamed back. “Charge!” A fraction of his army broke off and rushed at Magnus.

    “Thou… shall… not… pass!”

    As Magnus said the words, trainers erupted from the dust cloud. Seven led the charge against the Magma and Aqua ranks. They led their opposing forces into the fray, calling out pokemon as they did so. Cole began to laugh like a crazed man when he recognized the trainers.

    Nick whirled amidst the fires conjured byFlayme, his Flareon, an Infernape and a Houndoom, twin lengths of iron flashing in his hands. His eyes seemed to glow gold as he flitted from foe to foe as though possessed by a demon.

    Anna seemed to be controlling the water issued by her Vaporeon, Gyrados, Blastoise, Empoleon and Floatzel. Her Gyrados twined around her before lashing out, like a giant construct made entirely of water.

    The very ground beneath Seithios’s feet seemed to tremble with every step he took, resonating with an internal power. His Garchomp and Rhyperior advanced steadily behind him, and a Gliscor wheeled above his head. He held a large hammer aloft and bellowed out a savage battle cry.

    Nearby, Lexa seemed to glow with holy light. Her Ampharos, Pikachu and Electvire created salvo after salvo of brilliant electrical attacks, felling opponents left and right. The lightning seemed to arch from the stunning beauty’s fingertips as she directed her pokemon’s strikes.

    Her twin brother Lucian fought side-by-side with his own dark types, the shiny Umbreon, a Mightyena, a Sableye and a Bisharp. A Honchkrow shrieked above his head. His blindness was no handicap here as his Mightyena and Umbreon directed his attacks by pressing their bodies against him. It was an elaborate system, but it was obviously a practiced and effective one.

    Zephyr darted through the air on the backs of his avian pokemon, leaping from them and going into freefall only to be caught by another. Cole realized that his Staraptor, Pidgeot, Skarmory and Braviary were flying in a close formation around him, and alternating snagging him from the air. It was a risky tactic, but it put Zephyr at a definite advantage over his flying foes, because it gave him a great degree of unpredictability as he battered them with a lead pipe and his bare fists.

    Kim stood directing the troops that Magnus had brought, about forty other trainers. She had a composite bow in her hands, standard issue from a sporting goods store, and had two quivers strapped to her back, and two more on her belt. She launched these shafts into the droves of her opponents, as her Lucario and Gardevior stood alongside, alternately protecting her and attacking enemies.

    There was a colossal boom, and a great bellow from the forest. “Shiiiiiftreeeeee!”

    It was answered by hundreds more calls.

    “Nuuuuuzleeeeaf!”

    “Trooooooo!”

    “Pikaaaaaa! Piiiiii!”

    “Raaaaiiii!”

    “Swellow! Swell!”

    “Teynaaaaaa!”

    “Zangooooose!”

    “Skarm!”

    “Sal! Mence!”

    “Roserade!”

    The noise was deafening. The forest itself seemed to seethe with life and energy as the pokemon of the Safari Zone revealed themselves. An old Shiftry, whose fans were as broad as Cole’s waist, led them. Atop his head sat a purple ball of fur.

    “Chifumi!” Sin cried.

    Shiftry gestured, and a great swell of pokemon poured from the forest, screaming and howling at the interloping grunts. Tropius, Skarmory, Swellow and Salamence swarmed in the skies above. Packs of Nuzleaf led Roselia and Roserade, who struck with powerful Petal Dances and Leaf Storms. Pikachu and Raichu rode on the backs of Salamence, shooting down volleys of electricity. A Snorlax lumbered from the brush and fell onto a group of grunts that tried to flee, trapping them in its bulk.

    There was another boom, this time from somewhere in the distance. It was followed by a muted roar. And then the screams started. A group of the wild pokemon had targeted the dam Jasper had ordered built against the river that surged through the Safari Zone. The water now returned with a vengeance. People and pokemon dove out of the way as a current of Swampert, Marshtomp, Carvanha, Tentacool and Quagsire swam past.

    Athena laughed, and Cole looked at her. “What?”

    “It’s Isengard and Helm’s Deep rolled into one!”

    Cole laughed too. It was indeed! In the Lord of the Rings, two battles were fought simultaneously, one at Sauraman’s Tower in Isengard by the Ents, and another by the Riders of Rohan at Helm’s Deep.

    Cole motioned towards the Shiftry. “We even have our very own Ents!”

    Masamune crashed through a Golem with his shell swords. “Enough of this chatter! Onwards!”

    Cole nodded and whistled to Maeve, Scathatch and Thor. Together, they charged forward, hope surging in their breasts.

    ***

    On a different part of the battlefield, Marcus fought side-by-side with his Nidoking, Zangoose and Mienshao. They struck out with different styles, and were constantly surrounded by grunts that tried to subdue them. None succeeded.

    His token from Colette was still knotted around his arm. He fought for her, he reminded himself. Always for her. So that she could get out of this hellhole.
    It took him a few minutes to realize that someone fought beside him. A Delcatty and Mawile leapt around their trainer as she clumsily battered at foes with a pipe. A Pidgeot flew over their heads, lashing out with its beak.

    “Who are…? Arceus, Epiny, the things you do…”

    The young woman smiled at him. “I know this is no place for me, still I would rather be with you.”

    “Get out before the trouble starts. C’mon Epiny, you might get hurt.”

    “I’ve got you worried, now I have! That shows you like me quite a lot.”

    Marcus smiled. “There is a way that you can help! You are the answer to a prayer! Please, take a message to Colette, tell her that things fare well here.”
    Epiny blinked back tears of rage. “Little you know… little you care!”

    Marcus returned to fighting, keeping a snapping, snarling Mightyena away from his throat. He wrestled the beast away only to hear Epiny shout, “Marcus!”
    The young man whirled about, and saw Registeel looming before them. It glowed, and then shot a brilliant pulse of orange and white light, the most powerful Hyper Beam Marcus had ever witnessed.

    Epiny ran in front of it, and took the full force of the blast. She crumpled before Marcus. “No!” he screamed, and ran to catch her.

    His Nidoking and Zangoose set upon the behemoth, driving it away as it tried to recover. Several other revolutionaries saw what had transpired, and circled up around Marcus to prevent him from being hurt as he said his farewells.

    The burns from the attack were severe. There was no hope for Epiny, even if she was immediately brought to medical attention. Marcus felt raindrops slowly trickling down his face, mingling with his tears. “Epiny… just relax. Take deep breaths. Nice and easy. There… just hang on, okay, Epiny?” He knelt over her to prevent the rain from falling in her wounds.

    “Don’t you fret, Marcus,” Epiny said softly. “I don’t feel any pain. A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now.” She fumbled with her left hand, and placed it over Marcus’s. “You’re here, that’s all I need to know. You will keep me safe. And you will keep me close. And this rain will make the flowers grow.”

    “But you will live Epiny!” Marcus cried. Some of the rebels turned away, unable to bear this any longer. It was too heartbreaking. “Arceus above! If I could close your wounds with words of love!”

    Epiny shook her head. “Just hold me now… and let it be. Shelter me, comfort me.”

    Marcus was trembling now, tears dripping from the bridge of his proud nose. “You would live a hundred years, if I could show you how… I won’t desert you now.”

    “This rain won’t hurt me now. The rain will wash away the past. And you will keep me safe. And you will keep me close. I’ll sleep… in your embrace… at last.” She smiled; the smile of someone so beyond pain that there was only joy. “So don’t you fret, my friend Marcus. I don’t feel any pain. A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now…”

    Marcus bent over her further, his voice quaking. “I’ll stay with you ‘till you are sleeping.”

    Epiny clutched his hand with the last of her strength. “And rain…”

    “Will make the flowers…”

    “…Grow…”

    And then, she was at peace. Marcus kissed her brow and closed her unseeing eyes. He lifted her head off of his lap and placed it on the ground.

    Cole, Sin and James ran to his side. “We’ll fight on in her name!” James promised.

    “She will not die in vain!” Sin added, wiping away tears.

    Cole helped Marcus to his feet. “She met death unafraid. She was very, very brave. There will be songs about her courage.”

    Marcus nodded. “I lost my sword. May I?”

    One of the rebels passed him a lead pipe silently. Marcus held it aloft. “By this, Epiny, you will be avenged! I won’t betray your spirit!” He lowered it and pointed the shaft at the hulking silver behemoth that lumbered across the battlefield. “Registeel, I shall destroy you!”

    He ran off before anyone could stop him. James turned to those that had protected him as he said farewell. “Go with him. He must be kept safe.”

    They nodded and took off. The former Rocket agent turned to Cole and Sin. “Jessie, Meowth and I… we have a plan, how to get out of here, far away, and try to find help. Cole, remember back in the good old days how we were… uh… accident prone?”

    Cole beamed. “You’re going to…?”

    “Yes. And we’re going to do it in style. We’ll need your Charizard to help.”

    Cole whistled, and the dragon descended from the heavens. They ran off into the fray. Sin joined Lisana and her faithful pokemon, and together they began a two-pronged assault on their oppressors.

    As the fighting wore on, Sin sensed the presence of another fighter near them. He checked his peripheral vision, and saw the young man who seemed to bend fire with his will, the golden-eyed demon, the master of the twin blades, Nick, fighting by his side.

    Nick grinned at him. “So you’re the one John was telling me about. Heads up.”

    In Sin’s experience, heads up generally meant heads down, so he ducked. Flayme the Charizard clone rocketed over his head, grappling with an enemy Salamence. The fire type slammed it with its tail, and the dragon fell to the ground unconscious.

    “How many is that, Flayme? Thirty six?”

    The Charizard growled four times while raising its head upwards. “Forty?” Nick whistled. “Not bad. But you’re falling behind! I’m at fifty two!” He brought one of his swords down on an Aqua grunt’s skull. “Make that fifty three!”

    A Steelix sliced through the rebel lines, scattering them. Sin dragged Lisana out of the way, but Nick stood strong. “Don’t worry! My buddy can handle this, easy!”

    Flayme swooped in close, and unleashed a scathing Overheat, followed by three quick Dragon Claws to vital chinks in the Steelix’s armor. The behemoth roared and then crashed to the ground, it’s nose mere inches from Nick’s feet.

    Flayme roared in triumph, flying circles above the fallen snake. Nick glared up at him. “I don’t care how big it is! It still only counts as one!”



    Epiny's death is "A Little Fall of Rain". And surprisingly enough, I found one to link to where the female vocalist doesn't make me want to cringe.
    Also, Gandalf's signature line. Had to do it.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 6th September 2011 at 2:11 PM.

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    786

    Default

    Srlsy? Nick quoting Gimli? Awesome! I thought this chapter was a whole lot of fun with all those referances, a whole lot of fun, looking forward to the next chapters! Couldn't find any mistakes, so I think I'm not that much of a help in that department. Also, about Gandalf's one liner: click
    Last edited by Emeraldfan; 6th September 2011 at 6:00 PM.

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    1,850

    Default Last Stand

    Cole stood before Jessie, James, Meowth, Wobbuffet and Mime Jr. “You want me to do what?!” the young man asked.

    “It’s not complicated, twerp,” Meowth grumbled. “Draw the fire. Sheesh, you kids…”

    “And then what?”

    Jessie folded her arms. “What we do best.”

    “I thought pitfall traps were what you do best.”

    “Those are our specialty. This is what we do best.”

    James rolled his eyes. “You’re not getting anything done by standing around here. Go!”

    Cole swung up onto Charizard’s back and waved his arms as the dragon lifted off. “Hey! Jasper! Jasper! Come and get me!”

    The camp warden growled as he saw the Firebrand mocking him. He snapped his fingers at a group of subordinates. “Send some Camerupt on the right flank. Walrien on the left. Aggron on the fore, and I’ll follow up with Registeel.”

    The grunts nodded and charged off. Jasper signaled to Registeel, or rather, his Porygon-Z that was inside Registeel. The behemoth swept away the rebels that swarmed it with a wave of its hand, and turned towards the Charizard looping in the sky.

    Its facial pattern lit up and its entire body began to glow as it charged a Zap Cannon. It would be the last element of the chemical explosion that blasted the Firebrand from the sky.

    Jasper saw his troops move into position. “Ready? Fire!”

    At a command from the grunts, the Camerupt let loose with Fire Blast, the Walrien with Blizzard, and the Aggron with Hyper Beam. Registeel followed it up by launching a Zap Cannon in tandem with Lock-On. Charizard dove low to the ground, and the attacks followed in its path.

    “It’s time!” James shouted. “Firebrand, get out of here!”

    With a tap from Cole, Charizard angled his body sharply and shot up in a ninety-degree turn, driving straight up into the air. The salvo of attacks now arched towards Team Rocket. Jessie cackled. “Wobbuffet! Mirror Coat!”

    “Mimic, Mime Jr.!”

    The attacks hit the giant blue punching bag and the small harlequin, and ricocheted back at their attackers. A giant semicircle of white light erupted on the ground beneath them, for the energy of the attack was too much to transfer. The earth began to break apart, and the resulting explosion launched Team Rocket high into the air.

    “Some things never change!” Meowth shouted.

    “But we’ll always be together!” Jessie shot back.

    James smiled. “And it’s nice to know that no matter where we go, we’ll always be…”

    In unison they chorused: “Blasting off again!”

    Cole watched as they vanished into the night sky. He raced back to the fray, and could not help but cringe as he was once again thrust into war. People and pokemon were killing each other around him. The ground was pooled with blood.

    He saw Magnus using his staff to fend off attacks from Gregor, one of the camp’s admins and a definite sadist. He would pull prisoners aside and lash them for the sheer thrill of it, or experiment with new methods of torture on them.

    Cole changed his trajectory, overcome with desire to feel nothing but Gregor’s bones snapping in his hands and see the panicked look on the man’s face as the life left his eyes, and he slowly died in a pool of his own blood…

    Cole stopped, shaking his head rapidly. No! He had killed Ghetsis, and that still haunted him. He couldn’t kill any more. He was a vegetarian, for Arceus’s sake! He hated hurting things, even if Gregor rightfully deserved it!

    Cole was pulled forcibly from his reflections as the ground beneath his feet splintered and cracked. A Camerupt in blind panic had used Fissure, and Cole was in the line of fire.

    The young man leapt to the side, dodging the gigantic, deep crevice that spread across the packed earth. A Shiftry was caught under a chunk of flying debris. It cried out to Cole as the ground crumbled beneath it. The young man pushed at the rock, but he could not move it. The Shiftry must have broken its legs.

    It took Cole a moment to realize that this Shiftry was the one who led the charge of wild pokemon. The one with gigantic fans. It was old, but powerful and wise. It looked up at him and shook his head, telling Cole to give up, to leave it to die.

    “I’m not giving up,” Cole hissed back. “Hold still.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pokéball. He had slipped it in the night before, just in case something like this were to happen. He tapped it against the Shiftry’s head, and watched as it shook once, twice, three times. The ball locked with a slight ding, and then vanished in a flash of light, teleported to Oak’s Lab in Kanto.

    At least Cole had been able to save one.

    Magnus and Gregor still fought on oblivious to all of this, despite the fact that the fissure ran right under their feet. The ground yawned open, and the two dueling men began to fall. “Magnus!” Cole shouted, and darted forward. His hand wrapped around the older man’s wrist, saving him from being dashed on the rocks some sixty feet below.

    There was a sudden tug as Gregor cracked his whip. The cord wrapped around Magnus’s leg three times, securing a grip. Cole was jerked down by the force of it. He tried to haul himself and Magnus up, but it was too heavy.

    “Magnus, I’m slipping!”

    “Just let go, boy!”

    “No! You saved me! I owe you!”

    “You owe me nothing, fool! Just let go!”

    Cole shook his head. “I can’t just sit back and let someone die!”

    “Cole, you’re being stupid!”

    “I don’t care!” Cole shouted back. He lurched forward again, dragged down by the two weights. His arm was shaking. Slowly, he pushed himself up to a crouch, and then tried to drag Magnus up as he got to his feet.

    He staggered and fell forward, seeing the giant pit yawn in front of him. He closed his eyes, ready to tumble into the darkest pits of hell.

    And stopped. Four steady arms wrapped around him, two around his abdomen and two under his arms. “We got you,” Nick hissed in his ear.

    “You won’t fall with us by your side,” Sin added.

    “No matter how far you’ve gone, no matter what happens, we’re always with you,” Nick said softly.

    Cole heard more than saw Sin smiling. “We’ll never let you fall.”

    The two boys dragged Cole backwards, and with him, Magnus, and finally Gregor. As the Magma admin rose, he cackled. “Ha, you fools! By saving yourselves, you’ve saved me! And now I’ll kill you… all…?”

    A black shadow darted by, and there was a flash of white and silver. The whip severed with a sharp crack, and Gregor began to scream. It was all over in less than an instant. Maeve glanced at Cole and nodded curtly. “Weave.”

    “Good girl,” Cole gasped.

    Magnus dusted off his white cloak. “Well then. Boys, has anyone ever taught you the easy way to remember Hamlet?”

    Nick blinked. “I hardly think this is the time for Shakespeare…”

    Sin cocked his head to the side. “Is that the Scottish guy or…?”

    Magnus grinned. “Dane went insane and everybody gets slain.”

    He drew a pokéball with a flourish. “Come on out Hamlet, and use Outrage!” A Druddigon emerged from the white light, and immediately began savaging nearby enemies with teeth and claws. Magnus’s smile grew wider. “Good night, sweet prince.”

    Then, he drew two more capsules. “Caliban, Macbeth! Get out here!”

    An Ursaring and Whimsicott appeared at their trainer’s side. “Macbeth!” Sin cried. “That’s the Scottish one!”

    Magnus snapped his fingers at the crowd, and the two pokemon took off without further need of command. Finally, Magnus whistled for his shiny Rapidash, and swung up in one fluid motion. “Onward, Shadowfax!”

    Cole rolled his eyes. “You named it Shadowfax? Really?”

    But Magnus was gone, riding off into the fray. Nick glanced at Cole. “Come. Lisana is already fighting alongside my friends. Together, we can end this.”

    “But Marcus…”

    “We will make our way to Registeel.”

    Cole nodded, and followed Nick and Sin. They soon joined up with Lisana and the other members of Nick’s Seven. Zephyr wheeled in the air on his Staraptor’s back. All of Cole’s pokemon were already waiting there.

    Kim smiled. “You ready, heroes?”

    Cole’s hand wrapped around the hilt of his sword. “Let’s go.”

    He jumped onto Thor’s back. “For freedom!”

    “For justice!” Sin roared beside him.

    “For power!” Nick shouted.

    Together all nine of them, plus their pokemon, surged forward. Enemies fled before their might, recognizing them as truly a powerful force, one that swept them aside in a torrent of righteous fury and passion. Cole’s steel length, his sword, became an extension of his arm. Beside him, Nick’s twin blades reflected the moonlight and shattered it into shimmering refractions, as Sin wrapped both his hands around his own three-foot length, broadsword style.

    Seithios used his hammer to clear a path as Lucian surged through, three Dark Pulses echoing behind him. Kim shot arrows into the legs of foes, bringing them down as Nick, Anna and Lexa charged onwards. Zephyr dove through the air with his flying pokemon, making a veritable screen above their heads.

    Sin and Lisana fought back-to-back, covering each other as only two best friends could. Each strike echoed the other’s perfectly, and their pokemon were a cloud of power just behind them, lashing out at anything they missed.

    Cole rode Thor, with Masamune beside him, the Samurott’s shell blades glinting. Maeve and Scathatch fought just to their left and right. Charizard and Athena flew overhead, just five feet away, bathing enemies in fire.

    They pressed onwards, getting closer and closer to Registeel, and Marcus.

    An Aqua admin whistled, and no less than ten Graveler simultaneously Self-destructed. The explosion shook the very earth beneath the group’s feet, and sent them spiraling like leaves in a hurricane.

    Cole saw Nick and Anna sprawled next to him. From the way they were lying, it looked as though Nick had thrown himself over the water trainer to protect her from the blast. Seithios struggled so that he was resting on his arms, and then fell back to the ground.

    “What… what happened?” Lucian gasped. The black scarf he wore over his eyes had fallen off, revealing his milky white cataracts. “What was that noise?”

    Sin groaned from where he had fallen. “I’m okay… I think. I banged a few ribs. Lisana… might have a concussion.”

    The blonde young woman was sprawled on the packed dirt, and only the slight stirring of the hair in front of her mouth betrayed that she was still breathing.

    Using his sword as a crutch, Cole hauled himself to his feet. Registeel stomped closer. Jasper strode confidently along beside it. Everywhere, Magma and Aqua were pushing the rebels and their pokemon back.

    The one-time Firebrand grimaced as he felt his abdomen. Severe bruising, at least. A line of blood trickled into his left eye. Nothing was broken, but everything hurt. He didn’t feel like a hero.

    “Masamune,” he whispered to his injured Samurott. “I think we’ve lost.”

    Masamune climbed slowly to a standing position. Jasper was bearing down on them. He reached into his coat and pulled out a small length of black metal. Cole hissed in a breath. A gun.

    Guns were a rarity, banned from use decades ago. Cole detested the very idea of them. And to see one here… pointed at him... it all just seemed so unfair.

    “Don’t move,” Jasper hissed. “We’ve finished you, Firebrand. Your rebellion has ended.”

    Cole’s grip loosened on his sword. “I’m not the Firebrand anymore. The Firebrand was a hero. And heroes don’t let people down.”

    Jasper clicked back the safety on the gun. “Just stand still and it will all be over in a moment. I’m a very good shot.”

    Only Cole’s index finger was keeping his sword from falling to the ground. A single tear rolled down his right cheek. Or maybe it was sweat, or a drop of blood. Perhaps dying wasn’t such a bad thing. He wouldn’t feel pain anymore. He’d been good, right? So if there was an afterlife, he’d go to the good one, right? N would be there. He could see N.

    “Masamune… I’m sorry. I give up.”

    “Cole, if there’s one thing you have taught me in our travels…”

    Maeve darted out from behind him. She drove her ice-encrusted fist into Jasper before the vile man even had a chance to respond. She hissed. “It’s to never…”

    Jasper fell forward, and Thor bolted forward, crashing into him with a Wild Charge. Jasper flew over Registeel’s body and crashed into the ground some distance away. “Ever!”

    Scathatch appeared next to Cole, her arms glowing indigo. “Give up hope!” She released the Night Daze attack, sending a field of dark energy into the surrounding area, temporarily blinding all the grunts.

    Athena jumped up onto his shoulder. “So come on!”

    Cole nodded, overcome with emotion that three of his partners could now speak to him, and that at last he could understand. He grasped his sword, and drove it forward into Registeel’s center oculus. “Lacho calad! Drego morn! By fire’s light! Flee night!”

    The eyepiece sparked and flashed, and Registeel gave off an unearthly hum. “Regiiiiiiiiiii!”

    There was a small crackle of static, the sound of something engaging within Registeel’s body, and then a massive explosion of light that sent Cole flying backwards, into Charizard’s protective embrace.

    When Cole regained sight, Registeel was lying on the ground deactivated, and Jasper’s Porygon-Z was unconscious atop it. It let off a strange crackling noise, and Jasper got to his feet. He drew a pokéball, and returned the creature that had made a pawn of Registeel.

    “It’s you and me now, Jasper.” Cole raised his sword and surveyed the catatonic fighters all around him. It seemed that only he, his pokemon, and Jasper were conscious within a two hundred yard radius. Many had fled when they saw Registeel explode, and stood in shocked silence on the nearby hilltops. Cole smiled, feeling his heroic spirit rise once again. “I do not fear death. Let us finish this.”

    “It’s not over yet, Firebrand!” Jasper tossed out another pokéball, which revealed itself to be a Hydreigon. “Mephistoles! To Mt. Pyre!” As the black dragon flew away, he shouted down to his remaining troops. “All of you, retreat! Archibald and Maximillian will defend us with their divine might!”

    Cole waited until the last grunt disappeared from sight before falling forward, unconscious before he even touched the ground.




    The Blazing Heart characters are total badasses.
    Last edited by Firebrand; 10th September 2011 at 9:58 PM.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Somewhere... No, I'm home.
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Great chapter. Just Great.
    I'm chilean. I'm dislexic. But I can write in English. 73% of teenagers would cry if they saw Justin Bieber standing on top of a skyscraper about to jump. If you are the 27% sitting there with popcorn and 3D glasses, screaming "DO A BACKFLIP!", copy and paste this in your signature.
    This is Turtwig, he was the most under appreciated starter in Diamond & Pearl. If you picked Turtwig as your starter, put this in your sig. Started by Dax-360


    I've claimed Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories! One of the best GBA games. Got it memorized?

    I've claimed Duosion. Fear the cell.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Subspace
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Fantastic chapter, but I spotted one flaw: Jasper couldn't have named his Hydreigon Mephistoles - it breaks the 10 character limit Sorry if I sound like a geek for spotting that.
    If you think Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the best game Nintendo ever published after Pokemon Black/White, copy this in your sig.

    Started by SSBB Master

Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •