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Thread: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Overthrown

  1. #201
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    Gah, sorry I took so long, but ... yeah. I'm here now.

    Actually, I haven't got much to say. Screw that, I've got nothing to say. This story left me speechless. I love your talent for worldbuilding: it seems to me that the entire Kingdom-Colonies war feels like how a real war would be. Either you're completely detached, as Leo and co. were previously, or you're right in the thick of it, like how the mystery Scyther was. Speaking of which, that guy was kewl. And so was Richelieu. And, for that matter, Nexus. Your villains feel very clearly defined, you think you know how they're going to turn out, you think, "Yeah, that guy's evil," - and then WHAM! they pull a Wire on you. All your characters are awesome that way.

    So, yeah. Impressive, to say the least. So impressive that you can expect a couple'a award noms from me Oh, and add me to the PM list as well. And those people in your sig? They're absolutely right. This is an enthralling tale of suspense, war and - dare I say it? Yeah, I dare - insanity.


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  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly.Braviary View Post
    Actually, I haven't got much to say. Screw that, I've got nothing to say. This story left me speechless. I love your talent for worldbuilding: it seems to me that the entire Kingdom-Colonies war feels like how a real war would be. Either you're completely detached, as Leo and co. were previously, or you're right in the thick of it, like how the mystery Scyther was. Speaking of which, that guy was kewl. And so was Richelieu. And, for that matter, Nexus. Your villains feel very clearly defined, you think you know how they're going to turn out, you think, "Yeah, that guy's evil," - and then WHAM! they pull a Wire on you. All your characters are awesome that way.
    Wow, thank you so much! Well, in response to each of your questions: I try my best to make things as realistic as possible (for a PMD story, anyways). I'm also a big history buff, so I have done my research on wars, revolutions, and colonial rule in countries. So, I'm fairly certain I can write both sides of the conflict decently.

    You like the Scyther and Richelieu? Well, I'm glad. You'll be seeing more of them later. Hehe, Wire and Nexus were a last minute decision that worked in my favor. It was a new concept for me, as least, having a villain sharing a mind with an even worse villain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly.Braviary View Post
    So, yeah. Impressive, to say the least. So impressive that you can expect a couple'a award noms from me Oh, and add me to the PM list as well. And those people in your sig? They're absolutely right. This is an enthralling tale of suspense, war and - dare I say it? Yeah, I dare - insanity.
    Again, thank you so much. I'm not sure if I've said it enough yet, but I never expected this much positive support for what is essentially my first piece of creative writing ever. So, Deadly, and everyone, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Expect more insanity soon...

    Knightfall signing off...

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    The figure shouted an impressive string of explicatives and rushed away from the mass of sentient ooze,
    Heh. "expletives". But "explicatives" sounds fun, too.

    Shaking his head in an effort to ignore the smells and other unpleasantries, the figure pressed forward into the crowds of Pokemon, each struggling to survive on the underbelly of the glorified capital.
    Don't get why the "glorified" is there. The capital does not seem glorious or puffed-up, so it reads as sarcasm, but from a narrator that isn't a character, that doesn't really add anything to the story. Maybe you mixed up the use of "glorified", in which case, you MIGHT have meant "underbelly of the glorified ghetto serving as the capital".

    The figure carefully looked around through the sea of less than savory, unwashed peasants,
    *less-than-savory. It should have hyphens.

    colorful footprint rune graffiti scrawled on every available inch of wall along the alley.
    Colorful what now?

    Sections of the city’s resident newspaper were rapidly becoming its own level of pavement over the cobblestone as they were carelessly discarded.
    This, however, I really like. Good imagery.

    Despite being roughly shoved by several of the inhabitants of these slums, the figure clutched its robe even tighter as it pushed aside an Octillery screaming about how the “demon on the throne” would trigger Judgment Day on them all. The crazed citizen waved its many tentacles around, erratically grasping at the edges of the figure’s robe in a futile attempt to stop the hooded Pokemon’s progress.
    I like this, too. It's a fast, subtle way to build up the world. Deranged naysayer character! Woo.

    After fording one more alleyway of odorous individuals selling wares that broke several royal laws simply by existing, the figure, somehow avoiding being sick from the indescribable artifacts on display,
    What about them would make someone sick? I feel like I'm either missing a description there or being given an irrelevant detail.

    Eventually, it shook its head and took a deep, calming breath as it slowly pushed one of the ancient wooden doors open.
    This narration seems confused. It wants to tell me this character has a bipedal figure and a canine nose, but we're playing the mystery gender game? I feel like the narration knows who this character is, but is being intentionally vague. Which, obviously the AUTHOR knows, but the narration should be able to tell more than it has so far. Without sounding sexist, if you can see a figures gait, muzzle, and arms... you can probably tell its gender.

    Delicate paintings and portraits of relics and ancient clashes between the three Dragons hung on the wood paneled walls at precise, ordered distances apart from each other.
    More interesting, subtle world-building.

    “It has been a long time since you have been here, has it not?” The cloaked figure slowly approached the Bronzong, walking in an aisle between the pews to the raised area in the front.
    Within a few strides, the figure was standing directly behind the psychic type. Raising a paw to its head, the figure drew back the hood of its robe, exposing its identity.
    More unseparated paragraphs! NoooOOOOoooOOOOOooo!

    “Well, first off, cast off that filthy robe! There is no need for you to hide your face here! Here you are, a king, slithering around like a common field snake! How can you hope to rise if you embrace the floor?” Ruak shouted, its body emitting a deep ringing sound as he used his arms to rip the garment off Nickolas and immediately tear it into shreds.
    Did you get that saying from somewhere or did you make it up? It's quite interesting and poignant. Though, here it sounds a bit elitist.

    The Bronzong suddenly floated up so that his red eyes were directly staring into the Lucario’s. “No, son. I want to hear from you. What is troubling you? Not the Kingdom. Once you conquer your own demons, then you can expel the demons that dwell in others,” Ruak demanded, forcing the king’s head to look him in the eye with a psychonic field. Unable to look away, Nickolas struggled to piece together the words.

    “My family is gone, Father. They’re gone. From life and from me. Father, I-I just don’t know what to do now.” Nickolas sat down on the steps leading up to the altar, allowing the Bronzong to float next to him.
    That felt a bit easy to me. NOT that I think this dang chapter needed to be any LONGER, but I would liked to have seen Nicholas struggle a bit more with looking inwardly at his own pain rather than accepting his nation's pain as his own.

    “Listen to me, Nickolas. I know it is hard for you, but you must think about your larger family. Every citizen under your rule are your sons and daughters. You must care for them as such. Do not selfishly lose your focus on two Pokemon that Dialga has chosen to reside with him in the Hidden Land.”
    LOL. Let me summarize the last few paragraphs:

    Nicholas: Everything sucks for everybody.
    Ruak: Don't think about everyone else. Think about yourself.
    Nicholas: I miss my family.
    Ruak: Everything sucks for everyone. Think about them.

    Me: Wait, you just told him NOT to do that.

    “I can not help you if you refuse to let go of the past. I will leave you to your thoughts now. Be it far from me to divine the future, but remember this, Nickolas: you must delegate, or else you will abdicate.” With the last word, Ruak exited the temple and closed the door behind him.
    YOU JUST TOLD HIM TO THINK ABOUT HIS PAST! I kind of hate this Bronzong. Also, I don't trust advice that rhymes.

    In an instant, his mind cleared. He knew no more of the woes of his family. He could not remember his wife’s name, or even if he had a son at all. Nickolas’s memories were purged for every shred of recognition of his loved ones until nothing remained, and he was perfectly fine with it.
    Wait...figuratively? Like he was possessed by a calm? Or LITERALLY, like he was just brainwashed? Huh. That's curious.

    Damn, scene one is gone, and that little scroll bar has not traveled nearly as much as I had hoped. Onward...

    The Charmeleon barely caught a glimpse of the blue otter before he tackled him to the ground, sand spraying into the air and suffocating his tail flame.
    There's some pronoun confusion at the end there. Who tackled whom? I can see by reading on, but the sentence leaves it up-in-the-air.

    Pulling his twin scallops off his sides, he cautiously circles around the arena,
    *circled, you slipped into present tense there.

    Leo mimicking his movements. The Pokemon and the former human exchanged murderous glances at each other, sharp blue staring down deep black.
    You know... you could use more of these moments. It's easy to forget that Leo used to be a human. I know it's been a while here, but things should still be foreign and weird to him.

    Tiny embers scorched his throat as he belched forth a small volley of fireballs. As soon as they vacated his jaw, the pinpricks of fire adsorbed oxygen as they flared and grew to the size of Oran Berries. The spheres of burning air collided with the spheres of water. The entire arena was instantly blinded as explosions of steam sent shockwaves through the air, knocking both combatants to the sand.
    Couple things caught me here: I don't like the "vacated his jaw" because it all seems too wordy. Like we're intentionally choosing obscure ways to say things. "left his mouth" is just fine here. Also, I can't tell if I dislike the quick double use of "spheres" to describe the attacks. I might like the mirroring of it all, but I also think it's repetitive.

    In hindsight, he figured this probably wasn’t the smartest idea when facing a Water type.
    I think this should be "in hindsight, he WOULD FIGURE this..." because he's not having that thought yet (and if he is, it isn't hindsight. It's more like... present-sight. Changing-his-mind-sight. )

    Before his mind could relay the signal to act, Noah had pulled one of his razor shells off his side and held it against Leo’s neck. Small droplets of blood began to appear as Noah pressed the sharpened blade harder into the Charmeleon’s skin.
    Leo wouldn't really know it was blood... I'm sure he can't see his own neck. And the narration being attached to him, it feels odd to be given this detail and JESUS CHRIST THAT SCROLL BAR IS NOT WHERE I WANT IT TO BE.

    “Darney.” a deep, tired voice resounded in the Scyther’s ears. Darney tensed, his face struggling to contain a grimace at the sound of the voice.
    There are a LOT of damn characters in this story.

    “You don’t understand. I heard her ... “ he said, his voice barely audible. He stole a quick glance behind. The hallway was deserted, but he knew better than to trust his sight. He returned his sight to the path ahead of him.
    So many characters...

    Anyway, the repeated use of "sight" here is a bit weird. Especially when when of them is how he doesn't trust his own. I would change the last sentence to "He looked back down the path ahead of him".

    The void was not as it seemed. Cruel, unforgiving deception lay just below the invisible surface. When the truth falls from its lofty perch, it must met the deception that waits below. Deception, the very thought of the word sent doubts spiraling into his heart.
    "must MEET with the deception". And is that a quote from someone Italics Dialogue knows? If so, it should be, well, in quotations.

    “Employee number: Two. Eight. Six, you have been acknowledged. Your recent actions were observed to fall under non-standard mal-compliance ordinances.
    Non-compliance?

    “Over my dead body.” he growled. He clutched his injured leg and set his teeth as he quickly rose to his feet, the pain shooting fiery rods into his nerves. He awkwardly shuffled along the wall, gingerly lifted the leather strap of his satchel over his neck, and hefted his friend up from the ground.
    I assume he didn't actually scoop up his leg and carry it with him, so perhaps "clutched AT his injured leg" would be better.

    Inches from relative safety in the dark passage, a stone slab slammed down from above, conjured there from elsewhere in the labyrinth and placed here by the energy.
    Generally don't say "here" in past tense narration. Also... what energy? This reads like I'm supposed to go "Oh, THE ENERGY!", but I don't know what energy it is talking about.

    As long as he had known the Breloom, Vertex has remained by his side even throughout the breakdowns. His condition continually grew worse as the breakdowns came more frequently. The photosynthetic cells in his skin gradually died off more and more until the vibrant shades of green and red pigment faded away until only a fraction of it remained.
    Breloom, eh? I'd been wondering what these two are, so now I know one. And isn't Breloom Ian... the one who broke his leg? If so... how did he clutch [at] it? He wouldn't have arms.

    Okay, that was a LOT of stuff going on, and reading this once a month or so make it hard to remember all the goings-on and characters AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE'S A WHOLE 'NOTHER POST OF THIS? Gods, I'm only halfway done? Why don't I just lie down and die?

    I'll get to the ENTIRE SECOND POST'S WORTH OF THIS CHAPTER later this weekend.


    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    Night had nearly secured its place in the sky after overthrowing the sun’s setting régime.
    Lose "setting". Just "sun's regime".

    What was that old phrase? Twice the pride, double the fall?
    Seems like there is a lot of cliches being espoused this chapter. Which isn't bad... it just is what it is. It struck me that this is the third or fourth one I read.

    Leo stared at the almost sickly green fluid in front of him. Leaning in close to it, he could swear that it hissed at him.
    I like that. Fun description.

    Under the watchful eyes of his teammates, Leo lifted the bowl to his mouth. He could hear the vibrant green goo hiss at him, as if it said “eat me, I dare you.” Shaking his head, he gulped as he tipped the bowl’s contents into his mouth.
    I liked it, but then it got a bit overplayed. This was the third use, in a fairly quick succession of, of "hiss". Just seems a touch repetitive.

    After that, the teams parted ways, each going to their own tents as the nightly curfew was fast approaching. The group walked along the pathways between the stacks of crates and tents, passing Pokemon along the way.
    Which group? You just said the two teams split up, so this is a bit ambiguous.

    A small blue and white squirrel energetically asked Noah whom his new “friends” were before zipping off on all fours past them, not even giving Noah a chance to respond.
    Should be "who", not "whom". Who/whom is one of those really obnoxious rules that is hard to get right, and really, you're not entirely wrong to just use "who" in any circumstance if you're not sure. It's gaining traction as the permanent correct usage in a society that has a hard time figuring out "whom". Basically, "whom" can never be the subject of a clause. Which is to say, it can't be followed by a verb (like here, "...WHOM his knew friends WERE...". Whom is mostly appropriate when following a preposition. "WHO KICKED the ball?" versus "The ball was kicked BY WHOM?"

    Leo was comforted when he saw that it felt just like the ones they had abruptly left back at their base.
    I don't like the "he SAW that it FELT". Maybe "he FOUND that it felt"? Or just " comforted when he FELT that it was just like..."

    It had been a few hours since Jay’s retelling of the adventures they had all been on.
    Speaking of obscure grammar rules that are really losing their place in today's society: you shouldn't end sentences in a preposition. It's not "correct", but, like with "whom", this rule is losing traction in society since EVERYONE does it. This *should* be "the adventures ON WHICH they'd been", but that reads as pretentious 100% of the time. Might be easier to fudge the whole thing and just say "retelling of their adventures to that point". or something.

    The void where the sky was supposed to be was an open abyss, black as night and, unlike space, there were no stars to decorate this tapestry.
    "black as night and, like space, void of stars to decorate...". Just thought that could be cleaned up.

    Leo narrowed his eyes, he didn’t believe it for a moment. The Mismagius noticed this almost instantly.
    semi-colon, not a comma.

    the Mismagius answered, starring Leo straight in his eyes.
    *staring

    Leo looked around, the entire camp was bathed in a dull grey light once more, but this time, the light was growing brighter, little by little aided by the rising sun on the eastern side of the camp.
    After "looked around", that should be a semi-colon again.

    “I had a bad dream. How about you?” he said with a sigh. Well, it’s not a complete lie. That dream was horrible. That thought was the catalyst for what became a chain reaction of thoughts, I’ve been lying this whole time. Kelly shifted her front paws in discomfort, as if she was unsure of what to say.
    With everything going on, I feel we lose sight a lot of Leo's [potential] guilt over being deceitful about his past. Nice to bring that back up. It's one of those momentum-building lies; the longer you go without telling the truth, the worse it will be when it finally emerges. And after a point, which was crossed a LONG time ago, it might already be better to just let it go and hope that moment never comes. But we all know it will...

    “Kelly … I found something out about me. About my past...” he paused for a second. She seemed completely attentive, but he thought he heard a noise from elsewhere in the camp. He dismissed it. “Kelly … As unbelievable as it sounds …I am--” he stopped. He knew he heard it this time. The sound of a set of heavy footsteps. He swiftly turned around to face the intruder to their conversation.
    This was SUCH a cliche moment, and EVERY READER knew he wasn't going to make a big reveal here, but still... it was handled well enough that, in my head and despite my knowing it wasn't going to happen, I kept thinking "do it do it do it do it Do It Do It DO IT DO IT DAMN IT!"


    Woo....finished. Now... don't ever do anything remotely like this again.
    Last edited by Sid87; 24th February 2013 at 9:34 AM.


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  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post

    Don't get why the "glorified" is there. The capital does not seem glorious or puffed-up, so it reads as sarcasm, but from a narrator that isn't a character, that doesn't really add anything to the story. Maybe you mixed up the use of "glorified", in which case, you MIGHT have meant "underbelly of the glorified ghetto serving as the capital".
    It's mainly referring to the upper class and their lavish homes. Just look at Darney's scene and you'll see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Colorful what now?
    Reference to the games. In Time/Darkness/Sky, these are used as a system of writing. They use the footprints of Pokemon to make words, it's actually pretty cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    This, however, I really like. Good imagery.

    I like this, too. It's a fast, subtle way to build up the world. Deranged naysayer character! Woo.
    Thanks! I really like writing those deranged characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    What about them would make someone sick? I feel like I'm either missing a description there or being given an irrelevant detail.
    Well, it was kept vague so that people would wonder what exactly they were selling to make someone sick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    This narration seems confused. It wants to tell me this character has a bipedal figure and a canine nose, but we're playing the mystery gender game? I feel like the narration knows who this character is, but is being intentionally vague. Which, obviously the AUTHOR knows, but the narration should be able to tell more than it has so far. Without sounding sexist, if you can see a figures gait, muzzle, and arms... you can probably tell its gender.
    The narration was originally meant to be vague about his gender, but I changed it during editing. Apparently I didn't get all of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    More interesting, subtle world-building.
    A lot of PMD stories ignore religion in that world completely. It's obvious that the legendaries would be worshiped, but how exactly is what I'm trying to convey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Did you get that saying from somewhere or did you make it up? It's quite interesting and poignant. Though, here it sounds a bit elitist.
    I did make it up. And yes, it is a little flashy for this scene, but I like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    That felt a bit easy to me. NOT that I think this dang chapter needed to be any LONGER, but I would liked to have seen Nicholas struggle a bit more with looking inwardly at his own pain rather than accepting his nation's pain as his own.
    You've got a point, I should have tired to make his struggle longer. I need to build up his character some more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post

    LOL. Let me summarize the last few paragraphs:

    Nicholas: Everything sucks for everybody.
    Ruak: Don't think about everyone else. Think about yourself.
    Nicholas: I miss my family.
    Ruak: Everything sucks for everyone. Think about them.

    Me: Wait, you just told him NOT to do that.
    I think he was saying that Nickolas has to let go of his own problems as he must lead his country. And maybe, a bit of circular logic is what Nickolas needs. XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Wait...figuratively? Like he was possessed by a calm? Or LITERALLY, like he was just brainwashed? Huh. That's curious.

    Damn, scene one is gone, and that little scroll bar has not traveled nearly as much as I had hoped. Onward...
    Well, it's a little weird. There is an explanation for it (albeit I'm still thinking of it), and it will be touched on later. Though, you can expect his character to behave differently from now on.

    XD I'm so sorry, Sid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    You know... you could use more of these moments. It's easy to forget that Leo used to be a human. I know it's been a while here, but things should still be foreign and weird to him.
    It's been several days since Leo first woke up, and in that time, he's had to learn to fight and survive. I'll be sure to add more scenes like this that show his humanity and unfamiliarity with the Pokemon world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post

    Couple things caught me here: I don't like the "vacated his jaw" because it all seems too wordy. Like we're intentionally choosing obscure ways to say things. "left his mouth" is just fine here. Also, I can't tell if I dislike the quick double use of "spheres" to describe the attacks. I might like the mirroring of it all, but I also think it's repetitive.
    Good points, I don't know why I was trying to be flashy there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Leo wouldn't really know it was blood... I'm sure he can't see his own neck. And the narration being attached to him, it feels odd to be given this detail and JESUS CHRIST THAT SCROLL BAR IS NOT WHERE I WANT IT TO BE.
    That's true... I'll fix that.

    XD Oh, Sid...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    There are a LOT of damn characters in this story.

    So many characters...[/qupte]

    Well, now you can make use of the list I made for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    "must MEET with the deception". And is that a quote from someone Italics Dialogue knows? If so, it should be, well, in quotations.
    Fixed. And no, it isn't a quote. It's an odd bit of narration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I assume he didn't actually scoop up his leg and carry it with him, so perhaps "clutched AT his injured leg" would be better.
    Fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Generally don't say "here" in past tense narration. Also... what energy? This reads like I'm supposed to go "Oh, THE ENERGY!", but I don't know what energy it is talking about.
    And fixed. And the energy part has been edited as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Breloom, eh? I'd been wondering what these two are, so now I know one. And isn't Breloom Ian... the one who broke his leg? If so... how did he clutch [at] it? He wouldn't have arms.
    Well, actually, Breloom's arms are incredibly stretchy and can extend. This is canon.
    And yes, Ian broke his leg.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Okay, that was a LOT of stuff going on, and reading this once a month or so make it hard to remember all the goings-on and characters AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE'S A WHOLE 'NOTHER POST OF THIS? Gods, I'm only halfway done? Why don't I just lie down and die?

    I'll get to the ENTIRE SECOND POST'S WORTH OF THIS CHAPTER later this weekend.
    Signature gold right there, my friend. XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Seems like there is a lot of cliches being espoused this chapter. Which isn't bad... it just is what it is. It struck me that this is the third or fourth one I read.
    Well, yeah, there's quite a few. Though that's just an old saying, not really a cliche in my opinion. Just a piece of wisdom that's been around a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I like that. Fun description.
    It was fun to write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I liked it, but then it got a bit overplayed. This was the third use, in a fairly quick succession of, of "hiss". Just seems a touch repetitive.
    Fixed, now a lot less repetitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Should be "who", not "whom". Who/whom is one of those really obnoxious rules that is hard to get right, and really, you're not entirely wrong to just use "who" in any circumstance if you're not sure. It's gaining traction as the permanent correct usage in a society that has a hard time figuring out "whom". Basically, "whom" can never be the subject of a clause. Which is to say, it can't be followed by a verb (like here, "...WHOM his knew friends WERE...". Whom is mostly appropriate when following a preposition. "WHO KICKED the ball?" versus "The ball was kicked BY WHOM?"
    It's been a while since I've gotten a major grammar explanation from you. I missed them. That cleared that up for me, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post

    I don't like the "he SAW that it FELT". Maybe "he FOUND that it felt"? Or just " comforted when he FELT that it was just like..."
    Fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Speaking of obscure grammar rules that are really losing their place in today's society: you shouldn't end sentences in a preposition. It's not "correct", but, like with "whom", this rule is losing traction in society since EVERYONE does it. This *should* be "the adventures ON WHICH they'd been", but that reads as pretentious 100% of the time. Might be easier to fudge the whole thing and just say "retelling of their adventures to that point". or something.
    Hmm, good point. And I fixed it so that it sounds better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    With everything going on, I feel we lose sight a lot of Leo's [potential] guilt over being deceitful about his past. Nice to bring that back up. It's one of those momentum-building lies; the longer you go without telling the truth, the worse it will be when it finally emerges. And after a point, which was crossed a LONG time ago, it might already be better to just let it go and hope that moment never comes. But we all know it will...
    This is true, that I didn't play off his guilt enough. But, we will, I have plans for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    This was SUCH a cliche moment, and EVERY READER knew he wasn't going to make a big reveal here, but still... it was handled well enough that, in my head and despite my knowing it wasn't going to happen, I kept thinking "do it do it do it do it Do It Do It DO IT DO IT DAMN IT!"
    Well, yeah, it's cliche, and I VM'd you about it. But, I'm glad I could make you think like that when reading it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Woo....finished. Now... don't ever do anything remotely like this again.
    No promises.

    Knightfall signing off...

  5. #205
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    Default Chapter Twelve

    Warning: Some parts of this chapter reach the PG-14/5 rating and might be a little disturbing for some readers. It is only for a scene, but still, be warned.

    Chapter Twelve: Ethics



    “She will be the greatest scientific development the world has ever seen. Efficient, incorruptible, impartial, curious … She will be the cornerstone of this company. Her mind may be a tad … disjointed at first. We must keep observe her closely during the early trials. Whatever happens, she must not remember, or else the entire project is a failure. If this works, she will be greater than all of us. We will have done what only the legends of old could do: we will have created sentient life.”
    --Project Report, Martor Serperior, Senior Researcher of the Department of [Redacted for Security Purposes]




    “We hired you because you had a set of abilities that were … unique, even for your species. Your hesitation is making me regret this decision immensely.” The yellow, bipedal Pokemon cringed as he heard his employer’s chastising voice yet again. He just couldn’t bring himself to carry out such a heinous act. If he did, Darkrai would surely snatch his soul on its way to the afterlife in Elysian.

    The Pokemon looked at the prisoner chained to the iron table in front of him. The Breloom looked horrid: his skin was almost as white as chalk, the spore cap had wilted and on the verge of deathhe, and his right leg twisted at an unnatural angle. This was on top of the numerous angry-red gashes and dark blue bruises that covered the prisoner’s skin like a macabre tattoo.

    “You can’t seriously expect me to do this, right?” he asked, the small metal pendulum shaking in the air in time with his unsteady hand.

    “I do. You were expected to remain ethically ambiguous, and so far, you are not living up to your promise. If you weren’t the only one within a hundred miles who could do this operation, I would personally escort you back to Mount Travail penitentiary where you can rot until Arceus’s trumpets sound and his Hall opens,” the voice--cold and emotionless-- sneered. The yellow-furred Pokemon gulped nervously as he approached the barely conscious Breloom, holding out his pendulum out in front of him as far as he could.

    Hypno concentrated his energy into the round, metal object he had fashioned himself upon evolving. A thin aura of white energy traveled up the length of his arm and snaked its way down to the metal artifact. His focus nearly broke when the captive Pokemon groaned and his bloodshot eyes flickered open.

    “Pay him no heed, Hypno. His body is under the effects of a Stun Seed serum combined with repeated Petrify Orb radiation exposure. He can not move, much less speak. Now, commence the operation. No delays or else. I will be watching from another room,” the voice ordered as its owner walked through an unseen metal door that slammed behind it ominously.

    The white energy had metamorphosed into a shimmering purple as it congregated on the pendulum. Hypno took a deep breath as he held it up to the Breloom’s forehead, his paw trembling as he prepared to begin. I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life, especially to that kid and his brother. But this … this is beyond wrong! He thought as he muttered a small prayer to the Dragons for the unfortunate prisoner before him.

    “No delays, Hypno. We must know what he has seen. Once you have access, please project the feed to myself and my colleagues. Now.” Hypno closed his eyes as he forced the mass of purple energy to shoot at the Breloom point-blank and begin burning through his head into his mind.



    Leo could not breathe. This was not by his own doing, as far as he could tell, but rather, due to the hand clasped firmly around his neck. He had simply leaned against a crate after finishing the arduous task Torrent ordered them to do and had dozed off. His body needed only a few minutes of uninterrupted sleep, but, as the hand choking him squeezed even harder proved, he was denied that pleasure.

    He had found himself face to face with a tall figure whose visagewas lost in the black hood of the tattered robe he wore. Leo had said nothing as he tried to find any features of the figure’s face, yet nothing but the yawning abyss of darkness was behind the hood.

    It said nothing as it stretched out its arm towards him, the robe falling away to reveal a distinctively human arm and hand. The limb was withered and wrinkled as if it was as ancient as time itself. Leo was frozen to the spot as the hand slowly grasped his shoulder, each finger coming down after the other. Leo cringed as he felt the dirty, yellowed nails scrape his scales as the fingers curled on his body.

    “My child … Why do you flee from me?” the voice sounded as cold and hollow as wind blowing through the leaves of forgotten forests. It was not a question that Leo was supposed to answer, as his throat remained as frozen as the rest of his body.

    “Can you not see that the Fates will not allow you safe passage? Yours is a cursed existence, from the moment you arrived in this world. The Furies in hell have not yet let your mind sleep from the dying world you tried to forsake in both mind and body,” it continued, the words floating through the dark air and around Leo’s head where they swirled in cryptic messages.

    It bent down to face him directly; the void where the face should have been staring at Leo. Its raspy breathing exhaled vile air into Leo’s face that smelled of a rotting body. The Charmeleon’s heart started beating wildly as panic began to set in.

    “You. Why do you flee? You have a debt to pay, yet you refuse to give the amount owed. Why do you flee?” The hand on Leo’s shoulder continued to tighten its grip. He wanted nothing more than to tear away from the figure, yet his feet refused to obey his mind’s commands. The dark air instantly froze, sapping the warmth away from Leo’s body as well as his will to move.

    “The Deities have cursed your existence, the Fates and Furies will drag you over hot coals, and Erebus calls out for your name. You have cheated me before, the divine intervention of the Prophet notwithstanding. Your soul is demanded. Surrender it peacefully, else I will tear it from you.” A shudder ran through the robed demon’s body after the revelation.

    Leo finally felt the invisible bonds that sealed his mouth loosen and melt away. His voice was weak, almost inaudible, but it echoed through the void nonetheless.

    “What are you?” In response, a burst of wind tore through the world, knocking Leo off his feet. The cloaked tormentor loomed above, somehow retaining its iron grip on his shoulder. Suddenly, the hand let go and moved up to Leo’s neck. The boney fingers closed around it with inhuman strength, leaving little room for air to travel.

    “Elysium rejected you. Erebus demands you. Surrender unto me, Charmeleon.” Leo could only watch in strangled horror as the flesh of the arm and the hand around his neck started to bubble and boil. Folds of fat oozed from the limb and ran in thick rivulets across Leo’s scales above his chest. Boiled blood escaped from the fizzling flesh as a series of toxic vapors. The sickening smell of iron diffused through the air quickly, leaving Leo gasping for a breath he no longer had access to. The skin melted and hung by the ribbons of decaying muscle tissue until they dropped away leaving only the bleached exterior of the bones behind. The finger bones of the hand clicked together as they tightened even more around Leo’s throat.

    “Why do you continue to cheat me, Leo? The future does not hold promises of relief, only me with a promise to escort you to Erebus. Why must you prolong your own suffering?” The decayed arm suddenly lifted Leo high into the air. Leo’s neck started to burn and blister as the bones heated up as they gripped tighter.

    Leo gasped and sputtered incoherent words as his mind felt the effects of the prolonged withdrawal of air, but blissful unconsciousness refused to come to him. He tried to claw and raise his legs to kick at the arm, but as soon as he touched the bones, his nerves screamed in agony as demonic heat scorched them, forcing Leo to halt his attempt at escape.

    “I will ask this only once more: Why do you flee? The world has rejected you; where else can you turn but Erebus?” it said as it held Leo over the void. Despite his best efforts to squirm and kick himself free, the bones singed his scales with every touch.

    “You cannot outrun Fate, as the Prophet has decreed it so. Go back to whence you came and consider these words, elseways the worst will befall.” With those words the cursed hand released Leo’s neck and the Charmeleon suddenly jarred awake, gasping for breath as he slammed the back of his head into the hard wood of the crates.

    His chest rose and fell quickly as he tried to coax air back into his starved lungs. That-- That dream-- no--nightmare. That-- It felt so real! Leo slowly brought his claws up to his neck, and, to his amazement, there was a ring of small blisters where the hand had grabbed.

    “N-no... It couldn’t have been real... I couldn’t have been... ” he tried to tell himself as he cautiously got to his feet. He looked around. Thankfully, he only seemed to have been asleep for a minute or so, and thus avoided the attention of Torrent or one of his teammates.

    The many Pokemon of the camp continued moving around as usual. Leo could see Jay and Noah undergoing another sparring match, but this time supervised by Torrent himself, while Kelly talked to the Flygon, Sonic, while they ate their rations of berry soup.

    Rubbing the sides of his head, he wondered just how bad the visions and nightmares were going to get, and when would that fiend finally leave him alone.

    Who would possibly know about these sorts of things? he thought for a moment as he watched Jay deliver a quick right hook to the side of Noah’s head, causing the dazed Dewott to stumble about comically.

    Wait a minute! That Pokemon from this morning… That … Alakadabra? Quark, the healer. He might know something, Leo realized with an involuntary attempt to snap his claws against each other. He quickly jogged through the camp, dodging walking Pokemon as he looked for the gold-colored medic among the aisles of tents and crates.

    Sharply rounding a corner, he collided into a familiar green reptile. The rebound from the impact pushed the Charmeleon backwards and made him fall flat on his back. Groaning, Leo looked up and saw the frowning face of Blade outlined in the high noon sun.

    “You alright there, Leon?” the Grovyle asked, kneeling down next to the downed Charmeleon. “I didn’t see you until you were inches away. Does anything hurt?” Blade quickly examined Leo, making sure there were no obvious signs of injury.

    “It’s Leo,” Leo coughed as he slowly sat up and shook his head clear. “My name is Leo, not Leon,” he told the Grovyle, who gave a small chuckle.

    “Well, cut me some slack, it has been a while since we last properly talked. And, I guess you’re fine, then. However, might I ask what are you doing here? This is the barracks area. I’m only here to fetch some documents for Torrent; what’s your excuse?” Blade asked as he offered Leo his claw, which the Charmeleon accepted and pulled himself up off the ground.

    “I’m looking for Quark. You know where he is? I need to talk with him,” Leo answered him, dusting the dirt off his scales. Blade scratched his head in thought.

    “Well, I’m pretty sure he’s in his tent meditating as he usually does. If not, he’s probably mending some poor sucker’s broken arm in the training area. His tent is the next row over with a white circle on the side. You can’t miss it,” Blade directed, pointing his claw down the row of tents. Leo thanked the Grovyle with as much sincerity as he could muster before he continued his trek through the rows of tents. Following Blade’s directions, he easily found the tent in question. The large white circle contrasted greatly with the dull green of the rest of the dwellings.

    Cautiously, Leo poked his head through the front flaps, trying to be mindful to the Pokemon’s privacy if he was even there. The interior of the tent –much like Noah’s—was bigger on the inside than the exterior let on; Quark had room for two cots alongside his own hammock and an entire corner for his tools and possessions.

    The Pokemon himself was floating crossed-legged several off the ground in the center of the tent, his eyes closed in concentration. Upon entering the room, the Alakazam’s body twitched slightly in reaction to the Charmeleon.

    “Well, I knew I was going to be interrupted today,” he stated as he gave a long, soft sigh.

    “Umm, I’m sorry, sir. I could come back later if—“ Leo began apologizing as Quark shifted his legs out from underneath him and dropped to the ground.

    “Nonsense, I was expecting you if anything. You were taking a while so I decided to meditate to pass the time. Now, tell me, what troubles you so much to want to come to me?” the healer asked as he recalled his two silver spoons from the opposite side of the room with his powers.

    Leo was puzzled, his thoughts were busy trying to make sense of the abrupt announcement. He expected me? Does he already know about my dreams?
    He was about to ask his question when the mustached Pokemon suddenly hushed him and summoned a small turquoise sphere from among the pile of bags and items in the corner. He held the glass item in his hands before raising it up and hurtling it down onto the ground where it shattered and produced a small shockwave that pulsed through the air. The wave passed right over Leo with no side effects, despite him bracing himself for the worst as he remembered his last experience with the mystical latent power of the Orbs.

    “I do not wish our conversation to be overheard, nor do you, correct?” the healer asked as he brushed aside the tiny fragments of glass with his foot. Leo simply nodded, as the many sounds outside the tent suddenly dimmed and fell silent. “So, now you may begin. Please tell me what is the matter.”

    Leo had absolutely no idea on where to start, much less how to possibly explain everything that had been forced upon him since the second he woke up in this strange world. I can’t tell him everything. Though where should I start? I’ll sound like a lunatic if I say “I’ve been haunted by something that messes with my head every so often just for its own damn pleasure” That’ll go over nicely, right… he thought glumly. Quark seemed to notice the Charmeleon’s inner turmoil.

    “Do not fret about sounding insane. I have heard from Pokemon who have been subjected to far stranger circumstances. Go ahead and state your woes,” the healer calmly reassured. “But, if you feel like you cannot explain your malady well enough to me, I can peer into your mind and find out if you wish. I personally find it easier to ascertain the gravity of my patients’ situation when I see it from their own eyes.”

    Leo immediately shook his head. Having yet another being inside his head would surely cause it to burst under the pressure, and Leo wouldn’t have any of that if he could help it.

    “I understand, though I promise not to delve into anything you do not want me to see, only the memories of the incidents. I am a professional in this business. I have standards to keep my patient’s privacy above all else. So, unless you can explain it verbally, I do not know how else to help you,” Quark explained, placing his hand on Leo’s shoulder exactly where the dark figure had earlier, causing the Charmeleon to flinch in the recent memory of the scene.

    Leo looked up at the Alakazam. Unlike all of the other Pokemon he had seen --with the exception of his teammates-- Quark did not show any malice in his expression, deliberate or not. He seemed … trusting. Reassuring. Comforting. To Leo, it felt like a generous respite from the lies and conspiracies he had somehow survived so far.

    “Alright … I give you permission. Just … Please, help me.” Quark nodded as he drew back from Leo, holding his dual spoons out in front of him. Leo watched with a mix of dread and curiosity as the utensils started to glow with a light purple energy.

    “Take a deep breath, and relax. This should not take too long and be virtually painless on your part.” Leo took his advice and filled his lungs with as much air as he possibly could and exhaled completely as he watched the healer guide the mauve energy to his forehead.



    A white-hot dagger burrowed its way through his skull. Twisting away protective bone and scorching every nerve ending it could as it pierced its way into his frontal lobe. The energy paid no heed to the being’s agony as it maliciously tossed aside memory after meaningless memory on its way to the truth of the matter.

    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    His mouth, body, and eyes were frozen in place by the infernal seed and residual radiation. He could only look straight ahead, unblinking, as the Hypno psychically drilled into his skull. His vocal cords nearly tore themselves apart as they resounded his silent shriek to the numb ears of his captors.

    The energy did not relent as it playfully invaded his already-weakened mind. It burned through his synapses as its master guided it to the nightmarish memories that had brought about the end of his old life. Once it found them, it was not content to simply take them back to its master like a fetching dog. No. It had to show them to him once more in every way possible. And he could not look away. His eyes refusing to shut.

    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    They came without mercy. The memories which he had suppressed permanently come back to haunt him.

    He saw himself, slightly younger, healthier, and sane. His partners, his closest friends in the world, all happily walking down from the summit of the mountain in the sky. It had been the apex of beauty; the entire sky lighting up as the evening sun and shooting stars painted the atmosphere with mystic hues of fiery orange and royal indigo. The entire world beneath his feet, just waiting for him to snatch it up and claim it as his own. The mountains, the sea, the deserts, the forests, the cities, all pinpricks on the shining horizon.

    He had his friends, he had met legendaries, he had fought alongside the heroes of time, and he was happy. Chuck, Sophie, and himself. The team made up of only a Machoke, a Mawile, and a Breloom-- Team Frontier— fought against the untamed wilderness of the Borderlands, the furthest Reaches of the Kingdom, and the unknown provinces of the Colonies and won. They were unstoppable.


    The memories violently shifted forward. Within six months he had lost everything.

    Ian could not look away as he saw things that should have been kept secret. He heard things not meant for his ears. He had suspicions. He had distrust. He knew that they were hiding something. He told his friends. He got them involved. He had virtually signed their deaths.

    Together they dove into the mystery, past the secrets, through the lies, until they heard the pained roar. Until they felt the heartbeat that stirred the seconds to move onwards. Until they saw. Until they all saw too much.

    ”Get them! Kill them! Rip them apart! They cannot leave!” the cruel voice had screamed as the gods turned their backs on the team. The golems had no emotion. No plea would be heard, nor accepted.


    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    They had run. They never stopped. Even as the Machoke screamed as the icicles drove through him without regard. Even as Chuck’s blood froze solid even before it hit the ground. Even as the walls and doors slammed shut. As crystal lights flashed red as sentinels were summoned by the hundreds and thousands; swarming over each other as they sought to fulfill the kill order.

    Ian pushed and pulled against his paralysis, if only so he could strangle himself to end the suffering and the memories. However, the radiation refused to let loose the bonds it placed upon his limbs.

    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    They came again, time marching ever onwards.

    “Come on! Move, Sophie! Move!” he had screamed as the bolts of lightning seared through the air and struck her back. Ian raced back through the hell for her. Snatched up her injured body and ran as the plasma melted the floor where they once stood.

    Through the cracks in the walls he dashed. Into the veins and circuits of the beast to find sanctuary. Refusing to look back at the horror.

    Again, they came. Three days. It had been three days since their lives were destroyed by his inane pursuit for knowledge. It was all his fault. All of it. Sophie forgave him as they wandered through the forgotten paths of the dead. Light was their enemy as the Porygon sentinels searched every crevice and alley for the two dissenters.

    He had wanted to die. To turn back time so that he never existed. She kept him from throwing himself into the abyss, if only barely. From throwing away his life. With promises of possible survival around every unexplored corner. He listened. Together, they survived. Just as before against the wilderness, now against their fellow Pokemon. They were the remnants of Team Frontier and nothing could stop them. She promised they would find a way out.

    Time passed with every beat of the captive heart. Months they spent together in the walls, plotting, going over maintenance charts for holes in the walls, stealing food. His body felt weak, but his mind was still clear. He went above and beyond for her. He fought against the sentries, he sabotaged the food storage, he did it all for her. Even in the darkest of dungeons, he had found a light in her, and that was all he needed to live. She his angel in this abyssal hell.


    His muscles tightened slightly as his damaged body worked to filter out the radiation and the seed extract that kept him frozen, but it could not work fast enough.

    Together, they planned. Together they attempted to escape. Together they failed. And together they survived to do it all again as part of the cycle that now ruled their lives. Their time in between surviving spent talking of the days of the past. On their time at the apex of the sky.

    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    Time moved again. It was their final shot. All other paths had been sealed save this one. Across the chasm, through the door, to the sea and the light. The outside was just beyond. Freedom called to them both, an intoxicating drug. They ran over the bridge. Then the world fell out from under them. Sentinels swarmed both ends. Regice awaited the final kill order from its master.

    “I won’t allow for any mistakes this time. Now you both may join your leader and explore the depths of hell together! A team once more!” the wicked sovereign yelled as the frozen golem growled and raised its arm at them. Sentinels rushed the bridge, trapping him and his partner.

    The stone beneath their feet shattered as spears of ice rammed into the foundation. He grabbed her as they fell through the air, the rock, and unfortunate sentinels also claimed by gravity. For an eternity they felt the rushing air threaten to rip their grip on each other apart as the churning water rose up from the darkest places in the earth to meet them.


    He could not look away from the projected memory. He needed to see her again, even if only for a second more. To prove that she had been real. That she had been there for him. That she wasn’t some illusion his shattered mind produced.

    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    The dark water was colder than the frost that sliced through his skin. His hand was ripped from hers as the current sucked him down into the frozen hell. Salt water stung his eyes as he kicked and flailed against the current. He could see her, sinking to the bottom as if a fallen angel banished from heavens. Ian clawed across the rocky surface, his lungs burning from lack of air.

    Please, please still be alive!

    He wrapped his arms over her, scooping the Mawile from off the sea-floor. His head was spinning, the outer edges of his vision going dark as his body circulated the last of the oxygen to his head. Faint light shimmering down from the surface far above marked his target.

    Please, Dialga, don’t let me be too late!

    He broke through the surface, his body shaking with cold and lack of air. Even as he gasped for lung-fulls of life-giving sustenance, he hefted Sophie so that her head was above the freezing liquid as well. His legs were barely able to keep him and his partner afloat and were losing energy rapidly. He grasped around madly for something to grab onto in the middle of the massive underground lake fed by the sea.


    “Sir? Is that enough?” A pause.

    “No. Go deeper.”

    The energy from the Hypno’s intrusion into Ian’s head was like a spear slamming through his skull, yet the Stun Seed in his body kept him from passing into unconsciousness or even death itself. His nerves flared as the purple energy dug into his memories with a renewed fervor.

    Ian’s past self suddenly felt something floating in the water. Its blocky, polygon-build shape marking it as a sentinel. It give a low, electric moan as its eyes flickered on and off. Enemy or not, Ian did not care. He grabbed a hold of the Porygon that bobbed on the surface and shoved Mawile on top of it as he kept a grip on the bottom, propelling them all forward toward an unknown shore.

    Please! Please! Let her live!

    And through it all, Ian could not scream.

    The memories shifted. No longer did they form visions, but only segments of voices, screams, and blurs of pain.

    ”Breathe! Breathe! Please, breathe!”

    The halls of forgotten stone paid them no heed, no consolation, so mercy. The sentinel traveled with him, grateful that his life was spared.

    “Please! Please! Don’t leave me!”

    The path wound on endlessly. His legs were weak; he could not carry her further. He slumped against the stone, defeated at long last.

    “No! No! No! Breathe! Please! Please!”

    The specters arrived, the prophet at their head. Their sheltered colony untouched by even the far reaches of the evil above. Not even their powers could save her. She was lost. Yet another casualty wrought his desire for the truth.

    “Sophie! Sophie, please don’t leave me! Please don’t leave me…”

    Her form was taken. The wicked lords above rejoiced, while the specters lamented that her soul could not pass to Elysian. She would remain chained to the earth. They restored the sentinel, upgraded, an enemy no longer. They cured him of physical wounds, but the mental scars remained and infected his mind forevermore.

    “Please… Don’t leave me alone. I need you…”

    The prophet came to him, aware of his loss. He promised that he would get out. That saviors would be brought to him. That he would find her. That he would only have to wait and made sure their path was clear when the time came.

    “I love you…”

    They flashed before him. The climb back up. The despair. How Vertex came to his side. His voice of reason. The deterioration. Rotting behind the walls. Months passing. Then the fateful day. The sentinels. The golem of ice. His leg. The torture.

    “Enough. I have seen enough. You may stop,” The voice of evil, the one that started it all. The one who killed his leader. The one that sent them into hiding. The one who ordered their deaths atop the chasm. The one who forced another to torture him.

    Immediately the energy dissipated, leaving his head and closing up the wounds as it retreated back into the Hypno’s pendulum.

    “We no longer need him. Tell them to put him back in his cell. He can rot forever there.”

    And so they did. In the blink of an eye, his frozen body was cast down onto the grimy floor of the dungeon next to Vertex. Hours later, the radiation finally let loose his body, and the residue of the Stun Seed sweated out through his pores.

    Ian screamed.



    No sooner than the Alakazam entered his mind, Leo was blasted backwards. His body tumbled along the ground of the tent in pain as psychic forces suddenly seized him and lifted him to face the gasping healer.

    “Y-you.. You! Demon! Possessed! Abomination!” Quark screamed as he held his crossed spoons out toward Leo. With a furious yell, he concentrated another psychic blast aimed at the Charmeleon. It felt as is a wrecking ball slammed into his front as he was again blasted into the ground. Groaning, Leo attempted to raise his arms, but was prevented when Quark pressed his clawed foot down on his back.

    “Devil! You play host to the prince of demons! You, monster!” Quark gasped as he pressed down harder on Leo’s back, pinning him against the ground. “It is good you came to me, fiends such as you cannot be allowed to roam about the world.” Leo heard a loud humming from above his head and he knew that the medic was planning on going through with his words.

    “Wait! Wait! I haven’t done anything!” Leo cried, tears beginning to form in his eyes and run down his face. Despite all of what he had been through, he never felt so close to actual death before. Even when Nexus sliced open his stomach, it felt more distant than the raw psychic energy pulsing inches above his head.

    “It is not you, Charmeleon, but the monstrosity that haunts you that must be eliminated. And unfortunately, both of you are intertwined, inseparably so. I swore an oath to Cresselia long ago to destroy creatures that demons such as him bond themselves to,” Quark hurriedly explained, as if impatient to rid himself of the infernal Pokemon beneath him. Through the immense panic that coursed through his body, Leo tried to think something—anything— to forestall his imminent execution.

    “Please! Don’t! I’ll do anything! Please!” Leo pleaded as he heard the humming get even louder. He felt the heat of the energy already burning into his skull.

    “Gah!” Quark suddenly grunted as Leo felt his body jerk upwards into the air. It felt as if he was being held up by the skin of his neck like some insolent pup being disciplined by its mother. He saw the room twist around him until he was face to face with the fuming healer.

    “Listen to me well, boy. I will not kill you this time, but mark my words. If you come within twenty feet of me again, I will rip you apart atom by atom,” he hissed. Within an instant, Leo was blinded and felt the ground underneath his wobbling feet once again. Once his vision returned enough for him to see, he was surprised when he found himself standing in the back row of the small audience watching the sparring match between Jay and Noah.

    “Leo? When did you get here?”

    Leo looked to his left. There sat Kelly and a space beyond her, Sonic. The Jolteon looked up at him quizzically as she awaited an answer. He was still dazed out of his mind from the quick succession of his nightmare and the encounter with Quark, but he managed to put on a smile. Despite the fact that his vision seemed to blur on the edges, he pushed through and endured it.

    “Recently,” he told her with a small grin. There was a cheer from the small crowd. All three of them looked up to see a gasping Jay land a vicious uppercut under Noah’s chin. The Dewott stumbled backwards in the sand as Jay pounced forward. The Riolu curled his right paw into a glowing fist and slammed it against Noah’s head.

    Leo watched as the once over-confident Dewott dropped like a stone into the sand. There was no count for him to get up; the match was over. Jay straightened up as he lowered his arms. Leo could see the signs of the battle on the Riolu: he was breathing hard, his fur was soaked with a mixture of sweat and water, and he seemed to sport a few small cuts on his arms and legs that were glistening with fresh blood.

    Jay gave a mock bow as the crowd cheered one final time before slowly diffusing into the camp before Torrent chastised them for disregarding their duties to watch the fight. Jay strode over to them; the wide grin on his face seemed to dissuade the fact that he was barely standing from the fight.

    “It’s about time someone did that. Excellent work, Riolu.” The Feraligatr was beaming as he hopped down from the makeshift chair of crates he used to spectate the match. He walked over the sand and hefted Noah’s unconscious form into the air with one arm. He walked the rest of the way over to them and handed the Dewott over to the sand dragon. “Before you take him to Quark to wake ‘im up, I just want to thank you, Riolu,” Torrent said as he clapped a webbed hand on Jay’s shoulder.

    “Y-You’re welcome, sir. And, my name’s Jay, sir,” Jay told the general as loud as he could. “And, sir? Could you please move your hand? Noah hit it with a Water Gun earlier…” Jay grimaced as reported his condition to Torrent. The general immediately released his grip on Jay’s shoulder.

    “Well, go get yourself checked out by Quark and do whatever he says in order to be one-hundred percent again. I think we can expect big things from you, Jay. With a bit of training, we can eventually have you rival any Pokemon in the camp. And then, there’s always evolution to think about, so just keep that in mind. Now go,” he ordered as he walked off to inspect the sentry posts.

    It did not take them long to find the healer’s tent, though Leo froze a good distance away from the entrance while Sonic carried Noah inside while Jay followed close behind. Kelly opted to remain next to Leo, who still would not bring himself a single step closer into the Alakazam’s range. The Charmeleon shifted uncomfortably as Quark shot a piercing gaze as he accepted his injured teammates into his dwelling. The Alakazam’s eyes glowed magenta and instantly a faint line traced itself in the dirt in front of the claws on Leo’s feet.

    “So,” Kelly began in an effort to shatter the glassy covering of silence that had came over them. “What were you going to tell me this morning before we were interrupted? I’m curious to know,” she inquired as she sat on her hind legs next to him.

    A slight urge to tell her everything suddenly shot into his head, but was quickly snuffed out by what Leo assumed was the remainder of his logic. You are not telling anyone anything.

    “It wasn’t anything important,” he sighed as he gave into his thought’s will and kept the truth away from her once again.



    Shining rays of the afternoon sun gently passed through the tall, elegant glass windows crafted by the best Magmar glassworkers under King Alexander Lucario. The royal court represented a fading era in the Kingdom. A time of utmost opulence and luxury. When riches seemed to rain down from the skies from the rapid discoveries of exploration teams into the Far Reach and the Outer Colonial Provinces. Guilds sprung up all over the Near and Far Reach territories as King Alexander signed the Open Dungeon Declaration that gave rescue, exploration, tracker, and Federation teams unlimited access and finder’s rights to any and all resources found within the mazes.

    Towns and trading posts shot up around trade routes and dungeon entrances and the economy boomed and grew exponentially. Merchants and entrepreneurs sought ways to find more ways to trade and grew their own wealth as they set up shops in the Colonies and established routes and sea lanes to the profitable island trade.

    Silver City became the largest port in the known world and Alexander employed the best shipbuilders to create an fledgling navy to project the huge merchant fleet. The city flourished along with the entire Kingdom.

    And then, the assassination. The poison dart that ended Alexander, left Nickolas with the crown, and began the slow collective decay of the Kingdom.

    The royal court was a large rectangular room. Light wood covered every possible section of wall and smooth marble slabs fitted to make up the floor. The silver wave symbol of the Kingdom was made of actual silver poured into the floor in the center of the room.

    It was in this last bastion of an era long-gone by that two Pokemon conversed behind shut doors and partly blinded windows. They slowly walked along the corridor of gilded windows.

    “Nickolas, I worry for you. Going against the Senate and Darney like that. It’s … it’s asking for trouble. You can’t do that, not anymore. It doesn’t matter what you believe, your absolute power is gone,” a large orange tortoise with a blackened shell commented to the Lucario as they passed under the marble arch of a hallway.

    The king simply laughed. “Let them do what they may, my friend. They will continue to debate and argue until the stone beneath them crumbles into dust. And besides, I was merely offering military advice, nothing more,” he replied as he opened a small ornately-decorated door and directed the Torkoal to enter. The two Pokemon emerged in a small promenade inside an indoor garden.

    “Listen to me, Nickolas. I don’t know what happened to you these past few days, but you cannot brush aside the Council or Darney. They are threats, your majesty,” the old fire-tortoise warned as they slowly walked past a marble pillar that was choked with a thick, coiling trunk of a massive vine. Its tendrils were snakes as they slithered across the glass ceiling, draping the botanical room in a cool shade.

    “I know what I’m doing, Cicero. Darney and the Senate can do what they want. I am still in control here,” the Lucario said as he carefully inspected a fresh bud on the side of the vine.

    “It is that kind of thinking that resulted in my town being sacked and captured. That violence will spread through the Kingdom if you do not to take heed...” Cicero replied as the bud suddenly snapped off the branch and fell to the floor, withered and dead.

    “Thank you for your concern, old friend. I appreciate it. But, I am perfectly fine. Now, please, I need the report of the northern front near the Great Canyon and how the second siege on Treasure Town is going. Also, I need to see the roster of draftee teams we gathered for military service,” the Lucario sternly ordered, dropping any pretense of unprofessionalism from his tone.

    The Torkoal grimly nodded before reaching with his head around to pull out a sheaf of rolled parchment tied by strands of Caterpie silk from one of the empty spaces in his giant back shell. Without a word-- due to carrying the papers in his mouth--, he delivered the documents to the monarch, who sliced through the silk with the spike on his paw before reading through them one by one, his eyes quickly scanning each line of print.

    “Well,” he said holding up the first document, “The siege is going well. We should regain control of the main square of the city by tomorrow and the port the day after, and the outskirts should fall to us swiftly after they are cut off from the sea. We’ll have your town back before you know it,” Cicero hummed in acknowledgement as Nickolas flipped over to the second document.

    “Well, General Firland seems to be having difficulty dislodging the Colonists from their position on the Hill of the Ancients. Please remind me to contact him afterwards so we can go over a new strategy. The last thing we need is repeat of the Dark Brigade’s disastrous charge in the Bronze Valley,” the king noted as the Torkoal nodded silently. He flipped over to the final piece of parchment. When he reached it, he flipped it over and examined it quickly before turning it on its front once more.

    “Cicero? Why is there only one side of a paper filled with team names? There are over nine provinces in the Kingdom. So why is there less than one full sheet of names?” he asked incredulously as he frantically looked about the floor in case one page had fallen somewhere along the line.

    “I would assume, my king, that the citizens are beginning to find the war ... tiring. Especially after two full years of fighting and an unbroken stalemate, on Kingdom soil, no less! It’s no surprise that they don’t sign up to fight anymore,” the Torkoal elder chastised.

    “Some veteran teams such as Pathfinder, Vector, Gallop, ACT, and Terra finally got around to registering. Though the newer teams don’t look as promising. Darkshadowawesome? Best Friends Forever? Aurashine? Twilightmoon?” he paused halfway down the list of gradually worsening names. “Cicero, tell me, what kind of name is ‘Team JUMP’? Every letter is capitalized. Is it me, or have team names gotten stranger and stranger over the years?” Nickolas asked, slightly bewildered at the list of names. The Torkoal simply shrugged his shell.

    “Well,” he wheezed. “I remember my own team name being along the lines of ‘Oran Dancers’, I believe. We subsequently tied our leader to a tree for two days as punishment for such a ridiculous name,” Cicero chuckled as he reveled in the memories of his youth as Nickolas went back to reviewing the document.

    “This is just perfect. My army will die of embarrassment at having to fight alongside these teams before they even set foot in a battlefield.”


    Continued on Next Post
    Last edited by Knightfall; 25th July 2013 at 12:09 AM.

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    Continued From Last Post



    Noah was dreaming. He had been knocked out cold by Jay in their match, but there was no possible way he was awake yet. What he was seeing was not true. It was too vivid, it was too real, it was still intact. The grass, the sky, the clouds, the breeze, it felt too authentic. It had to be a dream. But, no matter how he tried to tell himself that, he couldn’t stop his mind from making his mouth move.

    ”I’m … home.”

    The simple, homely, wooden structures, the limitless skies unimpeded by the surrounding hills, the gently swaying, ancient oak trees from the nearby forest, the Pokemon walking about. Everything was as he remembered and more.

    ”T-there’s no way. I can’t be back here...” he said, the words barely audible as they slid from his mouth. He cautiously lifted one black foot and took a tentative step forward along the worn dirt path. The small dirt clods on the road broke into dust beneath his feet, just as they did when he used to walk here.

    He took another step forward that yielded the same result. He passed under an overhead aqueduct that delivered into town from the nearby river and past the crude signpost that directed the newcomers into town. Noah was about to dash down the road through the town gates to see if it was as he remembered when a cold voice sounded from behind him. His white whiskers twitched slightly.

    “Hello, Noah. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

    In a single motion, the Dewott grabbed both his scallops, flipped them over in his hands, and twisted around, ready to slice through whoever was behind him. He was an instant away from willing his arms to slice across the intruder when he immediately recognized the creature’s pale, golden eyes and purple skin. His arms froze and he swiftly lowered his razored weapons.

    “Oh, it’s only you.” He slapped the twin shells onto his sides and raised a paw towards the ghost. “Long time, no see! How’ve you been?” he exclaimed joyously as the Mismagius simply shook his head and motioned for the Dewott to follow him into a nearby grove of trees. Slightly perplexed, Noah retracted his arm and cautiously looked about the crossroads for any signs of witnesses before following the Mismagius.

    The small pocket of trees that provided a small respite for travelers from the sun seemed much greener than Noah remembered. He recalled the small, crystal-clear spring that glistened in the thin rays of the morning sun that penetrated the tops of the trees and the small, faded signpost next to it saying who originally dug out the well.

    Sunlight seemed to darken as the two passed into the thicker areas of the glade. Noah was a little unnerved at how silent his companion was being, but continued to tag along until they reached a small clearing in the shallow depths of the woods. It was then that the ghost turned around and faced Noah.

    “I take it you’ve been well since we last spoke? I do hope you’ve been living alright,” he asked, a rare tone of concern leaking into his words.

    Noah shrugged as he leaned against a nearby tree. “Well, I’ve been doing pretty good lately. Can’t complain too much.” he said as he reached up and snapped a low twig off the large trunk. He then focused on balancing the end of the stick on the edge of his paw while the ghost floating opposite him responded.

    “I’m very glad to hear that, Noah. It’s the first good news I’ve heard in a long while, actually.” The entire glade seemed to drop several degrees in temperature as the sun ominously retreated behind a bank of clouds. Noah’s eyes never left the wobbling stick on the tips of his paws on his right hand.

    “So, I’m guessing things haven’t been so great for you lately, huh? What’s up?” he asked as he felt a small breeze whip through the boughs and knock down the twig just as he got it to stand upright on his paw. As he raised his paw to the trunk again and felt around for a replacement stick, he saw the Mismagius bow his head slightly.

    “I wish I could tell you, my friend. Though I’m afraid that it’s highly classified. Regardless, I do need to ask you a quick question. That’s why I am here.” Noah found another small branch: thin, but sturdy. It would do just fine. He bent the poor offshoot until it snapped off the trunk in his paw.

    “Go ‘head. Ask away,” he dismissively said as he became engrossed in finding the perfect point of balance again. The Mismagius looked at him for a moment incredulously.

    “You really haven’t changed, have you?” The Dewott just grinned as he carefully moved his arm underneath the tottering stick. “Ah-hem. Anyways. You didn’t have anything to do with ... recent events. Did you?” Noah instantly stopped his antics, the stick falling to the ground with an organic clatter as it hit the tree on its way down.

    ”Well, assuming I have no idea what you’re talking about, I’m going to say that I did not. It’s purely coincidental. Come on, you really think that I’d do something like that?” he replied to the ghost, who just sighed in exasperation.

    “I believe you, Noah. But I have to make sure. There’s so few I can trust in times like these,” the ghost explained with a nod.

    ”So, is that all you’re here for?” The Mismagius did not answer immediately as his eyes glowed a sharp gold and within an instant, the two Pokemon were in the middle of the town square. The center was exactly as Noah recalled: colorful shops lined the plaza, each eagerly displaying their wares in anticipation of the newest traveler. The entire scene seemed to be bathed by a shimmering veil of sunlight that seemed to accent the dream to the point of being a perfect copy of the real thing.

    “I wanted to ask you something a bit more personal as well. I couldn’t help but notice the landscape. How long has it been? Noah took a deep breath as he quickly spun in a circle to see the entirety of the town center. Despite his lungs expanding and contracting to take in more air, Noah couldn’t breathe. It was all too real. Everything was too much. His vision began to swim as his mind reeled from lack of oxygen. “Please breathe, Noah. It’s only a dream, but you can still suffocate here.”

    With those words his body seemed to finally listen to reason and Noah sucked in generous amounts of air as he leaned against a wooden support beam for the textile shop run by Machamp.

    “I’m,” he gasped for the air that seemed to be slow coming. “I’m sorry. I was ... caught up.” The ghost looked about at the stores and simple structures.

    “Understandable. Anyone would miss their home after being so rudely chased away over a simple technicality.” he noted as he floated above the flagstone-paved road.

    “It’s been three years --two years for me, technically-- since I’ve been here,” Noah said to no one in particular as a small brown and cream furred racoon darted right through his left leg as it playfully ran throughout the plaza.

    “So it has. You do not resent me for my actions then, do you? I can sense how much you miss it, even in this dream.”

    “No, I don’t. I know why you did what you did and I’m grateful. But, what happened in that passage, I will never forget.” The fabric shop was correct even down to the last detail: minute dust mites swirled around in the sunlight above the neat piles of cloth.

    “I did not expect you would. Although, you would be surprised. The saying ‘time heals all things’ does have a truth to it. It’s only if you want to accept it. That’s the limiting factor.”

    Noah sighed as he shifted his gaze to the gently sloping hills that surrounded the town. A sharp wind suddenly blew through the town: a startled flock of pigeons flew as a cluster from one tree to another, the projected memories of the residents shivered, the resident Kecleon changed colors in his stall in response to the sudden change in temperature.

    “I still think about it. All the time. I can’t leave it behind completely, especially without knowing what happened.” His dream self slowly phased through the front counter and when into the shelves behind the wooden table. The ghost followed suit, although simply appeared through the wall of the shop.

    “I know how ... difficult transitioning can be at times. And I understand why you feel the need to come back here in your dreams. There’s little that I can help with there that’s not overly cruel.” The Mismagius floated a respectful distance behind the Dewott, curiously looking over his shoulder as he examined the folded cloth piles.

    The cloth did not simply fade into transparency around his paw like he suspected. It rippled and moved as he shifted his own paw. He remembered this fabric. He had slept on blankets made of the same material three years ago. They both had. His lungs began to constrict again, as if his body couldn’t handle the resurgence of sensory memories.

    “Perhaps it is best if we went back outside, Noah. It hurts me to see you like this. Please, follow me out of here into the square.” Noah simply numbly ran his right paw through the smooth folds of cloth. He could feel the tangible merchandise imported from Silver in the west that had cost thirty gold Poké three years ago. He felt a slight tug around his torso as the Mismagius psychically pulled him out of the store.

    “W-what? What now? Noah asked as he regained his senses in the middle of the square. The ghost released its hold on the Dewott.

    “Apparently three years is not enough time for time to heal, despite the cheerful facade you’ve built in front of others. You really must be careful, Noah. I have enough mentally unstable clients already. Noah fell silent as a gentle zephyr blew through the area.

    “I must confess something to you, Noah. It seems I am guilty of the sin of omission.”

    The entire town seemed to change: the warm, soft breeze that caressed Noah’s skin suddenly grew bitterly cold, the water swiftly flowing down the canals froze over in a thick sheet of ice that cracked the banks, windows all over town were coated in a lattice of thin ice crystals, the leaves on the trees seemed to cease to move and were stiffened and killed by the immediate cold.

    “Ever since your unfair exile, I have been doing some ... research, on your behalf. I finally made a slight breakthrough that might be of great interest to you.”

    The scene seemed to glow pale white as the frozen ground seemed to reflect the sunlight back into the sky. Even the sun seemed to resonate a bitter cold light as the world below was engulfed by the freezing aura. Noah’s pulse quickened even as his vision started to swim and tilt like a ship in a storm-tossed sea.

    “She is alive. I do not know where, but she is alive.”

    A strangled cry died in his throat as he fell against a frozen-solid fence. The brittle planks could not support the Dewott and it splintered into thousands of glinting fragments as he fell to the ground on top of them. He could barely tell that the jagged pieces were stabbing through his skin; he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t see. The dream was falling apart around him; buildings sizzling into nothingness as if ice cubes on a stove.

    “It looks like your mind does not want to go through this right now, but please remember, she is alive. I promise you that. I’m going to wake you up before the dream causes any damage.” Noah felt his body get lighter as the Mismagius slowly reawakened his conscious self.

    “I will ... see you later then, Noah? Hopefully in better circumstances. Goodbye, my dear friend. Do be careful in the real world.” Noah felt the world around him shift and rearrange itself under his back. Within an instant he was no longer laying on the shattered fence, but on a pile of soft hay that formed a cushion underneath him.

    “Alive ... She’s alive. She’s alive...”


    End Chapter Twelve




    Author’s Notes: First off, I’d like to apologize for the extremely long wait in between chapters. I have been busy with school, life, and the new PMD: Gates to Infinity lately (Which is pretty good, I must say). And, I must admit, I was struggling with a bit of writer’s block for the longest time. I just couldn’t find the motivation to write until very recently.
    That’s why this chapter, to me at least, seems on the shorter side (you’re welcome, Sid) and, honestly, it just doesn’t feel like a good chapter to me. You may feel differently, and it may be due to the block I had that’s making me feel so crummy about this chapter.

    I do hope that you all enjoy this chapter. It allowed me to explore some themes in my writing that I enjoyed doing quite a bit. So, this style may make a resurgence again somewhere down the line.

    So ... not a lot of plot-moving-forward happened this chapter. It was another “mostly talking” chapter, but, I did like how parts of it turned out as they add a whole bunch of good stuff to the plot that will be relevant later. I promise that the next chapter will be much more action-oriented and that it will not take as long as this one did (though no promises because April and May are filled to the brim with exam reviews and exams).

    I’d like to thank my beta readers (all six of them) for making this story readable. And, as a bit of self promotion, I have been working on a collaboration project with my good friend Pokenutter called Transcending the Abyss. If you could check it out, that would be swell.

    Teams JUMP and Pathfinder belong to Pokenutter and Meeker, respectively.

    So, yeah, I’ll leave it at that. I’ll catch you all later. Reviews and comments always appreciated.

    Knightfall signing off...
    Last edited by Knightfall; 25th July 2013 at 12:10 AM.

  7. #207
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    That...Was...Amazing. * applaude*

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    I have been busy with school, life, and the new PMD: Gates to Infinity lately (Which is pretty good, I must say).
    I've been busy with that game too. Just beat the postgame today actually. Shortest postgame ever.

    As for the chapter, we got to learn a bit more about Noah and this 'Ian' character, and possibly the driving force behind Mismagius? If its a Darkarai, I'm going to shoot myself in the head. Just name one appearance in which he ISN'T evil beside the 10th movie (Pokepark 2 doesn't count since     Spoiler:- Pokepark 2 spoiler!:
    ) Not like I'm complaining, I just feel its overused. either way, I liked it. Though the scene with Leo and the monster... obviously means something.
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

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    Thanks V-Wheel and JFought for posting!

    Anyways, JFought, Ian and Noah's backstories are possibly two of the most complicated in the entire story, I'm not going to lie. I have to pace them out correctly before I decide enough is enough.

    Do you really think I'd go with something so generic for a main villain? No, Darkrai is not in any way involved with the antagonist of my story. His name was mentioned because in my world's belief system, Darkrai is generally seen as a grim reaper-esque figure that would steal evil souls on their way to Elysian.

    So don't worry, Dakrai gets to take a break here while the real villains come out to play. And yes, that scene does mean something. Exactly what, not even I'm certain of that...

    Knightfall signing off..

  10. #210
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    As always, it's good to see a new chapter.

    He had his friends, he had met legendaries, he had fought alongside the heroes of time, and he was happy. Chuck, Sophie, and himself. The team made up of only a Machoke, a Mawile, and a Breloom-- Team Frontier— fought against the untamed wilderness of the Borderlands, the furthest Reaches of the Kingdom, and the unknown provinces of the Colonies and won. They were unstoppable.
    Cannon references incoming! In all seriousness though, I'm surprised to see them. That was fairly cool.

    “I love you…”
    Awwwww. I hope Leo melts that Regice later.

    And then, the assassination. The poison dart that ended Alexander, left Nickolas with the crown, and began the slow collective decay of the Kingdom.
    Something simply seems odd. A poison dart seems like an odd choice of weaponry. And, is Alexander a Lucario? If so, then shouldn't he be immune to poison? Or, does it have to do with the mechanics of poison as a tool versus poison as a type? Or, is he simply not a Lucario? Am I overthinking this too much?

    “Thank you for your concern, old friend. I appreciate it. But, I am perfectly fine. Now, please, I need the report of the northern front near the Great Canyon and how the second siege on Treasure Town is going. Also, I need to see the roster of draftee teams we gathered for military service,” the Lucario sternly ordered, dropping any pretense of unprofessionalism from his tone.
    More references to the cannon. Give 'em hell, Wigglytuff!

    “Some veteran teams such as Pathfinder, Vector, Gallop, ACT, and Terra finally got around to registering. Though the newer teams don’t look as promising. Darkshadowawesome? Best Friends Forever? Aurashine? Twilightmoon?” he paused halfway down the list of gradually worsening names. “Cicero, tell me, what kind of name is ‘Team JUMP’? Every letter is capitalized. Is it me, or have team names gotten stranger and stranger over the years?” Nickolas asked, slightly bewildered at the list of names. The Torkoal simply shrugged his shell.
    One of the side effects of letting the player name anything. Hey, Darkshadowawesome, tell Cheeseball I said hi.

    “Oh, it’s only you.” He slapped the twin shells onto his sides and raised a paw towards the ghost. “Long time, no see! How’ve you been?” he exclaimed joyously as the Mismagius simply shook his head and motioned for the Dewott to follow him into a nearby grove of trees.
    Wait a minute. He's talking to Mismagius... And he isn't freaked out?

    “I take it you’ve been well since we last spoke? I do hope you’ve been living alright,” he asked, a rare tone of concern leaking into his words.
    And Mismagius is friendly towards him? That tears it. Continuity has fallen apart. Arcanines and and Persians may begin living together.

    All in all, good chapter. While not the best you've written, it did move some of the story along, such as Ian's past, more on Noah, the scene with Leo and Quark. Though, the column for questions is still about three times larger than the one for answers. Still, gotta keep the readers wanting more, right?
    I have officially claimed Castform, The Master of all Weather!


    Monorpale is my favorite Gen 6 Pokemon so far. If you have a problem with it, you can talk to the tassel hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post
    Cannon references incoming! In all seriousness though, I'm surprised to see them. That was fairly cool.
    Ah, I'm glad you enjoy seeing them. I had not originally intended to have Ian as the same Breloom on Team Frontier, but I got to thinking that Sky never really said what happened to them after Mt. Sky, so I figured that I might as well drag them into this mess of a story.

    And, I did make another cannon reference this chapter. If you noticed the Hypno at the beginning of the chapter, he had a thought about two certain brothers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post
    Awwwww. I hope Leo melts that Regice later.
    I really tried my hardest to make that scene emotional. It was hard because I had no idea how much readers have connected with Ian, so I took a risk with making an emotional scene that might have had little impact. So, I'm glad that it seems to have worked.

    And that Regice... Yeah, I hope he melts it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post

    Something simply seems odd. A poison dart seems like an odd choice of weaponry. And, is Alexander a Lucario? If so, then shouldn't he be immune to poison? Or, does it have to do with the mechanics of poison as a tool versus poison as a type? Or, is he simply not a Lucario? Am I overthinking this too much?
    Well, you are right in that Lucario are resistant to the Poison type (yes, his father was a Lucario), but I figure in my universe that an actual poison will kill anything if administered in high enough dosage. So, it had to do with what poison we're talking about. The poison type has little effect, while a poison like a Nidorina's toxin will kill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post
    More references to the cannon. Give 'em hell, Wigglytuff!
    Yeah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post

    One of the side effects of letting the player name anything. Hey, Darkshadowawesome, tell Cheeseball I said hi.
    Heh, I'm glad you liked that scene. I just had to draw reference to that after seeing some of those actual names floating around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post
    Wait a minute. He's talking to Mismagius... And he isn't freaked out?

    And Mismagius is friendly towards him? That tears it. Continuity has fallen apart. Arcanines and and Persians may begin living together.
    Hehehe. Oh yes, finally, someone sees that this is odd. Although, I'm afraid that no continuity is broken. There are perfectly reasonable explanations as to why the Mismagius is acting this way. Though, it'll be a few more chapters before those are revealed. It's not as far as you think, I promise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sound View Post
    All in all, good chapter. While not the best you've written, it did move some of the story along, such as Ian's past, more on Noah, the scene with Leo and Quark. Though, the column for questions is still about three times larger than the one for answers. Still, gotta keep the readers wanting more, right?
    Thank you. And yes, I know it's far from the best. I acknowledged it in the Author's Notes. I kinda hit a writing slump during that time and I really couldn't motivate myself to make that chapter truly great. It was only after I got the inspiration for Noah's scene did I finally get out of that slump, but by then it was too late for this chapter. I'm glad that you enjoyed Ian and Quark's respective scenes.

    And the questions will be answered eventually, but until then, there's little I can do about satiating the desire for answers.

    Thank you for posting, I always enjoy your input.

    Knightfall signing off...

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    Sorry for not reading this earlier. Eh-heh...

    A-nyway, good chapter. When I read the second Ian scene, I was shocked by the great description you included. You're very sadistic, to your characters that is. I swear, the music I was listening to while reading it was perfect for the feel that you gave this chapter, especially the second scene with Ian!

    I spotted two errors, but I can only find one of them.

    There was one where you left out the word "to," but I don't remember exactly where that was.

    “W-what? What now?
    I think you know where the error is.

    Looking forward to the next chapter! Keep it up!
    Nothing interesting here. Carry on.
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    Sorry I haven't said anything about this, but I have to say, I'm not as impressed with this chapter as some of the others. Not that it's bad, it's just the hopelessness that permeates it, so many low blows to the characters and no good news in sight. That abrakaladazam was exceptionally rude for being professional, seriously, a guy goes to you for help and you blast him away with Psychic energy after finding out his malady.

    Anyway, looking forward to a more central focus on the main team next chapter. I still enjoy it, don't let it dwindle.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meeker View Post
    A-nyway, good chapter. When I read the second Ian scene, I was shocked by the great description you included. You're very sadistic, to your characters that is. I swear, the music I was listening to while reading it was perfect for the feel that you gave this chapter, especially the second scene with Ian!
    Sorry for not replying earlier. And, thanks! That scene was one I tried hard to make it as wrenching as I could for Ian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meeker View Post
    I spotted two errors, but I can only find one of them.
    Fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azurus View Post
    Sorry I haven't said anything about this, but I have to say, I'm not as impressed with this chapter as some of the others. Not that it's bad, it's just the hopelessness that permeates it, so many low blows to the characters and no good news in sight. That abrakaladazam was exceptionally rude for being professional, seriously, a guy goes to you for help and you blast him away with Psychic energy after finding out his malady.
    Yes, I do agree. It is far from my better work. I was stuck in a writer's block for the majority of the chapter and, as a result, it seemed pretty hopeless. It was an experiment of mine to see if I can write horror-esque stuff, and, I think it went over fairly well.
    Quark has his reasons for trying to hurt Leo. He sensed an evil presence around Leo, and so, automatically did what any sensible Pokemon would have done: try to eliminate it. Well, it's sensible in my story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azurus View Post
    Anyway, looking forward to a more central focus on the main team next chapter. I still enjoy it, don't let it dwindle.
    Oh yes, the next chapter is mainly focused on Team Salient with the exception of two small scenes. I hope you enjoy it when it comes out. Which should be soon, but I am being bombarded by exams and projects currently, so it is highly possible that is will be delayed.

    Thank you both for your responses!

    Knightfall signing off...

  15. #215
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    the spore cap had wilted and on the verge of withering,
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the two bolded words almost have the exact same meaning? It made me stumble a bit as I read it

    He had found himself face to face with a tall figure whose face
    Three face's that close together kinda bugged me. You might replace the last one with a word like, 'visage'. Just a thought.

    each finger coming down after the other. Leo cringed as he felt the dirty, yellowed nails scrape his scales as the fingers curled on his body.
    Wonderfully done on that line. Pretty much gave me goosebumps. When I read that I got pumped lol

    “The Deities have cursed your existence, the Fates and Furies will drag you over hot coals, and Erebus calls out for your name. You have cheated me before, the divine intervention of the Prophet notwithstanding. Your soul is demanded. Surrender it peacefully, else I will tear it from you.”
    Cranked it up once again I see. Leo is brave, and even more so when I think he's going to falter, and I like how you made him actually scared here. Main or 'heroic' characters have the tendency to be overly courageous against certain things sometimes. While I do realize that sometimes it is real courage, what you did here with Leo really humanized him even more for me. Or should I say, 'pokemonized'...haha

    The skin melted and hung by the ribbons of decaying muscle tissue until they dropped away leaving only the bleached exterior of the bones behind. The finger bones of the hand clicked together as they tightened even more around Leo’s throat.
    My hat is off to you on that one. Beautifully described

    “Do not fret about sounding insane.
    I love that you included that. I've always been really intrigued by the possibillites that psychic Pokemon could bring to the table. I mirrored something like that happening in my own fic. Haha, there goes privacy when you're talking to one of them. Loved it

    I'm not going to quote specific portions of the bit where we relived Ian's memories mainly because I couldn't find anything to quote. It was really involving and gripping in a way that I stopped trying to find things to mention and just read it because I was having such a fun time reading it. This is one of the moments to where you could have had quite a few grammatical errors and I wouldn't have even cared. That sequence was wonderful

    as he gave into his thought’s will and kept the truth away from her once again.
    That's going to come back to bite him in the ***, er, tail, eventually

    flipped them around in his hands, and twisted around,
    Hmm, second time in this chapter that I caught the same word being used in rapid sucession. Believe me man, I'm notorious for doing it myself, and it's a habit I've been trying to break. Both of us are smarter than that. Just try and be aware of that...you dig?

    All in all, nicely done sir. Not a lot happened, and I felt like you were right when you called this more of a 'talking chapter', but I enjoyed myself. I'm excited for the next installment

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  16. #216
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    Thank you so much for your review!

    The mistakes have been fixed, I really need to stop using the same word in close proximity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Wonderfully done on that line. Pretty much gave me goosebumps. When I read that I got pumped lol

    Cranked it up once again I see.

    Leo is brave, and even more so when I think he's going to falter, and I like how you made him actually scared here. Main or 'heroic' characters have the tendency to be overly courageous against certain things sometimes. While I do realize that sometimes it is real courage, what you did here with Leo really humanized him even more for me. Or should I say, 'pokemonized'...haha

    My hat is off to you on that one. Beautifully described
    You have no idea how good it feels to see you say that. XD
    Seriously, I'm glad you think those "darker" scenes went over well. It was a new style I was trying out and I'm happy it seems to have worked.

    Leo is a character that I tried to give the realest response I can give him. He's somewhat of a cowardly individual (or, at least in my eyes), but he attempts to think things through, or, when there's not time for that, a small bit of adrenaline fueled courage gets him where he needs to be.

    And, thanks. Humanizing him (for at his soul, that is what he still is ... possibly) is always fun to do. Keeping characters humble and with real fears and weaknesses has been a major part of my writing, even more so now that I actually know what I'm doing with the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I love that you included that. I've always been really intrigued by the possibillites that psychic Pokemon could bring to the table. I mirrored something like that happening in my own fic. Haha, there goes privacy when you're talking to one of them. Loved it.
    Psychic types are a personal favorite of mine. They could theoretically read and manipulate any thought or memory with a single brainwave, but, to me, most operate by professional standards and only do what they have permission or authorization to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I'm not going to quote specific portions of the bit where we relived Ian's memories mainly because I couldn't find anything to quote. It was really involving and gripping in a way that I stopped trying to find things to mention and just read it because I was having such a fun time reading it. This is one of the moments to where you could have had quite a few grammatical errors and I wouldn't have even cared. That sequence was wonderful.
    Yes! That entire scene was the second time I've tried to put emotional writing into my work. The first being with Kelly and Leo in the last chapter. I am very, very glad that you had the reaction you did, because it means I am doing things right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post

    That's going to come back to bite him in the ***, er, tail, eventually.
    Oh most definitely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post

    Hmm, second time in this chapter that I caught the same word being used in rapid sucession. Believe me man, I'm notorious for doing it myself, and it's a habit I've been trying to break. Both of us are smarter than that. Just try and be aware of that...you dig?

    All in all, nicely done sir. Not a lot happened, and I felt like you were right when you called this more of a 'talking chapter', but I enjoyed myself. I'm excited for the next installment
    As I said above, it's a habit I need to break. I honestly wish I could see those mistakes before I post, but no matter how many times I, or a beta looks over it, there's always going to be something. I'll be sure to be more careful in the future.

    Yes, it was a talking chapter. I wrote this coming out of a writing slump, so it's not the most involved of chapters, but I tried to make up for that with the scenes.

    Once again, thank you for your reply and I hope to get the next chapter out soon. It's coming along, but school is getting busy, as it is May, so it's likely to be delayed.

    Knightfall signing off...

  17. #217
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    Chapter Thirteen: Interception



    “We wished to create a weapon to end the conflict before it started, a weapon more powerful than anything we could have dreamed of ... And by Arceus’s jewel, did we succeed. The results were more horrifying than I could ever imagine. Despite their best efforts, the containment teams have failed to quarantine the incident ,and the death toll is still rising... I am stepping down from my position. I cannot live with this guilt."

    --- Martor Serperior: Project Supervisor for[REDACTED], two hours before taking his own life




    She was a monster. The epitome of evil and at the very heart of corruption, greed, and malice. Some called her criminally insane, others spread rumors of her insatiable lust for killing, and even more plead to their Legendary of choice to remove her from the realm of the living with divine fire and lightning.

    She heard every one of their calls. What other choice did she have but to remove them? They called her an anathema of the world, so she lived up to their rumors by psychically imploding their children.

    Was it too much? She knew the answer, but the lust drove her to do it again and again. She delighted when the peasants screamed curses at her name, when they had called her a scourge upon the earth. The held the province under her sway for months, yet there was nothing the Kingdom or their Federation could do to remove her.

    Where had it all gone wrong? In her spare time, she had pondered this question. She knew that she was a moral abomination, but she was never one to ‘color inside the lines’ with morals, anyways. Sure, they were good in idea, but she found that doing the complete opposite was far more rewarding. And she craved the reward, even if it was soaked through with crimson blood.

    She suspected it was when she had evolved, though even her advanced mind could not figure out the exact root of the problem. The Legends saw fit to make her misaligned, so what could she to do except fulfill her purpose in this world? And if that purpose dictated that she systematically slaughter every creature on four legs in her territory, then so be it.

    She was the most advanced being in the entire world, and she knew it. They had called her a monster. And she loved the title.

    It had been a fluke that the incident happened. Her brilliant plan to obtain unlimited power backfired to give her the bane of her existence. She was able to control him like a puppet and she took full advantage of him. She abandoned her usual killing fields and, like any patriot, her immense hatred of the enemy drove her to devote herself to the Colonies and their directives.
    It didn’t take long for everything to fall apart on that fated mission. The amount of things that went wrong was much too high to be a mere coincidence. She was nothing now--a shred of consciousness held together by raw hatred that drifted on the very fringes of the corporeal world. She knew exactly who had done this to her, and she spent every available joule of energy she came by thinking of exactly how she would dismember him piece by wonderfully bloody piece.

    “I know who you are, Charmeleon. You and I are quite the same, deep down. We don’t trust anyone, do we? We don’t belong here. I saw what it was you kept secret. Right before everything went wrong, I got a glimpse of it. I will find you one day, human. And make no mistake, the pressure will crush you this time.”




    “It’s for the best, honestly,” she sneered as she swatted aside Wire’s battered conscience with a mere flick of her will. He groaned as he tried to get up again, but it was no use. His psyche sunk to the floor of his mind in defeat.

    “Traitors have a special place down there. Have fun in hell,” she screeched as the entire room went dark and fire shot up from the floor, illuminating Nexus’s twisted form in a demonic haze.

    Wire’s entire body jolted awake as he opened his eyes. Artificially produced gasps wracked his system, trying to regain order in his mind. It was a nightmare. Nothing more, he tried to reassure himself, but even now, his body couldn’t cope with the fact that he was free.

    His ocular lenses dilated and focused themselves as they adjusted to the dim morning light. Shifting his great pylons of legs slightly, he pushed himself up into the air where he quickly took stock of his surroundings: the granite stone walls, the smells of damp straw and sweat, the small acropolis of predominantly wood buildings that rose above the rest of the camp like an island in the sea, the sounds of the two hundred and six inmates that resided uncomfortably within the thick stone enclosure. He initiated the audio recording equivalent of a deep breath --completely arbitrary as his body did not require air in the slightest, but the noise was comforting in an odd way.

    He was still at the prison. Still honoring the agreement that she signed while in control. Still under the rule of the Colonial government. Free from her, but at times he wondered if it was entirely worth it.

    Stop that! Of course it was worth it! You are free of her! his rational thoughts yelled at him from across the remaining void that had isolated him for years on end.

    Her piercing metallic laugh lingered in his ears even though it had been several days since his blessed forced severance. Wire shook his head in an attempt to get the thought out of his head, though nothing seemed to work. Not matter what he did, they always came back, the crimes he committed under her control.

    Wire rotated his body and moved his legs to warm up the stiff joints. He had only returned to the Colonies three days prior, and his superiors were not pleased with his report of the loss of Nexus and the failure to kill his target. Outwardly, he expressed his own disapproval of the situation and continued to promise his services to the Colonist’s cause, but on the inside, the only thing that kept him from leaving was the threat of being reunited with Nexus. The Mismagius drove a hard bargain, but he knew it was well worth it.

    “Hey! You! Metagross!” Wire’s attention was turned from his thoughts as he heard a voice call to him. He halted his patrol of the wall and looked over the inner side to the ground below. A small purple creature hailed from the bottom of the wall. Probably yet another prisoner looking to try and bribe me to set them free, Wire thought to himself as he began to continue his walk away from the prisoner.

    “W-Wait! I saw you! You fought Salient, didn’t you? You brought them back to the Square! Didn’t you?” the desperate Pokémon shouted from the ground below. Wire froze mid-step as the smaller Pokémon doubled over in a coughing fit.

    His body moved instinctively, tightening like coiled springs, releasing, and flinging his heavy body off the wall. His four steel legs slammed into the dirt inches away from the inmate, sending earth and other particulates spraying into the air. Wire lowered his head so he could see the inquiring Pokémon up close.

    “What do you know of them? Tell me,” he commanded, barely avoiding having his voice channel glitch and cause a stammer. The wheezing inmate in question looked in no state to be answering any questions: his frame seemed to be much thinner than a normal Sableye’s --according to Wire’s database. He was matted with dried blood, and the creature had a single dirty rag wrapped around his head covering his left eye.

    “A-allow me to introduce myself, please. My name is Aleck, I was a merchant in Loyalty Square before being rudely carted off to this interment sconce. I knew the members of Salient, and I heard what you did to them. News travels fast, especially in this prison,” Aleck said as a smaller coughing spell overtook him. Wire was intrigued, to say the least and decided to indulge the Sableye with an answer.

    “I was under the influence of … a nightmare. I was forced to hurt them among other things, but I tried to save them afterwards. You said you knew them; what happened to them?” the Metagross implored from the sickly Sableye. He quickly glanced around, Too many other Pokémon around to remain unnoticed, he judged. “Why don’t we take this somewhere more secluded? I need to know what happened,” he told Aleck.

    Before waiting for an agreement from the former merchant, he summoned forth the psychic energy that composed his being. His red eyes glowed bright yellow and in a flash of brilliant white, both he and the startled Sableye were in the middle of a stone room deep within the bowels of the center of the camp. Wire focused another psychic pulse and aimed it at the Luminous Orb that hung in an iron fixture from the ceiling. The glassy sphere immediately burst into light and illuminated the place.

    Wire cringed a bit at the room once it was revealed: several demented-looking, iron instruments were arranged carefully on shelves, a metal chair complete with numerous rusted, metal chains and clamps sprouted from it like a flower bloom from Erebus, and the formerly grey stone of the floor was stained a dull red from a substance Wire could only assume was blood. He looked at the Sableye. Both of his small claws were held close to his face and his small body trembled in terror. Wire immediately cursed his choice of secluded places in the camp.

    “Please, relax. I am not here to harm you. I just want information. Please, tell me what happened to the Charmeleon, the Jolteon, and the Riolu,” Wire ordered while trying to appear as non-threatening as he could, though, as he was a steel tank in a room full of torture devices, that attempt failed miserably. Aleck shot backwards and tried to pry open the thick metal door that sealed the room shut.

    “The door is locked on both sides. Also, this room is completely sealed, so the oxygen levels will swiftly deplete unless you cooperate with me, please.” Wire informed him as he slowly tapped the stone floor with one of his massive metal legs. Gasping from his attempt to claw the door open, Aleck slowly turned around to face the giant blue automaton. Wire noticed that the eye that was showing glinted with something that he registered as anger. The Sableye walked up to the Metagross and tapped a single claw on his face plate.

    “Listen here, I don’t know who you think you are, but I’ve been beaten and taken against my will too many times. I’m drawing the line here! I was hoping to simply talk to you, but now I’m not feeling so inclined to do so,” Aleck retorted. Wire merely brushed his claw off his face, nearly gouging out Aleck’s remaining eye with his spiked foot.

    “Please, I just want to know what happened to them. Are they alright? Did the Charmeleon survive?” Aleck simply scowled.

    “Well, I guess I don’t have a say in the matter, do I? Let me start. Leo, the Charmeleon, and his two friends were suddenly teleported into the middle of the town square a few days ago. By you, I suppose? Anyways, they were taken into custody by … our officer. They were cleared to leave the next day, apparently completely healed,” Aleck answered at last, his breath becoming slightly more drawn out than usual.

    Wire tried to process all of what the Sableye was saying. If this statement is true, then it means that … my liberator held up his side of deal. Th-- Thank, Arceus that they are alive.

    The crushing weight of guilt that had consumed him over the past few days was lifted slightly. He swiftly teleported himself and Aleck back to the courtyard. He had to prepare. He would find them, and he would help them out in any way he could.





    “You know, if I had just used a Water Pulse before you kicked my legs out, I would have had you!” Noah yelled boisterously at Jay as they dined on the rough tables outside the mess tent at dinner the next day. The Riolu looked up from his bowl of steaming broth that seemed to swim with unidentifiable ingredients --Ramses refused to divulge the contents when they had asked.

    “Sure, sure. You just can’t admit that I finally beat you in a fair battle, can you?” Jay asked, a wide grin forming on his face as Noah slammed both of his fists down on the table.

    “That was not a fair battle! I had already been through two battles before I faced you. I’d hardly call that fair!” Noah snapped. Leo watched with a slight bemusement over his own bowl of the potentially hazardous meal as the two Pokémon kept up their argument over the legitimacy of Jay’s victory.

    Noah had woken up early that morning and, much to their dismay, was excited as ever to begin the day and seemed not to suffer any fatigue from his knockout during the match yesterday. Leo had been reluctant to leave his hammock. He wasn’t stuck in a pleasant dream; in fact, he hadn’t had a single dream at all, and he wanted to enjoy every minute of the uninterrupted sleep.

    Neither the Dewott nor Torrent were going to let him relish the pleasure of beneficial rest. By the time the sun was cresting the horizon, he --along with Jay, Noah, and Kelly-- were given training work moving filled crates across the camp. Leo was certain that he’d be sweating if he had the ability to do so.

    The muscles in his arms and legs burned with a dull, aching pain in protest of the strain they had been subjected to. Leo knew that it was good for him to put some training on his new body, but it didn't help the horrible feelings that came with it.

    Jay seemed to share his feelings, but did not voice them as he continued his banter with Noah. Leo summoned courage and gulped down the watery substance in his bowl as he tried to ignore the chilling feeling that accompanied it. Leo looked to the opposite side of the table where the three members of Team Emerald were conversing among themselves. The team had been sticking near them ever since they arrived at Camp New Rain, training with or near them, eating at their table at meal times. It was as if they were determined to become their friends by association alone.

    Leo couldn’t help but feel slightly unnerved by their constant presence. Sonic was nice enough; he was always the least talkative of the trio. But when he did, he seemed to connect the most with them. Leo had only talked to the guy a few times, but he could almost count him as a friend after those conversations.

    However, Blade and Elliot were a different story. The Grovyle and Absol seemed to have some sort of psychic connection between them, always nodding silently to each other, whispering conversations behind crates or tents and always hushing their voices as soon as he approached them. They tried their hardest to put on a friendly facade, as when Blade ran into him yesterday, but Leo couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling about those two.

    You have absolutely no basis for your distrust of them, his thoughts scolded, but yet the feelings remained and only seemed to intensify with every passing hour. If he hadn’t been preoccupied with his ailing sanity, he might have taken the initiative to investigate his gut feeling of unease.

    Jay and Noah continued to argue; they now seemed to be shouting at each other from across the table. Leo had tuned them out several minutes ago. The last few days had been torture. There was no other way he could phrase it. It all started when I saw that ... thing, in the cafe. It had all gone downhill from there. Nearly killed, hallucinations, run out of town, burned, exploded, ambushed, beaten. How the hell am I still alive? An interesting question, but not one he had an answer for. Just how had he survived?

    He put his claw to his chin and closed his eyes. What has happened to me? He opened his eyes once again and looked down at the dull white claws. He moved them one after the other. Nothing in the past few days alarmed him as much as this. He vaguely noticed it during some of the quiet times back in their base at Loyalty but had never paid it too much heed until now. He was certain that he would always remember, but the memories had grown foggy.

    He couldn’t remember what human hands felt like. Hands were not the only thing that had undergone this memory dump. Leo was almost clueless as to what hair felt like anymore, but the horn and scales he was currently fitted with almost seemed --dare he even think it-- natural. The sense of being tall at some point, the feel of human skin, wearing clothes. With every passing day these memories seemed more like distant figments of his imagination.

    Oh God, what if ... What if I imagined it all? The thought was chillingly horrifying. And what was worse was that he had plenty of evidence to back it up. His mind obviously wasn’t in a position to argue for the memories’ validity, and even if it was, Leo doubted he would believe it. And, besides that, the only other thing that had specifically told him he was human was the Mismagius.

    What if ... What if it was all-- His thoughts were rudely interrupted as Noah’s voice cut across them like a sharp knife.

    “Earth to Leo! Come on, man! We gotta go!” The thoughts of uncertainty faded away to be sorted out at a later time as Noah waved a black paw in front of his face. “Let’s go! Get up!”

    “Wait a moment!” Leo shouted as he slowly hopped off the log stump at the table, wincing slightly as the tip of his tail thumped against the wood. “What’s happening? Where is everyone else?” he asked as he noted that every soul other than Noah seemed to have disappeared from the mess area. Even Kelly and Jay were gone.

    The Dewott shrugged. “There’s been some news. Apparently, someone’s here at the camp. Looks like a government guy --real stuck up Pokémon. Torrent called an assembly a few minutes ago. I’m not sure how you didn’t hear it,” he reported as suddenly he grabbed Leo’s wrist. Without waiting for a further reply or comment from the Charmeleon, Noah ran through the narrow alleyways between the tents dragging Leo behind him.

    The front gate of the camp was a madhouse in the loosest sense of the word. The crowd surrounding the entrance was so thick that Leo couldn’t see past the first row of Pokémon. It was the first time he had seen the entirety of the camp assembled in one place.

    Noah was not deterred by the seemingly impregnable mob and, still dragging Leo by the wrist, he wormed his way through the mass. Leo could only apologize tersely as he was forced to step on the feet of several Pokémon as well as the unexpected branding more than few of them received from his tail. Noah continued to push past the Pokémon, somehow managing to shove an Aggron out of his way without being crushed.

    Soon enough, they were in the front row of the scene and Noah finally released his iron grip on Leo’s wrist. Kelly and Jay both watched the scene directly to his right, while Noah winged his left. Torrent stood scowling in the front of the crowd, Quark at his side with an equally sour expression. Now that he was at the front himself, he could see exactly why.

    There was a Magnemite floating just inside the camp. From his tone and the amount of buzzing that interrupted his dialogue, Leo could tell that the machine was immensely irritated.

    “ZBT! General! Why are you being so uncooperative? ZT! Need I say again that I have a warrant from Governor Richelieu? ZT!” he exclaimed as he waved a sealed letter held in his right magnet.

    “You’ve already told us that quite a few times, Officer Rho,” Torrent hissed. The Magnemite muttered something darkly to itself.

    “General, I have to search the camp. ZZT! We have suspicions that a few of your recruits might be fugitives. SZT!” he said with a harsh burst of static. He tried to move forward into the camp, but Leo felt the crowd thicken and form a wall against the officer.

    “I see no reason why to doubt the sincerity of any of my recruits,” the Feraligatr said tersely, his patience seemingly at an end.

    “ZBT! But, the warrant! I have a legal right to search this establishment! ZZT!” the officer, Rho, whined.

    “Tough luck. Now leave, before I have my boys here escort you,” the general growled as two monsters seemingly made entirely out of red and dark blue stone on either side of Torrent took a menacing step forward.

    Rho apparently took the hint and, much to Leo’s satisfaction, turned around and started floating back towards the exit. As he passed, Rho’s central eye locked onto Leo.

    The Charmeleon wasn’t entirely sure what happened in the next few instances, but he found himself laying on his back and his scales emitting an oddly delicious cooked smell as thin, black smoke slowly wafted from his body. He cautiously lifted his neck up, a sudden numbness in his muscles making it difficult to move at all. He closed his eyes and memories from seemingly long ago in Loyalty prison came back to him in earnest --he had been electrified, again. Luckily, his body seemed to be developing a slight resistance to it, but not nearly as much as he’d like.

    “Leo! Are you alright?” Kelly yelled from above him over the vast chorus of other loud voices. Leo reopened his eyes and saw her standing over him along with several other recruits he hadn’t met, a look of genuine concern spread across her face. He managed a clumsy nod and tried once more to elevate his neck to see what was happening in the crowd before him.

    The Magnemite seemed to be buried under the muscular arms of Torrent, who kept picking up the small, steel Pokémon and threw him into the rocky ground. Quark hovered just outside the range of Torrent’s rage as he produced a weak, purple, psychic field that kept the throng of soldiers from joining in on the beat down.

    “Treason! Traitors! BZZT! I’ll send you all to Sawgrass Town for this! ZT!” Rho screeched as Torrent threw another punch on his central eye, the general ignoring the sparks the officer was shooting off.

    “I’d like to see you try, you piece of scrap metal,” the Feraligatr growled as he dented the front of the screaming officer. Dull, metalic, gonging noises resonated from the fight with each blow Torrent landed.

    “I’ll watch them BZT! eat you alive! ZZT! You are all damned!” Rho cursed as Torrent decided to take a new approach to the brawl. He lifted the weakly-sparking Magnemite in his hand and raised the damaged Pokémon close to his face.

    “If you ever come here again, I will rip you in half. And, if you even look at any of my recruits the wrong way, I will make sure you never see again. Understand?” Torrent asked, his voice dropped to a chilling whisper. The entire mob around Leo seemed to have the sound sucked out of it as they awaited the Magnemite’s response. Rho said nothing as he meekly hovered off of Torrent’s hand towards the gate of the base.

    Based on his previous experiences with the species, Leo was hardly surprised when halfway to the camp entrance, Officer Rho decided to turn around and fire a pulse of electricity from his twisted magnets. Torrent spun around as soon as he heard the tell-tale cackle of energy. He raised his arm and caught the full brunt of the blast with his limb.

    The yellow beam of energy forced Torrent back about three feet before dissipating. Torrent, to the apparent horror of the quaking guard, simply shook off the attack and faced him. He let out an almost primal roar as he pounced on the Pokémon. The entire crowd started cheering as Leo was suddenly hoisted on top of the mob, one of the Pokémon below must have sat him on their shoulders.

    “BZZzT! They’ll slaughter you BZT! and your families! BZZT!” Rho cried as Torrent’s claws tore into his casing. Bolts of electricity jumped between the two fighters, though the Feraligatr did not seem phased by it in the slightest.

    “No. They. Won’t!” Torrent yelled. With each grunt, he tore another piece off of the screaming officer. Leo couldn’t look away at the savage display. Even though a small part of his mind wanted to go in and stop the fighting, the majority of his head cheered along with the crowd. Leo forgot about the damage he had received and tried to lean forward on the Pokčmon’s shoulders he sat on to get a better look at the Magnemite’s brutal dismantlement.

    The corrupt officer gave one final, ear-splitting screech as Torrent rended him in two. Sparks and wires flew across the clearing as the general flung the broken pieces of Rho’s core to the ground. The whirling mechanisms inside the core spun and sputtered smoke and sparks as they tried in vain to preserve themselves. Leo saw thin, blue streams of data stream out of the broken processor and fade into the air. Thick black smoke poured from the split core as the erratic movement gradually subsided.

    “Now ... Everyone. Pack up camp. Not a drill this time ... Orders came in from Silver. We’re moving out. Tonight,” the blue reptile breathed heavily as faint lines of electricity continued to trace across his heaving body. With a groan, he slowly limped back into the camp. The crowd stood completely still for a moment before dispersing like frightened bugs exposed in a light.

    Leo found himself plopped on the ground inches away from Rho’s still-sparking brain. Only the three Pokémon he knew in this world remained behind with him. Jay went up to the shattered hemisphere and kicked it with his foot.

    “You know? I’m starting to like it here. How about you, two?” the Riolu asked casually as he examined a bit of sparking wire. “I mean, it’s been only three days and Torrent’s already killed a Magnemite that was hunting us.”

    “I don’t understand how you think that’s a good thing. It’s still murder, even if they were hunting us,” Kelly whispered, her voice almost emotionless. She nudged the broken fragments of Rho away from Jay’s feet and further desecration.

    Leo didn’t answer him immediately. Sure, he was completely ecstatic that a Magnemite was dead, but something with that didn’t entirely sit right with him. It might have been the final shred of his morality crying out to him that murder was wrong, but Leo pushed the feeling back into the back of his mind. I am happy about this, right? I should be happy. But, why do I not feel that way?

    “I ... I don’t know what to think. Torrent ... he honestly scares me ... I’ll keep my distance from him,” Leo said slowly as he circumvented the debris of the Magnemite. “Is he usually like this, Noah?” The Dewott worked alongside Kelly to shift away the Magnemite fragments into a single pile near the dirt wall of the encampment.

    “No.” The Dewott crossed his arms. “He has a bit of a temper, but never this bad. It’s because of what happened with Gear, I’m sure of it,” Noah explained, his normally cheery personality wavering for a few split seconds. Sounds of moving crates and collapsing cloth tents filled the air.

    “It’s not a good sign,” he told them shortly before turning away towards the center of the camp. “Now let’s go. We have to pack up. Nightfall will be here sooner then you’d believe.”

    Again, Leo wondered how time could possibly move so fast. The half of the day that had gone by seemed like an endless cycle of moving crates onto a series of wooden sleighs and packing every shred of personal belongings into backpacks.

    By the time the sun had begun its descent into the western horizon, Camp New Rain as he had known it was no more. The orderly rows of faded tents were dismantled and carefully folded into tight rolls. He had assisted with the movement of every essential crate onto a fleet of wide wooden sleds. The mess tent was no more and the crude tables made from stumps shoved into the grassy thicket, as was anything else not considered vital to sustain a battalion of Pokémon until they reached their undisclosed destination.

    Back at the site of Noah’s tent, they all swept the area, making sure there was nothing left behind. Jay used a spare bag Noah had swiped from somewhere to stow the odds and ends that had survived the flight from Loyalty. An orb, a small length of rope, a couple badly bruised apples and nearly smashed berries, and the worn map Jay kept with him at all times. Both he and Kelly had nothing except her Pecha Scarf -still covered with faint blood stains from Leo’s wound-and his key.

    While Kelly and Jay sorted through the meager item pool, Leo took a moment to examine the artifact again. It had been some time since he had last paid a good deal of attention to it. The blue crystal appeared unchanged --although it was a bit dirty-- a small comfort to the Charmeleon. The smooth-cut key still hung as it always did from the gold band it was attached to. He slipped the key around his neck again, its reassuring weight on his chest bringing him an even greater degree of comfort.

    “You’re always wearing that thing. What exactly is it?” Noah asked as he used his sharp shells to slice through a length of twine that held up the tent.

    “It’s … a personal item. It was the first thing I found after waking up without my memories,” Leo replied as he slung his satchel over his shoulder and grabbed hold of the tent material. Together the two Pokémon tugged as the cloth came sliding off the frame.

    “Hmm …Interesting. I don’t have any mementos like that, but if I had something as nice as that thing, I’d keep it under lock and key. Try to ignore the bad pun,” Noah said with a chuckle. “Never noticed that scar on you. What’s that from? Looks like it hurt like hell.”

    “Actually, I didn’t feel it all too much,” he said with a small smile. Technically, it was not a lie. “You remember that Metagross Jay told you about? That’s where I got it.” Leo gave one final tug on the cloth as it lifted off the framework completely. Noah immediately went to work folding it into a series of increasingly smaller rectangles.

    “Oh yeah, I remember. That entire story does seem a little far-fetched. But I believe it after seeing that scar. It’s surprising how much they can tell about a person. I’ve got one right here,” he said while pointing to a discolored line in the blue skin in the middle of his chest. “Would you believe me if I told you that I got this sucker fighting in a gladiatorial pit against members of the Cult of the Second Mew?”

    “Umm … No?” Leo answered, unsure of what the Dewott was expecting from him.

    “Good.” That was all Noah said with a wink as he suddenly picked up the rolled up tent canvas and walked off. Leo simply stood there as he tried to process the cryptic, nonsensical answer. It’s probably a matter best left alone. He’s so far off the deep end he might as well be in an oceanic trench, his thoughts told him comfortingly.




    To say Leo was tired would be a massive understatement. Leo was dead tired. His feet ached from walking over the worn trail through the grassland, his muscles hurt from loading the crates earlier, and his shoulders were killing him due to the heavy backpack he was carrying. The hell did Noah pack in this thing? Rocks?

    Despite Torrent’s order to leave at night, they had departed from the settlement several hours ahead of schedule, mostly due to the general’s urging them along throughout the day. Noah told them it was probably because of the Magnemite.

    “Trust me, no one wants to be around when a body is found,” he had said as they began their trek. It definitely makes sense. The law enforcement is corrupt, and I’d hate to see how bad it is in the judicial system.

    The general had the battalion’s bird Pokémon fly ahead to survey the path, Icarus somehow at their lead. While Leo had always found his lengthy ramblings annoying, he couldn’t help but view him as a friend. The Pidgeotto, despite his duties around the camp, had always taken the time to drop down and say hello. When Kelly tried to tell him how grateful they all were to him for guiding them towards the camp, Leo could almost see his blush through his feathers.

    “Aww. It was nothin’, love. After what you all did for me, it’s the least I could do to pay you lot back,” he had said while rubbing a wing awkwardly on the back of his head. “N-now, I really must be going. Errands and messages and all that, you know?” The bird had darted off after that, but it became clear that he truly felt the need to repay his debt for saving him from Jumpluff.

    Now, Icarus was a dot in the northern horizon along with five other birds and Leo was still stuck on the ground. He would have given anything to have a pair of wings right then, if only so that he could get out of carrying the heavy pack.

    Dry grass, nearly bleached by the summer sun, cracked under his clawed feet as he walked among the other Pokémon from the encampment. He tried his best not to stumble on the multiple sets of furrows in the ground left by the sleds’ runners. Despite having to avoid tripping, Leo was slightly amazed at the sheer strength of some of the Pokémon present.

    Each of the five wooden sleds were piled with several hundred pounds of cargo, yet it only took one or two of the stronger soldiers to pull them along. The Aggron from the crowd earlier was single-handedly tugging a sled and hardly seemed to be breaking a sweat. Forget wings. Some good ol’ strength would be wonderful.

    Torrent and Quark walked near the center of the group. Despite the wishes of Noah and Kelly, Leo had practically begged them to stay to the fringe of the exodus. He took Quark at his word and refused to come within the twenty-foot boundary. He had taken a great risk in getting near the Alakazam —Kelly having briefed him on the proper name of the species last night— during the confrontation between Torrent and the officer.

    Leo took a quick look behind him. Noah was walking in between Kelly and Jay, happily chatting away even though both the Jolteon and the Riolu appeared to be doing their best to ignore the Dewott. Even being knocked out cold by Jay yesterday had no effect on Noah’s personality. To Leo, it looked as if the Dewott was stuck in his own world half the time, and he didn’t seem to care which ‘world’ he was stuck in at any particular moment.

    That last observation got Leo thinking as he marched on the trampled grass stalks. The matter of his apparent humanity was still unresolved. He tried to line up the small amount of evidence he had going for him. There was the dream from a few nights ago, small bits and pieces of human terminology, and the Mismagius’s word. So, again, absolutely nothing that proves that it’s not some fever dream.

    On the other hand, there was an argument stacked against him. No one trustworthy had confirmed his humanity --the Mismagius had already proved his ability with hallucinations—and there was the undeniable factor of his own declining sanity. Leo could feel his mind slipping from time to time, each episode would send him into a quiet state of absolute paranoia and panic. Yesterday during the day-nightmare had been the worst of his ‘attacks’ so far. Whatever the Mismagius had done to him, the effects were synergistic with each other and the lapses in sanity becoming increasingly worse.

    He began to think it just might be easier on his psyche to simply accept the fact that he might not be a human after all. He didn’t like the idea of possibly throwing out the single conviction he had been certain of since he woke up in Tranquility Fields, but he felt like his back was up against a proverbial spike wall and there was only the choice of finding the least painful route to take.

    Maybe … I’m not human at all. Maybe, I was always a Charmeleon... Again, it almost made a bit of sense to Leo. He couldn’t trust his mind to come up with valid answers for the moment. Getting rid of a conflict would only clear up space for more important things to worry about. Like the nightmarish message he had received.

    That thing said I wasn’t supposed to be here. In this world. Was it right? So far, the answer seemed to be pointing towards ‘yes’. His experiences here had been less than optimal, that was true. Nearly killing himself getting out of the Field, being arrested by Gear, getting poisoned by Jumpluff, the terrifying hallucinations from the Mismagius, nearly murdered by Nexus, run out of town, and now that nightmare.

    Seriously, how am I still alive? That figure in the nightmare had been wrong. There had to be something working in his favor keeping him alive through all that. No, there’s no sense in giving up ye— His train of thought was broken as his foot suddenly dropped several inches into one of the sled ruts. He tried flailing his arms in a vain attempt to regain his balance, but the combined forces of the heavy pack he was saddled with and gravity easily overpowered him. He fell face first into the mixture of crushed grass and powderized dirt.

    Maybe this is a sign. Stupid universe, he thought grimly as he tried to force his arms to obey and lift himself off the ground. His arms, still sore from the physical labor earlier, took a long time to comply. Too long.

    “Come on, Leo. No time for napping!” Noah’s voice called from above him as he felt the Dewott’s paws grip his left arm and viciously yank him to his feet.

    Shaking his head to reorient himself, Leo grumbled a thanks to the Dewott and continued his march along the trail.

    “Torrent! Ahead! About two minutes!” Leo –and everyone else in the battalion—looked up in surprise as Icarus shouted down to the Feraligatr. “Distortion ahead!”

    That was all the general needed. “Alright! Everyone into groups of four! Protect the sleds and get to the rendezvous at the end of the dungeon. We’ve all done this before. Just make it through to the exit!” Torrent yelled, his voice somehow amplified so everyone could hear it.

    Every Pokémon sprung into action as they started gathering in clusters of no more than four. Leo was suddenly pulled backwards, the backpack choking him for a moment as his forward movement ceased. He quickly turned around, wheezing slightly, as Jay let go of him.
    Noah was busy trying to tell them advice about what to do when the distortion hit. “Listen up. Whatever you do: Do not move. I’ve been through this before, trust me. Just stay still,” he said quickly as what looked like a giant dust cloud appeared on the horizon. The giant mass of billowing dirt and debris sped towards them, whipping up wind as it approached.

    It became largely apparent that Icarus could not judge time or distance at all. Scarcely thirty seconds had passed when the cloud was upon the battalion, a far cry from the two minutes the bird had promised. Luckily, the rest of the camp seemed to know this and had moved like lightning.

    The mass of swirling dust smashed into the traveling Pokémon; the mob of minute meteors managing to sting Leo’s eyes as they rushed past. Leo kept his eyes tightly shut as the storm continued to pelt him with small bits of dirt clods and a spray of dust that greatly irritated his tail flame. He reached around his back and took hold of the appendage, trying to protect it from the assault with his claws.

    And suddenly, it stopped. The storm ceased even quicker than it had come. By the time Leo had regained the courage to open his eyes, he had to blink again to make sure what he was seeing was real.

    The sprawling, thick grasslands that had surrounded him a brief moment ago were completely gone. Instead, they had been replaced with the skeletal remains of fallen trees, their gnarled roots clawing into the hills of jagged brown rock. Lush grass was substituted with dried shrubs and thorny vines that made up an impassible thicket. The sudden transformation of the field into a desolate badland was not the most surprising change. Leo looked up at the sky. It had gone from the warm orange and blue of the nearing sunset to an otherworldly black color with dark purple clouds. The sun had been shifted as well, going from its usual form to emitting a cold sky blue light that did little to illuminate the dark aura of the land.

    Mesmerized by the dramatic change of scenery, Leo took an unconscious step forward. He was snapped out of his stupor when he registered that his foot had not made contact with any form of solid ground. He felt his body begin its long fall into a bottomless abyss cushioned only by toxic looking clouds bursting with lightning.

    For the second time that day, he felt something grab hold of the backpack and quickly pull him backwards from the sudden ledge. As soon as he had two feet back on solid ground, Leo fell to the ground and scrambled back from the edge as quickly as he could.

    “And that’s why I said not to move!” Noah shouted as he took a hold of Leo’s shoulders and hauled the Charmeleon to his feet. “This dungeon has a nasty habit of putting teams near the edge. I’ve seen more than one Pokémon take a plunge and I don’t want you to be next.”

    The blue sun cast cold shadows across the team that made them all shiver in the pale light. Hidden crevasses and hollows in the hills seemed to scream with the voice of the shrill, haunted wind that tore through the brambles and sere plants. While the three members of Team Salient observed the almost-demented looking landscape, Noah took a deep breath.

    “Just like my first home! Except for the blue sun,” the Dewott said as he gestured to the expanse of wasteland. “Anyways,” he said as he turned back to them, “we have to get going. There’s not a lot of daylight left and we really don’t want to be out here at night.” He then took one of his shells and sliced through a thick bramble vine, revealing a pathway of sorts through one of the canyons.

    “Wait a minute, Noah. Just where are we? What just happened?” Jay demanded, crossing his arms as Kelly and Leo stopped beside him. Noah saw their lack of enthusiasm to follow and sighed.

    “Alright, alright. I’ll tell you what you want to know, just promise me you’ll keep moving. Come on,” he urged as he ducked under the remains of the vine and into the narrow gorge. Shooting a look over at Leo and Kelly, Jay shrugged and followed the Dewott. Leo had some misgivings about the entrance, but there was quite literally no other place to go on the outcropping besides down to a gruesome death.

    Somewhat reluctantly, Leo tightened the straps on the pack and followed Kelly into the canyon.
    He felt a cold chill run down his spine as his thoughts seemed to freeze with the knowledge of where he was. He was in one: a Mystery Dungeon. As the distortion of reality passed over his head, he remembered how his last two excursions into the weird realms had left him poisoned and technically dead.

    The dungeon was nothing like Leo had seen before. Numerous other thorn-choked canyons opened up in the clearing ahead. The rock formations around them glowed with the color of ice and the very air seemed to be filled with a thin, purple miasma.

    “Noah. Answers. Now. We’re moving, so now keep your end of the deal,” Jay demanded yet again as he hiked through the rocky soil, muttering a curse towards Celebi whenever the clinging vines caught in his fur.

    “Alright, alright. As you may have noticed from the glowing rocks, blue sun, and purple air, we are in a Mystery Dungeon. According to Torrent, it’s a shortcut through the entire Mid-Reach, and considering we only travel seven or so miles over a space of land that’s over two hundred miles long, I’d agree with him. You guys know what Links are, right?” Noah asked as he slammed his shells into a wall of a small wall of ice-blue stone in the middle of the path. He used the shells to hold his place as he climbed to the top of the barrier.

    He bent down to give Jay a paw up. Once the Riolu had scampered up the fractured surface they both helped Kelly get over the obstacle. After her, Leo managed to dig his claws into the numerous pockmarks in the surface and climb up the rock face.

    “Yes, we know what the Links are. You do remember the story of the Metagross, don’t you?” Jay asked as he gazed out over the wasteland. The vast mesa of pale blue light punctuated only by the occasional clump of bramble created an eerily ethereal scene that, to Leo, could have been pulled directly from a backdrop of a scene from the works of a demented playwright.

    “Ah, yes. I remember. Up until that point of the story, I was about to fall asleep. I think,” Noah replied with a wide grin on his face. The Dewott scanned over the otherworldly landscape. “There! That path is the one that leads towards it!” His paw pointed towards a thin, winding trail that lead through the crystalline rocks.

    “Noah. What does that have to do with the Links that appear in dungeons?” It was Kelly who inquired this of the Dewott this time, as the Pokémon in question began to dismount the rock barrier on the opposite side of path.

    “Well,” Noah grunted as he leaped to the ground and jarred his legs on the rocky soil. “In the far west corner, there’s a perpetual Link that serves as Torrent’s rendezvous point whenever we pass through here. It’s also the only way out of here, so it’s kinda important that we reach it,” the Dewott explained as Jay, Kelly, and Leo leaped down one-by-one from the rock edifice. “Before the sun goes down because--”

    He didn’t get a chance to finish as a ear-shattering screech pierced the air. Leo felt his blood turn to ice as the voice continued to scream as if it was being brutally murdered. The rocks around them began to shift in colors from a cool blue to a deep, blood-like crimson.

    Leo watched as Noah’s entire body went a paler shade of blue as he suddenly took off down one of the thorn-filled canyons. “Run! Dammit, run! She’s found us!” he shouted at them, not even looking back. Heeding his advice, the members of Team Salient began to sprint like the forces of hell were right behind them. And indeed they were.

    Kelly managed to catch up to the Dewott and stay by at his side as her paws flew across the dirt, Jay only a few strides behind her. Leo, however, was struggling to keep the three other Pokémon in his sight as the heavy pack on his back weighed him down. The screeches continued as the air around Leo chilled rapidly. The voice seemed to envelope his entire body as his vision began to grow hazy.

    “Invio Nex, quod sit ubi sitis,”


    Continued on Next Post
    Last edited by Knightfall; 25th July 2013 at 12:14 AM.

  18. #218
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    Continued from Previous Post

    In a last ditch effort to get away, Leo tore off the pack, slicing through the shoulder straps and letting it --and thus, most of their shelter-- drop to the dungeon floor. His rapid breaths converted into blasts of visible mist as soon as they made contact with the frigid air. He felt the presence on his back, his tail flame sputtering to remain lit against the embodiment of absolute zero.

    Out of instinct, when Leo saw the path ahead covered in jutting rocks, he pushed his claws into the surface of the first one and swiftly vaulted over it. His key swung wildly on its metallic strand as it bounced off his chest with every panicked movement he made in an attempt to preserve his life.

    The haze was all around him now; the others were out of his sight. He was running blind. Claws ripped through the rocky soil as he leaped over the rocks. The menace behind him screeched again.

    ”Quare venisti?” Leo felt like his ears were going to explode. He lunged forward, only to feel his knees smash into a low rock. Blood and scales smeared against the glowing red surface as he tumbled over the top of it. When he gained the courage to open his eyes, a demon floated before him.

    A pair of sunken, golden eyes embedded in a bed of purple, decaying flesh greeted him. Leo screamed. Terrified, he scrambled backwards only to have his spine smash against the jagged rock face. Leo tried to think of anything, force his body to use one of its magical skills, but like the air around him, his mind seemed to have been frozen in place as well. His ongoing scream was snatched from his mouth by a blast of bitterly cold air.

    “Quare venisti.... W-why... Why have you come?” Leo could only stare dumbfounded at the figure made from ice shards and paper-white skin stretched taut over a human-like body of frozen, violet flesh. A tattered, blood-red sash hung from her waist and jewels of solid ice jutted from her head.

    Ignis, quid hic agis? Fire -- Ignis, why have you come?” The ice demon’s gentle question passed over him, a far cry from the horrid shrieking from before. “Indica tribulation vestris ... Tell your tribulations, Ignis.” Her voice contained no malice, no hatred. Only a soft, genuine sincerity.

    “I- I don’t know why I’m here,” he said as the temperature around him dropped even more. Despite his flaming tail, he was unconsciously shivering in the below-freezing air. Small particles of snow formed from his exhaled breath as the siren gently caressed his cheek with one of her long, hair-like arms.

    ”Indica mihi iustum et oblivíscere. Just tell me and forget, mi cara, Ignis,” she whispered. The words wrapped around Leo like a silk blanket. He felt his mind loosening, his surroundings start to fade underneath a coating of oddly warm ice. Leo saw her hand rise to his chest and press against where his heart would be.

    “Cor tuum, cara Ignis. Where is your heart?” she inquired as a thin coating of ice spread across his body from her touch. He desperately tried to move, but forces beyond his control kept his muscles paralyzed. Even his eyes were forcibly fixated on the Froslass’s unnaturally yellow ones.

    She leaned in close to him and whispered something in his ear, yet he did not comprehend it in the slightest. Instantly, it felt as if a spear of ice stabbed his heart, foregoing piercing skin and bone and impacting the organ directly. At once, everything seemed to stop. His lungs couldn’t expand or contract, his veins were frozen solid as the blood within them chilled to below zero, his heart was gripped by a glaciated hand and only constricted tighter with every passing second.

    His tail dimmed to a fraction of an ember as the ice demon continued to claw its way through him. Darkness clouded his sight as ice wormed its way into his body. The wall of ice that encased him suddenly shuddered and warped. A voice shouted from beyond the clear barrier as a vague figure leaped into his fixed frame of decreasing vision.

    At once, the shadowy Pokémon extended its foot and slammed into the Froslass. In an instant, the icy hold over Leo melted, leaving him stunned and shivering in a puddle of cursed water as his body struggled to fight off the urge to go into hypothermic shock.

    “Hey! Kyurem’s bastard daughter! Over here!” Jay’s voice blasted into his sensitive eardrums as his senses of hearing, sight, and feeling slowly returned.

    Not thinking, Leo scrambled to his feet, though immediately failing in this endeavor as his legs collapsed beneath his body. He blindly reached forward with his claws and tried to drag himself out of the line of fire between the ice demoness and Jay.

    “Nulla, Ignis! Non discedis! Vos mei, Ignis! Cupio vivere!” the Froslass shouted from somewhere above him as a blast of frigid air slashed over him. Jay swore as he dashed through the wind at the ice maiden. The Riolu’s fist swung and crunched into the ice-coated flesh, cracking the smooth, curved surface of her face with a jagged fissure along her forehead.

    Leo felt her presence hover over his crawling form as he desperately whispered prayers that she wouldn’t notice him pressed against the ground. Unfortunately, there was no such luck planned for him. She hissed angrily, her form writhing with rage as she looked down on him.

    “Incendium meum, quo vadis? Quo vadis?!” she spat, the words sharp and laced with a cool sting as she darted to the side, dodging the most recent of Jay’s attacks. In one fluid movement, she twirled around in the air, a flurry of snow dancing about her body, shot several biting gusts of wind at the attacking Riolu, and immediately swooped down onto Leo.

    Her right arm wrapped around Leo’s neck as she held the sharpened ice portion against his neck. Leo begged and pleaded, yet his body refused to cooperate. He had the abilities to free himself, but not a single nerve of his Pokémon form would obey his commands.

    “Cease. Or else, Ignis is ... extinguished,” she breathed, her anger causing her to speak in the common tongue, as Jay suddenly halted in the middle of winding up another glowing punch. The Riolu slowly took a step backwards as the two Pokemon continued to stare each other down in the middle of the red-tinted space between the small mesas of glowing rock.

    “Leo, just stay calm. We’ll get you out of this!” he shouted, yet his words had little impact besides using up a bit more air than normal breathing. I’m not an idiot, Jay. I’m not going to get myself killed if I can help it, Leo thought, not wanting to talk and risk losing his head in the process.

    It remained that way for several seconds: Jay and the Froslass exchanging death glares as Leo helplessly floundered in the near-choking hold of the demoness. Leo’s breathing gradually turned into a series of guttural gasps as he tried to sink his claws into the hardened ice of the creature’s forearm.

    The lack of air finally started numbing his body just before a surge of electricity coursed through him and his captor from behind. The energy simply passed over his unfeeling nerves as a slight wave of nausea rushed towards his head. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Pokémon that kept him hostage let out a screech that seemed to rock the entire wasteland.

    The Froslass immediately dropped him on the rocky ground as she darted towards the opposite side of the clearing. Leo felt the skin on his arms and legs break as blood dripped from his lacerations onto the dry soil.

    “Leo! Talk to me! Are you alright?” Leo was fairly certain it was Kelly yelling down at him, but neither his vision, nor his hearing had returned to optimal levels, leaving his surroundings a mess of red and black and his hearing muffled.

    “Move it!” another voice --possibly Noah-- barked as he shoved Kelly away. The Dewott becoming slightly more focused in Leo’s line of sight as his mind readjusted to having proper amounts of oxygen. Noah placed his paws on Leo’s shoulders and hefted him up to his feet.

    “Leo, answer this question as fast as you can: how many half-miles are in the Royal Highway?” the Dewott inquired, as he swiftly delivered a sharp slap to the side of Leo’s face. The sudden impact accelerated the reconnection of his senses. With a muttered curse he held the stinging area with his claws.

    “Answer!” Noah screamed as his black paw swiftly smacked the opposite side of Leo’s face. The fact that his skin was coated in scales did nothing to shield him from the hit.

    “I don’t know, Noah! I don’t know! Touch me again and I’ll make you wish you hadn’t,” Leo snapped, shaking his head as he finally saw the scene around him. The Froslass seemed to be curled on the ground, hidden behind a wall of ice while Jay continued to try and chip it away with each punch and kick.

    “Good! You’re not possessed. Any demon knows it’s exactly two-hundred and eight half-miles long. Now, we leave. As quickly as possible would be nice,” Noah replied as he let go of his iron grip. Leo stumbled as he summoned the strength to stand under his own power. “Also, Leo, you owe me ten silver Poké for that backpack,” the Dewott quickly added before darting across the canyon floor towards Jay.

    I hate him so much, Leo thought as Kelly returned to his side, giving him support as his blood warmed up and restarted circulation in his legs. His initial steps hurt as if someone had drilled holes in the bottoms of his feet, but after a few paces and many nearly shed tears, the pain began to subside slightly.

    Noah was grappling the Riolu in an attempt to pull him away from the seemingly dormant ice Pokémon, but Jay was not about to display any signs of walking away from the fight. Noah let loose a colorful array of curses and pulled out one of his scallops; holding the razor-sharp blade threateningly towards the battle-ready Riolu.

    "I'm not going to tell you again, Jay. Get your tail away from her! It never ends well with her!" Noah yelled as the ground began quaking, the epicenter directly under the thick ice dome that protected the ice demon.

    Jay broke free of the Dewott and lunged forward, his fist glowing white with energy. Despite Noah's protests, the attack hit the ice shield. Instead of behaving like normal frozen water, this solid glowed a sinister orange as Jay's fist rebounded. The Riolu screamed as a blast of energy knocked him off his feet and sent him flying through the air.

    Jay flew in a thin arc across the blue sunlit sky and slammed into the dirt, skidding several meters through the gravel until he came to a stop in front of Leo and Kelly. He remained as he was for several seconds, groaning weakly as he tried to force himself up. Despite his own injuries, Leo --with Kelly’s assistance-- attempted to offer his aching arm and claw to the fallen Riolu.

    Attempted, as in, tried to, but failed as the air was shattered like glass as an ear-piercing wail shot through the wastelands and made the four Pokemon freeze as they simultaneously cringed. The defense barrier about the Froslass exploded in a shimmering flash of lethal ice shards and ghostly wisps of demonic energy. Leo raised his arms to his face as the icy shrapnel sliced through the air and the topmost layer of his skin, penetrating his layer of thin scales.

    Ignoring the potentially hundreds of ice-splinters embedded in his arms, Leo looked to his teammates scattered around the clearing. Through the blue glare of the oversized setting sun, he saw that both Noah and Kelly had joined Jay pressed flat against the ground as the ice settled over them like a fine blue snow. The strange weather phenomenon filled the air as the Froslass continued to taunt him.

    “Ignis. You. If I can’t have you, then. Then. Then... “ her voice dropped to a sinister whisper. Despite being huddled in a ball on the ground on the opposite side of the clearing, Leo heard her voice as if she was talking into his ear. “Fáciem musica. Dicere vale ut tonitrui tui! ”

    Leo took three steps forward, putting Kelly and Jay behind him as the Froslass shot up from the ground. With speeds befitting a blizzard, she instantly appeared in front of him. He could feel her chilling exhales on his face. Snow fell from the blue sun, breaking the remaining laws of nature in this twisted wasteland. The powder coated the canyon and hissed angrily on his tail flame as it drifted down from the falsely-colored sky.

    Noah carefully raised his head off the ground and frantically began excitedly mouthing something that Leo couldn’t decipher. Kelly struggled with Jay’s wounds on the ground, the Jolteon attempting to ease Jay’s suffering. He curled his claws into a tight fist.

    “No. Shut up. We’re done with you. I’ve had enough near-death experiences in the last few days, thank you.” Leo replied, his voice quivering slightly with a growing rage as he heard Jay’s pained moan. From ahead of him, Noah was panickingly shaking his head and swiftly drawing his hand across his throat.

    “Leo, please, don’t,” Kelly’s strained voice fluttered through the air, alighting in his ears as he slowly shook his head. This was his time to prove them all wrong, to make a stand against the supposedly superior forces bent on dictating his every thought.

    The hellish Froslass opened her mouth a fraction as Leo felt something switch inside of him. With a single, fluid movement uncommon for most of his actions, Leo pulled back his arm and slammed his fist into the side of the Pokémon’s head.

    Her frozen skin cracked as a spiderweb of fractures spread across the left side of her face. A dark smoke hissed from her wound as the ice melted. For an instant, she looked at him, her gaze betraying no emotions as the decaying, purple flesh underneath the white ice became visible. Her icy skin then refroze as if nothing had happened.

    Just as fast, she swung back towards him, her icy appendages arcing low to the ground. Leo felt his legs take the impact of what seemed to be a heavy log. His world instantly flipped upside down as he landed on his back, staring up at the icy monster that was wildly smiling down at him.


    “Cover your ears! Now!” Noah screamed at the top of his lungs, his voice cracking sharply at the last word. Leo barely had enough sense and motor control to press his palms over the sides of his head, immediately muffling any noise that might have occurred around him. It was at that point, that the Froslass began singing the most twisted, vile string of notes and tones Leo had ever heard, and he couldn’t even hear them.

    The hellish chorus spewed from the jagged edges of her mouth, each note a sentient monster bent on destruction as they climbed out into the world and bombarded his claws like a battering ram. They made the rocks on the ground vibrate violently as they slammed into his body. The beats and tone shifts attempting to tear through the scales on his chest with their sharp claws and fangs in search of his heart.

    He could feel them prying at his claws, desperately trying to enter his head. Leo shook them away with an unheard yell as he squirmed and kicked under the unending swarm of music notes. Leo resisted the overwhelming temptation to use his claws to swat away the maniac, miniature, musical monsters that were intent on sinking their small fangs into every available inch of exposed skin.

    Just as Leo was going to give up and let the music have its way with him, it stopped. Everything ceased at once. The song, the pain, the evil, all evaporated like storm clouds in the sun. The canyon walls flickered and lost their hellish, red glow. Soft blue melted away from the snow and crept back into the dungeon infrastructure, restoring the gentle glow that had lit their path before the Froslass arrived .

    Rolling over onto his stomach, Leo pushed himself up with his arms, and got his legs to obey him once again. Pain still nipped at his skin from the many, tiny bites and scratches of the music notes, but now they felt like little more than irritated mosquito bites than fire searing into his scales.

    Jay grumbled something about “stupid dungeon Pokémon” as Leo clasped his outstretched paw and helped his leader to his feet. The Riolu seemed no worse for the wear. A few cuts were visible through his blue fur, the once bright azure color dulled with ground-in dust and blood, but he looked like he was functioning properly.

    “What the hell was that?” Jay said with a cough. Leo didn’t know how to answer him. He didn’t rightly know how to explain the string of events that had transpired in the last few moments. “Is everyone okay?” Jay inquired, brushing himself off as the Riolu blinked in the blue sunlight.

    “I think so,” Leo replied. Looking around, he saw Noah getting up from the crater he had hunkered down in during the assault of the music, Jay was still getting oriented with his feet and limbs, and the monster was nowhere in sight. She had vanished. Though, there was something missing from this scene of aftermath.

    “Kelly?” Leo blurted out when he did not see the yellow and white furred Jolteon at all. Jay ceased his complaints as he found he could not find his friend as well. “Kelly? Kelly!” Leo yelled with increasing volume as he took a few steps in each direction looking for his teammate.

    There was no sign of the Jolteon, despite her being literally a foot away from him before the Froslass’s song. Both he and Jay fell dead silent as they tried to listen for any sound from her, though only the canyon walls screeched as wind tore through them, making his tail flame flicker. His blood turned to ice once again as the demented dungeon seemed to mock him, tempting him to venture deeper in search of his friend.

    “Kelly!” Leo screamed to the passage, his voice straining as sheer panic took over. It was then that Noah jogged up beside both Pokémon. The Dewott put a paw on both of their shoulders.

    “She’s gone.” Leo felt something inside him collapse. Whether it was his soul or a lung from the Froslass’s attack, he couldn’t tell.

    “Gone? What do you mean ... gone?” The Charmeleon’s voice barely broke a hushed whisper as the cold wind blasted from the passage. The instinctively tightened muscles in his legs kept him from collapsing to the ground while his mind managed to keep a rein on his emotions to suppress his urge to sob.

    “Noah, wh-where is Kelly right now?” Jay asked, the Riolu trying in vain to mask his own emotions with a near monotone voice. The wind ceased, allowing the oppressive silence to once again rule this domain of altered sun and stone.

    Noah only shook his head in apparent defeat. “She’s with Her now, probably about to be frozen alive. If I remember right, we have about ten minutes before she is added to Her ... collection.” The Dewott looked up at the two remaining members of Salient, his face betraying no inner feelings or thoughts. “There’s nothing we can do now. If we’re lucky, we can still get out of here while she’s busy with Kelly.”

    “N-nothing? What do you mean, ‘there’s nothing we can do’, Noah?” Leo demanded, his voice rising in volume. He knew perfectly well what it might mean. The Froslass had wanted me and I refused. And so she took the next best thing... His thoughts plainly told him, and for once, he knew he could trust them. It’s all... He felt his heart drop again. It’s all my fault she was taken.

    The Dewott crossed his arms as he leaned against a pillar of glowing blue rock. “It’s exactly what it means. We can’t do anything. She doesn’t usually bother us when we travel through here, but on occasion, she will take one Pokémon to her lair and freeze them solid,” Noah answered nonchalantly as he tightened the strap on his shoulder.

    “How do you know this? Huh? How?” Jay spoke up, his paws curling into fists as energy began to flow into them. Noah moved his paw down Jay’s arm and pushed it down.

    “I’ve seen it happen. Seven times. Watched them all freeze while Torrent ordered us to run for the exit. Trust me, seeing a Arcanine frozen alive oversteps the boundary of mentally scarring ten times over,” he explained as Leo saw an involuntary shudder run down the Dewott’s spine.

    Leo wasn’t sure if it was the combined effects of everything that had happened to him over the last week, or his mind finally slipping past his damaged rational, but he felt a burning force of anger rise from his chest where his heart fell.

    He had gone through too much: waking up, arrest, near death, hallucinations, exile, he could handle, but the notion of losing what was perhaps the only other being on this planet that could sympathise with him, it was impossible. He wouldn’t let it happen.

    “No.” Both Noah and Jay looked up from their argument at him. “I’ve gone too far with her, Jay, and even you, Noah, to lose any of you. My head may not be clear right now, but that is the one thing I am damn sure of. Noah, where is She, because I am going to tear Her to shreds,” Leo snarled, a low, primal growl accompanying the statement.

    “Leo, you don’t understand: She will kill all of us if we don’t leave. Kelly’s probably already dead anyways, so let’s just--” Noah replied shortly before being cut off as Leo lunged at him. His reptillian body tackled the otter to the ground, shoving his head into the small, sharp rocks. Leo held the sharp edges of his claws against the Dewott’s neck and pressed forward enough so that Noah would feel the pain. Jay crouched down next to the two, though didn’t make any attempt to stop Leo’s assault.

    Leo’s chest was heaving, anger leaving a red mist in his eyes. He huffed a hot jet of steam from his nostrils as he leaned close to the pinned Dewott’s face. His red scales glinting almost evilly in the stark, blue sunlight.

    “Shut up! Kelly will survive! She’s strong enough! I know she will! Now, you are going to lead us to her, and then, you, Jay, and I are going to march right in there, burn Her goddamned liar to oblivion, and then rescue Kelly. Do you understand?” Leo yelled, every thought of his bent suddenly on the destruction of the Froslass.

    “You know? For once, I actually agree with one of your horrible ideas, Leo. Let’s do this, “ Jay added as Noah gave a sigh of defeat.

    “You two are the most stupid, stubborn Pokémon I’ve ever met, and that’s coming from me. I’ll go, but I hope you know we’re all going to die. Her ‘pet’ will make sure of that... “ Both Leo and Jay shot him confused looks as they wondered what he meant by his last sentence. Their questions were answered as a deep, feral-sounding roar shook the blue-stoned dungeon. Leo released his grip on the Dewott and climbed off of him, letting him get back to his feet with an annoyed huff.

    Kelly, don’t worry. We’re on our way, he thought to her as the glowing blue ground thumped in rhythm to the steady footsteps of the monster’s personal monster.




    End Chapter Thirteen




    Author’s Notes:
    Well, I did warn that school would keep me busy. Exams, projects, and reviews kept this chapter from getting done in the timely fashion I promised.

    But, at least it’s not four months like the last one, eh? This chapter was originally going to be merged with the next, but I figured it was long enough as it is and I’d rather avoid another Chapter Eleven scenario.

    I really tried to focus more on Team Salient this time around, rather than the side characters, which I think I did rather nicely. Especially with what I believe is my longest continuous scene yet (12 pages long of uninterrupted Salient).

    Anyways, thanks to my beta readers once again, I’d be nothing without all of you, and everyone who reads this. Your reviews help me write better quality stuff for you, so please, keep them coming.

    And, also, I’d like to thank everyone who voted for this story and its characters in the 2012 fanfiction awards. I am extremely pleased with how well this did, and it’s all because of you readers. Thank you so much! It is amazing to make such an impression on here despite not having much experience as of yet. And to everyone else who participated in the awards, it was a pleasure going up against such talented authors.

    Summer is just around the corner for me, so hopefully that will translate into fast update times in between chapters for all my projects. *coughTtAcough*

    Also, I am working on a rewrite of Chapter 0.5, the prologue. It will be well worth the read once it’s done, I assure you.

    Knightfall signing off...
    Last edited by Knightfall; 25th July 2013 at 12:14 AM.

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    She was a monster. The epitome of evil and at the very heart of corruption, greed, and malice. Some called her criminally insane, others spread rumors of her insatiable lust for killing, and even more plead to their Legendary of choice to remove her from the realm of the living with divine fire and lightning.
    And that's a fine start to a review.

    Was it too much? She knew the answer, but the lust drove her to do it again and again.
    Taken out of context, this becomes even more disturbing.

    “I know who you are, Charmeleon. You and I are quite the same, deep down. We don’t trust anyone, do we? We don’t belong here. I saw what it was you kept secret. Right before everything went wrong, I got a glimpse of it. I will find you one day, human. And make no mistake, the pressure will crush you this time.”
    Ooh, Leo, you better watch out. That girl's goin batsh*t over you.

    “Well, I guess I don’t have a say in the matter, do I? Let me start. Leo, the Charmeleon, and his two friends were suddenly teleported into the middle of the town square a few days ago. By you, I suppose? Anyways, they were taken into custody by … our officer. They were cleared to leave the next day, apparently completely healed.” Aleck answered at last, his breath becoming slightly more drawn out than usual.
    Replace the fullstop before 'Aleck answered' with a comma, I'm surprised I didn't catch that in my proofread.

    Not much else to say about the Wire-Aleck scene except that it's nice we got to see more of Wire (he and Nexus have officially made Metagross one of my favourite Pokemon), and we get a nice bit of personality from him. So far, he gives me the impression of being well-meaning but a little careless.

    He couldn’t remember what human hands felt like. Hands were not the only thing that had undergone this memory dump. Leo was almost clueless as to what hair felt like anymore, but the horn and scales he was currently fitted with almost seemed --dare he even think it-- natural. The sense of being tall at some point, the feel of human skin, wearing clothes. With every passing day these memories seemed more like distant figments of his imagination.

    Oh God, what if ... What if I imagined it all? The thought was chillingly horrifying. And what was worse was that he had plenty of evidence to back it up. His mind obviously wasn’t in a position to argue for the memories’ validity, and even if it was, Leo doubted he would believe it. And, besides that, the only other thing that had specifically told him he was human was the Mismagius.

    What if ... What if it was all--
    This scene is adequately chilling and tragic - the feels almost got to me here.

    “Now ... Everyone. Pack up camp. Not a drill this time ... Orders came in from Silver. We’re moving out. Tonight,” the blue reptile breathed heavily as faint lines of electricity continued to trace across his heaving body. With a groan, he slowly limped back into the camp. The crowd stood completely still for a moment before dispersing like frightened bugs exposed in a light.
    I will never look at a Feraligatr the same way again.

    “You know? I’m starting to like it here. How about you, two?” the Riolu asked casually as he examined a bit of sparking wire. “I mean, it’s been only three days and Torrent’s already killed a Magnemite that was hunting us.”

    “I don’t understand how you think that’s a good thing. It’s still murder, even if they were hunting us,” Kelly whispered, her voice almost emotionless. She nudged the broken fragments of Rho away from Jay’s feet and further desecration.

    Leo didn’t answer him immediately. Sure, he was completely ecstatic that a Magnemite was dead, but something with that didn’t entirely sit right with him. It might have been the final shred of his morality crying out to him that murder was wrong, but Leo pushed the feeling back into the back of his mind. I am happy about this, right? I should be happy. But, why do I not feel that way?
    Jay seems disturbingly casual, while Kelly's response is ... hollow. A great job of showing a little of how they cope with seeing someone - something - die right in front of them.

    Nightfall will be here sooner then you’d believe.
    Bazinga!

    “Invio Nex, quod sit ubi sitis,”

    Continued on Next Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    Continued from Previous Post

    In a last ditch effort to get away, Leo tore off the pack, slicing through the shoulder straps and letting it --and thus, most of their shelter-- drop to the dungeon floor.
    I believe something was lost here? A little Leo-Froslass dialogue, perhaps?

    “Quare venisti.... W-why... Why have you come?” Leo could only stare dumbfounded at the figure made from ice shards and paper-white skin stretched taut over a human-like body of frozen, violet flesh. A tattered, blood-red sash hung from her waist and jewels of solid ice jutted from her head.

    Ignis, quid hic agis? Fire -- Ignis, why have you come?” the ice demon’s gentle question passed over him, a far cry from the horrid shrieking from before. “Indica tribulation vestris ... Tell your tribulations, Ignis.” Her voice contained no malice, no hatred. Only a soft, genuine sincerity.
    Froslass is ... nice. Of course, she's a little on the crazy side, but this is Overthrown after all, where the sanest are the ones we'd call raving mad. Also, I'd suggest you capitalise the bolded 'the'.

    She leaned in close to him and whispered something in his ear, yet he did not comprehend it in the slightest. Instantly, it felt as if a spear of ice stabbed his heart, foregoing piercing skin and bone and impacting the organ directly. At once, everything seemed to stop. His lungs couldn’t expand or contract, his veins were frozen solid as the blood within them chilled to below zero,
    his heart was gripped by a glaciated hand and only constricted tighter with every passing second.
    Seems an odd place for a line break.

    In an instant, the icey hold over Leo melted, leaving him stunned and shivering in a puddle of cursed water as his body struggled to fight off the urge to go into hypothermic shock.
    Misspelled 'icy'.

    “Move it!” another voice --possibly Noah-- barked as he shoved Kelly away. The Dewott becoming slightly more focused in Leo’s line of sight as his mind readjusted to having proper amounts of oxygen. Noah placed his paws on Leo’s shoulders and hefted him up to his feet.
    Second sentence is not a sentence, it's a phrase, I think that's what it's called?

    “I don’t know, Noah! I don’t know! Touch me again and I’ll make you wish you hadn’t,” Leo snapped, shaking his head as he finally saw the scene around him.
    Uncharacteristic snappiness from Leo, but I suppose there's only so much abuse you can take.

    "I'm not going to tell you again, Jay. Get your tail away from her! It never ends well with her!" Noah yelled as the ground began quaking, the epicenter directly under the thick ice dome that protected the ice demon.
    I'm interested in knowing what history Noah and Froslass have ...

    His blood turned to ice once again as the demented dungeon seemed to mock him, tempting him to venture deeper in search of his friend
    No fullstop.

    “Kelly!” Leo screamed to the passage, his voice straining as sheer panic took over. It was then that Noah jogged up beside both Pokémon. The Dewott put a paw on both of their shoulders.

    “She’s gone.” Leo felt something inside him collapse. Whether it was his soul or a lung from the Froslass’s attack, he couldn’t tell.

    “Gone? What do you mean ... gone?” The Charmeleon’s voice barely broke a hushed whisper as the cold wind blasted from the passage. The instinctively tightened muscles in his legs kept him from collapsing to the ground while his mind managed to keep a rein on his emotions to suppress his urge to sob.
    So you can write emotions other than crazed ecstasy and wrath!
    Just kidding, lol :P
    This scene seriously broke my heart though. Very good job with Leo's reaction: if I were him, I'd be crumbling to little scaly red bits right now.

    Kelly, don’t worry. We’re on our way, he thought to her as the glowing blue ground thumped in rhythm to the steady footsteps of the monster’s personal monster.
    Yes, Leo! Be the Bisharp in shining armour! HotSparksShipping must be maintained as canon! (Knightfall, I will murder you if you murder Kelly.)
    Also, nice way to end this chapter ... I think I know who Froslass' 'pet' is ...

    All in all, this is a good chapter. Would have liked more HotSparks in there, but there's only so much romance you can squeeze out from such a sordid tale, I suppose. Still, you did get me with dem feels a bit, so you're improving in the emotions department ;D

    Keep 'em comin'!

    ~Deadly


    plot, bounty hunters, crazed tax collectors
    a journeyfic by the most improved writer of 2012, second place
    what more could you want?


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  20. #220
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    I can't say anything, the chapter's too good. I'll admit that a froslass is a nice touch to add to your story full of crazies.

    Anyway, I hope kelly makes it out alive, it'd be pretty awesome if salient as a whole, was left bodily intact.

    Looking forward to more from you.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
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    First of all, I am terribly sorry for not replying to this earlier!

    @Deadly, thank you for your input. I fixed the errors you pointed out and yes, Leo does need to step up and play the hero here.

    @Azurus, heh, well, technically, being frozen solid does leave the body intact...

    Now, to the main point of this post. For the past month, I have been working extensively on a complete rewrite of my prologue. However, since the character limit here works against me, I cannot edit it into the first post like I intended. So, it will be here with a link in the very first post of my story. The previous prologue has been [REDACTED].

    Warning: PG-13

    Chapter 0.5: System Failure: Re-Initialization

    "A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma."
    Marlene Dietrich




    “We’re losing him! Circulate coagulation serum. The damage is deeper than we thought!”

    “No! No! Don’t take me! What are you doing!”

    “His life isn’t important. He is no one, not anymore. Just the artifact. Besides, he won’t live once the life support is taken offline. “

    “Very true, but it’s not our place to decide that. We’ll do what we can.”



    They could never go back. The fragile balance of power that had held up for a millennia had been burned to cinders with the fiery torches of revolution. It had been the final straw on the camel’s back that snapped it clean in two. Now, everything was gone.

    From their mounted position on the laboratory wall, lit computer screens made from recycled plastic components flickered as the news feed struggled to break through the martial moratorium on communication from the beleaguered capital. The aftermath of the coup shown even though the undoubtedly heavily-edited footage: a line of Hailfire tanks moved along Terra Avenue to the Magnet Train depot, Mainland Defense Force soldiers patrolled the tops of the government skyscrapers, firefights between the revolutionary army and the dwindling loyalists raged on the top floors of the Silph industrial area, air assault ships hovered above the chaotic city, and a massive plume of tar-black smoke billowed from the burning capitol complex fueled by the rage of the mob-rule that had taken control of the outer grounds.

    The camera feed faded and was replaced by a man and woman sitting behind a desk, their appearances and features looking calm, but their eyes emanating fear. The well-dressed man in a suit clicked on a small screen to his left and the screen behind them suddenly restored the live feed from the capital.

    “And we’re back. As before, we are not sure of any details, but sources tell us that the fighting has ceased in the outer sectors of the city and the capitol appears to have been thoroughly subjugated of terrorist activities. No word yet on the whereabouts of the Senators and President Radic, but reports are saying--” The screen suddenly blinked and was replaced with a dark picture, the sound cutting off as well.

    A young man of about twenty-five sighed as he clicked the newscast out of his own personal existence. Regardless of what the reporters said, the situation had not calmed down at all since the first shots were fired in that morning. At least, for him it had not. He ran a hand through his unkempt black hair in a weak attempt to release some of the nervousness that had been building up inside of him all this time.

    He turned his attention back to the computer flatscreen in front of him. Images of electrical blueprints and circuitry danced before the man’s exhausted eyes as he motioned with his hand over one of the blueprints. The sensor read the movement and opened the model. The man rotated his hand slightly, and the model followed suit. The Displacement Coils inside the machine were as they should be, that wasn’t the issue. He tapped on the glowing, blue, outlines of what appeared to be a metal ring. The man’s brown eyes narrowed as he traced a wire from the back of the ring.

    “There. That’s the issue!” He motioned with his hand towards a switch on the opposite side of the room as he looked up from his seat out the wide observation window —made entirely from reinforced, recycled plastics. There was an audible click as the communication system between the upper and lower chambers of the testing room came live.

    “ Henry! The third wire, that’s what’s causing the fault! Reroute it directly to the source and it should solve the problem! Quickly!” the man eagerly shouted as he keyed in the simulation on the model after said wire was rerouted. The diagram of the machine became animated as simulated electricity ran into it.

    Simulation Successful: I.G Is Operational. Parameters Exceeded: Do Not Attempt A Short Charge Experiment.

    “Doug, for the last time: I am not an electrician; I am hurrying as fast as I can. I know you want your inane plot to work, but it will take some time,” Another scientist, this one considerably older and with considerably less hair than Doug replied from the lower floor as he leaned behind a real-life representation of the model.

    The balding man wiped his sweating hands on his dirtied lab coat as he switched the connections within one of the panels on the backside of the ring. The silver-colored machine itself was an impressive display of the final strongholds of industrial capability the Realm could still offer.

    Suddenly, what amounted to an earthquake ripped through the facility. Both scientists gripped whatever was nearest to them --a recycled metal desk and the outer plating of the machine respectively. The reinforced concrete walls around them sprouted thin spiderwebs of cracks as dust rained down in small clouds from the ceiling. The flatlights plastered on the ceiling flickered as the power system was temporarily compromised.

    As soon as the floor stabilized, Henry calmly finished making the final adjustment to the connection. The monitors behind Doug began flashing bright red in warning of impending doom.

    “Doug, you and I both know the reactor won’t remain stable for long. The containment is going to fail in a few minutes,” Henry reported as he tapped a screen in the wall and the auxiliary lights in the chamber shut down. “We have just enough time to get out of here. Please, Doug, listen to me!” he suddenly shouted as another small quake rattled the floor ominously.

    Doug simply shook his head as he got up from his seat and walked across the observation deck. The young scientist waved his hand at the scanner and a door smoothly slid open leading down to a elevator which connected the two chambers. With another dismissive wave, the metal doors slid shut and the freight elevator slid downwards the ten feet to the lower room.




    “W- where ... Where am I? What is this place?”



    Another seismic blast resonated through the massive science facility’s foundations, threatening to sever their fragile connections. The elevator ceased moving as the tremor continued --a standard safety procedure. A monitor in the corner of the small chamber flickered to life with a snap of Doug’s fingers.

    A shot of the burning capitol again. This time it was a section of footage from several hours ago. Gunships screamed over the smoking top of the capital, their electric engines whining as their pilots maneuvered them through sniper fire. Doug attentively watched the scene --the mission that had caused this mess in the first place. The airships circled the besieged capitol complex, their outer guns flashing as bursts of heated plasma rained down upon the revolting military units.

    Two of the ships landed on the burning rooftop of the senate hall. Gunfire enveloped the scene as a mob of figures dashed across the open space between the roof access hatch and the awaiting doors of the gunships. An eruption of static overtook the camera and when the picture was restored, the gunships were swiftly departing the burning capitol, smoke trailing from their wounds on their sides.

    It almost succeeded. We were so close. And now ... Now we’re paying the price, Doug thought as the elevator began to descend once more now that the rumbling had stopped. The doors opened and Doug calmly walked out into the chamber --foregoing usual procedures dictating he be sanitized beforehand.

    “What was it you always said about politics?” Doug asked as he briskly walked over the piles of wiring and forsaken computer monitors that littered the lab floor, his worn shoes scuffing themselves on the rough metal grates.

    “That getting mixed up in them is a death wish,” Henry said without a second’s pause as he pushed his glasses up onto the bridge of his nose once more. “Now, about leaving this deathtrap,” he began before Doug placed a hand on his shoulder, silencing him.

    “Henry. You may have heard what Eliza and the others said, but you can’t leave. We were assigned to watch over him, and I’m not going to evacuate until he is safely out of their reach,” the black-haired researcher declared as both of their gazes shifted to a steel gurney set up in the exact center of the room. Upon the object lay a seemingly-lifeless boy, the graces of late-teenage youth still present in his features and short-cut brown hair. In the teen’s stark clothes several blackened scorch marks burned through the fabric and left ugly welts and scars on the visible skin.

    Next to the table, a series of apparati were stacked on top of each other like a miniature building. Wires and tubes from their fronts connected to various places on the teen’s body, such as a breathing mask and other monitoring devices. If it were not for them, Doug was certain that there would be little more than a corpse on the counter.

    “Henry. He was one of two people they brought back. He didn’t deserve any of this. And you’re content to just ... Just leave him here?” Doug shouted. The other scientist looked over at the teen, a thick shadow of guilt weighed down his aged face. Suddenly he pulled away and curled his hands into fists.

    “Listen to me, Doug: I have a life up there. I have a wife. A family, Doug. Friends. I have something worth going back to. Something you seemingly don’t have or care enough about to go return to. I already lost my grandson, Doug. I’m not going to let the rest of my family feel that pain again from losing me,” the senior scientist viciously spat as he brushed away Doug’s hand off his shoulder. “If you excuse me, I will take my leave now. Good-bye, Douglas, you stubborn son of a bitch,” he huffed as he stormed towards the elevator. Doug took a deep breath. He knew it would come to this. The guilt card with the teen had been Plan A, but now there was no other option.

    “They won’t take prisoners, Henry.” The older man froze mid-step, his hand millimeters from pressing the button to call down the lift. Slowly, as another quake shook the floor and caused another hail of ceiling panels, Henry turned around.

    “What -- What are you talking about?” he asked, his voice stuttering for a split second. Doug continued to stare at the man.

    “They overthrew an entire government for one thing, Henry. They sabotaged the reactor for it. Do you honestly think that they won’t hesitate to shoot you the moment you get in their sights? Be reasonable. There’s no way out of this for us.” He slammed his palm on the gurney, inches away from the teen’s face to emphasise his point. He dug around his coat pocket, and after a second more of searching, he pulled out a small, folded piece of paper. On it, were the images of an older looking woman and a younger woman sitting side-by-side. He gently showed it to the older man.

    “See? I have family out there too, so don’t think I don’t care, Henry. Because I do. It’s probability, Henry. We’re probably trapped.” The ceiling shuddered as a large chunk of rock suddenly fell in between the two scientists, missing them by inches as the wind generated by it stung their eyes.

    “There is a way out for him, though. That’s why I need your help,” Doug implored as an alarm klaxon rung from somewhere on the burning world above. Henry closed his eyes and pressed his hands into the front of his face before huffing loudly.

    “No! I refuse to lay down my life for a child who’s already dead! I have too much to live for, Doug! I’m not willing to give up the rest of my years for you or him!” Henry turned away once again, his torn and singed labcoat making a sharp swishing noise as he quickly waved his hand in front of the sensor to activate the elevator. The older man faced him one final time as the elevator doors sealed shut with a resounding clang of metal locks.

    Doug felt like someone had punched him in the gut with an iron glove, he couldn’t breathe, and his vision seemed to go in and out of focus. After the year he had spent working with the veteran scientist, Doug was certain the two shared a sort of friendship, and it was that bond that Doug had gambled on. Now, as the doors shut, Doug knew that not even the illusion of brotherhood could keep a man from thoughts of self-preservation.

    “I guess it’s just you and me now, huh?” he asked the lifeless body, his own voice becoming weak suddenly and nearly catching in his throat. A deep rumble shook the facility again. In the corners of the chamber, chunks of ceiling displaced themselves and smashed on the ground. Doug shook himself out of the semi-trace Henry’s swift departure left him in as the announcement system buzzed to life once again.

    “Warning: fusion reactor core containment fractured. All Rogue Industries personnel are ordered to- to-to-to-t-t-t-t-t-- Warning: core containment fracu-fr-fr-f-r-f-f-- Power grid demands now exceeding supp-p- ... ly,” the digital male computerized voice stuttered as the mainframe was bombarded with radiation and heat from the fires that raged around the facility.

    The flatlights and life support monitors flickered for a split second before returning online. Doug’s breathing ceased for the entire second the machines were dark. His eyes noticed that the heartbeat rate for the teen was increasing ever so slightly. He was waking up. No, he can’t see this.

    Quick as a flash, Doug grabbed a small syringe labeled “Thiopental” off the surgical table. The medical tool abandoned by the team of doctors who attempted to save his life. Doug fumbled around with the needle for a moment before adjusting it according to the specifications on the data screen so the injector measured the correct dosage.

    The scientist aimed the needle at an exposed vein in the teen’s left arm and plunged the syringe into it. He clicked on the release valve and allowed the numbing agent to work its magic. The results were swift, as the heartbeat indicator on the screen instantly cut down to half and kept dropping until he was firmly unconscious once more.




    “Who ... wait! What are you doing? Don’t leave me here!”



    “Forgive me, but you can’t know. You can never know,” he whispered as another cataclysmic blast hit the facility, disintegrating the holdings for the high-voltage electrical cables that hung near the top of the chamber.

    He didn’t even have time to scream as several of the cables dislodged from their positions and swung down towards him, lethal sparks trailing from their ports. The thick metal wires slammed into the scientist, knocking him clear across the room.

    Doug felt like he had collided with the grill of a magne-train. His breath was cleared from his lungs and replaced with the sensation similar to drowning. His spine nearly fracturing as the dense concrete surface rushes to meet it. His entire world went dark for several seconds though his other senses remained fully functional: the bitter smell of singed clothing assaulted his nose, while the groaning of metal support beams played an orchestra of pain against his ear drums.

    However, despite every other sensation he observed, there was something that was very much lacking from coming into contact with the business ends of high-voltage cables: the utter agony that was associated with being electrified to death. Slowly gaining the courage to open his eyes, he saw that his numbness to the electricity was no mystery, for the dangling cables were completely lifeless.

    “This is number seven, I believe?” Henry’s tired voice buzzed over the intercom. The old man himself visible in the observation deck, his hands tapping the holographic keyboards as he commanded the technology to his will.

    Doug leaned back against the wall, his black hair gathering a coating of chalky powder from the shifting foundations. Taking a labored breath to refill his lungs, the man chuckled.

    “Six, the time with the turbines hardly counts as I saved you from falling immediately afterwards... I knew you wouldn’t leave,” Doug mumbled as he shoved himself off the wall and stood to his feet. Shaking his head, he returned to the operation station in the center of the chamber.

    “There was a fire blocking the hallway leading to the elevators, that’s why I couldn’t leave. I still think your plan is horrible, but, it seems I have no choice but to go along with it. What do you need?” Henry explained matter-of-factly as he tapped more sections of the glowing keys.

    “I need this room and his life support taken off the main supply and patched into the emergency grid. The core is going to melt through the turbines in a few minutes, so we can’t rely on it forever,” Doug said, doing a quick calculation in his head as he switched the apparatuses around the teen back online. As soon as the monitors beeped with the faint pulse of the boy, Doug let out a sigh as he backed away from the table.

    “Doug, I still have every intention of getting out of here alive. So, get yourself up here and start the procedure. Or else I’ll regret shutting down the power to those cords.” As Henry said this, the elevator doors slid open on a signal from the balding man above. Taking a final up close look at the teen, Doug reached into his coat and pulled out a small object wrapped in a layer of cloth from his inside pocket.

    Pulling away a portion of the cloth, he saw the thin gleam of blue shine forth from the item. Nodding to himself in satisfaction, Doug rewrapped the cloth and gingerly placed it in the teen’s open hand. The scientist gently curled the unconscious fingers around the cloth as he whispered a silent prayer for success.

    Turning around, Doug jogged across the chamber and entered the elevator once again. The flatscreen was silent this time around as the lift cranked upwards without issue. Just as the steel doors slid away to allow his egress, the melting core deemed it fit to throw another tantrum to signify its rapid death spiral. One of the most prestigious buildings in the entire Realm, taken down by a few jarheads with guns and a successful coup d'etat ... his thoughts reflected bitterly as Doug attempted to retain his balance on the walls aside the elevator.

    Henry held a stance of stone as he weathered the rocking like a well-accustomed sailor to a mega-storm in the Puel Sea, off the coast of the remnants of Alima. The veteran researcher continued tapping the halo-keyboards, shifting both chambers to the private-yet-smaller energy grid even as unstable plasma energy from the fusion core disintegrated several of the many turbines Rogue Industries had installed in this facility.

    “We have roughly seven minutes, Doug, until the plasma eats through the secondary containment and kills us. We stand a strong chance of not going to make it out of the blast radius,” Henry reported, pushing his crooked glasses up on his face once more. “Now, let’s get started.”

    Doug nodded as he wiped a thin layer of sweat off his forehead as he approached the consols. He pressed his hands together and bent his fingers until they popped slightly. He didn’t need to loosen them up, but the feeling helped him deal with the immense stress building in the air. The monitors flashed incessantly as they impatiently awaited to execute the commands.




    ”Let me out of here! Let me go! Let me go! Please!”



    Chats and graphics danced across the flatscreens, the status of the machine below wavered on the edge of stability as the rocking facility subsided for a brief reprieve. The statistics presented by the graph did not work out in their favor, and the odds decreased with every passing moment. Doug knew Henry could see the odds just as well as he could. The machine had never worked perfectly, even in its prime operating capacity it suffered faults --the most serious of these disintegrating the test subjects even before they were able to step through the gate. The only glimmer of hope was the fact that the past models were even worse with their survival ratio.

    No. It won’t happen this time. It’ll be a clean get-away this time. Doug stated in his mind as his fingers began to move in the air over the holographic keyboard. The computer reacted to his actions by pulling up a login screen displaying the Rogue Industries company seal: a lone iron gear from the archaic days of the first Industrial Revolution crossed with two artifacts associated with that era-- a majestic, forged-steel longsword and a humble, rusted hammer.

    “Henry, you were here when they shut it down last year. What was the source code they used? I can’t get past the firewall without it,” Doug inquired without even looking up from his monitor. Henry grumbled in discontent as he turned from his own monitor and consulted a small device he produced from the front pocket of his pants. The grizzled man stroked his short cut beard in thought, his other hand accessing the memory files in his miniature computer.

    “Here, I found it. Take a look and see for yourself, as company policy prevents me from speaking that code aloud under threat of death,” Henry replied, turning the rectangular device so Doug could read off the seven-character code on the screen. “Got it! We’re off the main grid. Emergency power won’t last long, but it’ll be enough to get us through,” Henry reported, a small twinge of excitement slipping into his voice. Just then, the machines around the room flickered for an instant as their energy instantaneously switched to the private turbine located within the maintenance tunnels behind the walls.

    Doug grinned as he continued to stare ahead at the glowing screen, his fingers moving as if possessed. “Thanks ... Now, just to add that in ... Accessing mainframe ... Reorienting server ... And we’re in!” Designs and charts popped up on the screen as Doug swiftly sliced through the cyber barricades put in place by his superiors.

    “Oh, no...” Henry suddenly muttered as he enlarged a video feed on his own screen. “Doug, the military is evacuating. They know the reactor is going to detonate...” his voice trailed off as despair seemed to take over the scientist. Before Doug could even attempt to try and console his co-worker, his screen flashed in tandem with the blaring intercom system.

    “W-W-Warning: R-R-Radiation levels exceeding safe exposure amounts. All Rogue Industries p-p-personnel are ordered to take shelter in the Omega, Beta, or Sigma anti-radiation chambers located on Decks: E, E-Two, F, F-Two, G, G-Three, H, H-BZZZZZzzzzTTT!” the computerized male droned before cutting off in a harsh static cry. Both scientists cringed as they instinctively covered their ears with their hands. The sharp electronic pitch issuing from the unseen speakers continued to blast for well over thirty seconds, during which time, Doug was almost certain he’d never be able to hear out his left ear again.

    “The military has taken control. All employees of the Rogue Industries Celestial Range Research Facility are vacate the premises and turn themselves in at any MDF checkpoint immediately,” the ever-friendly voice had turned dull and emotionless, indicating someone had managed to tamper with its normal programming. If Doug had any doubts about Henry’s statement, they were put to rest with the announcement system’s garbled suggestion.




    “It hurts! It hurts! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Please!”



    The ground gave a slight jolt beneath their worn shoes. Doug shot a knowing look over at the older man, who nodded in reply. Silently, the two Rogue Industries employees typed in the alpha commands. The circular, steel gate of wires and conductors sparked in the chamber below as energy flowed into its long-unused components. Readings popped up on the screens and were quickly adjusted to fit their parameters as they drew closer to initialization.

    “It’s the last thing. Henry, disengage the failsafe retrieval protocol,” Doug breathed as the final prompt opened on the screen, asking for a eight-digit passcode. He tapped his fingers impatiently against the cold, steel desk.

    “I know I’m going to regret this, but very well,” Henry sighed as he tapped his fingers across the shimmering number keypad. The system let out a soft ding and proceeded to adjust the parameters of the experiment as the electric currents in the chamber below cackled with voltage.

    Doug pressed a few more buttons in ordered sequence as the inner sides of the gate began to spark with arcs of energy along the terminals. Vibrations began to ripple across the faux-stone as the machine began to pulsate with raw energy. Doug gripped the sides of the desk tightly as he watched the initialization of the most unpredictable, dangerous, and all around most lethal machine in the Celestic Range facility.

    “Doug. You know the statistics as well as I do. Scores of people have been taken by the gate, by one model or another. What makes this any different? What is with this ... kid that you feel so compelled to put your own life on the line for him, even though he’s as good as dead?” Henry inquired as he fiddled with the power levels. The teen below remained completely oblivious to the lightning that was starting to rain about him.

    Doug looked out over the chamber through the glass. He didn’t know why he was doing this. He just knew that there was something that was altered this time. An acute variation in the scheme. A slight discrepancy in the story. A mutation in the sequence. A difference in the variables this time. A discontinuity removed.

    It was an unobservable observation --rather paradoxical it seemed in hindsight-- but one that made all the difference in the world. Doug just knew that he had to do it. He had to save this teen at all costs. There was no scientific reasoning behind it, rather, most things in science would scream at him to disregard the notions.

    “Henry, I honestly have no idea,” Doug mumbled as a flash of brilliant white light commanded their attention in the chamber below. The gate, the result of the greatest minds of theoretical physics, dimensional science, and engineering coming together across the shattered Realm to forge what amounted to an exit door to their prison. Steel and other impossibly strong metal compounds were combined into a large standing ring in the chamber floor, just waiting for another sacrificial victim.

    The ground shuddered again as the liquefying Fate-class tri-fusion reactors competed with the Gate for the most ground disturbance. Metal beams and mounted monitors crashed and shattered on the floor as both power sources threatened to shake the room to pieces.

    The equipment around the two scientists flashed the traditional deep red that most-often alluded to a high chance of ultimate danger. The announcement system blared another fevered command to abandon the complex before it was incinerated in a nuclear fireball, but both scientists paid it no need. The finest machinery in the entire world shuddered as a webs of energy congregated and spread to cover the open center of the Gate.

    “Stabilize the heat exhaust! We can’t let it overheat! Not now!” Doug ordered as he dashed to the monitor residing on the opposite side of the observation deck. Heat rippled in tormented waves as the machines down below were pushed to their upper limits of operation. Sweat beaded profusely on Doug’s brow as he switched open the vent system. Its effect wasn’t noticeable to the naked eye, but made all the difference in the world to keep the instruments from undergoing spontaneous combustion.




    “Let me leave ... I want to leave ...”



    “Raising energy of the Coils to one-hundred and five percent of current levels. Dimensional radiation should reach ignition point in about twenty seconds. Doug? Are you absolutely certain? This is an event horizon; there’s no going back. Not for him, not for us, not for anyone,” Henry asked, his stern voice quivering with worry as his hand hovered over the action keys.

    Doug was about to open his mouth as the announcement system gave a loud, static popping noise as the pre-recorded intelligence started to speak once again.

    “Attent-Attention-Atteentiionn -BZT! The experiment initialization you are currently requesting has a ninety-seven percent chance of being against Rogue Industries: Celestial Range Facility Operational Mandates, otherwise known as the R.I.C.O.M clauses. Security teams will be notified unless shutdown procedures are enacted immediately in accordance with the R.I.C.O.M clauses. This has been your final warning, [insert employe names here],” the orderly voice boomed, oblivious to the background apocalypse that raged just a few floors above and beneath them. Doug silently nodded his head. He had no idea what or even where he was sentencing the boy, but it hardly mattered. Even the burning depths of hell would seem a reprieve when compared to the atrocities being committed against them only a few hundred feet above their heads.

    “Oh, just shut it already!” Henry snapped at the system as he then grew serious, his features becoming pale as blood was flushed from them. The old man swallowed hard as he closed his eyes and tapped his finger against the glowing circle that triggered the activation.

    The thicket of wiring above and around them hummed with raw voltage as they threatened to suck the backup generator dry. The Displacement Coils inside the the Gate pulsed with a rhythmic energy, causing the cracks in the foundation to widen and split. Chunks of falling stone pelted both levels of the chamber, the scientists holding their arms above their skulls in a meager means of defense against the collapsing masonry.

    “Security forces are currently occupied. Please step away from the machine voluntarily and assume the surrender position until Rogue Industries officers arrive to detain you for your disobedience,” the computer voice chirped over the PA even as a section of the observation deck floor crumbled; leaving only a crater of twisted metal supports and pieces of concrete.

    “Doug, are you certain? There’s still time to reverse the charge...” Henry trailed off as Doug tapped the projected screen in a sequenced order that only raised the energy charge rate.

    The black-haired man keyed in the final code set, the final piece the the algorithmic puzzle that had perplexed the minds of passing eras. “If I wanted to back down, I would have left long ago. Deep down, you feel the same way. I know it.”

    Henry swore sharply at the younger scientist before giving Doug an exasperated sigh. He put up his hands in mock surrender. “You know? Being right doesn’t mean a thing if you’re dead, Doug.”

    With that somewhat philosophical remark, the threshold was reached. The air in the lower chamber pulsed as if it was waves on a stormy sea. The event horizon was crossed and both men knew there was no way back as the monitors cheerfully chirped that the Displacement Coils were ready to radiate the dimensional radiation necessary to power the Gate.




    “No ... Please, no ... No more tests ... No more surgeries ... Just let me die ... Please...”



    Both scientists’ gazes were glued to the thick observation window as a radiant blue light erupted from within the tunnel-like machine. Beams of pure energy bathed the lower room as another section of the ceiling landed on the medical machines connected to the boy. Doug let out a cry as he nearly jumped forward into the glass.

    Without those machines running, the teen probably had less than a minute left in his lifespan before death claimed him with his scythe. The floor beneath his feet suddenly subsided three feet, throwing the desks around him off balance and their contents clattering to the floor. Doug’s legs were torn out from beneath him as his face kissed the crumbling stone floor.

    He felt the skin on his nose and right cheek scrape against the rough ground and tear. He tried to brush off the harsh stinging associated with the rough abrasion. Alarm klaxons blared throughout the entire facility as the automated voice calmly explained the protocol for a proper in a nuclear fusion supernova. Above them, bolted metal passages screeched as they slammed into the stone walls on their way to the ground. Gas and electricity supply pipes split in two from the tremendous pressure of half a ton of rock and wiring crashing down on them.

    Suddenly, the lights died. The entire world was sealed underneath a coffin of eternal darkness punctuated only by the ethereal, pale white glow of the Coils beneath the thin metal sheeting that covered the gate. Doug hardly dared to breathe as a cloud of dust from the fragmenting ceiling entered the final stage of collapse. Flashes of bright red swiftly illuminated the room, bathing the wreckage in the color of fresh blood.

    Doug felt hands grasp the lapel of tattered lab coat and ungraciously hauled the near-witless researcher to his feet. He shot a quick glance over at Henry. From in between the quick flashes of red light, he saw the man now sported a small gash on the bridge of his forehead and a bloody sleeve of his coat from his attempts to stay the bleeding. His glasses sat awkwardly on his nose, their lenses cracked beyond all hope of repair.

    Neither man had time to speak as a wall of eternally while light engulfed them from the chamber below. The Coils had reached singularity with the Seal at last. As the dimensional wavelengths equalized, the less-than-miniature earthquakes intensified inversely to the length of the span of the disparity.

    Doug just stood there; his entire mind enraptured with the stark white apocalypse streaming through the reinforced glass as it purged the heinous evils from the realm of their desperation-fueled actions. Phosphenes appeared before his eyes as the pure light seared into his brain. Henry screamed something that was lost in the screeches of the dying facility. Doug didn’t even feel it as the other man slammed into him, his thin frame somehow managing to knock Doug off his feet and sent them both crashing to the floor.




    “Finally ... An exit ... The outside ... I’m fre-- ”



    Continued on Next Post
    Last edited by Knightfall; 23rd December 2013 at 9:28 PM.

  22. #222
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    There was little he could do to soften the impact between his torso and the crumbling ground except pray that his lab coat was thicker than he gave it credit for. His front collided with the concrete and sent a harsh burning sensation through the uncovered patches of skin on his hands and arms. He vehement curses to the obsolete gods of the Senex Tempora were muffled as the air was flooded with the ear-shattering blasts of energy disassociating from the Coils to the Gate.

    Energy pulses ripped through the thick window, the glass becoming like burnt paper against the raw, uncontained power that beat against it with furious rage. Not even splinters remained as every fragment of glass was vaporized before it could even reach the floor. Both scientists felt the star-like heat of the violent reaction occurring mere feet above their backs. Their lab coats were drenched with sweat that evaporated instantly and their skin on the verge of boiling.

    Their vision was completely white, their eyes unable to process even the smallest wavelength of the searing light flooding the room. Doug felt Henry push down on his side, trying to get both of them closer to the ground. He could only imagine the agony the older man felt being just a few inches closer to the incinerating radiation of the energy, if Henry hadn’t irradiated to the point of certain death already.

    Doug was vaguely aware of the ground heaving underneath him, only noticing the wounds fatal of the foundation opening in the concrete skin when it was far too late to run. Metal crunched, rock splintered, wiring snapped, and electronics died as the entire floor achieved the structural integrity of a stick of melting butter.

    What happened in the next ten seconds would become a complete blur to both scientists forevermore. All Doug knew was that when he woke up exactly ten and a half seconds later, he was laying haphazardly across a shattered flatscreen monitor in the subsidiary control room for the water, gas, and power lines that sat directly underneath the observation deck like a weary adventurer under a tree.

    The evacuation and cessation alarms never stopped even as they were melted by heat. Dust and sparks choked the air like smoke, forcing Doug to cover his mouth with his dirtied sleeve as he struggled to free himself of the tendril-like electrical cords. His feet and legs were constantly attacked by the debris of fallen concrete chunks and broken metal that penetrated his clothing and scratched at his skin.

    When he finally managed to break through the cloud of raining dust and heat, he could hardly believe his eyes. Henry had, despite his age, managed to already free himself from the wreckage without too many visible lacerations and cross the auxiliary computer-lined room.

    “Screen shows radon gas contamination in the access passage. There’s masks and RNS’s in this storage closet, though, so we should be able to make it through to the transfer sector easily,” Henry noted as he commanded a severely cracked flatscreen to power down with a wave of his hand.

    Doug stumbled over the last of the piles of wreckage listlessly, unable to force himself to be concerned with his own safety. He slowly glanced at the hole in the ceiling that they’d fallen through. Somewhere through that, was the stellar fireball that was the Infinity Gate --it had been the best of the dimensional transversing technology they had available that revolutionized the use of the Dimensional Coils as a conduit for the energy flow -- now, millions of government credits and even more precious resources were burning through the floor and containment unit.

    Doug couldn’t break free of the overwhelming wave of guilt that threatened to crush him. He tried to tell himself there was no way they could have prepared for this. That machine needed days to charge up, not a few minutes, and they didn’t have that time. There was no possible way they could have known about the coup, the infiltration, and the brutal operation.

    He let out a hard laugh as he pressed his hand against the steel-plated walls of the lab. There was no justification for this. No amount of his persuasive argumentation would stay the consequences of his actions. It had been him who put in the order. It was him who deactivated the safety procedure. And it had been him who refused to give up until his inane plot was set in motion. Heat pulsed like a vile organ above them, beating down on him as he stared up at the ruins of the increasingly decaying experiment chamber.

    “I killed him, Henry. He’s gone. H-he didn’t even have any say in it! I just killed him! And he watched me do it!” Doug’s voice grew from a hushed whisper and then broke into a yell. Red-hot fragments of metal dripped down from the hole in the ceiling, sizzling on the cooler concrete and electronics on the floor. Henry apparently ignored the younger man’s outburst as he slipped the clear, plastic mask over his nose and mouth and opened the microfilter shortly before snapping a watch-like machine on his right wrist. He then grabbed another mask and walked over to the grieving scientist.

    “Doug ... Weren’t you the one to tell me that ‘he was better off dead’ rather than returning to the surface? So what if he’s dead, then? We have no visible proof that he is dead as neither of us saw the results. So, even if he is gone or the Gate, by some miracle, actually worked, then either way, he is in a better place. Now, unless we want to die ourselves, you’d better get your sorry rear over here and take a mask,” Henry stated, giving Doug’s shoulder a strong shake. The wizened man held a mask and watch-like machine out, indicating for Doug to take them.

    “He watched me murder him. He saw me sedate him and then pull the damn switch. Oh, God, what have I done?” Doug’s voice dropped again to barely above a whisper as a huge glob of molten metal dripped down from the ceiling. A small fragment flung into the air and zipped through his coat, burning a clean hole through it, and passed onto the floor. Henry sighed and firmly grasped Doug’s shoulder with an unoccupied hand once again.

    “Doug. Listen to me right now. You did the right thing. Just imagine what the soldiers would have done to him. If anything, you gave him the most humane way out possible. Now, we have to go right now! Take a mask and RNS and let’s move it!” Henry reassured as he clapped Doug hard on his shoulder blade. Doug took one final look at the hell seeping through the ceiling above and swiped both apparati from Henry’s outstretched hand.

    Doug looked at the plastic piece of technology, anything to keep the guilt away. The mask was nothing impressive. Covering just the nose and mouth, their eyes would be suspect to anything the dying facility outside the bulkhead could throw at them. At least the filter is up to code, Doug noted as he strapped the mask over the lower part of his face and switched on the filter. The next device, however, was on the bleeding edge of safety equipment.

    The Radiation Nullification Shield was exactly what it said it was. A weak field of stable electrons that projected over the area of a human body like a jumpsuit, held in place by the minor gravitational pull the human possessed. Alpha, beta, and gamma radiation was immediately absorbed and neutralized by the massive amount of free valence electrons within the field. Doug strapped the RNS to his wrist and tapped the glowing screen. Instantly, a flash of translucent, electric-blue enveloped him and spread entirely around his body --completely covering his shoes and the mess of black hair on his head.

    Once he had both safety features activated, he gave Henry an affirmative nod that he was ready. The other man nodded himself as he keyed in the access code on the holographic pad on the side of the heavy, metal door. The bulkhead shuddered as the minimal power still present in the system sluggishly deactivated the electric locks and anti-surge field. As the door groaned along the tracks in the floor towards the wall, both men rushed out of the small command room, the smell of burning electronics swiftly filling the air.

    The hallway was carved out of the mountain stone and lined with steel pipes, wiring, and monitors. Glancing down the darkened corridor, Doug hoped that there wasn’t anyone laying in ambush within the pitch black areas of the dimmed passage. Although invisible and virtually undetectable to them, their RNS’s flickered blue around their bodies as the overwhelming presence of radioactive radon came into contact.

    Unhindered by the debilitating gas, the two jogged down the hall, passing scores of abandoned metal supply crates and various forlorn gadgets strewn along the path. The ground shook violently again, sending both men into the smooth rock walls. As soon as the core had subsided enough, Henry shook himself off and took the lead. Doug tried to keep his mind in check and focused as they shoved aside wayward boxes and kicked away wreckage. The guilt from earlier hadn’t been completely removed by Henry’s encouragement, it only festered inside him and began to snap at his insides like a ravenous beast.

    The corridor ended abruptly at a locked door. The access panel flashing red in alarm that signaled immediate and present danger was just on the other side of the six inches of metal. Unfortunately for them, their only means of escape was also in that direction. Not daring to even breathe, Doug aligned the floating numbers, and watched as the barrier slid into the wall, trailing sparks as it ran along the tracks.

    The room ahead was a perfect picture of the pits of hell. The gates leading to the many elevators were smashed open, the transports themselves spouting small tongues of demonically burning fire, sparks leaped through the air from ruined computer modules and severed electrical cables, and radiation alarms blared and flashed green on the ceiling. Though neither men paid much attention to any of those details as they looked at the floor.

    Bodies, both of men and women. At least a dozen were slumped against the wall, ugly black burn marks from the soldiers’ plasma weaponry scarring each of them. The overwhelming smell of smoldering flesh struck Doug even through the filters. He felt his head start to spin as he nearly vomited inside his mask.

    This wasn’t a sudden onslaught, Doug realized clutching his dazed head, They were executed while we were hiding in the chamber. He saw another body laying on the opposite of the room. Based on the complete set of armor and visored helmet that adorned it, Doug could tell it was one of the soldiers that had been sent to slaughter them all. A pool of blood sluggishly widened underneath the helmet, the front of which was smashed inward, cracks appearing in the strong plastic visor. A bloodied pipe wrench was cast aside on the floor nearby.

    At least they put up a fight, he grimly thought as he shut his eyes to the sight and smell.

    “Doug! Come quick! Hurry!” Henry shouted. Opening his eyes, Doug pushed through the horrifying smell and saw the greying head of his friend crouched near the line of bodies. He waved his wrinkled hand and yelled for him to come quickly.

    As Doug approached, he saw exactly what Henry was bent over. It was the body of a man that Doug estimated to be even older than Henry by the looks of his completely greyed hair. The only problem was that this body was still moving and talking.

    “Oh, God ... Thank God someone found me at last...” the man whispered before a violent cough ripped through his weakened form. Doug knelt down on the man’s left side opposite Henry. Despite the flickering light, Doug suddenly realized that he knew this man. Through the blood spattered clothes and bruised skin, he remembered his enthusiastic director of the Dimensional Studies Department, Matthew Gideon. The man who had given him his job the very day he graduated from the University of Phenac, and who had assigned him to his post as Assistant Researcher under his colleague Henry Hall.

    “Mr. Gideon, sir. Are you alright? What happened?” Doug knew the first question was an obvious ‘no’, but he had to ask.

    “N-no, Douglas. I am not quite at one-hundred percent as you can possibly see. I would be better off if you could remove that weight from my chest, though,” Matthew wheezed as Henry obediently reached down, hefted the “weight” off the downed scientist, and carefully laid the male body on the floor away from the director.

    “Much better ...” Matthew groaned as he leaned up against the wall to examine the damage to himself. Doug’s head was getting woozy again from the thick odor of burnt skin, but it immediately cleared up once he laid eyes on the injured man’s torso. A wide circle of charred skin was located about the spot where his stomach was supposed to be.

    “Damn. That’s going to need more than a first aid kit to sew up,” Matthew cynically observed as yet another cough shuddered through him, breaking open some of the hardened, burnt flesh in his wound, allowing fresh blood to flow once again. “Those soldiers weren’t taking any chances with any of us.”

    “Save your energy, Matt, please. Let’s try to move. The wound isn’t that bad,” Henry urged as he tried to get his arm behind Matthew’s back. The old man was met with a swift slap to his arm by the even older director. Doug watched with slight bemusement at seeing someone put his stuffy co-worker in his place.

    “Leave me be. My eyes still work just fine, thank you. I can see that I’m not going to get out of this one.” Henry was about to interject when Matthew held up his hand. “No. You both will listen to me now. I have one question that I demand an answer to first and foremost: Did you get rid of it?” Henry’s gaze shot over to Doug for a moment as he cleared his throat.

    “Sir, Doug did it. But, please, let us help you u-” Henry admitted. Matthew slowly turned his fatigued head over to Doug.

    “Shut up, Henry. Doug. You used the Gate, didn’t you? Good, good. Now that’s cleared up, I want both of you to know something,” Matthew whispered, raising his arm to catch his cough. Specks of blood peppered his sleeve once he pulled it away. Both Doug and Henry leaned slightly closer.

    “The exits are all patrolled, Eliza and the others already took the last tram out, and the hanger has been sealed off. You both will have to go through the administrative areas and get to the delivery bay at Gate A. Those are locked down, so you’ll need my access card to get in,” he explained all in one breath as he brandished a sleek, plastic card from the tattered pocket of his coat.

    Henry reached forward to take the card, but the older man suddenly jerked it away, the sudden action causing him to grimace in pain.

    “Not yet. I need something in return. Doug, would you be so kind as to grab that pistol and bring it here?” Matthew requested calmly, as he clutched the outside of his gaping wound. Doug immediately knew what the director was planning on doing, but nevertheless, slowly got to his feet and shuffled the three yards across the floor to the fallen Mainland Defense Soldier. The plasma pistol was still firmly in the dead man’s grasp. Doug took a deep, reassuring breath of filtered air as he crouched down and pried the stiff, gloved, fingers off the weapon.

    “Gideon! What do you think you’re doing? We can still get you out of here!” Henry shouted as Doug solemnly returned with the gun. “Doug, don’t give it to him!” Henry’s panicked protests were immediately silenced as he was met with bitter stares from both men.

    “Henry, you told me the same thing back there about the boy. It’s your turn to let go,” Doug angrily snapped as he gave the handle of the pistol to the dying man, who in return handed over his card.

    “It’s my time, Henry. Not much will be able to change that. Just get out of here. Go back to your family and tell Charline I said hello, would you? The other facilities should have gotten the distress signal by now, so hopefully someone will be around to rescue you two once you get out,” Matthew sighed as he grasped the weapon and eyed it curiously. The ceiling above them groaned under the pressure as cracks laced through it.

    There was little more Henry could do to sway either of them of their convictions. Doug pulled Henry to his feet by his arm and motioned towards the door that lead to the access stairs across the room.

    “Goodbye, Mr. Gideon. Thank you for giving us a chance to escape,” Doug tersely said as he pulled Henry away from his old friend. The aged man pushed against Doug’s grip, but calmed as Matthew spoke for the last time.

    “Henry, thank you for everything. It’s been a one hell of a run between the two of us. Now, you’ll have to finish without me,” Matthew wheezed as he switched the safety feature off on the weapon.

    The walk to the stairs was completely silent as Doug ushered Henry inside the stairwell. Doug looked back once more at the fallen man before sliding the thin, metal door shut. They waited one moment before a bright light flashed through the small, ash-coated window of the door and the muffled sound of a single discharge echoed through the crumbling facility.

    As if sharing its lament over the loss of its employee, the massive building groaned as the concrete ceiling caved in on the transport chamber, giving Matthew at the very least an impromptu burial underneath several tons of the facility he had loved.

    Doug looked back at Henry; the older man was leaning over the metal bar of the stairs whispering a prayer into his gas mask for his friend. Whether the omnipotent being in the sunless sky above would hear his prayer was up to debate, but Doug respectively waited until he was finished to suggest they move upwards.

    The next few moments passed relatively quickly. Without words, both men sprinted up the creaking, welded steel, staircase. With every floor that they passed, the danger only increased.

    “Warning: Electromagnetic containment fields discharging. Seventy-two and one half percent change remaining. Seventy-two and one third charge remaining. BZT!” the voice chimed before cutting out again. The announcement only spurred the men even more. Despite Henry’s age and brief exposure to the radiation, he was keeping pace with Doug’s sprinting up the countless flights of stairs. Adrenaline and the threat of instant death kept fatigue away as both men flew through the twenty underground stories to the surface floors.

    They dashed past more execution sites with eyes closed, not letting anything else distract them from their task. The hallways of the office were completely deserted except for the occasional battered body of a burnt scientist or bludgeoned soldier killed during the invasion.

    Matthew’s card had proved useful as they swiftly barreled through the double glass doors of the administration area, narrowly avoiding the automated plasma bolts of the turrets placed in the lobbies. The bolts sizzled in the blast-resistant glass as both men caught their breath for one moment before moving once again.

    Together they vaulted over desks and office computers, Henry losing little ground to Doug even with his age. Hallways and offices blurred together as the two kept following the directional signs. Rogue Industries prided itself on efficiency, a virtue Doug was glad it had as the paths were straightforward even as the facility entered its death throes.

    Quicker than they imagined, they were pressing the access panel to open the miraculously unguarded Gate A. Red alarms continued to flash and flood the air with a loud klaxon as the metal door screeched away into the walls. The delivery bay was completely empty except for the smoldering remains of three magnet trams and the looted bins of cargo they possessed. Henry and Doug climbed over the large metal containers as they drew ever-closer to the wide exit of the Gate.

    Nodding to each other from atop a crate, both men suddenly leaped. Doug managed to tuck in his shoulder and roll over it upon impact with the ground while Henry jarred his legs painfully when he hit the pavement. Once he completed his maneuver, Doug ran back to assist his companion who was struggling to get to his feet.

    Henry winced in pain as Doug put his hand around his back and made the limping man lean on his shoulder. The older man attempted to counter by saying he didn’t need help, but Doug refused to let go as they slowly but surely inched away from the Celestic Range Facility.

    The ground suddenly quaked violently as the muffled voice blared that the containment field had only ten percent charge left and was draining fast. The unchecked reaction in the nuclear fusion core would blast through the facility in no time at all once the electromagnetic field failed. Panic began to set in as both battered scientists immediately picked up the pace of their limp, despite the immense pain it brought Henry.

    Cragged, majestic mountains surrounded them and offered the promise of a safehaven if only they could reach it in time, their lofty peaks pointing towards the orange tinted skies of the darkening horizon away from the heinous crimes against the heavens occurring below. Both men heard the humming of the electric motors long before they ever saw the gunships they belonged to as the graceful, steel birds flew around the base of the mountains in a tight formation.

    Hoping against hope that their tiny forms wouldn’t be picked up by the military radars within the craft as they stumbled haphazardly across the gritty pavement that lead out of the delivery bay. Though, their concerns hardly mattered, for at that moment, the world seemingly leap six feet into the air and a roar akin to a host of demons breaking free of the chains of hell exploded through the mountains.

    Doug and Henry were violently thrown ten feet forwards, the blast and quake slamming into their backs like a Magna-Tram and kicking their feet out from under them, leaving the men little protection from the insane whims of the explosive force. Doug flew in a graceless arc through the air, his limbs loose and flailing as he tried to stop the world from spinning.

    His wish was granted soon enough when the rough pavement rubbed the skin on his legs and arms raw with the impact. The angered giant of sound shook the earth as it marched from the epicenter of the reactor deep underground. Doug barely had time to focus on his own immense pain as he heard a soft thud beside him as Henry was thrown into the base of a lofty pine tree.

    It was then that the fallout hit. A hellish mixture of debris and radiation rained down upon them from the tumultuous clouds. Sections of concrete walls slammed into the ground like drops of water, flash-burned masses of half-melted metal flew further from the erupting facility and stuck to the sides of nearby mountains, and the giant blades of the turbines impaled the rock as if it was a knife through bread.

    Their RNS’s began beeping erratically as the volatile atoms broke free of their unstable forms within the core and sped through the countless layers of lead and rock up to the surface. The watch-like machine flashed red as the field was pelted with an assault of thousands of radioactive particles, yet the shield did its job and maintained the barrier between the lethal dosages of radiation and the two battered and broken humans depending on them. Heated metal shattered once it connected with the cooler rock, sending razor-esque shrapnel slashing through the air.

    Doug weakly lifted his head as the roar gradually died down, the beast responsible content with its show of force and ready to slumber in its den once more. Considering he had not been flash fried by the intense heat of the uncontrolled reaction, he could only assume that the containment had held it long enough to mitigate the apex of the blast so that it would be cancelled out by the sheer volume of concrete, steel, mountain rock, and lead.

    He gave a low sigh, again, Rogue Industries had seemingly prepared for nearly every possible scenario and a way to either counter or alleviate the effects of said scenario. Doug raised his head up, weakly pushing with his arms. The downpour of lethal hail seemed to have subsided except the gentle snow of papers somehow not scorched in the fireball. He turned to the side, gazing a few feet away where his companion was groaning.

    Henry had, in a show of sheer will, pushed himself up and was now leaning against the base of the spindly evergreen. The old man was breathing heavily and clutching his right knee while ignoring the plethora of angry, red abrasions along his arms, legs, and under his tattered labcoat. Other than those issues, however, he seemed to be alive and that was what mattered now.

    Doug gingerly flipped himself over so he was lying on his back. He felt a shooting pain travel through his chest. There was something a mess in his ribs, he knew that fact well enough based off the immense agony associated with moving. Doug was so preoccupied with his injuries that he did not notice the increasing volume of a static hum and rotating blades from the sky.

    The metal birds had not been scared off by the beast’s roar, and had quickly reformed and were diving in fast towards the ruined facility. The flock sliced through the dust cloud that settled in the mountainous valley, their bright searchlights scanning systematically over the rocky plateau until they came into focus over the two scientists on the outskirts of the military occupation zone.

    They might as well have been loaves of bread to the hungry flock of metal raptors as one of the gunships swiftly descended into the radiation cloud from the dusk-colored sky. Thoughts of immediate self-preservation ran through his head and became a painkiller of sorts as the fatigued young researcher leaped to his feet. The metal vehicle settled on a patch of ground not punctured with fragments of offices and laboratories and only kicked up the dust further as its engines died down with a whine.
    The gangway doors flew open with a mighty swing that blasted the dust away. Like parasitic fleas, soldiers in the very same uniforms both men had encountered inside leap from the interior of the diseased bird. Their tinted visors glinted in the dying light of the day as the five men swung their weapons about the clearing leading from the wrecked delivery bay.

    Doug could only watch in silence as the men swiftly surrounded both him and Henry. Not even the threat of death could get him in a state to outrun the speed of plasma bolts. Doug gave a low groan as one of the armored men walked up to him.

    “Your identification beacon says you are Doctor Douglas Strickland. Is that you?” he inquired, his voice sounded like it was being forced through a radio. It wasn’t a question that could be avoided, not with two other men holding him within their aim the entire time. Doug shot a quick glance towards Henry, who was receiving the same treatment from two other MDF soldiers.

    “Y-Yes. I am,” he squeaked, his fear-laced voice barely escaping his bone-dry throat. The soldier simply gave a quick nod to his two squadmates and turned away. Before Doug had a chance to react, he felt the heavy butt of the plasma rifle smash into his back and again into his skull. Stars exploded in front of his vision as the combined forces of exhaustion and the blows made his body fall like a rag doll.

    Only one thought persisted in his mind as his body failed and the soldiers jeered: You made it out. I know you did. Good luck. Doug’s body then went limp and his head fell against the rocky ground.




    “This one ... This one ... This one ... ... ... Just might work ..."



    In a world far away from the chaos. Separated from the radiation, the violence, and the torture by a great web of dimensional energy. Within this world, a sudden blast of blue lightning enveloped a dying wheat field outside of a small village.

    The ground shuddered as blue-colored electricity flashed through the dried stalks of swaying wheat. For an instant, dimensional singularity was reached and a harsh sonic boom echoed throughout the lands. A thud was heard as something soft impacted with the dried and cracked earth.

    A pained groan in the darkness was heard as the soft thing weakly raised its head. He attempted to push up on his right arm slightly, but as soon as he contracted the muscles in said arm to move it, a sharp pain sparked from his chest to every single nerve ending in his body. Spots danced before his already blurry eyes as pure pain lanced across his entire being.

    Unconsciousness threatened to overwhelm him. His vision tilted and twisted as memories and thoughts evacuated his traumatized mind. His childhood, his family, his friends, his home, all vanished in an instant, replaced by a desperate yearning to remember.

    Flashes of light, someone calling out to him, fire, a ruined city, a destroyed world, a key to the barrier, and a phrase whispered from somewhere far away and long ago as his vision died and head slumped to the ground:

    “He is no one, not anymore.”



    End Chapter 0.5v2



    Author’s Notes: Well, finally, this is done. It took some time to finish, but now that it is, I love how it turned out. This is truly how I intended for the prologue to turn out, but, with my limited writing skills, I couldn’t convey that with my older version.

    I put quite a lot more detail into everything, as you can probably tell. The world, the facility, the crisis, I also focused a lot more on Doug and Henry, trying to develop them as much as I could in the space of this chapter. I also tried to keep some of the things people enjoyed from the first version in this rewrite, such as the somewhat humorous lines from the facility announcer and Doug and Henry’s dialogue with each other.

    Just for future reference, this and Chapter One are the only chapters that I plan on reworking for now. Chapter One needs more ... stuff added to it like better description, and small things need to be tweaked, such as the now non-canon ending scene with Doug’s observations.

    So, I hope you enjoyed this newer version. Feedback on it would be greatly appreciated. And, if you are a new reader seeing this, then I welcome you to my story!

    Link to Chapter One!

    I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time now: Retcon valid.

    Knightfall signing off...
    Last edited by Knightfall; 23rd December 2013 at 9:23 PM.

  23. #223
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    Have to say, the fates of the scientists now seem more clear.
    Anyway, the description in this prologue is fantastic, but it did however, bog down my progression with reading the story where it eventually came to my mind mentally skimmingnthe descriptions to actually get to the results.

    Still, it's leagues better than the original and doesn't have song references in it, making it more lore friendly to the story.

    Looking forward to the chapter 1 re-write.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  24. #224
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    Please, note that I'm responding the Chapter 13, I'll look over the prologue later.
    By the way, awesome chapter! Much inspiration comes from the land you just described!

    The held the province under her sway for months...
    I think you meant to say "they".

    Nightfall will be here sooner then you’d believe.
    I see what you probably didn't intend to do there!

    Let me end this with something I'm good at, ranting! Knighty, you sadistic ****! Not Kelly! You really do hate me, don't you!? I look forward to seeing what happens from here.
    Last edited by Meeker; 24th June 2013 at 12:00 AM.
    Nothing interesting here. Carry on.
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  25. #225
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    Chapter 13

    and even more plead to their Legendary of choice to remove her from the realm of the living with divine fire and lightning.
    Wow that was well written. Flowed nicely, and conjured up some vivid imagery. Nicely done

    That whole first sectioned off sequence was very well done, and I liked it quite a bit but I did have one slight note for you. I almost thought it was a little too dramatic and evil. The first two or three paragraphs summed up the obvious psychosis and violence, and it felt like you were almost trying to reassure me of what you were trying to convey. Like hey, she's completely nuts, you got it!? Sometimes when you express motivations and mentality too extremely, it can make readers feel like you don't trust them to understand what you're writing. does that sound right?

    Artificially produced gasps
    Artificially? I'm not sure how that word fits into there when used with body functions. clarify?

    sending earth and other particulates spraying into the air.
    That part made me stumble as well. Other particulates? like what?

    He initiated the audio recording equivalent of a deep breath --completely arbitrary as his body did not require air in the slightest, but the noise was comforting in an odd way.
    Once again some beautiful and inventive description there. I'm actually really amazed by how you keep improving, especially how fast

    Wire tried to process all of what the Sableye was saying. [i]If this statement is true, then it means that …
    formatting error

    Luckily, his body seemed to be developing a slight resistance to it, but not nearly as much as he’d like.
    I was going to say that as many times as it has happened, he'd better haha

    Leo was tired. To say simply that would be a massive understatement.
    Hmm, that read weird for me. In the second sentence you said that to say it simply would be an understatement, but the first sentence you did. I know you describe it fully in the next sentence when you say that he's 'dead' tired, but it just threw me off. Might read better as 'To say simply that Leo was tired would be a massive understatement'...then have the 'dead' tired as the next sentence. just a suggestion

    Every Pokémon sprung into action as they started gathering in clusters of no more than four. Leo was suddenly pulled backwards, the backpack choking him for a moment as his forward movement ceased. He quickly turned around, wheezing slightly, as Jay let go of him.
    Noah was busy trying to tell them advice about what to do when the distortion hit. “Listen up. Whatever you do: Do not move. I’ve been through this before, trust me. Just stay still,” he said quickly as what looked like a giant dust cloud appeared on the horizon. The giant mass of billowing dirt and debris sped towards them, whipping up wind as it approached.
    Formatting issue there

    I really loved the description of the journey through the cloud to the dungeon. It was a flawless transition from one place to the next. That journey, and 'Links', are they a part of Mystery Dungeon lore? Or is it your own invention. The more I read your story, the more I actually want to go pick up one of the games lol

    “She’s gone.” Leo felt something inside him collapse
    I'm gonna kick your ***

    I'd have to say that my favorite moment in this chapter was Torrent hulking out and ripping that Magnemite apart, but it's only a shave higher up than that crazy psychopath of an ice type lol. The foreign language you used, was it made up, or is it an actual language? Either way, it was an extremely effective way to build the character into something more menacing, and I loved it. But yeah buddy, all in all, and awesome chapter. I'm excited for the next, and I promise it won't be as long of a wait for the next review lol

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

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