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Astral Genealogy [Pokémon Fanfiction]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by SGMijumaru, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Astral Genealogy [Pokémon Fanfiction]

    Hi there everyone. I'm SGMijumaru - I doubt people have seen or heard of me elsewhere, but I'm practicing to be a writer with pokemon fanfics. I've been uploading on another site for a long while and decided to start sharing the goodies here for the extra exposure and all that.
    That said, I have never used a forum before, so please Bewear with me if I'm doing this wrong or something. My profile might reveal I've been here for a long while, but I haven't actually started using the forums until today.
    Without further ado, I'll get to the synopsis and all that...

    [​IMG]

    SYNOPSIS

    Faernia and Eris: two planets ruled by fairies and dragons respectively. In the ancient past, these two great civilizations were torn apart by a war that almost wiped out all life. Ceased by a lone hero, a peace treaty was established to keep the two planets in check. The fairies and dragons flourished in their own customs and maintained peace within their own kingdoms, never to engage in conflict with each other as long as the treaty existed.
    But as generations pass by, customs change, and the future is left to the ideas of new leaders. A dark shadow now looms over the two planets – famine rises, natural disasters claw at the worlds, and tensions run high between the two civilizations.
    As war looms over the horizon, the prince and princess of the two kingdoms seek to create another treaty and begin their journey. But the shadow of conflict that awaits them will test more than their ideals and will for peace.

    CONTENT WARNINGS

    This story contains the following material:

    Dark themes
    Foul language
    Descriptions of blood and mild gore
    Fantasy violence

    Do not proceed if you are not okay with any of the listed content.

    CONTENTS

    Episode 1: A single spark
    Episode 2: The weight of duty
    Episode 3: Rune's solution
    Episode 4: Marble monopoly
    Episode 5: Blinded by suffering
    Episode 6: Constellars
    Episode 7: The saint's departure
    Episode 8: Civil uncivilised conflicts
    Episode 9: Faernia's outcasts
    Episode 10: Master Lin
    Episode 11: Hybrid connections
    Episode 12: To Faernia!
    Episode 13: Signs of a Change
    Episode 14: Jyararanga's Scheme
    Episode 15: As the Gods Will it
    Episode 16: Great Battle Under the Stars
    Episode 17: Final Trigger
    Episode 18: Vestiges of War
    Episode 19: The Tapu's Omen
    Episode 20: The Lone Product of the Stars
    Episode 21: Anger of the Gods
    Episode 22: On the Precipice of Conflict
    Episode 23: Battle in the Sky
    Episode 24: The Second Country
    Episode 25: Awakening
    Episode 26: A Painful Truth
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  2. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Episode 1: A single spark

    So far, so good,” the Kommo-o thought to himself, sprinting on all fours down the steep, terribly rugged rockery of the mountain. His solid structure made easy work of the trek as he clambered across the spikes at high speed, completely ignoring their obvious threat as if they dealt him no pain. He still travelled with a limbering gallop however, keeping a determined grip on the two strings of rope that kept a carriage strapped to his back. Its loose attachment irritated him with its constant movements.

    He soon had to skid to a sudden stop as he found his view obscured by his surroundings, a wide range of charcoal black mountains and a dusty sky that refused to let through even a spec of sunlight. He wiped his forehead and crinkled his nose, scanning the environment restlessly in search of his destination. The area stunk of embers and the dust in the air threatened to make him sneeze, but he was able to lock eyes with his target before long.

    “There. We’re almost there now, so don’t even think about opening your mouth to anyone,” he commanded, twisting his head to glance back at the carriage. He could just about make out the single passenger whimpering within, a lone Clefairy that seemed to do her best to avoid looking at him. “We’ve long lost your little heroes, so don’t bother trying to cry out or anything. If you do, I’ll have more than enough time to make you regret it.”

    He kept his voice low and growled his words, hoping that he had frightened her enough to obey. Judging by her pathetic squeak, he had succeeded and used that as his signal to carry on the rest of the way. Reaching the foot of the next mountain, his left claw abandoned one of the ropes carrying the carriage to start climbing it. He used that free hand to jab at the rock and hoist himself upwards. The reckless act caused the rocks to crumble and shake with his heavy body, whilst his carriage dangled dangerously from him, but he didn’t care as he didn’t have to climb this way for long. Before he knew it, he had reached the centre of this new mountain, where he unveiled its startling secret.

    “Lord Jyararanga,” a rough voice said in surprise. He had to take a moment to catch his breath before looking at who had spoken; giving a relieved sigh that it was a Zoroark. There were two of them gawking at him.

    “I hope those surprised looks mean the illusion’s still up. This castle isn’t hiding itself,” Jyararanga growled, dismissing the two of them to walk off. They gave him bothered looks and returned to guarding what was suddenly a smooth, well-decorated entryway to a castle. A clean red carpet covered the centre of the hallway and all paths that branched from it, whilst lit candles adorned the walls to brighten the place. If it wasn’t for the black brickwork lining those walls and the ceiling, one would never guess that a castle was built into the mountains this way. Its entrance was being visually hidden by the impressive illusions that could only be made by a Zoroark, so they made for the best guards as well.

    The castle was lively and productive with a variety of tough Pokémon the Kommo-o was used to seeing, but each of them gave him an astonished look and immediately stopped whatever they were doing to move aside once they saw him and what he was carrying. He ignored them all without much more than an annoyed look, resuming the hurried gallop he’d taken to get this far in the first place. After another long trek up royal stairways and hallways of increasing elaborateness, he finally reached his royal chambers, where he unloaded the carriage next to his nest of hay and rock.

    “Get out here, now!” he commanded once again, snapping the backs of his arms together. They made a horribly loud ringing sound that resembled a steel bell, causing the Clefairy to squeal as she obeyed. She tripped out of the carriage and searched for him, trembling so much that she couldn’t stand in one spot. “We don’t have much time, so you had best follow my orders perfectly. I don’t need you to do much.”

    The Clefairy didn’t reply with anything more than continued whimpers, leading to a moment of silence. He stared down at her and sighed, taking a moment to collect his thoughts. “Listen to me. If you do a good job, I’ll take you home. So just listen to me and do exactly as I say, okay? You won’t get hurt or anything. That’s a promise,” he assured, leaving his arms to rest on the floor.

    Clefairy’s trembling gradually came to a halt, but she was still playing with her hands. Jyararanga’s face tightened, “I said, okay? Do you understand?”

    “I-uh-um-yes, okay,” she huffed, going right back to trembling before him. He almost palmed his face, but let it off with a grumble.

    “I need to go and make preparations,” he said, hoisting the carriage onto his back again. “Until I return, do not leave this room, and do not speak to anyone. And preferably, stay out of sight as well. I’ll be back to take you to the top of the mountain as soon as I’m ready.”

    “O-okay,” she responded, squeezing her tiny fingers together. He grumbled at her again but walked off at that, leaving her to deal with calming down alone.

    Gazing around the room, the rough, harsh appearance of everything kept her shuddering and uncomfortable. Everything of the walls and floor looked hard and dull coloured, the room had no door, and a cold wind seemed to cycle through it without cease. Even the hay covered bed seemed to have a jagged appearance, and she knew that she daren’t try to make herself comfortable in it. Who knew what that giant Kommo-o was like with others sleeping in its bed?

    She stayed as still as she could, anxiously listening to the sounds of the Pokémon hard at work outside the room. A lot of them passed by as well, not one of them sparing a glance inside. The more she concentrated however, the more she found herself beginning to shudder. Soon enough, she found herself in a level of pain she couldn’t take, being introduced to feelings foreign and seemingly beyond her control.

    She could hear everything from seemingly everywhere around this castle, and it hurt. Somehow, every last word, shout, footstep and more from every single room and floor could be heard so clearly that she knew exactly what was going on and where it was happening. The sheer amount of noises combined to make her feel like her ears were going to explode. She could hear the shouts of chefs hastily making about twenty different dishes at once. The Zoroark guards at the entrance were having a casual conversation about their favourite weapons. Soldiers were being issued dozens of different orders and were mobilising at different spots around the castle. And most irritating of all, the shouts of two kids playing tag were amongst it all.

    The two kids. Their voices were getting louder and louder, closer and closer. They were so close and loud that every word from them brought an unbearable pang to her head. It got to the point where she couldn’t help but moan out loud and fall to her backside, clutching her head to try and drive the pain out. There was just too much loud noise.

    “Oh, whoa! I’ve never seen you before, when did you get here?” one of the kids asked, sounding so loud that his words blurred and could barely be made out. She gasped and froze, finding herself stood before an Oshawott just about shorter than her. His face was young and pudgy, but he had an excessive amount of white fur on his head that was styled into a fancy hairdo. She hadn’t seen him come in, so she stared at him in surprise.

    “When did you get here? What’s your name?” his young, gritty voice boomed, splitting her head in half. She immediately cried out and grabbed her head in agony, once again brought back to the floor. “Whoa, are you okay? What’s wrong?” he gasped, stepping back from her. “Man, oh man! I messed up big time!”

    “Big brother!” the other voice called out. This one came from another Oshawott, a little girl that was a notable few inches shorter than the first Oshawott. She too had excess head fur that was made into a hairstyle, although hers was messier and clearly hadn’t been made today. “There you are! We’re not supposed to be in Daddy’s room, so what’re you up to?”

    “No, no, look!” the first Oshawott objected excitedly, pointing at Clefairy. She cringed at the volume again but managed to force herself to look at them. They both stared at her for a few moments, keeping her nerves on edge.

    “I’ve never seen you before. Is Daddy back? He must’ve brought her back with him!” the little girl remarked, slowly walking around the Clefairy to examine her. Every word made Clefairy cringe and clutch her head with a moan of pain, taking the little boy’s attention. “Wait a minute… pink body, little wings, short and fat… you’re a fairy! A fairy Pokémon!”

    “A fairy Pokémon?” the little boy repeated, continuing to stare at the struggling Clefairy. There was a moment of quiet, enough for her to stop struggling again, to which he gave her a straight face. He breathed in and began to speak loudly, cupping his hands around his mouth. “Testing, testing, one two three.”

    Once again, the Clefairy squealed and tried to withstand the volume of his voice, failing at doing much more than falling to the ground and moaning aloud. Her head was so full of headache inducing noise that she couldn’t even hear herself now, and could just about feel herself fainting. Her eyes were clenched shut and the clarity of the voices had suddenly become muffled, drowning out to a bearable level.

    “Are you okay?” the little boy asked again, this time whispering. She could barely hear him amongst the ambience of her headache, but she could open her eyes again at least. To her surprise, the Oshawott was right in front of her and both of his hands were holding down her ears, squishing them into her. She shot to her feet and panicked until he hushed her, making her freeze.

    “It… it stopped…” she mouthed, realising what had just happened. The boy holding down her ears had drowned out the noise almost completely.

    “So, it is too noisy. Keep your ears closed like that, I’ll take you somewhere quiet,” the little boy suggested. She followed his instructions, unsure of what was best right now. Once her hands were firmly squashing down her ears, he let go of them and stepped back, taking a moment to check that she was okay before turning and walking away.

    “C’mon, follow me!” he called eagerly.

    “But big brother, what happened to our game?” the little girl complained.

    “Forget that, I wanna know about the fairy now. Let’s go to the roof,” he replied, waving at them. Clefairy stayed put and stared for a while, running a hundred thoughts through her mind. She knew better than to disobey that big brute that had taken her away from her room. But then again, he had probably kidnapped her to eat her or something. Meanwhile, this little boy had helped her on the spot and seemed friendly enough. If she really had any chance of not getting eaten, following this little boy was probably her best bet.

    “Er, your ears… are you alright?” the little boy pointed out, making her realise she had let go of her ears during her thought trail. Her hearing had returned to normal, silencing all but her surprised breathing. “Was that all just an act? You’re pretty funny already.”

    “N-no… It’s not noisy all of a sudden,” she informed.

    “That’s good. Are you gonna follow me or not?” the little boy asked, dancing on the spot from impatience.

    “But that dragon told me to stay here. He m-might eat me…” she squeaked, going quieter at the thought of that.

    “Eat you?” The little boy repeated, walking back over to examine her. “Nah, you don’t look very nice. I don’t think dad would eat you.”

    “But you’re a fairy, right? From the Fairy Kingdom in the sky!” The little girl asked again. Clefairy nodded. “Really? Oh my god, that’s so cool! You’ve gotta tell us about that!”

    “Tell you?” Clefairy replied.

    “I’ve never seen a fairy before. Hell, I’ve barely seen any Pokémon outside of the castle! What’s it like in the Fairy Kingdom? I bet it’s really sunny and colourful and stuff!” the little boy started rambling. “O-oh! I’m Rune, by the way. What’s your name?”

    “I… I’m not allowed to tell you mine,” Clefairy huffed, scrunching herself up.

    “Well, that makes you weird. I’m Diantha, and I’m the princess here, you know. That means you have to tell me your name,” the little girl ordered, putting her hands on her hips. There was another moment of quiet.

    “Why are you two here? Are you here because of the big dragon?” Clefairy asked, playing with her fingers. The two Oshawott leaned back and exchanged glances, quickly whispering something to each other.

    “Yeah, we’re here to show you around while we can,” Rune replied, putting his hands on his hips as well. “So don’t be so stiff! You’re not in trouble.”

    They said that, but she knew that she was. Either these two kids were playing along with something, or they really didn’t know where she had come from. She started shaking a little and glanced side to side unsurely, almost hoping that the dragon would come back and clear everything up for her. But he didn’t, so she forced herself to speak up. “He told me not to t-talk to anyone. And not to go anywhere either.”

    “Hmm… I wonder why he did that? If you told us where you came from, we might be able to help,” Rune suggested.

    “Really? Aren’t you with the dragon? He stole me away from home and didn’t let me out of the carriage until I was here,” Clefairy explained. “I don’t know where I am or who he is. I don’t know what to tell you.”

    Rune gasped overzealously, “Sis, do you know what this is? What this means?”

    “This… means something?” she replied.

    “It’s the call to adventure. This little fairy got kidnapped from the sky. Now we’ve gotta take her back there!” Rune remarked, pumping his fists. He turned to Clefairy and gave her an upbeat handshake. “So it’s fine that we don’t know your name. If you’ve been kidnapped, we’re just gonna take you home!”

    “But big brother! We don’t know how to get to the Fairy Kingdom. And how would dad let us go if he’s the one that kidnapped her?” Diantha whined.

    “That’s why it’s the call to adventure. We don’t tell him. We set off in secret using that blocked passageway Dad always keeps us from going up. There must be some sorta secret up there… a secret that has something to do with why he kidnapped a fairy Pokémon!” he rambled, posing enthusiastically. “Stick with me little fairy. I promise I’ll take you home, no matter what.”

    “Would you really?” Clefairy replied in a hopeful tone.

    “You might be wrong this time, Rune. But it does kinda sound like fun,” Diantha admitted in a playful tone. “I’ve wanted to know what’s up there ever since Dad said we shouldn’t go.”

    “Exactly! So let’s go right now before he comes back!” Rune suggested, grabbing one of Clefairy’s hands.

    “A-ah, wait Rune!” she squeaked, tripping after him.

    “Big brother, don’t go and leave me behind!” Diantha cried, having to skip after them.

    Clefairy could barely keep up with his steps, trying not to cry out or draw too much attention to herself as she was dragged along the foreign hallway. They bumped past a few servants and soldiers and made them drop whatever they were carrying, resulting in them getting shouted at. None of them seemed to comment on the fact that she was a fairy however, which although was confusing, was fortunate enough to let her relax a little. She let herself get dragged along the numerous hallways and focused on not tripping up, doing nothing but puffing and panting to keep up.

    The castle turned out to be bigger than she imagined. It took them at least ten minutes to navigate the repetitive hallways and staircases, gradually going higher and higher until they reached a quiet enough area. They had run out of breath by the time they got there, but this hallway was empty enough for them to take as long as they needed. It was just a long straight corridor with a single branching path to the left; a staircase that was heavily barricaded with red fencing and several signs.

    “Huh?” Clefairy mused, trying to make sense of it. The signs were written in a language she hadn’t ever seen before. The letters were so unusual that it was impossible to even guess what was written on it. “I can’t read it. Is this a drawing?”

    “A drawing? Nah, it says ‘danger, do not enter’. But we’re gonna enter anyway, because a big secret is up here,” Rune bragged. Clefairy looked over the signs again. It probably did say that, but the characters of the text were so mind boggling that it was hard to believe anything. Then again, he lived here, so he probably could read it.

    “Rune, if there really is danger up there, you’ll be able to protect us, right? You’ve been going to knight practice,” Diantha pointed out, making her brother flinch. He started scratching his back and laughing, and then clearly feigned a boastful appearance.

    “Of course! I’m not a knight yet, but I unlocked some pretty sweet skill. Whatever danger shouldn’t be a problem,” he assured, smiling cheekily at the two girls. He gestured to help Clefairy over the fence. “Ladies and guests first.”

    “Spoken like a true royal knight,” Diantha praised, ignoring that the gesture was for Clefairy. That or she didn’t care as she pushed the fairy type out of the way to climb over, receiving a push on her backside from her brother to help her over. Clefairy reluctantly copied, falling down on the other side.

    “It’s just a staircase. Does this lead to a different part of the roof or something?” Diantha asked once they were all over the fence. The stairs before them were longer than the rest of the stairs they had climbed thus far, but a source of light was coming through the other end to obscure where they led.

    “Only one way to find out. Follow me, ladies!” Rune announced, marching forward. Clefairy gave a slight moan but followed, relieved to be able to walk on her own two feet this time.



    Meanwhile, back down in the main castle hallways, Jyararanga had gone right back to charging through with full focus on his task. His preparations were clear on his attire as he now possessed a sword and armour fit for a war. He was also carrying a peculiar cloth that was for a Pokémon far smaller than himself, the cloth adorned with unusual, dark markings that resembled black flames. It could be seen clear as day that the Kommo-o was sweating as he had been running and fretting the whole time, to a point that he had to catch his breath when he finally made it back to his den.

    “What… Ariala, where…?” he whispered, scanning the room for her. He began to tear the room apart, quickly concluding that she was no longer there. “No! This cannot be…”

    He anxiously tripped out of the room and almost stomped right on top of a soldier, a Druddigon equipped with a helmet and a sword. “You! You’re on duty on this floor, yes? What happened to the fairy I had here?”

    “The fairy?” the Druddigon responded in surprise.

    “Yes, the fairy! The tiny pink Pokémon that was in my chamber! Where is she?” Jyararanga raised his voice.

    “I don’t know. I did see a little pink kid with the prince and princess. The lot of them were making a ruckus,” the soldier answered.

    “Rune and Diantha… n-no. No, this can’t be happening. Rune is supposed to be in knight school. Could he have taken her? Where did they go?” he raised his voice even more.

    “I wasn’t watching, your highness. They distracted me and several servants,” the soldier recalled.

    “No! Damn it, this can’t be happening,” Jyararanga roared, grabbing his head. He glanced side to side and then stomped his feet. “Forget your orders! Find them at all costs. And tell all other staff to find and bring them to my quarters immediately!”

    “Your highness, if I may¬—“

    “No questions. The entirety of our world is in danger if you don’t find her. FIND THAT FAIRY!” he roared at the top of his voice.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    DreamSayer likes this.
  3. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Hello! Welcome to the forums. It's always great to see new faces around. And this is an interesting concept--a story about pokémon societies that's not (best I can tell) a Mystery Dungeon fic! I like how you set the scene, describing the mountains the kommo-o is travelling through, the castle, and the dragon with his carriage. It gives everything that high-fantasy flavor that

    You mention a "rockery" a couple times, which I don't think is quite the word you're looking for? That's a kind of garden, and my impression is that these are wild mountains.

    Anyway, the kommo-o himself is an interesting character. Initially, of course, I thought you were setting him up as a villain, what with his kidnapping the clefairy and being kind of a jerk to the guard-zoroark and all. He appears to be trying to "save the world," though, so maybe an anti-hero? I'm curious to see where you go with his character. It was kind of weird to see him be so successful at kidnapping a clefairy, given that she could pretty much just sneeze fairy dust on him to knock him out. That double weakness, you know.

    Speaking of, I wonder what was up with the clefairy suddenly being overwhelmed with noise. The manifestation of some special ability or other? It wasn't an effect she seemed familiar with, so if so, it's one that's only just awakening...

    I think you do a good job with the kid characters. Rune in particular feels like a genuine headstrong, idealistic kid without much practical experience. It was cute to see him so convinced that it was his job to return the fairy to "the Fairy Kingdom" and that they'd be totally fine breaking into the part of the castle all covered with warning signs. I was a little surprised that the clefairy kind of went along with all that, but perhaps she's young, too? It was hard for me to get a fix on her age.

    Some typos and such:

    Haha, the first time I read this I was really confused because I thought he was using his nose to wipe his forehead. Maybe reword it to something like, "He crinkled his nose and wiped his forehead..." or "Crinkling his nose, he wiped his forehead..."

    I think you put the "low" in the wrong place here, somehow. "He kept his voice low and growled his words...", maybe?

    The semicolon doesn't belong there. You use semicolons to join two phrases that could stand on their own as complete sentences. Since "Giving a relieved sigh that it was a Zoroark" isn't a sentence, you want to use a comma here instead.

    She searched for him? Wouldn't he be standing more or less next to her?

    Looks like you missed a line break between these paragraphs.

    For the most part you're handling dialogue punctuation correctly, but when the dialogue ends in a question mark, you do also de-capitalize the first letter of the dialogue tag following it. For example, here:

    It should be "the little boy asked," not "The little boy asked."

    Or here:

    It should be "the little boy repeated," not "The little boy repeated." And so on.

    Missing a line break here.

    A long, straight... hall, perhaps? There would usually be a comma between "long" and "straight," too; when you have adjectives that could be separated by "and" ("a long and straight [thing]"), you use a comma to separate them.

    For the most part you look like you know what you're doing, but a little more proofreading might help catch some of these small errors. It's not bad enough that the story is difficult to read, but it can help prevent confusion and make things look cleaner for sure.

    Anyway, this looks like a promising start to an adventure story. At this point I'm wondering whether Rune or Jyararanga is the character we'll be following in the future, or maybe both? From your avatar I can guess that you're af an of oshawott, so I'm leaning towards the former. :p

    Welcome again to the forums, and I hope you have a good time here. If you're interested in reading other people's fanfics, I suggest you check out The End--it's also a pokémon-centric story with a fantasy flavor, so it might be something you enjoy. One way or another, good luck with your writing, and I look forward to seeing where this story goes from here!
     
  4. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Thank you so much for the kind welcome! All points taken in, I'll choose my words more carefully from here since that sounds like the biggest hiccup with this chapter. This is the kind of response I wanted from a first draft though, so I'm well chuffed!
    Ironically, it was The End that brought me here in the first place! I read the story over on Wattpad, where I'm a reviewer of Pokémon fanfics. In fell in love with the story from there and didn't know Serebii had a fanfiction section until Sami mentioned it. So, here I am :)
     
  5. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Oh wow, that's an awesome coincidence. XD Glad you enjoyed it, then, and I hope you find other fics here that you like. And I'm glad you found the review helpful; best of luck again with your writing!
     
  6. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Episode 2: The weight of duty

    “It’s so dark up here,” Clefairy remarked, scanning the area. At the peak of the lengthy staircase was a structure that was so old it was drowning in moss. They were at the top of the mountain that the castle was built into so the rockery around them was charcoal coloured, yet the ruined temple standing before them was slathered in green and dead plant life. The nearby cloudy sky was still very dark and blocked out any sunlight, rendering the area in a grey, colourless hue.

    “It’s some sorta ancient temple,” Rune joined in, curiously exploring the area. He walked straight in without a second of thought, leading the two girls to follow him.

    Clefairy slowed down once she stepped foot inside, her attention captured by the faded drawings and writing all over the walls. The temple was a single, enormous room with these drawings on every side, even what was left of the crumbled ceiling. However, all of the text was in the same language as that of the warning sign she couldn’t read before, so it failed to make any sense to her.

    “Rune, what does all this say?” she wondered, blindly bumping into him in the centre of the room.

    “I dunno. It’s too old and groggy, and most of the words look really grown up,” he answered, half ignoring her. “I’m more interested in this thingy.”

    Clefairy spun around and joined him to stare at the unusual object. A hexagon a little taller than them floated in the centre of the room, marked up with an asymmetrical pattern of black and green hexagons across its surface. The whole object gave off a soft green glow without a sound.

    “Is it some kinda Pokémon?” Diantha wondered, skipping right up to it. She sniffed it briefly before attempting to grab it, where she squealed and leapt backwards, blowing her hands frantically. “It’s hot, it’s hot, it’s hot!”

    “Whatever this thing is, it’s what Dad was trying to keep from everyone by stopping us from going up here. I’ll call it the ‘green crystal’!” Rune announced, taking his scalchop off his belly. “So let’s figure out what the green crystal does and take it with us.”

    Clefairy chose to return her focus to the drawings on the walls. None of it seemed to make any sort of pattern or glyph or anything. Whatever it all said, the fact that the area was off limits, had this burning green crystal in it, and had been untouched for possibly hundreds of years, filled her with uncertainty. As if answering that summary of her thoughts, she caught sight of a Pokémon spying on them from above. Although there was hardly a ceiling to the temple, a Pokémon was stood up on what little roof there was, staring down at them. She met its fierce red eyes and flinched, starting to breathe heavily.

    “What’s-” she was about to ask, getting cut off by a cry from Rune. The Oshawott had struck the green crystal with Razor Shell, somehow causing it to glow brighter and brighter. The sound of flames released from it in growing volume as well, becoming loud enough to take the trio into discomfort.

    “Is it… it’s gonna explode?” Diantha warned. The three of them flinched and shielded their faces as the crystal seemed to do just that, bursting into a blinding, green blast of light that engulfed the room. The light faded away just as quickly as it had appeared, although it faded along with the glow that the crystal originally had, leaving the room even dimmer than before.

    “Eeek! Rune, why did you do that?” Diantha squealed once she got a hold of herself.

    “Do what? I didn’t do anything! I just hit it,” he complained.

    “Look it’s all dark and creepy now. I think you broke it. This is why boys shouldn’t touch important stuff,” she stated.

    “I said I didn’t do anything!”

    “But it’s all cold and dark now. If you didn’t break it, fix it,”

    “But it’s not broken! How can I fix what isn’t broken?”

    Clefairy moaned to herself as she watched the two Oshawott bicker and snap at each other pettily, flicking their hands in some kind of attempt to slap each other. She gave up waiting for them and tried to find out what had just happened, spotting the Pokémon that was spying on them before. It was in a different spot but still on top of the temple and staring down at them, its red eyes and scruffy white fur coat standing out in the dim conditions. She didn’t need to be told that it wasn’t happy, and them being here was probably why.

    “Um, excuse me…” Clefairy tried to ask, trailing off at the interruption of another sound. Propellers. Lots of propellers. And all of them were close by. “… What’s that?”

    Another explosion occurred, this one being far realer than the one caused by the green crystal. Part of the temple was blasted away, damaging a ridiculous portion of the structure around where the blast hit. It hit the top right corner of the room, yet the ceiling and walls in that section completely fell apart, revealing the dark sky and what had caused the attack.

    “Airships!” Clefairy squealed. There were three of them, giant sailboats that floated in the sky with the use of several propellers and fabric wings. Cannons jutted out from the sides of them, one of which was smoking as if it had just fired.

    “Airships? Are those Pokémon as well?” Rune cried, stepping closer to the two girls. Pokémon jumped off of those airships, a small collection of Mawile and Granbull that each carried a weapon. It wasn’t until they landed that Rune swiped his scalchop aside and readied his Razor Shell again. “I’ve never seen these Pokémon before, but don’t worry. If they’re bad guys, I’ll protect you.”

    “They’re not bad guys!” Clefairy squeaked, glancing to and from the two parties. The fairy types weren’t even trying to hide their aggression from the looks of things, aiming their spears and fists at the children.

    “Are you sure? They look pretty angry,” Rune replied, keeping his eyes locked on them.

    “R-Rune… these guys might be fairy Pokémon. Remember what dad said?” Diantha warned. “The fairy Pokémon are supposed to be at war with us.”

    “… Oh, right!” Rune gasped, glancing back at Clefairy. “Is that why Dad kidnapped you? If we let ‘em get to the castle, we’ll be in more trouble than this.”

    “But you’re the only one that can fight. Can you really take them?” Diantha worried.

    “O-of course I can. I’m a knight, aren’t I?” he challenged with a boastful pose.

    “B-but guys-” Clefairy tried to respond, but was once again cut off by Rune running off before she could even start. Diantha stayed put with a worried posture, keeping her hands pressed together.

    “Hey you evil fairies! I’m not gonna let you get any further, alright? If you want us, you’re gonna have to go through me!” he announced, showing off a few slashes to make himself appear skilled. Three Mawile stood at the front of the enemy group, and all they did in response was exchange glances with each other. “Alright fine, have it your way!”

    Roaring at the top of his voice with his Razor Shell raised high, Rune charged at them and leapt into the air, targeting the Mawile in the centre. Two of the Mawile scattered whilst the one he aimed for prepared to defend itself, holding its lance firmly with both hands. Rune’s attack collided with it hard enough to make his foe grunt, but with a push of the lance, he was forced back into the air to land a few paces away.

    “How was that? I’m strong you know!” he bragged, swiping the air again.
    “Little punk!” the Mawile growled, revealing its masculine voice. Rune lunged and attempted to slash him with Razor Shell again, finding all three of his attempts blocked by the Mawile’s steady skill. After blocking three slashes the Mawile retaliated with a swipe of his own, his lengthy weapon striking Rune’s head so hard that it sent him to the ground with a winded cry of pain.

    “A-ah… ow, that really hurt!” the Oshawott coughed, struggling to his feet. A bruised mark had already formed where he had been hit, which hurt him enough to flinch when he tried to rub it. Mawile ignored his complaint and pointed a palm at him, giving a battle cry as it charged up a Flash Cannon. Rune only had the time to gasp before the special attack was fired, getting struck head on.

    “Rune!” Diantha cried, turning in disbelief as Rune’s body was sent flying back into them. His front now showed signs of harsh burns and several marks of damage, but he was still able to struggle to his feet. He needed her help to stay standing, however.

    “Argh… th-they’re really strong,” he admitted, huffing in pain.

    “Y-you don’t need to fight them though,” Clefairy tried to reason.

    “Dad kidnapped you for a reason, so I’m gonna look after you. Besides… I’m the prince. I-I can’t let them beat me!” he argued, gritting his teeth.

    “Pah. Is this some kind of joke? Is the Dragon Kingdom Eris truly so deplorable that they rely on children to defend themselves?” Mawile mocked, making his comrades smile and snicker. “Your attitude is as messy as your kingdom.”

    “Rune!” a familiar voice roared from behind Rune and the others. The trio spun around in fright, calming down as a Kommo-o stormed up the staircase towards them. He wore heavy armour on top of his metallic coat of scales, whilst a large sword was strapped to his back.

    “Dad?” Rune and Diantha gasped in surprise. The Kommo-o took only a second to assess the situation, where he calmed right down and started to walk. He slowly drew his sword as he passed the three children, revealing its unique, multi-coloured decoration. In between the handle and the blade was a pattern of petal shaped appendages, each one a different colour that flowed as if filled with a variety of liquids. The blade itself glowed a bright white, visible only when the sword was fully drawn.

    “King Jyararanga himself…” Mawile gawked, mouthing off to something. The enemy fairies sided with each other with uncertain looks on their faces, as if overwhelmed by the dragon’s appearance. Jyararanga alone outsized all of them put together.

    “Rune, you’re supposed to be in knight school right now,” Jyararanga stated, turning his head back. The Oshawott flinched, scratching his back with a cheeky laugh.

    “I er-”

    “This is not a joke,” Jyararanga growled in threat. “You should know better than to follow your foolish brother as well, Diantha. But we don’t have time for this right now- this right now is a dire battle. Keep hold of that Clefairy for me and fend for yourselves if necessary.”

    “Wait, what’re you going to do to them?” Clefairy gasped, trying to step forward. She locked eyes with the king and froze completely, quickly getting pulled back a little by Rune and Diantha.

    “No… the princess is right there! If we all storm him at once, not even the mighty dragon king can stand up to us!” Mawile rallied, raising his lance. “Come on men! Strike with me, and let us bring the princess home today!”

    The enemy fairies all gave a war cry and came charging at once, making Rune and the children gasp in worry. Having never seen his father fight, let alone be dressed for battle the way he was, Rune had no idea what to expect from a situation that had his father looking this tense.

    Any worry he could have had was unfounded, however. Jyararanga dealt with the first five charging fairies with ease, stomping one foot into the ground so hard that the floor broke apart; creating huge stalagmites that flipped them into the air or blocked the way. The few Granbull that made it through the attack went with Play Rough attacks, their fists and jaws glowing white with fairy energy. They were backhanded away with ease, getting knocked flying through the air to the other side of the area.

    “We don’t have time for this. Ariala! You have to wear this!” Jyararanga ordered, tossing a bundle of fabric at the children. Rune struggled to catch it due to the suddenness of the command and stared at it in confusion.

    “What’s this?” Diantha asked as Rune hung the fabric in front of him. It was a women’s cape with a curious design of dark flames on it.

    “Don’t question it, just wear it!” Jyararanga shouted, getting jumped on by a few more Play Rough users. He cried out and shook them off into the air, finally using his sword to slash one of the Pokémon in half on its way down.

    At that moment, time began to slow down. The little Oshawott couldn’t believe his eyes – his father defending himself was one thing, but mercilessly killing another Pokémon was something he never imagined ever seeing. But it was happening, and it was so fast and sudden that he had lost all focus and thoughts as to what to respond with. He just stared at the gruesome appearance of a Granbull getting sliced in half, its innards raining down the Kommo-o’s side.

    And it didn’t stop there, either. The more those fairies threw themselves at him, the more ruthless Jyararanga became, not hesitating to slash them to bits, stab them, or simply crush them with his overwhelming size. It didn’t take long before the fairies were retreating and screaming orders to escape at each other, climbing back onto their airships using ropes. Some of the Mawile stayed behind to fire more Flash Cannon, but they dealt no visible damage to the Kommo-o’s armour at all.

    It wasn’t until the sound of tears and whimpering caught his attention that Rune fell back into focus, and he spun around to the Clefairy behind him. She was crying her eyes out and covered her face with her hands, only reinforcing what was actually happening. Seeing her crying like this amongst the needless death, his body fell cold. He didn’t know what to say or do, he just stared.

    “Moonblast cannon ready! Fire, we can at least wound him!” one of the Mawile ordered, signalling to the airships. He was the only fairy not on an airship right now, and two out of the three of the ships were flying away. The last one had a cannon aimed directly at Jyararanga, and it was gleaming with white energy as if charging up.

    “Get behind me!” The Kommo-o ordered, glancing back briefly. He swiped his sword aside and then held it in a defensive pose, planting his feet into the ground. The cannon fired a second later, releasing exactly what the commander had hinted at: an enormous Moonblast the size of a cannonball. With a mighty roar at the top of his voice, Jyararanga sliced the attack in two as it approached him, causing it to explode early and shower him in glittering energy. He cried out in pain at the effort, but remained standing, bringing everyone’s jaws to the floor.

    “Dear Tapu- this king is a monster! Go! Retreat now!” Mawile cried, abandoning his position to get away. He only managed to grab a rope dangling from the remaining airship before it started to fly away however, leaving him hanging off of it.

    But even their retreat wasn’t enough. Growling with increasing volume, Jyararanga cupped his claws together and gathered fiery energy in between them, releasing it into the air with a roar of effort. A sputtering orb of fire was launched up high, which soon burst into a rain of meteors that showered the world around them. Despite the meteors being rather small, the damage they caused was loud and devastating. It took only one meteor to bring the airship to the ground, where it crashed somewhere in the nearby mountains with a loud, deafening explosion.

    “He… he-he killed all of them...” Rune whispered in disbelief, still holding onto the cape. Now that the conflict was over, the area had fallen back to the ancient silence it had when they arrived, only now it was a lot more colourful. The bloody remains of the fairy type Pokémon were scattered around the ruins of the temple in puddles of mushy, pink innards, staining the black mountain and green moss with the stench of conflict.

    Another roar took his attention away from the scene, this one coming from behind them. He had shifted forward to keep up with his father during the battle, not realising that he was now far in front of the green crystal. But that crystal was being swallowed up by what looked like a living shadow, a dark, murky, transparent figure that slathered the ground all around the crystal. It slowly seeped its way up through the artefact, releasing distorted roars as it covered the crystal in whatever substance it was made of.

    “No! Ariala!” Jyararanga shouted so loudly it made the Rune’s ears ring. The next thing he knew, Jyararanga’s sword was thrown straight through the air at the green crystal. The shadow sunk into the ground to avoid the stab, now appearing as a completely flat splotch of fiery darkness. If it wasn’t for the fact that it zipped across the ground at such high speed, it would barely be visible.

    “Wah, what is that?” Rune cried, stumbling backwards. Before he could do anything beyond flustered movements, he was knocked to the ground by a heavy force, presumably the shadow tripping him up on its way past. He quickly rolled over and sat up, where time slowed down for him once again.

    He almost screamed, but some natural instinct stopped him. Seeing the dead bodies of the fairy Pokémon gave him an uncomfortable chill, but now that it was someone he knew and loved, that chill had intensified so much that he was frozen to the spot.

    Diantha was being hung up in the air right before his eyes, her face unreadable. Her eyes were wide and static but her mouth was agape. A second passed, and a thin trail of blood dribbled from her mouth, pooling onto the floor in front of Rune in a thick mass. The shadowy monster had an arm directly through his sister’s stomach, the tips of its claw painted the same red that stained the rest of the battlefield. Barely a sound escaped her besides weak, dazed, gurgled breaths.

    Then she suddenly coughed up a mouthful of blood, splattering it all over Rune’s head. He flinched and went completely white, his breaths just as empty as he realised how much blood had splashed onto him. He couldn’t think straight or restore his thoughts at all; he just kept glancing at his body until his eyes locked with Diantha’s again. Her eyes were rolling back, physically darkening by the second.

    “B-big brother… i-it hurts…” she breathed out.

    That was it. He couldn’t take it anymore and let his body act on its own. All he could tell was that he screamed at the top of his voice before blacking out.



    Many hours later, or at least what felt like many hours later, some thoughts started to clear up in Rune’s mind. The thoughts were clear enough for him to be able to tell that he was in a bed, likely meant to be sleeping. Then they cleared up even more, and he shot awake in a flash, no longer wanting to keep his eyes closed.

    He stared at the ceiling for a moment and then gasped, jolting into a sitting up position. He grabbed his head in pain the moment he did so, feeling his chest and head ache in complaint.

    “Wha-what? Where am I?” he growled to himself, trying to ignore the pain to examine his surroundings. Once the tears in his eyes cleared up he was able to make out a doctor watching over him, a Goodra with a worried look on its face.

    “You’re awake. Please, your highness, wait right here,” he instructed, stumbling out of the room. This room had no door at all, so Rune could hear everything going on outside. His father stomped in a moment later, stopping at a distance to stare down at him.

    “Father…” Rune mumbled, scanning him carefully. The Kommo-o was covered from head to toe in scratches and bruises. “Your body- wa-wait, what happened? My head hurts, my belly is… Sis? Where is sis?”

    “Rune,” Jyararanga said.

    “Diantha, where’s Diantha and the fairy? That was all just a nightmare, right?” he cried, throwing himself out of the bed. He dashed out of the room, took a moment to examine the medical ward around him, and then made for a room at random. He happened to choose the right one, finding himself staring at his sister. The little girl was sat up under the covers, completely zoned out to Rune’s presence and relieved sigh. “Diantha… oh thank goodness, it was just a-”

    She turned to face him, revealing a startling change in her appearance. Besides her empty, distant expression, her eyes had completely changed colour. What was once a deep, navy blue was now a dark, smoky texture with a piercing white pupil in the centre. Those white pupils lacked all detail that eyes should have had, unmoving even as her head turned to follow Rune and Jyararanga.

    “Sis,” Rune breathed out again, approaching her.

    “Stay away!” she shrieked all of a sudden, hiding herself behind her hands and looking away. A heavy gush of wind magically burst from her as she did so, blowing Rune right back into Jyararanga’s hard scales. He fell to the floor weakly and barely looked back at her. She was whimpering and hugging herself, no longer covered by a blanket. A nearby bookshelf and candlelight had fallen over as well.

    “What just-”

    “Do you see what you have done, Rune?” Jyararanga asked. Rune stood up and gawked at him. “Because of your foolish, disobedient actions, some serious casualties have occurred today.”

    “Because of my foolish actions? How is it my fault? You’re the one that brought a fairy to the dragon kingdom, how was I supposed to know that would make us get attacked?” he snapped. “Besides, you didn’t have to kill those fairies! They were just soldiers looking for the princess!”

    “My actions were none of your business. Had you been in knight school as you should have, you would not have alerted the fairies of our kingdom’s location. You revealed to them the location of the Dragon Weapon as well. And you forced a conflict upon us that we were not fully prepared for!” Jyararanga raised his voice.

    “Wait- the Dragon Weapon? You don’t mean… that green crystal?” Rune asked, thinking about it. The Kommo-o’s face tightened. “Seriously? That green crystal was the Dragon Weapon? The weapon from the legend that almost destroyed the whole world?”

    “The very same. I brought the fairy here to use her powers to drive away the darkness that threatened to steal it. The act was supposed to be undercover, but you drew their forces to us, and the shadow took your sister. The fact that she lives is a miracle that you should count yourself exceedingly lucky for,” he explained. Rune glanced back at the bedridden Oshawott behind him, who wasn’t whimpering anymore but was still looking down and hugging herself.

    “Don’t you understand the weight of your actions? You are this kingdom’s crown prince. It is your duty to protect the Pokémon of our planet, and yet, you continue to shirk your training and education,” he continued.

    “That’s because I’m bored! You don’t let me leave the castle, you don’t tell me what’s going on outside, the teachers don’t even teach me anything interesting. And knight school is dumb. I can use Razor Shell just fine, why have I gotta keep practicing?” Rune rambled. Jyararanga slapped him with the back of his arm so hard he fell to the floor with a cry, left clutching his head. “O-ow! What the hell was that for?”

    “If I hadn’t shown up when I did, those soldiers would have killed you and your sister. Would your training have been wasteful then? Don’t you think you could have protected her if you could fight?” Jyararanga challenged. Rune didn’t reply. “You are pathetic. You are looking for excuses to blame your own errors on someone else. Someone like you will never even make it to adulthood.”

    “What?” Rune gasped, standing up. Jyararanga’s face tightened again.

    “Perhaps it was a mistake to have even adopted you. As you are now, you will be useless to everyone. You couldn’t protect your sister if you tried,” he stated, turning and walking off.

    “I-I could’ve! I just underestimated them!” Rune tried to argue, but his words fell on death ears as Jyararanga continued walking until he was out of sight. He glanced back at Diantha again, shuddering at her sorrowful look. “I… I just… If I had…”

    He started glancing back and forth at her and the empty doorway, fighting the tears forming in his eyes. “If I had just listened to everyone… if I just knew how to fight…”
     
  7. icomeanon6

    icomeanon6 It's "I Come Anon"

    Hey, welcome to the forum! I'm in the same boat as you, having made an account here a long time ago which then went unused (until last year in my case). :p

    Two things I really liked about this beginning are Clefairy's hearing struggles and the personalities of the prince and princess. With the former, the way you got into the specifics of what she heard from all over the place and have that segue into Rune and Diantha finding her was really neat. And I loved how earnest the kids were about living their lives like they were the heroes of a story. It makes sense seeing as those stories are often about princes and princesses, and they didn't seem to have experienced anything to contradict that so far. More importantly, it's cute, endearing, and entertaining, even though you just know it's not going to end well.

    Speaking of which, the image of Diantha's guts getting shadow-thrashed was visceral and affective. It loses some of its impact though with the preceding paragraph:

    I think this feels a little too matter-of-fact about what follows. It can be a good idea to slow a moment down to make the most of it, but in this case I don't think you want an analytical tone to numb the impact of that moment. I think you could replace this paragraph with, "He froze," and get right to Diantha and the shadow, and save the analysis of what was going through Rune's head for after.

    Negrek mentions the type advantage that Clefairy has on Jyararanga, but it didn't stick out to me as peculiar that she doesn't try to fight back. Not every pokemon's much of a fighter, and oftentimes strength and experience trump type-advantage.

    This however left me scratching my head:

    At first I thought this meant that the room had no obvious entrance/exit and that the wind must be coming from a window, but then everyone keeps entering and exiting the room without a problem. I'd reword it so that it's clear you mean an empty doorway, like in the infirmary scene later. That also comes into one thing that I noticed about the end of chapter 2:

    So, character-wise, it makes total sense for Rune to get a dose of reality after everything goes to hell following his attempt to live out his childish fantasies; but the line from Jyararanga, "You are looking for excuses to blame your own errors on someone else," seems to lack self-awareness. The biggest error here in my opinion was Jyararanga making things so easy for Rune and Diantha to throw a wrench in the works. If there was a reason he didn't at least tell a guard to watch the room and not let anyone in or out, I missed it. I understand if Jyararanga was telling Rune what he thought he needed to hear, but if he doesn't realize his own responsibility in the matter, that's not a point in his favor.

    The name "Ariala" had me confused. At first it seemed like that was supposed to be the name of the Clefairy, then maybe Diantha, and then the shadow. Am I right in assuming Jyararanga's actually invoking the name of a deity?

    Favorite line: "This is why boys shouldn’t touch important stuff." She's not wrong, judging by what follows. >__>

    The biggest question I have after the first two chapters is what Clefairy's status is right now, as we lose track of her after the description of her crying. Is it too late for her to be useful to her kidnapper, or is she more stuck now than before? And poor Diantha, of course. Anxious to see whether she gets worse or better first.

    Keep at it!
     
  8. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Episode 3: Rune's solution + author catch up

    First of all, I'd like to apologise for taking so long with the next chapter of this! I'm actually writing two fanfictions right now, one being an intense rewrite of a fic I finished last year. I promised my tutor I would work hard on that rewrite, so it has slowed down this one a little bit. I've caught up with that old fanfic now though and I plan to try and update both fics once a week where possible, with Astral Genealogy taking priority. So expect chapter 4 soon after this update, too.

    Secondly, I'm honestly astonished at how much notice this is getting here! Branching out to new fanfiction websites was an experiment of mine I didn't know would work as well as it has. Between here, Wattpad, Fanfiction.net and DeviantArt, Serebii has the most reads and constructive, friendly comments! Honestly, from the bottom of this aspiring Mijumaru's heart, thank you all so much for the comments and the reads!

    I'm going to stop editing on this site until the entire story is completed, but any criticism and comments are being taken into account and considered, I promise you. Whether I do something good or bad, please let me know - if I started failing and everyone went quiet because no visible changes were being made, I'd be a failure as a writer. So again, I promise you that all comments are being earnestly considered, I just won't make physical changes on the site until everything's posted to save me a lot of work.

    Without further ado, let's get into the chapter :)

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

    Episode 3: Rune’s solution

    [​IMG]

    Crouched down and silent, Rune awaited the ending of the ceremony. A Scizor slowly approached and crouched down with him when he was directly in front, placing a small crown on the Oshawott’s head. Once that was in place and he stood up, Rune stood up as well, generating applause from the Pokémon that watched on.

    “Congratulations, your Highness. With this, you are now officially a royal knight. Never forget your pledge and work hard to forge a legend of yourself,” Scizor announced, bowing to him. Rune’s face was stern and stiff even when he nodded. He faced the last procedure he had to do for the ceremony while looking just as empty, but deep inside, he was jumping for joy.

    It had taken ten years. Ten years since the unforgettable incident where he thought he had lost his sister’s life. He spent all that time training tirelessly in the castle’s Knight School, and today was the day that he graduated. He was truly a royal knight with the grade that proved he was one of the kingdom’s best fighters- he felt invincible, and nothing was ever going to give him pain like that experience ten years ago ever again.

    Believing that as fact was what made him so happy right now, but he daren’t show it. He knew better than to risk them shoving a sneak attack in his face or something, so he remained focused as he retrieved the plain sword that all warriors got gifted for graduating. He accepted it and raised it high, creating another applause that made his heart flutter.

    “Big brother!” a girly voice interrupted his triumph, stretching out the syllables excessively. Rune nearly sighed as his sister showed up, skipping along the hallway before noticing him in the training hall. She completely ignored the large audience of Pokémon and skipped over. “There you are! You gotta come with, Daddy wants ya.”

    “Sis, can it wait a little bit?” he replied, returning the sword to the cushion it was gifted to him on.

    “Nope. It’s Daddy, and he says it’s exciting,” she smiled, bouncing on her toes. Her appearance had changed greatly during these ten years, although to Rune, she had only gotten girlier and girlier as the years went by. She wore a bright pink short skirt high up around her waist, slightly covering her scalchop but due to her tail sticking out from behind, her bottom was in full view. Her head fur had grown greatly as well, so she wore that in a single lengthy ponytail and tied it with large sticks to create an ‘X’ shaped hairclip. Her eyes hadn’t changed however, still dark and lost with static, pure white pupils.

    “As you can see, I’m in the middle of a ceremony. Please, I won’t be a few-”

    “And I just said it was important, geez. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” she groaned, snatching his arm and dragging him away. He allowed her to without any opposition, getting pulled along like a doll.

    Rune’s appearance had grown during that time as well, unlike the castle around him. He had grown the slightest bit taller and dressed up his head fur as well, whilst also choosing to wear a bright red cape to hide his belongings in. He had chosen to keep to himself though, and although the Pokémon of the castle noticed his change of diligence, he never once told anyone exactly why he became so quiet and started taking Knight School seriously. If anyone ever asked, he would just walk away.

    He soon found himself near the throne room rather than Jyararanga’s den, where Diantha finally dropped him with a groan and a pout. “Rune c’mon, get those lazy legs movin’ already! Why have I gotta drag you everywhere?”

    “I was wondering when you were going to let me,” he replied, stretching and brushing himself off. He led the remainder of the way as if unbothered by her complaints, immediately locking eyes with Jyararanga when he made it to the throne room. The room was empty besides the old dragon, interestingly enough.

    “Here he is, Daddy! In no time, just like you asked. And with that, I am outta here,” Diantha announced, shoving him into the room. She skipped out right away, but hid just outside the entrance.

    “… Father, you called?” Rune began with a sigh.

    “I apologise for taking you out of your graduation ceremony so suddenly, but I fear for the future of Planet Eris should we not act soon,” he sighed as well, getting Rune’s concern. “Let me start by congratulating you on your incredible achievement. I have nothing but praise for knights who make the royal guard. As my son, you’ve made me very proud.”

    “I’m only doing as I must. Did you call me here for an assignment, Father?” Rune replied, kneeling down.

    “Stand up, boy. You are my son and a crown prince, you need only show me respect as your father, not my lineage,” he assured, letting Rune stand up. “This is indeed about an assignment as a royal knight. I have much to tell you, so listen well. This concerns the history of our world, so I hope that you are up to date.”

    Rune folded his arms and shut his eyes. “Our two planets, Eris the Dragon Kingdom and Faernia the Fairy Kingdom, were at war and separated by species. But when the Dragon Weapon was created and threatened to destroy both worlds, a peace treaty was formed that prevented its use,” he recalled, opening his eyes. “A shadow Pokémon tried to take the weapon from here ten years ago, but since then, we have had peace.”

    “We have had peace, but that peace has been coming to an end during those ten years. Eris is facing more civil conflict than it ever has in the form of natural disasters and a rise of crime across the surface. But at the heart of it, Pokémon are turning to the rumour that Faernia is the cause. I do not know exactly what the real cause is, nor have I seen the magnitude of the problems that plague our planet, but I have heard enough reports to imagine the reality,” Jyararanga explained. “The poorer Pokémon fear that they will be dragged into another war, where they will lose what little they have. With disasters striking and a warrant for war rising within our society, I travelled to Faernia in order to meet with their queen.”

    “You went that far? When?” Rune asked in surprise.

    “Their society is suffering from similar. Strange occurrences such as out of control weather, lack of vegetation, and greatly increased aggression from the locals. Just like how our Pokémon blame our problems on them, they blame their problems on us. But me and the queen managed to come to an agreement for a new peace treaty that will enable our cooperation on the resolution to these matters,” he continued, half ignoring Rune, who was thinking.

    “I see. I’m now guessing that my official agreement to this treaty is required,” he replied. Jyararanga nodded.

    “Both the official agreement, and the binding of the treaty itself. Your choice and actions will affect the legitimacy of this treaty. Because… well… you see… the treaty is… um…” he suddenly mouthed off, scratching the back of his head.

    “What is it, Father? This is a matter of peace and war, I’ll do whatever I must,” Rune assured. His father paused before clearing his throat and then facing forward smartly again.

    “The binding contract for this treaty is the joint hands of the prince and princess of our kingdoms. In order for the treaty to become legal, you must marry the princess of Faernia, Princess Ariala,” he announced. There was a long moment of complete silence. “… We came to the conclusion that the weight of such a treaty should be our kingdoms’ most treasured possessions. Thus, we hand each other our children in holy unity.”

    “That… I’m not arguing with that logic, but that wasn’t what I was expecting. I would’ve thought our kingdom’s most treasured possession would be the Sword of Earthly Elements,” Rune questioned, dumbfounded. “I’ll do it, but well… how well I do in this ordeal is… I ask that you don’t judge me greatly for it.”

    “Why so?”

    “I… it’s marriage, an arranged marriage. I haven’t been thinking about that at all, even though I’m of age and the retainers gossip about it,” he admitted. “And… between you and me Father… I’m not very good around women.”

    The old dragon gave a hearty chuckle, reaching to the side of his throne to retrieve something. “Don’t be modest my son, the servants gossip about you because you are every woman’s dream! Just behave how you would around your sister, and your marriage will go fine. I’m certain the princess will be happy to have you.”

    “No way, big bro’s getting married?” Diantha squealed, rushing into the room suddenly. “Ho ho ho, that’s sweet!”

    “Sis! No it’s- it- ugh, what’re you doing here?” Rune coughed. “If I treated a wife how I treat you, our kingdoms would definitely go to war.”

    “Of course they would. But anyway, this means that Rune’s got a pretty exciting journey ahead of him, right? After all, you’ve gotta get to Faernia to marry the princess,” Diantha giggled, leaning forward and winking at him. “If I come with, he’ll be just fine. I’ll teach you all about treating ladies.”

    “We agreed on a meeting point near a Fantasia Port. If you go to the central port and show them proof of your identity, they will allow you to travel to Faernia, where the princess will be waiting. Once you meet her on the Faernia side of the port, the procedures can begin,” Jyararanga clarified. “Diantha, you will be staying here. Having both royalty leave this castle wouldn’t bode well for our kingdom’s morale.”

    “Aww really? The one chance for something actually exciting to happen and you leave me housekeeping? This stinks,” she pouted. “C’mon, big bro needs me! Can’t you make an exception? I’ve been cooped up in this old castle for way too long; I’m gonna grow fat on bread if I don’t get some exercise!”

    “You still have much to learn before you can consider leaving, Diantha,” Jyararanga sighed. He finally revealed what he had reached for earlier, his iconic sword that was mentioned earlier. To Rune’s surprise, the sword had shrunk considerably and was now the perfect size for him. “The time has come for you to wield the Sword of Earthly Elements, Rune.”

    “Wait what? But that’s your sword, and-”

    “This mighty weapon is only useable by those it recognises as crown royalty. As you can see, the blade has resized to your fitting and will no longer function for me. Your time has come,” he explained, handing the golden sword to him. “Use it to aid you in your journey to Faernia. Its slashes are magical and will change type to fit your situation, enabling you to defeat any opponent.”

    “This still seems excessive. I only just graduated; I don’t deserve the kingdom’s treasured weapon!” he objected, taking it anyway. It felt as light and smooth as handling a Razor Shell attack, much to his surprise. “Father, seriously… thank you so much. Now I have to accept your assignment.”

    “I dislike these circumstances, but you should depart immediately,” Jyararanga ordered.

    “What?” both Oshawott gasped.

    Jyararanga went quiet for some reason, making sounds as if he was thinking hard about something. He eventually stood up and started walking, glancing back when he realised that they weren’t following him. He signalled for them to do so, tucking his arms behind his back.

    “Diantha, you may still not be an adult by any means yet, but I do believe it is important that you start learning of this, your duties as royalty. Up until now, you’ve spent your lives in comfort, learning and training for the day that you can protect this kingdom,” he began, walking slowly. “But protecting Eris doesn’t mean simply wielding a sword and throwing attacks at enemies.”

    “Of course. I’m being made to marry a woman I’ve never met,” Rune commented, looking away. Jyararanga paused.

    “When you leave this castle, you’re going to see the true state of the world around us. To reiterate, I have only heard reports of the damage and dangers we have been facing – not even I know of the reality that awaits you out there,” he warned. “Whatever the troubles, I want you to face them with an open mind and do as you can to resolve them. Your role as prince and princess is to shoulder the burdens of every last Pokémon in the kingdom. If you have to bear the weight of sin to resolve an issue, your views and beliefs matter not. It is your duty to carry that sin in place of another.”

    “Your mentor pushed that idea on me for a long time. I am fully prepared,” Rune replied, saluting.

    “Er… if I have to go about killing Pokémon or something just to make others happy, then I’m not happy with it,” Diantha objected.

    “No one is, but that’s the point. As the royalty of Eris, we are the ones that take on that kind of burden. Quite literally, we live like kings, so a little suffering from us is of little consequence,” Rune reasoned. “When the public commit a murder, they are trialled and prosecuted for it. A commoner that kills another lives with the label of their actions for the remainder of their lives, whilst for us, it will be mere guilt. That is our duty.”

    “I still don’t get that, ‘cos were just Pokémon like everybody else, but whatevs. If you say so,” she shrugged. Rune sighed.

    “This is why I’m crown prince and you’re not, sis. Father, you just want me to help others I come across as I can?” he asked.

    “Exactly that. Central Port Fantasia is not far from the castle, so you have a lot of time. Princess Ariala is a Clefable and she is planned to be accompanied by her three retainers. If you arrive before her, then simply wait on the Faernia side of the port,” Jyararanga instructed.

    “Okay, seriously, hold up a sec. You’re not being serious, are you? You’re actually gonna leave the castle right now, right this minute, today?” Diantha questioned, waving her arms about.

    “If my duty requires it, then I must. But if you want to be picky with details, I want to at least pack some belongings,” Rune answered, strapping his new sword to his back. It was hidden by his cape perfectly.

    “But what am I gonna do while you’re gone? I’ll be so bored with no one to play with!” she moaned.

    “Sis, you’re sixteen. You don’t ‘play’ with Pokémon that way anymore. And besides, I’ve been busy with Knight School until now. This will be no different than me being away for that, so just do what you normally do to kill time,” he replied, shaking his head. “In fact, do yourself a favour and focus more on your studies. You’ve still got grades to achieve, don’t you?”

    “Oh look at you, studious all of a sudden. Pfft fine, I’ll do what I do, big guy,” she giggled, winking at him before skipping off in the direction they came from. The duo waited until they were certain she was gone before exchanging unsure looks.

    “I know she’s a bit of a handful now but please, take care of her. She’s still my sister, and precious to me,” Rune said.

    “You know that she’s safe as long as she lives here in this castle. But you mustn’t keep speaking like that. You’re my son and she is my daughter, I would take care of you both until my last breath regardless of who you are,” Jyararanga replied, bowing a little.

    “I’m talking about her… powers. If she were ever to lose control of them or something…” Rune admitted, looking away. His father responded with a raised hand, answering him without a word.



    It was still early, yet it felt like he had been awake all day. Rune chose his supplies carefully and wound up prepared to travel lightly, carrying nothing more than a messenger back and the Sword of Earthly Elements. Both fitted underneath his cape so neatly they couldn’t be seen, as well as being light enough for him to walk at full speed.

    Yet the moment dragged on. Even when he knew he was ready, he stared at a family painting hung up on his bedroom wall for a few moments to take a breather. The painting was of his younger self, and staring it at it now filled him with regret.

    What am I really getting myself into?” he sighed in his mind. “I’ve never even dated a woman before. How in the world can I make it my duty to be someone’s husband? How could I have even trained myself for this?

    No one replied, of course. He just stared at the painting and blinked a few times. That past version of himself in the painting would do a lot of things without thinking, simply because he could. Now he had to do the same, simply because he had to. It was the same principle, yet the whole idea of suddenly marrying tore into him like a knife.

    It’s no use thinking about it. The fate of Eris and Faernia rest on my decision right now. I have to do this,” he concluded, turning around so quickly that his cape whipped around. He froze at the sight of his sister in the doorway staring at him. “Sis…”

    “You really are leaving, aren’t you…?” she asked quietly. He didn’t reply. “And you’ll be gone a long time, too.”

    “It’s my duty. But taking care of you is my duty as well, so you staying here is doing me a great favour,” he assured, nodding to her. “This isn’t goodbye forever, either. I’ll be back someday, and we’ll have lots to catch up on. So promise me you’ll stay safe and look after everyone, okay?”

    “Okay…” she groaned, rolling her eyes. “Pfft, was kinda hoping you’d like, reconsider and bring me with ya.”

    “Urf… please change for the better,” he snickered, shaking his head. “By the way, your fang is showing.”

    “It er, aaah!” she yelped, blushing as she felt her lips and realised that it was. Since that fateful day ten years ago, her right tooth occasionally poked through like that, making her look like a baby. “Why do you always have to point it out and laugh about it? It’s not funny!”

    “It is, it’s cute,” he admitted, snickering even more at how red her face was.

    “Oh so I am cute, huh?” she giggled, posing for him.

    “I’ll see you again soon, alright? Just behave while I’m away,” He said, rolling his eyes. He left her at that, leaving her alone in the room. She watched him with a sly smile on her face, giggling to herself once he was gone.

    “Oh I’ll behave alright.”
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  9. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Episode 4: Marble monopoly

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    Rune’s farewells were surprisingly quick and not very emotional, but that fact didn’t linger on his mind for long. His fondness of the soldiers and servants at the castle had always been shaky, and it wasn’t like he was saying goodbye forever.

    What took his attention more was the vastness of the outside world surrounding the castle. Having never been far out beyond the training grounds used by the Knight School, he was astonished by the amount of rugged terrain all around him. Mountain after mountain lined the scenery as far as his eyes could see, all of them were made of blackened, charred rock, and each one was sharp enough to split the clouds they poked through.

    He was used to the heat of the area, but now that he was trampling up and down these mountains to cross them, he found himself sweating a lot more. He even made sure to stay close to the feet of the mountains so that he didn’t have to climb up and down too much, yet a little while into the trek he already had to stop to take a breather. He wiped his forehead and glanced back, disappointed that the castle was still in sight.

    I was told to go straight ahead, but I wish I had asked how long for,” he complained in his mind, realising his mistake after looking ahead. There wasn’t even a road where he was, just more of these rocky mountains and hills carrying on into the dark distance. He steeled himself and resumed the task, but was quickly stopped by the sound of a sudden shout. He stopped in the middle of a trio of hills to listen in, only getting a few distant, unclear echoes instead.

    Great. I’m already being followed,” he thought with a sigh, keeping focused. He started walking again, but this time much slower. He kept to the enclosed valley between the three mountains and used that as a path, quickly finding that the shouting was still happening, getting clearer and louder. The Pokémon weren’t following him; he was getting closer to them. As he did, the sound of their attacks going off could be made out as well, so he began to follow the source.

    The shouting soon led him to a downhill road at last, but both sides of the road were occupied by small groups of rough looking Pokémon. One side was led by a Scrafty, the other a Mightyena, and those two Pokémon were literally butting their heads against each other while their groups rallied them on.

    “Okay, that’s enough you two. What is-”

    “Stay outta this you little squirt! This mutt looked at me funny!” Scrafty immediately shouted at him.

    “Mutt? Like your poor *** is any better, tramp!” Mightyena responded, baring his teeth at him.

    “You’re right! Scum like you doesn’t even deserve the title of mutt!”

    “Yeah, you’re too low on the scale to even title!”

    “… Squirt?” Rune repeated, staring blankly. He shook himself and focused. “Both of you, that’s enough! Cease this squabble at once!”

    “Who’re you to butt in? Oh I see. You seen the little prize I got and want a piece of her, too? Sorry, but wearing a cape doesn’t make you a hero,” Scrafty mocked, folding his arms.

    “Ignore the little kid. Your business is with me! And I don’t like the way your mates are lookin’ at me,” Mightyena growled.

    “Are you really upset because you looked at each other badly? Both of you are pathetic, if that’s the case,” Rune argued, folding his arms as well. Both groups turned to him now. “Your battle is unnecessary and it blocks the road. Just go about your business.”

    “Pah, the little squirt is right. We ain’t got time to waste with you. I got me a date with Dana,” Scrafty bragged, turning away.

    “Oh that’s even worse! You think you’re all high and mighty ‘cos you got pretty little Dana, huh? She’s just pitying you, I dated her last week!” Mightyena boasted, baring his teeth.

    “My goodness, what’ll it take to stop these two?” Rune sighed, smacking his forehead as the two groups went at each other verbally again. He quickly scanned the two gangs, each with Scraggy and Poochyena respectively. However, amongst the Scrafty was a peppy little Oshawott that was dolled up with a ponytail for a hairstyle and a bright pink skirt. “Wait a minute- Diantha? What the heck?”

    “Oh, I thought I recognised that voice! Hi big bro,” Diantha casually called out, waving to him amongst the crowd. Both Pokémon stopped bickering once they heard her.

    Rune glanced back and forth between the mountains and his sister, starting to sweat awkwardly. “What’re you doing here? Scratch that, how the hell did you pass me?”

    “I dunno. Maybe you shoulda taken the road instead of mountain climbin’,” she giggled. He made a sound as he gawked at her in disbelief.

    “Forget it. You’re coming with me back to the castle right now,” he ordered.

    “Once again squirt, cape or not, brother or not, you’re not playin’ this little lady’s hero!” Scrafty shouted.

    “Yeah uh, I sorta have a date already planned out, so I can’t go back right now,” Diantha clarified, sweating just as nervously.

    “Date?” Rune raised his voice. “This is beyond out of hand… what is really going on here?

    “Don’t you get it, squirt? Buzz off already! I got enough to deal with from this mutt right here,” Scrafty threatened, leaning forward. Rune huffed and took off his scalchop, erecting a Razor Shell from it.

    “Okay I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but call me squirt one more time and you’ll regret it. Sis, get over here right now. You’re coming home with me,” Rune replied.

    “So you are tryin’ to play the hero? Get ‘im, boys!” Scrafty ordered on top of Diantha’s response, pointing at Rune. The Scraggy all cheered in sync with each other and came charging, all of them assuming the same pose as they ran. One hand held up their skin-like trousers whilst the other held a fist.

    “This is pitiful,” Rune sighed. He only had time to assume his battle pose for about a second, holding his scalchop with both hands so that it was next to his face with the blade pointing directly forwards. He didn’t have to move from the spot like this, he just swung with great force each time one of the foes got close to him to knock them aside. Even though there was a big group of them, they all attacked one at a time with no greater than a straight punch, so not one of them managed to get close. He made sure to put a lot of effort into his last slash so that the last Scraggy was sent rolling down the hill.

    “Aw whoa, okay, that’s awesome! I underestimated your training,” Diantha praised, cheering the battle on from a distance. Rune caught sight of her just as he finished off the Scraggy, having his eyes drawn to the three Poochyena sneaking up on her.

    “Don’t touch her!” he threatened, lunging forward with his Razor Shell tucked to his left side. Still using both hands to swing it, he swung wide enough to take out the three of them in a single slash, harming them enough to make them yelp and cry out.

    “Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, the guys’ a knight! Beat it!” Scrafty cried, running away. Rune watched them in shock, speechless as the Mightyena copied just as pettily.

    “Boss, wait for us!” The Scraggy squealed, scrambling after them. Seconds later it was just Rune and Diantha on an empty road, the former so shocked that his eyes and mouth were wider than watermelons.

    “Well I thought they were tough, but you made them look like real pushovers,” Diantha praised, breaking the silence at last.

    “They threatened each other and acted very tough, but when an actual fight began, they fled for their own sake. For a first time experience of outsiders, those Pokémon were awfully pathetic,” Rune said blankly, still staring in the direction they ran.

    “Yeah, that’s sorta what most Marbles are like, I think. Big on the outside, cute and squishy inside!” she giggled.

    “Diantha!” Rune shouted, making her jump. “What the hell do you think you’re doing out here?”

    “Waah! Me?” she squeaked, taking a moment to calm down and fix her skirt. Her fang started showing again. “I’m doing what I said I was doing, hanging out with that dude on a date. Nothin’ special!”

    “How and when did- wait a minute, a date? And they acted as though they knew you,” he gasped.

    “Yeah. Okay I’m not gonna be fancy and just level with ya big bro. Did you really think I sat in the castle all those years while you were training and did nothing? I’ve been in and out more times than I can count,” she bragged, giggling to herself.

    “… Your fang is showing,” he joked with a straight face.

    “Hwa? Oh how long was it- you little guy!” she blushed, pawing at her face to try and hide it. Rune snickered at her and put a hand on his hip.

    “So you’re not going to stay at the castle even after I leave, are you? And you’ve been out here multiple times?” he challenged.

    “Uh huh. Met all the folks in the town and hung out with all of ‘em at least once,” she replied cheerfully.

    “Show me the way, then,” he suggested. She froze. “Go on. If you know this place so well, take me to the town the shortest way you can.”

    “Can I? Can I really come with you?” she asked.

    “… Only to the town. Once we’re there, head back to the castle and stay there. And tell me about these ‘dates’ that you went on in the meantime,” he bargained, speaking slowly.

    “See, you do need me, hee hee hee. Okay big guy, I’ll tell you how a lady like me likes to be treated,” she giggled, walking off.

    “The princess isn’t going to be you. I just need ideas,” he groaned, shrugging his shoulders. He returned his scalchop to his belly and began to follow her.



    Sticking to the road made things far easier than anticipated. Even though the area was still hot, the air felt clean and didn’t smell as hot as it actually was. There wasn’t nearly as much climbing to do. The mountains in the background remained in the background as well, and the duo never ran into much more trouble than a few steep hills.

    About an hour passed during their trip before the town apparently came into view, and during that time, all they did was talk about Diantha’s secret path out of the castle and her activities in the town. No other Pokémon even came into sight the whole time, which although kept Rune calm, remained as a concern to him.

    “Here we are! Marble Rock. It’s the town that’s the capital of the Magma Heel region or something,” Diantha announced with enthusiastic hand movements. “It’s called a town, but really it’s just this dingy little thing here. Everyone makes the most of it, so they live.”

    “I… see…” he mouthed, unable to believe what he was taking in. The town looked big, but really it was just because it was nestled in a clear section of the valleys they had been walking through. The ‘houses’ were all caves that had been roughly built into the sides of the hills. There was a well and a few poles with ropes and wires that Pokémon used to hang clothing and tools from. A few Pokémon managed tiny gardens as well and were currently working on them, but none of them seemed to be growing much more than tiny plants that hadn’t sprouted yet. The soil they had to work with was all in small, square patches that could barely fit a Snorlax.

    “Not very lively, is it? I thought commoners were supposed to be busier than royalty?” Rune commented. The area was about as quiet, dark and dull as the mountain road leading up to it.

    “It’s just a quiet day. But to be honest, things have been getting quieter lately,” Diantha replied, rubbing her belly. “I was actually supposed to have dinner with that guy. I’m starving.”

    “Food isn’t a bad call, actually. I got up too early to have breakfast,” Rune agreed, feeling his own belly rumble. It didn’t take long to locate what cave was used as the inn here, as it was marked out by a painted wooden sign. Said sign was quite poorly hung up above the entrance.

    Inside was just as unimpressive as outside. The inn was only three rooms large: the entryway, a kitchen area for staff only, and the actual bedroom, a circular space with four hay beds. Two candles were all that kept it lit up. There weren’t even any windows or a door, so it stunk of the recent cleaning efforts.

    “What’re you in the mood for? This place is…” Rune muttered, not knowing how to comment as he scanned the place in search of the food menu. He didn’t want to be rude and offend the Furret behind the counter who patiently walked over to greet them.

    “Oh, Lady Dana! I wasn’t expecting you today,” he welcomed, smiling. Rune gave him an awkward look. “I trust you’ve been well?”

    “Yup, as smooth as ever, Corey! I don’t have any donations today though; I wasn’t expecting to pass through. But plans changed, so here I am with big bro,” Diantha replied.

    “Your brother… oh! Forgive me, your highness! Welcome to the Marble Rock Inn,” The Furret bowed, realising who Rune was. Rune put a hand on his hip.

    “Donations? You’ve been giving them donations?” he questioned.

    “Only those yucky fruits and veggies I don’t eat. The Pokémon here love ‘em,” she answered, showing a fang again.

    “It saves us a lot of work when it comes to the Breeding Grounds, and it gives us a lot to cook with. The Sitrus Berries are a favourite,” Corey remarked. “It’s fine, your highness. What can I do for you?”

    “Breeding Grounds? I’m completely confused here. Why do you need…?” Rune repeated, breathing out. He flinched once he saw the board painted above the makeshift stone counter that had the prices and food menu on it. “Three thousand Dragon Power for a single meal? And that’s without staying the night? That’s daylight robbery, even for me!”

    “Okay, whoa. I never saw that price increase coming. What’s happening?” Diantha gasped as well.

    “I worked it out. With the current taxes, it’s the only way I’ll be able to keep running this place and continue making a profit. Naturally, Pokémon have started walking out, so I was considering closing up for good and migrating myself. But it’d be tough on the family if I went back to them, you know?” Corey explained.

    “Of course it is. You’re charging extortion for some pretty shoddy quality,” Rune agreed.

    “Uh, big bro?” Diantha mumbled. The Furret froze and went into a thought pose. “It’d be better not to fight over something like this.”

    “Perhaps your highness being here means you’re going to do something about this?” Corey replied. “When our landlord starts requesting fair amounts again, I can lower my prices. For now, they stay as they are.”

    “So the landlord is a problem with money right now. Is that why this place is so empty?” Rune continued to question.

    “Probably. It costs so much to settle here that many Pokémon that used to live here have migrated already. To tell the truth, I’m a bit pissed off since the collectors from Castle Eris aren’t exactly helping matters, either,” Corey explained, folding his arms and looking away. “They come and collect their hunts and royalties and then just leave, not listening or giving a crap about us at all. At least Dana there helps us out like the princess she is.”

    “You can call me Diantha now, by the way,” Diantha giggled, earning a rude glance from Rune.

    “This is my first time meeting you, so I’m being as honest as can be. It’s not going to be more of the same with you, is it? You’re not just here to claim free stuff and then leave, are you?” Corey challenged. Rune paused.

    “… Tell me about these ‘Breeding Grounds’ you have,” he asked. Corey paused this time, going a bit flat faced.

    “Dana, is your brother being serious right now?” he replied. Rune’s face tightened.

    “To be honest, I dunno exactly what the breeding Grounds are, either,” she admitted. “I stay outta the complex business. I just wanna have some fun.”

    “The Breeding Grounds are the main reason our town is even still on the map. It feeds us. The Pokémon there are bred, fattened up, and then hunted for their meat, which we sell to you royals or eat. We don’t get fruits or berries here because sod all grows in the climate,” the Furret explained. Rune’s mouth hit the floor. “But it’s getting pretty tough dealing with the hunts. Most of the Pokémon that have already left were our fighters, so there’s not as many Pokémon that can hunt anymore. Things get violent, and well… We deal with it, somehow. But it won’t stay this way forever, if things keep going the way they are.”

    “The food we eat… don’t you have anything nice to say about the royal family?” Rune challenged.

    “Why would I? It’s that current king that even came up with the idea of the Breeding Grounds and put them in every major town on Eris. I’m lucky I don’t have to sit through the horror of hunting,” he raised his voice. “I bet if it were up to you, you sickening savages would eat each other or some-”

    Rune silenced him by pointing a Razor Shell at his neck, causing both Diantha and the Furret to stretch up and raise their hands. “We’re not savages. But if that’s really how you think, maybe I should.”

    “… You know what? Go right ahead. My life’s not worth living, anyway. You’d just make things easy for me by killing me,” he replied. Rune coughed and his face dropped in shock, but no words came out. He just stood there with the blade pointed at the Furret’s neck, struggling to keep eye contact.

    “Whoa there, now this isn’t a fun scenario to walk in on!” an old voice interrupted the scene, making everyone jump. Before Rune could retract his attack, the leafy arms of a Sunflora wrapped around him and his sister, squeezing them both together. “Scoundrels! Bring harm to a member of the public, and I shall see you to justice for it!”

    “You… darn it- this ‘scoundrel’ you’re strangling is the prince! Unhand me at once!” Rune growled, not liking how close to his sister he was being squeezed. The Sunflora dropped them immediately.

    “The prince? My goodness!” he gasped. Both Oshawott stomped off and brushed themselves off, Diantha over exaggerating with her breathing. “You’re pulling my tail, if I had one, aren’t you?”

    “Gah- how dare you!” Rune growled.

    “Believe them. The lady is the princess, and that is her brother,” Furret informed, calming him down quickly. “You’re here to pick up the collection, Galen?”

    “I’m afraid so, little innkeeper! But if you don’t have it, I’ll just have to put it on a tab for you. Bear in mind that tab is already five times the first pay!” the Sunflora reported happily, saluting. His voice was old and grainy, but it fitted his appearance. He was very tall and smooth despite the age of his voice, colourful and young like any Sunflora should have been. He wore an elaborate, dark blue cape shaped like two triangles with large white shoulder pads on it.

    Wait, he’s already had to delay paying five times? How much is he getting charged?” Rune realised quickly, going quiet.

    “I’m sorry, Galen. But I’ll be able to start paying soon. Please, I beg of you to let the landlord know I’ll be able to pay soon,” Corey promised, hanging his head.

    “Don’t sweat it young man, you’re not the only one that hasn’t paid yet. As long as that’s not an empty promise, we’ll all be smiling in the end,” Sunflora cheered, bowing. “Forgive me for my interruption earlier then, your highnesses! You may call me Galen. If you’ll excuse me.”

    With that he walked out, leaving the prince even more dumbfounded than when he came in. Rune dared to glance at the innkeeper, finding him still hanging his head in dismay. He glanced back at the inn’s surroundings, then the doorway.

    “Forget it. I’ve lost my appetite,” Rune said, storming off all of a sudden.

    “Wait huh, really? Rune-” Diantha cried, going quiet as he walked off without her. “Wait a minute, I’m still hungry though.”

    For some reason, there was a small hope that upon leaving the inn, things wouldn’t look as barren as they did. But they were, and if anything, there were less Pokémon outside than there was when they got there. That allowed him to spot the Sunflora that had just left however, and he dashed over.

    “You there, Galen! Stop!” Rune called out, getting its attention. “You are connected to the landlord here, aren’t you?”

    “Sharp ears you have, your highness! Indeed I am. And I just finished making my rounds to report back to them. Are you in need of a funding report yourself?” Galen praised. Rune paused.

    “No. I need to see them myself. Take me to see the landlord,” he requested.

    “Wait, why’re we doing this? What about food?” Diantha moaned.

    “You saw those prices; we’re not getting anything until we get to the bottom of why they’re so high. And this Breeding Ground situation, too. It sounds like the problems of this town are sourcing from that landlord, so I’ll just have to meet them,” he explained.

    “Can’t we do it after food? I really am hungry,” she complained.

    “I’m carrying apples. You can have some of those,” he sighed, turning back to Galen. “Can you take us?”

    “Pfft, yucky fruit, really? You really don’t know how to eat like a king,” Diantha complained, accepting an apple anyway.

    “Of course I can escort you. But do know that if you start trouble, I will step in to prevent it. Keeping happiness and contentness is a life goal of mine,” Sunflora agreed, leading the way.

    “Pretty certain most of the Pokémon here aren’t happy, even with you around,” he sighed again, following.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  10. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    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

    [​IMG]


    “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.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  11. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Well, that escalated quickly! Based on the first chapter I definitely wasn't expecting pokémon getting sliced in half, innards raining all over the place, anything like that. I liked that the emphasis was more on how the violence affected Rune rather than on how gory everything was.

    There's a strange little journey around Mawile's gender identity here. You start off calling him "it," then after mentioning his masculine voice change to "he," but then go back to "it" again later! "Revealing its masculine voice" is also kind of a funky sentence in and of itself; something like "in a masculine voice" would sound more natural. But, in general, I don't think you need to kind of keep the gender of pokémon concealed until they do something that indicates what gender they are; why not just start out with "he" or "she" instead of "it" to begin with?

    You seem to be working pretty hard to avoid using the word "said," and I think it's kind of making you stretch to use weird speech tags. Some of them are just redundant, like using "[character] bragged" in cases where the content of the dialogue makes it clear they're bragging. Others, like this one, aren't speech tags at all. Speech tags describe how dialogue was said, e.g. was it hasty or slow, shouted or whispered, growled or lilted. But you've also been using verbs referring to things you do, not to how you speak. Like "shrugged"--you can't shrug a sentence the way you can whisper or shout a sentence. Likewise, you can "rally" yourself or other people, but you can't "rally" a sentence, so it doesn't work to use as a speech tag the way you do here. (Although based on how you use "rally" later on I think you might have it confused with "cheer;" you don't "rally" people on, you "cheer" them on.) In general I think you'd be better off using "said" more often; it's a word that doesn't draw attention to itself, and usually that's what you want in a speech tag; something that doesn't draw attention to itself, because you want the focus to be on what the character actually said. And when the alternative is reaching for words that don't even work properly with the dialogue, I think it's definitely the preferable option!

    Like I said, spilling innards isn't really something I was expecting from this story based on the first chapter, but I do like the fact that you don't have Rune be all gung-ho about the violence. In particular, I like how it forces him to see his father in a different light. It also keeps up the ambiguity about whether or not Jyararanga's a "good guy." He's obviously a brutal fighter one way or another, and while I'm sure Rune would have immediately said that of course he was a good king before now, I wonder how true that actually is... and how his relationship with his father's going to play out going forward.

    "Change of dilligence?"

    I imagine the other pokémon woud be able to guess what had made Rune get all somber, since if nothing else Diantha changed very visibly at exactly the same time.

    I think you might have intended this to be one sentence, not two? "Their society is suffering from similar strange occurrences..."

    I'm also intrigued by the use of "locals" here, although I don't know if you meant to imply what I think it does. It suggests that there's some population of pokémon that were colonized by the dragons/fairies, that predate them, and that the dragons/fairies aren't actually native to the place themselves. It might also refer to an entirely different category of pokémon, like wild pokémon versus the type who live in castles and wield swords, which I'd be interested in learning more about. But if you didn't mean to suggest that there are some pokémon living in the area separate from the ones associated with Jayararanga's government, you might want to use something like "citizens" or "subjects" instead.

    YUP. I thought Jayararanga saying Rune ought to treat his wife the way he does Diantha was hilarious because they're such classic bickering siblings, so it was great to see Diantha come back with this.

    This sentence is a bit clumsy. You don't need to remind us that you mentioned the sword earlier; you can just say he reached for his sword, and let us pick up from context that it's the one you were talking about earlier, or simply say something like, "He revealed what he'd reached for earlier, the iconic Sword of Earthly Elements." The current wording is made clunkier by the fact that you repeat "earlier."

    Jayararanga definitely has an interesting view on crime and punishment and, uh, honor? The idea that it's up to the rulers of the nation to take on the sins of the kingdom and take measures that ordinary people aren't allowed to, like killing people. In some ways it's an appealing idea and one that makes sense for a society that values self-sacrifice in its rulers: they're bearing a burden for the people, in that they're the ones who have to suffer the guilt and trauma of murder, of essentially "taking care of" the unpleasant business it sometimes takes to maintain a state. On the other hand, of course, it's really open to abuse in that it basically gives the ruler license to slaughter however many and whatever people they want without consequence as long as they can justify it as part of their duty, which is not all that difficult to do! It continues with the moral grayness we've been seeing from Jayararanga and really just feels so him insofar as we've gotten to know him over these few chapters. I don't know that the morally gray stuff is actually going to be a major theme of the story or anything or if you have any interest in exploring it in more detail, but it remains probably my favorite thing about this story. Jayararanga is just such an interesting guy, and I love trying to figure him out.

    I'm also really intrigued by the setting... we have different planets going on here? Like, is Rune going to have to board a spaceship to visit the Fairy Kingdom? Diantha (I think) referred to it being "in the sky" earlier, so I was thinking floating islands or something, but it's sounding more like it's actually on a celestial body! I guess based on the fairies attacking from an airship earlier the technology/magic exists to allow for interplanetary travel. You also mention "shadow pokémon" in this chapter, and I don't know if that refers to dark-types, or literal shadow pokémon a la Pokémon Colosseum, or means something else entirely, but it's definitely intriguing. I'm excited to learn more about the world you've created for this story.

    I was a little weirded out, though, about the Ariala situation. The marriage itself is logical enough; those kinds of diplomatic marriages were definitely common among monarchies. But it seems like it would be difficult to secure an agreement centering on Ariala's hand after Jyararanga up and kidnapped her earlier! Unless the other people in the Fairy Kingdom somehow failed to hear about it, heh. Also, I found it weird that Ariala kind of disappeared from the narrative at the end of the second chapter. I was kind of expecting to find out something more about why Jayararanga had brought her to the castle, or for something to happen to her, or something like that, but when we move on to the third chapter there's no mention of how that situation got resolved, even though Ariala must have somehow ended up back at home. Also pretty weird that Jayararanga completely fails to inform Rune that he already met the pokémon he's been pledged to, although I'm assuming Jayararanga has some personal reason for doing that and not an oversight on your part.

    Anyway, it sounds like we're getting out of the castle and getting the opportunity to see some more of the world at large, which is cool. Onwards!

    The start of chapter four is kind of weird. Like, Rune literally setting off in a beeline from the castle because Jayararanga told him to go straight is kind of funny, but doesn't strike me as in character for Rune. Like, maybe a super dense or super literal person would really just go straight and ignore the road completely, but Rune doesn't strike me as either of those things. I also 100% expected Diantha to show up again somehow, so that wasn't a surprise or a negative or anything, but the way that it happened struck me as pretty random and a bit silly/contrived. In general the start of the chapter was more humorous, which struck me as odd right before the sudden plunge into darkness once they get to the inn.

    Humor isn't bad, for sure, but I guess here I thought it was more humor despite the characters, rather than because of them--like they were acting in ways that were funny not because that's how they'd normally act, but because you wanted to make the joke. Part of it is definitely the timeskip; Diantha's apparently sixteen now, so Rune must be even older! But for the most part they're still acting like kids, like they did in the first chapter. It seems odd that they haven't matured more in the time since we've last seen them.

    Because there's only one guy, you want "guy's." You'd use guys' if there were multiple knights (although more likely it'd be "guys're").

    Well I sure hope those are animal-like pokémon, wild or whatever else, and not the talking laughing philosophizing pokémon we've been seeing up until now, or that would only be the most horrifying thing ever. D: What Corey later says about the royals eating each other implies otherwise, which just, damn.

    I don't understand why you're using "promised" here, because as far as I can tell Corey didn't promise anything here. Another case where you'd be better off using a speech tag that either describes how the dialogue was spoken (instead of the content, i.e. a promise) or just using "said."

    On the whole, not my favorite chapter. We're getting more info on the world and diving a bit more into the morally-ambiguous side of the story, though, which I definitely want to see! Rune got distracted from his princess-meeting mission pretty quickly, but if he's going to take things cool places, I'm happy to go along for the ride.

    I'd love to know what made it clear! This is a great opportunity for description

    You did a lot better on the description of the interior of the building.

    I think you mean show her disdain for the royal family.

    As with question marks, you decapitalize the first letter of a speech tag if it comes after an exclamation point, too. It should be "a young woman's voice."

    She "seemed" to have bows? Usually "seemed" is used to imply uncertainty, something appearing to be one way when in fact something else is going on. If Kelsith actually has bows, "She had bows tied..." is more appropriate.

    Oh shiiiiit, they're totally eating normal pokémon. D:

    Since Rune's been emphasizing that Kelsith's a fairy, I was expecting the moral to be something more like "you can't trust fairies."

    After all the nastiness we've seen from the dragon kingdom, it'll be interesting to see how Faernia compares. It's nice that this, at least, implies, that it has its own problems and we don't have a binary case of "the evil kingdom" and "the good kingdom." Although it'd be hard to do worse than literally eating people...

    Ah, I hadn't even considered that, but I guess this would be a reasonable sort of issue for a king to give to his son as a test to see how he's going to handle dealing with threats to the kingdom, provided he's willing to step in and correct things if Rune ends up doing something really dumb. I love that Jayararanga is the type to pull this sort of manipulative "test" thing and also that Rune knows him well enough to figure out what's going on.

    He... snapped?

    Well, I definitely wasn't expecting Kelsith to end up joining the party, and Galen too. This story continues to do things I'm not expecting, which is cool. I'm kind of impatient to get to Faernia and whatever larger plot is waiting for us there, but there was still interesting stuff in this side diversion. I'm also glad that Diantha will be sticking around; like I said before, that was one of the things I was expecting to happen, and I do think it works well for the story. She can get a little annoyingly, well, little-sister-ish, but I think she provides a nice complement to Rune in that she approaches things so differently from him. Like, I love that Rune was standing there agonizing how to handle the situation fairly and ideally so that everyone would benefit, and she just up and invites Kelsith to come along, which is the sort of thing I think Rune would never come up with on his own. I'm looking forward to seeing how she, especially, grows and changes over the course of the story, but I think she already has plenty of good things to offer.

    I've enjoyed reading this story so far, and I'll be following along with it as you update (although I often take a while to review). Good luck with it! You've been doing a nice job so far.
     
  12. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Thanks so much for the review so far and all the kind words! Serebii continues to be the site where I'm getting the most notice, so I'm glad my first draft is getting enjoyed :)
    It's ironic, because it now looks like your comments have affected this chapter, where I always planned to unveil what the two planets were like. I also planned to switch perspectives after this chapter, too - so we'll get our taste of Ariala and Faernia next part. I wonder if anyone realises what this story is deeply inspired by?
    Also, I've finally reached a dilemma with this new update. I can't figure out for the life of me how I'm going to add pictures to the story, now. Annoying, since this very chapter has 2 drawings I wanted to add to it. :/

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

    Episode 6: Constellars

    [​IMG]


    “I see. That’s what’s been going on,” Corey mumbled, scratching his chin. After the battle with Kelsith, where Rune agreed to allow her and her husband Emerson to travel with him, the group returned to the inn in Marble Rock. There, they had explained what had been going on and what they were doing about it, excluding the marriage between Rune and Ariala.

    “If you two are leaving, does that mean I won’t have to pay for a while?” the Furret asked.

    “You may never have to pay again, if anything. You can return your prices to normal. I’m sorry you had to do such a thing in the first place,” Kelsith answered, bowing. Corey prodded his hands together and looked over everyone, smiling sheepishly at Rune.

    “Well then, I’m sorry I ever misjudged you! To think that you actually came out of your way and resolved my greatest issues, just like that,” he snickered. “When will you be leaving? If you wish to stay here tonight, you may, free of charge. It is the least I can do.”

    “Well we can’t say no to that hospitality!” Diantha cheered. “Even though we have the manor, which is probably nicer to sleep in. I’ll take up your offer!”

    “You’re unbelievable,” Rune groaned, watching her skip into the bedroom. He turned to the others. “You sure you’re up for this whole army thing? One wrong move and it’ll be royal judgement.”

    “I understand. But for what you’re doing for us, this is the least I can do to repay you,” Emerson replied. “May I ask what our plans are from here, though? My condition shouldn’t stop me from fighting, but I’m not sure how much I can do, either.”

    “Just do what you can. No offense, but I wouldn’t have expected much, anyway. We don’t even know what your condition is,” Rune said, joining his sister in the bedroom. There were only four beds in the corners of the room and a painted map on one wall. Diantha had already thrown herself back first onto one of the beds, but was examining the map. “Ugh, this map isn’t even useful. I can’t see any Fantasia Ports on it.”

    “Fantasia Ports?” Diantha repeated.

    “Father said to head to one of those in order to get to Faernia. He said it wouldn’t take long to get there, but to be honest; I lost my sense of direction when I got here. I don’t know where it is anymore,” he explained.

    “I wish I could help you there, but I’ve spent all my life here, I’m afraid,” Emerson added, settling down in a bed at random. His yellow rings still managed to glow through his grey fur, much like any other Umbreon. “I only know how to get to the Breeding Grounds and back.”

    “Galen, you said you travel, right? You know about this Fantasia Port thingy?” Diantha asked.

    “I’m afraid my guess is as good as yours, your highness! Never in my years have I ever heard of a port that lets you sail between the two planets,” the Sunflora answered, sounding cheerful. “If such a thing exists, I wouldn’t pass up a chance to spread my music to Faernia!”

    Ordinary citizens like these Pokémon don’t seem to have heard of the port before. But they wouldn’t, not with things as they are now,” Rune realised, thinking hard. “Father can’t be lying about its existence, though. He’s gotten to Faernia somehow. I’ll just have to backtrack a bit and regain my bearings.

    He looked up and realised that everyone was silent and staring at him. “Of all the things I didn’t bring, why didn’t I bring a damn compass?

    “So what’re we gonna do, boss?” Diantha asked, raising an arm. Rune groaned, lost for words on how to reply. He quickly turned that into a look of bother when he noticed a Pokémon standing in the bedroom doorway, watching them. It was the Emolga from the manor.

    “Something bothering you?” Rune asked, raising an eyebrow. Emolga pushed up his glasses and walked in, leaning against a wall at random.

    “Once I learnt who you were, I had to pay attention. You’re just as pitiful as I was warned,” he stated. Rune’s Razor Shell already found itself pointed at his neck. “And I suppose that threatening me will resolve your current dilemma?”

    “Keep running your mouth like that, and maybe it’ll solve a dilemma. Silencing annoying Pokémon like you,” Rune threatened.

    “Don’t make me think less of you. Put away that weapon. Killing me won’t achieve anything good for you,” he coughed. Rune leered at him but obeyed, not returning his scalchop to his belly.

    “That was pretty hot-headed of you, big bro,” Diantha giggled. Rune smacked her with the scalchop. “Ow, what was that for?”

    “I’ve heard that the prince was travelling up to Faernia to meet with and marry the princess. I wasn’t told why, but I assume it’s to help unite our two planets,” Emolga explained. “I come across that prince in an unrelated skirmish, he mentions the Fantasia Port, but then doesn’t even know how to get there? This must be a joke.”

    “Where did you learn that information?” Rune asked in concern.

    “I told you. I’m a mailmon. I hear things,” he answered, unfolding his arms to push up his glasses again. “I can’t bear to just sit and watch this, so I think I’ll guide you part of the way.”

    “Oh wait of course! Ptero, you know how to get to Faernia. Please help guide us!” Kelsith spoke up, leaning forward.

    “You know this kid?” Rune raised an eyebrow. Kelsith and Emerson exchanged nods, and then gestured for the Emolga to speak.

    “My name is Ptero. I am one of the only mailmon in the world with a right to travel between the two planets,” Ptero introduced. “Despite the messy communications, there is a warrant for deliveries to be made between Eris and Faernia. I make those deliveries, and my most recent job was obtaining a cure for Emerson’s condition, whatever it is.”

    “So really, this long, drawn out confrontation was about you offering to help get us to Faernia,” Rune stated, impatiently tapping his arm.

    “It’s a more difficult process than you might think. News of your marriage has spread fast due to its open announcement on Faernia. Let me just say that not everyone is in agreement,” Ptero warned. “We must travel over the Magma Heel, the volcano to the east of the village. It isn’t far, but it’s dangerous ground. That will take us to one of the world’s Fantasia Ports.”

    “Hey, you’d probably know. I’ve been meaning to ask, why do Pokémon call them planets?” Diantha wondered. Ptero gave her a disgusted look.

    “This only backs up that all royalty are uneducated, spoiled snobs. You must be joking, you really don’t know?” he replied. Rune sighed loudly.

    “I’m privy to release this information, but no, neither of us know. Me and my sister have never left the castle,” Rune informed, shocking the others. “This is my first time seeing the outside world other than paintings and such.”

    “Well, sorta. I’ve been out here a bit, but I’ve never been as far as that nasty Magma Heel,” Diantha giggled. Ptero growled and gritted his teeth.

    “I… see,” he breathed out. “They’re called planets because they have their own ecosphere, as well as being classable as planet sized in mass. But really, both Eris and Faernia are connected, and are debated as being their own, single planet by astrologers.”

    “Why would something like that be debated? They are or they aren’t separate planets,” Rune wondered.

    “You see, both planets combine to form a world we call ‘Etheria’. Really, Etheria is just a single planet – Eris – with a giant outer rim around it. That outer rim is Faernia,” Ptero continued. “As I said before, each planet has its own ecosphere, separated by a layer of space with no atmosphere. They each have their own climate, tectonic plates, orbit pattern, all the things that make a planet. Flying between them is no simple matter, so the Pokémon that live on the outer rim took to calling it a planet: Faernia.”

    [​IMG]

    “To get through an area without atmosphere,” Rune muttered aloud.

    “You use a fantasia ship, from the aforementioned port. Such a trip is a dangerous procedure that’s strictly reserved for very special cases like myself,” Ptero clarified.

    “Then we’ll be counting on you to guide us through Magma Heel and to get us a trip, then,” Rune stated, walking over. “That is, if you actually intend to help us. Really, why did you follow us?”

    “Put two and two together already. You recruited my most recent agents. I had to find out if they still wanted the deal or not,” he sighed, shaking his head.

    “Is Ptero really allowed to join us, big bro?” Diantha asked.

    “I’ll guide you to the port, no more. I have my own work to do,” Ptero answered for him. He turned to leave, stopping in the doorway. “Meet me at the eastern edge of the village at sunrise. Any later and I’ll be gone.”

    He left after that, leaving the room in silence. Rune kept staring at the doorway though, slowly returning his scalchop to his belly. “What he said makes sense, and yet, I can’t shake the feeling he came after me for something else.

    “I can’t believe we get to travel with that guy. I better get bonding, quick,” Diantha squeaked, pulling out a mirror to sort out her head fur.

    “What’s up with you?” Rune asked.

    “Really? Did you see that guy? He was the definition of hot! But he didn’t even look at me. I gotta get in gear and actually talk to him when we seem him!” she remarked. Rune didn’t offer a comment outside of palming his face and shaking his head.


    The next morning…


    It didn’t take long for Rune’s comfort to waver. Thanks to Ptero’s guidance, the group were now on rather high ground, stomping their way up a humid mountain that was clearly part of a volcano. They had been trekking up and down these mountainous hills all morning, and by the time it was midday, had reached the very limit of what would be a safe enough trip for them.

    Embers stung them constantly, the air was sooty and dark, and the floor felt like it was stabbing their feet with each step. From what he could see to his right, a volcano was spewing out fumes, whilst the left unveiled a river of lava. The same reddish yellowish glow trailed its way all over the jagged flooring too, like veins of lava pumping throughout the area.

    “Alright, this stinks now. It’s so hot,” Diantha cried, slumping forward. “Why do we have to walk through here again?”

    “Going across the mountain is the only actual way to get to the Fantasia Port. You can’t go around without at least having to climb one of these mountains,” Ptero replied, skipping across the ground. “Magma Heel just so happens to be the quickest way. If we keep up this pace, we’ll get there by the afternoon.”

    “Even I must admit, this heat is pushing it, though,” Galen joined in, hung forward so much that his leaves were dragging across the ground.

    “I heard that Eris had a lot of awful terrain, but this is something else. There aren’t even any feral Pokémon around,” Kelsith said.

    “I wouldn’t be so sure. It’s foggy enough for us to get ambushed,” Rune warned. “If that happens, I’ll have your life, Ptero.”

    “Then my life is as safe as can be. I’ve been through here enough times to know that nothing lives here,” he bragged. They kept following the skipping Emolga until a loud crumbling sound took over the area, causing everyone to stop.

    “Nothing lives here, huh?” Rune joked, checking his sides again. Even though the sound of crumbling rock took over, nothing seemed to be happening around them.

    “Keep moving. There’s probably some natural activity,” Ptero shook his head, going back to leading. Rune groaned and kept up, making sure that Diantha and the Emolga were both in his sight the whole time. It took minutes, but he soon found that the soot in the air was beginning to thicken so much that he couldn’t even see them properly. It was a gradual change that he didn’t even realise was happening until Ptero was completely invisible.

    “Everyone, halt! It’s getting thicker,” he called out. Emerson’s rings stood out in the gritty air, showing that he obeyed. “This is an ambush, isn’t it?”

    Everyone stood tense, awaiting another order from the prince. To his surprise, the black air began to fade away, getting replaced with clear but molten surroundings. Wherever they had stumbled to while it was foggy, the lava was now closer to them than was comforting. It was so close that they could hear the river of it bubbling along, as well as the rocks it transported. They all made a crumbling rumble.

    “What’s going on?” Kelsith asked, looking around. Everyone was present and as overheated as earlier.

    “As I said, natural activity. Some rock from the volcano must have fallen into the volcano and created a burst of smoke. It’s all cleared, now,” Ptero said. Rune scanned the environment one last time, finding it to be the same as before. The lava river to their left, the volcano to the right, and the sky, black and covered in smouldering clouds. Still, the sound of crumbling and destruction sounded louder than it should, and he turned to the volcano again.

    “A rock slide!” Rune shouted, spotting it suddenly. Huge boulders were rolling towards them in a wide layer that would sweep them all if they didn’t act.

    “Get behind me, now!” Emerson ordered, siding with Kelsith. The two of them glowed with energy and pointed their paws forward, working together to form a tall wall of glassy light in front of them. “The Reflect barrier should help.”

    Rune and Diantha obeyed, but the former still growled and put some effort into a Water Pulse attack. He shouted as he chucked it forwards, managing to smash one of the boulders long before it reached them. Many more were directly behind it. “This was an intentional attack!”

    “Never mind that, just break ‘em!” Diantha cried, praying for her attack. She released Water Pledge in front of them, magically attacking the boulders with a huge sprout of water from underneath. There were too many to hold back however, and the group soon found themselves completely surrounded by the deafening sound of giant rocks slamming down beside them. Kelsith and Emerson cried out with effort as many of the rocks smashed against their barrier, but they held strong and didn’t waver any more than leaning backwards with each hit.

    “Rune, look out!” Ptero shouted, flying above the whole thing. Rune heard him enough to glance up in surprise that he was there. When he focused back on what was in front of him, he was knocked down by something, something fast and white.

    “Damn, what?” he coughed, flipping to his feet. He drew his Razor Shell and swung at the white blur in front of him, missing and being thrown into a moment of slow motion. The creature was four legged and had some tough, black nails on its feet, and had one of those feet drawn back for a punch. Powerful energy bathed said foot as it was drawn back, getting released all at once as it delivered a winding punch to Rune’s stomach, and he cried out so dryly that he lost his voice.

    “Rune!” Galen cried, only just realising what was happening. The Oshawott stomped forwards to avoid falling to the floor, but had to take a moment to clutch his belly to resist the pain. His attacker used that moment to get away, revealing itself at last.

    The creature was taller than Kelsith and Emerson, with rougher fur and a long, beardy mane. Its body was sleeker and had a black, scythe shaped tail. The most notable thing about this Pokémon was the intimidating mask it wore however, a mask with only one eye socket. One half was pitch black whilst the other was white, and small, rectangular holes like that of a scarecrow’s mouth made for the mouth hole. The upper portion of the mask as cracked on the left and right, making room for the Pokémon’s facial fur to show through, as well as another scythe.

    “Rune, help!” Diantha cried, revealing that she was being imprisoned by the Pokémon. It had one of its hind legs pressing her into the molten rock below.

    [​IMG]

    “You! Release my sister!” Rune roared at the top of his voice, stomping the ground to cover himself with water. He flew at the Pokémon with Aqua Jet, pointing his Razor Shell forward during the same attack.

    “Rune, be careful!” Ptero warned. The Pokémon avoided Rune’s attack with the ease of a lean to the side, once again trapping him in a slow motion moment. His front claws bathed in dark energy again, which he used to punch Rune right back to where he started.

    “His Sucker Punch packs a real punch. If we strike first from a distance, we’ll get caught,” Emerson warned as Rune struggled back to his feet.

    “It’s an Absol. They’re good at that,” Ptero added, landing by them.

    “Who are you?” Rune shouted fiercely.

    “Disappointing. You’ve lost your mind already,” the Absol replied on top of Diantha’s struggled moans. His voice was calm and collected, unlike the chaotic environment around him. “Is keeping a hold of your sister all it takes?”

    “What do you want with her? Release her now, or I’ll kill you!” Rune shouted.

    “Or perhaps my appearance has left an impression? Either way, you would do well to calm down, dear child. This will not take long,” Absol suggested. The single eye they could see through his mask was static, despite his head movements.

    “You stand before his royal highness, prince Rune! Identify yourself, or else!” Ptero warned, spinning once. He held two, thin knives in his small hands, posing as if ready to fight.

    “Him being the prince makes no difference to this. But Rune is the only one that matters, here. The rest of you will have to stay out of this,” Absol continued, placing his front paws together. His body flashed and some screeches suddenly sounded out, followed by the appearance of some faded creatures on the ground in front of him. “But I know you’ll try to get in the way, so stay occupied whilst I go about my business with Rune.”

    “Holy crap, he’s a Constellar,” Ptero whispered.

    “A Constellar?” Rune repeated.

    “Some twisted religion that’s only on Faernia. They worship the stars or something,” Kelsith answered.

    “Skip the trivia, what’s important now?” Rune cried.

    “They summon those white creatures called Ancient Spectres. Ancient Spectres can only be killed by a counterattack,” Ptero warned, drawing their attention to the monsters the Absol had called up. They looked like ordinary Pokémon shape-wise, but their bodies lacked all texture besides a ghostly white skin. Despite screeching when they were formed, the spectres didn’t make any sound at all when they came charging, their natural weapons bared and ready to strike. Some were four legged and had claws; others showed teeth, and one even showed bladed arms.

    “Whatever, I’ll just tear through them all!” Rune shouted, lunging at them to attack. To his surprise, Ptero’s warning came true, and his Razor Shell passed right through the body of the ghostly creature, letting it slash him fatally. Rune roared as his chest was sliced open enough to draw blood, but still he remained on his feet.

    “Your highness, counterattacks!” Galen warned, throwing a Razor Leaf at the enemies. The leaves flew right through the Spectres as if they weren’t even there, not even so much as slowing them down. Ptero finally came to Rune’s rescue, shoving him out of the way to take the fight into his own hands. He waited until the Spectre attempted to slash him before tackling it with a Spark attack, sending the enemy to the floor in a sparking mess.

    “Like so. You can only hit them a moment after they try to hit you,” he stated, glancing back at Rune. Rune growled and forced himself to stand, unable to remove one hand from the cut on his chest. It wasn’t as fatal as it looked to be, but it was bleeding and it had him breathing loudly.

    “I see. How much will you refuse to listen, Rune? Will it be until you allow yourself to be mortally wounded? Is that what you would consider protecting the ones you love?” Absol continued to talk, watching the battle unfold. He stared at Rune in particular, giving a sigh of disappointment that Rune and his allies were struggling to get past the Spectres. “Even with the solution told to your face, you’re struggling to keep standing and fighting. It’s laughable. Someone who spent ten years of their life getting stronger for the sake of protecting, and you can’t even so much as defeat a single Constellar. If you keep behaving like that, you won’t stand a chance against the real thing.”

    “You shut up! Stop being a coward and fight like a real man!” Rune roared, clashing with the Spectre. He managed to knock it away and stabbed it, but was quickly beset by another one, one with claws.

    “Tsk tsk, real men aren’t a danger to you and your sister, Rune. Perhaps you can defeat what you consider to be a real man, but if you can’t defeat the unexpected, then you’ve no right to be the protector of our planet,” Absol replied.

    “Bastard rogue, how dare you speak to me that way!” Rune roared, still deep in combat with the Spectre. Kelsith and the others were being targeted by their own Spectres, having just as much trouble taking them out.

    “This is just pitiful, now,” Absol sighed, watching them all.

    “Um, excuse me,” Diantha spoke up, still trapped underneath one of his back legs. “I know this is an awkward time and thing to ask but… I feel like I know you.”

    The statement made Absol turn his head to look at her. “Yeah, I don’t know why, but the way you’re talking, I feel like I’ve known you for ages or something. What’s your name?”

    “You may call me Mirror, in the brief moments of life that remain to you, my dear,” he replied, stomping his back foot down on her. She cried out in pain and started to squirm as his grip put more pressure on her than before, so much that she could feel herself getting pressed into the heated rock below. Mirror’s nails dug into her back all the time, and once they started to pierce her fur and skin, she started thrashing and screaming in pain, shaking her hands and feet in desperation.

    “Sis! Sis no, let her go!” Rune roared at the top of his voice, trying to dismiss the Spectre. His Razor Shell refused to hit it in the moment, enabling it to clash with him again and stop him in place.

    Despite how much she struggled, Diantha couldn’t stop Mirror’s foot from crushing her alive. It didn’t take long before she lost her voice to pain, but that was the end of it. Right when she was sure that parts of her body were breaking, her eyes lit up with smoky darkness and an eerie gleam of fiery white. Black energy started to crackle around her like some sort of dark electricity, loosening Mirror’s grip slightly.

    “It begins,” he said, looking down at her. Diantha suddenly exploded, hard enough to make Mirror cry out and have to jump away. The force of the blast took everyone off their feet, but Rune didn’t hold back and flipped right back up. He lunged at Mirror with an Aqua Jet, only to face the very same attack that their battle opened out with. He was dodged with an easy shift to the left, trapped in a slow motion moment where he got so see Sucker Punch charging around Mirror’s front foot. A second later he was struck back at full force, sent scraping across the molten floor in a fit of coughing and sputtering.

    “Even after seeing everything that happened and being faced with your demise, you let your anger control you and fell for the very same attack,” Mirror sighed again, watching everyone fret over Rune’s discarded body. He wasn’t standing nearly as quickly now, implying his defeat. “Pitiful, truly pitiful.”

    As if right on cue, Diantha screamed at the top of voice, suddenly expelling a storm of the black electricity in a huge pillar that rose into the sky. It sounded like a mighty lightning bolt striking something as it left her body and tore the clouds apart, silencing the world around them when its deafening volume came to a sudden halt. Diantha was left shivering and breathing heavily.

    “S-sis,” Rune growled, not taking his eyes off of her. Ptero and Galen had to help him up, but he immediately dismissed them to stumble over to her. She was out cold on the floor, but was visually unharmed.

    “He’s gone!” Kelsith gasped, unable to find the Absol anywhere. “What was that all about? He just attacked us and ran?”

    “Never mind that now. If he’s gone, then all the better. We need to get the prince and princess looked at immediately,” Emerson gasped, nodding at them.

    “Yes, right.”
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  13. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Apologies for the lengthy wait! Commitments and other writing things kept this story quiet for quite a bit. I will be updating this chapter later with the necessary images and such, too. Without further ado, we finaly shift over to Ariala and the world of Faernia...

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

    Episode 7: The saint’s departure

    [​IMG]


    Dark storm clouds blanketed the sky above. A heavy, howling wind threatened to whip the rain right from those clouds, but the Pokémon below them showed no care to that oncoming danger.

    They couldn’t care. They were in the middle of something too important to care about a little rain. Atop the ruins of an ancient castle that was wrecked with damage were thousands of pokemon, each taking a side of the battlefield. One army stood behind a tall, fierce, battle-worn Dewott who wielded a glowing sword, whilst the other army stood behind two mythical Pokémon, Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele.

    The Dewott and Tapu stared each other down with as much anger that their gazes alone could kill. Knowing of their unavoidable bout, Tapu Koko gave a bird-like screech, stretching out its masked arms to release a large field of electric terrain.

    In the direct centre of the two Pokémon, a Clefable sat, just about waking up to witness the oncoming battle. She stood up in panic, gasping frantically at both the Dewott and the Tapu.

    “Damn you Tapu Koko. Damn you!” Dewott shouted, stretching his sword forward. “You took everything from me! My sister, my father, even my wife! I’ll kill you!”

    “Then come. Attack me if you dare,” Tapu Koko replied in his aged, manly voice.

    “You’re either too stupid to realise what you’re getting yourself into, or you’re just so brave you’re stupid!” Tapu Lele laughed, floating above the battle. The Dewott roared at the top of his voice and came charging, dragging the blade of his sword across the stone ground as he approached in an arc.

    “Rune, wait!” Clefable cried, putting her arm out to stop him. “Wait… Rune? How do I know it’s Rune?

    The Dewott ran right past her as if she wasn’t even there, jumping high into the air to slam his weapon straight down onto the mythical electric type. Tapu Koko used his right mask as a shield, shoving it forwards to push Dewott away.

    “Rune, stop!” Clefable cried again. The duo continued to ignore her, going at each other with deadly intent in each of their attacks. Dewott was stabbing and slashing with roars of effort, whilst Tapu Koko evaded or shielded every hit, eventually retaliating with a mighty Thunderbolt. The electrified terrain seemed to join in with the attack, shocking the Dewott in two places at once. The whole thing quickly exploded, rendering Dewott as a burnt heap on the floor, barely breathing.

    “Pathetic,” Tapu Koko growled, surrounding himself in a crackling orb of electricity. He shifted backwards in preparation for a Wild Charge, sending Clefable to a full panic.

    “N-no, please! My Lord Tapu Koko, don’t kill him!” she begged, throwing herself into the centre of the battle. Tapu Koko seemingly couldn’t even hear her, and shot off at the speed of a rocket. He went straight through her like a ghost, physically ignoring her presence completely. She froze in shock of the moment, able to hear nothing but Dewott’s scream of death from behind her.

    Tapu Lele laughed childishly, covering her metaphorical mouth with a hand. “That was over so fast that it wasn’t even entertaining. But that’s what happens when a puny mortal challenges a God.”

    As the childish legendary spoke, a familiar puddle of dark, swampy waste began to pool beneath her, radiating with black electricity. The puddle stretched upwards until it began to smother her, replacing Tapu Lele’s intriguing patterns with dark flames and a poisonous colour.

    “You’re next, fool. Not even the devout shall be spared,” she warned, suddenly sounding a lot deeper and terrifying in tone. Clefable flinched and stared up at her, meeting her pupil-less, soulless eyes.

    “N-no! Wa-wait, please! Rune, help!” Clefable screamed as Tapu Lele attacked.





    The next moment passed by in a blur. Clefable shot awake, sitting up so madly that she fell forwards and rolled right out of bed, toppling to the floor in a heap. She shivered in pain and discomfort, still able to hear the screams and cries she had emitted in her nightmare.

    That was until the noise intensified and she realised that it wasn’t the nightmare, it was reality. She was whimpering in pain, but those whimpers sounded as loud as an Exploud with a microphone speaker. Every other sound in the area was echoing on top of those whimpers at an unbearable volume, leaving her crying in agony. The footsteps of the Pokémon patrolling the castle, the chatter of the commoners outside, the running water in the castle’s depths - she could hear all of it, and all at hundreds of times the volume it should have been.

    “Ariala? Ariala, are you okay?” a female Meowstic sung, casually entering the room. As soon as she saw the Clefable curled up on the floor she freaked out, immediately realising what was wrong. She sat Ariala up, getting her attention.

    Ariala could barely look at her, deafened to what the Meowstic was saying even though they were right in front of each other. Thankfully she didn’t need to, as the Meowstic said all it needed to through her body movements. She put a paw to her mouth and then gestured covering her ears with her paws, and although still struggling to move, Ariala copied. It took a few minutes of muffled breaths and unstable shuddering but surely enough, the overwhelming sounds dulled out and she could return to sitting normally.

    “Nier, thank you,” Ariala sighed from relief, letting go of her ears. She took a moment to steady her breathing and wake up properly, focusing her eyesight on everything around.

    The Meowstic knelt in front of her was an old friend and now a retainer. There was nothing that differentiated Nier from other Meowstic besides her size and the unique weapon she carried, a rapier with a shiny orb on the end of the handle. Otherwise, Nier was the one Pokémon that kept Ariala from questioning whether she was fat or not, since the Meowstic somehow managed to retain a wider belly than the Clefable. But she would never admit that comment aloud, though.

    “Good… morning,” Ariala greeted, finally leaning back to relax. Nier stayed quiet until she was sure that Ariala was fine, and stood up.

    “You sure you’re alright? There are better places to sleep than on the floor, you know,” she smiled, putting her paws on her wide hips. Unlike other female Meowstic, she didn’t look the slightest bit unsociable. “Good morning anyway, your highness! Excited about today?”

    “I- yes, sort of,” Ariala replied, using her bed to help her stand. She brushed herself off and scanned the room, still more dazed than she thought. Nothing was different from the usual. Her room in the castle was as grand as ever, large, clear, carpeted, and well furnished. Drawers and shelves of trinkets and belongings were dust free, and a large window was just waiting to have its curtains opened to light everything up, revealing its pinkish colours. Everything in Ariala’s room was pink – she could camouflage herself there if she wanted to.

    “You had another nightmare, didn’t you,” Nier guessed, still holding her hips. Ariala sighed and looked down. “What happened in it this time?”

    “It was the same as the ones before. Our Lord Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele performing heinous acts against Eris. Did you ever get to see Tapu Fini about this?” she explained.

    “We did. As soon as we did, she stopped responding to Pokémon. No one could get their fortunes read for the rest of the day. So it’s definitely a foreboding of something,” Nier replied. “Still though, we can’t let it stop us now. You got all your bag and stuff sorted?”

    “Yes, I prepared last night. I have everything I need for travel except,” she nodded, smiling at last. She glanced left and right in search of something, finding it hung up next to a mirror on the wall. A red fan made of diamond with knives hidden within its folds. She hopped up to snatch it off the wall, clasping it tightly between her three fingers. She swung it like a weapon twice and then folded it, showing her friend how confident she was with it. “Do you have my clothing as well?”

    “Vincent’s bringing it, so we’ve just gotta wait for him. This is so exciting, though! I could barely sleep,” Nier giggled, raising her arms. “A trip across Faernia. It’s been so long!”

    “This is not a holiday, you know,” she warned, reaching for a travel bag. She started scrolling through its pockets, checking its contents.

    “I know I know, but it’s still exciting! It’s been years since me and Vincent went on a big trip around here, so I bet loads has changed. Plus, you’ve never been out of the castle, so you like, have to sightsee!” Nier cheered. Ariala sighed and looked away.

    “Yes. For the first time in ten years, I will be seeing the outside world of Faernia,” she said softly. “This is except that one time. I wonder if Eris is still the same?

    “Oh yeah. I know it’s still a while away, but have you decided whether you’re actually going to marry Prince Rune or not?” Nier asked with an upbeat smile.

    “I’m going to. Not because the Queen demanded it, but because I truly believe in the purpose of this ceremony,” Ariala answered, holding a hand to her chest. “If our two kingdoms can begin working together, then all of Etheria can prosper from it. But first, I must see the outside world for myself. Never forget that that is why I am asking you all for help on this.”

    “And all the more reason we gotta get you to relax and sightsee!” Nier snickered, fist pumping. Ariala froze.

    “You set me up for that, didn’t you?”

    “Ariala? Nier? You girls in there?” a rough voice called from outside the room, knocking at the same time. “I’m coming in!”

    Before either of the girls could say anything, the Pokémon barged in but carefully shut the door behind him. It was the second of Ariala’s retainers, and possibly the most unusual Pokémon in the world. He was tall, bipedal and coated in aquatic blue fur like a Dewott, but his features were what made him unique – he had the features of a Dewott and a male Meowstic from head to toe, as if his body couldn’t decide on one of the other. His fur, eyes, whiskers, arms, and legs were that of a Dewott, whilst his ears, tail, scarf, hands, and waist were that of a Meowstic. Right now he looked confused but frustrated, gritting his uneven teeth together. He only had one Meowstic tail, but it was far longer and flexible than it should have been.

    “Vincent! Did you find Ariala’s costume?” Nier greeted him with a cheery wave.

    “Urf, that’s what I’m here about, actually. Keep your voice down, there’s guards outside the room,” he warned, revealing a length of cloth. “You said you hid her clothing in the storeroom, right? All I found in there was this thing.”

    “Yup, that’s it! Specially chosen and should fit just right!” she cheered, snatching the cloth to hand it to the princess.

    “Nier, we left you to choose Ariala’s clothing because we trusted you to find something that would disguise the fact that she’s princess. That little cloth won’t do a thing!” he complained.

    “This qualifies as clothing?” Ariala muttered, examining the cloth in confusion. It was more like a scarf if anything. Pure red, long, and with a cute bow tie sewed onto it.

    “Course it will! I chose it because it’ll make her look sexy,” Nier replied.

    “Sexy? What the- that’s not what we were going for!” Vincent raised his voice.

    “It wasn’t exactly, but its genius! Everyone who knows the princess knows how devout she is. No one would ever expect her to look attractive,”

    “Nier, we’re supposed to detract attention, not attract attention. And for the love of the Gods, what about this thing would make a Pokémon look ‘sexy’ of all things?”

    “Ah I guess you wouldn’t understand it. It’s a lady thing. I wouldn’t expect you to have a fashion sense,”

    “What? How the- look, forget it. There is no way that we’re travelling Faernia with Ariala wearing this ridiculous-”

    “Is this how I’m supposed to wear it?” Ariala interrupted, revealing that she had put on the cloth anyway. She had tied it around her waist like a belt, ensuring that it just about covered her crotch. The bow stuck out on her left, acting as a sort of pocket which she could slip her fan into. Both Meowstic stared in disbelief, gawking at her. “Well it’s true that I don’t know about this whole ‘sexy’ thing, but it must be working. Both of you are staring right at my legs.”

    [​IMG]

    “N-no I wasn’t!” Vincent cried, turning away to hide a blush.

    “See Vincent? It’s perfect!” Nier laughed, making him groan. She ignored his embarrassment to jump on him, wrapping her legs around his waist to latch herself to him. Surprisingly enough, they didn’t fall over.

    “Wa-wait, N-Nier! What are you-”

    “Ha ha, no need to be nervous now, little man. We’re all mates here, so just admit I did good, right?” she teased, squeezing his nose. He stared at her and then slowly engaged her in a hug, more so that he could keep his balance.

    “Yeesh, you’re such a handful. Fine I’ll go through with it for now, but we’ll buy some actual clothes after we leave,” he sighed. She giggled at him and gave him a half lidded look. “Now get off me already!”

    “Not until you admit that I win,” she teased.

    “Win at what? The only thing I see you winning at lately is an eating contest,”

    “Oh har har. Where’d you hear that one, the gym?”

    “Was that supposed to be a roast? Because going to the gym is a good thing,”

    Ariala sat there and watched them exchange insults back and forth, taking notice of the duo’s slow descent into affection. For some reason she found herself giggling at them and then eventually laughing out loud, which finally brought them to quiet.

    “Sorry, you two never stop, do you? But it’s intriguing to see,” she said, still giggling a little. “The only married couple I know are the two Pokémon that argue the most over the smallest of things. It goes against everything my tutors taught me.”

    “That’s not funny though! Your highness, are you really going to travel wearing that… whatever that is?” Vincent cried.

    “You’re staring at my legs again, so yes, I am. It clearly functions as intended,” she replied. Vincent palmed his face while Nier gave him a cheeky look. “Also, please call me Ariala from here on out.”

    “That’s no better than calling you ‘your highness’!”

    “The aim of this is to blend in, not to directly hide myself. After all, we’re going out to meet Prince Rune,” she explained. Vincent sighed.

    “Fine, you win,” he said with a shrug.

    “Yes! In your face!”

    “Not you, damn it!”

    “Do you have your weapon, Vincent? If you do, we can leave now,” Ariala asked. Vincent seemed to switch mood suddenly, looking stern about something.

    “Not with me, but I can sort that out. You two depart as intended, and I’ll catch up,” he said, leaving quickly.

    “Vincent?”

    “He’s fine. Shall we go, then?” Nier proposed, taking the princess’ hand. Ariala reluctantly agreed, ensuring that she was wearing her travel bag properly. The duo drew the curtains of the large window at last, revealing that it was a window built on top of a glass door that led out onto a small balcony. Said balcony overlooked a dense forest and was high enough to touch the clouds, leaving mainland civilisation an indeterminate distance away.

    “Why didn’t Vincent come prepared?” Ariala wondered, eying the scenery.

    “He did. Since he’s a hybrid, it causes a bit of trouble when he’s in public. She he keeps his own disguise elsewhere,” Nier replied.

    “A hybrid? What’s a hybrid?” she asked again, pointing at something below. “Down there. We can land down there.”

    “We dunno how they come about, but they’re a combination of two Pokémon together. Vincent’s sorta like a Dewott fused with a Meowstic. He can’t use Pokémon attacks, but it does make him super strong,” Nier explained. She took Ariala’s hand again and whispered a countdown with her, jumping off the balcony upon reaching zero.

    Wind quickly picked up and ruffled their fur out of place as their descent picked up speed, but Nier rectified that by releasing her psychic, having to lift up her ears to do so. Both her and Ariala had light blue outlines around them as Nier controlled their descent, Ariala helping herself out by fluttering her small wings. They landed amongst the trees where Ariala had pointed to safe and sound.

    “Phew. I will be counting on you both from here on out. It’s quite embarrassing that I don’t know my way around my own home city,” Ariala stated, examining her new surroundings. Curiosity ate at her like a child in a theme park, as she wanted to just lose herself amongst the quiet trees and plant life around her. The ground was soft and loamy, almost completely made out of soil which grew a variety of flowers and tree sprouts. The wind was pleasant, refreshing and light on the rustling trees. Even the sunlight that poked through the overhead leaves wasn’t too bright or hot; the whole area giving her a sense of relaxation she wasn’t expecting to have.

    “I’m serious about that sightseeing stuff, you know. It’d be better if you led the way and stuff!” Nier giggled. She led the way anyway, prompting the Clefable to follow.

    So this is it. This is really happening. If we get far away enough today, we will never return to this castle until we’re certain of why this proposal was made,” Ariala thought to herself, staring at the ground. She recalled the time in which the marriage proposal was even announced to her, long after it had been discussed and confirmed. The other royals had made a big deal out of it anyway, giving Ariala an audience and all, but had prevented her from actually giving any input to it by any means possible. Any and all questions she gave had been dodged and left unanswered until it practically became a royal order. “I just cannot understand it. Since that kidnapping, I’ve been confined to Castle Faernia for my safety, but then they throw all of that away by forcing me to marry Prince Rune? Is there some great ulterior motive that I possibly cannot understand?

    She looked forward as she recalled the Queen’s blank expression during the entire audience. Interpreters had to speak for the Queen, and nothing they said had bothered her enough to react in any way whatsoever. “Queen Magearna… if unity of our planets is what you truly seek, then I will not let you down.

    Her thoughts killed more time than expected, and they soon made it to the first leg of their journey: the city that Castle Faernia overlooked. Ariala’s thoughts drowned to nothing as she gazed around at the unfamiliar skyscrapers that built up this city, still curious about it all. The green theme of the forest had transformed into an attractive silver and white theme to make up roads, streetlights, fountains, and all sorts of other urban attractions. What caught Ariala’s attention the most was the thin streams of colour running through the streetlights and the edges of the roads, almost as if decorating them. A substance was going through them, but she was clueless what.

    “Welcome to the Tower of the Tapu, Ariala,” a familiar voice made her jump a little. A Pokémon that hid its species through a huge brown hood and a robe was stood right beside her. She didn’t even notice him turn up.

    “No need to scare her, Vincent. But yeah, this is your capital, Ariala! The Tower of the Tapu and the forefront of Faernia’s technology,” Nier giggled.

    “Vincent,” Ariala whispered.

    “It’s fine; this is just my outdoor clothing. If you need me to do something, I can do it just fine,” he assured, pulling back his hood a bit to reveal it was indeed Vincent.

    He and Nier resumed leading the way, revealing the bustling activity of the city that they were just waiting to get lost in. Neon colours engulfed the scenery no matter where she looked, making up shops, street signs, traffic signals and more. Rails and wires ran through some of the roads which let single carriage trams transport crowds of Pokémon through them. Other Pokémon glided through the air as if they were on roads, having to abide by their own traffic signals and such. Every last bit of technology here shined openly and had those strange streams running through them.

    “So you know how we’ve all been taught to respect the Gods and Goddesses of Faernia? This is what they gift us with in response to our faith. A prospering world that sees little strife,” Vincent explained, using his hands to show it all off.

    Looking around, Ariala could see that statement held all truth it needed to have to reassure her that Faernia was fine. Every Pokémon she looked at was smiling or relaxed as they went about their business, exchanging polite greetings or friendly conversations with one another. There was a Primarina performer singing to a tune with a guitar, getting applause from a few passers that stopped to listen. Some baby Togepi were dragging their mother along to run after a tram that was waiting for them. A Sylveon and a Vaporeon stepped out of an accessory shop, showing off their new looks to each other. She couldn’t help but smile warmly at all the positive activity.

    “Wasn’t my marriage proposal to help sort out the worldwide issues occurring recently? I had heard that natural disasters and dangerous weather was damaging parts of Faernia and Eris,” Ariala wondered.

    “It wouldn’t affect here, we’re just too close to the Tapu. But I believe none of them except Fini are here right now because they’ve all gone to help out those other Pokémon in need. They haven’t been seen for a few days,” Vincent explained.

    “Wait, the Gods themselves aid us?” Ariala asked.

    “Yup. You don’t know how it all works, do you?” Nier wondered.

    “I knew that our faith granted us the Tapu’s protection and power, but I did not know that meant them physically being here to help us. The special fortune telling audiences that Tapu Fini gave us was the limit I thought they would communicate with us,” she answered. Vincent cleared his throat.

    “The four Tapu each have powers that affect the entire planet. For Tapu Koko, his Electric Terrain provides us with power. Equally, he leads our scientists and engineers to develop the technology that you can see enhances our everyday lives. He’s a strict father to us that ensures we never stop being Pokémon, though,” he explained. “The mother, Tapu Lele, provides us with forces and law. It’s her Psychic Terrain that keeps order and stability in the weather and the forces of nature. Without her blessings, I bet half of our technology wouldn’t function as it’s meant to.”

    “Meanwhile, Tapu Fini nurtures us with clean water, air, and well, clean everything! Her Misty Terrain basically filters everything to keep it clean and healthy to the touch. On top of making sure we have the top healthcare, she guides us with her visions of the future, as you know,” Nier joined in. “Lastly, Tapu Bulu’s Grassy Terrain keeps our land natural and fertile. It’s his balance with the other Tapu that stops us from becoming lazy or resorting to eating meat. Without him, things like trees and plants and stuff would be dying all over the place.”

    “I see. So the substances going through those little pipes are the terrains of the Tapu,” Ariala guessed.

    “Yup! This city, the Tower of the Tapu, is the only place on Faernia where all of their terrains overlap. So it’ll be the best place in all of Etheria for sure,” Nier bragged. Ariala paused for a moment.

    “We should be looking for that clothes shop, by the way. Pokémon are staring at you,” Vincent suggested, continuing their walk through the streets.

    “I wonder why,” Nier teased, half lidded.

    “This is no good. We need to go further out than this,” Ariala stated, shaking her head to stop her retainers. “Is there truly no strife, here? Is it possible for the perfect place to exist? I can’t imagine the Gods allowing that to happen.

    As if on cue, an alarming sound sharply struck her ears in a way that made her shudder. She stopped to focus on it; making out what sounded like a match had been struck, followed by the lighting of several fuses. The fizzling sound of explosives set to go off was unmistakable, so she reacted by readying her fan.

    “Ariala? What’s up?” Nier asked.

    “Don’t you hear that?” she replied in panic.

    “Remember that you have heightened senses compared to us. If you are losing control of your hearing, then calm down, clench your ears, and focus,” Vincent instructed calmly.

    “No, you don’t understand. A bo-” she cried, getting cut off by the sudden chain of explosions that went off. Despite how far away they were, the blasts triggered a mass scattering of the public around them. Pokémon immediately screamed their cries and began to run away, although some recognised that they were currently safe and turned to stare at the great cloud of smoke rising in the distance. One of the skyscrapers looked like it fell down as well, generating another overly loud bang that made everyone flinch and cry out when it smashed to the ground.

    Ariala’s retainers both turned to her in expectation of her hearing going out of control, but she was fine for now. Seeing the smoke rising up, she nodded and clenched her fan. “Nier, Vincent, don’t worry about me. It’s time for me to do our duty as protectors of Faernia. Let’s go and see what’s going on!”
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  14. DreamSayer

    DreamSayer Dreamzone Trainer

    Review for Chapter 1


    I'm not usually up for stories that deal with royalties, kingdoms and whatnot, but I can tell that this one has some things going for it.

    I am curious to learn what this Komo'o King wants with a clefairy and what his motivations are. The chapter hints that he needs her to save the world or something, but i wonder if he's just one of those villains who don't actually see their methods are horrid and have a twisted idea on what saving the world means.

    Rune and Diantha didn't really leave much of a strong impression on me, and if I were being honest, their personalities are a bit generic for a sibling duo, but this is just the first chapter and I hope they've been fleshed out and made more interesting as characters.

    This isn't a final verdict, but this story didn't exactly blow me out of the water, but like I said, it clearly has something going for it, and I'll check back again to see just how much it's been progressed.
     
  15. ChloboShoka

    ChloboShoka Writer

    I really got into this when I read the synopsis and first chapter as it’s got themes that I’m very interested in. I love the idea and love the fantasy flavour in it especially being between two of my favourite types fairies and dragons.
     
  16. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Wooo, adding those chapter links made the reads for this thread shoot up like a Blissey's HP on level up! Thanks so much to everyone who's reading this story, I can't emphasize enough how much it all means to me, and it's keeping me going!

    Apologies for the lengthy wait for the next chapter, some things happened this week that slowed me down, as well as having a bit of trouble with its execution. I still won't let up on that weekly updates across my two fanfics, though.

    DreamSayer, thanks for the preview! If you don't normally get into these types of stories, but you're still reading it anyway, then I must be doing something right. That makes me feel good. ChloboShoka too, thanks for the kind comments. I really hope I can deliver your expectations as this story moves on, because it's set to be a rather long one (predicted 28 - 30 chapters). I'll keep doing my best!

    Without further ado, episode 8 is here!

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

    Episode 8: Civil uncivilised conflicts


    [​IMG]

    “I thought it’d be here. That was a temple that dropped,” Vincent said, skidding to a stop. The trio had been following him through the city as best they could, but Ariala’s light body caused her to walk with an inconvenient gait. When she ran, she had to skip, hovering in the air for a good moment before touching down to take the next step. For whatever reason it was tiring for her, so she caught up to Vincent and Nier with heavy gasps.

    “A temple? Why is a temple a skyscraper?” she asked in between those heavy breaths. Vincent tilted his head at her.

    “Not everyone’s as fast and smooth as you, genius,” Nier commented. He shrugged.

    “The Tapu actually commanded it, I believe. Tapu Lele likes everything to be sophisticated,” he explained, walking forward. They turned one more corner to encounter what was really going down.

    The building that had fallen was in ruins, shrouded in flames and a sooty skyline. There were quite a lot of Pokémon around, but all of them were chanting and cheering on a Greninja that stood tall and proud in front of the destroyed temple. Otherwise, all other Pokémon seemed to have fled, leaving the place a large, grass covered square where the temple’s garden sat. Sprinklers hidden within the grass had activated to keep the fire at bay, but Greninja was using the arcs of those sprinklers to appear flashy while it posed.

    “What’s going on?” Ariala asked once she caught her breath back. Long before she even approached the crowd, many of them turned to her, their gazes giving enough chills to make her freeze. Vincent and Nier exchanged glances and stood guard over her. “Please. What is the meaning of all this?”

    “Ho really? We knock down a precious building of yours and what’s the most you retaliate with? A Clefable and two cutesy cats? Surely you’re not so settled in your ways that you’re this idiotic,” Greninja joked, jumping up high to land in front of his crowd. His eyes lacked detail beyond bold lines, confusing Ariala as to whether he was actually looking at her or not. A scarf resembling a frog’s tongue flowed in the heated wind, making him appear cool.

    “You did this? You set off bombs and destroyed that temple?” she asked.

    “Oh, was that big old thing a temple? I’m sorry, it looked unimportant,” Greninja snickered. Ariala hesitated to reply, sneaking a look at the rest of the Pokémon behind him. There were hundreds of them and although they all appeared angry, not one of them held a weapon or possessed any armour.

    Wait a minute,” she realised. Upon closer inspection, many of the Pokémon were even children or commoners; just like the many she had seen on the way here. Some of them had a few accessories like ribbons, ties, or bows, at most.

    “That’s all? Scared? Not even going to strike us down? Then we’ll go about our business. Hear me now, you pretty fairy! I am Tundra, and I hate your city’s little charade with its Tapu religion. I’m going to destroy every last temple here, and I have just enough explosives to do so!” he shouted, putting his hands together.

    “I don’t understand, why would you want to destroy the temples?” Ariala cried in disbelief.

    “Forget trying to argue with them, Ariala. They’re protesters. The only way we’ll get them to stop is by driving them out,” Vincent warned, revealing a spear from within his robe. He lengthened it with a flick, making it taller than himself.

    “Wait, but many of them are just normal commoners!” she cried again, putting her hand out.

    “Commoners? Who are you to put such a label on us?” Tundra said, finally giving an angry look that unveiled his pupil-less red eyes.

    “Please wait, I wish to understand what is really going on here!” she begged, stepping in front of her retainers. “I am Princess Ariala.”

    “Your highness!” Nier coughed.

    “If we can resolve this without further damage, then I wish to do so.” She proposed.

    “Princess? Oh, yes, I guess I did hear that the princess was going to marry the prince of Eris. Guess you’re leaving to do that now, huh?” Tundra replied, going quiet. He glanced back at his audience, and then back at Ariala, cracking a sneaky smile, evident by his squinting eyes. “But let’s be serious here. Princess Ariala wouldn’t wear such a provocative piece of thread, would she? You’re just some girl trying to play hero.”

    Oh right. I had completely forgotten that I was wearing this thing,” she gasped in her head, looking down at the cloth wrapped around herself. Nier and Vincent exchanged glances, the latter palming his face. “It matters not whether I am wearing provocative clothing or not, anyway. Destroying all the temples with explosives would put many Pokémon in danger. I cannot allow you to harm Pokémon that way, no matter what the reason!”

    “Bah, we don’t have time for this. But still - change of plan, folks. How’s about we kidnap this ‘princess’ and her little entourage? Surely with such a bribe, the Tapu will bend to our will!” Greninja announced, raising a hand. His audience chanted with him and then came running, raising their fists, claws, and whatever more they had. Just like that, an entire army of Pokémon was threatening to run right into Ariala’s trio.

    “Princess, stay back!” Vincent shouted, hopping into battle. He held his spear with his left hand, letting that arm hang loosely behind him so that the spear wasn’t pointing at an obvious target. He crouched with his right arm hung loosely in front of him, and that was his battle pose. Nier unsheathed her rapier as well, but all she did was stand guard over Ariala.

    Just as the crowd got near, Vincent threw back his hood and jumped into the fray. His hybrid appearance must have taken the Pokémon by surprise since they slowed down as soon as his head became visible, not reacting to his lightning fast attacks. He started with a punch to the stomach of the Makuhita at the front, then spun and whacked the Raichu behind with the side of his spear, making sure not to hit with the sharp end. Then he suddenly shifted all momentum into a jump backwards, kicking off of a Nidorina that was in waiting. His right hand slashed at anything to his side with its sharp nails, whilst his spear hit anything opposite. Otherwise, it was his feet tripping up or kicking anything nearby.

    Of course, the crowd didn’t all focus on the hybrid. Many special attacks were fired off from a distance towards Ariala and Nier, whom were ready for whatever came their way. Nier’s special rapier had a shiny orb on the end of the handle, and that was the side she held upwards, giving the weapon the appearance of a magic wand rather than a sword.

    “Protect!” Nier shouted, thrusting her weapon skyward. A green barrier appeared around herself and Ariala, which the special attacks crashed against with great force. Despite the attacks not getting through, the heat of Flamethrowers combined with the cold of Ice Beams, leaving a discomforting radiance in the air around the duo.

    “There were so many attacks, but you blocked them all,” Ariala commented, gawking at the spectacle. Once the beams let up, Nier released her shield with a spin and unfurled her ears, pushing both paws forward. An invisible wave of psychic force flew through the air, sending a number of the enemy Pokémon flying. Her attack was only as strong as a heavy blast of wind however, and most of their pain came from the way they all crumpled together in a heap. “Vincent’s attacks are knocking them out in one go, too.”

    “That’s because we’re strong!” Nier bragged, putting her paws on her hips. It was true; Vincent was managing to keep a large number of the Pokémon at bay with some of the wildest movements Ariala had ever seen. He was constantly moving and hitting something with a melee attack of some sort, and each one had enough force to pin a Pokémon to the ground for good.

    “I don’t think so,” Ariala moaned slightly, staring at the battle in dismay. “These are all normal civilians. They’re no more used to fighting than having to drive away a feral insect. They shouldn’t be fighting like this!”

    “You say that, but there’s still a lot of them,” Nier replied, readying her weapon again. Her ears remained unfurled and ready to use psychic. A few seconds later she did just that, blasting away a Scyther that almost sliced Vincent’s back. He waved to her as thanks for the save, and then came running back to their side.

    “They’re no threat individually, but their numbers are something,” he huffed, catching his breath. Once again, the crowd of protesters were staring down Ariala’s trio, but this time, many of them looked wearier and more serious. Tundra in particular finally stepped forward, assuming a similar battle pose to Vincent, where he was crouched on the ground.

    “I see. Vincent, the cursed hybrid and his wife Nier, the blessed Meowstic. You really are the princess, aren’t you?” he asked, sounding surprisingly calm. He kept a large distance between them both, and his eyes kept shifting side to side as if expecting something.

    “Now that you’re certain of that, I will ask you again to call off your attack. Harming Pokémon this way is a serious act of evil!” Ariala begged. Just then, her senses spiked again and her ears twitched, picking up the sounds of another crowd of Pokémon approaching. The familiar clop sound of horse feet sprinting across the ground was the clearest, so she kept quiet and edged backwards a little. “Are those reinforcements? Was this attack planned this well?

    “Honestly, your words sound a little naïve for the crown royalty of our planet. Do you really have no idea why I hate your damn Tapu so much?” Tundra replied, getting angrier after every word.

    “Forgive me for my current ignorance, but I really do not. Is there something I can do I resolve this peacefully?” she asked in a desperate tone. Tundra squinted at her.

    “I feel like you’re mocking me, but I’ll play along, anyway,” he growled, stepping forward to ensure he could be heard. “Famine. Earthquakes. Hurricane winds. Even immoral crimes such as thievery and destruction of property.”

    Ariala’s eyes widened. “What does that have to do with the Tapu? Fixing the natural disasters is the purpose of my pilgrimage.”

    “Tsk. This ****’s been goin’ on since I was a kid, pretty princess. And what have the Tapu done to help?” Tundra began to rant. “Nothing. They let me grow up in the wilderness, having nothing to help myself and my family. While you and your privileged religious dogs sucked up to the Tapu’s favouritism, I watched my family die of starvation, continuing to pray day after day that the Tapu would bless them and take care of them! Now I’m the only one left.”

    “That’s horrible!” Ariala cried.

    “And I’m not the only one. My friends, the Pokémon behind me, every last one of them has suffered,” Tundra continued, glancing back at the crowd. “I won’t sit back and let this meaningless suffering go on any longer. I’ll become a leader or die trying – I’ll overthrow the blasted Tapu and lead the world into true prosperity!”

    “You’re missing a huge point in your little sob story, I’m afraid,” Vincent interrupted. “What justification does this have to blow up buildings? You could’ve killed Pokémon! And if that’s your intention, how does that make you any better than what you make of the Tapu?”

    “The Tapu are kinda fickle sometimes, it’s hard to tell what they’re thinking. But they’re omniscient gods; their guidance has kept a relative peace for centuries. When they forsake someone, it can only be for a reason,” Nier added, ready to cast Protect at any moment.

    “Regardless of the Tapu’s reasoning, you are bringing harm to innocent Pokémon. I cannot allow that act to go unchecked. If you wish to proceed, then I am afraid that you will force my hand,” Ariala stated, finally opening out her fan.

    “So what, ‘cos you think my family is evil, that gives you aristocrats and Tapu an excuse to leave us to rot? Didn’t I just tell you that we prayed, day after day? We were devout, and yet, forsaken by the gods we looked up to!” Tundra shouted, losing his patience. Ariala tensed up, not finding the words to reply. “It’s a big, distant dream, but I’m through with trying to reason. I’ll bring down this whole society, even if it kills me!”

    At those words, he made a number of signs with his webbed hands and fingers, quickly shifting between signs as he mumbled chants to himself. Vincent seemed to realise what he was doing and lunged forward, only to stop when Tundra suddenly vanished from sight.

    “He disappeared?” Ariala gasped. She flinched when he reappeared directly above her, unable to brace for the heavy kick he landed directly on her face. He flipped off her as she fell to the ground, landing directly on top of her again to pin her body to the ground. Without even looking back, he vanished again as Nier retaliated from behind, attempting to slash him with her rapier.

    “He’s fast!” she choked, next to be put down by a Water Shuriken attack she didn’t see coming.

    “I’m not like the Pokémon that agree with my views. They’re simply civilians like you say, civilians brave enough to follow and fight for me,” Tundra stated, revealing that he had warped a surprising distance away. “But me? I know how to fight, how to defend myself. I’ve spent years being forced to protect myself from thieves and the feral Pokémon out in Faernia’s wilds. You aristocrats can’t compete with me!”

    Just as Ariala returned to her feet, a new crowd of Pokémon arrived on scene. The group was a platoon of cat Pokémon, from Meowth to Purrloin to Glameow, all led by a Ponyta that was familiar to her. They appeared to be soldiers wearing armour that resembled the unique markings on the bodies of the Tapu, except for the Meowth sat atop the Ponyta’s back.

    “Praise the gods we’re not too late. Of all the times for a protest of this magnitude to start, why when the castle is in an uproar?” Ponyta complained. Ariala confirmed who she thanks to her old, weary, but motherly voice, and calmed right down.

    “The Cat’s Brigade is on the job, though. We’ll be done with this rabble in no time and be back on the search for my lady Nier!” Meowth bragged, standing up proudly on the Ponyta’s back. She shook him off in clear annoyance, so he hopped off and posed elaborately instead. “All units get into formation! Let’s drive these evildoers back where they came! And while you’re at it, search for any sign of lady Nier!”

    “Meyes sir!” the cats chanted in perfect unison, obeying the fancy Meowth. He was as tall as a Meowstic and wore a glittering cape that shone with blinding golds even in the smoky light. With a hearty raise of a spear identical to Vincent’s, his troops charged off towards the crowd of protestors, creating a ruckus.

    “Reinforcements alright, but they’re for us. We just might be able to deal with this, now,” Ariala said, finally appearing ready to fight. Tundra gave the new arrivals a livid look, having to jump away as his army of followers were almost effortlessly driven away. They were fleeing before the soldiers even got near, refusing to fight back a bit.

    “But isn’t that Naomi? Staying here will let the soldiers find you, Ariala,” Nier warned.

    “Being caught this early is no problem compared to ending this skirmish. Let us force Tundra into retreat!” Ariala announced, raising her own weapon high.

    “You’re the boss,” Vincent shrugged, swiping his spear. Tundra’s eyes thinned.

    “Don’t underestimate me, princess,” he growled, readying two Water Shuriken. She held her fan close to her face as he threw them, surprised at the speed they tore through the air to reach her. She barely had time to slash at both shuriken to weaken them, still feeling enough of a sting to emit a girlish squeak.

    There was no time to rest, now. As soon as she looked at Tundra after that attack, countless more Water Shuriken were headed her way, and more were being tossed like unwanted toys. Fearing the onslaught, Ariala released her fan and let it float in front of her, opening it out with a magical spin. The fan opened out further than it looked like it could have, now as wide as a full circle. With a free hand that sparkled with psychic energy, she thrust into it, filling the fan’s transparent gleam with pretty pink energy. That energy quickly burst from within the fan, somehow causing it to transform into an enormous Reflect barrier, matching the fan’s red diamond texture. That barrier didn’t even shake or react to the rain of shuriken that smashed into it, blocking the attack completely.

    Tundra flinched in shock at how fast Ariala had pulled up that powerful shield, but that wasn’t the end of her unusual show. The instant he let up his attack, she retrieved her fan to dismiss the barrier, repeating the motion of filling it with energy. This time the energy was that of a Moonblast attack, but it still had the effect of charging the Moonblast to a ridiculous size. Tundra braced himself with eyes wider than a cartoon character, roaring out in pain at the surprising force behind the attack.

    “I would implore you not to underestimate me, either. I wished for this not to require combat, but I must,” Ariala replied, retrieving her fan again with a graceful pose. Tundra barely remained on his feet and snarled at her, covered from head to toe in marks of damage from the single attack.

    “You gonna finish this?” Nier asked, still stood at the princess’ side. Vincent was as well, but didn’t look as casual.

    Tundra growled at the three of them and swirled his head around to reposition his tongue-scarf, and then made a few more hand signs as quickly as he could.

    “This is your last chance to surrender. If you continue to fight, you will see greater punishment for it,” Ariala warned. Tundra ignored her and continued to prepare his attack, which surrounded his hands in a gloopy orb of black energy. Seeing that, Ariala prepared her Moonblast again, charging it to a larger size than Tundra’s oncoming Dark Pulse in just seconds thanks to her fan. “Very well then, if you insist. I really don’t want to have to do this!”

    “Da-damn it, what the hell kind of power is that?” he cursed, growling at how he was being visually outdone this easily. Just as he glanced around to reconsider his options to escape, Ariala suddenly released a scream, drawing his widened eyes back to her.

    She still had the large Moonblast held by her fan in front of her, but the Clefable’s body was surrounded by black electricity that crackled around her louder than she was crying out. She was clearly struggling and straining as her fur darkened, but refused to give in to whatever this black electricity was, staying on her feet and keeping hold of her charged Moonblast. Said Moonblast was continuing to grow bigger and bigger as the seconds went by however, and was soon beyond an attack that looked safe for even Ariala to hold.

    “Uh-uh, princess? Calm down, hold the power back!” Nier said in worry. Ariala responded with increased volume of her growls, but failed to do much more that grip her hand right hand with her left, helping to stabilise it.

    “T-Tundra! G-get out of the way!” she shrieked. The Greninja gasped and focused, nervously letting go of his Dark Pulse to back away.

    “Ariala, calm down, focus!” Vincent cried.

    “I-I-I c-can’t!” she growled, shutting her eyes.

    “Your highness!” Ponyta shouted, galloping over. “Release all the energy, now! The rest of you, we’ve got to blow up that moonblast!”

    “Naomi! Won’t that hurt her?” Vincent objected.

    “If you don’t, the energy will take over her, and we’ll have to deal with that again.” the Ponyta spat, squinting at Ariala’s two retainers. The duo exchanged nods and then sided with Naomi, who stretched her hooves apart and braced herself.

    “Sorry about this, your highness. But it’s gonna hurt,” Nier warned in dismay, pointing a paw forward. She unfurled her ears and released a psychic blast from that paw, having the attack materialise directly inside of Ariala’s ever growing Moonblast. Both attacks exploded instantly, forcing everyone to cover their faces.

    “What? What’s going on over there now?” Meowth cried in complaint, finally looking over to see the giant cloud of smoke the Moonblast caused. When the smoke began to clear he caught sight of Ariala, gawking at her darkened colour scheme and damaged fur.

    All of a sudden Ariala screamed at the top of voice, releasing a storm of the black electricity in a huge pillar that rose into the sky. It sounded like a lightning bolt striking something as it left her body and tore the clouds asunder, silencing just as instantly as it burst from her. Ariala was left shivering and breathing weakly, but was kept on her feet by Vincent.

    “Princess!” he cried, staggering as her weight pulled him to the ground with her. She replied with unfathomable words, but he was able to make out her desperation to sit down and let that happen softly. No one said anything else for a while; they all just watched her in concern and discomfort.

    “What happened?” Naomi finally asked, glancing at Ariala’s retainers.

    “I dunno, actually. We were stopping this protest, and then you showed up with the Cat’s Brigade so we started fighting back, and then her darkness just overflowed,” Nier explained. Before Vincent could input, another blast of thunder sounded through the sky, drawing all eyes back to it. Yet another Pokémon entered the scene, this one descending from the sky in a gleaming yellow orb at a blindingly fast speed.

    Everyone knew who it was the moment they saw the orb of crackling electricity land before Ariala. The orb opened out to reveal Tapu Koko, the grand mythical calmly staring down at the princess with barely a movement from its mask shaped arms. It stared down at her with intimidation, but she stared back with her mouth agape, seemingly entranced by his presence. No movement came from anyone but her getting to her feet, and then Tapu Koko slowly turned around.

    Its eyes locked right onto Tundra, who flinched instantly. He glanced aside to find that all of the other protesters had been dealt with by Meowth and the other cats, yet he dared to gesture continuing to fight by making a hand sign. All it took was Tapu Koko’s face tightening to make him retract that idea, and he finally turned tail to run. Even when he was long gone, not a word was said for a length of time, enough for everyone to gather round. Everyone knelt down, whilst Ariala bowed respectfully.

    “My lord Tapu Koko,” Ariala said softly, still breathing rather weakly. He didn’t even turn to face her.

    “My statue was in that temple,” he said at last, still not turning around. His voice was old and gruff, like that of an ancient, wise man. “You will resolve that problem, won’t you?”

    “Of course. The temple will be fixed as soon as possible,” Ariala promised, bowing again. He half turned to look at her, hiding half of his face behind his right mask.

    “That wasn’t why I came here. I sense it. Destructive dark powers were released right here, and very recently, on planet Eris,” he stated. She didn’t reply. “The next time I see that kind of power, I will eradicate it and any who exhibit it.”

    With his cold warning left in place, he spun around and shot off back into the sky, disappearing in the same orb of crackling light he arrived in. Everyone couldn’t help but stare until he was out of sight, still in awe of his blunt presence.

    But why?” Ariala asked herself, letting out a breath.
     
  17. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Apologies for the long wait! I had a bit of difficulty with writing this chapter, as well as a few things here and there in life making it slow. After some feedback I recieved via other sources as well, aparently it is more convenient to post later at night in my timezone, because that's when most readers are around.Whatever's more convenient, anyway.

    Side note, this chapter retains a skit, a feature of the fanfics I left exclusive to Wattpad. Skits are just end of chapter scenarios that have no real bearing on the story, where the characters talk about stuff that happened, something funny, or just general idle conversation. I left the skit in this chapter because I feel like it explains something important that's mentioned mid-chapter. This will probably be the only skit that appears on this site.

    Next update is returning to Heroica Legends.

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    Episode 9: Faernia’s outcasts


    [​IMG]

    It took a while for things to calm down, but eventually the authorities gathered around the remains of the protest and got to work with putting out the fire, sealing off the area and ensuring that this part of the city remained safe. Despite their late arrival, Ariala remained in the same spot she was when Tapu Koko left, staring into the ruined remains of the temple with the blankest expression a Clefable could have.

    “Princess! Are you listening to me?” Naomi shouted in her face, finally snapping her back to reality. Even then, she only flinched and then shut her eyes, shaking her head as if to dismiss her current thoughts.

    “Vincent. Do you know where those protesters came from?” she asked.

    “Princess! You really haven’t been listening at all!” Naomi shouted again, making her cringe. “This is terribly unlike you. We are returning to the castle, right now.”

    “Naomi- urf, this is why I didn’t tell you. I refuse to return to the castle, especially after this event,” she stated, slipping her fan into its pocket. Vincent and Nier folded their arms, watching in interest.

    “Why would you refuse? We have a safe carriage prepared to escort you to the meeting point with Rune. Do you know how much of an uproar you caused when we discovered you weren’t in your quarters?” Naomi shouted, stomping a hoof. “You as well, Vincent and Nier. As her highnesses personal retainers, you should know better than to drag her out on such an ordeal. Your actions can be seen as treason!”

    “Hey hey, hold on a second. Treason? Lady Nier’s too perfect to perform such an act. I’m sure she has a perfectly valid reason for leaving with the princess this way!” Meowth interrupted. The Meowstic smiled at him, giggling about something.

    “Both of my retainers objected to my plan many times until I threatened to leave on my own terms. Them being here is part of their desire to protect me,” Ariala explained. “But there is no turning back, now. I have seen too much, already.”

    “Seen too much?” the Ponyta coughed.

    “That protest, the loss of control over my darkness, and the reactions of Tapu Koko – I need to see more,” Ariala reasoned. “I don’t want to believe it, but my nightmares are leading towards premonitions. Until I can confirm what is really happening, I shouldn’t decide on a solid course of action.

    “See? It sounds like her highness and the beautiful Nier are being like the angels they should be. Nothing but praise for their brave actions and desire to protect the Pokémon of their planet!” Meowth bragged, swiping his overly flashy gold cape aside.

    “Charle! You’re not helping!” Naomi cried.

    “Oh but I am. Whilst I’m sure the Pokémon greatly appreciate your aid, you are much safer and better off helping from within your quarters, your highness. You need only give orders and we subjects will be at your service,” Charle added, bowing.

    “Good. Then you will allow me to leave,” Ariala replied. There was a pause.

    “Except that, of course. Your safety is most important, after all,” he replied, growing quieter.

    “Oh come on you guys! I’ve never left the castle ever since the kidnapping. That was ten years ago. I am twenty-one years old, now. Don’t you think it’s stifling to keep me locked up there?” Ariala suddenly raised her voice. “Do you honestly expect me to live my life in ignorance, and still have the ability to rule an entire planet? Let alone marry the prince of our opposite?”

    “We are only trying to protect you,” Vincent answered quickly, silencing everyone. He still had his eyes shut and arms folded.

    “Pardon?”

    “We are only trying to protect you. I understand your warrant to see the world of Faernia, but when I agreed to those terms, I did not think you would want to get involved with anything like those protestors,” he explained, unfurling his arms to face her sternly. “Pokémon outside of Faernia’s civilization can be dangerous and unpredictable. There are many unknowns out there that we still don’t even know how to deal with, but they don’t affect us since we have the blessings of the gods, the Tapu.”

    “My duty as crown princess requires me not to ignore those Pokémon or situations. Whether life-threatening or not, I wish to get involved in these grave matters first-hand. They destroyed a temple without warning and threatened to do so to the others. That kind of threat isn’t to be overlooked,” Ariala reasoned.

    “That’s our Ariala. Nothin’ like the princesses of fairy tales or any of that!” Nier giggled.

    “Fairy tales… I hate that phrase,” Ariala sighed.

    “As I promised when I became your retainer, I will do my utmost to protect you and help you in your endeavours, but I can only advise you against this with all my being. We don’t have much time until the meeting with Rune, either. Will you really follow the protesters in hopes of negotiating with them?” he continued. Nier giggled again, for some reason.

    “What’s with you two all of a sudden? What’re you planning?” Naomi asked.

    “My decision remains the same. I wish to know the truth of the outside world, and refuse to remain sheltered any longer. Before meeting with Rune, I would like to speak to Tundra,” Ariala nodded. Vincent exchanged nods with Nier, who put her paws on her chubby hips.

    “Those protesters came from an indoor city called the Stardust Treasury. It’s a dead end city built as a place of respite for the outcasts of Faernia,” Nier explained.

    “Wait, Nier!” Naomi gasped.

    “The Pokémon that live there are, well,” Nier said, ignoring Naomi’s outburst. She started playing with her ear a bit with a paw. “The Pokémon that live there are those rejected by the Tapu.”

    “Rejected?” Ariala whispered in shock.

    “That’s enough. You’ve said enough!” Naomi shouted, stomping her way in between everyone. “Ariala, you are coming back to the castle right now! And your retainers will see punishment for this!”

    “Even if you do that, I’m just going to leave again and find out how to get to that city. There’s no turning back now,” Ariala replied. “It’s almost as if they’re trying to keep something from me.

    “I think I know the princess enough to know that she means that, Naomi. You can’t change her mind when it’s made up like this,” Charle added, covering his front with his cape.

    “Thank you, Charle. So why don’t you come with me, if you want to protect me that badly? Come with me and help supervise what happens.” She added.

    “Wait really, Ariala? Naomi?” Nier moaned.

    “And Charle? You know what he’s like around Nier,” Vincent complained.

    “But they’re not going to leave us alone, either. We’re just going to keep squabbling like this unless either of us gets our way,” she replied.

    “Yeah but, they’re annoying,” both Meowstic said in sync.

    “Would you rather we fight for our way?” she suggested.

    “N-no! That won’t be necessary,” Naomi gasped, hopping back a little. She gave the proposal a long round of thought, making noises as she pondered her options. All the time she stared at Ariala and her retainers, not appearing happy with anything that was happening right now. “Okay, but on one major condition. And as crown princess, protector of your Pokémon, you must honour this promise to your dying breath. After you have seen the issues at the Stardust Treasury, you will return to the meeting point to meet the prince of Eris.”

    “I accept. That was what I was planning to do in the first place,” Ariala agreed, nodding.

    “And that means you’re coming with us as well, Charle. We will need your power,” Naomi ordered.

    “Hey, I won’t pass up a chance to protect my lovely lady Nier,” the Meowth shrugged.

    “Oh please. ‘Cos I need protecting,” Nier said smugly.

    “Of course you do, especially in a nasty place like that. Fakers like Vincent are only asking for trouble,” he snickered. Vincent rolled his eyes and walked off.

    “Fakers?” Ariala said, tilting her head.

    “Yeah, he’s a fake Pokémon, right? Some sort of fusion between two Pokémon. If you didn’t choose him as a retainer, he would be exiled from Faernia already. And he knows that. You pity him, Nier! ” Charle remarked, pointing at her.

    “The only thing I pity about Vincent is that he has to put up with you,” she replied, shrugging. Charle reacted with an unfathomable shriek, flinching back before pointing both paws at Vincent.

    “That’s not true! There, is no way, that I, the great warrior defender, Charle, am below, this freak accident of unnatural nature!” he remarked, posing vigorously. Every word had unnecessary emphasis on it, and every pose had at least a finger pointed at the poor Meowstic hybrid.

    “We should get going immediately. Will you two lead the way?” Ariala suggested.

    “Right now? As in, right this very instant? You don’t want to get transport or anything?” Naomi gasped.

    “Naomi, the purpose of this pilgrimage is to experience the world. Protecting myself with personal escorts is unnecessary,” she reasoned, walking off in a random direction. Vincent suddenly dashed over and turned her around.

    “U-uh er, princess, that’s the wrong way,” he said awkward. She blushed a little but smiled at him, accepting his correction.





    Hours passed and silence had fallen between the group. Naomi had managed to convince Ariala to get a carriage, but it was only a small one suited for bringing her entourage with her. Right now, Ariala was riding on the Ponyta’s back while she sprinted across the plains of Faernia, pulling that carriage along. The carriage was a simple wooden traveller’s caravan that housed Nier, Vincent, Charle, and a few of the cat soldiers from the Cat’s Brigade. Their weapons and symbols of importance were hidden within the simple, white clothed caravan, so to all eyes they looked just like any other group of travellers.

    They had been chatting for a bit when their travel started, but now, Ariala was rigid and stern. She barely moved as Naomi galloped along, not reacting to any bumps or discomforts that occurred during the ride. Her face was intense and just as unmoving, not even visibly breathing, and her hands gripped the ropes that latched her to Naomi as tightly as her three stubby fingers could manage.

    She wasn’t angry about being forced to travel with guardians; that argument had long since blown over for her. The dark events of her nightmare had been playing through her mind continuously throughout the past half an hour, now coupled with the unsettling words Tapu Koko had left her with.



    “That wasn’t why I came here. I sense it. Destructive dark powers were released right here, and very recently, on planet Eris. The next time I see that kind of power, I will eradicate it and any who exhibit it.”


    She knew exactly what he was talking about, and perhaps, her retainers knew as well. But deep down she knew more about it than anyone on Faernia, and had never once dared to share that information with another Pokémon. It all happened ten years ago, and yet, the truth was fresh in her mind, tearing away at her conscience. She always felt guilty for keeping it secret, but now that the Tapu clearly had doubts for her, she felt vulnerable for having that secret. It had been ten years, and now it was as if the danger of that secret could surface at any moment.

    At last, she made a movement and stuck her right hand out. It pulsed with dark energy, excreting a dark, gaseous substance around her arm. A low, eerie sound came with it, and the sounds of the others shifting in discomfort told her that they had immediately sensed the release of this dark power.

    “Ariala?” Naomi said in concern. Ariala stopped releasing the energy, holding onto the ropes again. “Are you okay?”

    “Yes, I’m fine,” she answered softly.

    The power looked as disgusting as ever, and the thought that it was somewhere in her body, constantly brewing and waiting for its chance to come out sickened her. Jyararanga had kidnapped her to seal that power within her, warning her to never abuse it. She barely had control over it in the past, but thanks to Vincent and Nier, she now had total control over it. So what had made her lose control when she attacked Tundra? Why did she release so much energy that even Tapu Koko had been alarmed of it?

    Another memory played out in her mind, the image of a young Oshawott pierced by a monstrous hand of just as disturbing texture. Had that little girl survived just as well as she had? Did she have control over the darkness as well? Was she the one on Eris that had released enough darkness for Tapu Koko to detect it?

    “Ariala!” Naomi cried, snapping her out of her trance. She was able to gallop at full speed and speak without huffing or puffing at all, which was always impressive to the Clefable. “Are you listening? We’ve been travelling for a while now. Are you okay to keep going?”

    She let out a sigh and changed face at last. She was famished, bone dry thirsty, the wind gave her a chill, and her legs felt stiff from the amount of time she had spent sitting in one place. She shook her head and glanced at her allies, giving them a warm smile. “Actually, we should think about food. It’s been a while.”

    “Oh finally, I thought you’d never say that!” Nier sighed hoarsely, slumping backwards in her seat. “I’m so hungry I could pass out!”

    “Why didn’t you say that earlier? I have snacks. You need only ask, my lady,” Charle teased.

    “You couldn’t tell? Her stomach’s been singing for quite a while,” Vincent snickered.

    “Very funny,”

    “Was it? I couldn’t hear it,” Ariala admitted, blushing at the song of her own stomach sounding out. Naomi giggled as well and began to slow down, taking them off course.

    They had been following a road that ran through the plains the whole time. Plains and fields of crops were all that passed, and between all of that, a few herds of Pokémon in the distance. Those Pokémon barely paid them any mind besides a glance, minding their own business just as the Pokémon in the city did.

    “We made good progress today, anyway. We could reach Stardust Treasury within a day if we continue at this pace,” Naomi informed. She didn’t go far off the road, stopping in a patch of low grass. Ariala was about to get to work on untying the ropes from her, but was quickly stopped by a few of the cat soldiers and Charle.

    “Please, allow me, your highness,” they proposed, essentially taking over the entire chore of setting up a camp, leaving her to sit and watch with a bothered face.

    Nier, Vincent, and Charle spent the time bickering with each other over who would protect the other. Naomi fretted over every little thing that the princess did, from the fruits she chose to eat to whether she slept in the caravan or in a tent. It was nothing new to her, and by the time night had fallen, she was so sick of it that she had given up on doing anything about it.

    One advantage she knew she had as a Clefable was her ability to keep quiet. Even though Vincent was on watch duty, she knew she could easily sneak out of the caravan and go wherever she wanted. If any danger somehow came, she could hear it coming from miles away and escape before anything dangerous even happened. She didn’t need guards for this. And so, in the darkness of potentially midnight when everyone else was seemingly fast asleep, she did just that: snuck out of the caravan and skipped off amongst the fields to get some time to herself.

    After today’s battle, she was fully expecting some sort of danger to approach her. But despite standing right out in the open of the fields, nothing was there at all.

    It’s just as safe as the royals told me. I can sense feral Pokémon, but they’re all just asleep. I could sleep out here if I wanted to,” she thought to herself, staring around at it all. Clouds still covered the sky, blocking out the stars. Accepting that she was alone, she stuck out a hand and expelled the dark energy again, surprised at how luminous it stood out in the night, and how loud a noise it made in the silence. That didn’t stop her from hearing footsteps of someone sneaking up on her however, so she quickly hid it and spun around.

    “You know, I don’t blame you for wanting to get away from it all. Pardon me, but I can’t let you roam too far, especially if you’re playing with that,” Vincent warned.

    “It’s fine. Thank you for your concern,” she sighed, looking away. There was a pause.

    “We’re still in the Tapu’s domain. So even the feral pokemon that choose to live outside of towns and cities have all the vegetables they can eat,” he stated, slowly walking to sit beside her. “Once we leave the domain however, you’ll see the truth of it all.”

    “The kind of Pokémon that follow Tundra. May I ask why you know so much about that?” she wondered, joining him in sitting down.

    “If you’ll allow me,” he replied, and she nodded. “I have a rather long history with it. I met Nier in a place that was connected to the Stardust Treasury. But it was a place where I was sealed… for a thousand years.”

    “A thousand years?” she gasped.

    “I lived in a village called Crescent Fields. I wasn’t anything special to be honest, but I was in training to become the protector of the village. At that time we had heavy faith in the Tapu, just like we do now, but things were hardly as advanced. We barely even had weapons,” he recalled, staring up at the sky. “I spent everyday training tirelessly with my surrogate father, who I was allowed to call Lin. But on the day I was supposed to take over the role of protector, we went to our village shrine to pray to the Tapu for my future.”

    “Did something happen?” she wondered, tilting her head at Vincent’s sudden pause. He looked like he was holding back a tear, wiping his eyes as he looked back down.

    “I don’t remember. The last thing I remember is falling down into some kind of underground ruins. Next thing I know, Nier found me sealed in some kind of technological ball in those same ruins. I had lost the ability to use my Pokémon attacks, and she said I looked like an Oshawott fused with an Espurr. She was an Espurr back then, too,” he recalled, turning to face Ariala. “Everything I ever knew had been replaced by what we have now. When I finally learnt the date, I learnt that I had somehow skipped through time, through an entire millennial calendar. It was only Archanea seven-fifty when I prayed; suddenly it was Thracia seven-fifty when I woke up. I had truly skipped forward one thousand years.”

    “Thracia seven-fifty is when we met,” Ariala pointed out.

    “Yes. Nier was exactly my age and wanted to travel to see the world. I had no knowledge of the world and needed to adapt. It was a win win situation for us both, so I took the task of training her while she showed me around,” he explained, snickering at the memories. “Next thing I knew, we both grew stronger, evolved, and were wed. But we didn’t want our time spent training to be wasted, so we joined the royal guard after settling in the Tower of the Tapu.”

    “And that’s when I appointed you as personal retainers. I had just come back from the kidnapping, so I was pretty frightened. But now that I think about it, I picked you because you look like a Dewott. Rune was still in my mind back then,” Ariala admitted. “So you have seen much of the world around?”

    “Sorry, I sort of went off on a tangent there, didn’t I? But that was the main reason why we went to become soldiers. We wanted to make changes to what we had seen. The very first place we wound up visiting when left on our journey was the Stardust Treasury. There, my thoughts of the Tapu’s teachings and followings changed,” he explained. “I won’t try to give you any thoughts. I know it’s my duty to protect you, but I’m honestly more than impressed by your personal decision to see the world yourself. I want you to develop your own feelings on this pilgrimage and make your own choices to what you believe in. As a friend, I’m happy to let you do this.”

    “But you will advise me when something comes up, won’t you?” she asked.

    “I will. But keep this conversation between us. Tomorrow, I’m your retainer again, and this conversation never happened,” he proposed, folding his arms.

    “You have my word,” she smiled. “And thank you.”

    “Don’t mention it. But what’s on your mind, though? You definitely seem to be bothered, ever since your darkness erupted against Tundra,” he asked. Ariala perked up and looked away, making sounds of nervousness and discomfort. “Would it be best if I didn’t enquire about it now?”

    “I’m sorry, Vincent. But yes. It would be best,” she sighed, calming down. “The way things are going, you’ll find out soon, anyway.

    Vincent didn’t say anything more, so she got a moment to settle down and sit again. She still stared at him though, particularly distracted by his whiskers. “A warrior from one thousand years ago. I never would have imagined that I had such a unique friend by my side. What he and Nier know about the world has obviously changed their perspective of everything. Will mine change as well? As princess, is it okay for me to have these fears and thoughts about the gods that protect us?

    She slowly turned away to look up at the sky. Two moons were peeking through the clouds, letting off an eerie, luminous but colourless glow that hurt to look at. “I can’t even ask the gods for guidance on this matter.





    The next day was just as uneventful as she was used to. Ariala was once again made to relax whilst her friends worked to prepare breakfast, dismantle the campsite, and set up for travel again. Soon enough they were back on the road, where this time her appearance wasn’t as troubled as yesterday. Ariala concentrated forward with a plain look, trying not to let her thoughts distract her.

    Yesterday had been relatively cold and cloudy, but it seemed like the further they went, the colder and cloudier it was getting. She was sure that it was just midday, yet the sun hadn’t been visible once due to the heavy cover of fluffy clouds that blanketed the sky as far as the eye could see. This was even with the dusty wind that blew strongly enough to make her cringe from its chill.

    At the same time, it soon came to her attention the reduction in the amount of life around. They were still amongst fields and plains of grass, but now those were not much more than short grass and weeds occasionally sectioned off by hedges or fencing. There were no flowers or plants or even trees, and the herds of feral Pokémon were smaller and less frequent. It almost looked as if the colour was draining from the world as well. One thing was for certain, the fields weren’t green.

    “We’re approaching the border of the Tapu’s domain. We’re almost there to Stardust Treasury,” Naomi announced. Ariala faced forward again, catching sight of a distant silhouette resembling a building directly in front.

    This is it. The meeting with the Pokémon that were rejected by the Tapu,” she said in her mind.





    Archanea and Thracia


    Ariala: Refresh my memory again. The calendar of Etheria shifts to a new title every millennium, right?

    Naomi: Correct. Every one thousand years across both Faernia and Eris, the title of our millennium changes. We differentiate the titles this way so that we can pinpoint prominent periods of history and timelines correctly. It makes it easier for scientists and historians to make calculations and predictions as well, since they can make correlations between events on both planets with ease.

    Nier: Ugh. Maths stuff.

    Vincent: What does this have to do with maths?

    Nier: It’s all complex wordings and calculaty and- UGH it sucks, okay? Why couldn’t we just keep counting the years from the beginning?

    Naomi: That would actually be worse. Our numbered years would reach unprecedented numbers, and we would have to manually label time periods and generations by the years in which they took place. Giving each millennium a title enables us to just call each millennium by that title. For example, if I was to refer to the last generation, I would mention Archanea, followed by the year number.

    Ariala: Whilst our generation is Thracia. So if me and Prince Rune get married this year, Pokémon in the future would remember it taking place in the year Thracia seven-sixty.

    Naomi: Correct. Have you been studying, your highness?

    Ariala: Actually, I was just curious how the names get decided. As far as I know, the millennial titles just seem to get universally known. Is there some monarch that decides it?

    Nier: Good question. They all sound like fantasy names from some game series or something. Archanea, Gaiden, Thracia… it’s gotta be some nerd naming it all.

    Naomi: The stars decide it in conjunction with the last generation on the nine hundred and ninety-ninth year of the millennium. Supposedly the whole process is called ‘Astral Genealogy’.

    Nier: That’s even worse! It’s definitely some nerd coming up with it, I’m convinced.
     
  18. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Chapter 1


    I'm a long time overdue reading this, I am so sorry! Fantastic to see you on the forums. I've been wanting to read this, so let's get stuck in.



    Fantastic opening line! One thing every good story needs is a good hook ;)

    This first chapter is a good introduction to the main cast. I agree with Negrek's comment that the kommo-o comes across as a bad guy at first, but towards the end he seems to have different motives than I'd previously thought. Maybe it's to do with the mysterious ability the clefairy has?

    Also, regarding her worry about him eating her... do pokemon eat each other in this universe? It wouldn't be out of the ordinary given they are all animals, but it's a pretty dark concept that paints a pretty dark setting (although not one I'm unfamiliar with writing myself in my own dystopian cyberpunk universe).

    The two oshawott are suitably adorable. I already love Rune. I look forward to seeing why part of the castle is fenced off!

    Also... I've already seen some of the illustrations while flicking through the thread. They are absolutely adorable and add a lot of character. I look forward to seeing more of them, and pausing to view them in more detail later.


    Chapter 2

    I really do like the descriptions you use. I'm a sucker for them, and they really paint a fantastic picture.



    I'm unsure of the structure of this sentence. It makes sense, but it just doesn't sound right to me.

    I could suggest 'The sound of flames grew louder within it, so loud it made the trio visibly flinch', but I'm not sure if you were going for physical discomfort or not?



    Rune, that's called 'doing something', sweetie.



    An absol? Oh my goodness, please say it's an absol!



    Okay, so a chaptered 'fic with a whole host of my favorite pokemon? I'm sold. (also, I just have to say this, because it's hilarious. I have a mawile and granbull duo in Reboot that carry weapons and fly a ship and this is all I am picturing here XD )



    Small typo. Should be 'deaf'.

    Well that was a colourful chapter! All that conflict... so much death... and I wasn't expecting poor Diantha to meet such a horrible fate! I'm surprised she's still alive, if I'm honest. The change to her appearance can't bode well. Also, what was the shadow that attacked her? I thought it might have been a sneaky ghost pokemon lurking nearby like the absol was. Maybe some kind of ghost army is backing the fairies, or working on their own? Or something much more ominous? (The only ghost type legends I can think of are Hoopa and Giratina...)

    I guess that absol was a real foreshadowing to these disastrous events?

    The Dragon Weapon has the feel of the weapon used in Kalos. I'm interested to see where that goes. I wonder if a legendary pokemon or something of that ilk is inside it?

    Poor Rune has his work cut out for him now. All bark and very little bite it seems. The chipper little fellow experienced all this... I wonder how it will affect him now?


    Chapter 3

    Ooh, time skip! Pretty well done, too. Interesting that Diantha still has her strange eyes.



    Hmm, I wonder if this has something to do with the absol we saw earlier?

    So little Rune is getting married? To the clefairy, I imagine? Ooh... I wasn't expecting that! Of course, neither was he! But he took it pretty well.



    A little suggestion - Maybe drop the 'that was mentioned earlier' part? It would sound so much better. With the description you gave the sword in the previous chapter, readers should remember it so it's not really needed.



    Ahh, that shadow thing... did something more than just change her eyes, then? I did wonder what the consequences would have been, given she survived. Eek... If I were to speculate, I wonder if it's done something like 'trick or treat', turning her part ghost type? I'm probably wrong, but I love seeing pokemon moves used in imaginative ways like that, so if I'm right I'm gonna totally leap outta my seat XD but I guess I'll find out what surprises lie in wait soon enough!



    Why do I feel like that's a bit of an ominous note to end on? Ohh... that gives me a bad feeling about her.

    A good chapter, building up to future events. So the little clefairy evolved? I wonder if Rune ever will? Not that I mind him being an oshawott. They're cute!


    Small typos:



    Bag



    It sounds okay, but I'm not sure 'fitted' is right here. I think it should be 'fit'.


    Chapter 4

    At first I wasn't sure how to take Diantha dating the ruffians, especially as they didn't seem all that nice. Wasn't even entirely sure if she'd been 'kidnapped' in some way, after wandering out. But as it turns out it's a convenient way for Rune to get a little lesson or two in how to treat a lady, and Diantha gets to travel with him even if it's only part of the way. That's pretty cute. I'm glad he scared them off. They seemed pretty mean. I mean, did they even know she's a princess?

    That little town sure is having some tough times.



    Well, that answers my question about pokemon being eaten D= wow, that's brutal! I wonder what kinds they breed? Like, is there some level of discrimination going on? And the king came up with the idea?! Yikes! I'm really not sure whether he's good, bad or misguided!

    My initial thought was that Rune seemed pretty cold towards the furret even after he met Galen, but he's gone into hero mode again. Wanting to get to the bottom of things. I sure hope he can encourage some change to the town, or at least find out the source of its problems. Maybe the natural disasters have cranked up the rent and insurance?

    We definitely are seeing a real change in Rune's personality after those events in Chapter 2. No longer a peppy little energetic boy, he's now much more serious. I'm interested to see how he grows as events unfold.


    Chapter 5

    Hmm, so the landlord is a sylveon? Rune's presence seems to put her right on edge! Wonder why she's exploiting the locals?

    Ahh, her back story! Extorting others to help her mate. And through that, we learn both planets are greatly flawed! Eris has the breeding grounds, and Faernia rejects 'defects'. Did Faernia basically shove her into Eris' breeding grounds then? Or did the king or whoever else is in charge put her there? D= Kudos to that umbreon for rescuing her! Man, I hope they find him a cure.

    I also really like Galen. He's so happy and excentric. A little bit of comic relief, actually.

    We also see Diantha's power here. So whatever attacked her granted her with powerful moves she shouldn't know? And it makes her leave some kind of shadowy trail... hmm...



    I can almost imagine the anime 'glasses flash' here. What's the emolga up to?


    Some typos:



    Just missing a 'the' here



    'into'



    Missing a 'the' - 'It's the very reason...'


    Chapter 6

    Interesting description of the two planets! That's really imaginative. The sketch helped visualise it better, too. I also like how the port is called Fantasia Port. Fits in with the fairy vs dragon elements.

    Rune is very quick to draw his scalchop, isn't he? Threatening the emolga? I'm glad Ptera seems pretty good at the moment, helping to guide them (although he is pretty cold and... well... has a bit of an attitude...) I do wonder if he has an alterior motive however.



    Haha! Diantha going all school girl over him XD spotted a typo here. Should be '… see him!'

    As soon as that landslide began to happen at the volcano, I wondered if that absol was behind it. And who should show up and attack? The absol. I was... kinda hoping he was on the hero's side, or the princess'. Dang. I guess I can still hope he sides with the princess, right?

    I can't make him out at all. Is he trying to wipe out Rune and Diantha, or teach them something? It's like he almost forces Diantha to use her powers for some reason. Did he give them to her? If so, I wasn't expecting that. But he does seem to have some creepy powers himself.

    Whatever is wrong with Diantha, it goes beyond what I expected. And clearly wipes her out.

    Btw, Ptero with his little daggers? Adorable! But... probably deadly...


    Some typos:

    'was'



    'visably'


    Chapter 7

    That dream doesn't bode well. I hope they can change the outcome if that's set to happen later! I wonder if that shadowy thing takes over the Tapus?

    I love the contrast of the city with Eris's mountainous terrain and little 'town'. The way the Tapus use their terrain as well is very imaginative. Not eating meat? So I guess that's one huge difference between the two planets!

    Vincent is awesome. A hybrid is pretty imaginative. I like him already. But he can't use pokemon attacks? Have I understood that right?


    Some typos:



    I think you're missing a 'the'?



    Need to drop the 'she'



    '… but she was cluless as to what'?


    Chapter 8



    Don't underestimate meowstics, Tundra!



    Very Naruto!

    The use of weapons to emulate pokemon attacks is pretty cool! I do enjoy stuff like that.

    Hmm, I'm glad reinforcements showed up for the princess. Her two friends seem unnervingly familiar with that black energy crackling around her though. Does that have anything to do with her heightened senses?



    Oh dang, that doesn't bode well! I hope Ariala gets to the bottom of the cause before that happens.


    Some typos:



    'to'



    Missing a word here. 'Was', I think.



    'than', and remove the first 'hand'.


    Chapter 9

    Hmm, so even Faernia isn't perfect, with its divisions, and hybrids being outcast. It has a real dystopian feel to it.

    I originally liked Charle, but he's not very nice to Vincent is he? Flirting with Nier right while he's stood there, and then insulting him? I do like how all the characters are very different though, in their personalities!

    I really do love the Cats Brigade, even its name XD

    Ah, so that's why Jararanga kidnapped her! To seal off that power! We don't know what happened after that event. She wasn't taken back by the fairies, was she? So why didn't he do it there and then?

    Vincent's past is interesting and unexpected. So chronologically he's over one thousand years old? I was not expecting that little revelation!



    Think this is just an oversight. You've not ended the speech correctly; “...happens,” she added



    Missing 'we'

    Awesome story so far. I look forward to reading more =)
     
  19. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    The mighty Absol has blessed me with a mighty review! Honestly, it's very fun, motivating and uplifting to read everyone's thoughts on feelings on this work. And again, to reiterate, I DO read and take into account everyone's comments, whether negative, mixed, or positive, I just won't make changes right away (although, I am seeing what I can do for future chapters if there are dire problems like my stupid and embarrassing misspellings). It's especially funny to find similarities or predictions of what people will think is going to happen!

    Anyway, public announcement. My other fanfic on this site, Heroica Legends: An Undesired Hope, is going on hiatus. That's a story I really want to focus on and put maximum effort into, and right now, it isn't at the quality I want it to be at. Whilst I rework it, I won't be updating it, and instead focus on Astral Genealogy - so that means weekly rather than biweekly updates. Hooray!
    If you were reading Heroica Legends, I apologise for the sudden halt.

    Without futher ado, let's get on with the next part. As Ariala and her party finally arrive at the Stardust Treasury...

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

    Episode 10: Master Lin


    [​IMG]

    “What is this?” Ariala whispered, her eyes wavering upon the sight before her. After half a day’s worth of travel by Ponyta and cart, her and her small army had reached the Stardust Treasury. They weren’t exactly there yet, but the landmark was in sight, less than ten minutes away at a guess. The land it stood on was what brought Ariala near to tears of disbelief.

    A torrent of emotions flushed over her face, confusing her on what to think. Even though it defied all logic, the fields and colours of nature stopped dead at a certain point across the ground. There was literally a line dividing the two parts of the planet, one half having grass, hedges, trees, and all other forms of nature, whilst the other half was a colourless wasteland covered in grey, dust, and cracks. The only visible landmark was the Stardust Treasury itself, an enormous rectangular box that was as tall as a city.

    “This is the edge of the Tapu’s domain. The blessings granted by their terrain stop here, so nature is left to its own rules. Of course, our current technology physically affects nature, so everything outside of the Tapu’s domain fails to function,” Vincent explained, folding his arms. He stared at the blank distance coldly, squinting at something. “This is where the Pokémon that don’t worship the Tapu live, outside of their influence.”

    “Where the protesters live,” Ariala muttered. She slowly shook her head and focused her grip back on Naomi, to which the Ponyta nodded and galloped on their way.

    “This structure is roofed over. Is the entire city indoors?” Ariala asked, once they got closer. The giant structure looked more like an ancient ruin of some kind, being made of perfectly square stone blocks of the same, colourless material that the planet was made from. No marks or decorations of any kind where anywhere across it, but it was being held up by thick iron bars like a prison cell.

    Those iron bars ran all the way around it, almost hiding the one entrance where the bars parted far enough for a Pokémon to realistically fit through. There wasn’t enough room for the carriage to go through however, so they left it there – the other carriages parked outside implied it was okay to, anyway.

    Inside was countless times more pleasant than expected, thankfully. The uplifting life that filled the Tower of the Tapu was present here on a far greater scale it seemed, as many more Pokémon filled the streets and paths than the group had ever seen. The buildings that lined the city were of inconsistent quality, from straw hut cafes that were a single room, to enormous skyscrapers covered with flashy logos and neon shop signs. Amongst the buildings were convenient overpasses, footbridges that crossed over central roads. Some were so high up that they ran right beside some of the skyscrapers, looking fun to walk on.

    “Hey Ariala, how’re you holding up? If it gets too loud, let us know, okay?” Nier said, distracting Ariala for a moment. Until then, she hadn’t even noticed the jovial festivities sounding out around her. There were street performers that danced and sung, and muffled conversation from hundreds around. Now that she was paying attention, there was a mixture of delicious aromas that came from the many food stands around that made her feel hungry, even though she had eaten well for breakfast already. Curious still, she approached one of the straw stands at random, eying its displayed selection.

    “See anything you like? Some of these dishes are very rare and can only be gotten here,” the Prinplup behind the stand bragged, using a wing to show it all off. “They’re all cooked using the baking and frying methods from Eris, but made using ingredients from Faernia. So nothing distasteful!”

    “Huh. I had no idea that berries wrapped in deep fried batter could smell so good. They look good, too. And it’s remarkably cheap,” Ariala praised, putting a finger on her lips.

    “Gotta admit, they do look really good,” Nier added, drooling. Vincent rolled his eyes.

    “You need only ask, my lovely lady. Want something?” Charle proposed, shoving his way to the front.

    “I wouldn’t, if I were you. You don’t know what’s in street food like this,” Naomi warned. “We specifically ate well before coming here so that we wouldn’t succumb to unknown foods like this.”

    “Suit yourself. It’s a once in a lifetime though, I assure you,” Prinplup bragged smugly.

    “You can’t come to a place like this and not try the food! It’s like, the law of tourism. I’ll take a Cornn Berry sausage in batter, please!” Nier cheered. She giggled excitedly as the exchange was quickly made, having to bounce the snack around in her paws to cool it down.

    “It’s a good choice, but make sure you cool it down and have a drink afterwards. Cornn are known for their dryness,” Prinplup warned.

    “Bit late on the warning!” she remarked, trying to dull the heat by stuffing a large bite in her mouth. She wound up flinching and squealing as it burnt her tongue, almost falling over.

    “N-Nier!” Naomi cried. The Meowstic quickly recovered and started squealing in glee instead, taking another large bite like her life depended on it.

    “This thing is so good! It’s crispy and warm and thick, but sweet like a sweet!” she cheered. “I’ve never eaten anything like this before. We’ve gotta get a recipe!”

    “You’re making me want to try something,” Ariala admitted, walking off to admire her other choices. “Toffee apple, candy Oran Berry, fried rice, baked nut cake, fizzy Sitrus Juice… I’ve never seen any of these foods before. And how much variety do we have back home?”

    “Too much variety!” Nier agreed, her voice muffled by a full mouth. Two sticks were in her hand, both presumably having foods on them.

    “Did you buy- you’re gonna run out of money before we’re even done here. Save some room for dinner!” Vincent complained.

    “Oh I’ve always got room for dinner, don’t you worry about that, heh heh. Say Ariala, what’re we even doing here, anyway?” she giggled. Ariala slowed down and started scratching her chin, giving everything another look over.

    There are electronic lights on the ceiling, and some power is being used to operate ovens, fires, and all else. Even though the Tapu’s domain doesn’t reach here, their society is almost as well maintained as ours,” she concluded, setting her sights on the road forward. Pokémon barely paid her and her group any notice, despite Vincent’s hooded robe covering his appearance. “I can’t believe it. At first glance, this place seems completely normal. But what is it about these Pokémon that causes them to decline the blessings of the Tapu? And so much so that they would travel so far to violently protest?

    The others watched her as she wandered off mumbling, shrugging as they followed. Ariala never answered the question, exploring the city without clear purpose. She did buy food and drink however, adapting to the positive vibes given out by the place. Within an hour or two the group had seen a good majority of the city, from its dining districts to a retail park and even an amusement sector filled with arcades and theatres for stage plays.

    “I’ve been holding off on admitting this, but this city has changed greatly from how I last remember it. It’s far more advanced,” Vincent stated, settling down on a bench on the side of a street. The road they were on was quiet and moody, lined with many habitats made of stone. Ariala was examining a convenient map next to the bench while the others stretched and took a break.

    “Not my ideal area for a date though, that’s for sure. As flashy as this place is, Nier deserves better,” Charle remarked, wiping the coin on his forehead.

    “Do you ever stop talking about Nier?” Vincent complained.

    “Do you ever treat her as she deserves to be treated? A fantastic lady like her only comes by once in a man’s dreams, after all,” he replied, smiling cheekily. “You should be treating every day with her like it’s your last!”

    “I understand that way of thinking, but we think differently. Listen Charle, I don’t appreciate you trying to lecture a married couple on how they should treat each other,” Vincent stated, folding his arms.

    “Your marriage isn’t even genuine. That’s why it infuriates me so. This beautiful Meowstic deserves better than your efforts!” he snapped, pointing fingers at him with ridiculous enthusiasm.

    “Oh boys, you can be so territorial sometimes, you know that?” Nier giggled, giving them both a playful look.

    “I believe you mean ‘possessive’,” Vincent corrected.

    “Shut up, I knew that! Listen Charle, me and Vincent may not have some fancy paper or ring to say that we’re married, but we are, trust that much. Our commitment is different to most normal Pokémon,” she explained.

    “That’s why I wanted you both, to be honest. You’re nothing like the other royals. They can be so stuck up and stifling with their rules sometimes,” Ariala admitted, half paying attention. She was focused on the map sign.

    “But your highness, we’re strict for a reason!” Naomi cried.

    “Hush! Don’t say that out loud,” Vincent hissed. Barely any Pokémon paid attention, thankfully. “Anyway, point is, I don’t like the way you talk to Nier anymore. I’ve been patient until now, but you just aren’t respecting us at all.”

    “I don’t mind, to be honest. I don’t see the big deal,” Nier shrugged.

    “The big deal is that if you don’t put your foot down and just tell him you aren’t interested in him, he’s going to keep fretting and hitting on you,” Vincent sighed, shaking his head.

    “I think it’s funny and sorta cute!” she giggled, covering her mouth. Charle slumped forward. “In a cartoony sorta way. When Charle gets a real girlfriend, he’s gonna make her really happy.”

    “But don’t you understand, my lady? There’s only one woman I truly want to make as happy as you imply,” he hinted. She tilted her head, making him slump forward and groan.

    “I won’t find what I’m looking for here,” Ariala said out loud, getting everyone’s attention at last. “Perhaps if we stayed here for a few days, we would get to see the city’s true colours, but we don’t have that much time. So let’s see if we can reach this ‘Zodiac Temple’ that’s in the centre of the city. We’ll have to pay for one of those Manectric buses to get there.”

    Before anyone could reply, a loud blast occurred in the stone house right next to them, and a huge Flamethrower suddenly streamed out from one of the windows. Ariala stepped away whilst Vincent and Naomi stood guard over her, flinching when a Grumpig fell through the door, covered in marks of damage and burns. A Blaziken followed, stomping on the Grumpig’s foot to keep it in the ground.

    “You just don’t get it, do you? It’s over. You lost the bet, so the money’s mine. You want more money, freaking work for it, don’t gamble for it!” Blaziken hissed, ignoring the wails of pain from the Pokémon below him. “I’m sick and tired of you showing your ugly mug here every day, begging for money back. You’ve got three days, you hear me? Three days to get a job, cough up, or cough your last!”

    “P-please get off! Okay okay, I’m begging you, no more pain, please!” Grumpig squealed.

    “Looks like somebody pushed their luck,” Charle commented, looking away. Ariala refused to dismiss it, despite the others turning away as well, and approached.

    “Release him,” she ordered with a straight face.

    “And who’re you? This Pokémon’s been-” Blaziken growled.

    “I understand the situation enough from those few words. But physically harming him will impair his ability to work. Hurting him serves no purpose,” she reasoned. Blaziken spat and obeyed, slowly lifting his foot off. “Nier, this Pokémon is burnt. If you would heal him, please?”

    “Wait, but if I-” she replied, glancing aside. Quite a few Pokémon were watching the scene.

    “It matters not. Don’t worry about it,” Ariala smiled.

    “Ari,” Vincent muttered.

    “If you say so,” Nier replied with clear reluctance, standing over the Grumpig. She drew her rapier and held it upside-down so that the shiny orb was at the top, raising it into the air. “By the blessings of Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini, cure this soul with your healing powers. First Aid!”

    The orb flashed and out came a soft, golden, glittery glow that showered sparkles over the damaged Grumpig. As each bit of glitter landed on him, it burst into a warm glow that sunk into his body, removing his burns and dirt in moments. Seconds later he was back on his feet and admiring his healthy body, speechless at how quickly and magically he had just been healed.

    “Huh. I thought that the rapier was just a fancy weapon for a fancy lady. I didn’t know it could actually heal,” Charle remarked.

    “It’s a double sided rapier. One side is a blade, the other, a healing staff. Me and Vincent needed someone to take care of us during our travels, after all,” she clarified quietly, looking at the crowd around them. Many of the Pokémon now appeared to be all kinds of disgusted and scared, trying not to look back at her.

    “Are you feeling better?” Ariala asked, silencing as Grumpig flinched away from her. He took the opportunity to run away, crying at the top of his voice. “… Why is he afraid?”

    “I thought I recognised that voice when everything went quiet. You’re awfully brave, using a Tapu blessing in a city like this,” a familiar voice stated, drawing all eyes to it. Tundra the Greninja was stood in the doorway of the house, his arms folded and eyes thin.

    “Tundra! At last, I’ve been looking for you this whole time,” Ariala gasped.

    “Hmm? I don’t think you realise what kind of position you’re in. We have no reason not to just outright kill you right here and now,” Tundra warned, silencing them all. He slowly scanned the rest of the crowd, opening his eyes to appear more threatening. “Well? Don’t just stand there, this isn’t a pantomime. Get out of here! I will deal with them.”

    At his words the crowd began to disperse, Blaziken included, who went back into the house. Once they were all alone Tundra approached, hiding his eyes again. “Princess Ariala, what the hell do you think you’re doing here?”

    “I came to stay true to my proposal. I want to resolve the issues you have with the Tapu,” she answered, approaching without fear.

    “Look- no- don’t come near me!” he raised his voice.

    “Ariala!” Naomi shouted. Ariala ignored them all until she was right up in Tundra’s face, looking at him in the eyes without wavering at all.

    “I want us to strike some kind of mutual agreement. If there is something I can do to resolve the conflicts you have with the Tapu and our society, then I will be willing to cooperate within reason. Now is the time to have your most important problems fixed.” She proposed. “Please, Tundra. I do not want to see more Pokémon get hurt, or unnecessary violence performed. I am certain we can work something out-”

    “Okay okay, I get it! Sheesh, you don’t have to stand that close to me. Your breath stinks, what’ve you been eating? And you’re still dressed in that ridiculous… disguise, if that’s what you call it,” he hissed. Ariala stepped backward. “You’re speaking to the wrong Pokémon. Although I govern Stardust Treasury in a way, at the moment, we are ruled by our own religious mayor of sorts.”

    “Religious mayor?” Vincent replied.

    “The high priest of the Constellars, Master Lin. At present, he and his followers fund and power our city with their magic, enabling us to survive. Without them, we would be out in the wilderness that you see surrounding this city. If you want to talk diplomacy, he is the one to talk to. He should be in the Zodiac Temple in the centre of the city,” Tundra explained.

    “We were about to head there, anyway. Thank you very much, Tundra,” Ariala replied, bowing to him. “Come on, everyone. The day will not wait for us. Let us set up a meeting with him.”

    “I have a bad feeling about this, your highness,” Naomi warned, trotting after her. The others didn’t say anything but followed anyway. Tundra watched them walk off with open eyes, joined by Blaziken after they left.

    “Why did you let them off?” he wondered. Tundra groaned and fixed his tongue scarf.

    “I have a bad feeling about this as well. But I want to see how this plays out, anyway,” Tundra answered.





    The Manectric Bus wasn’t what they expected it to be. It was quite literally the process of renting a ride on the back of an electrified dog, and then having that dog take you to a designated stop in the city by running exceedingly fast. It was like a cheap Ponyta ride, except it had no convenient safety equipment whatsoever.

    It got them to their destination in the blink of an eye at least, an area devoid of all Pokémon, it seemed. An enormous, perfectly rigid lake sat in the centre of the city littered with eerie, ghostly flowers with coiled petals and oversized buds. They floated on the water like lotus, spewing out an indescribably quirky stench that shrouded the area in pale mist. A single bridge with rotten planks led to the temple in the centre, an enormous structure that felt like it would disappear in the mist at any second.

    “This is the place. But it doesn’t feel like the place to talk,” Ariala remarked, holding a hand out. Some sort of glitter filled the atmosphere around the lake, completing the scene by giving it a spatial feel. She couldn’t touch the glitter at all however, it just faded upon contact.

    “Because it’s a trap. Even I can see that!” Charle warned. “C’mon your highness! You’ve got to be smarter than this.”

    “Whether it is or isn’t smart, I must understand the full situation. And if the Pokémon I seek is in there, then I must go,” she stated, marching forward. She gasped at the creaking of the planks beneath her, freezing to ensure that it was safe to walk on. If this bridge couldn’t carry her, then what of her entourage?

    “Something’s been bugging me as well. Tundra called their leader ‘Master Lin’. That was… his name,” Vincent added, joining her with careful steps.

    Oh right, Vincent’s dad was called Lin, too,” Nier realised, using her psychic to float across safely.

    The temple looked just as any other sacred structure would look, both inside and out. Outside was aged but imposing, whilst inside was cold, vast, but well managed. The stained glass windows all showed off zodiac symbols, and each one shone a dark, spatial light onto the rows of benches. At the far end of the hall was a lone Pokémon clothed entirely in a dark purple robe, sat down on a huge chair with his back to everyone.

    Ariala couldn’t help but stop here, in the central walkway between the benches. Only now was she beginning to get the unholy vibes of being in extreme danger. Her fur trembled from both fear and the actual cold, but her ears detected nothing. There was no one watching them, no one there breathing except herself and the Pokémon sat in the chair, their breaths visible before them as large gushes of frost.

    “I’ve been expecting you, princess,” the Pokémon spoke. The sudden speech of the snide voice made her flinch, and her face tensed up. The fact that no one else was saying anything told her that her allies were just as turned off by the situation, so she reached for her fan and made sure to grip it, ready to brandish it at any moment.

    “Now now, there is no need to be nervous. I have cleared the hall for your arrival, your highness. You need not worry. Come forward and speak to me,” the figure said, raising its right arm to wave slowly. Its voice was condescending and vile, yet wise and struggled, like that of a powerful old veteran. It pronounced every word with heavy emphasis. From this distance, Ariala could barely make out its hand either, but it looked like a claw.

    “I said come forward and speak to me,” it growled, gesturing a click with its sharp fingers. The movement of finger curling towards itself seemed to capture Ariala, and she suddenly went skidding across the floor against her will and control, psychically dragged right up to the large chair. She screamed and fought against it but couldn’t do anything until the hand stopped its movement, in which she was now right behind the chair. As if knowing that, the chair spun around, revealing the pokemon at last.

    Ariala could have screamed again if she didn’t already. The monster sat before her clearly wasn’t a Pokémon at all; unidentifiable to everything she knew was living in this world. It had the features of most Pokémon in its face at least – blue, wrinkly skin, pitch black eyeballs with piercing red pupils, amber hair shooting out from the tip of its layered forehead, a long, pointed nose, and a lipless mouth that was dryer than a desert. In fact his whole face was, looking as if it could shatter into crust at a touch. Everything else of its body besides its hands and wrists was covered perfectly by its spatial coloured robe, almost causing the creature to blend in with the darkness – his eyes stood out too much.

    “Princess!” the others cried as Ariala tripped backwards, losing control of her calm completely. She hadn’t realised she had drawn her fan and guarded her front with it, but she was thankful that the others soon stood guard over her. Just the sight of his abyssal eyes was enough to silence her from fright.

    “That’s a shame. I did the best I could to make this meeting to your standards, your highness. You would still have your guards attack me?” he said, slowly standing up. A large sash adorned with zodiac symbols appeared around his neck, each symbol glowing a bright, aqua blue. “I am Master Lin, high priest of the Constellars and governor of the Stardust Treasury. Didn’t you want to speak to me?”

    The others tightened their poses and held their weapons at the ready, clearly resisting every urge to lash out at him. Seeing that, Ariala got to her feet and tried to approach, unable to stop herself from shuddering. She wasn’t uncomfortably close to him, yet she could feel it. An overwhelming feeling in her body that was telling her she was dangerously close to death right now.

    “Y-yes, I did. I wish to negotiate some terms with you about the outsiders of F-Faernia and the followers of the Tapu,” she replied softly, clearing her throat to speak properly. “Some Pokémon from this city recently travelled to the Tower of the Tapu to protest against our planet’s primary religion, our belief in the Tapu.”

    “I see. You have come to resolve this conflict. Well, let me be brief to settle your discomfort,” Lin responded, stretching his wrinkly arms out wide. He clapped his sharp, claw-like hands together, causing the doors of the temple to shut with a loud slam. Everyone gasped and spun around at it, jumping back from Lin as he raised his hands with a wicked smile on his face. “Obey me and you shall get everything you desire from me, princess!”
     
  20. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Phew, an update! Just before Sheffield Regionals, but just after a hype Nintendo E3. I hope everyone enjoyed Nintendo's announcements and all, because I certainly did! And they definitely distracted me so much I couldn't write properly. So it's a relief to get this chapter out!

    I hope you enjoy it. This part is special in that it has artwork for Vincent, the hybrid character in Ariala's group. If you ever wondered what he looks like, you'll find here, in this part.

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

    Episode 11: Hybrid connections


    [​IMG]

    “I don’t get it. What could you possibly want with Ariala? Who are you really?” Naomi shouted, stretching out her hooves. The flames on her back were going wild, illuminating the darkness well.

    “My business is with the princess and no one else. The rest of you can keep out of our meeting,” Master Lin stated, raising one arm. A dark, slimy substance spewed from the palm of his hand all over the floor. Once enough of it covered the ground, the slime formed into the shape of Pokémon, losing the texture of the dark substance in replace of a near transparent appearance.

    “Spectres? Everyone be careful, he’s a cantor!” Naomi cried, keeping her eyes fixed on Lin. He kept on spilling out more and more slime until he was surrounded by six of the spectres, all of which resembled different Pokémon. Their ghostly figures were highly visible in the darkness thankfully, as they couldn’t be seen through, so their outlines stood out.

    “Spectres? What’re they? They look so cool,” Charle asked, readying his claws. “Actually, never mind. Whatever they are, rabble like that is why the Cat’s Brigade is here. Ready men? Charge!”

    Seconds later, the temple was filled with battle cries and the clashing of attacks. Charle’s small army ended up pushing Ariala and her friends aside; taking on the spectres with slashes and tackles, whichever their species did best. Despite the ghostly appearance of the spectres, their physical attacks were working. No sounds came from the enemies, but they were being kept back with ease.

    “While that’s going on, you and I can have our talk,” Lin said, using psychic to pull Ariala towards him again. The others freaked out as she was thrown over the battle and right up to Lin’s face, where he held her up by just below her mouth, strangling her. “I’m sure you know what I’m after. You’ve kept me waiting long enough. Release it!”

    “Re-release what?” Ariala struggled, wriggling in his grasp. He dropped her and curled his claws, covering them in more slime.

    “Don’t waste my time, princess!”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she cried, catching her breath. She struggled to her feet and stood guard with her fan, trying to keep calm. “I honestly do not know what you are talking about.”

    “The Shadow Partition that was sealed within you when you were a child. I believe you had to travel to Eris for their king to do it,” he said.

    How does he know about that?” Ariala gasped in her mind. She stumbled and glanced back, finding her allies separated from her by the six spectres.

    “Don’t bother, we are safe to talk. Release that Shadow Partition and you will be free to ask of whatever you please from me,” he said, pointing a finger at her.

    She hesitated and glanced back at her friends again, concluding it was safe to talk without them hearing. “I won’t. I don’t know how you know about that, but whatever wicked reason you require it, I will not give it to you!”

    “Hmpf. I didn’t spend all those months in planning just to get this far and have you tell me no. Whether you wish it or not, I will have that Shadow Partition from you!” he raised his voice, throwing the slime to the floor to summon two more spectres. They were formed quicker than the six that had formed earlier, running at Ariala with sharp claws bared.

    Ariala gasped again but fell into the flow of battle as quickly as needed. She brandished her fan against the two spectres, both Sandslash, and then protected herself by putting up a Reflect. The Sandslash clawed at the red barrier like mad, unable to even dent it.

    “I see. It makes sense that you wouldn’t come here without being capable of defending yourself,” Lin smiled, performing more hand movements. He summoned more spectres, but before they had even formed, he found himself distracted by a huge pink glow in front of him. Still behind her Reflect barrier, Ariala was holding onto a huge Moonblast attack and let it go with a cry of effort, making Lin gasp and rethink. The attack tore right through the two Sandslash and the two spectres that hadn’t formed yet, threatening to hit him head on if he didn’t do anything.

    To Ariala’s surprise, her Moonblast was stopped by a single palm pointed at it. Lin barely let out a sound of effort as he pushed against it, soon swiping that arm aside to send the Moonblast haywire, where it exploded harmlessly on the ceiling away from everyone. He had a cocky smile on his face, his dry features giving that more of a conniving feel that made Ariala shift away in discomfort.

    “If that’s how it is, I’ll defeat you myself!” he said, performing more hand movements. Instead of using his slime to create more spectres, he tensed his arms and cupped his claws around a glowing orb that appeared in front of him. He didn’t charge it for long and soon after it was fired, it burst into a rain of glowing stars.

    “Swift?” Ariala muttered under her breath, reacting with a Light Screen. The stars passed right through her barrier however, smashing it to pieces after just a few of them hit, and with many stars still to come, Ariala’s life flashed before her eyes. She could only widen them in disbelief and breathe in to begin gasping before they hit. The next second she was screaming at the top of her voice, each and every star slicing deeply into her body wherever they happened to hit. Blood splashed out of the miniature stab wounds they all made, and she fell to her backside, barely conscious of the wicked pain that coursed through her.

    “Ariala!” Vincent roared. He hadn’t seen what had happened to her, but her scream was enough to tell him and the others that they needed to step their game up. Any mercy that he and Nier had flew out of the window from there on, as they proceeded to stab two of the spectres in front of them with their weapons. Vincent pierced the ghostly spectre so that his spear poked right through its back, discarded its body with a careless flick, and then sprinted right through the battle, ignoring any pain he took from the crossfire of attacks. Once Ariala and Lin were in view, he leapt up high and attempted to smash his spear right through Lin.

    “Annoying peasant!” Lin coughed, drawing back an arm as he spotted Vincent. A psychic force clashed against the hybrid as he thrust that arm directly at the spear, stopping Vincent in place. Vincent growled and hopped back to Ariala’s side to prevent getting hit by a follow up, gritting his teeth. “Know your place your sacrilegious plebeian!”

    Vincent responded but coughed to stop himself before any words came out. He slowly stood up beside the princess, guarding his face with his spear. Lin didn’t seem to retaliate and started smiling at him, calming him enough to speak. “Who are you really? And what’s the meaning of this?”

    “That’s none of your business. If you would be so kind-”

    “Don’t toy with me. My father was to be called Master Lin. Who are you really?” he raised his voice. Lin lost his smile.

    “Vincent? Are you the princess’s guard?” Lin replied, his black eyes widening.

    “You recognise me? You can’t be my father, though. What is going on here?” he shouted. Lin started smiling again, this time more evilly than before.

    “Well now, things have gotten interesting. To think you would hang onto life this far, even after becoming the monstrosity you are now. A true wonder you could even evolve!” he snickered. The glowing pupils in his black eyes disappeared, making his eyes look as if they were sockets leading to the darkness of his skull. “The protests I conducted brought the princess here. But now that I know that brings you with it, things will get far more interesting.”

    Vincent flinched when an attack flew past him faster than he could blink, impacting Lin right in the chest. Lin’s screech implied that it had taken him by surprise as well, and he staggered backwards in agony as the attack remained there. He glanced at it in disbelief, finding a shining blue shuriken there.

    “Don’t just stand there! Take him down!” Tundra shouted, falling from somewhere on the ceiling. The way he flashed into colour told them that he had been camouflaged the whole time, having heard and seen everything. Vincent shook his head into focus and lunged at Lin again, but even with the Water Shuriken in his chest, Lin blocked every attack with a psychic force and hand movements. Their clash came to a quick end again, but this time, both Vincent and Lin landed in battle ready poses.

    [​IMG]

    “Wait, what?” Ariala gasped, eyes widened at them both. They were both stood in Vincent’s signature pose, with one arm hung forward loosely, one leg knelt down, and their other arm stretched behind them. “So it’s true, they are connected.”

    “Princess!” Tundra shouted, getting her attention. He pulled her to her feet, reminding her of the intense condition of her body. It felt like her body was about to split into a million pieces just trying to stand, so she staggered and cringed, holding in a scream. “Hey, Ponyta! Get your ass over here and let’s make a break for it!”

    “Don’t order me around! Charle!” Naomi replied, glancing at the Meowth. Charle saluted her and then stampeded forward with the Cat’s Brigade, all of them aimlessly running right into the spectres. Seeing that coming, Vincent retreated, picking up Ariala and jumping over them to return to Naomi’s side. He didn’t waste time in sitting her on the Ponyta’s back, running alongside them for the exit.

    “The doors are sealed, but I can break them open. Don’t dawdle!” Tundra said, landing in front of the doors. He performed a few hand signs and then flicked a Water Shuriken at it, having that shuriken shatter a previously invisible barrier. He kicked it open at that, and the team were soon galloping away as fast as they could.

    “Fall back now, men! Her highness has escaped!” Charle announced, still keeping wary of Lin anyway. Lin had simply protected himself during their attack, taking no visible damage at all. He didn’t seem interested in retaliating either, so Charle turned and ran for the exit after his soldiers.

    “You there, Meowth. Wait just a minute,” Lin called. Charle hesitated and stopped in the doorway, looking over his shoulder. “I’ve learnt invaluable information from this encounter, so I’ve no reason to follow you. Yet still, I sense conflict. A desire within you. You weren’t trying your utmost in that battle.”

    “What’s it to you, freak? It’s just my job to protect her highness and lady Nier from evil like you,” Charle replied, pointing at him.

    “I see. The Meowstic. She has your heart, but the hybrid stands in the way of your confessions. If you ever desire greater power, come to me. I will tell you all you need to know about that hybrid,” he said. Charle’s eyes widened.

    “Everything I need to know? You know stuff about that freak of nature?” Charle gasped.

    “I know much that will be of use to you, information that will surely change Pokémon’s views of him. A harsh reality that your lovely Nier perhaps is not aware of,” he replied, smiling. Charle went quiet, his mouth lingering on a reply.

    “I can come back at any time? Can we discuss this civilly?” Charle asked.

    “Contrary to my actions today, I am indeed very capable of civil discussion. I am the Stardust Treasury’s trusted mayor for a good reason. You have seen the magnitude of my planned protests and the stability of this city first-hand, that should be testament to my claims,” he bragged.

    “Hmpf. You might be evil, but if it’s priceless info you’re offering and the price isn’t too high, I just might come back,” Charle admitted, scratching his chin.

    “Of course. I wish to aid you, in this case. I believe in the demise of a hybrid like Vincent,”





    “Okay. We don’t seem to be getting followed, so we should be safe to break here,” Naomi huffed, stopping out in the open space outside of the city. Ariala slid off her back but collapsed to her backside again, cringing and resisting touching her wounds. She had stopped bleeding, but her body was still covered in red marks. “Nier, please. You healing.”

    “I know I know, I’m on it!” she said, raising her weapon. “Where’s Charle, though? We’ve got the soldiers, but not him.”

    “I think he stayed behind to keep Lin busy. He’s annoying, but that Meowth takes his job seriously,” Vincent replied, looking back at the city.

    “That was a total disaster, though. Look at you, princess! This kind of damage is what we needed to avoid. This never would have happened if we had gone right for the meeting point,” Naomi complained, stomping a hoof.

    “It wasn’t a total disaster. To be completely honest with you, I learnt all I needed to. I’m happy that we got that experience,” Ariala replied, doing her best to stand up. Nier’s healing had barely helped her visually, but the pain had stopped.

    “Princess!”

    “I’m fine. Being in that city and being able to meet the Pokémon in power allowed me to see a lot of the situation we’re in. Despite their different beliefs and urban myths about them, those Pokémon are no different than the ones in the capital,” she explained, shutting her eyes. “Yet, these Pokémon suffer from lack of vegetation, the natural disasters, and more. The Tapu don’t help them, and in turn, they have no faith in the Tapu. But what is the true reason why?”

    Tundra was still with them, but had his back turned until Ariala started speaking. He half looked back at everyone, surprised to lock eyes with Ariala. “What do you want? I wasn’t helping you. I already had suspicions that Master Lin was cooperating with me for his own gains. Thwarting him just happened to work in your favour.”

    “Tundra, the Pokémon of Stardust Treasury look to you to lead their protests and journey, yes?” Ariala asked, getting a nod of reply. “Please, join us. My pilgrimage is for the unity of the Faernia and Eris and the overall piece of Etheria. If your forces joined ours, our conflicts would be resolved for the time being. In turn, I will do my utmost to ensure your city sees the proper protection it should.”

    “Wait wait wait, whoa, Ariala, you for real?” Nier gasped. “Tundra and the protesters? On our team? That’s next level nuttiness!”

    “I can’t lie and say the thought of that doesn’t irk me. I mean, these are Pokémon that have literally killed hundreds, and are out for you in particular,” Vincent added.

    “I forbid it, your highness. A Pokémon like him is not to go any closer to you than he is now,” Naomi stomped a hoof again. Ariala sighed.

    “Naomi, you may be my personal chaperone, but I am the princess of the planet Faernia. I don’t stand for dictatorship, but I stand for freedom, peace, and equality,” she said, closing her hands into fists. “Not only has Tundra saved our lives, but I- no, we can see that he and his Pokémon are fighting for their fair right in this land. There is no clear reason for the lack of Tapu’s blessing out here, nor why we should ignore them or treat them any lesser just for not having the same religious beliefs as us. To that end, I propose we work together to resolve each other’s conflicts.”

    “You really are a class act, you know that?” Tundra spoke up, wide eyed as if smirking. He quickly calmed down and folded his arms. “But my actions against Master Lin have undoubtedly turned him and the Constellars against me. I daren’t return to the city anytime soon, which leaves me with very few options.”

    “So there’s that issue as well,” Ariala muttered.

    “I don’t want to help you. I don’t actually care about your Tapu religion or anything. I just want my Pokémon to be safe from these oncoming disasters. As you can see, a famine is certain to start here soon,” he clarified, looking out at the barren land around them. “If you stay true to your word in your efforts to help me and my Pokémon out of this horrible situation, then I will fight alongside you towards this mutual goal.”

    “Not just here, but Pokémon all over Faernia and Eris are suffering from natural disasters. This is why I’m on a pilgrimage to meet and marry the prince of Eris. Our unison will act as a link between the two planets, and we can begin working together towards peace,” she added, smiling. “And to be honest, I see more in you than you behave like. I get the sense that you’re not the type to act underhandedly or turn your back on someone.”

    “Hmpf. You’re inviting many opportunities for me to do something irreversible, princess. But fine. You have your temporary alliance,” he agreed.

    “No you don’t!” Naomi shouted, stepping between them. “I refuse to give you even an inch of a chance.”

    “You’ve gotta admit Naomi, she’s done a good job of keeping Tundra in check so far. I’m willing to give this a shot,” Nier smiled.

    “But she could get hurt!” Naomi cried.

    “If Tundra wanted Ariala dead, then he would have attacked her when he appeared in the Zodiac Temple. Instead, you helped us escape,” Vincent pointed out, making her gasp. He approached Tundra and held out a paw, gesturing a handshake. “Effort like that will let us get along.”

    “I’m yet to see you put that effort in at my end. But no point in doing otherwise. You have my word,” Tundra replied, shaking hands with Vincent. He did the same with Nier, going back to smiling.

    “By the way Vincent, what was that going on back there? You and Lin having the same battle pose,” Ariala asked. Vincent gritted his teeth and looked away, pulling his hood over his head.

    “I have some ideas, but I can’t say for sure. But as long as we stay away from Stardust Treasury, we shouldn’t have to deal with Master Lin, anyway. We should focus on reaching the meeting point now,” he replied, shaking his head.

    “You’re right. It’ll be nightfall soon, too. If we don’t hurry, we might actually be late. Tundra, I hope you don’t mind travelling by cart,” Ariala gasped, rubbing her face.

    “What about Charle? He’s still not here yet!” Nier gasped.

    “Don’t worry about it. We will deal it, your highness!” A soldier from the Cat’s Brigade promised, saluting her. “Half of us should continue to protect you; the remainder will scout the city again. We will catch up to you as soon as possible. Should new orders come, we’ll send a letter by air.”

    “If you say so. I hope he’s alright,” Nier moaned, climbing into the cart with the others. Vincent was last, looking more intense than the others.

    Sorry, your highness. But this is a battle I can’t get you involved in,” he promised himself.


     

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