But here, theres no such limit, and c'mon, you know Mephistoles sounds soooo much cooler.
But here, theres no such limit, and c'mon, you know Mephistoles sounds soooo much cooler.
OK fair enoughBut here, theres no such limit, and c'mon, you know Mephistoles sounds soooo much cooler.
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
Cole’s eyes flicked open. Anna, Maeve, Scathatch and Lexa were standing over him. Maeve grinned. “’Bout time, sleepyhead.”
It took Cole a moment to realize that yes; his Weavile was speaking to him. He smiled, reached up and scratched behind the crest on her head. Anna and Lexa helped him sit up. “You were very brave,” Anna said.
“I just… it’s what I do,” Cole replied with a smile. Then, he lowered his gaze. “What were our losses?”
“Twenty eight humans dead. Quite a few pokemon too. We don’t know the exact numbers, because the wild pokemon took theirs away. Almost everyone is injured.”
“What about them?”
It was Scathatch who answered. “Heavier losses than us.”
Anna and Lexa went to reply, but Cole held up a hand. “Scathatch already told me.”
He got to his feet with a groan. He was back behind the palisade, against one of the cliffs. Julia and Winona walked past with their pokemon, and gave him a smile.
Cole waved back, and found Thor, Athena, Masamune and Charizard nearby. Thor inclined his head and said nothing, but Cole knew that should the Zebstrika wish to speak, he could hear it.
Charizard growled out a greeting, and Cole’s heart nearly broke. “No…” he muttered. “It’s not fair.”
Charizard realized what was wrong. He tried to say something more, but all Cole heard was the normal growls and snarls. Why was it that the pokemon he had been with the most, his most loyal companion, could not speak to him? It wasn’t fair!
Magnus appeared at Cole’s side. He was soon joined by Marcus and John. The younger man wore several bandages around his forehead. Magnus nodded slowly. “We have much to discuss.”
“The hell we do,” Cole replied. “I didn’t think of it last night, but what the hell are you doing here? And how’d you find all those trainers? The Seven, especially?”
Magnus smiled. “I knew you would need help. So I teleported to Hearthome City where I knew a tournament was being held, and invited all of the combatants to assist me. Once I told them the Firebrand was in trouble, all of them were very eager to lend a hand. Newton teleported us back, and here we are.”
“You could’ve gotten them killed!” Cole shouted.
“And you would have been killed without them,” Magnus replied.
Marcus held up a hand. “Cole, he did what he had to. Just let it go.”
John crossed his arms. “We move on Mount Pyre shortly. We must be ready.”
“Shortly?” Cole cried. “Look at us! We’re hurt! We’re broken, and battered, and in no shape to fight!”
John sighed. “Three days. We have three days to move against them. If we haven’t moved in that time, the chances that Magma and Aqua will return are very high.”
“Besides,” Magnus added, “Mount Pyre is where you have to go, Cole. The best way to help these people is to get out and send aid.”
Marcus clasped Cole’s shoulder. “The plan is to get you to this Gate thing that Magnus told us about. We’ll fight off Magma and Aqua while you make a break for it. Then, once you’re through, we’ll finish our strike and pull back to Fortree City. According to Magnus, the hold there has weakened since the trouble started here. A concentrated attack could end with us reclaiming the city. We’d have a fortress, and outpost for resistance.”
“You should go there immediately,” Cole shot back. “I’ll get through Mount Pyre myself.”
“Cole, that’s stupid. The place is probably crawling with grunts. And besides, we want our vengeance too. This time, we have the upper hand. We can use hit and run tactics, make glancing wounds. We get to be on the offensive this time. They need to defend that mountain.
“The shrine at the top is what gives the Orbs their powers. If Maxie and Archie lose that, then their hold on the Weather Trio becomes a lot weaker.”
“I can’t stop any of you, can I?”
“Nope,” Seithios chuckled. “We’re here to kick some evil ***.”
Cole walked with Masamune and John through the camp. Many of the rebels were laying out in the shade, nursing their wounds or tending to their pokemon. A few who were less injured were painting bed sheets.
“What are these for?” John asked.
“Well, we need to show them we’re serious,” a young woman replied. “So we’re making banners.”
Winona waved them over. “I painted this one!” She showed them a bare-bones representation of a bird.
“Is that a Pelliper?” Cole asked.
John shook his head. “No, no, it’s a Mandibuzz.”
“It’s a Swellow!” Winona snapped. “I know, I’m not the best artist.”
John laughed. “Oh, I suppose I can make it out a little now.”
Winona shrugged. “I’m putting it on a sharpened pole. It doesn’t really matter how well it’s drawn, so long as I can stick some of those bastards with it.”
Three days later, the camouflaged rebel force waited on the plain before Mount Pyre. A stretch of water separated them from the graveyard’s slopes. Under cover of darkness, Cole watched as the fighters under his command slid into position.
Colette had insisted on accompanying them, boldly declaring she would fight alongside her father and the man she loved. Cole gave Nick a signal, who passed it along to Kim. A ripple passed through the lines, before reaching back to the hill Magnus stood upon. He would be the trigger. Any moment now…
The old man leapt to his feet, throwing his cloak aside as Newton released a brilliant Flash. “Maximillian! Archibald! The time has come to repent for your crimes!”
The rest of the force stood up, revealing lanterns, torches and luminescent pokemon. To anyone watching from the mountain slopes, it would have appeared as though an army appeared literally out of nowhere.
Cole ran forward, calling out Charizard. He leapt onto the dragon’s back, and watched as many other fighters did likewise with their own flying pokemon. Others swam across the small stretch on aquatic pokemon, and those that owned neither were helped by wild ones from the Safari Zone who had agreed to help.
Sin was on the back of a wild Swampert, holding aloft a banner that read, “F uck you Archie!” Cole smiled at that.
Lisana and Zephyr darted next to him, the young woman on Anjaru, the boy on his Staraptor. Nick was just behind on Flayme. Kim sat behind him, her arms wrapped around his waist.
Seithios flew lower to the water on his Garchomp, just before Anna’s Gyrados. She, Lexa and Lucian all sat upon it’s back. Magnus flew with psychic power issued by Newton, drifting lazily along the surface of the lake, twirling his staff and seemingly whistling.
Soon, all of the rebels surged up onto the shores of Mount Pyre. John stood and addressed them. “Remember! Our goal here is to inflict as much damage as possible! We want them afraid! We do not need to conquer this mountain! We merely need to show them that we can strike back!”
The Seven took up positions around Cole. “We’ll protect you,” Lexa whispered. “Get you and the old man where you have to go.”
Sin and Lisana stepped over. “Us too. We want to be there to say goodbye.”
Cole could only nod. “You may not make it. So if you’re going to back down, do it now.”
Nick grinned. “We never back down. Never.”
Cole raised his steel rod over his head. “Charge!”
The cries of pokemon filled the slopes. Homebrewed rebel fire bombs detonated with concussive booms. People shouted orders. Cole and his troop raced up the rocky mountain face.
At the very peak, at a shrine erected in honor of the Weather Trio’s Orbs, Jasper groveled before Maxie and Archie. “I’m sorry,” he gasped. “We could not repel them. They have invaded.”
Archie tapped his fingers together. “Well then. I suppose it’s time we started to play a role in this, eh, Maxie?”
“Indeed,” the Magma leader replied. “I doubt I’ll even need Groudon. Camerupt… let us go greet my prodigal son.”
Dun, dun, duuuuuun
Last edited by Firebrand; 17th September 2011 at 10:11 PM.
An earthquake shook the ground Cole stood on. “Get to cover!” the young man cried. His allies ducked out of the way. Cole vaulted over the growing chasm and called out Scathatch. “I need an illusion. Of me. Divert them.”
“Of course,” Scathatch hissed. Cole still could not get used to her voice, halfway between a purr and a rasp. It set him on edge. But true to her word, she created a doppelganger of Cole out of residual water vapor in the air, and the slightly hazy construct sprinted off on the slopes.
Cole pushed onward, Masamune and Charizard at his side. The orange dragon fought with ranged strikes, while Masamune dispatched any foe that dared draw close. To Cole, this was very symbolic.
This was what Magma and Aqua should have been in the first place. Fire and water working together towards a noble goal.
“Get behind me!” Masamune thundered.
Without even thinking, Cole and Charizard complied. Seithios and his ground types stepped up beside the Samurott, as did Anna and her Empoleon and Lexa and her Electvire. “All together now!” Masamune cried out to the pokemon.
With several physical attacks, they dispatched a coming landslide. Some of the boulders were cleaved into smaller pieces, others were flung to other parts of the barren slopes. The Magma grunts who prompted the avalanche shouted curses, which were quickly cut off by Nick and Cole’s pokemon charging up to them.
Cole leapt onto Thor’s back. Though the Zebstrika was born in the grassy flats of southern Unova, he had shown a great proficiency for rocky slopes in their travels. The equine beast vaulted over the ledges beneath them, and Athena launched a Searing Shot from Cole’s shoulder.
Sin and Lisana scrambled alongside them, as Maeve clawed her way up the face. The whole troop reached a long, flat outcropping, where Cole held up a hand.
The Seven paused to regroup, helping Sin and Lisana the last few feet. Kim glanced at Cole. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m checking our progress,” Cole replied. He surveyed the mountain, with all its many conflicts. Rebels were trying to make their way into the mausoleum and break the hold there. Others fought for purchase on the slopes, trying to secure an avenue for their comrades. It seemed as though the rest of the fighters simply did not have the pure blasting power Cole’s band did.
“Seithios, Zephyr,” Cole said sharply. “Down there, they need your help retaining a position by some boulders. Your strength should cut it.”
Seithios glanced at the Firebrand. “Are… are you sure? We…”
The tone in Cole’s voice begged no argument. The two young men raced back down. Then, Cole turned to Nick and Anna. “You two are perhaps the best assets we have. You are very strong, and together, I’ve seen what you’re capable of. Go and support the fighters at the main mausoleum entrance.”
Again, he had fallen into his 'commander voice'. The two young heroes left without comment, but not without scowling. Cole turned on Magnus, Lucian and Lexa. “You three go to the secondary entrance. It’s less guarded than the first. Help the rebels break through there, and then rendezvous with Nick and Anna on the ground floor. Magnus, meet me back here when you’ve done that.”
Again, the three group members peeled off.
Kim crossed her arms. “You’re sending us away on purpose.”
“Necessary,” Cole replied sharply. “You need to go where the fighting is hardest. I can take care of myself. Kim, see that bluff there?” He pointed to a place some ways down the slope. “There’s no ledges above that. Use it as an archery point. Get there and provide cover from above.”
Kim sighed with exasperation and left. They had all recognized Cole as their commander, and had to listen to him.
“We’re staying with you, right?” Lisana asked.
Cole solemnly shook his head. “For the next hour I need you to be everywhere you can. You know the rebels, and the rebels know you. If, in an hour, we haven’t retreated, meet me back here with Magnus. Until then, do the most good.”
“What if the most good is being here with you?” Sin demanded.
“Sin. Lisana. Just go. I’ll be all right.”
Both young rebels started to protest, but Cole waved them off. “Go. That’s an order.”
He turned away and listened to the sound of their shoes against the rocks, until it faded away. Cole's fist clenched at his side. On his shoulder, Athena leaned closer. “You sent them away on purpose. Kim was right. Why’d you do it?”
“Because there is business I must take care of alone.”
As he finished saying this, a section of wall some ways down the plateau crumbled, and three figures strode forth. One was a hulking beast of a pokemon; smoke spiraling up from the twin rocky cones on it’s back. The other two were men, both rather tall.
“So,” the first one spoke, stroking his black goatee in a very stereotypically villain-like manner. “This is your brat, Maxie?”
“He’s my son, if that’s what you’re implying.”
“Aye.” The man with the goatee whirled on Cole. “You look familiar. Have I threatened you before?”
“Pirates?” Cole asked. “Really? Didn’t you have anything better to do in prison than watch movies? It must have rotted your brain, because I helped put you there in the first place.”
“Oh, yes, I remember now.” He nodded to a Panpour on his shoulder. The blue monkey reached down to Archie’s belt. “I guess it’s time I had my vengeance and all that, then.” The Panpour tossed up a pokéball. “Why thank you Jack.”
“Oh, come on!” Cole shouted. “Did you learn to be evil from movies?”
Archie stalked forward and jabbed a finger into Cole’s chest. “If you aren’t planning on quieting down, I’ll tie cinderblocks to your shoelaces and make you walk the plank!”
Cole blinked. “All right, first off, it’s ‘cannonballs to my bootstraps.’ I’m even wearing boots! The reference would have worked! And second off…” He lunged forward and slammed his fist into Archie’s face. “I’m calling for a rewrite!”
Maxie, silent through all this, finally raised his eyes. “Cole. I propose a battle. Archie and I will work as a team, against two of your pokemon. Do you accept?”
Cole folded his arms. “What are the stakes?”
“Depends on who strikes the final blow. If Archie is the last one standing, then he’ll chop off your head and put it on a spike.”
The Aqua leader cleared his throat. “Or hang you. Or make you walk the plank. Anything sufficiently keeping with my image.”
“You really are just trying to infuriate me, aren’t you?” Cole growled. “And if you win, Maxie?”
“You reconsider my offer.”
“By reconsider, I assume you mean accept.”
Maxie nodded slowly. “Yes. Or I’ll incarcerate you once more.”
“And if I win?”
“You won’t,” Archie sneered.
Cole clenched his fists. “I said… what happens if I win?”
Maxie sighed. “We surrender Fortree.”
Cole stared hard at the two villainous men. “And you both agree to these terms? You swear by the Pirate Code?” Hopefully, Archie wouldn’t break character now.
“Aye,” the Aqua leader replied, fingering a coin. Probably, he considered it one of the ‘nine pieces o’ eight’. Maxie merely nodded in silent assent.
The two men drew their pokeballs. “Walrien, have at ‘em!” Archie shouted.
The two enemy pokemon emerged before Cole. Walrien bellowed as the Aggron roared. The melding of the sounds made Cole wince, but he had a plan.
The former gym leader reached for Scathatch and Charizard’s pokeballs, but before he touched them, two bolts of energy shot from his belt. When the light cleared, Masamune and Thor stood before him. “Allow us,” the Zebstrika said in his minimalist manner. The horse never said more than was absolutely necessary.
Masamune drew his shell blades. “We will handle this quickly. Have no fear.”
Cole nodded. “All right. Masamune, Waterfall on Aggron. Thor, Agility.”
The Zebstrika relaxed his muscles, and inhaled slowly. He shuffled his feet, ready to run and dart about the battlefield. Masamune roared and surged forward, crashing into the monstrous Aggron. The steel behemoth tried to counter with an Iron Head, and sent both combatants sprawling back. Walrien bellowed up at the heavens and summoned a hailstorm.
Cole signaled to his pokemon. “Thor, Thunderbolt on that Walrien. It’s no real threat to our typing, but we need to eliminate Archie quickly. Masamune, try a Hydro Pump this time.”
The Zebstrika moved first, summoning a massive lightning bolt from its mane that slammed into Walrien. Despite the impressiveness of the attack, the Thunderbolt did less damage than Cole hoped, likely do to Thor’s less than ideal Special Attack. However, after Aggron’s counter, Cole didn’t want either of his battlers getting too close.
Then, Masamune unleashed a torrent of water into Aggron. The beast roared in anger as it tried to regain it’s footing. Archie ordered his Walrien onto the offensive. “Blizzard! Give ‘em a tempest they won’t soon forget! Yar!”
Maxie rolled his eyes. “The ‘yar’ was not necessary.”
But Cole paid this no mind. He was too busy focusing on the Blizzard bearing down on his heroic pokemon. He and his friends had a bad history with that attack. Becca’s Charizard, Dracoburn, had been blinded by one fired from Red’s Lapras, and Cole’s own Charizard had nearly been killed the same way.
But both Masamune and Thor were in good health, unlike the two fiery dragons had been. They managed to recover from the freezing cold winds and ice. Cole tossed Thor a Sitrus berry, and the Zebstrika caught it in midair, chomping it down.
“Wild Charge. Masamune, Waterfall.”
The two pokemon slammed into their weakened adversaries, and the opponents crumbled before them. Masamune planted his feet and roared, daring the next pokemon to challenge him. Thor merely tossed his mane.
Archie angrily returned Walrien, and threw out a Tentacruel. Maxie flicked his wrist, summoning a Mightyena. “Masamune,” Cole hissed. “These two look fast, be careful.”
Thor stepped forward. “I’m faster.”
Before Cole could order him otherwise, the Zebstrika shot forward, slamming into Tentacruel with a Wild Charge. The equine beast winced at the recoil. Tentacruel should have succumbed before this, but it had hidden a Waccan Berry in its tentacles.
Archie grinned. “Poison jab!”
The Tentacruel darted past Thor and brought its tentacles down on Masamune. The Samurott winced as the poison leeched into his body. Cole cringed. “Just hang in there, we’ll finish this up! Megahorn on Mightyena!”
The Mightyena responded to a mere gesture from Maxie, darting out of the way of Masamune’s strike and clamping down on the water-type’s neck with a Crunch. Masamune staggered back to stand before Cole, his sides heaving.
“I’ll… manage. Just need… to work… harder…”
“You’re hurt! Let me substitute you in!”
“No,” Masamune growled. “Aragorn never gave up. Neither did Arthur. Or Hercules, or Perseus. Gilgamesh fought to the very end. I will as well.”
Archie snapped his fingers at Tentacruel. “Keelhaul ‘em.” Then, the Aqua leader turned to Maxie. “You use your mutt to finish off that horse. I’ll hold it.”
The cephalopod slid forward towards Thor, and as the Zebstrika tried to dart away, a tentacle lashed out, grabbing for his leg. Masamune barreled into Thor, knocking him out of the way as Tentacruel Wrapped itself around him. Mightyena, too late to change its trajectory, chomped down on the large, brave water type, before darting away.
Masamune struggled against Tentacruel’s grip, and then started to glow. “I swore I would never again be driven by vengeance,” the Samurott growled. “But sometimes, it is the greatest fuel!”
He used his forelegs to shove the Tentacruel away, with a mighty Revenge attack. Then, using his Torrent-boosted abilities, unleashed a brutal Hydro Pump on the infernal creature. Tentacruel slumped to the ground, unconscious.
Archie stamped his foot, and threw out his last pokemon, his signature Sharpedo. The shark hovered two feet off the ground, in the mysterious way some water types could. Cole vaguely recalled Professor Oak attributing that to a strange electromagnetic field that they put out, similar to the ones Probopass and Magnezone use for propulsion.
The crazed man laughed. “Well, it was a good run, but you’re finished, Firebrand! Just think, for what little remains of your miserable life, you will always remember this as the day that you almost beat Captain Archibald Stern!”
“Really?” Cole muttered. “Did you really just say that?”
“Thor,” Masamune gasped, the poison making his voice weak. “Finish this. Discharge.”
The Zebstrika shook his head. “You’re injured! I’ll hit you too!”
“I know. But you must… save Cole. Please! As a final favor to me. Partner…”
Thor scuffed the ground with his hoof. “I do not like it.”
“You don’t have to. Just see it gets done.”
Thor glanced at Cole, awaiting orders. Cole glanced around helplessly. “There’s a chance he'll make it through a Discharge. I'll call him back as soon as it's over. But Archie and Maxie are targeting him. And they’ll fight to kill.”
Utterly torn, the Zebstrika cried out. Electricity crackled through his mane, before spreading down through his flanks. Soon, a brilliant halo of energy surrounded Thor. It was released with a thunderclap, striking down Sharpedo and Mightyena as they advanced on Masamune, silvery teeth glinting in the moonlight.
When the light cleared, both adversaries had fallen. Masamune knelt on the ground, using a sword as a crutch. “You did it, comrade!” And then he pitched forward, his strength giving out.
Thor darted to his friend’s side, Cole just behind him. “It’s all right,” the trainer consoled. “You did it. We won. Fortree is ours.”
“The battle isn’t over,” Maxie said calmly. “Did you forget? I still have Camerupt left.” The orange beast lumbered in front of the Magma leader and lowed. Maxie held up a hand. “However, I will give you a way out. Cole, if you join me now, I can save your pokemon. Your friends do not need to die here. They can join our army. We can make a better world.”
Cole shook his head. “I won’t rule over a world won by death and conquest. I’m sorry, Father. With all due disrespect, I decline.”
“Father?” Masamune and Thor hissed in unison.
“Yes, this black-hearted demon is my father.” Cole rose, and pointed at Maxie. “My father you may be, but I’m no son of yours!”
Maxie folded his arms. “I see. And truly, my son, I am sorry for what I must do. But I cannot afford to keep you alive.” A Trapinch crawled out from behind Cole’s father, and began to bob its head up and down. The ground beneath Cole’s feet began to turn to sand, and the one-time gym leader felt himself sliding in. Sand Tomb.
He reached down to his belt, and threw out Charizard, Maeve and Scathatch. He hurled Athena into Scathatch’s arms. “Go! Get away from here!”
“Rock Slide,” Maxie commanded his Camerupt. Hundreds of boulders rained down the mountain slopes, directly towards Cole. “Go!” Cole shouted again. “That’s an order!” None of his pokemon moved. “I command you to leave! Now! If you stay, you’ll die! Go!”
“But…” Maeve muttered.
“Warn the rebels!” Cole said. “Get them to pull away! Go!”
Maeve, Thor and Athena hurried down the slopes, to try and signal a retreat. Scathatch tried to help Masamune to his feet, but he shook his mate away. “Go with the others. I wouldn’t make it far. I’d only slow you down.”
Scathatch placed her muzzle against his. “So long, my love.”
And then, Scathatch was gone, wrapped in an illusion that made her invisible. The boulders thundered closer. Cole closed his eyes, ready to accept his fate. Truly, what he had spoken to Jasper was no lie. He no longer feared death.
There was a crash as the first boulder came close. Cole opened his eyes, and saw Charizard flinging them away with his tail, and melting them with scathing hot breath. “Charizard, get away from here!” The orange dragon shook his head and growled a response. He continued striking the boulders away. “There’s too many!” Cole shouted. By now, the quicksand was up to his waist, and too dense to wade through. He was effectively trapped.
Masamune hauled himself to his feet, and took his swords in hand. He began slashing at the rocks that drew too close to Cole and Charizard, despite every movement sending pain lancing though every fiber of his being. The poison pumped through his arteries with every step.
Maxie glanced at his comrade. “Our work here is finished. Eventually, they will tire. And they will fall with their precious Firebrand.” The two men strode away.
The rocks began to fall faster and in larger concentrations. Charizard and Masamune were forced into the sandpit with Cole, the fire type holding his tail flame aloft as a beacon in the night. Cole continued to try to convince them to run, but they were adamant.
In a short break in the falls, Charizard and Masamune tapped forelegs, their equivalent of a fist bump. “This is where we fall, my friend,” Masamune growled. Charizard nodded, and roared with all the strength he could muster.
The rocks tumbled down again, faster and heavier than ever before. There was no way Charizard and Masamune could fend off all of them. Eventually, they would be overrun.
Cole felt the air growing stale as their rocky tomb encased them. He was going to be buried alive with two of the bravest warriors ever to walk the earth.
Masamune fell forward, finally succumbing to poison. “The stars… they are so beautiful…” Charizard’s head lowered, blood from many lacerations tainting the sand around him bright red. The dragon nodded in assent, and turned to look at the fading celestial diamonds.
In moments, they were eclipsed by falling rocks, plunging the three into darkness, into oblivion.
This arc is nearly over. Just one more chapter left...
Oh, and Archie talks a bit like a blend between Jack Sparrow and Barbossa, accent-wise.
Last edited by Firebrand; 23rd September 2011 at 11:30 PM.
That's all I really have to say.
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
Um, no offense but it's been 10 days since the last chapter went up. OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LEFT A CLIFFHANGER LIKE THAT U R SO EVIL THEY CAN'T HAVE REALLY DIED CAN THEY?!?!?!?!?
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
John finished off his last opponent with a blow to the cranium. The young Magma operative sank to his knees with a groan, and then collapsed into the dusty mountain soil.
Marcus, fighting nearby, disengaged to allow his Nidoking, Rex, to dispatch the savage young woman he fought. His right arm hung limply at his side, damaged in the fighting. “Is that all of them?” John’s future son-in-law called.
“I think so,” John replied. He surveyed the mountain. The rebel fighters had managed to push most of the Magma and Aqua troops back, forcing some to flee all the way to Lilycove. Most of the rest had taken refuge on the upper floors of the mausoleum, or were massing around the shrine at the summit, hoping that the rebels would leave it alone.
Already, John had ordered a sizable piece of their force back down the mountain to wait at the water’s edge. Soon, all the rebels would be in retreat, back to reclaim Fortree City.
A red and yellow streak leapt from the rocks to John’s left. “Vic! Victini! Tini! Tini!”
“Athena?” Marcus gasped. “What are you doing here? Where’s Cole?”
The small pokemon madly gesticulated up the mountain. “Is he in trouble?” Athena nodded furiously. “Where are his other pokemon?”
Athena said a long string of words before realizing that the humans couldn’t understand her like Cole could. John knelt down, ignoring his protesting muscles. “Are they getting the others to help?” Athena nodded. “Then take us to Cole.”
Athena bounded up the slope, using psychic energy to leap much higher than her physiology would allow. John, Marcus, and their pokemon ran behind her as fast as their tired bodies would allow.
They were soon joined by Cole’s companion, Magnus. The old man seemed to show no sign of fatigue, easily keeping pace with the racing Scathatch. They reached an odd pile of boulders at the same time as Sin, Lisana and the Seven, who were led by Thor and Maeve, respectively.
“Where’s Cole?” Sin asked.
Maeve pointed to the boulders. “You mean…?” Nick gasped. The Weavile nodded. “How long has he been under there? Since we left?”
Maeve glanced up at the setting moon, and scratched out a few letters in the dirt. T-W-O H-O-U-R-S. Seithios balled his fists. “There might still be hope! Rhyperior, Garchomp, Excadrill! Start moving those boulders!”
All of the other trainers likewise gave the order. Even in their exhausted states, they tried to shift the rocks in any way they could. Cole’s pokemon, while overall not having much physical strength, pushed against boulders with sheer body mass and willpower. After watching for a handful of minutes, John cried out.
“This isn’t fast enough!” He raced to his Machamp’s side and began to try and haul boulders away himself with his nearly inhuman strength. Despite being old and tired, he made a valiant effort, and inspired all the others to try likewise.
They cleared the giant pile of stones until their knuckles bled, and their arms ached from the endeavor. After an eternity of struggle, they cleared away enough boulders to reveal Charizard and Masamune buried up to their midriffs in a pit of sand.
“Where’s Cole?” Julia murmured.
“That can wait!” Kim replied. “We have to get them out of there!”
Seithios’s ground types waded into the sand and drew Charizard and Masamune out. Both were unconscious, and barely alive. Charizard had major skin lacerations from the boulders falling, while Masamune seemed to have more intentional wounds. Lexa, Colette and Cole’s other pokemon immediately surrounded them, trying to offer medical attention.
Maybe it was John’s eyesight failing him, but he thought he glimpsed Nick’s eyes flashing gold. “Look there!” the young man cried, and pointed to a point in the middle of the sand pit. On inspection, John could faintly make out a hand and a very pale outline of a face.
Once again, Garchomp waded out into the sand, and drew out the Firebrand. He was barely breathing, and his pulse was faint. The dragon deposited him lightly in John’s arms. The muscular man knelt, and cradled Cole’s head in his hands.
(A/N: Remember how several chapters ago I linked to a Les Mis song mid chapter because it would help with the flow? I'm doing it again, because the following song song is very powerful, and must be done justice)
“Arceus on high, hear my prayer.” Tears formed in his eyes as he looked down on Cole’s broken body. “In my need, you have always been there.” He brushed Cole’s long, dark hair from his eyes. “He is young, he was afraid. Let him rest, heaven blessed.”
John raised his eyes to the heavens and cried out. “Bring him home, bring him home!” He bent over Cole’s body again, his voice breaking. “Bring… him… home.”
Clasping Cole’s limp hand in his, John went on. “He’s like the son I might have known… if You had granted me a son. The sons must die, one by one! How soon they fly, on and on! And I am old… and will be gone…”
Slowly, Cole’s friends gathered closer, drawn in by John’s seemingly magical song. Oblivious to this, John continued in his hymn. “Bring him peace, bring him joy. He was young… he was only a boy. You can take, You can give.”
Again, John looked up at the stars. “Let him be! Let him live! Bring him home, bring him home…” Tears fell from John’s face, leaving tracks in the dirt and grime. They fell onto Cole’s peaceful, pale visage, and pooled there. “Bring… him… home…”
Cole gasped a shaky, rasping breath. Everyone drew closer, awaiting the Firebrand’s revival. However, the breath died off, and his pulse faded away to nothing.
Cole didn’t feel pain anymore. He wasn’t tired, his muscles didn’t ache. He was drifting through an endless darkness that was strangely comforting. He was warm, and safe. If this was death, then he couldn’t really say he minded too much.
“Who can say… if I’ve been changed… for the better?”
Cole did not say that. It came from nowhere, it came from everywhere. The voice continued. “I’m limited. Look at me. I’m limited.”
The words were heart wrenchingly familiar, but he could not place them. “Now it’s up to you…” the voice murmured. “For both of us. Now it’s up to you.”
Cole tried to call out, to demand this strange presence reveal itself. But he found he could not speak. The Presence seemed to draw nearer. “Who can say… if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better.”
A glowing figure appeared before Cole, seeming to take the shape of a human. “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? But because I knew you… I have been changed… for… good.”
Suddenly, all the pieces fell into place. Cole forced one sound, one letter from his throat. “N.” That song… those were N’s last words, as he lay dying in Cole’s arms at the climax of the Omega War.
The figure before Cole flashed brightly, and revealed the green-haired youth. He hadn’t aged a day, but there was a significant change. N’s eyes, once haunted by the atrocities he had seen, and the damage he had caused, were clear. They were the eyes of an innocent child. His mouth was turned up in a warm smile.
N beckoned to Cole, and began to drift away, into a giant circle of bright light somewhere in the distance. Cole found he could move his legs, and sprinted after his deceased friend.
Everyone said that you saw a light when you died, and if you went towards the light, that was it. The end. You were in the afterlife, or maybe reincarnated, or just gone, a part of the infinite cosmos. It didn’t matter. N was leading him to it, so Cole would follow. He would leave his broken mortal shell behind, and pass on to the next existence.
He entered the light, and saw N vanish. “You have work to do,” the young man whispered. “We’ll meet again someday. But not now. You still have work to do.”
All Cole could feel was pain, everywhere. Not an inch of his body wasn’t screaming in mortal agony. A drop fell onto his face, and Cole felt a warm weight on his right hand.
“J-John?” he rasped, trying to take in the hazy figure above him.
“Cole? Cole!” John embraced him, gently but firmly. “You were dead! But my prayers… they were answered!”
Cole glanced around at all his friends. Magnus helped him to his feet. “It’s time to move on Cole. The Gate is not far from here.”
“Was… was I really dead? Did we win?”
Marcus nodded, then winced as his hand sent a twinge of pain up through his body. “To the second question, yes. We held them off, and pushed them up to the top of the mountain. To the first… yeah. You were dead.”
Sin placed a hand on Cole’s shoulder. “You stopped breathing for ten minutes. Your pulse was gone.”
Cole placed a hand over his heart, and felt the steady beat of the organ. The fact that he had died lay heavily upon him. It was only by the intercession of a higher power that he was here now. Or maybe it was N’s intercession, and Arceus had nothing to do with it.
Then, he noticed Charizard and Masamune. Ignoring the pain in his legs, he ran to their side. “Masamune… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let you do this…” He looked beseechingly at Lexa. “Will he live?”
The young woman shrugged. “It’s touch and go, at the moment. I can’t make any guarantees. He’ll need specialized care. If you get through the Gate, and come out somewhere near a pokemon center, then probably. But he’ll bear the scars for a long time, and he might never get back to full strength again, not without proper rehabilitation.”
“What about Charizard?”
Colette rubbed the dragon’s side. “He sustained some major cuts, but if you take steps to stave off infection, Charizard will live with minimal damage. His chance of survival is much higher than Masamune’s.”
“Can I return them to their pokeballs? Are they stable enough?”
Lexa nodded. “Just be careful with Masamune.”
With two flashes of red light, the large pokemon vanished. Maeve took Cole’s hand in her claw, being very gentle. “We need to go.”
Cole scratched her behind her crest. “I know. All right. Let’s move on, Magnus.”
The old man led the entire group two hundred yards up the mountain. On a ledge, there was a large, obsidian Gate set into the mountainside. From the way all of his friends looked past it, Cole was certain only he, Magnus, and their pokemon could see it.
“Marcus, Lexa, Colette, come with me. We can get treatment for your arm, Marcus, while Lexa and Colette get medical supplies. And give me any injured pokemon, I’ll take those too.” He looked around. “Julia, you need to get that cut looked at, it’s deep. Winona, that burn might fester. And Lucian, your left leg isn’t looking good…”
“They can’t come with you,” Magnus said flatly.
“What?” Cole cried. “But they need help!”
“The Gates are one way, they could not return. And they have not been recognized as worthy. No, only you and I can pass through the Gates.”
Nick and Anna hugged Cole. “Don’t worry about us,” the young woman whispered. “We’ll be all right. We can handle this. We’ll win.”
“But… this isn’t fair!” Cole murmured. “I can’t just leave you all here! Magnus, I’m staying!”
“No, you’re not,” John said firmly. “We need you to get out. Send aid. That’s the best you can do. Besides, Masamune needs medical care we simply cannot provide, even with the Fortree Pokemon Center. You’re a powerful figure in the world, Cole. If anyone can bring help, it’s you.”
“I won’t leave you like this!” Cole moaned. He sounded like a petulant child, but he didn’t care.
Julia began to sing softly, her hands running through Orrin’s fur. “Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night? It is a music of a people who are climbing to the light.”
Cole recognized the tune from one of their work songs, but the words were different. Marcus and Colette joined her. “All you wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest nights will end and the sun will rise.”
John and Winona added their voices. “We will live again in freedom in the Gardens of Origin. We will put away the sword. The chain will be broken the righteous will have their reward!”
“Will you join in our crusade?” Sin sang.
“Who will be strong and stand with me?” Lisana echoed.
In unison, the members of Cole’s work group and the Seven all broke into song. Tears ran down Cole’s face, the salt stinging the still-fresh wounds. “Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drum? It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes!”
The song started again, this time with more power and energy. Cole wiped the tears away with the back of his hand. On his shoulder, Athena heaved with silent sobs. Maeve used her claw to hide her own sorrow.
“I hear them,” Cole whispered. “I hear the world in song.”
The Gate opened with a flash of light, and Mount Pyre vanished.
Cole fell to the ground. The late evening sun warmed the back of his neck. With his right hand, he felt the soft blades of grass that he lay upon. He heard Scathatch, Thor and Maeve rising next to him. The soft songs of Pidgey resounded sleepily in the trees.
Cole pushed himself to his feet, feeling every bone, ever fiber of his being ache. Slowly, he took in his surroundings. This familiar hill. That familiar pond. The houses in the distance. The dirt lane that sliced through the grass. He knew this place.
He staggered down the road, searching for the one place he knew he had to go. The Gates and whatever mysterious force governed them had brought him here for a reason.
After walking for ten minutes, and nearly collapsing with exhaustion, he slumped against a door. He rapped his knuckles against the wood, painted a deep scarlet.
He knew someone would open it, and he would be welcome. Because this was Pallet Town. He was home. Finally, finally, home.
The door slid open, and Cole fell into the arms of a woman several years older than him. “Lisa… I’m back.”
This is the last Les Mis tie-in for... a while. I have a few more numbers I'd like to include.
The songs this chapter were Bring Him Home, and the reprise of Do You Hear the People Sing? in the Finale.
Either way, this trip to Hoenn is over. A new arc starts next chapter.
Last edited by Firebrand; 6th October 2011 at 8:43 PM.
I've read both of your stories all the way through. Nice work! I like how one of Cole's Pokemon is a Victini...and her eccentric personality. I actually named my Treecko in Emerald Shiva because of this. Keep up the great work!
Oh hey, I have a Nuzlocke story.I hath claimed the ULTIMATE TROLL!When an unknown infection spreads throughout Hoenn, it's up to three elite Trainers to defeat its source: Deoxys.Currently up to Chapter 2 of the sequel.Credit to Atari!Originally Posted by Kamina
Cole sat on the edge of his bed in his old room. He stared mutely at the LCD screen of Lisa’s laptop, absently refreshing the page, hoping for a reply to any of the emails he had sent. He couldn’t click to the homepage. All the news was about the crisis in Hoenn.
Gingerly, he placed the laptop on the nightstand, and slumped into his pillow, burying his face. Maeve, who had been sitting next to him, slunk over to the bookshelf in the corner and pulled out one of the Magic Treehouse Books Cole had never gotten rid of. Anything more complex was out of her reading level, but such elementary storybooks were just right for her.
“I like Annie,” she remarked. Cole grunted something intelligible in reply. It wasn’t right, for him to be here like this, while his friends fought and died in Hoenn. He shouldn’t have gone through the Gate with Magnus.
Magnus. The old man was gone. He hadn’t been there when Cole emerged. Probably for the best. Cole couldn’t have faced him anyway. Turning his head slightly, Cole saw Thor and Scathatch walking slowly in the backyard. Professor Oak had them on a rehabilitation program that would not only help keep their strength up, but also help them recover from malnutrition.
Athena scampered into the room and took in the scene. She blinked her wide eyes up at Maeve. “Want to go out and play with the pokemon at the lab?”
Maeve glanced at Athena and her book, and whispered the words, “And then everything was still. Absolutely still.” Satisfied that the first chapter was over, the Weavile nodded and stood slowly. She brushed the base of her claws over Cole’s face, closing his eyes. The young man heard her leave with Athena, the door closing behind them.
Cole wished his mother was there. She would be able to help, somehow. In the three days since Cole had arrived back home, he hadn’t seen Charizard and Masamune once. Oak had them under twenty-four hour surveillance. The one-time Firebrand had been spending hours at Oak’s lab, playing with the baby pokemon and waiting anxiously for news. According to one of the aides, Charizard had regained consciousness yesterday, but was sedated soon after to help cope with the pain.
Cole certainly owed Oak a debt. Another debt. One more debt in a long list of previous debts. The old professor had taken Cole and Lisa in when their mother died years ago, holding their house in trust for them, so it wasn’t repossessed. The mortgage had been paid, so there was no risk of foreclosure.
He had given Cole that Serious little Charmander who had become his best friend. The Professor had ensured Cole got off to a good start on his journey when Lisa reached eighteen, and was accepted into Celadon University on a full scholarship.
He had taken care of all Cole’s stored pokemon until Cole set up at the Flare Gym, and still looked after many of them. He had taught Cole how to be a healer, and introduced him to Mr. Pokemon and the Kimono Girls, helping him become the Guardian of Legends.
Maxie may be Cole’s biological father, but Professor Oak was the only father figure Cole would ever need. Blue, the Viridian Gym Leader, was like an older brother, or at least a very close cousin. He had been so proud when Cole fought by his side in the Rocket Incident.
Cole must have dozed off, because when he woke up, the smell of food was emanating from downstairs. He slowly got to his feet, and trudged down to the kitchen table. Lisa stood at the stove, over a large pot.
“Pasta with red sauce,” she told him. “No meat.”
Cole smiled. “Thanks, sis.”
“It’ll be ready in five minutes. I was going to send Athena to wake you up. Can you bring out their food?”
Cole crossed his arms. “Why can’t my pokemon eat in here? Yours do.”
Lisa rolled her eyes. “The kitchen isn’t big enough, and I just scrubbed the floors. Plus, Thor doesn’t like to be inside. It’s warm outside, and… tell you what. I’ll leave the window open, so you can see them.”
Cole nodded in deference to his older sister. He picked up the berry parfaits for Athena and Scathatch, the hard-boiled Pidgey eggs for Maeve, and the garden salad for Thor. He opened the screen door to the backyard with his foot, and set the bowls down on the small patio. “Dig in, everyone.”
The four pokemon ceased their game of tag, which Thor was easily winning, and walked over. As they ate, Cole knelt next to Scathatch. “Do we know how Charizard and Masamune are doing?”
The Zoroark sighed. “Charizard may be stable by morning. Masamune…”
Cole hugged her and buried his face in her fur. “I’m sorry. I should have stopped him…”
“My beloved is very stubborn,” Scathatch replied. “I doubt you could have dissuaded him. He would do anything to protect you.”
“And I always figured him wise…”
Scathatch turned to him, pulling her lips back to bear her fangs. “He did nothing less than what any of us would have done. We shouldn’t have fled.”
Cole tried to say something, but the words caught in his throat. He stood with a nod, and went back to the screen door. Thor stopped him with a snort. “Dragonair said to thank you.”
Maeve nodded. “Remember? That Dragonair we saved back before the Temple? We saw her today.”
Athena looked up from her parfait. “Oh, and we saw Treebeard, too! He wants to meet you tomorrow.”
“That Shiftry from the Safari Zone. The one you caught when a rock fell on him.”
Cole nodded, remembering. “Oh. Um, all right. I’ll go visit tomorrow.” He shook his head as he walked away. "Son of a... Athena must have talked to him. Naming himself after the Ent from the Two Towers..."
He went back inside, and sat down at one end of the table, Lisa at the other. He went to put a mouthful of pasta in his mouth, but paused. “It’s been four years.”
Lisa glanced up. “What?”
“Four years. It’s been four years since I last sat at this table. When I beat Cynthia in the Sinnoh League.”
Lisa blinked. “Right. The next day, you left and never came back. You spent a lot of time at the Bell Tower, and in the mountains outside of Blackthorn. Then, you went off to Unova.”
They ate in silence for a while, neither sibling knowing what to say. “I missed this,” Cole finally confessed. “Sitting here with you. And… Mom.”
Lisa smiled softly. “You were so little when she died.”
“I was seven.
“And I was fourteen. That was still too early. We were just kids… with no one but the Professor.”
“The Professor was all we needed!" Cole realized he had raised his voice. Quieting down, he stated, You didn’t go back out on your journey. You stayed and took care of me. Star was restless.”
Lisa smiled as her Arcanine glanced up from her place by the fireplace. “She’s got plenty to do now with all the baby pokemon,” Lisa laughed. “So does Flora, and Rai, and Saura.”
The Ivysaur and Bellosom looked up from where they were watering Lisa’s berry plants, and Rai the imaginatively named Raichu tumbled into the kitchen hoping for scraps. He, Athena and Maeve had definitely hit it off.
“And of course, Clara and Damien, but they stay at the lab now, since they don’t fit inside the house anymore!”
Cole grinned. The Kingdra and Scyther were the de facto enforcers on Oak’s Ranch now. Occasionally, one of Cole’s stronger pokemon would help them out if they were getting some rest and relaxation, but the two were perfectly competent on their own.
Cole laughed. “Yeah. Still, I feel bad. You never got to go to Sinnoh, or Hoenn or Unova, like I did.”
“I don’t mind. I was thinking of going for a cruise on the Royal Unova this autumn, if Locke and I can get time off work.”
Cole tried to keep his face impassive as Lisa mentioned her boyfriend. They had been together for a two years now, so it wasn’t like it was anything new to him, but he still couldn’t get used to the man. Sure, he and Cole got along well enough the few times they’d met, but the man was far too clever for Cole to trust easily.
He had made a name for himself as an explorer of ancient structures and artifacts. He was now working at Oak’s lab as an aide, just like Lisa, but Cole knew about his dubious past as a “treasure hunter”.
They were silent again before Cole found the courage to ask his next question. “Lisa… I have a question about our father. He left right after I was born, so you remember him, right?”
“Cole, I don’t really…”
The Firebrand stood up. “He was Maxie, wasn’t he?”
“You found out?”
“He told me himself. So it’s true, then?”
Lisa was quiet for a little while. “Yes.”
Cole shrugged, successfully hiding his inner turmoil from his sister. “I just wanted to know if he was telling the truth.”
Apparently, he hadn’t buried it as well as he thought, because Lisana bumped his leg with her foot. “Remember Cole, in the end it doesn’t matter who a man’s father is. He is who he is because he made himself that way. Just because Maxie is our father doesn’t mean we’re doomed to end up like him. It can be our family’s secret. No one will ever associate us with him.”
Cole nodded solemnly. “Right. No one in the rebels knew it. I haven’t told anyone but my pokemon, and they swore to keep it a secret.”
Lisa led him to the video phone. “Speaking of your pokemon, I think it’s time you checked in with them. The ones in Unova.”
Cole smiled, and mentally did a time check. Since it was seven in the evening here in Kanto, it would be about eight in the morning by Unova Standard Time, which he assumed the Flare Gym was on.
He dialed his number, and waited as the feed connected. A blue canine face filled the screen, and let out a joyful bark. “Kami!” Cole cried. “It’s been too long!”
“We missed you!”
Cole blinked, and then smiled. “Kami, I can understand you now!”
The Lucario cried out with joy. Several of Cole’s other pokemon crowded around the terminal, and added their voices to the chorus. Sadly, Cole couldn’t understand any of them yet, save for his oldest Swampert, the one who had been with him in Hoenn.
Cole relayed what had happened in the interim since he left, while Kami and Swampert delivered what news they had gathered. The Journeymen, Cole’s league, was in a state of upheaval. Several leaders had dropped out, and the positions needed to be filled. Raj had graciously held Cole’s position in trust, waiting for his return. However, as it stood, Mozzeh had been promoted to Champion in Raj’s stead, and the only remaining gym leaders were himself, and Ammy. The others had taken their leave for various reasons.
Because of this, the league wasn’t taking any challengers. The pokemon of Cole’s gym were left mostly to their own devices, and had been keeping up their training regimen. Taylor, Cole’s proxy, came by once every so often to check up on them.
They had stopped a flood in a nearby river, and the water types had prevented a forest fire when a lightning bolt struck a dead tree. News from the outside world was scarce, because Taylor was their only source, and he was rarely up to date on current events. If it wasn’t on the front page of a newspaper, he likely didn’t know about it. They only knew about the Hoenn problem because Hades had finally found the long-lost TV remote, though reception that far out was spotty at best, despite Cole's best efforts to rig up a satellite dish.
After a time, Cole switched the conversation to Lisa’s Xtransceiver, so that his traveling companions outside could chat with their friends back home for a little while. It might be a long time before they had the opportunity to do that again.
At about nine o’clock, Cole took Athena and Maeve upstairs to his room, while Scathatch and Thor went back to Oak’s Ranch. They preferred sleeping out to the cramped household.
Cole showered quickly and collapsed into bed. Not for the first time, he savored the feeling of the feather mattress, and drifted to sleep with the soft calling of Hoothoot outside the window.
No Les Mis song? Blasphemy!
I've got the next couple chapters written, but I'm using them as a buffer. Life's a little busy now, and I'm also writing the climax of Scattered Sparks. Hero's Path is taking the backseat.
Last edited by Firebrand; 13th October 2011 at 11:24 PM.
He was running, sprinting through an unfamiliar forest. His muscles ached, and every wound he had ever endured seemed to be fresh on his body. His trail was marked with fresh drops of blood. The sticky red liquid made his clothes cling to his body.
He could feel himself dying.
An unseen, unknown pursuer chased him, crashing through the dense trees. He couldn’t afford to look back; he would lose his momentum and be caught. If he continued, he would die from blood loss. If he stopped, he’d be killed by his pursuer. Bleeding out seemed an easier way to go, so he pushed onward.
The trees opened up around him, and he raced down a small stretch of packed earth, onto a wooden dock. The dock extended a hundred meters into a pristine blue lake. He paused at the end, blood from the cuts on his face dissipating into the water. The planks behind him were stained red.
His right hand moved of it’s own volition, sweeping upward in a diagonal arc. A strange rush of wind blew past his face, and swept out towards the horizon. The water in the lake rippled, and the trees bent away. Then, without him moving an inch, he was somewhere utterly different.
The lake wasn’t a lake; it was a wide plaza in a city. The trees weren’t trees, they were people. And they weren’t bending away, they were bowing to him. He dimly realized that his wounds had healed. In fact, there was no mark upon his body at all. He was dressed in rich clothes, made of very fine material. Atop his head was a plain, unadorned golden circlet.
He was a king.
In the plaza below, a large crowd knelt before a marble coffin. It was open, and from his vantage point on high, he saw that it was Maxie who lay at rest, his face pale in death. His hands were folded serenely over his breastbone.
Everywhere, people he knew knelt before him. They looked to him with respect, but also fear. Near him, Scathatch hid Athena behind her paw. Protecting the Victini from him. Charizard and Masamune had bowed their heads in submission. Maeve and Thor were trembling.
Raj and Becca, along with the other members of the Journeymen, knelt before him on the platform. Raj’s eyes were distant, looking at the palace behind him. He mouthed the word Why?
The Seven stood silently behind him, his own personal guard. Sin and Lisana were at his right hand, Colette and Marcus on his left. He watched as a marble slab was lowered onto Maxie’s tomb.
“The king is dead!” the cowed people in the plaza chorused. “Long live the king!”
He shook his head. No! No! This isn’t right! I rejected this! This future isn’t mine! I left it on a different path!
And just like that, he was alone. Back at the lake. His pursuer was drawing closer. He could hear it coming even now. He gazed into the lake. Pain lanced through his body, making him stagger. His only hope is to jump.
The water is cold, shockingly cold. Colder than ice. For some reason, he couldn't swim. The water is turning red. Red with blood. He isn’t drowning, but he can’t swim. The strength is leaving him as the red fingers dance up towards the surface.
He was dying.
Cole sat bolt upright in bed, his bare chest soaked with sweat. His sheets were in a knot on the floor. He panted heavily, grasping the area just over his heart, noticing how tightly the skin clung to the bone and muscle.
“Only a dream,” he muttered. “Only a dream...”
He stared down at his abdomen, willing his pulse to return to normal.
Lisa awoke to voices downstairs. The clock on her nightstand read 2:48 am. A blue light flickered against the white walls of the hallways. She slipped into her robe and crept out of her bedroom.
She stopped at the base of the stairs, and saw Cole sitting in the living room, glaring at the television. He wore nothing but a pair of black nylon running shorts. Lisa noted how she could count all his ribs, but also how his entire body was composed of lean muscle. The six weeks in the work camp had pushed her brother to the very edge of his endurance.
She silently walked behind the couch. Cole was flipping between CNN and MSNBC. Both networks were showing satellite and helicopter footage of Hoenn. CNN was looping a clip of a rebel war band charging on a troop of Aqua grunts in Petalburg. The Aqua grunts called out their Carvanha, Sharpedo and Tentacruel to attack. The clip cut away before anyone started bleeding.
MSNBC had an image of Hoenn that the anchor was zooming in and out on, showing where clashes had taken place, and high-res images of urban destruction. Then, a shot of a burning forest, pokemon running for their lives. The crew, who had been shooting from a helicopter, could do nothing to save them.
“No FOX?” Lisa asked.
“They’ve been skewing the facts, as usual. Arceus, if they have to come out and say they’re fair and unbiased, there’s something wrong.” Cole glanced up at Lisa. “I should be there…”
Lisa placed a hand on his bare shoulder. “You have your mission. You have to get help.”
“I’m trying.” He opened up her laptop and showed her the email he had received. Lisa read it silently.
“Dear Cole, we are overjoyed to hear you are safe. While the situation in Hoenn troubles us greatly, it is beyond the scope of the Unova League. We cannot commit ourselves to a conflict like this. I am afraid that this burden must fall on others. -Alder”
Cole shook his head. “It’s despicable. When Omega was attacking, everybody came to fight, because they were operating all over the world. But when it’s confined to Hoenn, nobody wants to help. Don’t they see that it’s only a matter of time before Archie starts attacking the other regions?”
“Well, what about the Journeymen?”
Cole silently clicked open another email, this one from Raj. “Cole, where are you? We’ve had some complications. X is working on it. We need the Firebrand back.”
“You’re not telling him where you are, are you?”
“No. The Firebrand has done all he can. At least Cynthia is helping out.”
“Oh, good! Sinnoh has some really powerful trainers.”
“Yeah. But all Hoenn’s getting is Cynthia.”
Lisa patted Cole on his protruding shoulder blades. “You’ve done all you can.”
“I promised to do more.”
“Sometimes we have to accept things are what they are. Neither of us wanted Mom to pass, but we had to let her go. You have a purpose elsewhere. No one person can fix all the world’s problems.”
Cole was quiet for a long time. “I have to at least try.”
He made no attempt to move, only staring blankly ahead at the flickering images on the TV screen. Lisa sighed and pulled a blanket out from the linen closet. She draped it over Cole’s shoulders, and went back to bed.
Last edited by Firebrand; 20th October 2011 at 10:45 PM.
Loving this. I'd love to use the NCTH connection and get in on it. If I csn draft well enough, maybe I cn tranfer Glover's Character devolpment back to my mainstream. It'll either be a spin-off, or a prequel though. I'm too far ahead of myself to smash it in...
Anyway, That's me... Now for you.
Firt page was good. I had to agree with Owl, the LotR connections were too heavy, this is your story, not Tolkien's. Glad to see that became nothing more than a few running gag type things. That said, the front part was fun, teaching Victini about human literiture.
Blazing Heart? I've never hea- oh. Okay... Fun characters.
I'm pretty sure that Gandalf screamed YOU SHALL NOT PASS, and not thou, at least in the movie. I'd have to double check that, and sadly, I'm a failure and was too busy reading thing like Last of the Mohicans to bother reading the LotR series.
Your fic is only the second I've read that deals with actual death in it. And the first hasn't been updated for a long time. It's still wearing on me, but it's written well.
I do like the dream sequence there at the end too.
One wonders who/what Magnus really is.
Beyond that, there were a few little typos hither and thither, but I didn't pull them out and can't seem to find them now. I await your return.
Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:
See above.Blazing Heart? I've never hea- oh. Okay... Fun characters.
In the original text, it was thou.I'm pretty sure that Gandalf screamed YOU SHALL NOT PASS, and not thou, at least in the movie.
You won't find THAT out until one of the very last chapters.One wonders who/what Magnus really is.
I really like this, It's got some great description and a gripping story, I can't think of much to build it on other than improving your paragraphing (you do a line and then some spaces, granted, its a paragraph, but a very short one.) I'm awaiting the next chapter, hopefully it will be as good as the last.
Yes, after a semi-long hiatus, Hero's Path is back with a vengeance!
The morning sun fell gently on his exposed back. Cole held his arms at a slight angle above his head, breathing deeply. He flowed gracefully into the next motion of the tai chi form he and Kami had developed together, to help the Lucario focus his aura powers.
As Cole sliced through the air with his bare hands, his feet tracing patterns on the dew-saturated ground, he gazed down at Oak’s ranch below him. Even this early, pokemon were going about their business.
Cole held his left arm completely straight, his fingers pointing up at the sky. His right hand was cocked back behind his ear. Then, he quickly reversed the positions in one fluid motion. He was struck with how eerily similar it was to snapping a neck from behind. But of course, that had not been his intent in developing it…
As he finished the tai chi routine, he felt a few of his muscles ache from the five-mile run he had just completed. His bare chest was soaked with sweat, but it was a good sweat, an honest sweat. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand, and started wondering about yoga.
Not those stupid classes that middle aged women took to be trendy and stay in shape. No, actual yoga, learned at the feet of a guru, to help open his mind, and come in closer contact with the spiritual presence Arceus, and his inner self. It might help him a great deal, but he had no time for it on his journey. When he returned to the Flare Gym though…
Cole shrugged and walked slowly down the hill. If the weather took a turn for the worse, like the weathermen predicted, then he and his pokemon were going to start watching the Lord of the Rings movies. They were all really looking forward to it.
Dragonair and Treebeard met him at the bottom of the slope. In the past few days, he had grown fairly close to the two rescued pokemon. He had offered to release them both into suitable habitats, but neither of them really wanted to. In fact, they had expressed interest in going to train at the Flare Gym with Cole’s other A-List pokemon.
A troop of baby Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander followed behind the Dragonair, who had proven to be very nurturing in her time at Oak’s lab. The Professor himself had remarked on how well she was suited to the care of young ones. Scathatch hoped that it would be enough to keep her pups out of trouble.
Cole smiled wanly at them, and walked through the sliding glass doors to the lab. Lisa, working at a computer terminal with a scattering of research papers, looked up with a smile. “How was the run?”
“All right,” Cole replied. “I’m a little out of practice.”
“You’ll get back up. You always do.”
Cole returned her smile automatically. “Any changes?”
Lisa shrugged. “Haven’t heard anything.”
Cole nodded and continued through the lab. Dragonair hissed over the tiles behind him, and Treebeard tried to keep his large fans out of the researchers' way. They moved past bank after bank of monitors and bookshelves. Locke, Lisa’s boyfriend, glanced up from the diagram of an Alakazam skeleton he was studying, and waved at Cole.
The young man merely nodded back, hastening towards the medical bay. Professor Oak was there, standing beside the pallets where Charizard and Masamune slept. The wounds on the Samurott were still easy to make out, though Charizard had some success in healing. The dragon was awake, and growled softly as Cole entered the antechamber.
The young man hastily pulled on rubber gloves and a pair of clean shoes, so as not to contaminate the wounds by contact. He walked slowly into the bay, and through a small forest of monitors, IV drips and medical benches.
He knelt beside Charizard and ran his hand slowly across the ridge where Charizard’s wings met his vertebrae. The pokemon made a sound almost like a contented purr, though it was considerably more gravely and intimidating than anything a feline pokemon could have mustered.
“How long?” Cole asked simply.
Oak shrugged. “My boy, Charizard could be released this very day. His condition stabilized last night. So long as he’s careful, I think we can let him out for some fresh air. No flying yet, or anything too taxing, of course. And I think it wise to keep him here on the ranch.”
Cole nodded, seeing the logic. “And Masamune?”
“Well, I’ve been in contact with Professor Juniper. She knows far more about the Samurott anatomy than I. And from what she tells me… it’s a miracle Masamune is still alive. The amount of poison he endured, and then the extended fight would have killed any lesser pokemon.”
Cole moved from Charizard’s side to Masamune’s. “I tried to tell him to come back. That he didn’t need to keep going.”
“He made his own choices,” the esteemed professor said softly, laying a hand on Cole’s shoulder. “He was very brave.”
Cole ran his hand along Masamune’s flank. Even in his comatose state, the shell swords on the Samurott’s leg were starting to grow back. Cole hoped that Masamune would get a chance to use them.
Oak cleared his throat. “I’ll give you some time alone. If you need anything, press the intercom button.”
A nod from Cole sent the professor away. He knelt by Masamune for a long time. Charizard slowly moved to a sitting position, and began stretching out his sore muscles. Cole couldn’t bring himself to look at the scars. Not yet.
After some time, the doors slid open. Scathatch, Thor, Maeve and Athena walked into the hospital room in single file. The two larger pokemon waited by the door, while Maeve and Athena went to sit by Charizard, talking with the big dragon.
“Masamune,” Cole whispered. “Come back soon. We all miss you.”
The Samurott convulsed, and Cole lurched back, falling onto the polished linoleum floor. The eye nearest to Cole flickered open. “I…”
Masamune growled as his entire body tensed. “Won’t…”
He heaved himself to his feet, and tossed his head back defiantly. “Give…”
The Samurott roared so loudly that the windowpanes shook. “Up!”
Cole collapsed into tears of joy. His friend, given up for dead, had returned to him. Tears ran down his face as he embraced Masamune’s neck, and his other pokemon pressed closer, all trying to welcome their companion back to the world of the living.
It did rain that evening. Cole and his six partners cloistered themselves in the hospital room, crowding around Lisa’s laptop and watching the Fellowship of the Ring DVD.
When the movie ended, with Boromir’s death, the breaking of the Fellowship and Sam and Frodo paddling down the river, Athena was wiping tears away.
“Can we watch the others?”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Cole replied. “It’s late, and I at least am tired.” Charizard echoed the sentiment by stretching his maw into a gaping yawn. Masamune and Scathatch huddled together. Now that the Samurott was conscious, nothing was going to separate the Zoroark from her mate.
Thor, Maeve, Athena and Cole exited the hospital room. Thor walked with the company to the edge of the ranch before turning back and galloping to the slumbering Rapidash and Ponyta, assimilating into the herd.
Cole let himself into Lisa’s house by way of his spare key, and crept quietly up the stairs. He changed into his sleeping clothes, which would double as the clothes for his morning run tomorrow, and slid into bed. Athena fell asleep in the crook of his arm, and Maeve breathed softly from the trundle bed, quickly falling asleep. Cole followed suit soon after.
The next morning, after his run, Cole relaxed on the ranch, and played with some of Professor Oak’s baby pokemon. All the little Charmanders idolized Charizard, and under different circumstances, the orange dragon would have been happy to let them climb all over him and use him as a living, breathing jungle gym, but since he was still in recovery, Cole had to warn them against it.
He sat with Masamune by one of the several ponds, pillowing his head in Scathatch’s mane. The Samurott slowly lowered himself into the water and sighed.
“I haven’t felt this good in ages.”
Cole smiled. “You haven’t had a proper swim since before Canalave.”
Masamune grinned back, then wrinkled his nose. “And you hadn’t had a proper bath.”
Cole kicked a spray of water at the aquatic pokemon. Masamune replied in kind by dousing Cole with a small stream of water. Beneath Cole, Scathatch chuckled. “Boys, boys. Play nice.”
Cole looked out at the wide-open fields of Oak’s Ranch and saw Thor galloping around the fields with Maeve on his back, playing with other pokemon. High in the sky above, Athena sat on the shoulders of a lazily drifting Jumpluff. Cole would have been more worried if he hadn’t seen the Victini leap two-story houses in a single bound, and besides, a small group of Hoppip and Skiploom were nearby, ready to catch her should she fall.
Cole sank back with a sigh. Everyone was safe. Happy and safe.
Last edited by Firebrand; 8th November 2011 at 11:23 PM.
“They’re quite motivated,” Oak chuckled, as he watched the pokemon dragging blocks of limestone across the ranch. Cole nodded in reply and watched Masamune dragging a heavy sledge. The Samurott had jumped at the opportunity to undertake this task, thinking it would get his strength back up.
Professor Oak was building a new windmill on his ranch, one that would supply more power to his generators. It was built completely out of local materials, and the limestone vein nearby was being mined by many of the rock and ground types at the lab. Maeve was working with other pokemon to cut the stones into blocks. Masamune, along with Thor and Scathatch, were part of the teams that dragged the stones from the quarry site to the place where the windmill would be built, a half-mile away, next to the river. That way, the hydroelectric potential of the fast-flowing stream could be exploited. Charizard and Athena were with several other fire types, welding the steel support structure.
“I’m a little worried about Masamune,” Cole confessed. “He’s still not fully recovered.”
Oak grinned. “Cole, my boy, he feels he’s up to the challenge. And he seems to be doing all right. If things seem too daunting, I’ll set to work somewhere else.”
“It’s just that he’s working alone. Everyone else is in teams of two. Well, except for that Machamp over there…” Cole gestured to the human-esque fighting type in question, who would not even use a sledge like other pokemon; instead carrying the limestone blocks with it’s bare hands.
Oak stroked his chin. “It’s interesting. Torrent should only effect water type moves, but I think Masamune may indeed be using his ability right now. That’s what’s giving him this boost in power. I think we should analyze this further…”
The esteemed Professor turned and walked back to his laboratory, muttering all the while. Cole stood atop the hill for a while longer, watching Masamune at work.
Only once did the mighty water type falter. When he did stumble, Masamune gritted his teeth and stood back up. “I… will… work… harder!”
Progress on the windmill continued for some time. The size of the workforce, however, made the work go by quickly. Cole helped where he could, loading limestone onto sledges, supporting beams, even taking up the yoke and dragging the blocks several times.
He felt his muscles strengthening, even more than they had been in the work camp. There his body had been forced to cope with malnutrition, but here, with the proper food available, he was becoming strong with his pokemon.
Unlike a bodybuilder, who carefully shaped and toned specific muscles, Cole was a solid cord, a veritable sheath of sinews and tendons. The young man patted the shoulder of the Nidoking he had paired with as they hauled their sledge to the windmill site.
A pair of Machokes lifted the block and set it into place. Charizard strode over and welded a few metal bars into place. Cole slid over to his traveling companion. “Holding up all right? Feeling better?”
Charizard nodded twice. Cole carefully inspected the scars that ran up and down Charizard’s body. Many were years old, tokens of battles through their travels. Others were from the Omega War, and yet more were very recent, obtained in the struggle for liberation at the work camp and Mt. Pyre.
Cole rubbed his hand between Charizard’s shoulder blades down to where his wings met his spine. The dragon growled softly, his equivalent of a purr. “Have you tried flying yet?”
Charizard stiffened, and his growl dropped several octaves. Slowly, the dragon shook his head. He had suffered severe damage to his wing membrane in Maxie’s rock slide, but Oak had told them that Charizard should, theoretically, be able to fly again.
Cole wrapped an arm around Charizard’s neck, careful not to agitate any still-healing scars. “Hey, I’m not pointing any fingers. You fly when you’re ready, and not a moment sooner.”
Cole walked away, and Charizard sullenly flared his wings.
That night, Cole couldn’t sleep. His dreams were troubled. It wasn’t the one where he was running through a forest, no, that one hadn’t recurred. They were just fractured images of things he couldn’t make sense of.
Slowly, he got out of bed, careful not to disturb Athena, who slept in the crook of his arm. He pressed his forehead against the glass and gazed out into the backyard. Scathatch, Thor, Charizard, and Lisa’s pokemon were sleeping there, enjoying the warmth of early summer. Judging by the position of the stars, it was a little after midnight. Cole used his peripheral vision to glance at the clock on his nightstand. 1:17 a.m. was burning in red LED lights.
Cole slid the window open, allowing a slight breeze to play through the room. Maeve, curled up near his bed in a nest of blankets, opened her eyes. “Cole? What’s wrong?”
“Just having a little trouble sleeping. Nothing to worry about. I’ll be fine.” He rested his hands on the windowsill, his breath fogging the panes. “Ah, Maeve… where’s Masamune?”
“He stayed at the lab,” the Weavile replied. “After dinner. Said he wanted to do a little more work on the windmill. Did he not come back?”
Cole shook his head, making a little squeaking sound against the glass. “It doesn’t look like it. I think I’ll go take a little walk, go check on him.”
Maeve nodded and snuggled back under he blankets. “G’night, Cole.”
Cole reached down and scratched her behind her ear. “G’night Maeve. Sleep tight.”
Cole crested the hill near Oak’s Lab, and saw Masamune trudging towards the windmill, the harness to a sledge clamped tightly in his mouth. Three limestone blocks were piled on the wooden vehicle.
“I… will… work… harder.”
Cole watched for a few minutes. The water type’s coat was slick with sweat, but he didn’t seem tired. His stance was still powerful, and his eyes flickered with determination.
The young man strode down the hill and ducked under Masamune’s harness, taking the crossbar in both hands. Masamune glanced at him with one eye, nodded, and continued onward without saying a word.
“I… will… work… harder.”
Did you catch the Animal Farm nod?
Last edited by Firebrand; 17th November 2011 at 10:53 PM.
“I… will… work… harder.”
That book is amazing. Great allusion.
First off, forgive me if I'm confused. I haven't read League of Heroes, so I might not get something here or there.
First things first, you fixed this in the next chapter, but the fist chapter has two spaces between every paragraph. One space would suffice.
I see we're already starting out with some action!Cole was frantic. He had just gotten the call an hour ago. A surprise visit from Raj! The Champion was flying up from the Tower, and he was going to test Cole’s team! “Charizard, get yourself warmed up! This is going to be a heated battle! C’mon, get the A-List ready! Athena, head up to the top of the tower! Let’s go!”
Oh, dear. OC with Victini. Usually is a red flag for Sueishness.Athena, his Victini,
Should be:Thor his Zebstrika,
Thor, his Zebstrika,
Lulz. Nice contrasting imagery, with the name and Cole shuddering at it. Don't know what Pokemon it is yet.Mr. Socky.
This guy really likes unfitting nicknames, doesn't he?Snowcone, Socky, Medusa,
You could just say platform. "Dias" is bordering on purple prose.and took an empty space on the dais.
Other than those few mistakes, I really enjoyed the beginning. Looking forward to the rest!
Really, that's all I could find to nitpick here. I'll review the other chapters when I have more time.
Last edited by donotlookatdiagram; 20th November 2011 at 2:23 AM.
Cole stood in front of the bathroom mirror, electric razor in hand. He had shaved off his facial hair, though he hardly ever let it go beyond a day or two’s growth. However, now he was considering allowing a small goatee to grow out.
He and his traveling companions had finished watching the Lord of the Rings movies last night, and Athena had remarked that Cole looked a lot like Aragorn, or at least the actor who played Aragorn. Cole ran a hand through his long hair, untrimmed since before he left the Flare Gym two months ago.
He tied it back with two pieces of black string, and glanced again at his reflection. He did look like Aragorn, but…
With three quick strokes of the razor, he shaved away the goatee. He didn’t like the itchiness. He turned on the water in the sink and washed his face, splashing cool water in his eyes to help him wake up.
Lisa called something from downstairs. Cole leaned out the door. “What was that?”
“Someone’s at the door! He says he knows you, and wants to talk!”
Cole dried his face. “Okay, I’ll be down in a minute.” Silently, he muttered all the various forms of torment he would inflict if it was someone asking for an autograph.
“Cole. It’s been a while.”
The young man froze as he turned the corner into the living room. A man in a white cloak sat in a chair, sipping coffee. He glanced up at Cole with sparkling blue eyes. “Ready to go?”
“Magnus? What are you doing here?”
Magnus took another drink. “Mmm, this coffee is lovely. I detect a hint of cinnamon, yes? I love cinnamon.” Magnus inhaled deeply, savoring the aroma. “To answer your question, Cole… it’s time to leave. You’ve recovered here, and that’s all well and good. But now it’s time to move on.”
“What? Magnus… what are you talking about?”
The old man sighed. “Cole, you’ve done everything you’ve needed to do here. New adventures await you. I’m here to escort you to the next Gate, near Mt. Moon.
“Though… I should mention you do have a choice. You can come with me now, and continue your quest. Or you remain here longer, and go wherever you please in your own time. And never reach the Edge of the World.”
Cole sank down into a chair opposite the old man. “How long do I have?”
Magnus closed his eyes. “I plan to leave in an hour, give or take.”
Cole’s hands clenched. “All right. I’ll be ready. Just… let me get my pack together. And say goodbye.”
He ran out to the backyard, and his pokemon were already standing at attention. “We heard Magnus come in,” Scathatch confessed.
Cole smiled and scratched her behind her ear. “Meet me at the lab in an hour. Say your goodbyes to any pokemon there, okay?”
The group turned and ran off. Cole walked slowly back into the house. “Lisa?”
His sister was in the kitchen. She stared out the window, not turning to look at him. “You’re leaving again, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. Lisa, I’m sorry, I wish I could stay longer…”
Lisa whirled and hugged him tightly. “Just stay safe.”
Cole hugged her back. “I will. I promise. I’ll call you as soon as I get back, I swear.”
Lisa nodded. “We’ll miss you. Everyone here will miss you.”
“I’ll visit more when this is all over.”
Lisa led him to the video phone. “You should call your pokemon back at the gym. Let them know what’s going on.”
Cole keyed in his phone number, and two faces filled the screen. Kami barked out a hello, and Treebeard the Shiftry saluted. He had sent Treebeard and Dragonair over not too long ago, and according to Kami, the two had fit in with the rest of the group famously.
“Hey guys!” Cole smiled.
Kami, ever an expert at reading faces, knew what Cole was going to say before the young man could formulate the words. “You’re leaving Pallet Town.”
“That easy to tell?”
The Lucario nodded. “It’s in your eyes. That look you get whenever you head out on a new adventure.”
“It may be a long time before I call you again…”
“I’ll let everyone know you said goodbye. If I can pass word along to Raj somehow…”
“Don’t do that!” Cole cried. “I mean… well, let him know I’m okay. But don’t tell him where I am or where I’m going. I can’t face that. I’m sorry, Kami.”
“It’s not me you should apologize to.”
“Have I ever told you you’re too smart for your own good?”
“At least seven times.”
“I’m going to miss you, Kami. Wish you were here.”
“Goodbye Cole. Come home soon, and safe.”
“Roger that, Kami.”
The feed went black as they disconnected. Cole stood at the terminal for a moment, took a deep breath, and strode up to his room. He pulled his pack out of the closet, and the riding saddle he used.
He tossed his two extra pairs of jeans in, and a pair of cargo shorts. Two thermal shirts, two t-shirts, some socks, underwear, an extra belt. He tied his bedroll to the bottom of the bag’s straps. Cole checked his medicine bag and berry pouch. He made sure his cooking implements were sharpened and clean. Then, he shrugged on his duster and prepared to leave.
The sunlight falling through his window made him pause. In the corner was the steel rod Sin had given him in the battle at the work camp. It had been with Cole when he came through the Gate, and Cole hadn’t touched it since. But somehow, he knew he had to bring this with him, if only as a gesture to the friends he had left behind, to know he hadn’t forgotten them. And besides, it might prove useful.
Cole hefted the bar in his right hand and twirled it experimentally. “I should probably name you. I know, so Freudian. But… huh. How about…”
He whirled around and flashed the steel rod out in front of him. “Anduril!” The sunlight caught on the blade, making it flash. Cole smiled. Maybe he wouldn’t let himself look like Aragorn, but he would carry the man’s signature. “Reforged is the blade that was broken! The crownless shall again be king!”
He went downstairs, and Lisa slid him a package over the kitchen table. “I got you something the other day. Open it.”
Cole did, sliding the box open with his fingertips. Inside was a sheet of dark gray cloth. Cole picked it up gingerly and allowed the shirt to unfold. He held it up to look at the design.
“Arceus, Lisa! How’d you find this?”
Lisa smiled. “Internet. I saw how much you all liked those movies…”
Cole ran his hand along the stitching on the shirt. “It’s amazing.” A bare white tree dominated the gray field, and seven stars arched over the tree at the very top.
“The seal of Gondor,” Cole muttered. “Arceus, everyone wants me to be the Strider today…”
Lisa hugged Cole one last time. “I’m going to miss you, little brother.”
Magnus met him and his pokemon at the edge of Pallet Town. “Ready to go? Everything all taken care of?”
Cole nodded, as did his teammates. He pulled out five pokeballs, and Athena climbed onto his shoulder. With a flash of light, the five larger pokemon vanished into the capsules. Magnus had a pokéball in hand, but quickly retracted it.
“Not going to fly?”
Cole shrugged. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to walk for a bit. It’s been a long time since I traveled this path.”
Magnus smiled. “I’m willing to bet it’s been even longer for me!”
And with that, the two men set off down the beaten trail of Route One, the song of Pidgey echoing through the trees.
Later that day, Professor Oak spotted a folded piece of paper on his desk. He picked it up and put on his reading glasses. A message was written there in several different colors of crayon, in a shaky, childlike hand.
“Dear Profesur Oak. Thank you for letting us play on yur ranch. It was a lot of fun. Love…” It was signed by all of Cole’s pokemon, each in the same hand, Maeve’s, most likely.
Oak beamed as he read the second half of the paper. Each name was written in different color. MaEvE was a deep purple, the biggest and centermost signature. AthEnA was an orange red, and in the top right. ThoR was opposite Athena, and in alternating yellow and black letters. MasAmuNE was in blue, just below Maeve’s name, and next to that was ScAtHAtcH in a dark black with a red underline. At the very bottom of the page, CHARiZARd was written in red, with the ‘z’ and one of the ‘r’s backwards.
Oak dug through the top drawer of his desk, picked out four thumbtacks, and put the note on a bulletin board near his desk. “Only until I can find a frame,” the professor muttered to himself.
As he locked up his lab, he saw a man staggering up the main street of Pallet Town. Oak called out to him, and the man turned slowly before limping over.
“The Firebrand,” the man gasped. “You must tell me, is the Firebrand here?”
Oak shook his head sadly. “You mean Cole? I’m sorry. You just missed him. He left earlier today.”
The man swore, and staggered past Oak. The Professor shouted after him. “Wait! Why not stay in Pallet Town for the night? You’re in no shape to go on!”
The man shook his head as he limped away. “No time! Have to catch up! If I go now, maybe I can reach him!”
Oak watched as the man disappeared into the twilight, slowly shaking his head.
Jasper grinned as he strode away from Oak’s Pokemon Lab. Well, it seemed as if fate had intervened on Cole’s behalf once again. But he would soon catch up to the Firebrand.
And then, he would have his vengeance.
Yes, Jasper and Magnus are back. Let the awesome ensue. The action will pick up next chapter, for sure.
Last edited by Firebrand; 23rd November 2011 at 6:58 PM.
Cole breathed in the warm air of Viridian Forest. He hadn’t been here in years, and the soft chrring of bug pokemon in the trees still had the same effect as when he had been a little kid, just setting out on his journey. It was a very pleasant sound, and he paused for a second to listen.
Magnus glanced at him and smiled. “Nostalgia?”
“Yeah. How did you tell?”
“When you’re my age, and you’ve been where I have, everywhere gives you a little nostalgia. I know the look.”
Athena squeaked as a flock of Butterfree lifted off from a nearby tree. “They’re so pretty!”
Magnus shaded his eyes; pushing away his silvery-gray locks as he did so. “That they are, some of the prettiest in the world.” Cole was once again reminded that Magnus could understand the speech of pokemon just as well as Cole could. Perhaps better than Cole could.
They continued down Viridian Forest’s wandering path for some time, admiring the flora and fauna. After several moments of relative quiet, a young man leapt up from the bushes near the side of the trail. “Hey! Trainers! We gotta have a battle! My first-class bug types will destroy you!”
Cole’s hand automatically snapped to his belt harness. Charizard could take this little Bug Catcher down, even if his “first-class bug type” was Gensect itself.
Magnus held up a hand. “Ah, Cole my lad, would you mind terribly if I took this myself? I haven’t had a battle like this in a long time.”
Cole smiled. “No, of course not. By all means, Magnus.”
The old man whipped out a pokéball in one fluid motion. “You first, young man.”
The Bug Catcher grinned. “The name’s Todd! And say hello to Beedrill!” He hurled the pokéball with all his might, and it exploded into the yellow and black creature. “We’ll take you down, old man!”
Magnus smiled wider. “Age is but a number, lad! Come, Feste! Curtain call!”
He threw out his pokéball, and a green and white blur shot forth. “Bubble, bubble toil and trouble!” The blur quickly reversed direction and came to hover before Magnus. “Fire burn and cauldron bubble!”
Cole laughed. “You would do something like this, Magnus!”
Athena tugged at Cole’s hair. “What is it? What’s going on?”
Cole smiled indulgently. “That’s a Chatot. They’re from the Sinnoh region. A lot of them can mimic human speech. It seems that Magnus has taught his Shakespeare, and named it after the Fool from Twelfth Night.”
Feste looped around several times, chattering away. “The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I, the gunner and his mate… did Mary, Margaret, Maryanne and Margarine, but none of us cared for Kate!”
Cole recognized the song as Stefano’s drunken ballad from The Tempest. Magnus obviously realized what was going on, and how dangerously close Feste was to getting to the bawdy part.
The old man shouted to Todd, “Let’s start the battle, shall we? You first!”
Todd pumped his fist. “Beedrill, Twin Needle!”
The insect swooped at Feste, it’s wings whirring. The Chatot dove out of the way of the first strike, only to be hit by the second. “Thine wicked ways shall not avail you!”
“Wing Attack, Feste!”
The Chatot moved with impressive speed, slashing at Beedrill with glowing wings. The red-eyed bug fell back for a moment. “Toxic, Beedrill!”
Beedrill spat a stream of purple venom, and Feste whirled up into the sky. The small Chatot came spiraling down in a combination of Sky Attack and Drill Peck. “Wrap this up, my little clown!” Magnus cheered. “Chatter!”
Feste landed just before Magnus, and opened his beak. In a booming squawk, Feste recited, “Caliban! You’ll be pinched for this!”
Beedrill was hit with the deafening sound waves, and fell to the ground. Cole waited several seconds before stepping forward. “Beedrill is unable to battle. Feste wins!”
Todd returned his pokemon and scuffed his feet. “No fun…”
Magnus shook his head. “No, lad. It was very fun.”
“Well, yeah. Because you won.”
“Maybe it wasn’t fun for you. But Feste and Beedrill both enjoyed themselves, I'm sure. I enjoyed myself, too. And I think that if you look deep inside you, you’ll realize it wasn’t as dismal as you think.”
Todd shrugged. “I guess… I’ve never seen a Chatot before, except on TV. That was… kinda cool.”
Magnus ruffled the boy’s hair. “See? It wasn’t all bad.”
Todd let a little smile play on his lips. “Yeah. I guess not.” He reached into his pocket. “Oh, yeah. Prize money. I don’t have a lot, so…”
“Keep it. I don’t need it.”
“But the rules…”
“Bollocks to the rules. Keep your money.”
Magnus set off down the trail, whistling in harmony with Feste as he went. Cole smiled and shrugged to Todd, and then followed after his older companion.
They arrived in Pewter City late that evening, the sun just sliding under the western horizon. Cole and Magnus parted ways at the pokemon center, each securing a private room where they could stretch out with some of their pokemon.
Masamune and Charizard stayed within their pokeballs for the interest of space, but Cole’s other four all popped out eagerly. Athena curled up in Cole’s arms and was quickly asleep. Scathatch curled around Maeve in the center floor rug, and used her illusionary powers to change their perception of the room into a large, starry field. Thor sighed with contentment, and sank down to a crouch before falling asleep himself.
Cole lay on his back, gazing up at the ‘stars’ for a while. “You got Drapius wrong,” the Firebrand remarked, pointing at the scorpion-like constellation that crept across the sky after the hero Orion. “See, the left pincer has too many stars, and the tail is angled awkwardly.”
Scathatch closed her eyes for a moment, and the stars shifted into proper position, a few winking out. “Any other critiques on my handiwork?” the Zoroark joked.
Cole was quiet for a time, scanning the sky. “Salamencus is missing a wing. Three stars over the bright one in a rough isosceles should do. Oh, and Cassiopeia simply isn’t there. It’s the crown, remember.”
Scathatch sighed. “Space cadet.” But the requisite stars appeared. An illusionary breeze blew across Cole’s face. “Sleep now.” Soon, the Zoroark herself was breathing deeper and slower, her eyes closed.
Cole ran his hand through Athena’s silky fur for a few minutes before allowing himself to drift out of conciousness.
Just to note, I have no idea where Feste came from. When I was first conceiving Magnus's character, a little after I decided to give him an Abra, the idea of giving him another mascot popped into my head. The result... Feste, probably one of my favorite minor characters ever.
Also... I love coming up with pokemon-ified constellations... (:
Last edited by Firebrand; 26th November 2011 at 11:51 PM.
Feste was fun, but I really thinmk the highlight was using a Zoroark for a space projector.
Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:
Alternative title: How Cole Got His Groove Back
“I thought for sure they would be around here,” Magnus muttered as he scanned the trail ahead. Cole hung back a ways, running his hands through Scathatch’s fur. The Zoroark purred under his touch as he scratched behind her ears.
“It’s all right Magnus. We can just keep going.”
The old man turned and leaned on his walking stick made from carved elm. “I think a few battles will be just what you need to get back on your feet. Now, that man in the garden did say that they would be here today, right?”
Cole nodded. Magnus strode down the trail. “You know, it’s been years since I was last in a proper tournament.” He whistled a little tune.
The younger man sighed. “This is hardly a proper tournament. It’s just a bunch of trainers hanging out around Mount Moon for some battles.”
“There was an ad in pokemon center. That makes it official enough for me.”
Scathatch chuckled softly. “It’s such fun, this role reversal. You sound like a fussy old man, Cole.”
“I’m not fussy!” Cole protested.
Magnus grinned. “Scathatch is right! You are grumpy!”
“I’m not grumpy! I’m… guilty.”
Magnus grabbed Cole by the shoulders. “Look at me. You did all you could. Put it behind you. I gave you the choice, and you chose to continue. So carry on.”
Cole nodded, but in his heart he was not convinced. “All right, fine. I’ll go do this little tournament. Just don’t expect me to win…”
They walked another ten minutes, and found a large group of trainers sitting around in a large area carved by glacial melt in the canyon, millennia ago. Four battlefields had been drawn on the ground with white chalk.
Magnus raised a hand. “Oh! Are you the tournament people?”
A young woman looked up from a clipboard. “Yeah, that’s us! What’s up?”
“Is it too late to join up?”
The young woman (Cole tried not to notice that she was rather pretty) smiled. “No, totally cool! That brings us up to thirty two, so we don’t have to have a by in the quarter finals anymore! Perfect!”
She scribbled on her clipboard, and took down their names. She told something to Magnus, and then turned to Cole. “Okay, so you’re going to be the first match on that field over there. The battle style is one-on-one single elimination. You can only use one pokemon per match, but you can use different pokemon in each match-up, if you so choose. The matches start in half an hour, so get ready.”
Cole thanked her and made his way over to the field. He called out all of his pokemon and looked them over. He drew a lot of stares from the other trainers, since all of his pokemon were rather rare. Three of his team came from Unova, and pokemon from the far western region were hardly ever seen in Kanto.
Scathatch yawned widely, showing her teeth. “Can I sit out today? I just took a bath, and I don’t want to get all dirty again.” She shook out her mane. “Besides, everybody’s already seen me now. I can’t have fun with illusions.”
Cole rolled his eyes. “For now. But I may need to call you in.” The Zoroark playfully snapped at his fingers. The trainer then paused to consider. “Masamune, I still don’t want to tax you too much.”
Before the Samurott could protest, Cole held up a hand. “At least, not in the first battle. Okay? I’m going to see how tough our competition will be, then maybe I’ll send you in.”
“What about me?” Athena chirped from Cole’s shoulder.
The Firebrand lifted her off. “I don’t think it’s fair to use a legendary pokemon in a battle like this. Why don’t you and Scathatch cheer on the sidelines?”
Athena pouted, but brightened up when Cole bribed her with a Pecha Berry. She climbed up into the Zoroark’s mane, and peeped out there, as Scathatch went and curled up in the shadow of the cliffs.
“Hey there! Looks like you’re going up against me!”
A girl of about thirteen looked up at Cole. “Oh. Uh… hi. Nice to meet you.”
The girl stuck out her hand. “My name’s Katey. Nice to meet you.” Maeve drew up alongside Katey, and the girl scratched the Weavile behind her crest. The ice type purred and the girl smiled. “Are you going to use this one for our battle?”
Cole shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe.” His eyes wandered across to the other battlefields. Magnus was going up against a Dragon Tamer from Blackthorn City, a pompous man with a rich silk cape.
“Ugh,” Katey groaned, following his gaze. “Victor. I hope your grandpa beats him up.”
“Magnus isn’t my grandfather…” Cole muttered. “But what’s so bad about Victor?”
“He’s a jerk,” Katey replied, as if it were obvious. “He’s been stalking Kendra for like, months.” Katey gestured to the pretty girl who was checking people in. “And since she’s my sister, Victor’s kinda been stalking me too. He thinks just cuz he uses dragon types he’s all cool and stuff.” Then she knelt down to look Maeve in the eyes. “But I bet you could take down all those big mean dragons, couldn’t you?”
Maeve stuck out her tongue with a grin. “Psh. Dragon types are posers.”
Charizard grumbled something, to which Maeve replied, “Ferocity and Analyt aren’t just dragon types. They’re Becca’s dragon types.”
Cole went stiff when he heard the name. He hadn’t thought about Becca for months, since he left her cabin behind at Twist Mountain. Any guilty feelings were soon pushed aside when Kendra signaled Katey, telling her to start the battle.
The girl skipped over to the other side of the field as Cole returned his pokemon, shuffling the balls in his hands. Katey jumped up and down a few times before shouting, “I’ll pick first. Let’s go Milotic!”
The elegant serpent coiled out onto the battlefield, gracefully shedding the coating of light from its pokéball. It trilled a few lines of a wordless tune. Cole separated one ball from the rest with his fingertips. “Showtime, Thor!”
The Zebstrika tossed his mane as he came into view, before turning his head to Cole. “Arceus, she’s just a child.”
“She’s our opponent, Thor. A battle’s a battle.”
“If we beat her, is she going to cry?”
Cole rolled his eyes. “Geez Thor, she’s thirteen, not five.”
The Zebstrika kicked up some dirt with his hoof. “Fine. Let’s do it.”
“Milotic, Aqua Ring!” The water type sprayed a jet of water high into the air, and used dazzling speed to whip the water around itself, coating it’s body with moisture.
Cole folded his arms. “Thor, Agility. Let’s not take any chances.”
The electric type nodded as he relaxed his muscles. “Strike hard, strike fast.”
“Milotic!” Katey cried. “Hydro Pump!”
“Thor, get ready!”
The equine pokemon narrowed his eyes, watching as the serpentine beast bunched up. Then, as the powerful torrent of water burst forth, the Zebstrika darted out of the way, and Cole fell flat on his chest. The spray struck the cliff behind him with enough force to splinter the loose shale.
Cole rolled to his feet. “Quick! Use Thunderbolt!”
The Zebstrika’s mane flashed, and brilliant bolts of electricity shot from its body, striking the Milotic. Katey cried out, but the water type was able to shake off most of the damage. Thor’s special attacks, while not bad, were nothing to brag about, and Milotic obviously had a high special defense. Cole narrowed his eyes. “Don’t lose your momentum. Wild Charge!”
The residual electricity still clung to Thor’s body, and the Zebstrika used that to build up more charge as he rocketed towards Milotic. Katey hurriedly commanded it to use Surf.
A colossal wall of water rose up underneath the snake, headed directly for Thor. The equine slowed slightly, but Cole shook his head and roared, “Straight through it! Just keep pressing on!”
Thor nodded, and leapt up. If this didn’t work, he would be hit by the full force of the wave. But if it did, victory was secured. Thor slammed into Milotic with as much strength as his whipcord-tough body could muster, and there was a boom as the opposing forces collided.
The two shapes dropped to the ground. Milotic squirmed for a second, before going still. Thor stumbled, but remained on his feet. He tossed his head proudly. “Zebrrrrr!”
Katey stood in shocked silence. Then, slowly, she pulled out her pokéball, and Milotic disappeared in a flash of light. The two battlers stared at each other for an awkward moment, and then Cole smiled. “You fought very well. You should be proud.”
Katey rolled her eyes. “I’m out in the first round. No fun. Just my luck Kendra would put me up against the best fighter in the tournament.”
Cole led her off the battlefield so the next pair could have their match. “Now, you’re only saying that because I beat you!” The walked over to the battlefield Magnus and Victor fought on, the old man’s Druddigon, Hamlet, and the Dragon Tamer’s Dragonite lashing out at each other in a flurry of quick blows.
Magnus folded his arms. “Hamlet, I grow tired of this. Don’t you? End it quickly.”
The Druddigon used a powerful Dragon Claw to counteract the Dragonite’s Dragon Pulse. Victor tossed his cape back. “Dragonite, use Draco Meteor!”
The orange dragon gathered it’s energy into it’s claws, and prepared to launch a glowing orange orb upwards. Magnus gritted his teeth. “Hamlet, Outrage!”
Hamlet’s pupils dilated, and he began swinging out wildly, hacking at the Dragonite. Victor’s dragon cried out as the Druddigon knocked it unconscious. A referee held up a hand.
“Dragonite is unable to battle!”
Victor shook his head. “No. Impossible! How could I be defeated?”
Magnus quickly recalled his pokemon, before the Druddigon truly spiraled out of control. He walked over to Cole and winked. “Looks like we both one. See you in the finals?”
“Bet on it,” Cole replied.
They relaxed as the next battles took place. Magnus checked the match up chart, and Cole was a little jealous that the older man would be battling Kendra next. “Want to trade?” he asked.
Magnus laughed. “Tell you what. You can console the pretty girl when I beat her.”
Victor strode over to them, his chin held at a pompous angle. “You cheated, old man!”
Cole stood up, standing protectively in front of Magnus. “I watched the whole battle. Magnus didn’t cheat.”
“He used a Druddigon! That’s not a pokemon that’s ever in Kanto!”
“So? I fought Katey with a Zebstrika. You’re just a sore loser!”
“I trained in the Dragon’s Den! I am a dragon master! Your grandfather just happens to have a strong dragon type.”
Magnus heaved himself to his feet. “Oh, suddenly being from Blackthorn City makes you all powerful? Son, admit it, you lost in a fair fight. You only shame your order by pressing the issue.”
“I’ll get back at you for this!” Victor vowed, before stalking away.
Kendra rolled her eyes and walked over. “Sorry if he’s been bugging you. We’ve been trying to ditch him for weeks. Come on, our match is about to start.”
She led Magnus away. Cole’s field was still occupied, so he watched Magnus get set. Kendra called out her Nidoking, while Magnus’s hand lay at his belt for a moment, considering. Finally, he drew a pokéball from his robe, and tossed it out.
“Come, Ophelia!” A Kingdra appeared in a bright flash of light. The aquatic dragon’s horns curled back from its head in a most elaborate pattern, showing that it was very old and powerful indeed. The young man who would be Cole’s next opponent caught his eye, and the Firebrand was forced to turn away.
Cole reluctantly stepped up to his box. “Charizard, go!” The orange and yellow dragon growled as his pokéball burst open, and he flexed his claws eagerly. The young man introduced himself as Shane, and then called out his Blastoise.
The blue turtle roared, but Charizard did not flinch. The dragon merely roared back in reply, louder. Cole raised an eyebrow. “Type advantage won’t help here. Charizard, Heat Wave.”
The pulse of super-heated air Charizard shot from his maw made the Blastoise stagger. The turtle growled, and glanced at its trainer. Shane folded his arms. “Shell Smash.”
Blastoise glowed red, and the upper layer of its shell sloughed off. Cole chewed his lip. Now that the water type was faster, it would be a bigger threat. Its Torrent would kick in at any moment, too. He would have to exploit the drastically lowered defenses…
“Charizard, Focus Blast!”
Charizard concentrated for an instant, then released an orange and yellow orb, which flew at Blastoise. Shane snapped his fingers, and Blastoise retracted into his shell, quickly spinning out of the way. “Finish this! Hydro Pump!”
Blastoise came to his feet again, and the two cannons slid from the gaps in its shell. Twin pillars of water shot from Blastoise’s back, and Cole cried out. “Fly out of the way, Charizard!”
The dragon unfurled his wings, but after beating them once and wincing in pain, curled them back in. He instead crouched low to the ground, letting the Hydro Pump arch over his head. Then, as Blastoise adjusted his trajectory, Charizard clawed along on the ground until the water was spent.
“You… you can’t fly?” Cole gasped. “Charizard… why didn’t you say so?”
The fire type lowered his head in shame, and refused to meet Cole’s eyes. Shane glanced at the Firebrand. “Is something wrong? Should we stop the match?”
Charizard glared at Cole, and the young man easily understood. “No. Keep fighting. We’ll see this through.”
“All right… Blastoise, Hydro Pump again!”
“Charizard, Dragon Pulse!”
The blast of indigo energy hit the pressurized water. It seemed as though the forces were equal, but soon the strain began to show on Blastoise. The Dragon Pulse forced the Hydro Pump back, and hit Blastoise full on. The water type fell onto it’s back with a groan; the force of two attacks more than it could bear.
The referee held up a flag. “Blastoise is unable to battle! Charizard wins!”
Shane shrugged with a wry smile. “Nice battle man. I’ll be cheering for you, so don’t lose, got it?” Cole smiled in reply.
After Shane walked away, Cole went to Charizard’s side. “You can’t fly?” The dragon shook his head forlornly. “Is it because it hurts?” Charizard nodded, then shrugged. Cole ran his hand over the fire type’s spine and collarbone, feeling the joints.
“When you protected me from those rocks, you dislocated your shoulder, didn’t you? It got set to rights back at the lab, but you worked through it so long, it left a lasting mark. Oak warned me about possible minor fractures. It’ll be a little while before you can fly again…”
Charizard sighed, a small jet of flame shooting from his nostrils. Cole wrapped his arm around his partner’s neck. “Hey, don’t get so down. We’ll work through it. You needed the rest anyways. I’ll just ride on Thor for a while.”
Charizard begrudgingly returned to his pokéball, and Cole caught the last moments of Magnus’s battle. Ophelia deluged Nidoking with a final Surf, and the poison type’s latent ground affinity caused it to sink to its knees. Magnus would be moving on, too.
On the farthest field, a man with a Sableye dispatched an Alakazam. He came to Magnus and grinned. “Looks like you’re my next opponent, old man. Time for a little vengeance.”
Magnus reached behind his back, calling out his Abra, Newton. The small yellow creature appeared at Cole’s side, and teleported him away, out of the man’s sight.
Magnus then leaned against his walking stick. “Never thought I’d find you here…
Don't you hate when the crazed villain shows up everywhere? Just when things seem to be looking up?
Last edited by Firebrand; 28th December 2011 at 6:55 PM.
Great fic. I love how you've developed Magnus. His Pokemon nicknaming skills are top class. Definitely looking forward to the battle. So I guess Cole still has a long way to go until he gets to the Edge of the World and Keldeo?
Magnus’s hand flashed, and he threw out a pokéball. “Macbeth! It is time to vanquish the darkness!”
There was another flash as the Ursaring appeared, and Feste the Chatot spread his wings on Magnus’s shoulder. “Something wicked this way comes!”
“Something wicked has arrived,” Magnus corrected. He tightened his grip on his staff. “Take your place, Jasper. I’ll end this quickly.”
Jasper strode to his box. “Brave words, old fool.” He tossed a Dusk Ball up twice, and then cast it out. “Mephistoles!” The Hydreigon appeared with a roar; it’s three heads leering down at Macbeth.
“Dragon Pulse,” Jasper spat.
“Slash!” Magnus cried.
Macbeth raced headlong into Mephistoles’s attack, taking the damage and plowing through it. Then, it’s claws opened rents on the Hydreigon’s hide. Macbeth roared in triumph, swaggering back to stand in front of Magnus.
Jasper folded his arms. “You dare stand before me, after what you’ve done? Just tell me where the Firebrand is!”
“Never!” Magnus growled. “Macbeth, Focus Blast!”
The Ursaring shot a glowing orb from his claws. Mephistoles swooped out of the way; it’s left mouth dangling in a foolish grin. Jasper tapped his boot. “What do you say we put some stakes on this battle? You win; I give you two days’ head start. I win; you tell me where you’ve hidden the Firebrand.”
Magnus thought for a second. Two days would certainly be enough time to reach the Gate, and once they passed through that, Jasper couldn’t possibly follow them. And even if he lost, he and Cole could just run. It was too tempting a prospect…
“All right. I accept.”
Jasper grinned wolfishly. “Mephistoles, Flamethrower.”
“Macbeth, Brick Break.”
Again, the Ursaring charged straight into the fires, battering them away with his glowing foreclaw. Then, he slammed both powerful arms down onto Mephistoles’s shoulders. “Follow with a Focus Blast, while he’s grounded!”
“Dragon Pulse, Mephistoles!”
The Focus Blast ripped through the indigo light, and slammed into Mephistoles’s main head. The dragon shrieked, using it’s two other heads to comfort the injured one. Jasper spit in disgust.
“Pathetic creature. Return.” The Hydreigon disappeared in a flash of red light. Magnus clenched his teeth at this callous disregard, and held out Macbeth’s pokéball. The bear disappeared.
Jasper clenched his fists. “I held my honor before, and it cost me my position! I won’t allow the Firebrand to slip away again! Rhyperior, go!” The giant stony behemoth appeared, and rushed at Magnus. The old man tried to run, even as other trainers rushed to help him. He tripped over his robe, and fell onto the ground. The Rhyperior barreled closer…
Two flashes of light shot from under his cloak. Hamlet grabbed the Rhyperior mid-charge, his clawed feet digging into the ground as his wings flapped to gain leverage. An Arcanine charged up a point-blank Fire Blast, something that would, at this range, be devastating even to a rock type.
Hamlet flung the Rhyperior down, using its momentum against it. The Arcanine stepped closer, fire dripping from its mouth. Magnus struggled to his feet. “No! Hamlet, Aslan, stand down! It’s acting under orders.” The two pokemon stepped back, still scowling at the fallen Rhyperior. Magnus turned to Jasper, his staff held out. “Return the beast. And be gone from this place.” Other trainers nearby chimed in, throwing out various threats about what would happen if Jasper did not leave.
The one-time Magma admin sighed, and after returning Rhyperior, stalked away. He cast a glance over his shoulder, and Aslan growled. Jasper spat, and continued walking.
Magnus sighed, and his shoulders slumped. Newton appeared next to him, with Cole in tow. “What happened back there?” Cole asked, supporting the older man.
“Jasper. He’s looking for you. I had to make sure you were safe.”
Cole bit his lip, and watched Jasper’s figure recede. “He’ll be back. As soon as this tournament is over, let’s hurry for the Gate.” Magnus nodded, and went to go sit down, waiting for his coming match.
Cole made quick work of his next opponent. Charizard again took the field, using his fire to expediently defeat the Gengar he was up against. After the ghost’s attempt to put Charizard to sleep failed, the dragon’s Heat Wave wrapped the battle up succinctly.
Cole was then fully able to watch Magnus’s Arcanine stumble and fall to the ground, unconscious. The trainer returned the victorious pokemon before Cole could make it out, but the silhouette revealed it to be not much larger than Maeve.
“Congrats, Cole!” Katey told him, as he moved to the next battle, against this mysterious trainer that had made such quick work of Magnus. “You made it all the way to the finals!”
Cole grinned. “Well, I told you I was good, right? No shame in losing to the ultimate victor. Make sure you and Kendra cheer for me, okay?”
Katey nodded, but folded her arms. “Just be careful. This guy is really good. Like, famous around here.”
Cole winked. “Well, I’m not exactly a weakling myself.” He took his place on his side of the battlefield, and nodded to the young man who stood across from him. Despite being a few years his junior, he wore the uniform of an Ace Trainer.
The young man smiled. “The name’s Joe. You ready?”
Cole nodded, and threw out his pokéball. Maeve appeared in a flash of brilliant light, flexing her claws. “You know it. Prepare to lose!”
Joe grinned. “No way! My pokemon are in the top percentage! Ratticate! Let’s go!”
Cole nodded. This was the pokemon that had defeated Magnus. The body shape and size matched. He would have to be careful… Then, he paused for a moment and started to put the facts together. A Ratticate… that was the ‘top percentage’…
“Joey? Arceus, I haven’t seen you in years!”
The Ace Trainer scowled. “I haven’t been called that in a long time.”
“We battled outside of Cherrygrove in Johto a few years back! My Cyndaquil against your Rattata! You were just starting out!”
Joe blinked. “Oh, yeah! I remember you! You’re the Firebrand!”
Cole winced, but smiled nonetheless. “Yeah, that’s me. So… for old times sake?”
Joe winked. “All right! Let’s get started!”
“Maeve, start things off with Poison Jab!”
The Weavile stiffened. “No way. Not after Masamune.” She shook her head fervently and crossed her arms. “I don’t want to use that move ever again.”
Cole swallowed, realizing his error. “Of course. I understand. Maeve, Ice Punch.”
The Weavile nodded, and jumped at Ratticate. Joe cracked his knuckles. “Hyper Fang!” The rodent charged at Maeve, and Cole snapped his fingers. Maeve feinted to the right, as Ratticate was about to make contact. As the opposing pokemon took the bait, Maeve slid to the right and drove her claw into Ratticate abdomen, jumping back a second after contact.
Ratticate gritted its teeth, and rolled back to Joe. “Iron Tail,” the Ace Trainer commanded. Ratticate chattered for a second, and then flicked its tail twice; bracing the muscles up and down it’s length, tensing it so that it took on the same durability as steel.
“Night Slash,” Cole murmured, and Maeve nodded. The dark type made the first strike, and Ratticate reeled. As Maeve drew close for a follow-up, the opponent dropped the act, and swung around, catching Maeve in the abdomen. She cried out and fell backwards.
Joe leaned in. “Crap, did we overdo it?”
Maeve stood slowly. “I can keep going. I’ll win this, for sure.”
Cole chewed his lip. “Want to use Swords Dance?”
“No,” Maeve said softly, retreating to their corner. “I probably can’t take one more hit, but neither can Ratticate. I’m going to end it now.”
“All right. Brick Break.”
Maeve’s claws glowed, and she charged at Joe’s pokemon. “Hyper Fang!” Joe shouted. Ratticate leapt at Maeve, it’s teeth glinting. Maeve used her left claw to block, and threw Ratticate to the ground. Then, as the right one came down for the final blow, Ratticate bunched up and clamped down on her shoulder. Maeve cried out, and slammed her claw into its flank.
“No! Stop!” Joey cried. “You’re hurting her! Ratticate, you have to stop!”
The pokemon broke off the contact, and limped back to stand before Joey. Cole started to run out to Maeve, but the referee held up a hand. “I’m sorry, but if you go, I’ll have to disqualify you for interfering!”
Cole shook his head. “Screw that.” He sprinted to Maeve’s side as she collapsed into his arms. Her shoulder was bleeding, and Cole pulled a roll of gauze out of his duster pocket. “Shh, easy. Let me fix that for you.” He poured some disinfectant on, and Maeve passed out.
“I’m sorry,” she muttered.
The referee was silent for a moment before declaring Joe the victor. The Ace came to sit next to Cole. “Hey man, I’m sorry for Ratticate. We just… lost control.”
“It happens.” Cole didn’t even look up; he was too busy cleaning the wound. “We’ve hit some bumps in the road. Whatever.”
Joe shook his head. “No, really. You should be the winner, not me.”
This time, Cole looked up. “You won. Accept it. Learn from it. We will. Take pride in what you’ve done, don’t hold yourself back.” He returned Maeve to her pokéball, and whistled to Scathatch and Athena. The Zoroark vanished in a flash of red light, and Athena clambered up onto Cole’s shoulder.
Then, the Firebrand signaled to Magnus. “Let’s find the Gate.” He called out Thor, and mounted up. Magnus summoned his shiny Rapidash, Shadowfax, and the two galloped up the winding trail of Mount Moon.
Katey elbowed Kendra as their dust trail slowly blew away. “Cole was cute wasn’t he?”
They arrived at the Gate shortly before sundown. They recalled their pokemon, and Magnus laid a hand on the obsidian stone. A panoramic view of the valley stretched out below them. Cole could see all the way to Pewter City.
The old man turned to Cole. “So… is the old Cole back? No more brooding and dwelling on what can’t be changed?”
Cole sighed. “No. I think the old Cole is gone. He died in the work camp. I’m never going to get that innocence back. But I’ve learned that I have to live in the moment, be my own person. I can’t dwell on the past anymore.”
The Gate opened with a rush of air. A harsh white light enveloped the two travelers, drawing them on to their next destination. Cole closed his eyes and spread his arms wide.
When he opened them again, the world was still white, and the wind still wailed. He could barely make out Magnus beside him. The pleasant evening of Kanto had given way to something far more frigid and cold.
Magnus glanced up, drawing his robe around him. “Arceus.”
“What? What’s wrong?”
“No. Look there.” Magnus pointed upwards, and Cole could vaguely make out a tall rock face, with a strange multicolored light shining from the top.
A/N: Well, Jasper is vanquished for now... But new conflicts are on the horizon...
Last edited by Firebrand; 10th December 2011 at 8:26 PM.
“The world just never stays saved, does it?” Cole grumbled as he clawed his way up the icy, frigid slope of Mt. Coronet. Magnus bolted past, riding on his Arcanine, Aslan. The old man’s face was set in a grim line, and he seemed not to feel the cold.
Masamune’s pokéball burst open, and gestured for Cole to get onto his back. “This is work too hard for a mere human,” he growled, and used his shell swords to make handholds in the nearly sheer rock face.
Magnus glanced at Cole. “I thought you said Arceus had retreated to the Hall of Origin, and was not likely to return to this world?”
“I did. I thought that was the case. My friends and I barricaded all the trails up to Spear Pillar. Charizard and Maeve were there.” Cole leaned into Masamune’s neck. “I swear, when I find out who’s doing this, I’ll be facing fuc king murder charges.”
A few moments later, Masamune hauled himself up to the summit of the central mountain of Sinnoh. Cole called out Charizard, Scathatch and Thor for extra muscle. Magnus summoned his heaviest hitters: Aslan, Hamlet, Macbeth, along with a Pidgeot and Scizor Cole had not met.
The Firebrand did a quick tally; Magnus had far more than six pokemon on his person. He would certainly broach the subject with the old man later, but for now, he turned his attention to the central dais of the most sacred site in Sinnoh.
Arceus hovered several feet off the ground, the source of the many lights. He pranced about, but did not seem to be in any imminent danger. Cole motioned his pokemon to silence, and drew closer.
Two figures stood before Arceus, one certainly human, and the other a large, hulking pokemon that Cole identified as an Aggron. This was no easy feat, because the glow from Arceus reduced them to mere silhouettes. Neither made any move of aggression, but Cole did not drop his guard.
Arceus raised his head, and the lights around him brightened. Ah, you have arrived.
The figure before Arceus whirled around, and the Aggron growled. Charizard roared in return, but Arceus made a sound that could have passed for laughter. My friends, my friends, we are all at peace here. There are no enemies in My presence. He capered over to Magnus, and looped around the old man several times. Old One, it warms My being to see you well!
Three pinpricks of light descended from the pillars around Arceus, twirling around the deity before splitting off to each of the three humans. Cole laughed as the light drew nearer to him. “Azelf!”
The blue sprite smiled and twirled around Cole’s head. Athena waved at the other legendary, and the two greeted each other. Cole rubbed the area behind Azelf’s crest. The two had become friends in the Galactic Incident, and Cole had always paid special respect to the Being of Willpower any time the Lake Trio was invoked. Magnus was likewise greeted by Uxie, and Mesprit gravitated to the third figure.
“So, this is where you were bringing me?”
The figure stepped from the shadow left by Arceus’s absence, and into the softer light. Cole tried to keep his face impassive, but he feared that he still made a rather conspicuous gasp.
The young woman glanced at him before turning back to Mesprit. Cole schooled his face into impassiveness, but it wasn’t easy. Damn, damn, damn hormones. Damn it, damn it. But she’s hot, there’s no doubt about it!
Athena laughed from Cole’s shoulder, easily following his thoughts. One look at his face revealed the Firebrand’s mindset to Azelf, and the two diminutive legendary pokemon were trying their damndest not to break out into very rude laughter. “She’s pretty, isn’t she?” Athena chuckled.
The young woman inclined her head to them. “Thank you, Victini."
Ah, she can hear them too? Cole wondered.
Arceus turned to them. It is good that you have met at last, all of you. I feared that I would have to intervene in a way that would push My restrictions.
Magnus’s brow furrowed. “Arceus, why have you called us here?”
The deity tossed his head. The girl already knows. It is her quest.
“Talking in riddles gets us nowhere, my old friend, no matter how much You enjoy it.”
Arceus laughed again. Yes, I suppose. Defender of Legends, I do believe that your journey and hers are intertwined. Will you consent to help her?
“Tell me what must be done,” the Firebrand said with a bow.
In the land of Kanto, a malevolent force is rising. My eye is clouded, so even I cannot offer more than that. It is this girl’s destiny to end it, and she will need the help of you and the Old One.
Magnus glanced at his fingernails. “Age is but a number.”
Cole was slightly flabbergasted that Magnus would have the nerve to interrupt a god, but Arceus continued on regardless. There is yet time before the Darkness reaches its height, but she must stop it before that point. As I have said, she may need you.
The young woman folded her arms. “I don’t need him, or the old man either. We managed fine on our own before, my pokemon and I.”
The power of Darkness is great, Arceus warned, and your pride could mean your downfall. You are not invincible. Accept the aid I offer, and your chances of success increase a hundredfold. So, my girl, what is your answer?
The woman sighed. “If it is Your wish, I shall accept it. The Lake Spirits seem to like them well enough, I suppose.”
Arceus nodded slowly. Good, my Chosen. You are learning. Your journey has not been for naught. I am pushing My limits already, but I may offer you this…
Arceus reared back, and a glowing pinprick of light appeared in the air before the woman, slowly solidifying into a silvery-gray slab of light, thin stone.
“The Steel Plate,” Magnus gasped. Cole raised an eyebrow. He had collected what plates he could find a few years ago, before Arceus retreated. To have the god give one away… He had high faith in this girl.
When the time comes for you to make use of it, you will know.
Magnus stepped forward. “My lady, I am Magnus. Pleased to meet you, and proud to be of service.” He kissed her hand, and looked expectantly at Cole.
The Firebrand stepped forward. He held out his hand stiffly. “Cole. Cole Culain.”
The woman clasped his hand firmly. “Joan. Joan Dark.”
They broke off contact quickly, without looking each other in the eye. Cole was a little uncomfortable at being thrown into this new quest, and Joan was obviously not thrilled at having to share the duty.
Arceus trotted over to Cole. I have a gift for you, as well, young man. He hummed a song that struck Cole as vaguely familiar, though he knew he had never heard it before. A splitting pain burst through his mind, and he dropped to his knees.
Masamune helped him to his feet, and Scathatch gazed up at the deity. “What did you do to him?!”
Arceus tossed his mane. Cole has shown a penchant for losing his way, has he not? Straying from the path? I have made it so he will no longer want for guidance on this journey, this quest. He will know the location of the next Gate to pass through. Nothing more, nothing less.
Cole nodded and gestured for his pokemon to step back. “Truly, I’m all right.” Then, he fell forward, his hands over his eyes as his senses were overloaded with a psychic vision. “Snowpoint. I see Snowpoint City. Magnus, is there a Gate in Snowpoint?”
The old man thought for a second, then nodded. “Yes. In the lowest part of the Temple.”
Cole got to his feet slowly, and bowed to Arceus. “Are we to leave immediately? Something about Your manner shows me that time is of the essence.”
Arceus nodded. The sooner Joan reaches her destination, the better. I bid you fair travel. He turned his head to the sky, and cried out. A blinding light flashed, and shot up towards the stars.
When Cole could again see, Arceus was gone.
Magnus recalled his pokemon, and moved to the edge of Spear Pillar. “I don’t care what Arceus says. It’s late, and dark. We’d end up doing more harm than good traveling through the dark like this. Let’s just find an entrance to the cave and camp there for the night.”
“…And I’ve been traveling ever since,” Cole concluded, settling back against the warm bulk of Charizard. Joan raised an eyebrow from across the fire.
“You’re the Firebrand? From the Omega War?”
“Yeah… I don’t like to talk about it much. Were you in it?”
“N-No. I was… otherwise occupied at the time.”
Magnus nodded. “So, Miss Joan, how did you come to Spear Pillar?”
The young woman shrugged. “I… You’ll think I’m crazy.”
“Please. I’ve been traveling with Cole. I have a fairy high threshold for insanity.” Magnus ignored the scowl Cole shot him.
“Well… for a while now, I’ve been hearing voices. In my head. Everyone thought I was mad. There were some tests done… they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. But eventually, the voices got louder. So I left home, caught myself a few pokemon, and wandered around from place to place for the past couple months, going where the voices told me.
“When I came to Sinnoh, I learned the voices were Mesprit and Arceus. The people at that church in Hearthome helped me out, gave me some supplies to hike up Mount Coronet. I reached Spear Pillar only a few minutes before you all showed up.”
Scathatch dropped her head into Cole’s lap. The young man scratched behind her ears, and the Zoroark turned her head slightly, allowing him a better angle. When Cole finished, she got up slowly, licked his cheek and put her mouth close to his ear.
“She’s hiding something.”
Cole nodded slowly, just enough that Scathatch would realize it, but no one else would. She was being very careful, knowing full well that the other two could understand her speech. Cole lowered his voice. “I know. Be careful.”
Scathatch padded away and curled up next to Masamune. Somewhere in the distance, a Zubat screeched. Magnus growled, picked up a pebble, and threw it into the darkness. A shriek betrayed that he had hit something.
“I swear,” the old man grumbled. “There are only three things that are infinite. The universe, the Tao, and the population of Zubats.” He picked up another rock, turned, and hurled it. This time, a Golbat swooped out of the darkness and came charging at their fire. Feste leapt off of Magnus’s shoulder, and battered the interloper with his wings.
“Foul witch Sycorax! Age and envy hath grown thee into a hoop!”
Joan laughed as the Golbat winged away. “Your Chatot knows Shakespeare!”
Magnus’s eyes shone. “My dear, you have only endeared yourself to me further. And I’m sure Feste agrees.”
“An honor, my lady! A blessing!”
“I love The Tempest,” Joan admitted. “And Twelfth Night too! Come here, Feste.” She held out her arm, and the Chatot happily leapt over the fire to come sit with her. She fed him a berry from her bag.
“Oh, easy now,” Magnus cautioned. “I can’t have him getting fat!”
Cole narrowed his eyes. “Magnus… are you a Taoist?”
“On Tuesdays,” the strange old man said, with a languid flick of his wrist. “On Mondays I’m Aristotelian, on Thursdays I’m a disciple of Basho. And on Sundays, I’m Aristophanian!”
“Aristophanes…” Cole muttered. “Sounds familiar. He was the guy who wrote those old comedies from two thousand years ago. The Birds, right? The one about that city in the sky?”
Magnus cursed under his breath. “I had hoped you wouldn’t know him. The name sounds impressive, doesn’t it?”
Joan laughed, which echoed through the cavern. “You know, I had my doubts before, but I think I’m going to like traveling with you guys!”
Joan is actually based of a real, historical figure... Let's see if you can figure it out. Shouldn't be too hard.
Last edited by Firebrand; 17th December 2011 at 1:30 AM.