1. We have moved to a new forum system. All your posts and data should have transferred over. Welcome, to the new Serebii Forums. Details here
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Be sure to join the discussion on our discord at: Discord.gg/serebii
    Dismiss Notice
  3. If you're still waiting for the e-mail, be sure to check your junk/spam e-mail folders
    Dismiss Notice

Angels and Demons

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by chosen_one386, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    Oh my word! An amazing chapter! Where to begin eh?

    I loved the description again and also your slight take on it all, very good actually because it's quite nice to see a different perspective to it that does show how Christianity and Science can get along if in the right cirvumstances. There really isn't much to say because you've done amazing work on this chapter! Well Done!
     
  2. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Yeah, I'm definintly trying to steer away from the message Dan Brown portrayed in the book and the movie. Thank you for reading! :)
     
  3. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    This chapter is when things start to veer off track from the original plotline.



    5.

    The impact flattened everyone in the square. Katharine fell to her knees, pushing her forehead to the concrete underneath her and pressing her hands against it to stop from being blown away. She counted the seconds as the waves of energy pressed over her, keeping her eyes averted from the sky above. She could feel Rowan’s strong grasp press down on her back, keeping her from flying backwards. He had caught up to her seconds before the antimatter erupted.

    Tears started to run down her face as the wind whipped past her. The realization that the camerlengo was most likely not returning from his helicopter flight hit her as hard as the blast had. She heard glass shatter in the windows around the square, and a shattering sound echoed around her from an unknown source. Finally, the waves died down, leaving light winds to breeze across the square.

    “Are you okay?” Rowan asked as he helped her to her feet. Around the square, people were slowly making their way to a standing position. She nodded, and looked up into the sky, her eyes on the shining waves of color that emanated from the epicenter of the blast. Then, she gasped. The helicopter was gone…but she could just make out a parachute flying away from the blast center.

    It took the parachute several minutes to make its way into the square, and by then, the camerlengo was unconscious. Several of the Swiss Guards and bystanders, including an Aquapolian newscaster, scrambled after the parachute as it finally touched down on the Vatican steps, its passenger crumpling and the top. The Swiss Guards pushed their way to the front, keeping bystanders away from the camerlengo. Katharine pushed her way through the crowd to the steps, flying up each one until she made her way to the small crowd.

    “Wait…stand back!” She shouted at the Swiss Guards, pushing her way to the camerlengo’s side as several started to pick him up off the ground. The halted as she reached out to grab his sleeve. “Father!” She gasped, shaking his arm. “Father?”

    He slowly opened his eyes, much to her relief. His emerald gaze finally met hers and she smiled. “You’re okay,” she whispered.

    ------------

    Langdon and Vittoria stood in one of the glass Swiss Guard offices, watching as several nurses patched up the camerlengo’s wounds on his head and arms in another glass room. Rowan was speaking to him in a hushed tone. Katharine was in the room with Langdon, slumped in a chair, her eyes on her teacher and her father.

    “That was incredible,” Langdon muttered to Vittoria. “Split-second thinking. I doubt if any of us would have had the courage to do that.”

    Vittoria shook her head. “I’m just wondering why he didn’t leave it to the Swiss Guard to take care of it…Surely, they’re trained in helicopter flying…”

    “Father is, too,” Katharine interjected softly. “For a time, he was in the Italian army Aquapolian division. He would only fly a helicopter instead of handling a weapon.”

    ------------

    Rowan crossed his arms, trying to stop himself from shaking even harder than he had been out in the square. Small sparks of anger rushed through him from time to time as he watched the nurses clean the camerlengo’s head wounds, which were already healing considerably. The priest’s healing nature wouldn’t save him if he were blown apart by an antimatter bomb. What had he been thinking? Few people knew of his healing powers, because he refused to speak of them in front of strangers.

    Rowan had only learned of it after visiting Katharine during the summer when she was young. Her cat had decided to climb up on one of the roofs of the Vatican, and the camerlengo had insisted on getting it down himself instead of letting her climb up there. He had ended up saving the cat, but dislocating his shoulder in the process. Minutes later, his shoulder was perfectly fine, and he shook off Rowan’s question if Katharine’s healing powers had advanced so far. Finally, he confessed that he had elementary healing powers. Rowan snorted. Even powerful psychic Aquapolians couldn’t heal as fast as the priest had.

    Rowan gritted his teeth. With Cardinal Reed dead, they had lost part of the knowledge they had about the Chosen One’s powers. Years and years of study, gone in just one night. What if the camerlengo had perished along with the antimatter? Another part…an even larger part. Rowan was a practical man. Though he knew the sadness one felt of someone close dying, he also knew of the knowledge lost with one’s death.

    Finally, the nurses left the room, leaving Rowan and the camerlengo to themselves. The priest tried not to meet Rowan’s furious gaze for several minutes, and the professor had to remind himself that this man, though intelligent and mature, was still a decade younger than he was. And had just escaped a terrible death. Rowan cleared his throat. “You need to tell her…now. Otherwise, I’ll tell her.”

    The camerlengo’s head shot up. He fixed Rowan with his gaze for several seconds before saying, “Fine…” He shook his head and looked back down to the floor.

    “Just don’t do anything like this again,” Rowan snapped, leaving the glass room and holding the door open for Katharine to walk in. He glanced back into the room before joining Langdon and Vittoria. “Well, things are going to change a bit around here.”

    Langdon smirked at Rowan’s understatement. “Hopefully, this will raise the Swiss Guard’s awareness to future threats. Especially…Aquapolian ones.” He frowned, still trying to process the fact that all of the enemies that were supposedly part of the Illuminati were Aquapolian. Something was off about this fact, and he was dying to know exactly what was wrong. He had an itching feeling that they were not in fact facing the Illuminati, but he couldn’t be quite sure until he gained access to the Vatican archives again.

    Rowan shook his head. “The only way the Swiss Guard could defend the Vatican efficiently against Aquapolians is to appoint more Aquapolians to its rank. Humans don’t know how to fight Aquapolians that are trained to kill.”

    A shiver ran up Vittoria’s spine as she listened to Rowan’s words. It was bad enough that the antimatter had detonated as promised, but the fact that they were up against trained Aquapolian killers was enough to scare anyone speechless, especially an Aquapolian who was not trained to fight and was born in a human state like Langdon and Vittoria. Rowan and Katharine alone wouldn’t be able to fight them off if the supposed Illuminati decided to stage a physical attack after they realized their plan had failed.

    “Did anyone else hear that shattering sound?” Langdon interjected into Vittoria’s thoughts. So she hadn’t been the only one to hear it. It had been almost deafening and had shook her to the core.

    Rowan dismissed it. “It was probably all of the window’s of the square being blown out at once. Nothing more.”

    ------------

    The crowd was slowly recovering outside of the Vatican’s walls. Newscasters were hurridly re-positioning themselves in their original spots, desparate to report this news to their individual countries. Heath Dragonstone had been the first to recover, and the first to switch back on the cameras. He couldn’t stop shaking for some reason. The shattering sound that had accompanied the blast had unnerved him terribly, and he didn’t know why.

    ------------

    Eric Reed pushed through the crowd in front of the Vatican, desparately searching for a Swiss Guard. He pushed through several groups of native Italians and Italian-Aquapolians, before finally catching sight of the Aquapolian newsanchor, Heath Dragonstone. He was talking to his cameraman, preparing for his next piece.

    “Excuse me, sir?” Heath looked up at the young man. “Do you know where any members of the Swiss Guard are around here?”

    Heath looked him up and down, surveying the clean cut young man carefully. He wore a simple black collared dress shirt with dark jeans and black boots, so he could either be American or Aquapolian depending on his choice of dress. His eye’s went to the young man’s neck, instantly spying the Aquapolian pendent. The boy’s sandy blonde hair was pushed out of his light blue eyes, which contained a certain urgency that Heath was sure rushed through every Aquapolian in the square at that moment.

    “Is someone hurt?” He asked, staying on guard in case Eric meant trouble. Nothing was particularly off about the boy. He looked like a standard trainer, well built and tall. Still, one could never be too careful these days.

    “No, not that I know of. I just need to get in contact with someone I know, and I can’t find them in this crowd.” Eric tried not to look directly at Heath as he answered. His words were true, but his intentions were not to find someone in the crowd. He knew she was in the Vatican inside, and he had a very slim chance in finding her. Aquapolian reporters were not nearly as cutthroat and slick as human reporters, but they still knew a good story when they had one. And this…this situation was the story for the century for all newsmen and women, both human and Aquapolian.

    Heath happened to glance over and spy a Swiss Guardsman nearby, helping several older Italians to their feet. He nodded in the man’s direction. “There’s one over there.” Then he smiled as he recognized Eric. He would have to interview him later. Eric Reed was one of the up and coming trainers in Aquapolis. “Would you mind stopping by the truck before you leave Rome, Mr. Reed?”

    Eric did mind, but didn’t express his true opinion. He simply shrugged before telling him thanks and hurrying toward the guardsman. If his grandfather’s suspicions had been correct, Eric didn’t have that much time to waste in the square. He needed to get into the Vatican as soon as possible.

    ------------

    Katharine stood in the glass room, her arms crossed. The camerlengo avoided eye contact with her.

    “You could have killed yourself!” She snapped, driving away tears from her eyes.

    “So I’ve been told,” he muttered.

    She groaned and turned away. After a few seconds of collecting herself, she turned back. He finally looked up at her. “Promise you won’t do something like this again,” she said firmly.

    “I don’t think I’m going to get another chance to do something like this again…”

    “Promise.” She repeated more sternly.
    He sighed. “I promise.”

    She nodded, turning away again. His eyes fell back to the floor as he tried to think through the situation. Suddenly, she threw her arms around him, burying her face into the shoulder of his robes and crying. He wrapped his arms around her until she stopped. He took a deep breath before he started speaking.

    “I have a confession to make,” he muttered. She drew back a few steps, her head tilted to one side to hear him. “You don’t remember your parents in Aquapolis, do you?”

    Katharine shook her head. “Not at all.”

    “The truth is, they adopted you as well.”

    She tilted her head to the other side, her brow furrowed in confusion. “They weren’t my real parents?”

    “No. Your mother contacted them soon before she died to ensure that you had a safe place to live.”

    “Who was she?”

    “She introduced herself as Caroline Locklear…but her real family name was Dragonstone.”

    Katharine took in a sharp breath. “The Dragonstone Clan?”

    “I guess so…She was an oddity in her family, apparently she didn’t train dragons. She left Aquapolis to research Aquapolian religion and spent a few years searching the Vatican archives. That was when I met her.”

    Katharine nodded, and he pressed on.

    “You were born here in Rome, but she died shortly after. She was…killed, but her killer was never identified. We believe it was someone who was searching for you. You disappeared, taken to Aquapolis, I presume.”

    Katharine waited for him to say more, but he seemed to be stuck, unable to think of the right words to say next. “So, was my father from Rome or Aquapolis?”

    It seemed to be the right question. There was no skirting around this one. The instant Cardinal Reed had been killed, a chain of events the camerlengo could not stop had been sent into motion. It was time to stop the lies, as helpful as they had been over the years. He wished she would stop fixing him with those crystal clear eyes. He wondered sometimes over the years if God had given her the ability to see into the soul.

    He took a deep breath before answering. “He was from Rome…Katharine…I am your father. You’re…biological father.”

    Katharine froze, unable to say a word.

    ------------

    Langdon and Vittoria stared at Rowan after he revealed the same confession the camerlengo was making to Katharine at that moment. He continued, “They fell in love while she was researching here for several years. The child’s identity was only known by the pope and Cardinals Mortati and Reed for safety purposes.”

    “How do you know?” Vittoria asked.

    “The camerlengo decided to send her off to Aquapolian school shortly after finding her in a Roman orphanage after her adopted parents died. He decided to tell me so that I could protect her while she was in Aquapolis.”

    “This was all for her safety…” Langdon stated, glancing over to the glass room.

    Rowan nodded. “And it worked for twelve years.”

    -----------

    “I’m sorry. It was meant to protect you in case they tracked you down after your mother was killed,” the camerlengo said. Katharine still didn’t speak for several minutes, just staring at the floor. “I should have told you sooner…”

    “No, I understand,” she interrupted, looking back up at him. She wasn’t angry, just shocked. “It doesn’t change any opinion I have of you, because…” She looked away and smiled. “I’ve always thought of you as my real father.”

    The camerlengo smiled with relief, glancing out of the room and catching Langdon’s eye across the way. The professor held up a nondescript book, pointed at it, and said, “We need to get back down to the archives!”

    ------------

    “What do you think we’re going to find down here?” Vittoria asked.

    “Something that may clear a few of our questions up,” Langdon said as they exited the elevator and entered the archives. “Is there an Aquapolian section?” He asked Katharine.

    She nodded. “It’s smaller than the others, but there is one…over here.” She turned a corner sharply, and the others following after her sped up to follow her, Langdon right on her heels. No one had the slightest idea what he was doing, but he was following a hunch he could not ignore. Something bugged him constantly about these supposed Illuminati, and he was going to find out exactly what it was.

    The group pushed into the Aquapolian section, which was a room big enough for all of them to move freely, but much smaller than the others. Langdon bypassed the table and brushed his hand over a pedestal. Of course, in the air-lock chambers, no dust could accumulate on it, but he was sure a book had been placed on it recently.

    “What book are you looking for, Langdon?” Rowan asked, glancing around at the titles that lined the shelves.

    “The Book of the Chosen One,” he muttered as he scanned the shelves above his head.

    “The what?” Vittoria asked.

    “It’s usually on this pedestal,” Katharine commented as Langdon scanned another row of shelves, grabbing a ladder and scaling it.

    “Found it!” He said, grabbing a white book with detailed carvings along its surface.

    “The Book of the Chosen One?” Vittoria asked.

    “There are only two copies in the world. One is in the Cave of Origin in Ever Grande. The other was made during the Renaissance as a gift for the Vatican right before the Aquapolian cardinal was kicked out again.” Langdon placed the book on a table, and everyone gathered around it as he opened the cover. “Whenever the monks at the Cave of Origin update it, this edition updates as well.”

    “Updates? That’s impossible.” Vittoria frowned.

    “You’ll find that pretty much nothing is impossible in Aquapolis, Dr. Vetra,” Rowan replied.

    Langdon flipped almost to the back of the book, running is finger down a list of element names.

    “You know how to read Italian?” Vittoria asked, looking at the page closer.

    “It’s not in Italian…” Katharine said, frowning.

    “Yes it is…” Vittoria protested.
    “Italian’s your first language, right?” Langdon asked.

    “Yes…”

    “Then that’s the language you’ll see the words in the book written in.”

    “I don’t understand…”

    Langdon pointed to the numbers beside each element name. Before their eyes, the numbers changed constantly, up and down.

    “That’s impossible…”

    “This is the number of Aquapolians alive who are of the fire type,” Langdon said, pointing to a number that went up and down like the tide. “Now, for what I was looking for.” He flipped to another page that read “Shadow Registry.” A list of names scrolled down the page, unmoving against the ancient parchment. Langdon traced each name with his finger, reaching the two names that he was afraid he would find.

    Langdon could deal with the Illuminati. It was a human organization that would fight with guns or explosives or even lives…but the Shadow Forces were different. They were backed by the demons of the Demon Council, the supposed reigning force in hell. Langdon was skeptical of its existence, but he had another reason to fear the Shadow Forces, which he knew were quite real. They were an anti-human group who used their elemental powers and Pokemon to terrorize humans around the world. They had killed thousands over the past decade, and millions all together since the beginning of the 19th Century. They had much more power than the Illuminati, and they were much more willing to kill.

    Langdon’s stomach turned as he read Koga’s name on the registry, followed by Janine’s, who was his daughter. Janine was a gym leader who had taken over her father’s gym when he became an Elite Four member. Langdon didn’t know much about Aquapolian politics. All he knew was that the Elite Four members were high ranking officials, and one had gone rogue, possibly upturning one or two of the regions in Aquapolis itself.

    “What does it mean?” Vittoria asked, her eyes fixed on the page in front of her. Like Langdon, she did not know much about Aquapolian politics, and she had not been present when Koga and Janine attacked Langdon and Rowan. He could see her visibly shaking, obviously still unnerved by the violent impact the antimatter bomb had made.

    Before Langdon could speak his fears, a Swiss Guard banged on the door to the room. He surveyed each Aquapolian inside until his eyes fell on the camerlengo, who had been quite silent during their search for the Book of the Chosen One, almost fooling the others into thinking he wasn’t there. “Padre!” The Guard called out through the class. “Commander Richter needs to see you in his office!”

    ------------

    The Swiss Guard was annoyed at Eric’s questioning. He had no time for this Aquapolian kid. What he was asking was also a waste of the Commander’s time inside. He sighed, putting his hand on his belt and glaring at Eric. “Who is it that you want to speak to again?”

    Eric was fed up with this Swiss Guard. He had presented his Vatican security pass he had been given years ago, but apparently it didn’t work on this particular night. “Please tell Commander Richter that this is Eric Reed and I am here to speak to him about a matter of security. At least run my name by him…PLEASE.” He started to twitch with nervousness. What if they didn’t let him in in time? It could mean the deaths of all of the humans in the square…

    The Guard reluctantly pulled out his radio from his pocket and messaged in to Commander Richter’s office, keeping his eye on Eric to make sure he didn’t try to make a move for his gun…

    ------------

    “What is his name?” Commander Richter asked into his radio as the camerlengo, Katharine, Rowan, Langdon, and Vittoria stepped into his office. It was a bit crowded, but the commander did seem to have enough room for everyone. Katharine waited until the commander was done with his call.

    “Eric Reed?” Katharine’s head shot up and a look of recognization crossed Rowan’s face. There was no way Eric was in Rome. Why would he be here? Out of all places? Before she could think, she waved her hand to get the commander’s attention. He rolled his eyes and placed a hand over the mouthpiece of his radio.

    “I know him! He’s perfectly fine…”

    “He’s not a security risk,” Rowan interjected, getting to the heart of their argument. The commander cast him a glance before continuing.

    “Send him in.”

    “Who is Eric Reed?” Vittoria asked.

    “One of my students and one of Katharine’s classmates,” Rowan replied.

    “Reed? His last name is Reed?” Langdon asked. “Is he related to Cardinal Reed?”

    Katharine frowned. “I don’t think so…”

    A few minutes later, Eric entered the room, glancing around and nodding at Rowan. Then, his eyes widened when he saw Katharine. “What are you doing here?”

    “I was about to ask you the same question…”

    “I came to Rome after last night. The rest of the family couldn’t make it…”

    “Wait, your grandfather is Cardinal Reed?”

    “And you actually live in Rome?”

    They stared at each other for a second, before both said, “I thought you were kidding!”

    “Coincidence…” Rowan muttered.

    “So you two have been going to school together for years, and thought you were kidding about both having connections in the Vatican?” Langdon asked.

    They both nodded, and the commander sighed. “Mr. Reed, why did you want to see me?”

    “Well, now that I know who’s here, I have to speak to all of you…” He looked at the camerlengo. “You probably noticed that my grandfather was acting strange for the past few months.”

    “Yes…” He nodded.

    “Well, when he came home for a week’s vacation, he was nervous all of the time. He tried to tell the monks at the Cave of Origin that something was about to happen, but they didn’t listen to him. There were no prophecies or premonitions that they knew of, so they dismissed them. So, when he died, I knew exactly who killed him.”

    “Who was it?” Langdon asked. All eyes were on Eric.

    He took a deep breath. “The Shadow Forces. They killed him to keep him quiet so he wouldn’t give away their plan.”

    “How did he know their plan?” The commander asked.

    “Well…I guess since he’s dead…it’s okay to tell you…My grandfather, decades ago, was a Shadow Follower. He was one of the lucky ones. He got out and joined the church. He got out alive. Each Shadow Follower for the past two millennia has been told the plan…to be acted on in a future date. They must have sent out the signal to begin the plan a few weeks ago…”

    “What exactly is this plan, Eric?” Rowan asked, cutting straight to the matter. The way Eric was shaking and stuttering, this was something huge…something life-threatening.

    Katharine could see Eric trying to focus and felt sorry for him. He had come to Rome shortly after his grandfather’s death to be caught up in all of this Illuminati, or rather Shadow Forces, business. They had been friends since the beginning of her school years in Aquapolis, and she couldn’t bear to see him suffering like this.

    Eric finally stopped shaking and took a deep breath. “The plan…their mission…is to attack the biggest church of the human race. The plan was created two millennia ago, and there was no way to predict which church or even religion would be the biggest in the world at the time of action…so…”

    “It’s the Catholic Church…One billion souls…” Langdon muttered. “They’re targeting the Vatican.”

    “So that’s what we sensed in St. Katharine’s…” Rowan said. “Shadow energy. It makes since now…Except…”

    Langdon waited a few seconds before asking. “Except…?”

    “Shadow Followers can’t enter churches once they’re consecrated,” Rowan said. “Only those who are skilled enough to hide their aura can, and…that’s only a few…There’s a barrier…”

    “The shattering sound…” Vittoria murmured. “The barrier was broken by the impact of the antimatter canister….”

    “They were going to blow up the church…but now they have the next best thing.” Eric said.

    “We have to stop them…all of those humans in the square…” Katharine said.

    “We have to raise our own signal,” Eric replied.

    Katharine thought for a second before saying. “The one signal every Aquapolian is tuned in to.” She bolted from the room.

    “Hey! Where are you going?” Eric asked before following after her.

    Katharine didn’t stop. She ran until she reached the Vatican steps and the large crowd that still lingered. She spotted an Aquapolian reporter nearby and ran to him. “Can I borrow your microphone?” She snatched it from him and plugged it into a nearby speaker system, taking a deep breath before she addressed the crowd.
     
  4. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    I know it may seem as if I'm hurrying through chapters, but truth is, I've happened upon a lot of time on my hands as well as the fact that the start of my college career is looming in the near future. Come late August, the chapters will progress very slowly in both this fic and Shadow and Light.




    6.

    “Excuse me!” Katharine cleared her throat as her voice echoed over the loudspeakers. Several Aquapolians and humans picked up on her words and turned to see who was speaking. When some of them discovered that it was only a teenage girl, they shook their heads and went back to what they were doing. Her mouth went dry. Who was going to listen to her? From the crowd’s point of view, she was a nobody, simply an Aquapolian girl speaking about crazy things like Shadow Followers attacking the Vatican. She didn’t even know what to say. She had hoped the words would come to her, but now…

    She tried to center her thoughts. What did she want? She wanted the alert to be lifted amongst the Aquapolians in the crowd that Shadow Followers were present. Non-shadow Aquapolians had a natural tendency to attack Shadow Followers; that is if they noticed their aura. Up until now, the aura had been hidden very well. Once alerted, the aura may be zoned in on by the Aquapolians and the Shadow Followers taken down. Secondly, she wanted protection for the conclave. Six Aquapolians were not going to cut it. She needed at least twenty to stand in front of the Sistine Chapel in case of an invasion.

    Katharine tried to speak again, cursing herself as a wave of fear of public speaking overcame her. Of all of the times for this particular fear to hit her, it had to be at the most critical point in her life. Of course she was nervous when she had to give speeches and reports in front of her classes in Aquapolis, but usually, her knees weren’t knocking like they were now. The microphone literally shook in her hands. What am I doing? What am I DOING?

    At the last second, before she could bolt inside and away from the curious gazes she had attracted, the microphone was snatched from her hands. Before she could protest, the camerlengo pushed past her into the crowd’s view. Of course, everyone in the crowd had seen him parachute out of the helicopter. They knew he had saved the church and their lives. Plus, with the added fact that he was now the head authority of the church in absence of the pope, most of the crowd promptly shut up and turned as whispers flowed through the crowd.

    Katharine let out a small sigh of relief. Not only had the camerlengo senses her impending breakdown in front of a crowd of thousands, but he also knew that, outside of Aquapolis where she was known by many as a high-ranking trainer, she would not gain the attention she deserved at this critical moment.

    After a few minutes, all eyes in the square were on the camerlengo, and a hush descended on the crowd. Cameramen were focused on him, and newsreporters waited for a news worthy speech. Katharine realized that the Aquapolian reporter had his eyes on both her and the camerlengo. With a shock of recognition, she remembered this particular reporter interviewing her after one of her conference titles. His last name was Dragonstone. She wondered if he was her cousin. His cameraman was also trained on the camerlengo…

    The camerlengo started to speak. “As you know, we have just survived an attack on the church. We have identified who our attackers are. They are known as the Shadow Forces, and they are here in the Square tonight.”

    A murmur arose from the crowd. The Aquapolians started to search with their eyes, several of them whispering fervently to each other.

    “This is an alert to all of the Aquapolians in the square, but I believe you had better take orders from someone who is more experienced in Shadow matters than I am.” The camerlengo turned to Katharine. “Such as the Chosen One.” He held the microphone out to her.

    Several loud gasps rang out from the square. “The Chosen One?” Someone shouted. The humans were confused. The Aquapolians stared. Dragonstone turned to his cameraman and whispered to his audience back home. “Aquapolis, this is it…The time of darkness has arrived along with our Chosen One.”

    Katharine took the microphone and stepped forward, encouraged by her introduction. “The forces of darkness are gathering. We need twenty Aquapolians to help guard the Sistine Chapel in case of attack.” Instantly, Aquapolians started to raise their hands, volunteering. “As for the rest of you, I need you to protect the humans of this city. Citizens of Rome, please trust those who have gathered here tonight from Aquapolis. The war is about to begin.”

    “I found one!” An Aquapolian screamed from inside the crowd. He pointed fervently at a man trying to leave the square. Several humans pushed him back in. “He’s a Shadow Follower!” Before anyone could act, the screaming Aquapolian attacked the Shadow Follower, knocking him to the ground with a psychic blast. Several more cries issued from other places in the crowd, and the police went into action, moving the humans along as several fights broke out.

    “My God…” The camerlengo watched in awe as the Aquapolians in the crowd singled out each Shadow Follower and attacked. “It worked…they’re so…effiecient.”

    “Cover me!” Dragonstone yelled to one of the other reporters in the van. He ran up to a man nearby and slammed into him, joining the fray himself. Before he attacked again, he handed the microphone off to a shaken FOX News reporter. “Why don’t you show America some real news?” He snapped before hitting the Shadow Follower again.

    Exactly twenty Aquapolians gathered on the steps, silent as they awaited more orders from Katharine. She surveyed each one. They were of various ages, ranging from late teens to early fifties. Some looked as if they were even older, but Aquapolians tended to stop aging after fifty, so she couldn’t tell their real age. “How many of you are from Sinnoh?” About four people raised their hands. “So you know Professor Rowan, correct?” They nodded and responded with several, “Yeah’s” and “Sure Do’s.” “Good. He’ll be organizing you inside in front of the doors to the Sistine Chapel. Do as he says, and this should go smoothly.” At her orders, they stepped inside, flanked by two Swiss Guards who would lead them to Rowan.

    Katharine turned to the camerlengo, who was still watching the Aquapolians in the square fight, a shocked look on his face. Of course, he had never attended school in Aquapolis like most other international Aquapolians, so he had no idea that it was practically hammered into each child’s mind to hate Shadow Followers. Those children who did end up as Shadow Followers had to be convinced heavlly to do so…or either threatened.

    “Come on, we need to get back to the Swiss Guard’s office.”

    ------------

    Back in the Swiss Guard office, Langdon, Vittoria, and Eric stood around in the armory, waiting for Katharine to return. Finally, when she and the camerlengo entered the room, Eric exclaimed, “Can’t you feel it?”

    “Feel what?”

    “They’re already here…”

    Katharine thought for a moment, then grabbed and old-fashioned sword from the armory.

    “Do you know how to use that thing?” Langdon asked.

    “Of course, every Aquapolian schoolchild is taught how to use a sword.”

    Langdon gawked as Katharine rushed from the room, Eric behind her.

    ------------

    Katharine’s footsteps echoed on the Basilica’s marble floors. She rushed into the middle part, scanning the area for any Shadow Followers. The rest had followed after her.

    “Katharine? There’s nothing here,” the camerlengo said.

    “Yes…there’s something…”

    She couldn’t see beyond the light of the 99 candles. Some kind of darkness had descended inside of the Basilica. It was chilling, causing her to shiver as if she were in the snowdrifts of northern Sinnoh. She clutched the sword tighter in her grip, trying to see inside the pitch black darkness as a hush descended inside the hall. Katharine advanced forward, drawing her sword back as she inched into the darkness.

    To her surprise, it surrounded her like ink. She couldn’t see anything in front of or behind her. She started to panic. She hated surrounding darkness and didn’t even know what was inside the shadows with her. Katharine started to whimper like a child. That was what she was…a child. Though she was technically an adult…her mind was still like a child’s. “Father…” She whimpered, wishing he had come after her.

    “Child…” The voice sent terror striking through her heart. It was not the camerlengo’s voice. It was the exact opposite, substituting his warmth with cold frigidness. “You’re just a child…They send a child after me? Even if you are the Chosen One.” The voice grew closer. She could sense someone in the dark in front of her. The sword started to shake in her hands, clanging against the floor as her shaking figure dropped it. What was she doing?! This…person? He was going to kill her!

    Terror paralyzed her as she felt a cold touch on her arm. The voice was right in her ear now, and a cold breath washed over her. “You dropped your sword, Chosen One.” The sword was thrust back into her hands as a cold grip enveloped hers. “Or should I call you Katharine? Since, after all, you’re just a child…”

    She could feel tears slide down her face. A few seconds later, and she would be begging for light, pleading against suffocation by the darkness around her. “You’re scared…” The cold voice hissed. “Who will save you now…Katharine?”

    “Katharine!!” Another voice jolted inside her head. This one came with a warm hand on her shoulder, gripping her tightly. The voice…the joyous voice to her ears…The other hissed like a Seviper, letting her go as she stepped halfway back into light.

    “Let go of her, priest!!” It snapped. “She’s…MINE!” A large cracking noise filled her ears as she was blown back into candlelight. She landed on the hard marble floor, her sword clattering to the ground beside her. She could hear a body drop further behind her and craned her neck to see the camerlengo scramble to his feet.

    “NO!” She screamed when he tried to advance back toward the darkness. “He’ll kill you!” Her hand gripped instinctively around the handle of the sword, pulling it closer. Langdon stepped forward, grabbing the sleeve of the camerlengo’s robe, pulling him back. He resisted, easily twisting out of the professor’s grasp. Suddenly, both men froze, staring straight ahead in terror.

    The man standing over Katharine was cruelly handsome. She hated to admit it, but he was. He had jet black hair that swept over his eyebrows and into his pitch black eyes. A black overcoat swept across the floor near his black booted feet, stirring up a slight wind that hit her in the face. He wore a simple black shirt and black pants, completing his dark garb from the top of his head to his feet. From Katharine’s judgement, he was in his early twenties, only a few years older than she.

    He tilted his head to meet her eyes and she shivered. They were as dark as the curtain of shadow she had just stumbled out of. He smiled at her, and terror seized her once again. She scrambled to her feet, grabbing the sword from her side.

    “She’s right you know,” the man said, turning to look at the camerlengo. “I wouldn’t hesitate to kill a priest that stood in my way.” He stepped forward, surveying the area around him and nodding. “If it weren’t for your clever thinking, however, I would never have been able to step inside these…hallowed walls.” He spread his arms out and laughed. Vittoria shivered, backing instinctively away from him and closer to the far wall.

    “This is a matter that I must take up the Katharine,” the man said. “But, of course…I’m being rude. I haven’t introduced myself.” He smiled at his frozen silent audience as if being rude was completely not in line with his nature. “I am known as Ojinan in both Aquapolis and Japan. In ancient Aquapolian…my name translates simply to ‘demon.’ It’s…a fitting name.”

    “No way…” Katharine could hear Langdon mutter. “This isn’t real.” He and the camerlengo had backed up a few steps from the glaring man, both shaken by his sudden appearance. “He’s and actual…demon.”

    “Right you are, professor!” Ojinan said. “Very good. I would appreciate it if you allowed me to take up my quarrel with Katharine. Of course…” He turned to smile at her. “She wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt…” She glared back at him. “Now…I believe I’m here to topple the church. Where is the conclave?”

    Everyone stayed silent. Ojinan nodded. “I figured as much.” He spun around, preparing to attack the camerlengo.

    “NO!” Katharine cried, rushing at him with her sword raised high. It crashed into a barrier inches from Ojinan’s head, but was enough to distract him. He spun around and sent her flying with a shadow blast of energy. She skidded across the marble floor and sprang to her feet.

    Langdon pulled the camerlengo back to stand with Eric, Vittoria, and Rowan, who had just appeared in the Basilica. They watched as the demon stalked toward Katharine.

    “That was a rather weak attack, Katharine. I’m sure you can do better…” Another shadow blast surged toward her, and she ducked, allowing it to sail over her head. “Though you are admittably fast…”

    Katharine dashed forward, swinging her sword at the unarmed demon, who skillfully dodged her attack. From a sheath on his black belt, he pulled out his own sword, slicing through the air at her head. It came within inches of her cheek as she stepped backwards. He brought his sword crashing down on hers, forcing her to the floor. She teleported out of the way before he could attack her again.

    Attack after attack was perryed easily by the demon. Katharine could not land a blow with her sword. She pushed him backwards with a blast of energy, but he simply sailed back a few feet before stopping. He cast her a wicked smile before attacking, swinging through thin air as she dodged.

    “What’s the matter, Katharine? Are you afraid to show your true form?” He taunted, slamming into her with a shadow blast that sent her flying into a pillar nearby, knocking the wind out of her. She gasped for breath as he stalked toward her, his sword raised. She looked up to meet his eyes and frowned with determination.

    “No, I’m not afraid,” she said through gritted teeth. With a yell, she jumped to her feet and pushed him backwards with a blast of energy, sending him spiraling on to the marble floor. It was her turn to stalk toward him, leaving sparks of light energy in the wake of her footsteps. Some kind of change was coming over her…

    Ojinan laughed to himself. “So the Chosen One awakens…” He tried to aim another shadow blast at her, but it simply bounced off of the barrier surrounding her.

    “I’m giving you one chance to leave…” Her voice sounded deeper, more powerful. The sparks around her started to grow brighter as the Aquapolians in the back of the room started to gape at the energy surrounding her. She lifted her sword to Ojinan’s neck.

    “Never!” He cried out with a laugh, knocking her back with a shadow blast. She merely skidded across the marble on her feet as he jumped to a standing position. He pointed at her. “Are you going to defend this church by yourself?”

    She smiled, her eyes narrowing as she tilted her head to one side. “Yes…yes I am…” Another shadow blast rocketed past her and he flew into the air, coming down hard on the barrier surrounding her. The sparks completely enveloped her, shielding her from view as Ojinan was sent flying.

    The sparks were blinding to the onlookers. Langdon cringed and put his arm in front of his eyes, wondering what was happening to her. Rowan muttered something he couldn’t hear to the camerlengo. He made out a few words. “…transformation…this early?”
    Ojinan shielded his face before firing another shadow blast, which bounced off of Katharine’s barrier. The light rushed forward, blinding everyone for a few seconds before it subsided.

    “My God…” Vittoria whispered when the spots cleared away from her eyes. Standing where Katharine had been only a few seconds before was a different version of herself. She looked a few years older and taller. Her hair reached all the way down her back and almost to the floor. Her eyes portrayed the cool and calculating calm Langdon had spied in the Renaissance painting of Quamachi he kept in his powerpoint. She was dressed in an ancient sort of military uniform. A long white tunic that draped over a knee-high skirt. Knee-high sandals were strapped around her feet, and her Aquapolian pendent shone brighter than ever. The sword had seemed to grow brighter. The blade was now white.

    The most impressive thing about her new transformation were her wings. Snow white feathers draped across her back and spread out to the floor. They beat once as she raised her sword, remaining silent as she glared at the demon in front of her.

    Ojinan laughed. “So…Quamachi awakens.” He slowly stood up, smiling at her. “Fitting for an angel to take a stand for the church. Especially when we have a person present who seems not to believe in angels and demons.”

    Rowan shot Langdon a pointed look. Langdon ignored him, his eyes still on the two fighters in front of him.

    “Now…let’s see if you still have your powers after three millennia…” Ojinan raised his sword and brought it crashing down on Quamachi. Lightening fast, she blocked the blow and slammed into him with a powerful blast of light. He skidded backwards and flew at her again.

    “Neither of their blows are advancing this battle…” Rowan commented. “Even with her transformation, they’re an even match…”

    “Someone’s got to throw a powerful punch to end this…Preferably Katharine…” Eric muttered.

    Quamachi blocked another attack from Ojinan, skidding backwards as he pushed her away. The air around him was starting to grow darker, shifting and changing. “Enough of this…” He muttered. “I’ll just destroy you right now.”

    Quamachi simply stood in front of him, waiting for his next move. As the air around him grew darker, she closed her eyes, calmly biding her time. The air around her grew brighter and brighter. When she finally opened her eyes, they shone a deep crystal blue. She turned to the onlookers and said in a deeper voice, “Stand back and shield your eyes.” Reluctantly, they all followed her directions. She gave a nod to the camerlengo before rushing forward.
    The impact was explosive. A surge of energy pushed the onlookers back into the far wall as Quamachi and Ojinan met. A blinding light filled the Basilica. They covered their eyes to avoid becoming blind. Finally, when the wave diminished and the light faded, they heard a clang. Eric unshielded his eyes, his gaze falling on the white sword. Quamachi and Ojinan were gone.

    A few seconds of silence gripped the onlookers. They stared at the sword, waiting for something to happen. Finally, the camerlengo walked forward to pick it up. “Where is she?” He muttered, his eyes on the sword.

    The others were silent for a few moments. “She may have jumped through dimensions,” Rowan proposed.

    “She can do that?” Langdon asked.

    “Well…she has the ability to do it…I don’t know if she…knew how to…”

    “Could the blast have…destroyed her…?” Vittoria whispered.

    “The impact could have…We…can’t be sure…”

    “So she’s gone?”

    They turned to the camerlengo, who was staring at Rowan, his hand gripped tightly around the sword’s hilt. A look of grief was starting to appear in his eyes.

    “We…don’t know yet,” Rowan replied.

    “Sir!” They turned as a Swiss Guard appeared in the hall, addressing the camerlengo. “The conclave wishes to see you! They have finished voting!”

    He hesitated before following the guard, leaving the others to stand in the Basilica. Eric shook his head. “I know Katharine. She wouldn’t go down like that…She has to still be alive…”

    “There’s nothing we can do now, Eric…Except wait,” Rowan replied. Langdon studied his friend and colleague for any sign of hope that may lay in his soft brown eyes, but all he could see was confusion and sadness. His heart fell. Rowan was supposed to be an expert on legendary powers…and if he believed that there was a chance that Katharine was not able to survive the impact of the two forces colliding…then hope was as good as lost.

    Vittoria was in worse shape than the men. Though Eric hurt terribly on the inside, she showed his pain on her visage. Tears had started to roll down her cheeks uncontrollably. Somehow, she believed that Katharine’s possible death was her fault. If her lab had been better secure…if only she hadn’t tried to attempt the experiments with antimatter…the young woman would not have had to fight with the forces of evil.

    ------------

    The conclave was waiting as the chains on the Sistine Chapel’s doors were broken, allowing the camerlengo to enter. The cardinals inside stared at him and the white sword he held in his hand. There was a moment of silence before Cardinal Mortati spoke.

    “We heard the sounds of battle outside these walls. What happened?”

    The camerlengo hesitated before answering. “A demon appeared in the Basilica.” Shocked gasps issued from the cardinals around him. “The Chosen One was able to fight him off…”

    The human cardinals in the room glanced at each other, while the few Aquapolian cardinals smiled. Mortati nodded. “Where is she now?”

    The camerlengo dropped his gaze to the sword in his hand. Mortati understood what his gesture meant. He sighed. “Conclave is not over. We have several more matters to discuss…but for the time being…Is that the sword the Chosen One fought with?”

    The camerlengo looked up. “Yes…”

    Mortati nodded. “Leave it here. It will remain here as a symbol. It has been a hundred years since the Aquapolian cardinal was accepted back into the church. As a symbol of Aquapolis and the Chosen One…we will keep the sword here.”

    The camerlengo nodded, walking to the table that stood in the middle of the room and placing the sword on top of it. He glanced around for a few seconds before leaving the chapel. Mortati watched him go, hoping that the Chosen One was not injured badly.

    ------------
    “There’s a hotel nearby where we can get several rooms,” Langdon said to Rowan. They still stood in the Basilica. “I think we all need some sleep.” Vittoria nodded. Eric looked over to where the camerlengo stood near the 99 lights, his eyes on the place where they had found Katharine’s sword.

    “Are you coming, Eric?” Rowan asked. Eric turned his eyes to the professor.

    “I’ll catch up to you in a few minutes, professor,” he said. He watched as Langdon, Rowan, and Vittoria were escorted out of the Basilica by a Swiss Guard. When they were gone, he cautiously approached the camerlengo, whose eyes were on the ground.

    “Sir?” The camerlengo looked up. “I just wanted to tell you that Katharine was confident enough in her powers to survive this…”

    “How long have you known her?”

    “We started school together twelve years ago.”

    He hesitated. “What was she like in Aquapolis?”

    “I assume she was just the same person as she was here. She was always willing to help, even if she did spend most of her time training. She was known as one of the most skilled trainers in our school and was always kind to her Pokemon and classmates…” He smiled. “And she was really smart. No one could outwit her on the battlefield.”

    “It sounds as if she made a mark in Aquapolis.”

    Eric nodded. “She made a mark everywhere she went, sir.”

    A few moments of silence passed between the two. “You should get some sleep. I believe Professor Rowan found a hotel nearby…”

    Eric nodded again and turned to go, then turned back. “If you don’t mind me saying sir, I think you need to get some sleep as well.” With that, he walked away, leaving the camerlengo to his thoughts inside the Basilica.

    ------------

    The next morning, Langdon, Rowan, Vittoria, and Eric entered the Swiss Guard’s office to speak with Commander Richter.

    “Now that you have been attacked by Aquapolians…don’t you think you should train more Aquapolians to the Guard?” Rowan asked.

    Richter frowned. “We’ve sent word to Aquapolis. The government is sending over some men to be trained next week.”

    “What does Aquapolis think of what has happened here?” Langdon asked.

    Richter sighed. “The Aquapolian government shut down its airports yesterday. It seems as if thousands were trying to leave the country for Europe.”

    “Why?” Vittoria asked.
    “They were trying to get to Rome…They could sense the Shadow energy collecting here…” Rowan replied.

    “From thousands of miles away?”

    Eric nodded. “They just wanted to help…like Katharine did.”

    ------------

    The Basilica was quiet. The camerlengo stood alone in the same spot, his eyes on the marble floor in front of him. He was tired from no sleep. No one had bothered him while he stayed in the hall. He had not given up hope.

    He turned to look at the 99 lights for a few seconds, wondering when Mortati would join him. Maybe the cardinal was staying away like the others.

    A loud thump issued from the marble floor a few yards away from him. Startled, he spun around, nearly losing his footing on the floor. He gasped.

    Lying on the floor, unconscious, was Katharine, dressed in her normal clothes she had put on the day before. He stepped forward, wrapping his hand around the Aquapolian pendent around her neck. She was alive.

    ------------

    A Swiss Guard knocked on the door of Richter’s office. The commander motioned him in. “Commander, the camerlengo told me to send word to you and the professors that he has found Katharine.”

    “What?” Eric asked, his eyes on the messenger.

    Rowan smiled. “See? She jumped between dimensions after all.”

    ------------

    A knock sounded from the door to Katharine’s room. She was still unconscious, but she was still alive. The camerlengo called for whoever it was to enter. The door opened to reveal Rowan and Langdon.

    “Is she asleep?” Langdon asked as they stepped into the room.

    “No…unconscious,” the camerlengo replied.

    “She knows more about her powers than we thought she did…” Rowan muttered. Another knock issued from the door and in stepped Cardinal Mortati.

    His face brightened when he spotted Langdon and Rowan. “I must thank you both for helping to save Cardinal Baggia. Without the aid of two leading Aquapolian professors as yourselves…who knows what could have happened?” Both men ducked their head at his praise and smiled at each others’ reaction.

    “Now, I would like to speak to the camerlengo, for we have chosen a new pope.”
     
  5. JaimeGreenan

    JaimeGreenan Well-Known Member

    Wow! I love the change of this story compared to the actual book/film.

    It just seems to suit it more and it also links to your other stories. amazing!
     
  6. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Why thank you. In the next chapter, we're going to veer off on an entirely different course. Be ready for another Legendary Team to appear. :)
     
  7. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    I've just read Chapter 5, and my have you done an amazing job! This is turning out to be one of the best reads on the this forum at the moment. I'm loving the diversion this Chapter took and how compelled you are to bring it all together and make it seem to have more sense, and also I like your portrayl of the Church. You really have done the faith good justice and I know for a fact that I'm psyced to finish reading this now! Well done : )
     
  8. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Wow. You don't know how much that next to last line meant to me. When I first saw the movie and read the book, I realized that the plot was amazing, but the message bothered me so much. That's why I tried my hand at twisting the plot in another direction to see if I could write a similar storyline with a better meaning.

    I know I haven't updated in a while. :p Prepare for it at least before August 20th.
     
  9. PsychicChampion

    PsychicChampion Well-Known Member

    Very good story Chosen, you could give Dan Brown a run for his money. Would love to see some Pokemon though =P or are they illegal outside Aquapolis? Thats what has made me curious throught the whole thing. Still it is a very, very good story that is one of the best stories here on Serebii.
     
  10. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Why, thank you. Yes, Pokemon are illegal to release outside of their Poke Balls in human states (anything outside of Aquapolis and Japan). But a few choice legendaries might appear. ;) Thank you for reading, and I'll PM you when I update.
     
  11. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    It's been nearly a month since I posted the last chapter. Sorry guys, I'm getting ready to move out to college in the next few weeks.

    New Character this chapter:
    Dr. Cyrus Jones - an original character of mine who is loosely based off of the leader of Team Galactic. You may see small hints to his past when Galactic is mentioned. He's an Aquapolian physicist in this story...and may run Akagi International on the side...



    7.

    The mid-day sun glittered off of the fountain that stood in St. Peter’s Square. The sparkles danced on the marble around the small waves, sending up circles of light in all directions. The square was strangely quiet after the previous evening’s events, having been cleared out completely by the Swiss Guard. The square was barred against entry for several days while the Guard cleared up the security around the Vatican.

    Katharine sighed and slipped her arm through Eric’s, leaning her head against his shoulder and gazing at the fountain. They had found a place to sit near the Vatican steps, privy only to passing Guards who nodded at the two teenagers. Several Aquapolian Guards personally spoke to Katharine, thanking her profusely for the protection she had given to the church and to the people of Rome. She blushed at their praise. She had had enough thank you’s for one lifetime that morning when she had woken up from her little journey through dimensions. Not only had every cardinal, both Aquapolian and human, spoken to her, but Commander Richter had finally given her the praise he had held back for years.

    The dimension Katharine had almost gotten herself stuck in had been dark, but warm, as if fur had been pressing on all sides of her. Her claustrophobia had not kicked up. She had been comfortable. Near her, a purr had rung out. And another…and another. She had been surrounded…by cats!

    “So…Cardinal Baggia is our new pope?” Katharine commented.

    Eric nodded. “The first Aquapolian pope…even if that fact is kept a secret right now. After all that happened last night…the world isn’t ready to know that an Aquapolian pope was elected.”

    “What about a new Aquapolian cardinal?”

    “The monks at the Cave of Origin will come to a decision about that…at least by the end of the month…”

    Katharine sighed. “Now that all of this is over…I guess we need to decide on the future…”

    “Are you going to go on the conference circuit full time now?”

    “Not full time, no. I’m thinking of entering the Ever Grande Institute of Technology.”

    Eric shrugged. “You know I’m going to the University of Ever Grande, right?”

    “Yeah…”

    He looked up at the sky, studying the small wisps of clouds that sailed past the sun. “Well…I’m going to be studying abroad next semester.” He smiled at Katharine’s small gasp of excitement. She had always wanted to spend time in foreign lands, especially in Asia since she was nearly an expert on Asian culture and religion. “In Rome.”

    Katharine laughed. “During your first semester?”

    “So I can spend some time in this city…before we spend the rest in Aquapolis…”

    She smiled. Things were going along nicely.

    ------------

    “Now, you know where to call us if anything else goes wrong, right?” Rowan asked. The group was gathered in the Basilica, getting ready to send Rowan, Langdon, Vittoria, and Eric off.

    The camerlengo nodded. “We’ll contact you if anything happens.”

    “So you’re going back to Aquapolis?” Katharine asked.

    Eric and Rowan both nodded. Eric spoke, “I have to finish a few things up before I can come back here in a few weeks.”

    “If you need a place to stay, you’re welcome to stay here,” the camerlengo offered.

    Eric smiled. “Thank you, sir. I might take you up on that offer.”

    “Be careful,” Katharine called as they said their good-byes and walked away. She watched them for a few minutes, slightly sad that it was all over.

    ------------

    The June night was strangely peaceful with a full moon illuminating the landscape outside and shining through the large windows in the study. Books were spread and stacked all around the antique desks and chairs, their titles spelling out legendary secrets and hidden worlds. Some of the knowledge hidden within their covers was common to most Aquapolians who walked and lived in Aquapolis, but to the camerlengo, it was foreign.

    The bugs in Aquapolis were enormous, much larger than the ones that populated the human worlds. Of course, they were two completely different species. The bugs in Aquapolis were benign and could be caught to train and battle. Some were plated in steel. Some could poison an opponent fatally. Some could fly long distances and create shock waves wherever they went.
    For the first time in years, the camerlengo was at peace. With almost giddy satisfaction, he snatched up another tome, though his eyes slid back to the large, ornate volume in front of him. After years of paranoia and worry, all had turned out well, and both he and Katharine would be able to live their lives without the constant fear…though Katharine had never truly lived with it.

    Flipping back through the ancient book in front of him, he caught glances of amazing powers…Maybe one day she would be able to learn how to use them. Learn how to heal in a different way than he was capable of…

    A knock at the door made him snap out of his thoughts and daydreams. Absentmindedly, he shut the book before he called out, “Yes?”

    The door creaked open to reveal Cardinal Mortati, dressed in his usual red vestments, though the conclave had ended a few days beforehand. He was the only other Aquapolian he knew that lived so comfortably in both the human and Aquapolian worlds. He was also the only true Aquapolian friend he had.

    “Patrick, would you like to take a walk?”

    ------------

    His boots sounded softly on the marble floors as he swept through the Vatican halls. The Swiss Guard had no idea he was there…those humans wouldn’t be able to stop him anyway. He moved as quietly as a ghost, shifting from one hall to the next undisturbed and unheeded. His mind was only focused on one objective, but he always had the time to marvel at the architectural details of the Basilica.

    He had entered one of the many hallways that led into the main chamber of the Basilica when he was found. He could sense the human behind him, gun raised even before the human spoke. He turned around, looking the guard up and down and smiling. “Are you really going to shoot me with that?”

    “Stand down, sir, and come with me.” The guard was young, too young to know how to deal with an Aquapolian intruder. He wondered how many weeks or months it would take for the Swiss Guard to train its recruits in taking down Shadow Followers. Knowing the blatant stubbornness of human governments and authorities…it would take longer than was possibly safe. Humans never learned their lessons.

    The guard was all too slow to counter. The gun went flying out of his hands as the intruder slammed his fist into the side of the guard’s face. He caught the young man before he sprawled out onto the floor and pushed him into a pillar, muffling his voice so he wouldn’t call out. After a few seconds…he had no breath to speak of. The intruder released his throat as quickly as he had wrapped his hands around it and let the young man slide to the floor.
    He reached the middle of the Basilica and stopped, making himself invisible to any wandering eyes.

    Hastings smiled. This spot was perfect.

    ------------

    Katharine didn’t know the exact time she was wrested from sleep. She knew that it was dark outside. She could sense that it was early in the morning. Her mind had awakened her for some inexplicable reason, and she had no choice but to follow it in this dreamy state.

    Her feet hit the floor of her room, sinking into the carpet as she stepped across the piles of books that she had strewn about, researching for a class she was to begin in a few months time. The classes at her college were taught by gym leaders…and she had been assigned Lt. Surge as her physics teacher for the first semester. Somehow, she felt as if he would have been better suited for another subject.

    Aside from the fact that the man belonged back in the American-Aquapolian unit he originally served in, he had actually assigned a paper for the summer before the class. The books that Katharine had been using to research said paper were now strewn across her floor as she stepped out of her room, only a step above sleepwalking.

    Her feet and senses guided her across the cold marble halls of the Vatican. She shivered at their touch, but didn’t return for her shoes. Luckily, she had fallen asleep in the t-shirt and jeans she had on while studying for the chemistry class she was taking that summer, taught by another Kanto gym leader, Blaine, who was only a step above being a mad scientist.

    The halls almost slid past in a blur as she made her way into the Basilica, unseen by any Swiss Guard or priest that may be out in the halls so early in the morning. As her feet finally touched the marble of the Basilica, her mind and train of thought went blank, leaving her only to a series of actions that she questioned deeply later.

    The place where the 99 lights were lit held a spiraling staircase down which she and several others had descended earlier that week. The 99 lamps burned brightly…so inviting. She grabbed two of them, blowing one out in the process. Her eyes and mind found the spot…perfect.

    She began to pour the butane onto the floor, outlining the shape of the star. The symbol was so strange, but so familiar. Panic and terror started rising in her chest. It was terrifying, but why?

    She finished the symbol, her hand hovering with the candle clutched in her fingers. She was in the middle of the star…and flames were so inviting in her eyes…
    ------------

    The camerlengo and Mortati rounded a corner in the Vatican halls, not bothering to speak in hushed tones during their discussion.

    “Katharine must work to improve her powers. I’m sure she is eager to do so already…” Mortati said. “If the Shadow Forces rise again, it is imperative that she…and all of us…be prepared.”

    The camerlengo nodded. “Has the college spoken of her since the conclave ended?”

    “Yes, they have. All have agreed to formally accept the Chosen One legend, including the pope. He is especially adament about accepting a new Aquapolian cardinal…as you know why.”

    The camerlengo nodded once more, his thoughts of Katharine pushing aside the joy that the first Aquapolian pope had been elected. Pride welled up in his chest for his daughter who was so strong willed and brave. She had been made an example of sacrifice, even though she had survived her fight with the invading demon. He was eager to help her learn more of the powers that God had gifted her.

    As they stepped into the main hall of the Basilica, Mortati stopped short, his icy blue eyes fixed and interested on something near the 99 candles. The camerlengo followed his line of sight to see Katharine standing in the middle of the hall, a candle clutched in her hand. He frowned. What was she doing up so late? He stepped toward her until she looked up at him.

    “Katharine? It’s late…you should be asleep…” he paused. Something was wrong. Her eyes looked so vacant. Was she sleepwalking? He looked down at the ground at her feet, his breath catching in his chest. Butane was spilt all around her feet.

    Before he could stop her…before anyone could speak…she let go of the candle. Flames erupted around her as he shouted her name in horror. She was in the middle of the butane, untouched, but still trapped. Several of the Swiss Guards pushed past him, fire extinguishers clutched in their hands. He knew instantly that they would not work. The guards shouted in surprise as the flames erupted again in their faces…

    ------------

    The heat from the fire enveloped Katharine, almost making it hard to breathe. She could hear shouts, and her father’s voice rising above all of them. She clutched at her arms, wondering how she was going to get out. Her brain wasn’t working right. She couldn’t concentrate on putting the flames out.

    The smoke stung her eyes to the point that she found it terribly difficult to see. She could only sense the Swiss Guards shouting and desparately trying to put out the flames that surged around her.

    Suddenly, as if he were an apparation, a man appeared in the star a few feet away from her. His cold emerald eyes made her shiver. He had dark brown hair and wore a black shirt and pants, nicely dressed. He took a step toward her, and she backed up, wincing when she felt flames on her shoulders.

    “Hello…Chosen One,” he greeted her with a smile and an Irish accent. He tilted his head to one side. “May I call you Katharine?”

    She had barely opened her mouth when he lunged forward, wrapping his hand around her throat and tilting her head up to look at him. In a dangerously low voice, he spoke.

    “This is our declaration. The sons of darkness will fill this church. And if you do not comply…Chosen One…we will be forced to destroy you.” He laughed as Katharine started to tremble in terror. He had gotten to her. He lowered his voice to a whisper. “Good luck, Katharine.”

    In an instant, he was gone, leaving her trembling and terrified as flames swirled around her.

    ------------

    The flames licked across the floor, refusing to die down no matter how many fire extinguishers were emptied on them or water was poured onto them. Finally, the human Swiss Guards were ordered to back away. Unfortunately, the commander had managed to hire as his only Aquapolian guards a grass and an ice-type. Neither could stand too close to the flames, much less put them out.

    The camerlengo knew it was a lost cause to put out the fire without Katharine’s help. From the vacant expression she had given him before releasing the candle, however, she may not have been in the best mental state to extinguish the flames. He had to get through to her and help her snap out of the trance like state she was in.

    The camerlengo was desperate to get Katharine out of the flames. The wall was not thick, he guessed. Rushing through it, his burns should only last for a half an hour. That would be a small price to pay…

    He shoved past several guards, and, ignoring their protests, dove through the flames into the untouched center. His vision switched from flames to darkness as he ran into Katharine. He gripped her shoulders, turning her around to face him. He nearly jumped back from her as he spotted her dark, cloudy eyes. She grabbed his arm, and he could feel her trembling.
    “Put…Put out the fire, Katharine,” he gasped, clutching her shoulders tightly. “Put out the fire, Katharine!” He exclaimed firmly.

    She paused, her eyes staring into his for a few short moments before a wave of air blew out from the center of the flames, putting them out completely. Both stood there, Katharine trembling. The camerlengo turned to look at the stunned guards and Mortati, who gave him a concerned look.

    He wrapped his arm around the still-trembling Katharine. “Come on,” he whispered, pulling her away from the scene and toward his apartments.

    Once inside his study, he released her and she backed away from him, breathing hard. He paused before asking, “Are you hurt?” He reached out to touch her shoulder, only to have her slap his hand away. He flinched, startled by her action.

    “It’s okay,” he murmured, reaching to grip her shoulders again. This time, she didn’t resist, only burst into tears.

    “I’m..so…sorry,” she gasped. “I don’t know why…why I did that!”

    “Katharine, it’s fine,” he murmured, pulling her close. She cried on his shoulder for a few minutes before pulling away.

    “There was this man there, inside the star,” she explained, wiping away tears. “He told me…that the sons of darkness…this was their declaration.”

    The camerlengo took in a sharp breath as she continued. “The Shadow Forces…are back.”

    ------------

    Something was buzzing annoyingly…The phone? Was that the phone? He groaned. What time was it?

    Professor Robert Langdon had only been home for two days…Two days he had spent sleeping off the tiring hours of running around Rome and doing battle with Shadow Followers. The first time in his life he had encountered a Shadow Follower, and it had to be in Rome.

    He groggily reached for his telephone, trying to push through the sleepy fog in his brain. He put the receiver to his ear. All he could make out was a frantic Irish voice. He shook his head, trying to remember if he knew anyone Irish.

    “What? Who?” He stuttered, trying to make out what the caller was saying.”

    “Professor Langdon?”
    “…yes.” Yes…that was his name…

    “This is Partick McKenna.”

    “…Wha?” He swore to God he felt like he was on drugs. The name sounded so familiar.

    The caller sighed. “The camerlengo…What time is it where you are?”

    Langdon snapped out of his daze at the word “camerlengo.” Was something wrong? Had something happened? His mind raced with possiblities before he glanced at his clock, the display fuzzy as his eyes tried to adjust to being wide awake. “It’s 5:05 here…” He managed to choke out before rubbing his eyes in a desperate attempt to wake up.

    “I’m sorry to disturb you, but…I need your help with something…Do you have a fax machine with you?” The camerlengo’s voice was strained and tired, and Langdon wondered if he had actually slept since the events that occurred a few days beforehand.

    “Y…yes…” Langdon’s eyes searched his apartment as he stumbled out of bed, hitting his toe on the nightstand. He cursed in his head, thankful that he caught himself before blurting it across the phone to a priest. He finally found the fax machine on his desk and amazingly rattled off the number to the camerlengo. Apparently, his still half asleep brain could still remember numbers…

    Langdon hung up at the camerlengo’s request, waiting for his fax machine to start working. In the meantime, he looked out the window, wincing as the bright moon light caught his eyes. It was way too early in the morning to be up and doing activities that were best performed while awake, but…if the camerlengo needed him at that moment…he would have to make do.

    His fax machine finally roared to life, printing one sheet of paper out for him to snatch up, nearly suffering a papercut in the process. He flicked the lights on in his apartment, groaning at the pain that shot through his eyes as they adjusted to the bright lights around him. Finally, his vision cleared enough for him to get a good look at the piece of paper.

    The picture had been taken in the Basilica. He instantly recognized the marble floors, having run across them many times in the previous days. The shot was focused on one area of the marble floors which was charred black as if the marble had been stained with ashes. There was a pattern outlined in this ash-like material…a seven pointed star.

    He groaned. He had to play symbologist this early in the morning? He focused on the star for a few brief moments, racing through the different religions he knew of that might use this symbol.

    He knew this symbol. He had seen it before. It consisted of a simple seven pointed star, but was ominous enough to send chills down Langdon’s spine.

    His phone rang.

    “Professor?”

    Langdon was jolted out of his thoughtful state by the camerlengo’s voice. “This is…Do you know who did this?” He tried to keep worry out of his voice so as not to freak the priest out on the other side of the Atlantic.

    “Yes…Katharine did it.”

    Those were all of the words he needed to know.

    “I’ll be there in a few hours, Father.”

    ------------

    Langdon’s shoes resounded on the Basilica’s marble floor as he, escorted, passed once again into St. Peter’s. It was amazing how all evidence of the vicious fight between good and evil that had occurred a few days beforehand had been cleaned and shined away. Unfortunately, a new, even darker symbol had appeared.

    He immediately spied the camerlengo and Rowan standing near the stairs of the 99 lights. Rowan was dressed in his usual blue suit, though Langdon knew he preferred lab coats. The camerlengo looked us as Langdon approached, the young priest’s appearance looking as if he had aged a decade over the past few days. Langdon couldn’t help but to remember that the camerlengo was younger than both professors in the room.

    “How’s Katharine?” He asked once he was in earshot. From how the camerlengo sounded on the phone, Langdon wondered if Katharine had been hurt during the incident.

    The priest answered, “She’s unhurt, just shaken and tired. She’s asleep right now…” He looked like he hadn’t slept the night before, probably pacing in worry over what was probably a traumatic experience. Langdon wondered if he or Rowan could convince him to get some sleep while they investigated the symbol.

    His eyes wandered to the symbol, and he shivered. It wasn’t gory or bloody like the symbols that had been branded on the chests of the six cardinals, but it was just as ominous. Ashes line the symbol…from what?

    “Now that we’re both here…could you tell us what happened?” Rowan asked, walking around to the other side of the star, following its outline with his eyes as he moved to stand next to Langdon.

    The camerlengo took a deep breath, his eyes fixed on the star as he relayed what occurred the night before. “I’m unsure of how it started. I don’t know whether Katharine was sleepwalking…or whether she was forced to do this. She was standing in the middle of the Basilica when Cardinal Mortati and I walked in. Then, she threw down the candle…”

    Rowan gazed down at the star, his eyes tracing the pattern the ashes made on the floor. Langdon could hear someone approaching, but didn’t look up to see who it was.

    “Katharine? What are you doing out of bed?” Langdon glanced up at the camerlengo’s words to see Katharine walking hesitantly toward them, her eyes warily taking in the symbol on the floor.

    “I felt better….and I heard that Professor Rowan and Professor Langdon were here.” She stepped closer, her eyes on the star.

    “She said that she spoke to someone who said the sons of darkness were coming…” The camerlengo explained. Rowan froze. He knew that name.

    “It’s another name for Shadow Followers,” he groaned. “They aren’t finished with the church yet…”

    “We should tell the Swiss Guard…”

    “How many Aquapolians have been added to the guard?”

    “…none.”

    Rowan nodded. “They won’t be able to help us.” He took a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and shook it to open up. “But I know some people who will.”

    “You keep a list of people who can help fight Shadow Followers in your pocket?” Katharine asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “What have I always taught in class, Katharine? Be prepared.” He looked at the list. “Some individuals who have experience fighting Shadow Followers.”

    Langdon sneaked a peek over Rowan’s shoulder. “Twelve? You know twelve people who can fight Shadow Followers?”

    Rowan held his hand out. “Just let me continue. First is Dr. Cyrus Jones. He is an Aquapolian physicist who works at Yale.”

    ------------

    “There’s something wrong with this.”

    Several scientists in the back of the room groaned as Jones put the piece of chalk he was writing with back down on the table, his eyes staring at the equation in front of him.

    “Jones, I told you we need to start with two beginnings this time…” An older man in the back of the room complained.

    “No.” Jones said sternly. “Only one beginning.” He laughed. “I may have conceded to two possible beginnings of the human equation, but for the Aquapolian equation…I’m not budging.” He turned to the man, choosing his words carefully. “There is no possible way that beings like Aquapolians could have evolved over time. We are sticking with creationism on this one.”

    His words rang out through the classroom, jolting every scientist sitting around the blackboard. Several glared at him for a few seconds before standing up and walking out of the room. Jones sighed.

    “Anyone else disagree with me? I REFUSE to put evolution at the beginning of this equation.”

    A few more walked out. The only people left in the room were Aquapolians.

    “Then let’s continue.”

    ------------

    “Dr. Cyrus Jones? Didn’t he work on the human equation project?” Langdon asked.

    “The human equation?” The camerlengo asked, confused.

    “It’s an equation that’s supposed to define the human being as what a human is compared to the Earth and other species. Jones is now working on the Aquapolian equation project.” Rowan sighed. “Though he just last week lost all human support when he refused to put evolution as a probable beginning to the equation.”

    Langdon nodded. “Who else is on the list?”
    Katharine stepped over to her teacher, eager to sneak a peek and see if she knew any of these seemingly extraordinary people who could help them fight the coming evil. She shivered as she remembered the man in the star of fire who had declared the war on the church.

    The one thing she had not told her father that night…the one thing she refused to…was tell him that she had lashed out at him because he had the same eyes as the man in the fire.
     
  12. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    I've just read Chapter 6 and I loved it! I'm so glad that you added in the factor of real angels and demons because it adds another depth to the story and also hopefully will concrete Langdon's faith. For after that how can someone not believe! It's amazing how well you've combined both worlds together, it's just remarkable and I praise you for how well you've blended in this new addition of religion and faith as well. It all seems plausible and real, something I would never expect to get from a ficition story about Pokemon. God Bless you for this wondeful read : )
     
  13. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Aw...thank you. I've always enjoyed writing about the conflict of angels and demons, so I knew that I wouldn't feel any of my fanfictions were complete with this particular struggle. :)

    8 should be up within the month.
     
  14. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    Just finished Chapter 7! Sorry my review is so late. What an epic chapter eh? Including this new twist with the Shadow Followers and their plot against the Church, and also the idea that Katharine somehow was controlled. Could it possible be because of her experience with the Demon the day before? I'm also intrigued by the Shadow Followers connection to the Carmelengo because this seems to be somehow sinister and evil in a way but I look forward to its revelation! I also can't wait to see Cyrus's part of the story! All in all a Chapter setting a lot up!
     
  15. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    Just finished Chapter 7! Sorry my review is so late. What an epic chapter eh? Including this new twist with the Shadow Followers and their plot against the Church, and also the idea that Katharine somehow was controlled. Could it possible be because of her experience with the Demon the day before? I'm also intrigued by the Shadow Followers connection to the Carmelengo because this seems to be somehow sinister and evil in a way but I look forward to its revelation! I also can't wait to see Cyrus's part of the story! All in all a Chapter setting a lot up!
     
  16. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Sorry for the slightly late update everyone. I recently started my first semester in college, so updates are going to be even slower now than they were before. Don't worry, I haven't given up on this story or Shadow and Light!

    New characters (it's starting to get crazy):

    Riley Poole: National Treasure
    Ben Gates: National Treasure
    Indy: Based off of Indiana Jones. Think of Jones in the newest movie. That's more like Indy
    House: Oh, please. If I need to tell you who this is...

    And so...on with the show.




    8.

    Absolutely no light filtered in from the outside world, leaving the room with only artificial sources of light from the dozens of computer screens that flickered on the walls. Riley wondered if the design of the room meant that he was becoming a vampire, since he had now taken up residence in the room to work on his latest project with his younger cousin Max.

    He leaned back in his desk chair, checking his cell phone for text messages. Only one flickered on the screen, asking him if he’d like to meet up at the local Starbucks to reminesce over old times. He shook his head. It had been years since his…adventures in New York and Washington. He now had a stable job and a project that could make him and Max rich.

    A loud knock on the door jerked him out of his thoughts. He didn’t bother to yell before Max burst in, carrying two Starbucks coffees. Max and Riley looked more like brothers than cousins, with the same tussled dark brown hair and deep blue eyes. However, Max just graduated from the Sakuragoaka Academy in Ever Grande and worked part time for Professor Rowan in Sandgem.

    “Dude, guess what?” Max said, plopping down on a chair next to Riley. “The Professor just called me. He’s been in Rome for like the past week or so, and he said he needs you and your computer system for Shadow Follower survellience.”

    “At the Vatican? After all that happened, the Shadow Followers are still there?”

    “Apparently they are.”

    Riley paused, then picked up his cell phone. “What’s Professor Rowan’s cell number again?”

    ------------

    “Riley Poole? What could we use him for?” Langdon asked.

    “He’s built a computer program that can lock onto Shadow energy in the surrounding area, plus keep tabs on anyone we want to track. His cousin Max graduated with Katharine,” Rowan explained.

    “They’re both geniuses,” Katharine added.

    “Next are Detectives Zach Nichols and Serena Stevens of the Major Case Squad in New York…”

    “Cops?” Langdon asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “They work in the Shadow Follower Case Division,” Rowan explained. “They deal with homicides committed in human districts by Shadow Followers. They know the inner workings of the criminal’s minds. Unfortunately…their captain was recently killed on the job, so they’re dealing with some departemental issues and won’t be able to come right away.”

    “Who’s next?” Langdon asked.

    “Professor Indy Jones…of no relation to Cyrus….”

    “I know him…I work with him at Harvard! He’s in the anthropology department!”

    “Yes…anything we need to know about legendary Aquapolian artifacts and symbols…he’ll be able to tell us. As you know, Langdon, he’s spent a lot of time exploring the ruins and caverns in remote places of Aquapolis.”

    “So remote he’s almost gone crazy,” Langdon muttered. Katharine found Professor Jones’ description interesting, like a sort of modern day Indiana Jones. She wondered if he was actually named after the famous archeologist…or the other way around. The names were too much alike for it to be a coincidence.

    ------------

    Professor Indy Jones might have been able to speak five different languages from all corners of the globe, but he definitely stood out wherever he went. Not only was his personality eccentric, in that he would charge headfirst into certain danger or do odd things like wear boots to a department meeting and leave messages on his own answering machine in different languages, but his powers were eccentric as well. He was a normal-type, signaling one of the most diverse types of Aquapolians on the planet. Like their Pokemon counterparts, they could use various moves borrowed from other types to fight in their arsenal.

    Usually, normal-types could control what types they could utilize at which moment, but Professor Jones was born with a slight defect that changed his type once every day to another random type. Every morning, he woke up as a different power, one day a fire-type, possibly a dark-type the next day. His eccentric personality allowed him to go with the flow, his exceptional brain allowed him to master every advantage of every typing so that he would never be caught off guard if he needed to defend himself.

    This particular day, Indy, as his friends knew him, was sitting in a department meeting, patiently waiting for it to get over with. His phone vibrated in his pocket, and he nonchalantly picked it up, reading the text off of the screen. “Meet me in Vatican City. Strange symbol you need to see.”

    “Professor Jones?” Indy’s head snapped up to see the head of the department staring at him. “Would you care to share with the class?”

    Indy froze and looked around carefully. “Actually, I’ve got to be somewhere else right now…” With that, he bolted up and left the room.

    ------------

    “We’re going to need a doctor…” Rowan muttered, looking at the list. “One healer is not going to be enough.” He looked up at the camerlengo, who looked away.

    “Who do you have in mind?” Langdon asked.

    “Bare with me here…I have a friend in New Jersey who is one of the best…”

    “Oh, God…not him…”

    ------------

    Unlike Riley’s office, Lisa Cuddy’s office was bright and sunny, though her mood at the moment was not. She glared up at the doctor in front of her, not believing what she was hearing. “You want a vacation? When do you take vacations?”

    “I have been called recently to perform an act of service for my country…or mainly Aquapolis. I feel like I have to go…”

    “Yeah…right…Aquapolis called on YOU to serve.” Cuddy sighed. “What about your patients?”

    “I have no patients right now.”

    “But you WILL, and then what?”

    He hesitated. “Then we’ll refer them to someone else.” He looked at his watch. “Got to go. I have a flight to catch.” With that, he limped out of the room, leaving her exasperated.

    ------------

    “It’s almost sacrilegious to have House here…” Langdon muttered.

    “Well…you’re not going to like the last person on my list, either,” Rowan sighed.

    Langdon looked up. “Who is it?”

    Rowan took a deep breath. “Ben Gates.”
    ------------

    Amongst the many tourists who visited the marble temple, Ben was the only one who knew the true history and wisdom behind the man whose memorial was so famous in America and throughout the world. He may have disagreed with some of the man’s policies throughout the years, but he had experienced the ingenuity behind the keys and secrets the man had employed to hide the nation’s brightest treasures.

    Ben shifted to the right to allow a group of school kids to climb up the stairs and gaze in wonder at the huge president who sat yards above them, looking out at the Reflection Pool that lay between the marble temple and another memorial yards away. They were of high school age, he guessed, and they clumped together in pairs to explore the quotes on the walls at their own pace, most of them simply passing over the words to stare at the statue in the middle of the memorial.

    Ben kept his eyes on one girl, bundled up in a fluffy brown leather coat and brown boots. The school group she was with talked in various levels of Southern accent, so he guessed they were from the Deep South, judging by the way they had put on heavy layers, not used to the chilly atmosphere of D.C. The girl had dirty blonde hair and grey-blue eyes and was of medium build, a little heavier than the slender girls that ran around her. She stood carefully studying the words as if taking in each deep meaning. She went from one quote to another, savoring every sentence.

    A red-haired girl that stood an inch or two taller than her ran up to read what she was looking at, but only passed over the sentences with a glance. She spoke excitedly to the blonde girl, motioning to the frozen Reflection Pool outside. It seemed as if neither had seen a frozen body of water before. In fact, several boys out of their class had started throwing around ice chunks in front of the pool.

    The girl nodded, then turned in Ben’s direction, glancing back at the presidential statue and nodding. Ben wondered what she thought of this particular president. Most kids in the South grew up in conservative Republican homes, but this girl seemed to look past party lines as she smiled at the statue and followed her red-haired friend past Ben, freezing for an instant as she seemed to recognize him.

    “Sarah, Sarah,” She tugged at her friend’s shirt as her eyes widened. She was clearly looking at him now. Sarah turned around, and her green eyes grew just as big as her friend’s. “It’s Ben Gates,” the blonde girl whispered, digging in her pocket for something.

    Before Ben could say a thing, both girls were standing before him, excited and shy as the blonde girl held out a piece of paper and a pen. “M…Mr. Gates, could you sign this copy of the Declaration of Independence for me?” He laughed, instantly realizing that she knew the full irony of the situation. These two girls were smart cookies.

    “Of course, I will.” He took the pen and paper, glancing down at the Declaration of Independence and signing it on the front, turning over to the back, slightly chuckling to himself. Unlike the original Declaration, this copy had absolutely nothing on the back, in plain sight or hidden. “Who do I make this out to?”

    “Katie!” The blonde girl squeaked as Sarah fished inside her own pocket for her copy of the Declaration for him to sign. After he signed both and gave them back to their owners, she spoke again. “My mom is an AP U.S. History teacher…and she’s your biggest fan. Thank you so much!” With that, Katie and Sarah said good-bye and scuttled off, wisely not telling any of their classmates that Ben was there, allowing him to duck into the shadows to take a phone call. He chuckled to himself about Katie’s mom being his biggest fan. She would be one of the only history teachers that liked him. Judging by her daughter’s actions, she was quite smart. The girls would have their time later to brag to their classmates, and Ben would be long gone.

    He held his cell phone up to his ear, listening in for whoever was on the other line. “This is Ben,” he said. He never said hello anymore. He had broken out of that habit after he left the CIA. Or rather…been forced out of the CIA. He would rather tell people he left of his own will as relations went sour.

    “Hey, Ben.” It was Riley, his longtime friend and partner in crime. “I just got a call from Professor Rowan about a new job in Rome. He’s asking for you to come along for your expertise in fighting Shadow Followers…”

    “Woah, woah, woah. Rome? Shadow Followers? You don’t mean there’s been backlash from last week’s events, do you?” Ben couldn’t believe it. Most Aquapolians had caught wind that the group that had kidnapped six cardinals from the Vatican had been part of the Shadow Followers. Though Aquapolis was strongly warning most of its citizens to refrain from investigating these sightings in Rome, they were still encouraged to vacation in the city and visit its churches and landmarks.

    “Believe it or not, we’ve had another Shadow sighting…but the Professor said that we’ll be working with some old friends, so it’s worth it, right?” Riley laughed. “Only thing is is that you’re going to have to say hello to your old roommate.”

    Ben sighed. The last person in the world he could get along with was his roommate for four years at Harvard. Unfortunately, they had gone into fields of research that occurred in the same radius of study. Though they couldn’t get along half the time, he knew that deep down, they were still as close as they had been that first year at Harvard.

    “I’ll be there in a few hours. Count me in.”

    ------------

    Rowan’s cell phone rang loud and clear in the Basilica, startling the other three Aquapolians who were standing around the ashen star. Katharine glared at him, still shaken from the previous night’s experience and jumpy to any kind of loud noise. Rowan humorously glared back before answering the call. Katharine’s eyes dropped back to the star, trying to clear her mind of everything and think of the six powers, letting their names and auras calm her mind.

    Land. Sea. Sky. Time. Space. Dimension. Groudon. Kyogre. Lugia. Dialga. Palkia. Giratina. She recited the twelve words over and over again, feeling calmer and in more control by the second. Rowan had taught her to use this trick during training to become calm and centered enough to use her powers efficiently and accurately. Now that she was cool and collected, she could focus on this new team Rowan was pulling together.

    Langdon, on the other hand, was not calm at all. From the instant Rowan had said Gates’ name, he had tensed up, years of disapproval crashing down on him as he remembered his and Gates’ past. Millions of protests jumped to his mind in a second for why Gates should not even be allowed near the Vatican, but he refused to voice his mind until he was certain Gates had agreed to fly over to Rome.

    He nervously watched as Rowan hung up his phone and nodded. “Riley says that Ben will be here later on. Everyone should be here in the next few hours, provided that they can make excuses to get out of work….”

    “I heard Gates doesn’t work anymore,” Langdon scoffed. “He was recently fired from his last job. Figures, though, after everything he’s done in the past few years.” He looked over pointedly at the camerlengo. If he could convince the priest that Gates was no good, maybe the camerlengo would refuse for Gates to help fight these new Shadow Followers. “Let’s see…stolen the Declaration of Independence…kidnapped the President of the United States…and now…fired…burned by the CIA…”

    The camerlengo was only half listening, lost in his train of thought. He snapped out of it just in time to hear Langdon’s complains about Gates. “Wait…what?” Langdon inwardly smiled. Now was his chance.

    Unfortunately, Rowan was running interference on this particular day. “Now, now, Langdon. You know as well as I that those acts could have been committed by someone who would have destroyed the Declaration or assasainated the president. No need to get hysterical about it.” He rolled his eyes. Langdon sighed. His idea had been shot down.

    “In the meantime…while we’re waiting for this team to arrive…maybe we should get them cleared by security?” Rowan suggested. Langdon smirked. Rowan glared at him. “And there is absolutely no way we’re not going to get Gates past security for this job, right Langdon?”

    Langdon grumbled as he followed Rowan to the Swiss Guard’s office.

    ------------

    Katharine sat on the Basilica floor, her eyes on the symbol, lost in thought. The camerlengo had been pacing around it for hours.

    “Is this it?”

    Katharine lifted her eyes to see a man about the camerlengo’s age with brown hair and blue eyes. He wore a plain black shirt and black pants over black boots.

    “Yeah, this is it…” She muttered, not knowing who he was.

    He stepped around her, examining the symbol from all angles. Finally, he came to a stop right beside the camerlengo, nodding at the star.

    “I’m Dr. Cyrus Jones from Yale University. Rowan called me about the Shadow Follower problem…”

    “Cyrus? It’s been a while!” Rowan called from across the Basilica. He shook hands with Jones before turning around to look at the symbol. “What do you think?”

    Jones looked up as Langdon approached. “I think our resident symbologist already knows what this symbol is, though I thank you for pulling me out of my recent project…”

    “Yeah, I heard about that,” Rowan said. “Every human walk out?” Jones nodded. “Don’t worry. The project will run more smoothly without the humans arguing every step of the way.”

    “You need to get checked in with security,” Langdon said. “Follow me.”

    Katharine stood up, watching Langdon and Jones walk away. She turned back to Rowan. “Are you sure he has fighting experience with Shadow Followers?”

    Rowan nodded. “He’s one of the best, even if he keeps himself in a classroom all day.”

    “Hey, hey, hey!”

    A commotion from the other side of the room pulled Katharine’s attention away from the ashen star and toward a small group of Swiss Guards clustered together near the main entry. Several held hardrives and computer equipment in their arms, slinging them around as if they were merely crates. They were followed by a worried Aquapolian guy who was easily only six years older than Katharine. He had floppy brown hair and soft brown eyes and sported a small brown goatee on his chin.

    “That’s thousands of dollars worth of equipment there!” He protested as they hefted his computer equipment away. “Hey, Professor! Can you help me out here?”

    Rowan laughed. “It’s okay, he has clearance.” The Swiss Guards hesitated, then looked back at the Aquapolian.

    “Where do I put my equipment, Professor?”

    “Langdon will show you where, Riley,” he responded. Riley nodded, following Langdon out of the Basilica.

    “Looks like everyone is showing up pretty quickly,” Katharine muttered.

    “We know our way around transportation,” Jones said, appearing beside her and glancing at the star once again. “Everyone should be here within another hour or two.”

    Just as he spoke the words, a man around Langdon’s age appeared in the hall, a satchel slung across his shoulder. He had brown hair and blue eyes and was dressed in a black shirt, brown coat, and blue jeans. He looked up at the ceiling with wonder, taking in everything.

    “Long time, no see, Ben,” Jones said as the man approached the group, staring at the star on the floor for a few seconds before standing beside Katharine. The camerlengo looked at him with an interested expression, thinking about the things he had learned recently about Ben’s past.

    “Yep…sorry I dropped off the grid there for a few years. I went to work for the most insane employer on the planet,” Ben muttered, tilting his head to look at the symbol more closely. “Is that butane?” He whistled. “Indy is going to have a breakdown when he sees that this marble was scarred in such a way.”

    Katharine blushed, hoping that the camerlengo or Rowan wouldn’t give away the true cause of the symbol until everyone was there. She would be so embarrassed once everyone learned that she was the one who had set the butane on fire, and she wanted to get it completely overwith, stares and all, at one time. She hadn’t even introduced herself to any of the men who had shown up that day. They wouldn’t know who she was, anyway…

    “Hey, you’re in Max’s class, aren’t you?”

    Katharine nearly jumped backward when she heard Riley’s voice issue from just to her right. During her deep train of thought about Indy and the supposed breakdown he would have upon seeing the beautiful marble floor of the Basilica scarred, she had completely zoned out, even when Jones and Ben had walked away from both sides of her.

    She nodded. “Yeah, we graduated together.”

    He nodded. “He’s talked a lot about you. How you’re the best trainer in your class.”

    She blushed. “Well…I just enjoy training and battling, that’s all.”

    He laughed. “As do we all, but you’re better than most.”

    “What happened here?!”

    Katharine looked up to see a middle-aged man with silver hair staring at the symbol on the floor in horror. She gulped and stepped back, hoping no one would call her out in front of this man who was probably the Indy they were talking about.

    Riley cleared his throat. “It was like this when I got here, I swear.”

    Langdon appeared beside Indy and shook his head. “It’s a shame, isn’t it?” He looked up pointedly at Katharine, who glared at him.

    Indy stood staring at the symbol for a few minutes until he heard a whistle echo from beside him. “That left quite a mark…” He turned to glare at the whistler, a man about his age with gray hair who leaned on a cane. “What? I’m just stating the obvious…”

    “Are we all here?” Rowan appeared, obviously trying to calm down the storm that was threatening to brew between members in the group. Katharine’s heart lifted when she saw Eric standing behind him, backing up from the fight that was about to ensue.

    “I believe so,” Langdon commented, ignoring Ben completely. Ben shrugged, falling into step behind the professor as they exited the Basilica.

    ------------

    Everyone sat around a table inside a room in the archives, talking to each other and catching up after years of being apart. Eric and Katharine talked about upcoming tournaments, including the SoulSilver Conference.

    Finally, Rowan stood up in the front of the room and cleared his throat. “Now that we’re all here, a few announcements…”

    “Who died and made you leader?” The man with the cane shouted.
    Rowan sighed. “Just keep all of your comments until the end, House.”

    House rolled his eyes.

    “First of all, I know some of you have drifted apart during the years, so we’re going to do this like old times. We’ll go around the room, stand up and say your name, where you’re from, your type, and what you specialize in.”

    This caused several people in the room to groan. Rowan rolled his eyes.

    “Fine, I’ll go first. My name is Professor David Rowan. I’m from Sandgem Town in the region of Sinnoh in Aquapolis. I am a psychic-type, and I specialize in the study of legendaries.” He turned to Katharine. “You’re next.”

    Katharine stood up and blushed, obviously scared of even this small public speaking part. “My name is Katharine McKenna. I was originally born in Rome, but I also call Ever Grande City home. I believe I’m classified as a light-type, and I specialize in…actually using legendary power…”

    “Hey, Chosen One!”

    Katharine’s head snapped around to House.

    “I believe you’re classified as the number one specialist in legendary power…”

    “What did I say about not speaking?” Rowan asked.

    House rolled his eyes as Katharine sat down and David stood up.

    “My name is David Reed. I’m originally from Ever Grande City. I’m a fire-type, and I specialize in archery.”

    And so it went…

    “My name is Dr. Cyrus Jones. I’m originally from Sunyshore City in Sinnoh in Aquapolis. I’m a psychic-type, and I specialize in Aquapolian physics.”

    “My name is Ben Gates. I was born in Fuschia City, Kanto, but grew up in Washington, D.C. I’m a fire-type, and I specialize in…American and Aquapolian national treasures.”

    “And stealing them…” Langdon muttered to Indy.

    “My name is Vittoria Vetra. I am from Venice, Italy. I’m a psychic-type, and I specialize in Aquapolian physics.”




    Katharine did a double take, wondering when Dr. Vetra had arrived at the Vatican and if she were really on Rowan’s list. Apparently, she was, otherwise she wouldn’t be there. She wondered how the physicist was connected to the others on the list. Maybe she and Dr. Jones knew or worked with each other before? She sat still and listened quietly as people continued to introduce themselves.

    Riley stood up from behind the computer desk he had set up in the corner beside the large screen in the back of the room. He accidently tripped over the wires, catching himself before he crashed into his own equipment. House snickered and the young geek shot him a killer glare.

    “My name is Riley Poole, and I am from Petalburg City, Hoenn, Aquapolis. I am an electric-type, and I am apparently a computer expert.” He gestured to the electronics beside him. “Right here, we have what amounts to an entire government computer database in a smaller form. I’ve actually helped work on the Aquapolian government’s computer database, but between us, this is a lot more powerful.”

    Eric whistled, raising his eyebrows. Katharine and he had grown up with Riley’s younger cousin Max, who was just as electronically inclined as Riley was. Max had built a similar computer database, and both Aquapolian teenagers knew exactly how powerful it was. The group would have no problem organizing anything with this piece of art.

    Riley sat down, managing not to trip over any wires in the process. Langdon was the next to stand up, shooting a glance at Ben before speaking. “My name is Robert Langdon. I am from New York originally, and I am a fire-type. My specialty is Aquapolian religious symbols.” Katharine counted up the number of fire-types in the room so far. A total of three fire-types and three psychic-types. Interesting…

    “Is symbologist a real occupation now?” Ben ventured to ask, stoking the fire that seemed to rage on between him and his former roommate. “Or is it a fancy new way to refer to teachers of certain subjects at Harvard?”

    “It’s more real than your apparent job of stealing national treasures and kidnapping presidents,” Langdon shot back, sitting down adruptly. Ben rolled his eyes, refusing to comment on Langdon’s retaliation.

    The man whom Katharine presumed to be Indy stood up next, obviously hoping to distract everyone in the room and pull their attention away from Ben and Langdon’s silent fight. “My name is Dr. Indy Jones. Erm….no relation to Cyrus. I am a normal-type and I am originally from Celestic Town, Sinnoh, Aquapolis. I specialize in ancient Aquapolian artifacts.”

    Finally, House stood up. “My name is Gregory House and I’m from New York originally. I’m a psychic-type, and, apparently, I specialize in Aquapolian diagnostic medicine.”

    Cyrus frowned. “Don’t you have a patient to attend to right now.”

    “Ah…don’t worry. There’s pretty much zero chance he’ll die on me.”
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  17. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    Brilliant Chapter Chosen! I'm loving it:

    One question who was the normal type because there seemed to be a confusion there. No one stated they were, and I believe it was Indy so is he just stating what he was today? Anyway besides that I loved what you've doen here and the direction it's beginning to take! This has got me gripped and I cant wait to find out more!
     
  18. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    Whoops! Thanks for catching that. Indy is indeed a normal-type.

    Thank you for reading! :)
     
  19. chosen_one386

    chosen_one386 Angel of Chaos

    And just in time for the new year! Another chapter! This will be the last long chapter, I'm afraid. I'm cutting chapter lengths from now on as in Shadow and Light in order to update more often.
    9.



    The camerlengo had his doubts about this ragtag group of fighters. Several of them seemed to hold grudges for each other, something that could easily drive the team apart if their fighting escalated. Some of them didn’t even look like fighters. Riley looked like he spent all his time behind a computer desk, and House walked with a cane. How would they be able to help fight whatever the Shadow Forces threw at them? He chided himself for being judgemental, but how could he help it? Though he trusted Rowan in his decisions about who to call on the list, he was desparate for a fighting force to protect the Vatican…and, somehow, this team seemed substandard.

    His thoughts trailed on, distracting him from noticing that no one in the room was speaking. Finally, someone cleared their throat, asking, “So…I don’t want to seem tactless, but I kind of want to know who the priest in the room is…”

    The camerlengo almost jumped, startled out of his thoughts at House’s statement. It wasn’t entirely tactless. It was actually one of the more tactful things he had said since he stepped foot into the Vatican. No wonder Rowan had pulled the camerlengo aside before the doctor arrived to apologize beforehand for whatever came out of House’s mouth at any point and time.

    Everyone was looking at him, so he stood up hesitatantly to introduce himself. “My name is Patrick McKenna and I’m originally from Dublin….I’m a psychic-type…and my specialty…” He trailed off, trying to think of his specialty. Though he knew much about legendary powers from what he had read of the Book of the Chosen One, he wasn’t as much of an expert as Rowan was. He decided just to go with his occupation. “I am the camerlengo,” He said simply before sitting down.

    This piece of news seemed to surprise several people in the room. First of all, he was probably the youngest camerlengo in the history of the Vatican, younger than at least half of the people in the room. Secondly, many of the fighters who had gathered there had not expected to meet with someone so high up in the hierarchy of the church. He was as close to the pope as any of them could imagine.

    Of course, the fact that he and Katharine shared the same last name did not slip past any of the people in the room. And, of course, House was the one to say what he thought about the subject. “So, you’re a priest, and your daughter is the Chosen One….Well, that makes sense…in some ways…”

    “Anyway…” Rowan interrupted before House could ask any obvious questions that brewed in the heads of the other fighters about this odd relationship. “To begin with why we are gathered here.” He shot a look at House, silently ordering him to shut up. The doctor raised his hands as if to say, “I’m finished speaking…for now.” Rowan nodded and continued. “As you all know, last week, the Vatican was visited by the Shadow Forces in an attempt to destroy the Vatican itself. They attempted to use an antimatter bomb to destroy the building, but, luckily, it failed. Unfortunately, it also blew a hole into the barrier that surrounds the Vatican and prevents Shadow Followers from entering the church.” He glanced at Katharine, and her heart sank as she knew what he was about to say next. “Yesterday, one of these Shadow Followers entered the Vatican and was able to force Katharine into creating the star of ashes that is burned into the middle of the Basilica. According to her, he introduced himself as the Shadow Commander.”

    A sharp intake of breath from Katharine’s right caused her to flinch. She turned to see Eric’s bright blue eyes staring at her. “The Shadow Commander? The Shadow Commander was able to make his way into the Vatican?” His expression turned from one of shock to one of worry.

    “Who is the Shadow Commander?” Luckily, Vittoria’s question veered Eric’s concern off of Katharine for a few minutes. She breathed a sigh of relief as he turned toward the worried looks that surrounded the table. Even Eric’s tone of voice had concerned House, who leaned forward in his seat, unnervingly silent.

    “The Shadow Commander is the human leader of the Shadow Forces. He’s supposed to be the most powerful Aquapolian in the organization, with direct ties to the demons who…in a way, fund the Shadow Forces. Over the years, the Shadow Commanders have been not only the most powerful Shadow Aquapolians, but the most powerful Aquapolians in the world.” He paused, letting this sink in before he continued. “Apparently, you become the Shadow Commander by killing your predecessor. I’ve heard rumors that the current one has killed all of his competition and is the most ruthless leader in history.”

    A strange emotion flickered across the camerlengo’s eyes at that moment. Katharine wondered if part of it was concern that this man had been able to enter the Vatican and pose a threat to everyone’s (including her) safety. But the emotion was slightly different, as if it were also filled with a familiar loathing.

    She shivered when she remembered the Shadow Commander’s eyes, the same emerald green as the camerlengo’s, except darker and crueler. Come to think of it, both men did look a lot alike…but were on opposite ends of the spectrum of personality. She pushed these thoughts away, concentrating on the meeting as it continued.

    “What did he say to you?” Cyrus asked, leaning forward to shoot her a concerned look. He was easily one of the youngest in the group, younger than everyone except Riley, Eric, and Katharine. He was around Vittoria’s age, she guessed. She ducked her head before answering, trying to exactly remember what the Shadow Commander had growled at her in the star of fire.

    “He said…that this was their declaration. That the church would fall by their hands,” she murmured, suddenly overwhelmed by the terror of their situation. She had heard tales of the Shadow Forces. Their ranks were supposedly equal to the ranks of Aquapolian soldiers worldwide. They came from every Aquapolian nationality. If they converged on Rome, which had a limited number of Italian-Aquapolian soldiers, the results would be devastating. To honor its peace treaty with Italy, Aquapolis would have to refrain from sending in its own troops to deal with the situation. At the moment, only twelve Aquapolians stood in the Shadow Forces’ way, and the Shadow Commander was determined to see the church fall.

    “Shadow Followers will be filing into this city by the dozens over the next few days, I bet,” Indy spoke up, trying to put words to everyone’s fears. “Aquapolis will have to start putting restrictions on flights to Italy out of Ever Grande if they at least want to stem the flow out of Aquapolis…”

    “The Shadow Forces have probably already thought of that,” Ben interrupted. “They’ll be coming in from the countries around Italy…possibly from America and Asia as well. It’s possible that they started to move out of Aquapolis long before the Shadow Commander put events into motion. The antimatter attack was, after all, premeditated.”

    Riley cleared his throat. “I can tell you exactly how many Shadow Followers are in the city as of this second.”

    His declaration made everyone grow silent. Eleven pairs of eyes stared at him in disbelief. Even Ben was startled by his friend’s statement. Riley looked around the room uneasily before saying, “Okay…I have made a program that tracks movements of Shadow energy in any place at one time. It feeds off of an Aquapolian satellite that the government uses to track legendary energy…just in case any of the syndicates are acting up lately.”

    “Oh, please,” House interjected. “Don’t tell me Team Magma and Team Aqua are still operating in Aquapolis. I thought they failed miserably years ago.”

    “They still are,” Katharine and Eric answered in unison. Awkward silence as the stares shifted to the two teenagers made Katharine shift in her seat. She prayed noone would explain who Team Magma and Team Aqua were. She didn’t feel like explaining to the camerlengo that she had been mixed up in dealing with both syndicates over the course of the past five or so years. She and Eric shared a look and both kept silent.

    “Anyway…” Riley turned back to his computer screen. “As of now, nearly 387 Shadow Followers have entered the city…but…I can’t pinpoint any one location that may serve as their base…”

    “Shadow scrambler,” Indy mused. “They use it in Aquapolis to make sure that anyone walking by one of their home bases does not immediately sense the huge amount of Shadow energy coming from it. We may have to corner one of the Followers to find our way to their main base.”

    “They won’t lead us willingly,” Cyrus pointed out.

    “We can put a tracker on one of them,” Rowan replied.

    “Perfect,” Riley said, digging underneath his computer desk and emerging with a needle. Katharine shivered. “This is a biological tracking device. We’ll be able to track anyone we inject it into.”

    “We’ll need to walk around the city a little bit and actually find some Shadow Followers,” Eric muttered.

    “We can approach some and ask to join,” Indy said.

    “Any volunteers?” Rowan asked.

    House was one of the first to put his hand up. Katharine and the camerlengo were shocked by his willingness to volunteer. “I’ll do it. I’m a doctor, after all…”

    “That means do no harm,” Langdon argued.

    “Have you even been to my hospital?”

    Langdon rolled his eyes.

    “I’ll go with him,” Indy offered.

    “So will I,” Ben said.

    “Good. We should pinpoint at least some spots of activity in Rome where Shadow Followers hang out,” Rowan said, looking at Riley. Riley nodded, sifting through the data on his own private computer screen.

    “Looks like they center around the north end of Rome,” he muttered. “You can find some recruiters up there easily.”

    “Good. Then we’ll go tomorrow,” House said. The others shot each other silent looks and Katharine sighed.

    ------------

    Okay, you’re going to want to progress a few more yards in front of your current position.

    Indy glanced ahead, his eyes on several shady characters in front of them. “These guys them?”

    Yeah, they’re Shadow Followers. Go ahead.

    Indy cleared his throat as he and House stepped up to the three men, disrupting their hushed conversation. The Shadow Followers looked up, annoyed at this interruption. “Yes?” One of them asked, looking from Indy to House.

    “Are you recruiters?” Indy asked.

    “Who’s asking?”

    “We are. We’d like to speak with you a few moments about offering our services,” House said.

    The three Shadow Followers glanced at each other, then nodded. “Follow us.” Indy and House stepped after them into a dark alleyway, glancing behind them to where Ben stood, carefully observing the scene.

    “Now. Where are you from?” One of the Shadow Followers asked after they stopped in the middle of the alleyway.

    “I’m from Sinnoh. He’s from Kanto,” Indy said. “We’re both psychic-types.”

    Another of the Followers nodded. “Identification?”

    Indy and House glanced at each other before pulling out their Aquapolian training licenses. Ben slipped into the alleyway as one of the Shadow Followers started to examine the licenses. “These are both issued to American citizens…” He muttered seconds before Ben slammed into him. One of the other Shadow Followers spun around, lashing out at Ben, but missing completely as a jolt of electricity rushed through his body, sending him crashing to the ground. The third Shadow Follower tried to attack Indy, but caught House’s cane upside the back of his head, knocking him out cold.

    “This is the one!” House exclaimed, pulling a syringe out of his pocket and injecting the contents into the passed out Shadow Follower’s neck. “Let’s get out of here…” He muttered as the other two tried to make their way to their feet.

    ------------

    “It’s working…” Riley said, watching as a blue dot on his computer screen made its way through the streets of Rome. Ben and Rowan crowded around him to watch its progress through the city. It swirved around several corners, making its way to the center of the network of streets.

    “How’s it going?” House asked, coming up behind them to peer over Riley’s head. “Is that him? Why is he blue?”

    Riley rolled his eyes. “Just shut up so we can watch…” He kept his eye on the blue dot, carefully watching its progress. “It looks like its heading toward the Collosseum.”

    Rowan took a step back. “That would make sense. There are huge networks of tunnels underneath the Collosseum. They could easily keep hundreds of Shadow Followers down there without the police knowing.”

    “Isn’t it usually closed off, though?” Langdon asked.

    Rowan gave him a skeptical look. “These are Shadow Followers we’re talking about here. Do you really think they’d let a few road signs deter them from setting up camp?”

    “He’s stopped!” Riley shouted. Everyone turned back to the screen.

    “Is there any way he could deactivate the device?” Langdon asked.

    “There’s one way….but I don’t think he’d be eager to try it…”

    ------------

    The man stood nervously in front of his Shadow Commander, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. The Commander was flanked by two other Shadow Followers who looked just as nervous as their comrade did.

    “Did you get a good look at these Aquapolians who attacked you?” The Commander asked, stepping closer to the Shadow Follower. The man froze and started to shake.

    “I did…but they looked so ordinary…”

    “How many?”

    “Two…or three…they ambushed us, so I couldn’t tell…”

    The Shadow Commander smiled, drawing closer to the Shadow Follower. “That’s not too helpful, is it? I wonder why they targeted you…” He carefully unsheathed a sword that he had tied around his belt. The Shadow Follower’s eyes grew big in fear.
    ------------

    Riley watched as the blue dot on his screen disappeared immediately. “What the…” He pressed a few buttons, but the dot did not return.

    “What happened?” Rowan asked, leaning over Riley’s shoulder.

    “I don’t know…the trainsmitter must have been turned off…” He sat back, staring at the screen in horror.

    “Exactly how do you turn that transmitter off?” House asked.

    Riley swallowed hard. “You kill the person who has the transmitter imbedded in them. The transmitter runs off of the heat energy supplied by the person’s body…”

    Everyone grew silent, staring at the computer screen with equal amounts of horror. After a while, Rowan spoke up. “We need to double check that their base is the Collosseum. We need someone to have them lead us there.”

    “If we can just get someone to offer to sign up for the Shadow Forces…” House mumbled. “They’ve already seen me, so I can’t do it.”

    “I’ll do it.” They turned to see Eric stepping into the room. “I have a bunch of uncles who are Shadow Followers. They can put in a word for me. They’ll be glad to have me there.”

    “Fine. We’ll just have some people go with you to make sure you’re not hurt,” Rowan said.

    “I’ll go,” Ben volunteered. “We’ll stay hidden until something happens…”

    “I’ll go, too,” Cyrus piped up from where he was sitting at the table. “We’ll be back-up.”

    Katharine glanced worridly at Eric. “Don’t worry,” he assured her. “I’ll be fine.”

    ------------

    Eric headed off the next afternoon for the Collosseum, flanked in the background by Cyrus and Ben. He confidently walked up to a man leaning against one of the columns of the Collosseum. The man glanced suspiciously at Eric before the boy approached him, walking alongside him as they circled the Collosseum.

    Eric pulled out his Aquapolian training license and flashed it at the man before returning it to his pocket. “I’d like to sign up for the local regiment if you don’t mind.”
    The man took in Eric’s appearance silently, glancing him over to make sure that he was not a human pretending to be an Aquapolian. There are several subtle distinguishes in the human and Aquapolian body structures that set them apart. Aquapolians tended to have brighter colored eyes that flashed when they used their powers. They also tended to be more well built and light on their feet. The biggest difference was in the way that they carried themselves. An Aquapolian walked and acted as if he or she were part of the environment itself, causing their actions to be graceful and deliberate. The human eye had trouble picking up on the differences, but most Aquapolians could sense that they were different beyond the realm of the powers they controlled.

    Ben was stationed around the corner, his eyes trained on the Shadow Follower and Eric. One false move could get Eric killed or captured by the Forces and…who knows? Beaten? Tortured? The possibilites were endless when it came to treating prisoners. Humans may have been instantly killed, but some Aquapolians received worse fates than their human counterparts. Ben let out a sigh of relief when the Shadow Follower nodded with approval and told Eric to follow him.

    As soon as the Shadow Follower and Eric started to step away from behind the column where they had first started talking, Cyrus rounded the corner where he had been standing, keeping a close eye on Eric. He nodded to Ben in the distance and quickly made his way around to the other side of the Collosseum, narrowly avoiding running into human and Aquapolian tourists on his way there. It was prime tourist season in Rome; a bad time for the Shadow Followers to launch their attack on the human race.

    Ben silently stalked to the opposite end of the Collosseum from Cyrus, making sure that the Shadow Follower did not catch even a tiny glimpse of him as he moved into place beside one of the stone columns on his side. Judging from the route the Shadow Follower was taking Eric on, they were going to actually enter the above-ground arena of the Collosseum. Ben and Cyrus would be better off watching over Eric from above.

    Without the ability to teleport, Ben had to find his own way into the inner rooms of the stands that surrounded the deserted stone arena. He did not see any security guards patrolling the area, human or Shadow Follower. He had expected someone to be guarding the area, but he was just fine with no security to kick him out or raise an alarm. He found a locked steel door on his side of the arena and wrapped his hand around the handle, quickly melting it before pushing the door in on itself.

    He plunged into darkness, his path unlit by any artificial light as the door swung shut behind him. With a snap, he lit the air around him and created a temporary ball of flame to light his path. He had no time to dawdle here. He could hear footsteps below him…possibly Shadow Followers. He had to get up to the arena seats and fast.

    Cyrus had no problem getting to higher ground to watch as Eric and the Shadow Follower stepped into the Collosseum to talk. Eric was calm and controlled as he spoke to the Shadow Follower.

    “You are related to Matt and Mark Reed?” The Shadow Follower asked.

    Eric nodded. “They’re both my uncles on my dad’s side.”

    “I thought you sympathized more with your grandfather…”

    “Sure…I saw how he ended up…”

    The Shadow Follower looked carefully at Eric before going on. “I will go and get the Shadow Commander.” He backed away from Eric slowly, keeping his eye on the teenager before turning to leave the arena. Eric let his eyes travel to where Ben and Cyrus hid on either side of the Collosseum. They gave him reassuring nods, though both were nervous. Neither of them had encountered the Shadow Commander before in their travels. They had heard rumors, of course, that he was one of the most powerful Aquapolians in the world.

    Eric shrugged his shoulders, trying to loosen up his nerves as he waited for the Shadow Follower to return. If he had to fight to get out alive, he would have to strike the Shadow Commander when the man least expected it. Hopefully, the Commander would not sound an alarm and bring a torrent of Shadow Followers down on the three of them. Another thought made Eric shiver. From what he had heard, the Shadow Commander did not need any assistance in dealing with intruders.

    A few more uncomfortable minutes passed until the Shadow Follower returned, walking a few footsteps behind whom Eric guessed was the Shadow Commander. The first and most striking impression the young Aquapolian got of the Commander was how much he looked like the camerlengo…and how much was different between the two men. They both physically looked similar, but the Shadow Commander’s eyes seemed to be a pure black, which a sort of smiling cruelty that only the most evil could achieve. The same smiling cruelty played on his lips as he looked Eric up and down before addressing him in an Irish accent all too similar to the camerlengo’s.

    “So you’re Eric Reed, eh?” The Shadow Commander circled to his right, crossing his arms as he studied Eric even further. “Last I heard, you were in school in Ever Grande…Care to explain why you are in Rome?”

    “I came for my grandfather’s funeral…”

    “Which was a few weeks ago, right? On vacation now, are we?” The Shadow Commander smiled. “Did you have a change of heart? Did you think that the only way you could save yourself was by joining the people who killed him?” He laughed cruelly. “Did you come to us to beg for your life?” He stepped closer to Eric, menacingly putting his face close to the young Aquapolian’s. “Do you really have the heart to become a Shadow Follower?”

    Eric focused all his strength on keeping his gaze facing forward and not reacting to the Shadow Commander’s close presence. He figured that any show of fear or doubt would reveal his real intentions for appearing in the Colloseum. Ben and Cyrus kept a close eye on the situation unfolding beneath them, ready to leap into action in any case that the young Aquapolian would be in danger.

    The Shadow Commander kept his eyes focused on Eric for a little while longer, a smile spreading across his face once more. “Who are you here with?” Ben tensed up, his hand gripping the pillar he hid behind. He slid around the column a tiny bit and signaled slightly to Cyrus across the way. Cyrus stepped forward a bit more, crouching down to watch as the Shadow Commander stepped around Eric once more.

    “Who are you here with, Eric?” He asked more forcefully. “Some friends of yours? Do you think that you may take me down with a small force of your own?” He laughed again, causing Eric to freeze in place and cringe. The Shadow Commander’s laugh grated on his nerves. “What happens if I kill you?”

    Cyrus was a second too fast for the Shadow Commander to reach out and lunge for Eric, even at such a short distance. The Aquapolian scientist reached through the dimensions, teleporting behind the boy and pushing him through the dimensions beyond the Collosseum and onto the street seconds before a torrent of fire raced across the arena’s floor. The second Cyrus and Eric appeared on the Roman streets, they stumbled, Eric nearly falling onto his knees with the force of the teleportation. As a fire-type, he was not used to jumping through dimensions on a daily basis as Cyrus was.

    Several humans gave them strange looks, obviously startled by their sudden appearance in the streets. Apparently, after a few minutes, they determined that the two young men were Aquapolians and went on their ways as if nothing happened. One little girl with large green eyes pointed to them and said, “Mommy, mommy! Will I be able to do that one day?”

    Her mother, a tired looking Italian-Aquapolian, nodded. “Yes, dear. You’re a ghost-type, remember?” She pulled the girl away from the two Aquapolians as Cyrus pushed Eric further down the street.

    “We’ll meet Ben around the corner,” he muttered, rushing Eric through the Italian crowds.

    ------------

    Ben stood looking down at the Shadow Commander and the Shadow Follower who stood in the arena below, brushing the flames away. He wanted to see if he could get any more information about the Commander.

    “Do you want us to follow him?” The Shadow Follower asked.

    The Commander nodded. “Keep an eye out on the airports to make sure he doesn’t leave the city. He might have been sent to spy on us.”

    “Yes, sir, Commander Hastings,” the Shadow Follower said, leaving the arena.

    The Commander glanced up to where Ben stood, the fire-type dashing behind a pillar just in time to avoid being spotted. Hastings smirked and walked off of the battlefield as Ben quickly made his way back to the street.

    ------------

    Katharine sat listening to Eric recount what had gone down with a worried expression on her face. “They’ll be looking for you, now,” she muttered. “You’re going to have to be careful when you go out in public from now on.”

    “I’ll say. Unless you want to pick a fight with the Shadow Commander again,” House piped up from the other side of the room. Katharine rolled her eyes.

    “He was the one who was about to start a fight, not me,” Eric shot back.

    “Doesn’t matter. At least now we have a name. Even if it is only part of a name,” Riley spoke from behind his computer screen as he swiftly pressed keys on the keyboard, searching for this Commander Hastings. “I’m searching all of the Aquapolian and Irish-Aquapolian databases for both a first and last name of Hastings. Hope this works…”

    “Now that we know where their base is an what we’re up against, what are we going to do?” Langdon asked from his seat at the other side of the table.

    “We’re going to prepare to attack…or to defend. Whichever comes first,” Rowan said.

    “Attack? We only have upwards of ten people, plus any of the Swiss Guard who are Aquapolians. We’re up against hundreds!”

    “We only need to take down one person,” Katharine pointed out. “With Hastings gone, the rest of the Shadow Followers will scatter.”

    “I hope so…”

    “That’s it, then,” House said, standing up. “It’s time to start Aquapolian Boot Camp!”
     
  20. harryheart

    harryheart Well-Known Member

    Chapter 9

    Aquapolian Boot camp! Now all we need is signing! lol. Joke aside, what a wonderful chapter, certainly well worth the wait. I love what you've done branching off from the actual story now and really creating your own, I'm now even forgetting about the original plot to be honest apart from the few slips of reminders that you managed to put in. A delectable piece of writing here as well with what I feel an improved pace and improved dialogue. I'm quite curious to find out about Captain Hastings (Poirot names for the win) and why he looks remarkably similar to the Carmelengo. All I can imagine is 2 Ewan Mcgregors lol. Anyway congratulations, can't wait for more!
     

Share This Page