Episode 5: Blinded by suffering
Goodness gracious me, I'm impressed. Nearly 500 reads, already? I really want to know who's reading this and what you all really think of the story so far. Of the 4 sites this fanfic is uploaded on, this Serebii is where it's gotten the most attention, so I would really appreciate it!
Also, phew. Serebii has an auto language censor. I'll have to make a contents panel, too. I hope I can get that right. Anyway, onto the next part. Still aiming for that once a week schedule!
Episode 5: Blinded by suffering
“Here we are, the landlord’s place of respite,” Galen introduced, skipping and dancing ahead. After directing Rune and Diantha across the village, they had to traverse a large, rocky plain before finally coming across a manor. The structure was clearly built by Pokémon with no knowledge of carpentry, yet it stood taller, prouder, and fancier than any of the homes in the rest of Marble Rock.
“Well one thing’s for sure, at least they aren’t flaunting their money,” Rune remarked, staring up at it. “Strange. The paint here looks like it could be redone, the windows aren’t shaped correctly, and it doesn’t even look like there’s a chimney. Even the caves back there had chimneys.”
“Aye. The mistress knows a good bit about stretching every last coin she gets,” Galen praised.
“The mistress? Wait, the landlord’s a woman?” Rune asked.
“Is that surprising?” he replied. Rune paused.
“Lord isn’t quite the name I’d give to woman,” Rune admitted.
“Rune! Don’t be sexist!” Diantha snapped.
“Aye! Try to be courteous, now. The mistress isn’t afraid to hide her disdain for the royal family. You’ll want to prove her attitude wrong,” Galen warned, leading them right in. The front doors didn’t even have a lock.
“Wait, shouldn’t we knock first?” Rune asked.
“Ha! With hands like these, do you think I could knock?” Galen laughed, showing off his leafy arms. Rune started sweating awkwardly. “Milady, I have returned with today’s collections! And they’re bigger than last week’s!”
Rune folded his arms whilst Diantha eyed the decoration of the house. It was a step up from the cave houses of the village, but still bare compared to the castle they were used to. Wooden floorboards with a few holes and marks, some loose nails jutting out of the structural pillars, and hallways built so half-haphazardly that they weren’t even straight or symmetrical, was what made up the interior of the manor. There was a lot of clear space at least, enabling them to see the walkways on the upper floors and the many doors available.
“Milady? Yoo hoo, milady Kelsith! I have this week’s collections!” Galen called out again, coughing due to going to such a high pitch. Some tough pokemon emerged from the main room and approached them. They were all Pawniard, besides one Emolga that was casually leaning on the outside of one of the balconies to look down at them.
“They all have royal pin badges. They have royal guards, too?” Rune muttered to himself, watching in interest.
“I’m coming I’m coming, no need to shout!” A young woman’s voice finally responded. The Pokémon came from a room on one of the upper floors and didn’t seem to be taking many steps, despite rushing down to meet them with heavy footsteps. Rune had to hide a smile when she finally came into view, immediately noting how attractive she looked.
It was definitely a Pokémon he hadn’t seen before, a fox-like Pokémon with a captivating, pale cream fur coat with smooth, bright pink fur across her ears and upper head. She seemed to have bows tied to her chest and left ear, both with two, lengthy ribbons coming from them. She was very smooth and clean, but noticeably chubby. In fact, it wouldn’t have been a stretch to say that she was fat when compared to the rest of her species.
“There you are! You’re looking as fine as ever, milady Kelsith. I’m surprised, Are you too pretty to look dull?” Galen remarked with a bow.
“Thanks, but save the flattery until we’re done working. How much extra are we talking?” Kelsith replied, stopping directly in front of him. He revealed a heavy sack of coins and she immediately snatched it to peer inside, using her ribbons in place of hands. The movement brought Rune and Diantha’s mouths to the ground.
“Only about an extra two hundred Dragon Power. That one came from what they caught from the Breeding Grounds,” Galen nodded.
“You took from the Pokémon that got sent there?” Kelsith asked angrily.
“I didn’t, they did. To be fair, Pokémon who have their days numbered there have no use for gold,” he commented. Kelsith sighed and resealed the sack, having to put a lot of effort into carrying it on her back. Her ribbons kept a hold of it, like ropes keeping supplies to a carriage.
“Fine, but that’s the pay that belongs to the hoarders. They don’t owe me anything because the Breeding Grounds are their land, I’ve told you that before,” she said, shaking her head. “And who’re these? I didn’t give you permission to bring friends.”
“Did you hear that? We’re already classed as friends!” Galen cheered, grabbing Rune’s hands to jump for joy with him.
“Wha-what? O-okay, stop!” he coughed, taken by surprise.
“Well you seem happy about that,” Diantha giggled.
“Galen!” Kelsith shouted.
“Yes yes, I know. These two wanted to speak with you, actually. It’s the crown prince and the princess of Castle Eris, up in the mountains,” Galen introduced, politely making way for Rune to step forwards.
“Wait, you’re who?” Kelsith choked.
“Prince Rune. I’ve come to inquire about the state of the funding here in Marble Rock. The amount you’re taxing Pokémon is causing an unhealthy amount of problems,” Rune began, bowing as well. Kelsith leapt backwards faster than he thought she could move, gawking at him and Diantha.
“G-G-Galen! You idiot, you brought the friggin’ crown prince here?” she screamed. “Guards, strike him down! Capture him, don’t let him move!”
Just like that, the Pawniard guards bared their claws and entered battle ready poses, all of them familiar to Rune. Many more emerged from various rooms and created a formation as well, unnerving Diantha and Galen. Rune didn’t move however, still staring at the pink Pokémon.
“Whoa whoa whoa, what’s goin’ on, what’d I do?” Diantha squealed, throwing her arms up.
“Now now, there’s no need for this much violence, is there?” Galen added, doing the same.
“Arms up, prince! Or they will strike you down!” Kelsith threatened. Rune didn’t reply, continuing to stare at her. “Oh, feeling brave, are we?”
“No, I just,” he muttered, blinking a few times. “Ah, I see now. Round, pink body, short and fat… you’re a fairy Pokémon, aren’t you?”
Kelsith screamed, making Rune shake his head. “I see now. We’re just dealing with another miscreant. All of you, you stand in the face of the crown prince. Lay down your aggression immediately.”
“Eeek, right! B-b-but, what if I offer you guys triple pay, and the ‘Kelsith Special’? Just lock them up and don’t let him come near!” Kelsith cried.
“Sorry your highness, but that’s an offer we can’t refuse. A chance at the Kelsith Special is a dream come true!” one of the Pawniard replied.
“Now this is just underhanded, what have we done to make you this upset? He just wants to help resolve your problems,” Galen complained. Rune sighed and took off his scalchop.
“She’s a fairy, Galen. A fairy in a kingdom of dragons. No surprise she’s running this place into the ground. The rumours are true,” he explained, erecting a Razor Shell from his weapon. “So are the sayings. Pokémon change as soon as money’s involved.”
“Ooh ooh ooh, you’re gonna battle them? Let me get a piece of the action, too!” Diantha jumped up excitedly, holding her scalchop with both hands.
“What? No, you stay back! This conflict only involves me,” Rune ordered.
“That goes against my principles, your highness. Please, allow me to aid you in victory as well,” Galen objected, stepping forward. He revealed a weapon from the inside of his fancy cape, a long, razor sharp conductor’s baton. “I have served you for much time, milady Kelsith. I aided you for your happiness, but if your happiness involves this level of treachery, then I must strike you down.”
“Aaahh, no,” Kelsith panicked, shaking her head. “Guards! Get them!”
“You’ll never get through all those Pokémon on your own. Just lemme help!” Diantha argued, taking centre stage. Before Rune could argue any further, she began to execute her attack, entering a prayer pose with her scalchop held between her two hands.
“But your powers,” Rune whispered, watching in awe. The guards were about to come charging when large puddles of water appeared below a bunch of them, leaving them dumbfounded.
“That’s my fly. Now multiply, Water Pledge!” Diantha chanted, punching the ground. That movement seemed to make more puddles appear below more enemies. She followed by punching the air in a cheerful jump, which made the puddles erupt into huge geysers of water. The room was filled with the cries of Pawniard and splashing water as they were all sent into air. As Diantha moved however, a noticeable amount of black smog released from her, quickly fading into the air.
“Whoa, impressive!” Galen praised, shoving Rune. “Now’s your chance, boy! Take on the mistress!”
“Oh, right!” he breathed out, dashing underneath the airborne soldiers. Kelsith turned tail and attempted to escape him, heading straight for the stairs. She even dropped her money sack, running with a spring and a float in each step. The soldiers crashed to the ground behind them both, meeting the faces of Diantha and Galen.
“We’ll take care of you guys, so pay close attention, now!” Diantha teased, entering another prayer pose. This time she opened out with a spin and a girly pose, conjuring a number of large cards made of reddish magic. Black smog came out of her as she sent the cards at the Pawniard to attack again, knocking them backwards as the cards exploded with force.
“Trump Card? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Oshawott use that one before,” Galen remarked, catching sight of a Pawniard attacking from the side. He spun around to hit its claw with his baton sword, and although he was knocked back by his own strike, he used that movement to twirl into a Razor Leaf attack. Countless, razor thin leaves stormed through the air, forcing the Pawniard to brace and block.
“Nor have I seen a move like that! It’s like you’re dancing or something,” Diantha returned the compliment, smiling at him. Before they could have a real conversation, the guards got back up and surrounded them both, forcing them to focus.
Meanwhile, Rune had managed to chase Kelsith up a few floors, where she chose to stop climbing and head towards a large set of double doors. Although he was only a couple of seconds behind her, he stopped when he reached the part of the balcony where an Emolga was perched, and pointed his Razor Shell at it.
“Whatever you’re planning, give it up, now. I’ll knock you down here if you get in my way,” he threatened. Emolga was casually lying back on the banister with its arms tucked behind the back of its head, and slowly looked up at him. He was wearing a pair of thick, rectangular-rimmed glasses.
“Who, me?” he said in a blunt, prideful voice. “I’m not part of this little squabble. Leave me be.”
“And then you surround me in some sort of ambush. I won’t fall for it,” Rune assured, thrusting his sword. The Emolga sighed in bother, sliding off the banister.
“Look, I’m just a mailmon. You three starting this mess has slowed me down. So hurry up and get it over with so I can finish my business here and get back to work,” he complained. Rune stared at him for a moment, surprised to not see a change of face from the electric type.
“You don’t seem to be too bothered about the big conflict going on downstairs,” Rune pointed out.
“Why should I? It’s not my business,” he answered, half lidded.
“But it is. Don’t act like you don’t care about the battle. The sooner it’s over with, the sooner you can do your ‘business’. So how about you help me end it?” Rune challenged. The Emolga gave an exaggerated sigh, and then suddenly backflipped off of the upper floor. Rune rushed over to the edge to watch him, speechless when Emolga began to swoop right in between the fighting Pawniard. He released a bright blast of electricity all around him as he passed them, hitting some and missing others due to their awareness of his intrusion. Those that were hit wound up getting paralysed, stunned to the spot thanks to electricity that continuously crackled across their bodies.
“There. Your friends should be able to deal with the rest. Now go fight the fairy already,” he said in a bothered tone. Rune continued to stare at him.
“What’s your name?” Rune asked slowly.
“Don’t worry about that. Hurry up before she makes an escape out a window or something. Fairy types can float, you know,” Emolga warned, gesturing towards the double doors. Kelsith was still there, stretching out her feet once Rune stared at her.
“Erm… thanks for the warning,” he said blankly, slowly stepping away. Emolga watched him for a bit and then went back to lying back on the banister, so he turned his focus to Kelsith at last.
“Stay back, I’m warning you! I’m stronger than I look!” she warned, pointing her ribbons forward. Rune didn’t reply, assuming his battle pose. “Okay, you asked for it! I tried to spare you, dragon, but you asked for it!”
She quickly crossed all four of her ribbons together to create an ‘X’ shape, and then unfurled them to release a strong, grey gush of wind. Rune braced the moment he saw it, surprised to feel it was so strong that it whipped him off balance. He did his best to stay on his feet however, using his left hand to form a Water pulse attack.
“If I can’t get close,” he muttered, shooting it at the fairy type. She braced herself all the same as him, taking the water orb on her side. She too was sent backwards a little, but gave him a boastful smile to show her lack of pain from the attack.
“You’re going to have to try harder than that, dragon!” she bragged, stretching out her feet.
“Then I will!” Rune shouted, dismissing his Razor Shell. He raised both arms and grunted, forming a much larger Water Pulse attack in between them. Once the orb of water was bigger than he was, he bowled it towards her, filling the room with the sound of rushing water. She cried out and dashed to the side to dodge it completely, sprinting towards him as quickly as she could.
“Let’s see if you can handle this!” she snickered, making it right up to Rune’s face. Before he could reform his Razor Shell, she tackled him to the ground with her ribbons, slapping him twice with them before pinning him down as hard as she could. With Rune locked in place, she knelt right down and kissed him on the cheek. A sphere of light pulled away with her, which flew into her body when she hopped back. Rune was left growling and cursing on the ground, shivering from pain.
“I did it. I actually did it. Okay, phew. He’s down,” Kelsith breathed out, calming down as she stepped away. She stretched upwards in fright when he began to stand, rubbing his cheek in bother.
“You have an interesting way of fighting. I’ve never seen techniques like this before. Are these Pokémon attacks?” he asked, readying his Razor Shell again.
“But… Draining Kiss,” she shuddered. “You’re a dragon, that should’ve finished you off!”
“Sorry, but that’s a misjudgement on your end. I’m not a dragon!” Rune shouted, stomping the floor. The movement surrounded his body in water, which he used to spring forward at blinding speed. He crashed right in Kelsith, making her cry out in pain. He didn’t hold back and knocked her down with a Razor Shell at full effort, spinning his whole body round with the slash. He hit the side of her face hard enough to floor her, along with a scream.
Kelsith couldn’t help but shiver on the ground, taking a moment to try and brace the pain the attack had given her. She expected to have a bruise or something on her face thanks to him, but when she tried to stand to continue the fight, her eyes met a real sword. Rune had drawn the Sword of Earthly Elements and had it so close to her that it was prodding her nose, silencing her breath.
“Surrender now or I’ll be forced to fatally harm you. Call off your guards, now!” he ordered, gritting his teeth at her. She sat there on the floor for a little while, unable to stop her eyes from welling up.
“S-stop, please! Everyone, stop fighting!” she suddenly wailed, sounding pathetic. Rune almost felt sorry, but refrained from pulling his weapon away. The sounds of the battle downstairs had stopped though, implying that everyone heard her. “Please don’t hurt me anymore, please don’t kill me please, I’m begging you!”
“Why are you?” Rune muttered, slowly returning his sword to its sheath. Diantha and Galen soon came running, followed by a few Pawniard. Kelsith really was crying like a child however, making Rune groan and tilt his head.
“Big brother, what’s wrong with you? You made a girl cry!” Diantha snapped. Rune sighed.
“Cut it out already. I’m not going to kill you. But you’re going to have to pay for what you’ve done,” he groaned.
“No no, you don’t understand,” she gurgled, trying to force herself to stop. She couldn’t stop wiping her eyes with her ribbons. “Of all the days to randomly happen. Oh, this isn’t what I wanted at all.”
“What’re you talking about?” Rune questioned. Kelsith let out some more tears and then finally sighed out loud, getting a hold of herself.
“I’m not the real landlord here. I was originally from Faernia, as you figured out already,” she started. “But please listen to me, I’m begging you.”
“I’m listening,” Rune replied, folding his arms.
“I was disowned from my family due to a disability. But that disability, it was enough to get me disowned from Faernia altogether. I was sent down here once the authorities discovered what was really wrong with me,” she explained.
“How’d you get abandoned by an entire planet?” Diantha asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I can’t have children. That kind of disability is too imperfect for their society. Faernia only looks like a perfect haven because they get rid of all their defective species,” Kelsith answered, widening Rune’s eyes. “Next thing I knew, I was down in one of Eris’ Breeding Grounds. The same problem occurred – because I couldn’t have any eggs, I was just sat on death’s row. Fattened up and just waiting to be hunted by you savages.”
“But then the miracle of happiness occurred!” Galen remarked, clapping his leaves.
“Yes. The Pokémon that came to hunt me wound up falling in love. I didn’t know it at the time, but he took me back here rather than killing me outright, and took care of me. Skip forwards five years, and we got married under the radar. I have to stay out of the public eye so I never got to lose the weight, but we managed to stay happy regardless,” she revealed.
“Not like it matters. With cinnamon buns like yours, I’m not surprised he fell in love. He picked wisely,” Diantha remarked, giggling.
“… Cinnamon buns? What?” Rune repeated, tilting his head.
“I can’t have children, so why does that matter to him? He picked for others reasons. But anyway, my husband Emerson, an Umbreon, he fell terribly sick recently. He’s been getting worse and I didn’t know what to do. I-I resorted to trying to get treatment from Faernia,” she explained.
“Why Faernia?” Rune asked.
“Eris is inferior to Faernia when it comes to medical advancement. I couldn’t get a hold of a cure here, so I had to somehow find a solution from the other planet. It’s actually possible, but expensive,” she stated.
“That must have been what that mailmon was there for, to strike a deal with her,
” Rune realised, turning around. The Emolga was gone.
“This way,” Kelsith instructed, inviting them through the double doors. She immediately freaked out upon entry, finding said Umbreon staggering towards the middle of the room. Even though Rune had never seen an Umbreon before, he didn’t need to be told just how terribly sick the Pokémon really was. Its fur was grey and tattered in places, as if it was falling out. “Emerson! What’re you doing out of bed?”
“I heard the shouting and the crying, and had to do something,” he growled, trying to nuzzle into her.
“Please no, please don’t push yourself that hard. This uh, resolved, now,” she breathed out, holding him up as best as she could.
“It’s okay, Kelsith. I just got woken up, I can walk,” he assured, managing to stare at everyone. Rune stared at him with an open mouth.
“This must be why Father wanted me to journey, rather than simply escorting me to Faernia. He must have known that this whole ordeal was going on, and he wants to know how I’m going to deal with it,
” he realised, turning his back to the scene.
“Rune?” Diantha said.
“How do I deal with this? She was just trying to save her husband. And after suffering so much because of something she was born with, something she can’t even control,
” Rune thought, gritting his teeth. “Do I hold stiff, and punish her for her crimes? Or do I try to find a way that all of them can be happy? How could I even resolve this with everyone being happy?
“I got an idea. If you need medicine from Faernia, why don’t you come with us on our journey? We’re actually headed there,” Diantha proposed. Rune snapped.
“Are you? Whatever for?” Galen wondered.
“Wait a minute, Diantha,” Rune coughed, getting his mouth covered by Diantha.
“Rune’s on a journey to marry the princess of Faernia. If you both come with us, I’m sure she’ll listen to your story and help out! Plus you can leave the village, so the Pokémon won’t have to pay any more taxes!” she explained. “Plus for us, we get a useful army. As long as you help us fight, we both win!”
“Sis, that’s a terrible idea!” Rune shouted.
“That sounds like it just about resolves every issue we have here. I’m in, a quest for happiness in marriage? A marriage that in turn will ensure the happiness of both planets? It’s very reason I live!” Galen cheered.
“If… if I joined your army and aided that cause, would you truly spare us?” Kelsith asked. Rune tossed his arms up and sighed.
“I’m the one in charge here, not my sister. And that bit of information is confidential to-”
“Oh stuff that! Why shouldn’t other Pokémon know that you’re gonna unite the two planets?” Diantha interrupted.
“Because,” Rune mouthed, losing his words.
“Exactly! We help them, they help us. That’s all there is to it. Plus, what kind of prince journeys without an army?” Diantha challenged.
“Alright alright, you win. But we have to at least tell that innkeeper about this,” Rune suggested, giving up with a shake of his head. Around the corner from where they were speaking, Emolga was still there, listening in. He walked off, pressing his glasses up.