That chapter was amazing. I'm sad to see Magnus leave but it was such a good way for his exit. I don't know if you heard about Keldeo getting a new form, but did you somehow plan it like this? You ending Hero's Path by finding the My Little Pony Pokemon at the same time his new form is supposed to be revealed.
Is this it? Aren't we missing the end? Gosh darn it I was looking forward to the HP update today.
Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:
“This is it,” Joan said softly. “The Last Gate, right where Magnus said.” She shifted her weight from foot to foot. “You really think this will take us home?”
“Magnus said it would,” Cole replied. “And I trust him.”
Joan nodded slowly, and on her shoulder, Feste flapped his wings. “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go!”
Cole knelt down to be on eye level with Keldeo. “Are you going to come with us? Or are you going to stay here?”
The water type glanced from side to side. “The Edge of the World is pretty… but it’s just the edge. There’s a lot more of it to see.” Keldeo smiled. “I’m coming with you, Sir Firebrand!”
“Cole will be fine,” the young man grinned back. There was an awkward silence as Keldeo continued to stare up at him. “What?” Cole finally asked.
“Those red things. Aren’t you going to use one? I mean, I’m going with you, right?”
“Oh. Oh, yeah! Hang on!” Cole dug through his pack and pulled out his very last pokéball. He brushed the dust off of it, and polished it on his t-shirt. Then, he set it on the ground in front of Keldeo. “Just tap it.”
The pokemon disappeared in a flash of red light. The capsule shook three times before lying still. Cole knew he was legally obligated to tap the button that would send it directly to Professor Oak’s lab, but he didn’t. Instead, he clipped the pokéball to his belt harness in the empty sixth spot. Athena had not had a pokéball for years now, meaning that one space was always left open by courtesy. Now, it was incredibly handy to have.
Joan laid a hand on his arm. “Cole, I’ve been thinking. This Gate takes us home. But I’ve never been to your Flare Gym. What if my ‘home’ is different then yours? What if we get separated?”
Cole took her hand between his. “Then we’ll find each other. I’ll wait for you every night on the beach in Undella Town. If we don’t come out together, I’ll head there as soon as I can. You should too.”
“But what if I end up back in the asylum?”
“I’ll wait for two weeks in Undella Town. That’s more than enough time for you to get there. If you aren’t there by then, Prometheus and I will fly all over the world looking for you. I promise.” The Firebrand winked. “Hey, I got a few hundred people out of a work camp. I can rescue one princess from a tower.”
Prometheus placed his claw on Cole’s shoulder. “He probably won’t even have to slay a dragon to do it. Because this time, the dragon is on your side.”
The trainers returned all of their pokemon, except for Athena of course. Then, they grasped each other’s hands and turned to face the Gate. “Are you ready?” Cole asked.
“Yes, I think so.”
The Gate opened with a bright flash and a loud gust of wind. Cole and Joan took one step forward, and passed into the light.
It completely enveloped him. Cole was vaguely conscious of Joan’s hand in his, but the sensation was fading away. Athena was still on his shoulder, obviously, but he could not feel her. It seemed that he would make this last journey alone.
“Hey, hey, Sparkplug!” Trent called as Cole appeared on the other side of his campfire. He held up a mug of beer. “Stop by for a drink, why don’t you?”
“It’s Firebrand,” Cole said with a smile.
“You know I don’t care.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Hey everyone!” Trent shouted. “Come say hi to the Firebrand!”
The entirety of Cirque Eternal cheered as Cole was whisked away.
Trentioc stared at the space Cole had once occupied and shook his head. “Nah, that doesn’t sound quite right. Firebrand? Bah. What a dumb name.” He raised his beer. “To the Sparkplug, everybody!”
The sun was warm upon his face, and the air heavy with the sharp scent of freshly turned earth. The sound of a harp reached his ears, and Cole saw Necro the bard lounging in the boughs of a tree. He smiled as the young man appeared, stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled.
Another man in a red vest looked up from the hole he had dug. His Venusaur slowly lowered a sapling in using vines that sprouted from its impressive back flower. A massive Blastoise exhaled a small stream of water to nurture it. A Charizard and Pikachu dug the next hole in line.
Red raised a hand in greeting. “You see, Cole? Little by little, I’m making this world a better place.”
“I’m proud of you, Red.”
The sunlight was gone, replaced by a dank imitation. A pale figure was hunched over a cradle, rocking it slowly as it hummed a tuneless song. The second shape, this one much darker, raised its head.
Well hello, Noble Master! Will you be staying long?
“I don’t think so, Noir. But it was nice to see you.”
Come by for a visit soon, all right?
“I will, I promise.”
Mewtwo glanced up and smiled. Hope, say hello to Uncle Cole.
Cole stared at the gravestone for a moment, not quite comprehending what he was taking in. He shook his head and wiped a tear from his cheek. Slowly, he mouthed the words etched into the granite.
“Here lies John Valchion. He sleeps. Although his fate was a strange one, he lived. He has died and has gone to meet his angel. It came to pass simply of itself as the night comes when day is gone.”
The young man placed his hand on the man’s headstone. “Goodbye, John. May you rest in peace forever.”
The songs of Pidgey filled the evening air. “Arceus!” Lisa cried as Cole appeared in front of her. “Is that really you?”
“Yeah, sis. It’s me. I’m headed home.”
His sister moved forward to hug him, but Cole held up a hand. “I won’t be staying long.”
Lisa nodded, understanding. “You need to come by soon. Stay for a little while.”
“I will. I promise.”
“And take care of yourself!”
“I will! I will!”
“I miss you, Cole.”
“I miss you too, Lisa.”
James pirouetted around the bar, hurriedly bringing food to the visiting dignitaries. The Hoenn Peace Convention was being held in Fortree, and of course the only eating establishment left in the entire city was his inn.
He ducked into the kitchen where Jessie and Meowth were working furiously over the stove to prepare the food needed to supply the conference. As he waited for another order, he grinned at his partners. “Ain’t it a laugh, ain’t it a treat, hob-nobbing here amongst the elite?” He shuffled in a crude imitation of a tap-dance. “Hoenn at my feet,” he sang in his best impresario voice. “Hoenn in the dust! And here’s me breaking bread with the upper crust!”
He settled into the familiar dance steps he had used when Cole had first arrived in Fortree so long ago. “Beggar at the feast, master of the dance! Life is easy pickings when you grab your chance!”
“Everywhere ya go, law-abiding folk,” Meowth chortled. “Doing what is decent but they’re mostly broke! Singin’ to Arceus on Sundays, prayin’ for the gifts he’ll send! But we’re the ones who take it, we’re the ones who make it in the end!”
Jessie pulled some form of roast from the oven. “Watch the buggers dance, watch ‘em till they drop! Keep your wits about you and you stand on top! Masters of the land, always get our share! Clear away the barricades and we’re still there! We know where the wind is blowing. Money is the stuff we smell!”
Then unison, all three chorused: “And when the rich increases, Arceus won’t we see you all in hell!”
Well, Cole thought, I guess it’s good that some things never change.
Now all was silent. No wind stirred the dense trees, and no birds sang. Cole glanced around. He knew this place. He was happy the Gate had brought him here, very happy. He reached out for the marble tombstone, but his arm was not long enough. He found he could not step forward. But that was no matter. Just being here was enough.
“I did it, N. I made it to the Edge of the World. And now I’m going home.”
A slight breeze stirred the dried, dead rose atop the tombstone. The old flower, almost a year old, crumbled to dust.
The young man nodded to the Beheeyem grave keeper. “Take care now. I’ll be by soon with new flowers.”
“Heee.” The color bled away from the Entralink Forest as he was whisked away to his next destination.
Marcus shouldn’t have been happy. In fact, he should have been downright despondent. Almost everyone he knew, gone. And yet, here he was, among friends and full of life. His wife was at his side, and the two people he trusted with everything he had were sitting across from him in the small relief camp.
“Will things go back to normal?” Colette asked softly.
Lisana shrugged. “I don’t know. But Sin and I… we were thinking about moving away. It’s going to be too hard to stay in Hoenn after all that’s happened. We were thinking about going back to Johto.”
Sin nodded slowly. “Will you two come with us? We were thinking about doing a little investigating to find out about Harrison, but I think that can wait until everything has simmered down here.”
Colette glanced at Marcus. “I think… I think that’s a good idea. I hate to leave Father’s grave, but…”
“Too many memories,” Marcus agreed.
Sin suddenly snapped to attention. “Firebrand!”
The other three turned. “Cole!”
The young man smiled. “I’m glad to see you’re all safe.” He peered at Sin’s left side. No tin prosthetic. So that was all just a horrible dream after all…
“So did you find what you were looking for?” Marcus asked.
“I did. I’m going home now.” Cole smiled. “Come find me, when you get settled down. It will be nice to see you all again.”
“You mean you’re not staying?”
“Not right now, Lisana. But we can all be together again soon.”
“It’s going to be all right. We’re going to be safe now.”
Nick sighed and glanced at Seithios. “Oh really?”
“The worst is over. You’re back with us.”
Anna wrapped her arms around the young man. “And you have us. You always have us.”
The other members of the Seven added their affirmations. Lexa pulled out a flute and began to play a lilting song. Kim started to sing. She had a beautiful voice.
Zephyr grinned when he saw the eighth figure approach their fire. “Hey! Look who’s here!”
Nick’s eyes lit up with pleased surprise. Yes, definitely just a bad dream. “Cole! It’s you! I thought…”
“No, I’m back.” The Firebrand spread his arms wide. “And I’m going home. Didn’t you tell me once you all wanted to challenge my gym? I expect to see you up in the Autumn Forest soon. I think we have a lot to talk about.”
The Seven all thumped their fists to their chest in salute. “Catch you later, Firebrand!” Seithios said as the Gate whisked Cole away.
He stood before three people. Though his salt and pepper hair was only lightly speckled with gray, and his beard much closer cut, the sparkling blue eyes were the same. “Magnus,” Cole murmured.
“It’s good to see you, Cole,” the Steward replied. He nodded to the two people standing on either side of him. “My daughter Miranda,” he said, gesturing to a woman who shared most of Magnus’s features, most notably the sparkling clear blue eyes. “And her husband Ferdinand.” The man to Magnus’s left, a tall fellow with dusky skin and eyes that glittered with good humor, smiled at Cole.
The younger Magnus spread his arms wide. “I’m glad the Last Gate brought you here. You can see me as I was. Perfect for saying goodbye. Though,” he said with a wink, “I think your story has only just begun.”
“I’m happy you got here safe, Magnus,” was all Cole could say.
The man pointed to the bright blue sky. “I had some help from an old friend.” A large Pidgeot whirled about in the calm gyre, it’s amber eyes shining. “Good bye Cole. And take care. May Arceus bless you with good fortune.”
“And you, Magnus. Goodbye.”
A familiar sight, but one he had not seen in far too long. He knew every groove to the stones beneath his feet, every ridge of the distant mountains. The red and gold trees danced slowly from side to side in the light breeze.
He was back. Back at the Flare Gym.
His pokeballs popped open, and his pokemon joined him atop the Tower. Masamune closed his eyes and allowed the wind to play across his fur. “Scathatch… the pups. I can smell them. Finally.”
The Zoroark leaned against her mate. “I know, darling. I’m so happy.”
Thor tapped Keldeo with his hoof. “Welcome home for the first time, kiddo.”
Maeve slowly licked her lips, tasting the cool, crisp air. A red leaf drifted past them, and her claw shot out. She pressed it close to her chest, hugging it close and humming softly. The tangible evidence of the leaf was all it took for Maeve’s logical and calculating mind to accept that she was back home, where she belonged.
Athena cheered, soaring through the air with her strange telekinesis. “We’re back, we’re back, we’re back, we’re baaaack!” she trilled.
Prometheus glanced around. “Joan’s not here. Looks like we’ve got a trip to Undella coming up, don’t we? But we can wait here a while. We can, right?” Cole nodded mutely. The Charizard leaned in. “So, what are you thinking right now, brother?”
Cole smiled and wrapped his arm around Prometheus’s shoulder.
“Looks like I’m home.”
He flipped to the last page of the book, silently scanned the text.
“And so I returned home.
Such finality. It was really over. He chewed his lip for a moment, pulled out his Unfezant quill pen and dipped it in the inkwell. Then, with a quick stroke, he made the single edit he wanted on the proof.
Yes, it was finally ready.
Cole slowly turned the last page over and pushed the book away from him. His two-part memoir was finally ready to go to press. The first part described his involvement in the Omega War, and all the bravery of his friends. The next part detailed his Quest, and all the experiences contained therein.
Part 1: Fires of Hope, A Time for Heroes
Part 2: There and Back Again, A Hero’s Path
The young man nodded, satisfied. It had taken so much time, so much effort. But now his story would be shared with the world. Athena jumped up onto his shoulder. “Is that it?”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
Athena squeaked with delight. “So now what?”
“Now,” Cole replied with a smile, “we go flying. You ready?” He whistled out the open window, signaling Prometheus to land. He fixed his harness to the Charizard’s back and jumped on.
“You know what’s strange?” Cole asked his two staunch companions.
“Even though we don’t care, I get the feeling you’re going to tell us anyway,” Prometheus chuckled.
“The end of the journey… that wasn’t the best part. In fact, it was kind of meaningless.”
Athena raised an eyebrow. “Really? That’s… not good.”
“All right, meaningless was the wrong word. I suppose what I mean is, it wasn’t the destination that made it worthwhile.” Prometheus opened his wings with a snap and lifted into the air. Cole threw back his head and laughed as they soared up into the infinite sapphire sky. “It was the journey! It’s not the end that matters, it’s the path!”
A small gust of wind blew through the open window of the cabin, ruffling the pages of the book. It fell open on the smoothed crease of the last page, revealing the single edit Cole had made, drawn with a flourish.
The End ?
Ambiguous ending aside, that's the end.
The Hero's Path has come to an end. I hope you found the ride as enjoyable as I did. Because yes, for me it was very enjoyable. For a year, Hero's Path was my creative sandbox. Anything I couldn't do in original fiction was possible here, simply because of it's nature. And I'm glad of it. Truly, I had so much fun writing this story.
Also... well, it seems that the universe likes to play little games with me. My first fanfiction, League of Heroes, ended on June 15th 2011. And here we are, June 15th 2012, and my second fic has drawn to a close. Trust me, I didn't plan this. I only realized it the other day. But still, fitting, is it not?
I'm going to take a break from fanfiction for a while. Perhaps a very long while. I need to work on my original stories. If you liked what you saw here, you can always continue to follow my work on Fictionpress. My profile can be found: here.
Also, if you want to support my work, you now can. Recently, I self-published my first novel, Blazing Heart. If you so desire, you can buy it on Amazon here.
Finally, I recently got a tumblr, which I am using as a production blog for my stories. It can be found and followed at: the-firebrand.tumblr.com
And lastly, I am a strong believer in the philosophy that every time a story ends, a new one begins. Today marks the day of the beginning of my next epic fantasy story, Dark Pawn. If you can't get enough of my writing, now is a wonderful time to start up on a brand new story that will, like Hero's Path, be updated every Friday.
So, my friends, it's time for me to bid you a fond farewell. Wherever the path takes you next, I hope the wind is always beneath your wings and the sun warm upon your back. May your journeys be enjoyable ones, and may we meet again someday!
Last edited by Firebrand; 22nd August 2012 at 3:29 AM.
Aww, so Joan didn't come back, even though we all know she shows up because we read the Reunion RP. What I want to see now is Cole storming a mental hospital swinging a sword and not becoming one of the patients. :-P
Huh? Front desk? Oh, yeah I suppose you could just spring her that way.
As a final review, I must admit the rolling scene change there at the end was a muddling. I was trying to read it like one would the credits videos of the games with Cole cascading through a series of locales, but it really didn't make much sense in the squence and the way it was written, as to whether he was actually spat out somewhere and wlked the rest of the way or if the gates were dragging him through a bunch of hurdles.
Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:
Magnus' goodbye seemed a little familiar maybe its the end of the Lord of the Rings is what it reminds me of or maybe not I can't recall right now. Its sad to see such a good story end, or is it truely the end I'll guess I'll just stick around to find out.
My Black Friend Code is 2494-8412-9545 and my name on Black is Trysten.
This is my badge for the NCTH to earn it you have to challenge the League and defeat me in a battle. Credit goes to Glover for the badge.
And here's the link to my fic http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...irth-of-a-Hero
This has truly been a spectacular story, and it's a sad thought that it has ended. I loved the ending but if I have anything negative to say it would be that it feels like it could go on for a few more chapters. I guess we could get some one-shots?
Just got around to finish reading this, it truly was an amazing story my friend, saddens me to see this as the end for who knows how long but I trust you to come back with another
storyno epic would have to be the word, is that not what you call a grand and fantastic tale of hero, all I can say is that you brought honor to the legends and tales of old. Bravo my friend and I hope to see and hear from you again. Remember the work of a writer is arduous but rewarding.
Spoiler:- Friend code for Pokemon White: