Hey, people. This is rated R for dark themes, moderate use of language, death, and the like. It has been approved by bobandbill.
Also: Mind Screws abound.
The prologue is extremely short, so I put it and Chapter 1 together.
A/N: This takes place four years after XD.
Into the ShadowsPrologue
"Terra, wake up. We're almost there." Ashely shook Terra awake. Terra groggily opened her eyes as Ashely's bubbly, smiling face came into focus. She jumped. She was used to seeing that face for almost three years, but it still freaked her out. "AH!" Terra screamed. "You know I hate it when you wake me up like that, Ashie." Terra slowly got off the bed, shuffling over to a table with a few papers neatly stacked on top of it. How she hated this boat. Sure, being with Team Magma certainly didn't help with anything. But this mission was too important to be worried about water.
"I'm ready for my pre-mission breifing now, mistress," Ashely said, standing up straight. Terra snapped out of her thought.
"Ashie, acting official does not suit you," Terra giggled. "But as your new Admin, I guess I have to give you this breifing." Terra sighed as she gathered the papers from the table. It felt weird to be giving the orders this time around as opposed to recieving them. Terra shuffled through the papers, quickly reveiwing the information.
"Okay," Terra began, putting on her most official tone of voice. "Our first order of buisiness is to find a man in Gateon Port, where we will make land."
Land. Terra thought, Finally.
"What is this man's name, if I may ask?" Ashely interjected.
"Um...." Terra skimmed over the papers. "His name is Ardos. It says here that he is a rather tall man with blue hair. He will be wearing a blue and black robe when we meet. He will direct us to Cipher's Headquarters, located in the central region of Orre. From there we will be given information pertaining to these 'Shadow Pokemon', whatever they are. Then, we get to go back to Hoenn. Simple reconnaisance mission. Don't screw it up." Terra finished scanning the papers and carefully placed them on the table. The intercom rang.
"We wil be arriving in Gateon Port shortly. Please report to the main lobby as soon as you can. Thank you, and have a fun vacation here in Orre!" The woman on the intercom sounded overly cheery. Terra and Ashely did not pack much, just enough for the 3-day boat ride over and back. They quickly packed and headed towards the lobby of the ship, a simply decorated room that left much to be desired.
"Hey, Ashie?" Terra half whispered.
"Don't you think it's kinda, y'know, sketchy that Cipher is taking us to their headquarters?"
"What do you mean?"
"I'm thinking they might have other plans for us. Sure, they seem trustworthy and if they do anything to us Team Magma will be all over their ass, but I can't help wondering, just, what if?"
"I'm thinking that you are overthinking this."
Chapter 1: Traitor
Terra and Ashley stepped out of the ship into the hot Orre sun. Terra felt a tinge of relief knowing that she was at least on something solid, but that relief was short-lived, as Ashley quickly wandered away, distracted. Terra sighed.
"Ashie! Wait!" Terra called after her, carrying two small luggage bags. Putting the bags down, Terra began to look around for her friend, wiping off the beads of sweat beginning to form. If there was one thing Ashley did have, it was energy, even in this heat. As she looked around for her friend, Terra's eyes settled on a man whose decription exactly matched the one she had been given: tall, slender, bue hair, and wearing a blue and black robe. Terra slowly walked over to him.
"Hello, you must be Miss Terra Rohare," he said warmly, extending his hand towards Terra.
Terra shook his hand. "I am. You must be Ardos?"
"Indeed I am. Ardos Verich, Head of Cipher's Intelligence Department," Ardos said proudly. "Let me take your bags-"
"Oh, no, I need to find someone else first," Terra interjected.
"Miss Rohare, I'm afraid this is no time for socializing with old friends. Do that on your own time, please," Ardos said, trying to sound as polite as possible.
"No, no, she's my Head Grunt. She's coming, too."
"Head Grunt?" Ardos inquired.
"She's a step below me," Terra answered.
"Ah. Very well. Just don't take too long. We do have things to do," Ardos was getting slightly annoyed.
Terra nodded and turned around. "ASHIE!" She yelled, startling Ardos. Almost immediately Ashley came rushing towards Terra and Ardos.
"Hey, did I miss anything?" Ashley asked casually.
"Well, not really," Ardos paused. "I'm sorry, what was your name? Ashie?"
"No, that's just a nickname Mistress Terra has for me. My name is Ashley Clorus."
"Ah. I'm Ardos Verich, Head of Cipher's Intelligence Department," Ardos said flatly, getting more annoyed by the second. "Hand me your bags and follow me." Terra handed Ardos the two bags, and the three walked to the entrance of the city.
"Well, here we are," Ardos said, opening the trunk of a long white car. He tossed the bags inside. Politely, Ardos opened the back door of the car, allowing Terra and Ashley to enter before climbing in the back of the car himself. Closing the door, he pushed a button on the door's handle. "To the lab, please," Ardos said calmly. As he released the button, the car started moving. It was fancy inside, with overstuffed leather upholstery and a partition to separate the passengers from the driver.
"Lab?" Terra asked, "I thought you were taking us to your headquarters."
"Well," Ardos replied, matter-of-factly. "The lab is our headquarters. The two terms are interchangeable among Cipher members."
"Oh. Okay," Terra sulked slightly. Terra looked out the window at the desert as a long silence settled over the passengers.
"So," Ardos broke the silence. "Did either of you bring any Pokemon with you? Orre has a terrific battling community. Very lively."
"Oh, no. We figured it was best simply to leave them in Hoenn, since we are leaving today once we get the information," Terra indicated.
"I brought a portable PC, Terra. We can access our boxes from anywhere," Ashley giggled.
"Oh, Well, I can possibly get you a Shadow Pokemon if you like, maybe as a momento. Cipher has plenty of them. It will also be a great addition to your team," Ardos smirked.
"That sounds good," Terra replied.
"Terrific. I'll get you one," Ardos gave Terra a fake smile and turned to face
Ashley. "Do you want one, too?"
Ashley smiled. "Sure, but what exactly is a Shadow Pokemon?"
Ardos turned to face forward. "You'll find out in due time. Once you battle with one, you'll get it. The information I'm giving you will explain it as well."
"Yessir," Ashley replied. "Now, I have to ask, what is with that robe? Is that Cipher's uniform?"
"No," Ardos replied "I used to work with my brother, Eldes, before he became a traitor. We both were my father's bodyguards. We-"
"Wait, traitor?" Terra interrupted.
"Yes, traitor," Ardos replied. "He said he felt that Cipher had no chance of surviving long after Michael, a mere boy defeated him, and me."
"So this great organization was taken down by a boy?" Terra asked, trying to hide any facts that would lose Team Magma's credibility with Cipher.
"Yes," Ardos said flatly, his face locked in a hateful expression. "I still remember the battle that brought down Cipher. Eldes convinced my father that Cipher should disband. After that, I went into hiding with the other Admins, Eldes included, and we joined tournaments at Orre Collosseum to entertain ourselves. Little did we know that little idiot Michael would show up to those. He had the pleasure of defeating us all again. However, all of the Admins stuck together. I managed to gain the respect of all of them, except Eldes. We managed to restart Cipher quickly and quietly, while Eldes went into hiding, but he was quickly captured by the new Cipher. He remains a prisoner to this day, nearly four years. We got the attention of the old Admins of Cipher, who all joined with us as well. One in particular, Nascour, insisted that he lead this new organization, and I let him. No use causing tension between us. He quickly handed his position to Andrea, his daughter. I must say, it was the most brilliant move that he ever made as Cipher's head. Now, Cipher has complete conrol over Orre. Even Cipher's old enemies have joined up with us. Wes is now head of aquiring Pokemon, Rui distributes Shadow Pokemon, Professor Krane and Lily help Ein and Lovrina in making and improving Shadow Pokemon, and even Michael helps prevent purification of Shadow Pokemon. They all do their jobs wonderfully," Ardos smiled fondly.
"Wait, who are those people? And how did you get them to join?" Terra asked, surprised.
"Well," Ardos began, "Wes was Cipher's first real threat. He was the one that stole every Shadow Pokemon and purified it. He brought down Cipher for the first time, but my father was also working for Cipher. Those who worked in my father's branch of Cipher revived the organization, only to be defeated again by Michael. Rui helped Wes identify Shadow Pokemon. She has the special ability to see the aura that Sadow Pokemin emit. Lily is Michael's mother. She also has a daughter, Jovi, that is still at large. Professor Krane is Lily's friend and worked with Lily at the HQ Lab, a lab dedicated to the purification of Shadow Pokemon. Krane was the man in charge." Ardos paused. "However, how Andrea got them working for Cipher is a matter that I am kept uninformed about."
"Wow," was all Terra could say before another silence began. After a while, the car came to a stop.
"Here we are," Ardos announced. As Terra and Ashley got out of the car, he muttered something incomprehensible.
"I'm sorry?" Terra asked.
"Oh, just talking to myself. Trying to remember where I put the Shadow Pokemon information file," Ardos replied. "Follow me," He said as he turned around and entered the lab. The entrance to the lab was a sterile gray all over. The three moved back to a cylindrical elevator that opened as they drew near it. Ardos let Terra and Ashley in before himself. The elevator closed and moved down. After it reached its destination, the three were greeted with even more gray, which seemed to be kept meticulously cleaned. Despite the bright fluorescent lights, the lab had an indistinguishable sinister quality to it. Ardos exited the tube, followed by Terra and Ashley. After walking a short distance, they reached a nondescript door. The door opened automatically. Terra and Ashley were shocked to find a hallway lined with empty glass chambers, each with a door at the back. Ardos stopped at one in the very back. A slender, red-haired man wearing a tattered red and black robe sat in the back corner. Where he sat, a small pool of blood had formed. "That is Eldes," Ardos announced scornfully, a look of pure disdain in his eyes. The man inside the chamber faced Ardos from his sitting position.
"I do have... a gender, you know," The man retorted, his weak, hoarse voice muffled by the glass.
"After your last encounter with Gorigan and Dakim, I'm surprised you can even talk, Eldes," Ardos taunted, observing the slowly growing puddle of blood beneath the man, "Perhaps I should have them increase the severity of punishment?"
"I don't fucking care... what you do, Ardos," Eldes spat with great effort, "Although hitting your... younger brother isn't... polite. What do you think... Father would say... about that?" Eldes glared defiantly at Ardos.
Terra stepped forward angrily. "I think you should shut the hell up! Traitor!" she snapped, her voice resonating throughout the gray room.
"Terra!" Ashley cried back in astonishment. Ardos simply smirked at Terra approvingly, stepping forward to press a few buttons on a conrol panel and the nearly indistinguishable door slid open.
"Here, why don't you two take a while to get aquainted with our little rat here while I go find those papers?" Ardos suggested, smiling a not-so-innocent smile.
"Oh, yes, we will," Terra pushed Ashley inside the cell, stepping in shortly after Ashley moved out of Terra's way. Ardos smiled as he pushed a button to close and lock the door. Ardos exited the room through the same door that he came in.
"Hello, Eldes," Terra sneered.
"Hey. I'm very sorry-" Ashley began.
In a hoarse, voice, Eldes rasped, "You do realize... what's happened, right?" Eldes began coughing, spattering blood on the hand he had raised weakly to his mouth.
"Um, we've been locked in a room with a filthy traitor?" Terra retorted.
"Terra, let him speak." Ashley said evenly. Comfortingly, she continued, "What has happened, Eldes?"
"You both have... been taken hostage," Eldes said dryly.
"Tch, like I'd believe a traitor," Terra spat.
"TERRA! SHUT UP!" Ashley snapped, the cell reverberating for a moment from her loud words. Terra backed away, never seeing that side of her dearest friend. Ashley sat down, eye to eye with Eldes. "Now, tell me, did we really get kidnapped?" Ashley's blue eyes drifted to the puddle of blood collecting at Eldes' side.
"Yes..." Eldes said weakly. "You..." He turned to Ashley. "I'll be fine. Don't worry... about me," Eldes heaved, struggling to get air. "Either Venus or Lovrina will come soon... and have their Blissey... use Recover on me. Just so Dakim and Gorigan... can beat me again."
"Why doesn't Cipher kill you?" Ashley asked.
"I... don't know. I guess Ardos... thinks that since he can only... kill me once, he might just make... me wish they would kill me until... I finally die."
"So, have we been kidnapped or not?" Terra impatiently asked. Ashley glared at Terra wth a look of raw anger.
"It's okay... I'm used to it... Cipher's done much... worse things to me. And to... answer your question... most likely," Eldes heaved heavily. "I would not... put it past Ardos to... do something like that." Just then, Ardos walked through the door and headed straight for Eldes' cell. Ardos unlocked the door, his eyes focused on Terra.
"Miss Terra... Follow me," Ardos said warmly. Terra exited the cell as Ardos locked it, leaving Eldes and Ashley inside. "So, did you have fun?" Ardos inquired.
"Well, Ashley was kind of preventing me from doing so, so no. No fun," Terra sulked slightly.
"Well, we certainly can't have our guest go without entertaining herself, can we?" Ardos smirked. "You will have a chance to talk with Eldes without Ashley in the way. Promise."
"Thank you very much," Terra replied, grinning. She continued to follow Ardos in silence before breaking it. "Ardos, Eldes said some things..." Terra tentatively said.
"Lies. All lies." Ardos immediately affirmed.
"Well, I don't know, it seemed plausible."
"What was he saying? How could any thing that traitor says seem plausible?"
"He said that you took us as hostages."
"What? No! What motives could I possibly have to take you hostage?" Ardos was shocked. Eldes-- he couldn't possibly know. He must be delusional. Ardos thought, before dismissing the thought.
"I don't know."
"See? Don't trust traitors. I thought Team Magma would have taught you that."
"They did, but I was thinking that you would be doing the same thing."
"Ah. Well, we'll have to set that bastard straight."
"With pleasure." Terra smirked.
"Eldes, why don't you take a rest?" Ashley said, trying to comfort the exhausted man.
"Yeah, that would be nice... If I could sleep in a... comfortable position, that... would be lovely," Eldes heaved.
"Okay, if you're not going to sleep, let's at least make it productive. Let's figure out a way to get out," Suddenly, the door to the cell room opened, a rather tall woman with extremely long pink pigtails walked in, a fat pink and white blob of a Pokemon accompanying her.
"Eldes! Oh, Eldes! Guess who!" The woman cheerfully said.
"Who is that?" Ashley whispered.
"Lovrina. And she's brought her Blissey," Eldes replied dryly.
Lovrina sauntered over to the cell Eldes and Ashley were in. "Ooh, looks like we've got a new one! So exiting!" The door to the cell opened. "What's your name, sweetie?" She giggled.
"Ashley Clorus," Ashley responded.
"I'm Lovrina. I make sure that Eldes here is so ready for his next encounter with Gorigan and Dakim. We so can't have Eldes going to Gorigan and Dakim looking like he does now. They would so go easy on him! That's where Blissey comes in. She uses Recover on Eldes here and he gets all better. Watch," The Blissey's paws began to glow a light blue color as she touched Eldes. The man began to glow the same color as the Blissey's paws for a few seconds. The Blissey removed her paws and Eldes stopped glowing. "There you go, Eldes!" Lovrina giggled.
"Why do you do this?" Ashely asked.
"I so already told you this! So Gorigan and Dakim have a clean slate to work with when they punish Eldes again!" Lovrina smiled and turned around, her Blissey following her, and they exited the room together.
"Eldes? You feeling better?" Ashely asked,
"Yes," Eldes replied, his voice less hoarse than before. "To be expected," He found no joy in his healed state, seeing as how in a few hours Dakim and Gorigan would come back and beat him again.
"Let's figure out a way to get you out of this place," Ashley smiled.
"We can't," Eldes said. "There's an alarm that goes off if a cell is opened by an aunauthoized person. A group of guards can be here within thirty seconds."
"Who is authorized?"
"Ardos, Venus, Lovrina, Dakim, and Gorigan."
"Lovrina seems nice. Perhaps she can let you out?"
Eldes scoffed. "Yeah, that makes a hell of a lot of sense. Lovrina lets out one of Cipher's biggest enemies. You're funny."
"I was making a suggestion. But, I have an idea..."
"What is it?"
"Do they let you out to use the bathroom?"
"There is a bathroom through the door behind me. They don't need to. I am allowed one hundred twenty seconds to use it, if that helps at all."
"How do they know you're in there?"
"Cameras. If I'm in there for more than the allotted time, an alarm goes off, and three guards come in here and open the door, making sure I'm not escaping. Believe me, I've tried. Each time ended badly."
"Wait... I'm getting a Shadow Pokemon later. If I get the right one, maybe I can 'use the bathroom' and maybe burrow out of here. Then you use that to escape."
"Good luck. The only thing Shadow Pokemon know is battling, and, good luck burrowing through the steel floor."
"Wait, I think I have something here that can help." Ashley put her hand into her pocket, pulling out a small red device. She pressed a button on the side and the screen lit up.
"Don't do that here. It's dangerous," Eldes cautioned.
"Oh, don't worry about it. If anyone asks, I was tending to some Team Magma- related buisiness."
"Team Magma?" Eldes questioned.
"Oh, they kind of sent us here. On a reconnaissance mission," Ashely began poking at the device, manipulating a rudimentary PC display.
"Reconnaissance? Of what kind?"
"Terra, that lady that kept yelling at you, is probably doing that right now. We are obtaining some information on Shadow Pokemon."
"Ah, so some sort of partnership."
"Um, I'm not sure. I wasn't told about anything partnership wise," Ashley kept poking at her device until she found exactly what she needed. “Okay, I think I found something that can get us out of here. Stand back,” She pointed the front of the device to the floor. A white beam emanated from the device, which eventually formed a red and white sphere. Eldes grinned. It had been a while since he had seen one of those.
“Ready to run?” Ashley smirked.
“I've been ready for this moment for years!” Eldes could barely contain his exitement. He turned to face the bathroom door. “But first, what is in that Poke Ball?”
Ashley smiled as she picked up the Ball. “My Claydol. It knows Teleport, so it can get us out of this place.”
“Okay, but can it get us far away from here?”
“It can get us anywhere either of us has been. It just would take a lot of energy to go really far away. I don't know if little Claydol could handle a trip to Hoenn, so everywhere I know is out of the question. Maybe you know of a place?”
“I don't really know if it would be okay, but it could work,” Eldes replied.
“Okay, we'll try. As a last resort, we have Hoenn,” Ashley indicated. “Claydol!” Ashley called out. A black, ball- like Pokemon with a set of eyes circling its wide head materialized from the Poke Ball. “Claydol, this is Eldes. Use Teleport when he tells you,” Ashley said evenly. She turned to Eldes. “Okay, grab onto Claydol's arm,” Eldes took hold of the Pokemon's arm. “Now think of the place you want to go,” Ashley waited for a few seconds. “Got it in your head?”
“Good,” Ashley grabbed hold of Eldes' free hand. When you're ready, tell Claydol to use Teleport.”
“Okay,” Eldes was nearly shaking with exitement. “Claydol! Teleport!” he commanded. Ashley, Eldes, and Claydol disappeared together in a flash of white.
Just then, Ardos and Terra entered the cell room. “So, Eldes should be happy to see you,” Ardos said.
“I'll bet. That Shadow Darmanitan Rui gave me should also come in handy,” Terra smirked as she came up to Eldes' cell, empty exept for a puddle of dried blood on the ground where Eldes was sitting . “Um, A-Ardos?” Terra stammered.
“What seems-” Ardos gasped softly when he came to the empty cell. After a second, his features relaxed. “Oh, he's probably using the bathroom. We provided one for him in the back of the cell,” Ardos said calmly.
“But where's Ashley? In the bathroom with Eldes?” Terra paused, cringing slightly at the awkward mental images that statement conjured.
“Either that, or Ashley took Eldes somewhere.”
“How can we find out?” Terra inquired, worried.
“There's a security camera focused on this cell. We can check the footage and see.”
Ashley, Eldes and Claydol materialized in a desolate canyon with a destroyed building nestled in a corner. “This... brings back memories...” Eldes sighed. “This was one of my hideouts before I was captured. This is where we will stay for the night. But if we are to avoid capture, we cannot stay in one place for long. Two nights at the most.”
“Eldes, where are we, if I may ask?”
“Eclo Canyon,” Eldes indicated, smiling. Claydol began to curiously explore the
“Um, can we go get some shade?” Ashley asked, beads of sweat beginning to form on her brow.
“No, not yet. Water is our top priorty right now. Then food.”
“What about shade?” Ashley pleaded.
“I wouldn't doubt that by the time we even find water, there will be any heat left. It gets cold at night,” Eldes began to walk away from the dilapidated building.
“Fine...” Ashley moaned, wiping the sweat off of her brow. “Wait, Eldes!” Ashley called after the man.
Eldes turned around, and began walking towards Ashley. “What is it? Is it more important than water right now?”
Ashley reached into one of her pockets and pulled out a red leather wallet. “If I have enough money, we can buy some food and water. I can Teleport to Gateon Port and buy some while you hide out here.”
“Before we waste our time with that, how much money do you have?”
Ashley opened the wallet and counted each bill. “Um, two hundred thousand. I also have my credit card.”
“Good,” Eldes sighed a genuine sigh of relief. “However, if you see Cipher, you come right back here. Keep your Claydol out.”
“Got it,” Ashley affirmed. She then reached for her belt, taking the pocket PC out. “Here. Use this to get some Pokemon. My ID is already logged on, but you can use your ID, if you remember it. Just make sure that you have Orre selected as the region, if you use your ID,” After hading the device to Eldes, Ashely looked around for her Claydol. “Hey! Claydol! Come here!” Ashley called. The Pokemon quickly floated up from behind a pile of rubble near the building. “Okay, Claydol,” Ashley said, grabbing one of the Pokemon's stubby arms cnd closing her eyes. After a short pause, Ashley opened her eyes. “Teleport!” she commanded, and Ashley and Claydol were gone in a flash of white light, leaving Eldes alone.
...There it is.