1. We have moved to a new forum system. All your posts and data should have transferred over. Welcome, to the new Serebii Forums. Details here
    Dismiss Notice
  2. We're currently having an issue where e-mails sent to gmail accounts are not going through and are bouncing back. We're currently working to resolve this matter and apologise for any inconvenience
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Be sure to join the discussion on our discord at: Discord.gg/serebii
    Dismiss Notice
  4. If you're still waiting for the e-mail, be sure to check your junk/spam e-mail folders
    Dismiss Notice

Astral Genealogy [Pokémon Fanfiction]

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

  1. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Whoops, I let myself get pushed back to page two. Anyways, I had a bit of trouble writing this chapter, which is why it took so long. I couldn't quite hit the right tone or sense of progression with the chapter for a while... I'm sorta happy with it now, but at the risk of not delaying it any longer, I'll let you all read it.
    We shift back to Rune's party, now. The meeting between Rune and Ariala is imminent!

    ... A part of me wishes my images wouldn't come up so needlessly big, though.

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


    Episode 12: To Faernia!


    [​IMG]

    “We’re here, finally,” Rune sighed.

    “I don’t normally complain about a trip, but even I must admit that it felt as though we were walking on that mountain forever. And all without it getting any cooler!” Galen sighed as well, throwing himself back first onto the rock. He immediately cringed and rubbed his backside, cursing his seat for being so hard.

    Rune ignored him even though the others broke into giggles. They were overlooking the Fantasia Port, he was sure of it. At the bottom of the rocky hill they were at the top of was a large clearing by the sea filled with docked ships. They looked like fantastical contraptions he had only seen once before, giant sailing ships with oars poking out of their sides. Those oars were shaped like bird wings, right down to their flexible feathers that swayed in the wind.

    Rune’s eyes thinned as he recalled that painful memory. These ships were different to the ships he had seen back then. These ones had see-through roofs instead of sails for some reason, as well as enormous cannons on their backs. Despite being this different, just the sight of them reminded him of the horrific scenario his father had shown him, where he destroyed the fairies airships and killed them in the process. He stared at them intently, having that very memory envision itself before him. Flames surrounded the ships as they lay in ruins, burning everything within. The Pokémon inside screamed for their lives, evaporating in the merciless fires as he stood and watched, helpless, unable to do a thing but accept the deaths occurring before him.

    “Rune?” Diantha said, snapping him back to reality. “You okay? You were daydreaming.”

    “I,” he said, wiping his forehead. He was sweating, a lot. There was no reason to, though. The airships sat on a green field by the sea. There were no flames, nor were there Pokémon dying. “Let’s not waste time.”

    “Yeah, right! Oh I actually can’t believe we’re going to Faernia. I never thought about it at first, but now that I am, it’s so cool!” she squealed, leading the way. Rune grumbled as she stumbled down the hill, looking like she was going to trip and painfully face plant at any moment.

    “After you, your highness,” Galen smiled, letting him go. Ptero was waiting as well, arms folded and face flat as per usual. Rune didn’t show them any hints and walked off, joining his sister at the port.

    There were a lot more Pokémon than he could see from the top of the hill, and all of them looked like they worked here. A whole crowd of Pokémon scampered back and forth to take care of all sorts of tasks, from carrying boxes of things to working on the airships. It all looked complicated and busy, but thankfully Diantha had stopped to watch them all rather than ask questions.

    “I hate to do this, but wait here, your highness. I’ll sort out the trip,” Ptero said.

    “And we should trust you with this task, because?” Rune challenged. Ptero raised an eyebrow. “Your little ‘detour’ almost got my sister killed. I’d hate to think what other nasty surprise you’ll plan on an airship.”

    “Whoa what? You don’t trust him?” Diantha cried.

    “No, I don’t,” Rune said, folding his arms.

    “Bro, that’s whack! He didn’t do anything but take us the quick way to the port. It was Mirror that attacked us,” she complained, leaning towards him.

    “It doesn’t matter who attacked you. You almost died and if we didn’t go that way, we wouldn’t have run into Mirror. You wouldn’t have gotten hurt and-” Rune raised his voice, leaning towards her as well.

    “Who cares? I fought ‘im off, you know!”

    “Yes, with the powers that you shouldn’t be using. Heck, you shouldn’t even be in danger! Hell, you shouldn’t even be here!”

    “What’s with you? I can take care of myself!”

    “I don’t care if you can or you can’t. The point is you need to be in as little danger as possible. And this guy dragged us into a trap!”

    “The only one that thinks that is you. And why doesn’t it matter? You’re treating me like I’m a kid. I’m sixteen, remember?”

    “Gods, I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re this hot-headed. If you don’t trust me that much, then just follow me. You can watch me set this all up,” Ptero complained. “I would have thought you would want to do something more useful like buy provisions and prepare for the trip.”

    “See? We can trust him!” Diantha pouted. “Trust your friends, Rune. We all wanna see you get to Faernia.”

    “Friends? Argh, I-” Rune choked, grabbing his head. He took a deep breath and calmed down, hanging his arms by his side. “Look, sis. This isn’t about trust or friendship or anything. I can’t help worrying about you because you’re here, okay? Just let me protect you.”

    “I don’t need protecting, Rune. I’m an adult now. And this is about friends and trust, you’re not treating Ptero like a friend and you’re not trusting him!” she cried.

    “Seventeen is an adult in Oshawott years, sis,” Rune said.

    “Oh who the heck cares?”

    “Diantha, stop this, please. I have to not take any chances because I can’t afford to lose you again!” Rune cried. “You might not see it, but back then, when I saw what happened to you… I can’t bear to let that happen again. But I know I can’t keep you locked up in the castle, that’s why I let you come with me. But if you get hurt again, it’ll… it’ll…”

    “Wait wha? Rune?” she quietened down, surprised by his change of tone.

    “Please, just let me protect you. I love you too much to let you get hurt again. I want you to be as safe as possible through all of this,” he begged, putting his hands on her shoulders. Her cheeks reddened slightly and she looked away.

    “Alright alright, you don’t have to get all like that on me,” she said quietly. “But you’ve gotta trust the others, ‘kay? They wanna protect us, too.”

    [​IMG]

    “It’s true. Safe Pokémon are happy Pokémon, right?” Galen cheered, wrapping his leaves around both Oshawott. Rune groaned and rolled his eyes while Diantha started giggling. “And we’re a team working towards the happiest world. No reason not to trust each other. Diantha is safe as long as we’re around, your highness. I would gamble my life on it!”

    “Besides, I can vouch for Ptero in telling you that he’s trustworthy. We’ve been in contact for way too long for him to pull something dangerous around me,” Kelsith added.

    “If I recall correctly, Pokémon that can travel between the two planets are very far and few in between. Ptero might be our only hope to fly to Faernia,” Emerson said.

    “That’s correct. You need a special badge of right to freely travel between the planets. You can only get those badges by having the approval of royalty from both planets as well, so it’s extremely difficult to get, if I must say,” Ptero confirmed, showing them the badge from his bag. It was a simple pin badge with pink and navy blue. “I didn’t want to unveil this, but I’m actually required to help you. I’d be hard pressed for my freedom if I were to refuse to help royalty of either planet.”

    Hmm? Wait, it’s his duty to help the royalty? Did Jyararanga plan this as well? Is Ptero only helping me because he was asked to?” Rune gasped in his head. “No, it’s too early to make an assumption like that. I’ll have to see what Ptero does from here. If he’s our only ticket to travel to Faernia, then I have to put that much trust in him.

    “You kids, you’re making a ruckus and you’re in the way!” A child shouted, rushing towards them. It was a Togedemaru, but much taller and bigger than he sounded. “You don’t work here, so I’m letting you off. But please leave!”

    “Seriously, Shota? I’m right here,” Ptero groaned. The Togedemaru went quiet and glanced over at everyone, looking dumbfounded.

    “Oh, hi there Ptero. What’s going on here, then? Are you with these kids?” he asked.

    “We’re not kids. I am Prince Rune of Caste Eris,” Rune introduced, bowing. Togedemaru’s eyes widened.

    “Whoa, he’s so chubby! But why does his tail stick up like that?” Diantha giggled. Rune slapped her head, to which she cursed and tried to hit him back.

    “His and her royal highness and an entourage of Pokémon. Wait, there’s a fairy with you, too?” Togedemaru cried. “Wait wait wait, I’m sorry. Call me Shota. I-I’m the captain of these parts. We-welcome to Port Fantasia number one, where we handle communications between planet Eris and Faernia.”

    “We know. Your mailmon Ptero told us everything. We need a flight to Faernia,” Rune replied with a nod.

    “Yes, I received the letter about that a while ago. We’re to take you to the meeting point for your marriage with Princess Ariala, yes?” Shota confirmed.

    “You already know?” he said, tilting his head.

    “Yes. An operation li-like this would have been set up months in advance, you know! The-that said, we’ve run into some difficulty and well,” Shota staggered, looking side to side. “We don’t have a private airship yet. A recent rock slide dealt us a lot of damage, followed by the rotting of the sea leading to a bit of famine and… urf, the problems piled up. Most of the staff fled.”

    “That rock slide damaged here, too,” Emerson remarked.

    “That would have to have happened before our encounter with Mirror, though. That means the rock slides here have been a common occurrence,” Rune added, folding his arms. “The sooner this trip is done, the better. Can you still take us in one of those airships?”

    Shota glanced back at the three docked ships, and then back at Rune’s party, looking even more nervous than before. “In one of those shoddy old things? Sure we can, but for you as a prince?”

    “Don’t concern yourself with making a fancy vessel or something. We just need to get to Faernia safely,” Rune stated.

    “Yeah it can do that, but there’ll be many other Pokémon on board, you know. Those ships were already planned for mailmon and stuff,” he said, still sweating.

    “That’s fine. Make some space for Emerson and we’ll be alright,” Rune smiled.

    “Hey, whatever I have isn’t contagious!” the Umbreon cried.

    “Honey, he’s just taking safe measures,” Kelsith giggled.

    “If that’s really alright, then go ahead and make yourselves comfy on board the ship in the middle, there. Let the staff know who you are and they’ll show you what to do,” Shota instructed.

    “Thank you very much. See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? We didn’t need you, after all,” Rune teased, giving Ptero a smug look.

    “Big bro,” Diantha growled.

    “Hey, I’m joking this time. But that was a lot easier to do than he made it out to be,” he laughed, leading the way.

    “Just to let you know, it’s an eight hour trip between the two planets. If you need to do your business, do it before you get on. There aren’t any restrooms on board,” Ptero warned.

    “Restrooms?” Rune replied slowly, raising an eyebrow.

    “You know, the litterboxes. Eris might not have them, but on Faernia, you can’t just plop down anywhere and do that stuff. You have to develop a sense of hygiene,” he said.

    “You guys have designated areas to litter?” Rune asked. Ptero sighed.

    “I have a lot to teach you,” he groaned. Shota stood and watched them until they were on the other side of the field, where he was finally joined by another Pokémon, a Cacturne.

    “Oh gods, I’m so nervous. We can really do this, right? We’ve only got one shot,” he shivered, gasping hard. “Alright. Let’s gather everyone and get going. No time to go over the plan.”

    Cacturne didn’t say anything, nor did it move at all. It wasn’t even clear how it came to stand beside Shota, but it disappeared just as suddenly, causing the Togedemaru to groan in bother. “I know you’re eager, but we’ve gotta get this right, okay? No jumping the gun.”





    Contrary to Shota’s worries, the interior of the airship was far fancier than anyone expected it to be. It felt more like a home than it did a ship – it was spacious, furnished with wooden materials, decorated with paintings and posters, and even had a fireplace with an open fire burning in it. Tasty smells came from a room that was presumably the kitchen, whilst the only two rooms with doors blocking them had ‘staff only’ signs on them.

    There were no seats, only cushions, so Rune and the others made themselves comfortable in the head of the ship, an upper floor that was just below the glass roof. The glass curled right around until it reached the floor, so the group had a clear view of the surrounding world. From here they had an emergency exit that led right out of the airship and easy access to the other rooms.

    A lecture from Ptero about the standards of the public on Faernia failed to distract Rune from his nervousness, however. Once they had taken off, the unusual feeling of the floor tilting and the background shifting took away every sense of relaxation he could have had. He couldn’t shake how fragile these airships were; knowing that any bad attacks that went off in here would cause the whole thing to explode with him in it. Even worse, with the clear view of the outside world around them as they flew, he had all the sickening sights of Eris and its landmarks getting smaller and smaller.

    “S-sis, don’t stand so close to the window!” he called out, realising that she was leaning against it obsessively. She ignored him however, even when that scenery started to darken. It took very little time, but they had ascended to space and were going beyond. Everything around them outside was pitch black, minus the stars that glistened in the distance. An indecisive temperature came with it, one that had Rune shivering from cold even though he was sat so close to the fire.

    “I understand your discomfort, but I assure you, we’re safe. These airships use jets and oars to ‘sail’ through space. We’ll avoid any stars or debris with ease,” Ptero promised, walking back over to Rune with the others.

    “Honestly, it beats my first trip across the planets. I was locked in a box,” Kelsith shrugged.

    “I actually remember you being too stiff to move for a while. All the more reason I felt so sorry for you,” Emerson laughed.

    “How can you guys laugh?” Rune groaned, leaning backwards. His head was hurting from the mixed temperature, making him feel like he was going to throw up.

    “I do this for a living you know, going between the planets,” Ptero said, tapping his glasses.

    “Oh, right. Sis, please come back over here. You keep pressing into that window and your face is gonna flatten,” he complained.

    “But it’s so pretty out there. We’re in space, big bro! That’s so cool. I mean, imagine going to another planet in this thing?” she groaned, waddling over to them.

    “It’s a wondrous feeling, isn’t it? I could have only dreamt that travel like this was possible. And all to visit Pokémon on the opposite planet,” Galen remarked.

    “It’s also dangerous. One wrong move and we’re all dust,” he gasped. Diantha puffed up her cheeks.

    “Really? You’re that scared, huh? I’m gonna be fine Rune, you don’t need to fret over every little thing,” she said again. “Maybe you could take it easy if you ate somethin’ for once.”

    “You know what, that’s a good call. It’s been a while since any of us have eaten anything, hasn’t it?” he said, realising that fact. He was running on fumes for sure, yet his stomach was ready to heave up more than the butterflies that filled it to bursting. As he stood up to tend to that hunger, a group of Pokémon came through one of the doors in the back, casually walking around him and his party.

    “You have a knack for reading others minds. I wonder if they do special dishes for this trip, though? Space themed food is on my mind, now!” Galen cheered.

    “I usually bring my own meals since I’m not into Eris’ dishes. Who do we ask to prepare food?” Ptero wondered.

    Rune wondered just that, but his face flattened as he watched the way the Pokémon gathered into the room. It was almost as if they were surrounding him in a formation of some sort, a familiar positioning. None of them replied to the obvious questions he had, and it soon clicked in his mind what he should have been doing. He drew his Razor Shell and swiped it aside to show his threat, forcing the surrounding Pokémon to stop and prepare for an attack.

    “Huh?” Diantha said. Before she could say another word, A Cacnea came at her swinging, getting hit back by the prepared Rune. A Ninetales flared up its mouth and blew a Fire Blast at them straight afterwards, which Rune sliced in half, but not without recoil damage. Embers scorched him and Diantha, garnering a growl of pain from them both.

    Thankfully, Ptero and Kelsith had gotten into the swing of things and jumped into the battle, protecting Rune and Diantha from further attacks with a Thunderbolt and a Fairy Wind. The attacks stopped from there, leaving Rune and the party back to back with each other, surrounded by their potential enemies.

    “What in the world do you think you’re doing?” Ptero shouted, revealing his daggers.

    “Don’t bother asking. Just fight back!” Rune barked, keeping focused. He knew he had to be, here. Whatever reason these Pokémon were attacking him, he needed to ensure none of them damaged the surrounding ship too much. As such his eyes darted between the three most threatening looking Pokémon present, an Arcanine, a Raticate, and a Wartortle.

    “Ah, we’re sorry, Ptero. But this is our only chance to stop them,” Wartortle replied, looking down.

    “We almost died because of rock slides, earthquakes, and famine, and all the royal family cares about is a pointless little royal wedding? I won’t stand for a king that cares nothing about his Pokémon,” Arcanine growled. Rune’s face tightened.

    “Wait, what? You guys aren’t sayin’ you don’t want Rune to marry, are you?” Diantha gasped.

    “The only way King Jyararanga is gonna get up off his ass and do something about these earthquakes and stuff is if something happens to him. The death of his son ought to be a working switch for that,” Arcanine clarified.

    “You’re just supposed to be mailmon. Our job is to help these Pokémon. What makes you think treason will help?” Ptero shouted, his mouth agape.

    “Is the happiness of the royal family that much to ask? I admit that times are hard, but taking it out on someone of high standing is not the answer. I don’t see how that could possibly make you happy,” Galen said, readying his baton-shaped sword. Before Arcanine could continue arguing with them, Rune sprinted forward and swung his Razor Shell at full force, sending him flying with a mighty roar.

    “Rune!” Ptero gasped, but it was too late. The other Pokémon immediately turned on him after that pre-emptive attack, turning the once homely room into an all-out brawl.

    About three Pokémon attempted to dive on top of Rune, but he avoided them all by using an Aqua Jet which he aimed at the Ninetales from earlier. The quick strike sent it to the ground a good distance away, but there was no time to breathe as a Scizor took him on next, slamming its claws onto Rune’s head. Rune was ready and clashed against them with Razor Shell, quickly breaking away before attempting more attacks. The two of them smashed their attacks against each other hard enough to make one another grunt, but thanks to Rune’s size and his faster movements, he was soon slashing at Scizor’s chest to knock it to the ground.

    “You selfish jerks! That’s not why Rune’s going to Faernia!” Diantha cried, getting ignored. She stood by the others and protected herself from stray attacks with Water Gun, not having to do much as the enemies aimed almost solely after Rune. The others helped out from a distance, but to their surprise, Rune seemed to be able to handle the entire battle on his own.

    “This is a joke. None of you even know how to fight. Strength in numbers means nothing when you’re weak!” he shouted, gritting his teeth. He was already surrounded by a bundle of knocked out Pokémon.

    “It doesn’t matter, either way. You’re too late!” Arcanine laughed, struggling to his feet. “We win this either way. We’re all going to die, and it’ll show your king that he needs to get to work.”

    “Instead of attempting to do something about your predicaments yourselves, you’re dealing with your losses by bringing suffering onto your leaders. If you’re planning on crashing this ship, I’ll never let you!” Rune warned, tightening his pose. Arcanine started laughing to himself, making Rune go quiet. “Wait a minute, if these are the mailmon, then where’s that Togedemaru?

    At that, his eyes slightly shifted to scan the room. Wartortle, Arcanine, a Dodrio and a few other species were still standing, whilst those knocked out were forcing themselves back to their feet. “He’s not here because he’s the one driving the ship. ****, I have to find him!

    He stepped backwards and coughed another curse under his breath as he realised that fact, gritting his teeth on top of his other attempts at intimidation. Arcanine seemed to have realised Rune’s thoughts however, and smiled in smug triumph.

    I can’t leave this room without sis, though. But I have to hurry, or we’ll all be killed!” he shuddered, glancing back at her. “Damn it- screw it! Galen, Emerson, take care of Diantha for me. Ptero, Kelsith, you’re with me!”

    “Huh, what?” Ptero gasped.

    “Don’t question it, just follow me!” Rune shouted, charging off.
     
  2. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Huge apologies for the wait! It's getting quite difficult to write these chapters, to be honest. I'm not burnt out on the story or stressed about the weekly uploads or anything. Lately I just haven't been content with the 'feel' of my writing and the emotions I'm attempted to create with them. It's causing me to either put off or rewrite entire sections of the story, slowing me down and such.
    Either way, 900 views, woo! It's little compared to some of the superstar hits I can see on this site, but it still makes me happy. Almost at the grand 1k! That's still more attention than FF.net or Wattpad, even in the feedback department. You people and your words honestly keep me going and make my day! Thanks for enjoying Astral Genealogy this far, and I hope you enjoy the story all the way to the end!

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


    Episode 13: Signs of a change


    [​IMG]

    Shota failed to stand as still as he wanted to. The Togedemaru was attempting to focus on the wall of electricals and high tech controllers towering above him, reading little markings it all had on different sections. The machines were all black, with a web of different coloured wires, dials, switches, and occasionally, screens, all across an entire wall of the room. He was trying to pick out a specific one, but couldn’t focus his thoughts for long enough to even start analysing or choosing one.

    He blinked sweat out of his eyes, sighing from bother. It was always unnecessarily hot in here, especially when the airship was active and halfway through space. He had no time to dawdle, and yet every bone in his body refused to act and deal with the task.

    “Yes yes, I know. But it’s still hard, you know? Blowing the wrong fuse will just make everything inconvenient to everyone,” he complained, spinning around. Cacturne was behind him, staring perfectly motionless. “Ramuda, listen. I hate it when you start doing this. This is something I have to do, alright? I don’t care if you’ll find it easier.”

    Shota faced the machines again, staring up at the wires and the points where they connected. “It’ll all be over, yeah? I just spark the right wire, and this whole ship goes alight. The prince will be dead, the king will mourn his loss and start acting seriously, and…”

    And then, silence fell. Shota stopped looking upward, staring forward and shuddering again. “We’re all in this together, huh? We all agreed our losses are worth it for the greater good. That’s why we’re all going to do this, no matter what it takes,” he breathed out. “Heh, you know, it reminds me of how my sister died. She was the only one in our little herd that said we should keep living life normally.”

    Ramuda didn’t move an inch, and yet, Shota seemed to understand words from him and turned to face him. Tears were in his eyes, but he was smiling and shuddering, trying to look as happy as he could. “Yeah, seriously. Our home got flooded by black water. Then the cave we found as an emergency got destroyed by a fissure, and yet, she just kept going. She kept believing in Jyararanga and the other dragon gods, pep talking the whole herd every time their morale dropped. So we followed her to new home after new home.”

    Another moment of silence. This time, Ramuda’s thorny arms swayed a little bit, but still no words left his mouth, so Shota kept answering him. “Now I’m here. The whole herd is gone but me. I have nothing to go back to. No one who works here does. That’s why we decided on this suicide mission.”

    “… Then do it? Ramuda, this isn’t something you just do! My whole life’s flashin’ before my eyes, you know? Yeah it’s selfish that all the king cares about is that royal wedding, but like, what if… just what if – and this is purely hypothetical – what if that marriage was actually leading to something? Something better, something that could save all of Eris. Something like my sister wanted,” he cried. He sighed, facing up at the wires again. His lightning bolt shaped tail stretched upwards along with the spines on his back, and his cheeks began to crackle. “You’re right. For the greater good. Let’s do this.”

    Ramuda’s arms slowly hung forward, dangling still in front of him. Seeing he was ready, Shota shut his eyes and breathed in deeply. “Was nice knowing you, Ramuda. And I’m so sorry, sis. But I’m gonna join ya.”

    “Stop! Don’t you dare!” Rune roared exaggeratedly, charging into the room so fast he threatened to trip and roll forward. Seeing Shota about to release an electric attack, he threw his scalchop as hard as he could and then launched into an Aqua Jet attack.

    “What the-” Shota choked, stopping his attack from the sudden aggression against him. The scalchop hit him hard enough to knock him forward slightly, followed by him getting smashed into the wall in front of him by the Aqua Jet. Rune crashed into the same wall and both Pokémon bounced off of it to the ground, grabbing their faces in pain.

    “Rune, watch out!” Ptero shouted, him and Kelsith coming into the room a moment later. The Oshawott’s eyes snapped open at the warning, spotting Ramuda just above him and ready to smash its arms down with a Needle Arm attack. Rune just about rolled away from it, not fazed by the huge hole in the ground the attack made. He rolled over to his scalchop and immediately turned it into a Razor Shell, having to use it to block subsequent Needle Arm attacks. Ramuda mercilessly swung at him before he could even get to his feet.

    “Whoa whoa whoa, Ramuda!” Shota shouted, just about realising what was happening. Kelsith caught him in her feelers before he could jump into the fight, covering his mouth in an effort strangle him somehow. With him kept busy that way, Ptero could take flight above Rune’s battle, where he released a strong electric shock that froze Ramuda to the spot.

    Rune shielded his face from the flash of electricity that surged across Ramuda’s body, surprised to hear a cry of pain from the grass type. He knew what he had to do however, and flew to his feet to slash the Cacturne at full force. A clean cut across its front sent it to the ground outside of Ptero’s electricity, bringing the battle to a pause.

    “Thank goodness, we made it in time. You saw through their plan immediately,” Ptero praised, catching his breath as he floated to the floor. “Whatever your intentions are, your actions stop here. You are-”

    “In breach of his royal highness’s safety, blah blah blah I get it. Got any other authority to abuse?” Shota spat. He tensed up and let out a light electric shock, making Kelsith yip and release him. “Quick Ramuda, Sandstorm!”

    Rune only had time to gasp before Ramuda punched the floor, summoning a huge gust of wind with the force of his hit. Waves of sand came with that wind, engulfing the room in a shower of orange sand and rocks. Although it didn’t last long, everyone had to shield their faces from it, coughing and spitting to help themselves. Once it died down, Ramuda and Shota were nowhere to be seen.

    “Ugh, smart little- they can’t have gotten far. Back to the bridge!” Rune ordered.

    “More running? After all of that,” Kelsith moaned, skipping after him and Ptero.

    “Don’t complain. If we don’t do this, we could die!” Rune shouted, growling at the weight of his own words.

    “Shota,” Ptero muttered, gliding right behind him.





    “Rune, you left me alone!” Diantha cried the moment they got back to the room below the roof. She ignored every sense of urgency to run over and body slam him, gripping him tightly. “It was so scary and they were so tough! We had to battle and fight and-”

    “Sis, please!” he growled, fighting her off.

    “Not until you make it up to me! I had to put in so much work,” she moaned.

    “Yes, fine, whatever! Just- stop!” he said, managing to push her away.

    “Yaay! I’m getting treats on Faernia, now. All the more reason to actually win this,” she giggled at her victory, releasing him to pose beside him. He ignored her to get a proper look at the room, surprised to find that most of the battle had already been dealt with. All of the random Pokémon that had attacked them were on the ground, defeated and giving them aggressive glares. The room wasn’t even that messy, as if everyone fighting had been aware that a badly aimed attack could destroy the glass roof.

    On the other hand, Shota and Ramuda were as threatening as ever, both stood by a bookshelf on the side of the room. Now that the attention was fully on them, Shota stepped forward, signalling to Ramuda to act. The Cacturne pushed the bookshelf aside, revealing an emergency exit that looked like it led right out of the airship. A large wheel served as the handle.

    “That’s-” Rune choked

    “You must be naïve if you thought you could stop me from a plan like this without stopping my backup, too. You’re at my mercy, royals!” Shota bragged, posing similarly to Diantha.

    “ Are you gonna run away? Wait a sec, if you open the door while we’re in space, what happens?” Diantha cried.

    “The worst will happen. The air will drain out of the ship, and we’ll all be flung out into open space. We’d be dead for certain,” Ptero warned. Everyone gasped and glanced at him, but he ignored them and continued. “Shota, what exactly are you playing at? What’s the meaning of this charade?”

    “The meaning of this ‘charade’ is to trigger King Jyararanga!” Shota replied, pointing at them. “He’s been doing nothing about the suffering Pokémon, and then when times are at their worst, what does he do? Prepares for a royal wedding? To hell with that! We’ll kill you prince, and then he’ll realise that he has to act. He has to act, or his own Pokémon will overthrow him.”

    “But if you open that door, you won’t survive, either. We’ll all die!” Ptero raised his voice. There was a pause.

    “Yeah, that’s not much of a cost, you know. Not like I have a life to go back to. We all decided that when we made this plan,” he replied, shutting his eyes. He slowly opened them. “Unless you were to let us hold you hostage?”

    “Hostage?” Rune raised an eyebrow.

    “Yeah. If you don’t want me to open this door and kill everyone here, let us hold you hostage. We’ll make King Jyararanga work for your safety!” he announced. Ramuda slowly cast him a look, turning only his head. “So go on! Lay down your weapons, all of you! Paws in the air, unless you wanna lose that air!”

    Rune and the others didn’t move, glaring at him with furious mugs. “Go on! I mean it! I’m not afraid of death!”

    “Will you stop fighting if we do?” Rune asked.

    “Of course. If you start doing as I say and be a good little hostage, then I won’t need to fight any of you,” he promised. Rune slowly crouched and slid his scalchop onto the ground, doing the same for the sword on his back.

    “Your highness!” Ptero gasped.

    “Do as he says, everyone. Lay down your weapons and paws in the air,” Rune ordered. The others groaned and grumbled, hesitantly doing as he asked.

    “What’re you talking about? This gets us what we want, and we get to live!” Shota cried, suddenly spinning round to Ramuda. The Cacturne didn’t say anything, but its opposition was visibly obvious. For whatever reason, he wasn’t happy with what Shota had just proposed, and that much made Rune freeze and pay close attention to him. “Yeah it was an ‘on the spot’ idea but it works, doesn’t it?”

    There was another pause, and then Shota flipped out, bouncing on the spot. “What do you mean it’s the coward’s way out? What, do you wanna die really badly or something?”

    “Er, who’s he talking to?” Diantha asked, tilting her head.

    “Gah, wait, I didn’t mean that literally! I’m trying to say that-” Shota gasped, choking on his own words. That small moment of distraction Diantha created with her question proved to be fatal, as Rune had glanced at her to offer a short answer. In that small moment, Ramuda’s arms were on the wheel, turning it to unlock the emergency exit. Even Shota couldn’t stop him now, despite being so close to him.

    “Everybody get down!” Ptero screamed, throwing himself to the floor.

    “Ramuda you mad thing!” Shota cried as well, slamming himself to the floor with everyone. His prickles lodged him into the ground stiffly, but even that proved to be of little help to the bizarre force that burst in the moment the door was opened.

    Rune couldn’t help but cough and cry out, taken by surprise at how powerful the wind was. The moment the door was opened Ramuda went flying straight out of it, disappearing from sight before he could even comprehend what was happening. Books, paper, food, dust, and more went hurtling out of the exit at blinding speed, a frightening howl coming from it all. Along with this terribly strong wind that vacuumed everything out of the room came a destructive cold, one that seemed to suck the oxygen and energy right out of Rune.

    In seconds, his body felt like it was straining beyond its limits. Frost and ice generated from sweat all over his head and arms, whilst his breathing was reduced to sharp coughs and prickly gasps. He could barely turn his head to look up at the situation, feeling like his eyes were about to slice open from the freezing moisture paralysing them in place. He could just about make out Shota slipping free however, unable to resist the heavy wind pulling him free from the floor.

    “N-no you don’t,” Rune growled. He let himself relax, immediately getting taken up into the air. He soared over and unintentionally tackled the Togedemaru, but the two of them quickly latched back onto the floor, their hands linked and bodies as flat as possible. Without even realising it, Rune had erected a Razor Shell just to help, having it stabbed into the floor as well.

    “Prince!” Shota gasped dryly, eyes widened at what he was seeing. He was in just as bad a state as Rune was, half frozen over and straining to stay conscious. Rune didn’t answer him, staring back and ensuring that he held them both down as much as he could. Shota quickly got over his shock and joined in with that, keeping hold of Rune as tightly as he could.

    Then, all of a sudden, the howling came to a complete stop. It was still freezing cold, but everything silenced besides everyone’s shaky breathing and surprised groans. The debris stopped getting sucked out of the ship, the wind ceased to pull at everyone, and the air stilled enough for it not to hurt to breathe. Rune was the first to get up in disbelief, not understanding what had just happened. The emergency exit was still wide open, viewing nothing but the dark depths of space, but nothing was moving anymore.

    “Safeguard?” Diantha whispered to herself, able to see what he couldn’t. A little ways outside was a protective barrier around the ship, one that had given them their saving grace. But who had used it, and when?

    “K-Kelsith, your feelers! Shut the door while we have the chance!” Emerson shouted.

    “Ah, right!” she squealed, stretching her feelers over to it. It clearly took effort and more strength than she had, but she managed to shut it, where Rune took over and turned the wheel to lock it back up the moment he could.

    “What just happened?” Ptero asked, sounding livelier than ever. Diantha was the only one seemingly not surprised, looking for the unidentified Pokémon that had used Safeguard to give them this miracle. She found them quickly, shuddering and sharply holding her breath the moment she did.

    Mirror, the masked Absol, was on the roof of the ship staring directly into her eyes. He didn’t even have anything to protect him from the danger of outer space, and yet, he was perfectly fine and curious as ever. He jumped out of sight before she could collect herself to say anything.

    “P-prince, yo-you-” Shota struggled, getting cut off before he finished. Rune swiped at him as hard as he could with Razor Shell, sending him tumbling to the centre of the room. He whined as the wind was knocked out of him, choking on a breath when he opened his eyes to find Rune directly in front of him pointing his Razor Shell straight at his face.

    “I’ll be damned if let you die after all of that. Too bad your little Cacturne friend had more of a death wish than you!” Rune huffed furiously. Shota uttered a reply until his fear disappeared, where he stood back up and attempted to retort. Rune slashed him before he even made a sound, this time so hard that a cut was made above his nose.

    “Rune!” Diantha cried.

    “Don’t even bother. I’m not killing you and this situation is getting reversed, like it or not,” Rune huffed again. “Listen to me, Shota. You’d die for the sake of the world, won’t you? To see Jyararanga resolve our issues and save us all.”

    “Y-yes. Even though I don’t want to-”

    “Then you can put that much effort into aiding us. You and all your little cronies can. Rather than putting your energy into destructive feelings and the murder of royalty, you can dedicate what little of your worthless lives is left to servitude. That way nobody gets hurt and we all get what we want,” Rune explained, keeping his sword pointed at Shota. “The purpose of my marriage isn’t leisure. It’s coexistence. I’m marrying the princess of Faernia so that our planets might mend our broken relations. When we do that and combine our planets’ natural talents, we can resolve the issues these worldwide disasters are causing.”

    “Wait, that’s why this royal wedding is happening?” Shota gasped.

    “Well duh, what did you think it was? Daddy’s not ignoring you Pokémon. It’s just that this is a problem affecting Faernia as well as Eris, and no one knows what the problem is right now. If we could help ya, we’d have done it without going through all this marriage nonsense!” Diantha giggled. Shota shuddered and glanced at Rune, who was still glaring at him. His fury had died down however, and distraction could be seen in his face.

    “Emerson, Kelsith, would you do me a favour? Take Shota away and make sure he continues to fly the ship. Keep a constant eye on him. Galen, Ptero, you keep an eye on these other Pokémon,” Rune instructed, finally walking away. “All of you are in this same spot, just so you know. You’re now soldiers working for me. If you can throw your lives away on a mission like that, then you can also use them to help me.”

    “Aye aye your highness! And while I’m at it, let’s fix that bookshelf, shall we? Last thing we want are any sneaky ‘accidents’ with that door,” Galen cheered, saluting him. Rune sighed, almost forgetting about Galen’s oblivious nature. With his orders given and the room starting to return to activity, he ensured that everyone was doing as they were told before stumbling over to the back wall. He leaned against it and folded his arms, resisting the urge to slump against it.

    “Rune- I mean, your highness,” Ptero said, keeping him awake.

    “What?” he replied, unable to hide a tired breath. His body felt like it was it was about to collapse, gradually reaching a level he couldn’t take. “You have your orders. Get to them. We need to get everything under control asap. Don’t concern yourself with me, I’ll get a status report done in a minute.”

    “What about me big bro? You’re not gonna put me to work, are you?” Diantha groaned. Rune paused, standing straight.

    “You can er… look, just don’t get in the way. Do relief stuff. Go make sure nobody else is hurt or anything,” he said, uncertain of what to ask.

    “Alright! I know exactly what I’m gonna do. Don’t worry about me then,” she giggled, turning around. “Mirror, why’d you come here? Why’d you save us like that? I’m gonna go find you and find out, like it or not!

    “I need to apologise,” Ptero said, taking him by surprise.

    “For what?”

    “I underestimated you greatly. Just here, I’m impressed. But you’re a prince – I shouldn’t have tested you in the first place,” he said, folding his arms. “I also have to apologise for the fact that this even happened. Shota is an old friend of mine. We’re both mailmon who travel between the planets, so it’s honest a shock to find him this way.”

    “You just want to thank me for sparing him, don’t you? If he steps out of line he’s getting executed all the same. Count yourself lucky,” Rune replied, slumping forward a little bit. “Damn it, what’s- I can’t stay awake.”

    ”Your highness?” Ptero gasped. Rune tried to respond but only managed to breath out once more before fatigue took a tight hold of his body, and his sight and hearing blurred completely. Next thing he knew he couldn’t even feel anything of the blurry imagery before him, and fell forwards into a deep slumber.





    “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? 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.”

    “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.”


    … Is that because of what he said? Why did I…?
     
  3. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Huge apologies for the wait! The recent heatwave over here has been absolutely killing me, tiring me out far more than usual and far earlier than usual. On top of that, I've been struggling with my efforts to improve my writing.
    Long story short, I had a plan for this story, for it to act as a stepping stone for my past works. I've been known for having stories that are much too long and have chapters stretching on for too long. So for Astral Genealogy, I thought to try and rectify those problems in one fell swoop, giving myself a strict plan of maximum chapters and maximum word length per chapter.
    But er... that's easier said than done. I've gone over that word length per chapter many times already, whilst not being able to fit all I want to in a chapter, slowing the pace of the story to where it definitely won't fit in the max chapter limit. My failure to stick to those plans has had me fretting and trying really had to switch things up, but since it has slowed down my weekly posting this much, I've decided to give up for now. I'll just try my best to make shorter chapters for now, and then get to improving chapter total next time.
    For now, enjoy this new part, which had me rewriting it a few times to get a good feel. Rune and Ariala finally meet!

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

    Episode 14: Jyararanga’s scheme


    [​IMG]

    Rune awoke with an unusual level of awareness. He couldn’t remember even a hint of whatever dreams he’d had, nor could he hear anyone around him until his eyes were fully open. He was still in the main room of the airship, but the background was brighter than the spatial backdrop he was used to seeing from it.

    “Huh? Wait what, where are we?” he asked, springing awake. Clouds surrounded the ship on all sides, causing it to rumble unpleasantly as it descended amongst them.

    “Big brother, you’re awake! Just in time. I was getting worried we’d have to carry ya or something,” Diantha giggled, greeting him first. He stood up and grumbled, surprised to see everyone on the trip gathered in the same room. Ptero was addressing them all.

    “What’s going on? I fell asleep, but,” he muttered, rubbing his head.

    “Uh yeah, that thing Cacturne did before put us in a pretty bad position, right? Things got real cold and you sorta fainted. But we’re also outta fuel now too, so we’re figuring out a way to land safely,” she explained. Rune folded his arms and joined everyone else.

    “We’re just making an emergency landing, right? Isn’t anyone flying the ship right now?” he asked. The others gave him worrisome looks, to which he raised an eyebrow until he noticed that even Shota was there. “Wait a minute- if Shota’s here then that means-”

    “Yep. We’re gonna crash. The guys seem pretty calm, though,” Diantha said. Rune’s eyes widened.

    “Are you nuts? If this thing crashes, it’ll-”

    “Your highness, please calm down. We’ve talked this through already and can assure you that not much bad will happen,” Ptero said, folding his arms.

    “Not much bad is still bad. Can we really afford for something to happen?”

    “Trust your friends already, big bro! We’re gonna be okay,” Diantha groaned.

    “Yes. Many of us here know the move Protect, as well as defensive moves like Reflect and such. The ship will suffer little damage and we won’t land exactly where we want to, but that’s all,” Ptero added.

    “One minute ‘till impact, captain!” Galen announced.

    “One minute?” Rune shouted.

    “Places everyone. Do your best,” Ptero instructed, dismissing Rune completely.

    “Wait wait wait, what am I supposed to-”

    “Just sit back, relax, and trust us, okay?” Diantha said, joining everyone at the front. She raised her hands along with a few others and released a translucent green barrier from around her, giving a cry to show her effort. Despite performing the same actions, the others released a perfectly transparent barrier, having theirs not go as far out as Diantha’s. All of their barriers at least surrounded the ship, though.

    “Wait, Diantha! That’s,” Rune choked, cut off by the sudden tilting of the floor. The ship was leaning forwards with their descent, forcing him to pay attention and focus to avoid rolling forward.

    “I know what I’m doin’ okay? You don’t need to worry about me usin’ my powers,” she growled in effort.

    I just want you to be safe, darn it,” he sighed, coughing when the ship shook again. He felt sick staring at the clear window now, seeing it scroll from clouds to a distant land to a detailed field in just a few seconds.

    They were falling fast, and he could only imagine how fast. The ships that he had seen Jyararanga destroy didn’t fall nearly as quickly as they were now, yet they exploded upon impact with the ground. If the Pokémon here were serious about saving themselves, he knew their protection would need to be stronger than this.

    “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but sis, go all out. That’s the only way we’re going to survive this,” he warned, putting one foot forward.

    “I’ve got permission?” she asked, glancing back at him.

    “Gods, just do it!” he cried. She obeyed, thrusting her arms forward again with another cry of effort. Dark electricity crackled around her briefly before exploding into an enormous aura, one that outgrew the protect barrier she currently had. It enhanced the barrier in the process, somehow causing the airship to float at a level angle as well.

    “What the?” Ptero gasped, surprised by Diantha outdoing everyone. She didn’t even seem to be putting much effort into her Protect now, keeping one arm held forward and making no sound at all. Her body remained surrounded by black, smoky gases and crackling electricity, however. Before Ptero could question her witchcraft, the airship crashed against the ground and threw everyone off balance, wildly skidding and grinding against whatever was below it as it forcefully came to a stop. Diantha let up her barrier right away, thrown into a huge clump with everyone else at the front of the ship.

    “Ow… that still hurt anyway,” she moaned once they came to a complete stop. At first glance the shield had protected their fall, but when she pushed herself to stand up, she found Ptero cradled beneath her in between her arms. “O-oh. Why hello there, cutie.”

    “Re-really? Get off of me,” he growled.

    “I kinda like it here. You’re soft,” she giggled.

    “Da-darn it, stop messing around!” he cried, fidgeting enough to get her to stand up. He brushed himself off, unable to hide a light blush. “What kind of move was that? I didn’t know you were capable of such an arte.”

    “It’s just something sis can do. Don’t mind it, we’ve got bigger concerns,” Rune interrupted, drawing their attentions to outside the window. To their surprise, no damage was visible on the ship whatsoever, not even as much as a crack on the window. There were quite a few Pokémon gathered around it however, all of them fretting about the crash landing.

    “Allow me, your highness. I’ll take responsibility for this predicament,” Ptero bowed, taking the lead to exit.

    “So gentlemanly,” Diantha giggled. He wearily opened the emergency exit and examined the area, turning and nodding to everyone else before hopping out. Rune copied even though Ptero had just confirmed it was safe, surprised to find the small variety of Pokémon that were making space for them to jump out. He couldn’t identify any of them by species, but there were quite a few cat pokemon dressed in uniform wielding lances and swords. They were definitely on Faernia.

    “Are you all alright? Here, let me help you down!” their potential leader called out in her slightly gritty voice. It was a tall, pink, soft, fairy-like Pokémon that resembled a Clefairy, only taller and less round. Rune ignored her and jumped to ground without her help, concerned by her vastly different appearance to the other formal looking soldiers. She wore a bright red ribbon around her waist with the bow tied at her side, where she kept a fancy fan tucked away.

    “Ari-” one of the cats hissed, yanking her back.

    Is she even a soldier?” Rune asked himself, staring at her attractive attire. “We’re fine. I apologise greatly for the intrusion. We have business on Faernia, but we ran into some trouble during our flight and ran out of fuel. Might I ask where we are, though?”

    “Here,” Ptero added, showing them his badge. Shota and the others were made to do the same, to which the leader nodded.

    “Oh, mailmon. You’re in the southern Coral Fields. I imagine you intended to land at the Fantasia Port to the west,” a Ponyta answered, trotting over. She was pulling a large carriage jut fit for the soldiers.

    “If you would like, we can escort you all there. The feral Pokémon in this area are rattled due to the ship you just crashed,” their leader smiled.

    “Ari-” Ponyta hissed.

    “We can take care of that airship as well. I’m impressed you managed to crash land without damaging it at all,” she continued, ignoring her bothered companions. “Cat’s Brigade, if you will?”

    “Look- no, we’re not doing this. You promised you would stick to your duties, and not only are we side-tracking again, but you’re ignoring your safety. These are Pokémon from Eris. The threat they potentially pose requires utmost care and consideration,” Ponyta said, taking charge. She stood right in front of Rune and flared her back, failing to intimidate him at all. “You stand in the presence her Royal Highness Princess Ariala. For your illegal crossing and trespassing, we’re going to have to place you under arrest until we can ascertain the truth of your story.”

    “Naomi, we ourselves saw them falling through the sky. We don’t need any more proof to their story,” Ariala objected.

    “It is for your safety, your highness. You shan’t go near them,” the Ponyta stated, stomping a hoof.

    “Wait, which of you is the princess?” Rune gasped. The others exchanged glances, taken by surprise.

    “That would be me. We just happened to see your airship falling, so we’ve come to help. Please pardon my retainer, Naomi. She is rightfully protective, but she means no harm, deep down,” Ariala introduced, bowing.

    “Wow Rune, you scored lucky! She’s pretty and thick, don’t you think?” Diantha giggled, half lidded.

    “S-sis!” he cried, blushing at her. He turned back to the confused Clefable and went stiff, growling. “Are you serious? What kind of attire is that for a princess?”

    “Who’re you to ask that? Besides, it’s none of your business,” a hooded Pokémon stepped up.

    “No no, you don’t understand,” Rune shook his head, drawing his sword to show it off. A wave of shock crossed over Ariala’s group, and she covered her mouth. “I am Rune, crown prince of planet Eris. The Pokémon behind me are an army of sorts, all to aid my escort to planet Faernia to meet the princess.”

    “The sword of Earthly Elements- Rune, it’s you,” Ariala whispered, going quiet.

    Rune went silent with her and stared back, the two of them looking at each other in the eyes with open mouths. Words longed to escape them both, but all they could manage were near silent breaths and nervous sounds. They barely even moved or blinked, inciting the others to say something. No one made a move however, half expecting the duo to say something every few seconds.

    “Oh come on, we didn’t cross through space just for you to get Beautifly in your tummy!” Diantha finally complained, shoving her brother forward. “Say something!”

    “Gah, s-sis, wait, I-” he staggered. Ariala breathed out and clutched her chest.

    “Rune. I- do you remember me?” she asked, speaking slowly.

    “Huh? Remember you?” Diantha replied, confused now.

    Rune raised an eyebrow, to which Ariala slowly approached him. She was weary and looked at the palms of her hands before acting, leaning forward to plant her hands on Rune’s ears. He let her, still confused about what she was doing until a spike of nostalgia hit his heart and his face flushed with relief. To him, Ariala’s resemblance to that Clefairy finally became clear, and being this close to her face, he saw the lacking difference between now and back then.

    “It’s you, from ten years ago. That fairy I found in father’s room,” he breathed out. She smiled and withdrew, starting to blush lightly. “I had no idea that all this time…”

    “That honestly makes me happy. You remembered,” she admitted, backing off.

    Father definitely planned this. This whole trip up until now, he planned it all. There’s no way he didn’t know that that Clefairy was princess – but then, why? And what happened after all of that? I might actually finally find out what really went down that day,” Rune told himself, shaking his head to hide his concerned looks. “You evolved.”

    “Oh. Yes, I did. That was recent, actually. I’ve not been a Clefable for more than a year,” she smiled.

    “Evolution is hard to do on Eris since our Evolution Springs are drying up. Father wouldn’t even gift me a Master Seal despite doing so well in training,” he replied. “Makes me wonder if I’m not a good enough fighter or something.”

    “We are losing our springs as well. We will need to sort out your evolution soon, lest our procedures become uncomfortable,” she replied.

    “Uncomfortable?” Rune replied.

    “Well who would’ve thought it? You two somehow already know each other? And you met here of all places,” Nier smiled, clapping. “Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Ariala wasn’t so kind and we ignored the falling airship?”

    “Yes, I wonder what could have happened,” Naomi asked, looking away.

    “This isn’t really the place to mingle, though. We should head to that Fantasia Port. Not that any ferals would dare attack an army as big as ours,” Vincent pointed out.

    “Right. Will your group lead the way?” Rune agreed.

    “Naturally,” Vincent nodded, doing just that.





    After a small bit of preparation and recovery, the now large group began their trek across Faernia’s Coral Fields, leaving a group of soldiers behind to deal with the crashed airship. Rune and Diantha couldn’t help but fall behind while walking, amazed at the otherworldly difference in the area compared to Eris.

    As the name suggested, actual fields of colourful coral made up most of the ground in this area. It was all hilly and quite rocky in appearance, yet a pleasant wind blew and the scenery was level enough to view a far distance. The sun was warm, the various coral reefs were softer than they looked, and it didn’t take long for the party to reach a public road that appeared so safe a child could walk through it. In fact, it was more populated than any areas of wilderness Rune had ever seen, even if that was due to herds of feral Pokémon hiding and scouting amongst the mountainous, underwater-like reefs.

    Their group was too big to dare fight, that was obvious at first glance. Despite that, Rune kept up his guard all the way to the populated Fantasia Port. Even here was far different to the one he knew briefly on Eris – it was more of a town than it was a hidden port. The Tapu’s domain covered here, leading it to being another city with pipes of terrain energy running through it, advanced, silvery buildings of metallic material, and a myriad of sophisticated Pokémon operating all throughout. He couldn’t help but slow down as they entered, gazing around at everything like a confused child in a park.

    “Please keep up, your highness. We’re here,” Naomi informed, snapping him into focus. They were walking into a structure that looked to be even bigger than Castle Eris. “I must admit, you’ve all been well behaved, despite what I hear about Pokémon from Eris.”

    “I have to agree. I know better than to stereotype, but our journey here was smooth enough. That’s probably only because of these two, though,” Vincent added, glancing nervously at Diantha and Nier. The duo was chatting, giggling, and laughing like they were childhood friends, Nier getting everyone’s attention by whispering something that made Diantha’s eyes widen. The two broke into laughter when they noticed Vincent and Rune staring at them.

    “S-sis, what’re you up to?” Rune groaned.

    “Oh never mind. Nothing,” she sung, skipping off. Nier didn’t follow, joining Rune and Ariala in the centre of the main room, a hallway lined with enormous columns.

    “Right, now that we have united, we shouldn’t waste any time in the planning of the wedding. Vincent, Nier, I will leave the contact of Queen Magearna to you two,” Naomi began. The couple saluted her. “Prince Rune, where are your retainers? I believe the task of contacting the king of Eris should fall to them.”

    “I don’t have retainers. I’ll write Father a letter,” Rune replied.

    “What? How can you not have retainers?” Naomi gasped.

    “I do everything I need myself. I had servants growing up, but I dismissed them when I joined Knight School,” he informed, folding his arms. “You just need me to let him know we’ve met up, right?”

    “Unacceptable. The two of you are preparing for the biggest day of your lives. I won’t have you overworking yourselves,” she argued.

    “It’s just writing a letter. That’s hardly overwork-”

    “You misunderstand me, your highness. You and your army are honoured guests on our planet. We would not have you labouring away on mundane tasks unfitting of your rank. If you do not have servants you can instruct, then please, leave the work to us,” she explained, bowing to him. She nodded to Nier and Vincent, and the trio got to work.

    “Naomi,” Ariala groaned quietly, joining Rune.

    And so, the duo were made to stand aside whilst Naomi and the other soldiers took on chores around the building. Neither of them were clear on exactly what was going on, but all the Pokémon wound up crossing back and forth across the hall, shouting orders, carrying and rearranging goods, and more. Rune’s army were taken away but were soon here and there, mingling where possible and asking questions. Some left to explore the port town; others offered their help, whilst the remainder went to their accommodation, reporting to Rune where they would be. Diantha and Galen were the ones seen the most, the loudest and most obstructive.

    “At least sis is having fun,” Rune groaned at last, tilting his head as he watched her bombard a few Cat’s Brigade soldiers with questions. Galen seemed to be watching over her, keeping her out of actual trouble. Ariala didn’t respond to Rune at all, sighing heavily. “Er, that was quite a sigh. What’s up?”

    “I am like you in that it bothers me to be doing nothing like this. The purpose of our marriage is not to have a fancy party. Why should we stand aside whilst our retainers fret over something that is excessive to us?” she replied, looking at her hand. Rune raised an eyebrow. “I apologise. That was worded wrong.”

    “You don’t like parties, do you?” Rune asked.

    “From what I have experienced of royal parties, no. That is between you and me, though. It is duty to attend them, so I have no choice,” she answered, turning to him.

    “Neither do I, to be honest. Not like we have much for parties, though. They’re mostly bonfires or feasts, and those weren’t too bad,” Rune smiled. Ariala went quiet, staring back at the crowd of Pokémon. Diantha was trying to figure out what was in a few boxes now, sniffing and searching them for a lock or something.

    “Rune. I am afraid I cannot resist asking you much longer, for we may not get another time alone where I might ask,” she said, her tone getting his concern. “I was set on ignoring the crash of your airship until I saw the power that surrounded it and saved it from crash landing.”

    “Yes. Everyone’s combined Protect barrier,” he clarified. Ariala shook her head and gave him a stern look.

    “I know exactly what that dark power is. I was not expecting someone in your army to be capable of it. Please, you must tell me who it is,” she requested. He blinked at her.

    “What exactly do you know, and why does it matter?” he replied, looking away.

    “Please. I would like to get this out of the way as I do not want there to be any mistrust between us,”

    “If that’s the case, then why don’t you tell me what happened when Father kidnapped you? Why did he kidnap you, only to have us marry each other a decade later?”

    Ariala breathed out and shut her eyes, slowly clenching her hands up. “I’m afraid I cannot share that information with you. It is information simply best left unknown to as many Pokémon as possible. Your Father made me promise that one.”

    “Then don’t expect any answers from me,” Rune stated, folding his arms. “The plot thickens. Father conspired with her. But to what end? If she’s telling the truth about knowing all about Diantha’s powers, then why does she know about them?

    “So you know who used the powers,” she replied. Rune gave her a plain look, but his breathing became tenser. “I don’t wish to interrogate you. I’ll respect your decision to keep this a secret from me. But please, I can only give you a dire warning: that Pokémon cannot openly use those powers here. One of our Gods, Tapu Koko has sworn destruction of those dark powers. If a Pokémon provokes him with those powers, it may be disastrous.”

    “You two, apologies for the wait! We’ve got your rooms sorted out at last,” Nier called out, waving them over. Rune and Ariala exchanged glances. “Come on up! I’ll show you two to your private quarters here.”

    “At your earliest convenience, please warn them,” she begged before walking off.

    “You’re going to have to tell me all about the gods of Faernia, you know,” Rune said, following.

    “Oh? That one I can tell. Listen well to the legend of Faernia and why our religion is so integrated into our society,”
     
  4. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Wow! A whole bunch of new chapters! Let's get caught up, here =D

    Chapter 10

    I love the description of the city and the ever present sense of danger, which only really raised itself when that grumpig went flying through a window!

    I'm not sure what I make of Lin. He's described as not looking like a pokemon, so is he not one? Maybe an ultra beast? Or just a pokemon that's incredibly aged or warped with whatever this Constellar thing is?

    Nevertheless, I'm a little worried for our main cast right now.



    Little details like this are really lovely.



    I don't think 'spatial' is the term you're looking for here. 'Spatial' (or 'spacial' to use its alternate spelling) refers to space in an area. Such as 'spatial awareness' and 'spatial dimensions'. You might be looking for 'ethereal' (otherworldly).



    This sentence seems a little clunky and doesn't read well. Maybe 'In fact, his whole face looked as if it could shatter into crust at a touch.'?

    Chapter 11

    Wow, I wasn't expecting Tundra to leap to their help.

    Looks like Lin got to Charle. Man, things don't look good for Vincent. Is that Lin guy really his dad, or an imposter? keeps reading

    I think Vincent is hiding something here, somewhat dodging Ariala's question about him and Lin having the same pose.

    I'm excited Tundra is going to help them. He doesn't seem outright bad. Eager to see how this plays out (and what on earth has become of Charle...)

    Chapter 12

    Yay! Back to Rune and the gang! Out of both parties, these guys are my favourites. I don't think there's a single one I don't like. Galen might be my favourite, though. He's just so sunny and happy.

    The description of the air ships at the start with their wing-like oars sound amazing. You really have painted a picture here. I love these descriptions.

    Litterboxes? That's... kinda adorable. But... doesn't Eris have toilets or something? I can see why, out of both places, Faernia would be more clean. But it just seems a bit... odd... that royalty in Eris would just duck into the bushes or something! XD

    That cacturne seems a bit shifty. Makes me think something might be up.

    And it certainly was. Short, quick and chaotic battle. That brawl was easily handled by Rune pretty much single-pawed. But the togedemaru is flying the ship? Yikes!

    Also, how did a cacturne teleport? I'm still left mulling over that one.

    Just to reassure you with your opening comments, you definitely wrote an enjoyable chapter.

    Chapter 13

    Regards re-writing huge chunks etc, I can understand that. I had to re-write almost a chapter of The End because it just didn't feel right. Try not to let it dishearten you too much. Although easier said than done, it helps to turn off your 'inner critic' and 'inner editors' and let the story take you where it wants to go. This is an enjoyable story you're putting together. If you're struggling with conveying emotions, maybe take a look at the Emotion Thesaurus if you can afford it? It's a fantastic little tool.

    This chapter was suitably chaotic. The intense moment with that door being opened, and Ramuda basically giving his life to try and take out Rune... that was really unexpected. Not to mention Mirror leaping to their rescue.

    So much oddness and so many questions raised. I guess I'm not getting my answer about how a cacturne can teleport, am I? XD I'm going to guess Mirror used safeguard on himself so he could survive the atmosphere, but there's probably another reason for it?

    I'm a bit thrown at the flashback part at the end. I've no idea who's talking to Rune in this scenario, but that's likely deliberate. Jyararanga? Rune's original parents? (I recall he and Diantha are adopted.) Hmm... mysteries!

    Chapter 14



    I am low-key shipping Diantha and Petro now.

    The air ship comes down and they crash land right before Ariala and her party! The two groups are united!

    A cute flash back moment with her covering Rune's ears to prompt his memory. It seems like so long ago I read that first chapter now! I'm as eager as Rune is to find out what went down that day. What were Jyararanga's real intentions there?

    Given the ship has crashed down, I guess Rune's entourage are stuck there for the time being. Part of me thinks they're going to want to stick around for longer, too, getting pulled into yet more plot. Hmm...

    Yikes, I'd forgotten about Tapu Koko wanting to wipe out users of that shadowy power. Diantha is in hot water in Faernia!

    Reluctance to talk about Jyararanga's plans... I guess I will have to wait to find out, then D=
     
  5. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    WOOOOOOO! One thousand views. You have no idea how happy this makes me. To think that I just went here for more exposure, only to find it'd be Astral Genealogy's most successful post! Most of you are quiet, but I'm convinced I'm on the right track, if this many people are reading. If I'm on the wrong track, maybe someone will say something?
    Anyway, following Deri's last comment a bit of advice from friends and such, I was able to buckle down and get this chapter out before I head to Hyper Japan for the weekend. I was most worried about this chapter than the last one, since this is the part... like, the part, where... you know is implied to happen. I don't normally write romance at all, so I really just had to get the words down and see where I go from there.
    As promised though, now the actions really begins. I hope you all enjoy again!

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

    Episode 15: As the Gods Will it


    [​IMG]

    “Rune… wake up, Rune,”

    After a bit of groaning and squirming the Oshawott was awake, half lidded and angry until he realised that it was Ariala leaning over him. She didn’t seem bothered or embarrassed in the slightest and got off as soon as he was awake.

    “Please follow me. You will need your sword and cape,” she proposed, walking out the door. He tilted his head as he watched her, yawning and then obeying. Their quarters were clearly temporary, hardly decorated but still more impressive than anywhere he had ever slept. For the time being, they had separate beds, white walls and their own personal furniture in a spacious room.

    Quietly gathering his things for a short walk, Rune found Ariala outside of the building they were using. His way out was obstructed with the work everyone had put into preparing yesterday, now evident by organized tables and flashy decorations all over the walls. It was like this all over the building, from the hallways to the grand hall in the centre.

    “Wait, it’s so early! What’re we doing?” he gasped once he stepped outside. The sun hadn’t risen yet, so the Fantasia Port was masked by silhouettes and cold winds. He was already regretting getting out of bed.

    “I’m sorry. But please, walk with me,” Ariala replied, shutting her eyes. She walked a few steps and then started skipping in order to pick up the pace, concerning Rune further.

    “Is there something you want to show me?” he wondered, tucking his hands behind his head. “Your retainers aren’t here, either.”

    “That’s good. They don’t need to be,” she replied. He raised an eyebrow. “It’s okay, you know. If you’re concerned about my safety, you needn’t be. They know that I do this all the time.”

    “Okay. And that’s not worrisome at all?”

    “Clefable are good at keeping themselves safe, you know. We have remarkable hearing, so any danger I can come across I can escape from before it becomes real danger,” she smiled. “It’s also why I have those breakdowns. I shouldn’t be living in the middle of civilization, but I must, so it affects my hearing sometimes.”

    “When things are too loud. I’ll bear it in mind,” Rune yawned again, trying to stay focused. There weren’t even any Pokémon around, minus a few nocturnal Volbeat and Illumise. He could only guess what they were up to, but in an urban area like this, he felt safe even with them around. That was until he realised that Ariala was headed towards the town’s northern exit, a road that led to a field of hills and distant mountains.

    “I apologize for dragging you out this far, but please follow me. We have much to do that I would only feel comfortable with if we were to be alone,” she spoke up before he could question her. He gave it a little round of thought before reaching for his sword, keeping one hand on the hilt.

    “What’s the purpose of this? Why wait until now to say?” he challenged.

    “There are several reasons for our departure. One is to make use of a gift,” she replied, revealing something in her hands. It was a small, glowing red orb surrounded by golden strands of light, said strands seemingly moving in in a symmetrical pattern around the orb. Rune’s jaw hit the floor.

    “That’s a Master Seal!” he gasped.

    “It is yours. Please use it to evolve into a Dewott,” she proposed. He accepted it, still gawking.

    “But why?”

    “There is an Evolution Spring near here. If possible, I would like to use that spring as a honeymoon location of sorts, only we’re going there before our actual marriage,” she explained. “If you can evolve there, it will make mating easier.”

    “That makes sense. I know you said you hate parties- wait, what? Did I hear that right?” he mumbled before shouting.

    “You heard correctly. If we’re to mate, it will be easier in your evolved form. And between you and me, I… it will be my first time. I would prefer it if no one I knew was nearby,” she confirmed, clutching her chest. Rune’s teeth were grinding, now.

    “Why? Here I thought I was trying to be, you know, respectful and stuff, and then you just go and outright-”

    “You needn’t act a certain way. Please, just be yourself. That’s the Rune I longed to meet again,” she smiled, beginning their walk out of town. Despite his opposition, Rune followed her, keeping beside her.

    “Okay. So are you like, secretly a pervert a something? That would explain the costume,” he groaned, scratching his head.

    “Not in the slightest! I’ve been worried more about our unison,” she gasped. “I do not want to waste time with this marriage, and I have been thinking a lot about our two planets and their current status. I believe that if a child is born of both Eris and Faernia’s blood, they would act as a living symbol of our planets’ coexistence. Beyond that, between you and me, it a great excuse for us to bond and take this very seriously.”

    Rune didn’t reply.

    “Our marriage is for the purpose of uniting our two planets and keeping the universal peace that has kept us together for generations. To that I end, I am prepared to bear a child with you. Of course, that commitment requires both of our approval, so I am not about to pull you into something you are not prepared to do. At the very least, a marriage outside of the eyes of the public is preferable to me.”

    “You’re super weird, you know that? I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you that,” Rune smiled. “But I can tell you’ve thought this through. You’re a smart weird. You don’t actually like me at all, but you’re prepared to do all sorts of stuff to bring about peace.”

    “Well I wouldn’t say I don’t like you. I do, but only what I know of you from ten years ago. It would be best if we got to know each other properly, outside of the eyes and peer pressure of our armies and retainers. Don’t you think that’s a good idea?” she replied.

    “If you want my honest opinion, you’re flat out beautiful. I’m lucky you proposed to mate, rather than me having to be brave and do it!” he snickered. She didn’t reply, going flat faced. “Oh come on, don’t be like that. I was trying to jest, like my sister.”

    “I see,” she sighed.

    “But it was an honest opinion,” he added, making her blush slightly. “Ariala. I can’t help but worry you’re pushing yourself in this ordeal. A child is a huge responsibility, let alone, mating with someone you barely know. Are you absolutely certain you’ve thought this through?”

    “Ever since I learnt about the proposition our parents made, I have been thinking about this. For the sake of our planets and peace, I am prepared to do much more,” she assured, pointing to the left. “This way. The Evolution Spring is over here, hidden amongst the hills.”

    “You should know then, being around women is my weak point. Gentlemanly behaviour isn’t something I’m used to doing. Eris is a rough planet, and most of our families are forcefully bred. Those that aren’t are usually rearranged on some level,” he said, folding his arms as he followed. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m likely going to hurt you. I’m a fighter, not a lover.”

    “You say you aren’t gentlemanly, yet you’re worried about hurting me. That sounds gentlemanly enough to me,” she smiled. Rune froze.

    “I think you know what I’m trying to get at here, but you’re playing it smart to try and get things in your favour. You’re giving me a really deep proposition here, and having never been in a real relationship before, let alone mated, I’m worried I’ll hurt you if we go into things this quickly,” he explained, becoming stern.

    “Are you saying you don’t want to mate?”

    “Look- no I- that’s-” he staggered, stopping to sigh. “You one-up me when it comes to this crown royalty business. I spent my years doing nothing but training to become a knight so that I could protect Pokémon in need, namely my sister. Me marrying you should be enough of an icon towards our planets’ coexistence. I could never actually be a worthwhile husband towards you.”

    “I beg to differ,” Ariala replied, stopping at the top of a cave. The entrance was small and went straight down into the ground, sloping at such an angle that the earthy ground looked more like a slide rather than a cave path. “Rune, just this conversation alone has shown me just how much care you have for me and this ordeal. I desperately want this for the sake of our planet’s peace.”

    “You’re really pushing it,” he said, looking away.

    “You’re correct. I am pushing too hard,” she gasped, slowly doing. She went back to clutching her chest. “I won’t make any demands. But will you at least stay with me away from the others for a while?”

    “Why not? And to tell the truth, I’m pretty excited about this Master Seal. Why didn’t I think of a gift for you?” he said, shaking his head.

    “I’m glad you like it! I couldn’t think of anything else,” she laughed, leading the way into the cave. She walked slowly now, keeping her arms out beside her to maintain her balance. Rune followed once there was a good few paces between them, attempting to be as careful as her. He wound up immediately sliding down the slope, crying out to give a second of warning before crashing right into her behind. Him shoving her so suddenly made her lose her balance, and the duo went tumbling down the long slope at full speed.

    Rune eventually bounced off her and splashed into shallowed water, surprisingly not in as much pain as he thought he would be. He opened his eyes to find luminous moss squished below him, all of it bathed in a short layer of water.

    “Ow,” Ariala moaned, rubbing her side as she stood up.

    “Sorry about that. I wasn’t expecting it to be slippery!” he cried. She took a moment to collect herself and then faced forward and gasped, drawing his attention to where they were.

    The Evolution Spring was wider and more beautiful than he imagined. The luminous moss covered much of the cave’s flooring, all of it lightly covered by the water. It gave the water an ethereal feel, whilst conveniently brightening the rest of the cave’s numerous paths and walls. It was spacious, clean, quiet, and best of all, cosy.

    The real surprise came from the creature levitating in the centre of the shallow lake, however. A watery maiden of a Pokémon watched them calmly, a lady with a dark body protected by two purple shells. Its arms were long and webbed, whilst lengthy, cyan hair strode down its sides. Its shell was covered with markings.

    “Tapu Fini,” Ariala whispered. Rune glanced at her, and then she got a hold of herself enough to bow and pray.

    “That’s Tapu Fini? One of the Goddesses of Faernia?” Rune gasped, glancing back and forth between her and the majestic water type.

    “Please. Calm yourselves,” Tapu Fini responded, laying a hand on its chest. Its voice was aged but powerful, retaining a calm serenity despite being loud. “Come, young couple. Stand before me.”

    “Yes. Rune,” Ariala nodded, leading the way. He watched her unsurely, more taken by the way she skipped ahead, tapping right off the water. Once they were face to face, Tapu Fini laid a hand on both of their heads, giving them a feathery tap. She was bigger than Rune realised at first glance.

    “You are quite overwhelmed, aren’t you? Do not be alarmed, royal children. I am here as I have foreseen your future,” Tapu Fini began, smiling at them. Although she had no visible mouth, her mature eyes gave it all away. “I am here to ensure that the future of this world goes as it should. Your actions tonight affect the future for many years to come, so they must not divert.”

    “You see, Tapu Fini can see the future. Many Pokémon from Faernia consult her for guidance, whilst she suggests paths for which we can prosper. When it’s really important, it is said that she goes out of her way to secure our future,” Ariala explained, smiling at Rune.

    “I see. As a mythical Pokémon, I trust your abilities,” Rune replied, staring up at her.

    “The Tapu are also the ones to consult when it comes to using a seal. You can use your Master Seal right now if you want,” Ariala added.

    “Can I really? Right now, this very instant?” Rune gasped, revealing the seal.

    “If you are qualified and have made this choice, then pray before me. Lay down your weapons and seal your path. If it as the gods will it, then you will evolve via my blessing,” Tapu Fini instructed.

    “Yes my lord,” Rune nodded, obeying. Ariala gave him space while he took off his sword and cape, carefully laying both down in front of him. They floated on the water’s surface. He then held the Master Seal with both hands, getting a nod from Tapu Fini on what to do with it. He shut his eyes and cast it up above him, and she snatched it into her shell. With that in place, he knelt down and prayed.

    Please almighty, grant me the strength to become a knight. Give me the power to protect those I hold dear to me. My family, my friends, my wife to be,” he told himself, keeping completely still. Tapu Fini began to circle the space above him, gradually releasing a golden glitter, the same gold as the Master Seal she had taken into her shell. The glitter showered directly over Rune, quickly causing his body to glow the same colour.

    “It’s working,” Ariala smiled, losing her words as Rune’s form grew before her eyes. He grew taller and thinner, gained longer arms, and his head fur lost all form of control in its style. With a bright burst of light, Rune’s new body came into focus, revealing the proud, confident figure of a Dewott.

    “Stand,” Tapu Fini said, and Rune stood. He had to flick his head fur out of his face with a hand, unable to help but examine his new figure. He retrieved his sword and cape, posing proudly with both.

    [​IMG]

    “I can already feel much stronger. I promise you that these new powers will not go to waste. This new path will be used to protect the world of Etheria. I swear it,” he announced.

    “I do not know what served to change fate, but I should assure you, Ariala’s plans are those that should come to pass,” Tapu Fini continued. Rune’s mouth dropped.

    “Her plans? Wait you don’t mean- us having a child?” Rune gasped.

    “Yeah um, about that,” Ariala muttered, scratching her head. “I erm, initially wanted you to evolve to make that easier, but I see that it hasn’t made much of a difference.”

    “Hm?” Rune replied, turning to face her. He still had to look up at her.

    “You’re not much taller than you were,” she admitted, blushing brightly.

    “Oh come on. I’m not exactly a midget compared to you now, am I?” he groaned, shrugging.

    “The act will be performed tonight. Within a few weeks, a royal warrior will be born. It will be a boy of cyan fur, blessed by the constellations and defiant of nature’s laws. A symbol of peace and coexistence, he will lead his Pokémon, both ancestors and a new generation, to a future of prosperity and peace,” Tapu Fini continued, laying a hand on her chest.

    Rune’s eyes widened and his face became stern. Tapu Fini ignored his obvious concern however, continuing to talk. “I will act as your priestess, if you are prepared to unite, now.”

    “I see. Not only is the marriage the ideal of the king and queen, but it is as you will it,” Ariala said, laying a hand on her chest as well. “Rune, it is our tradition to follow the ideals of the gods who protect us. This is no longer my idea, but a requirement given to me by Tapu Fini herself.”

    “This is all moving pretty fast. I sort of understand what you’re saying, but a requirement? To make such a dedication by the words of a Goddess, don’t you think that’s quite extreme?” Rune objected.

    “I can see why you would feel that way. However, consider this: it is this dedication to the guidance of our gods that has enabled Faernia to flourish as far as it has. I am willing to do as they will if it leads us to prosperity,” Ariala replied. Rune hesitated.

    “Don’t you think that’s a bit, I don’t know, sad? Yeah it’s made Faernia into this pretty world, but at the same time, you’re not living freely. You’re just doing what the Tapu tell you to do,” he said, looking down. “I… the idea of marrying someone because someone else told me to do it makes me feel like I’m being used.”

    “Rune!” Ariala cried.

    “That’s not to say I don’t want to. It’s just harder to do it now that a fancy goddess is telling me to,” he admitted, tilting his head. “I respect your words and your position in this world. But that’s just how I feel. Back home, I was allowed to do whatever I wanted, and I learnt about life the hard way. That’s why I came to that personal decision of not thinking about a relationship until now. It was something I knew I didn’t need to live.”

    “I admire your honesty,” Ariala smiled, shutting her eyes. “But I implore you to think again about the circumstances.”

    “Ariala,” Rune breathed out.

    “Young prince of Eris, there is a way to assess your dedication, you know,” Tapu Fini spoke up, getting their attention. “Take Ariala’s hands into your own. Look each other in the eyes and embrace one another in tradition. Your planets both share the same tradition when it comes to showing one another’s affection.”

    “To kiss,” Rune whispered, facing Ariala directly. She did the same and then looked away, her cheeks reddening more than ever. She couldn’t help but gasp girlishly, tapping her cheeks in surprise of their sudden warmth.

    “I, I know what I have to do, but all of a sudden, I’m overwhelmed by nervousness?” she gasped, squeaking sharply. She gasped at that and put her hands together, looking away. “I’m sorry; I am prepared for this, though!”

    “Wow, all it took was an invite to kiss and you broke?” Rune snickered. “Just hold my hands, then.”

    She went quiet at that, forcing herself to look at him. His confidence drove her to accept his hands one at a time, where she relaxed right away from how soft his grip was. The duo brought each other closer almost by reflex, so close to one another that their bellies were touching, noses centimetres apart. Now that they were there, Rune couldn’t help but look away himself, letting out a light groan.

    “Oh, you’re nervous now, too!” Ariala giggled.

    “N-no, it’s not that! It’s, well,” he gasped, facing her again. “Your- body- is surprisingly soft. In a good way.”

    “Rune,” Ariala whispered.

    “I’m not thinking dirty thoughts, I swear! I’m just not used to it. I don’t know if it’s a fairy thing or what,”

    “Rune,” Ariala said again.

    “I’ve never known anyone to have such soft fur, not even sis! And she’s crazy about-”

    “Rune!” Ariala shouted. He gasped again, silenced by her quickness in leaning forward. She planted a kiss directly on his lips, freezing in place until he responded in kind, wrapping his arms around her and returning the affection.

    “A-Ariala,” he whispered once they broke free, keeping their arms wrapped around each other.

    “Do not think of it as acting against our will. This can work. The two of us wish for our world to prosper in an age of peace. To do that, we can devote ourselves to each other. If you are prepared to go that far, then I have no regret in saying that I love you,” she said, not blushing at all.

    “I’m willing to try. You’re right. That’s why I travelled all this way. To be with you, and to guide our planets to the future,” he replied, staring back. They faced each other for a few seconds more, not leaving each other’s embrace at all.





    “Gods, I can’t believe this. We leave them alone for a couple of hours and they disappear off the face of Faernia!” Ptero shouted, tossing his arms up. “And the worst part is Rune knows how much trouble we went through to get here!”

    “You went through trouble? It can’t be as hard as the prissy princess had it. I’m straight up under treason, here!” Tundra spat.

    “A little treason, huh? At least you’re not being forced to work against your will,” Shota complained, growling.

    “You all, quit arguing and get searching! Her highness could be anywhere in town!” Naomi shouted.

    “They’re not here, though. They didn’t leave a letter or anything,” Ptero growled, leaning forward to scout out the distance anyway. Nothing but the casual festivity of the Fantasia Port in the morning: few groups of Pokémon taking care of morning chores, others preparing their stores for any morning customers.

    “Her highness normally goes out for walks at night. She’s a Clefable, it can’t be helped. But even then, she’s normally well rested and back by the morning. I can’t even think where she could have gone this time, or why,” Vincent sighed, shaking his head.

    “Isn’t that like, oh I don’t know, your freaking job? You’re their personal retainers!” Diantha cried. “And why do I have to search?”

    “Your brother is missing, too. He might even be looking for her. I don’t know how they got out so easily, there were guards around the entrance!” Naomi replied.

    “Actually, there weren’t any guards or patrols,” Nier corrected. Naomi’s eyes popped out with a scream. “Remember, she can hear far more precisely than we can. Patrols and guards and stuff keep her up at night, so she ordered us not to have them around.”

    “Urf, for real? This is such a bother,” Diantha groaned, wandering off while the rest of them continued to squabble. She chose to scout a spot where no one else was looking, a road lined with shops and flashy signs. “He’s got to be in one of these. Probably doing something corny and taking Ariala out for breakfast or something.”

    She glanced back at the others to ensure she wasn’t being followed and then took off, walking with her hands tucked behind her head. With a yawn and a scratch, she lazily scanned her surroundings as she passed them, not spotting anything of interest. Having explored the town yesterday, she had already grown tired of its limited shopping options and educational tourist attractions. That was until a great spot of darkness got her attention, and she shook her head to make sure she wasn’t seeing things.

    Nothing in the alleyway to her right. The street and the buildings by that alley were painted white, too. But that made Mirror’s familiar half black-half white mask stand out greatly, and she froze to the spot, overwhelmed by a horrible chill. She was out here, alone, and he was there, staring directly at her through that static mask of his from the roof of a building. It wasn’t until a full minute had passed without a single twitch from him that she realised what she was doing, and stepped backwards.

    “Come now. I know what you’re thinking, your highness,” Mirror began, calm and collected in tone. His mask was directly next to her, and all she did was blink and step backwards. She could feel his mane brushing her back, tickling that uncomfortable chill that was now burning her chest.

    “G-get away from me!” she coughed, spinning around. He was gone again. She twisted, gasped, and stumbled, almost falling directly onto one of his paws, squeaking in fright.

    “You asked me a question the first time we met. I’m willing to answer, now,” he said. Her breathing was heavy, but she stayed quiet and listened. “You and I are closer than you think. We’re both time bombs. Switches of fate. Pokémon that threaten a delicate balance to the world.”

    “What’re you talking about?” she gasped, stumbling away again. He followed her, stepping forward like a lion sneaking up on its prey.

    “You know exactly what I am talking about, your highness. The powers we have and their imbalance to the hierarchy. The very idea that we’re both alive is a threat to Etheria, and you know it,” he said, not changing in tone at all. Every word was plain and controlled, echoing out from behind his mask with unreal stability. “I’m talking about your darkness, Diantha. It is time for a shift in the puzzle.”

    “You have it as well, don’t you? That’s what you’re trying to tell me. That shadow’s powers,” she replied in a saddened tone.

    “I have something to show you, your highness. Any and all questions will be answered this following day,” he stated. “And don’t pretend you have a choice in the matter. A single step out of line, and I will kill you myself. It is every bit important that Rune be tested.”
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  6. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Chapter 15

    Well, this was just adorable. I love Ariala and Rune's nervousness! That sketch of him evolved is adorable, too.

    I feel I need to point out something that makes it hard to follow who's talking. You often post long speech and leave off the speaker until the end:



    As an example, I'd suggest something akin to:



    This way, you can follow who's talking a lot sooner.

    Foreboding ending is foreboding. What on earth does Rune need to be tested for? Mirror is pretty intimidating. I'm not sure if he's good or bad just yet. But nonetheless, he doesn't bring happiness with him, does he?

    Small typo:



    Typo, or unfinished sentence?
     
  7. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    First of all, HUGE apologies for the wait on the update for this! This chapter was set to be one of the most critical points in the story, so I contemplated really hard with how to write and portray it, exactly what should happen in it, and more. In the end, I decided to scrap the word limit I have been using so far and just wrote as I pleased, which caused the part to end up over twice as long as other chapters so far.
    But after two weeks, here it is. Treat it as you would a special episode of an anime, or something.
    A huge thanks to the comments recieved so far, too. Deli's comments in particular about the placement of dialogue tags had an effect on this chapter, too, so if you find any errors, feel free to point them out to me, as usual.
    Without further ado, I hope you enjoy this part!

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

    Episode 16: Great battle under the stars


    [​IMG]

    “We’ve come so far out. Mirror, where are we?” Diantha wondered, observing the scenery. Mirror didn’t seem to mind that she wasn’t walking right beside him, but she knew how serious he was about following him, so she kept jogging to catch up. Only now, jogging was becoming difficult so she decided to stick behind him for good.

    The terrain was comparable to Eris, here. Tall hills that blocked the horizon made up this mountain range, whilst jagged flooring and rocky paths made up the immediate surroundings. The naturally golden colour of the ground made it different to Eris’ mountains however, a light, golden brown layer of grass covered most of the mountains. The further in they went, the more the grass seemed to sparkle, whilst the sound of collisions got louder and louder. The wind got stronger, too.

    “Mirror? Hello?” Diantha sung, tripping up. He stopped her from falling over with a foot without looking back at her. “Er, thank you.”

    “This area is known as Fairy Hill. It is the final frontier of Faernia, the place in which the final battle of the ancient war took place,” Mirror finally replied, stopping at the top of one of the hills. Diantha joined him and gasped.

    This hill was tall enough to let them look over most of the region. Amongst the glittery sheen of the golden hills were a large variety of weapons, all the same types she had seen before: swords, lances, axes, bows and arrows, hammers, claws, and more. There were millions of these weapons as well, all lodged into the ground like stalks of corn in a field. They were all rusted and weathered, but their aged orange material melded into the golden brown of the Earth, making them appear new and just as glittery.

    On the contrary, Fairy Hill was definitely one of the most beautiful places she had ever seen, and it was definitely going to be a place she would paint when she next got the chance. Glitter rained from the cloudy sky like glistening snowflakes, whilst streams of this same glitter floated back up into the clouds. It was like the glitter was painting patterns in the dark sky, pouring this shimmering dust in waves whilst drawing it up in curly lanes.

    A high pitched screech sounded out, distracting her from her appreciation of the sky. One of those lanes of glitter falling down was too fast and fiery to be whatever this dust was that was falling. She followed that fiery trail to find that the crash wasn’t too far from them, a little ways down their current hill.

    “Beyond here lies the wilderness of Faernia, the part of the planet shaped by Pokémon from Eris. They came this far out to claim Faernia as their own, but the battle that took place threatened to wipe out both armies,” Mirror continued.

    “I think I heard about this. Eris tried to use that Dragon Weapon thing, right?”

    “Precisely. Once their attention had been brought to the amount of death suffered in this battle alone, the battle came to a halt. This once beautiful majesty of nature bestowed to us by the Tapu’s blessings had been reduced to what you see now: a rugged land soiled by blood and memories of sinful conflict,” he replied, stepping forward. His head was hung as he spoke, but his eye didn’t move, nor did his tone change. “The weapons you see here are all that both planets could do to pay respect to those who lost their lives. It serves as a reminder to us as the current generation, the sins we Pokémon have performed. They are the scar in Etheria’s side.”

    “So this is the ground where the last battle was. But why’d you take me here of all places?” Diantha replied, tilting her head. She didn’t wait for an answer, rushing off towards the crash they had seen earlier. A small crater had already formed, where a large, brown rock lay. “It’s a meteorite!”

    “They are called Minior. They are drawn to this area’s natural relation to death,” Mirror corrected, walking over. She gave him an annoyed look.

    “What’s with you and all this death dark speech? No one’s going to die here,” she said. The meteor started to crack and break apart, revealing a gleaming object within, a small orb with spikes that gave it a star shape. Diantha couldn’t help but laugh at it, reaching out to help it get free of its shell. Her single fang was showing now. “Oh wow, it’s so pretty!”

    The blue orb didn’t reply to her, steadying itself in the space in front of her. Once it was fine, large, swirly eyes of white light formed in front of it, alongside a pleasant smile. It released a babyish giggle, warming Diantha’s heart. She was happy to see it, and it was happy to see her.

    “You just fell from space just now, didn’t you, little guy? This is so cool! What’s your name?” she asked, bouncing in front of it. It responded with another giggle and some chirpy squeaks, which was enough for her. Deciding that it couldn’t answer, she decided to go quiet and think of a name for it instead.

    That was until it started to float away from her, straight back up into the sky. She watched in confusion, entranced by the happy, giggling blue orb as it floated up with the rest of the golden dust. Minior was still staring at her with its goofy smile as well, right up until the tips of its star shape began to fade.

    “Wait, what’s happening to it? Minior, come back!” she cried, reaching out for it.

    [​IMG]

    It didn’t come back. It kept on floating higher and higher, gradually fading into golden dust. Its babyish giggles continued until it was nothing more than another glittery stream in the sky.

    “What just happened to it? The Minior,” Diantha whispered. Mirror stood directly next to her, joining her in staring up at the golden streams.

    “Minior are born in space. They inhale dust and debris that forms into the shells that land around here,” he began, bringing her attention to the countless Minior shells that were around the area. They could hardly be seen thanks to the weapons and glitter. “Their shells become too heavy, so they fall to planets. But Minior cannot actually survive in the atmosphere of either Eris or Faernia. Their bodies fade.”

    “Oh. Wait, so when its shell broke just there, you mean it-”

    “This fleeting cycle of life and death… you are about to learn just how similar it is to our own, as carriers of a Shadow Partition,” Mirror stated, still staring up.

    Diantha moaned a little, staring back up as well. Now that she knew that those beautiful streams of golden dust were the lives of fading Minior, the whole show cast a troubling atmosphere over her. It was beautiful, that was for certain. But it wasn’t what she wanted. It was a fact that she wished she had never learnt.

    “Tell me, my lady Diantha. What do you think of Eris?” Mirror asked. She tilted her head at him. “Your home has troubles like the breeding ground, where Pokémon are forcibly bred and butchered to be eaten by other Pokémon. The locals know nothing outside of themselves, wishing harm upon the royal family even though you are seeking to help them. Even aristocrats like Kelsith and Emerson live in the shadows, fearful of being overthrown, suffering from disasters and losing everything they have.”

    Diantha let out a sigh, looking away at the floor. Mirror didn’t face her, continuing anyway. “It’s just as fleeting as what you see here. We’re all pawns in the games of the gods. Whether you live or die from here on, does it matter? Is it good or bad?”

    “Sh-shut up already!” Diantha cried.

    “Tell me, my lady. After all, you’re the princess who these Pokémon count on for survival,” he continued anyway.

    “I don’t know, okay? I’m just one girl. I couldn’t give ya a solid answer to that even if I wanted to,” she pouted, folding her arms. “What I mean is, I can’t do anything to change that, so I just deal with what’s right in front of me, okay? Big bro and Dad, they’re the type to go for the bigger picture. Ask them what they think.”

    Mirror went completely silent until she looked at him, concerned why he wasn’t replying. “I see. That’s your answer.”





    The sun rising was the last thing Rune expected to wake him, having fallen asleep in the cave that he and Ariala were in last night. Ariala wasn’t next to him like he thought she would be though, encouraging him to get up quickly and search for her.

    “Ari? Where?” Rune called out, searching left and right. Light was coming through the various paths of the cave, polluting the magical feel the area had at night. Thankfully he didn’t have to look very far, as the Clefable was wide awake and staring at the slope that led outside. She turned at Rune’s call, smiling at him.

    “Good morning, Rune,” she waved as he walked over. She was standing on top of the water. “I’m so proud of last night. I actually got a bit excited and couldn’t sleep.”

    “Huh? Oh, yeah, right. That didn’t go as badly as I thought it would,” he agreed, raising his left arm. A bracelet of light formed around it, whilst one appeared on Ariala’s right arm at the same time. “As long as this bracelet is on our arm properly, we’re officially married. That’s some wondrous technology right there.”

    “It’s not technology, Rune. It’s Tapu Fini’s blessing. A marriage by the Tapu’s blessing is like no other. As long our feelings for each other are genuine, these bracelets will remain,” she giggled.

    “Yes but you know, it’s hard to believe after the time we’ve known each other. I’m glad it’s working, but I’m worried. I’ve never known something like this,” he admitted.

    “I know our feelings for each other are real,” she replied. She softly laid a hand on her belly, widening his eyes. “The proof will be right here.”

    “Wait, you’re not trying to say- you’re not having an egg already, are you?”

    “No, not yet. It will at least take a few days. But the feelings are there. We’re going to be parents, soon,” she said, holding his hands.

    “Ariala,” he breathed out. They stayed like that for a while, staring into each other’s eyes until they were both smiling. “Sh-should we get some breakfast? The others must be wondering where we are.”

    “Yes. My retainers are used to me wandering off, but not for this length of time. Let’s go,” she agreed, still holding his hands. He laughed a little but walked off with her, taking one of the cave paths at random. This one looked like it had the most sunlight coming from it, anyway. “Rune, what do you fancy, though? We don’t eat meat on Faernia, so I don’t think we’ll be able to provide you with your kind of meal.”

    “That’s fine, I knew that. To be honest I feel wrong eating other Pokémon, anyway. Show me what’s a good breakfast for you,” he replied, scratching the back of his head.

    The two happily chatted on their way back to the Fantasia Port, not running into any form of trouble at all on their way back. Rune couldn’t help but stay on edge the whole journey, fully expecting feral Pokémon to jump them or something. To be able to spend such a wonderful night with Ariala and not face any trouble there or back felt too good to be true.

    The thought brought his attention to just how heavenly Faernia was to him. The morning was bright, the scenery was colourful and quiet, the wind felt pleasant, and Ariala casually talking to him all combined to give him a feeling he had forgotten. Right here and now, this was true joy, but maybe he deserved it. After all the battles he had taken on to get this far, a short break wouldn’t hurt the situation, he thought. He would let his jovial feelings soak in now, and then get back to work tomorrow. After all, he still had to keep his promise to Kelsith and Emerson, as well as prepare for his public announcements about their oncoming child.

    “… and then he ended up chasing Nier all around the room! It honestly lifted my spirits,” Ariala laughed, Rune laughing with her.

    “Honestly, you make those two sound like more of a handful than I used to be. And I used to be one naughty kid,” he joked.

    “We’re back, that didn’t take long. Um, should we meet the others before we head out?”

    “Of course. They’re-” Rune cut himself off. As soon as they set foot into the town, a dark foreboding overcame him. Lots of Pokémon were moving about, and all of them were heavily stressed. He’d always had the ability to sense nearby feelings like this, but never this clearly. It was almost scary, but an asset he could get used to as a Dewott, now. “Ariala, listen carefully. Do you hear anything?”

    She paused to listen, raising an eye in concern. “From the place we’re staying at. Pokémon are calling out for Diantha?”

    “Diantha?” Rune replied. He stormed off before she could say anything else, but she followed him in the same mood.

    “Hello? Everyone!” Rune called out, barging through the doorway.

    “Is that- Rune, good gods, where have you been?” Ptero cried, swooping towards him. He stopped at Rune’s feet, gawking up at him. “Gods… where have you been?”

    “Huh? Oh right, the evolution- never mind that now, though. I’ll explain later. What’s got you all in a rush?” he asked.

    “It’s awful,” Kelsith said, looking away. Ptero shook his head and pushed up his glasses, glancing back as everyone else arrived.

    “Her highness Princess Diantha has been kidnapped,” Galen said. Rune and Ariala gasped, the former’s eyes widening at every word. “The perpetrator is none other than Mirror, that masked Absol. For whatever reason, he left you a letter.”

    Rune snatched the letter from him, growling at the fact that it was only two sentences long.

    “I have Diantha. To try to retrieve her, come to Fairy Hill. Mirror,” Ariala read aloud over his shoulder. “I know where Fairy Hill is. Naomi, prepare the transport, right now! Contact Queen Magearna and request an army.”

    “Your highness, I can’t! This is clearly a trap,” The Ponyta cried.

    “Trap or not, my sister is there. We ran into this guy on the way to Faernia, and I can’t stress how dangerous he is. Even if you decide not to go, I’m going to rescue her,” Rune argued, folding his arms. “And my army are coming with me.”

    “Of course we are,” Ptero sighed hoarsely. “This only happened because she didn’t want to look for you two, you know.”

    “More like Naomi got everyone up super early and had us searching the whole town. I told her you’d be alright,” Nier complained, putting her paws on her hips.

    “Alright alright, enough arguing. None of this matters. Right now Diantha needs our help, and I’m going to help her,” Rune shouted.

    “We’re coming with you. This is my responsibility as well,” Ariala added.

    “But Ariala, the egg,”

    “I told you, I will be fine. It will take a few days at least. I implore you not to underestimate me in a situation like this,” she said, shaking her head. Rune’s breath settled. “I may not have been there before, but I know a lot about Fairy Hill, its history, and its current condition. It was an extensive part of my education.”

    “Okay. I trust you. Please, lead the way,” he requested.

    “Man, just when things were startin’ to look up. We were gonna get a wedding cake with sprinkles, and I ain’t had sprinkles in years!” Nier whined.

    That’s what you’re worried about?” Vincent replied, smacking his forehead. “Not the fact that of all our years of travel, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of a kidnapping like this.”

    “Meaning?” she asked.

    “It’s just giving me a bad feeling,” he said, shaking his head. “Your highness Prince Rune. Please allow me to introduce myself to you properly.”

    “It’s okay, you’re a hybrid, I already know. Ariala told me everything,” Rune replied before he could take off his cloak. Vincent slowly took it off anyway, surprised. “It makes no difference to me, especially if you’re going to help with this.”

    “You’re also the first Pokémon to have reacted that way,” he admitted, looking away. “I will cherish our friendship.”

    “And I’ll be counting on you,” Rune nodded.





    An excruciating few hours passed, Rune and Ariala almost silent the entire time. They only spoke when it was necessary, readying themselves for the trap ahead. Most of the others were quiet with them, but their faces told of their concerns and fears. Just looking at them told Rune of all the liberties he was taking right now, side-tracking so drastically thanks to his sister’s actions.

    “We’re here. We can’t go any further with our convoy,” Naomi announced, skidding to a halt. Rune let out a breath he’d been holding in and stepped out, immediately coming to a halt. The weapons jutting out of the floor rang too many alarm bells.

    “This place is Fairy Hill? The last battle of the ancient war?” he asked. “Why’d he take Diantha here?”

    “I can’t think of any reason other than an advantageous layout. Mountains like these are the worst place to do battle, after all,” Vincent replied. Ariala skipped past them both, heading up the nearest hill.

    “Your highness, please don’t run off! This area is dangerous!” Naomi cried. The Clefable ignored her, urging the others to get a move on and follow.

    A few hills up and down, and she came to a halt. There was a wide enough area for a proper war battle to take place, but the terrain was still rugged and littered with old weapons. Although an incalculable distance away, Mirror and Diantha were definitely at the far end, high up on another hill. The golden dust seemed to avoid falling here, as did the Minior that periodically landed.

    “There he is. But he’s not alone, even though he looks it,” Ariala said, pointing to them. “I can hear many other Pokémon in waiting… hundreds of others, hidden behind the hills to the left and right.”

    “So it’s a simple ambush after all. Ptero, you can fly, right? Please scout for us,” Rune ordered. Ptero mouthed a response and obeyed, gliding upwards as high as he could. Nier had to help him with her psychic, flying up after him. The duo quickly came down, their faces filled with dread.

    “There are two armies waiting to the left and right. They look like citizens of Faernia,” Ptero reported. “I’ve not see their type of clothing before, though. It’s very informal and impractical, like Eris’ clothing.”

    “That ‘impractical’ clothing doubles as fur coats for Pokémon from Stardust Treasury, since we can’t survive during the winters. Those Pokémon are protesters,” Tundra clarified.

    “How can you be certain?” Rune asked.

    “Trust me; Faernia is stuck up enough to have that kind of dress code. Point is, leave that side of the army to me. Once they see me, their morale will definitely drop,” he answered.

    “Can confirm. Those protesters are actually the reason Tundra’s even with us,” Nier added. Rune nodded.

    “Okay. Then it’s just Mirror’s Ancient Spectres. Do you all know how to beat Ancient Spectres?” Rune asked. “They can only be attacked a moment after they attack you. That might sound difficult, but keep your cool and we’ll be able to keep moving forward. Once we get Diantha, we’re out of here. Retreat at first order and don’t kill anyone unless you absolutely must!”

    “Don’t kill anyone? That’s a first for you. I don’t know if I’ll be able to comply,” Shota snickered. Rune gave him a livid look.

    “You pick the worst times to make jokes, Shota. Let’s just get this over with,” Ptero sighed.

    Rune looked over at everyone. Here and now, thanks to Diantha’s idea of recruiting a personal army of his own, he had gotten to know quite a few Pokémon. From Galen’s jumpy excitement to the battle ahead, to Kelsith and Emerson’s worry, to Shota and the Eris protesters’ bitter compliance; he had gathered quite the army. This would be their most serious battle yet, and he wasn’t certain they were all up for it.

    “Follow my lead, everyone!” he cheered, raising his sword. Their all raised their arms and weapons in response, Ariala’s army doing the same. With that, they all stepped out into the open, coming into Mirror and Diantha’s view.

    “Is that- big brother!” Diantha cried, stood beside Mirror.

    “Sis!” Rune called back. For some reason Diantha went quiet, looking away with a slight moan.

    “You’re finally here. Given the circumstances, I’m impressed with the time it took for you to reach here,” Mirror greeted.

    “What the hell do you want with my sister?”

    “To test you and your limits. But also to move this world forward. You keeping her secret from this world is far more damaging than is worth it. I think you know that, yet you choose to fight fate and kept her alive,” Mirror replied. “This here is a ritual, a ceremony in which all can be present. For the sake of Etheria’s future, the gods of Faernia will publicly execute a Shadow Partition.”

    “A Shadow Partition?” Rune replied.

    “The dark powers that Diantha possesses. Both your sister and your wife have those powers. Your marriage to Ariala was so that you could kill them and save the world. That is your duty as crown prince of Eris,” Mirror replied. Ariala’s face went white.

    How does he know that I have a Shadow Partition? Who is this Pokémon?” she gasped in her head.

    “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but the only one getting publicly executed today is gonna be you. For kidnapping and threatening my sister’s life, I sentence you to death, Mirror!” Rune announced. Just then, the armies of the protesters revealed themselves, appearing in formations on the hills to the left and right. The large variety of battle ready Pokémon created walls with their numbers, blocking escape to the left and right. To everyone’s surprise however, another army showed up behind Rune and Ariala’s group in a more threatening formation, this army led by a Meowth in soldier’s armour.

    “On the contrary Rune, any wrong move you make now will result in a lot more death than necessary,” Mirror threatened. “Attack us, and we won’t hesitate to kill you or any of your units. Is that really worth it over your sister’s controversial existence?”

    I prepared for this, but this looks a lot more troublesome than I thought,” Rune growled in his head, keeping his eyes on Mirror. “Again with your cowardly tactics. But this won’t work, Mirror. Diantha’s coming home with us!”

    “My army won’t attack until you attack, Rune. So take all the time you need to think long and hard about this,” Mirror replied. “Is it really worth re-enacting the final battle of the war of Etheria?”

    “How did an army end up behind us? And these are in royal armour. They’re actual soldiers from Faernia!” Ptero gasped, sweating intently.

    “Wait that’s- Charle! Am I glad to see you!” Nier cheered, recognising the Meowth at the front. Charle didn’t reply right away. “This battle just changed. That’s Charle, the head of the Cat’s Brigade. They’re Faernia’s royal army!”

    “Oh? They’re on our side?” Rune asked, tilting his head.

    “Lady Nier, I know the truth, now. I’ve seen it all,” Charle announced, bowing. “All Cat’s Brigade units, attack the princess and her group. Capture the prince and princess, and kill the rest!”

    “Wha-what the? Charle, have you lost your mind?” Nier shrieked above the roars of the soldiers. The Cat’s Brigade soldiers amongst Ariala’s friends were less enthusiastic but raised their weapons, muttering amongst themselves.

    “As if he ever had one to begin with,” Vincent growled, tightening his pose. Ariala was quiet.

    “And just to ensure you know just how hopeless your situation truly is,” Mirror added, straining to put effort into a move of his own. Dozens of ghostly spectres appeared in front of him, rising from the ground in bright pools of eerie light. Within seconds, Rune and Ariala’s armies were surrounded on all sides by hundreds of Pokémon, from spectres to protestors to trained soldiers.

    Rune’s eyes were wide enough to fall out of their sockets. His mind was racing and he felt like he was going to vomit. He was calm enough to consider how to win this seemingly unwinnable battle, but he knew that his chances were slim enough. Someone getting badly hurt was guaranteed.

    “Everyone, listen to me carefully,” he said, hiding his uncertainty in his voice. “We can get through this. We can definitely get through this.”

    “Rune,” Ariala whispered.

    “I warned you all that this would be a trap. We should retreat immediately,” Naomi hissed.

    “That’s what we’re going to do. We only actually need to rescue Diantha, so as intimidating as this looks, it won’t actually be that difficult to get through,” Rune nodded. “Diantha taught me to trust my friends, and this situation calls for it more than ever. The Cat’s Brigade are the biggest threat and are directly after Ariala, so it’s my duty to help her out there.”

    “Rune, I don’t need protecting-”

    “I understand your plight, honestly, I do. If it was just the protesters, I’d be fine with leaving you. But this is Faernia’s royal army. We can’t take any chances,” he reasoned, shaking his head. Ariala moaned a bit, opening her mouth to argue. “Ptero, Galen, Kelsith. I want you three to go straight for Mirror. I hate to ask of this, but if Mrs. Nier could fling those three over the spectres with her psychic…”

    “Are you freaking kidding? That’s your plan?” Ptero cried.

    “I shouldn’t be saying this now, but Diantha has a crush on you, Ptero. If you go to rescue her, she’ll try harder to get away for sure. Besides that, I know that you three have experience with spectres. I know I can trust you to get Diantha back and get away,” he explained.

    “Rune, I’m a mailmon, not a fighter!” Ptero cried. “You can’t expect me to defeat Mirror!”

    “It doesn’t matter, little Emolga! You heard his highness. The princess has her heart set on you! And it’s nice to know we’re in his good books this much. I’m sure we can handle a little bait and catch!” Galen cheered, patting him on the back.

    “That’s not the point you senile old plant!”

    “I can provide support from a distance. This is a working strategy. When we have Diantha, one of us will shoot an attack into the air. That’ll be our cue to escape, right?” Kelsith suggested.

    “That’s the idea. Thank you so much, Kelsith,” Rune smiled.

    “Mirror said he’ll wait, but I doubt he’ll wait around much longer. Are you three ready?” Nier said, facing the trio. Galen and Kelsith stood in front of her, facing Mirror’s army.

    “Are we- is this some kind of-” Ptero coughed, stopping to sigh. “What’s my incentive for this? Me risking my life had better have a worthwhile reward.”

    “Isn’t it obvious? My approval for Diantha’s hand in marriage. You three will become heroes, and the royal family will look after you for life,” Rune answered. Ptero fixed his glasses and gave him a look.

    “Are you even allowed to make this kind of proposal on your sister’s behalf? If I did that to my-”

    “Ptero, we don’t have time for this! We’ll sort it all out later!” Kelsith cried.

    “Fine. But I’ll hold you to that proposal, your highness,” he replied, standing beside Nier.

    “Wait for my signal,” Rune ordered, taking the lead. Knowing that this was really it, everyone else readied their weapons and mentally prepared themselves, spreading out in a way that surrounded Rune and Diantha and much as possible. Rune intentionally waited until there was a solid circle of Pokémon surrounding him and Ariala before raising the Sword of Earthly Elements, ensuring that Mirror could see it.

    “I see. That’s your answer,” the Absol replied, sitting down on all fours. He flicked his left paw, and the spectres charged forward.

    “Here they come,” Rune whispered, turning and running back into the centre of his circle. He kept his sword drawn and stood ready for battle.

    Seeing the spectres move, the other three armies released their war cries and came charging too, their combined roars causing Rune’s mind to lose control. But there was no way out of this situation, now. He threw himself and his friends into it almost without thinking, and now he had to deal with it. He had to deal with the countless ghostly figures charging straight at him, as well as the hundreds of fighters approaching from behind. He had to or else his life was over. That fact in the back of his mind stopped him from actually going crazy.

    “Nier, go!” he shouted once the enemies were close enough.

    Nier raised both ears and cried out, trapping the three Pokémon in her psychic. She flung them high up into the air and then quickly released them, leaving them to deal with landing somehow. Right now, she had to deal with the Persian that came at her first. She hopped away from its first two slashes and then pushed it back with a blast of psychic, barely having the time to take a breather when a Liepard came from behind. She jumped and did a front flip to land on its head, drawing her rapier to block yet another attacker from behind the Liepard, a Torracat. Its armour guarded against Nier’s stab, so it snickered at her in brief triumph.

    Meanwhile, Rune and Vincent had teamed up without any discussion, slashing and stabbing at anything that came their way. Their idea of keeping every enemy alive didn’t stop them from cutting anywhere that wasn’t vital. For Vincent, he was giving the battle a lot more effort in running directly into the centre of a group of enemies to slash, kick or threaten them back with his spear. Right now he was spinning in a single spot, parrying the blows of Machoke and Gurdurr with his arm and weapon, suddenly using his spear to vault over and avoid getting dogpiled by a whole bundle of fighting types. He flipped after vaulting so that he could smash the blunt side of his spear onto the enemies below him, but as soon as he landed, he had to jump again to kick a Raichu and a Servine.

    Rune wanted to praise him for his feat, but he was too concentrated on his own mob of enemies, a Pyroar, a Cherrim, and a Wartortle. A swift Water Pulse took care of the Pyroar, whilst Wartortle put up a fight by protecting itself with its hard shell. It bashed into him several times, Rune’s sword bouncing right off of its shell with every attempt to cut it. He eventually ducked away from it, sliding right into a Magical Leaf attack from the Cherrim. He cringed loudly from the sharp attack, retaliating by slashing one of its purple petals right off, kicking it away before it could even scream in pain. He turned back to Wartortle and flinched, having his arm get bitten hard enough to draw blood. Even worse, a spectre had taken the place of the Pyroar he took out earlier; looking like it was preparing a special attack.

    Before Rune could act, a large pink blast streamed past him, almost hitting him. It took out the spectre and the Wartortle, pushing them into a group of enemies before exploding and damaging them all. Confused but concerned, Rune glanced at the attack’s source to find that Ariala was barely as protected as he wished her to be. The way her hands were pointed implied that she had fired the Moonblast, but she couldn’t stay like that for long. A Litten and a Growlithe joined forces to try and hit her with Fire Fang, but some quick work with her fan set up a Reflect Barrier that knocked them both back. She flicked her fan about with graceful skill to bring up a Light Screen behind her, stopping a Thunderbolt he hadn’t even realised was aimed at her. Surrounded by enemies that made quick work of her Reflect, she cried out in effort and fluttered off the ground, unleashing a Dazzling Gleam attack. Bright lasers burst from her in all directions, sending everything close to her flying.

    “Stay away from her!” Rune shouted, using Aqua Jet to fly over to her. He collided with a Lopunny using Quick attack, immediately drawing a Razor Shell with one scalchop to compete with it. It tried to parry against his dual swords with its feet, but was overwhelmed by his strength and knocked out in moments.

    Above the battle, unable to help but watch the chaos unfolding below, Ptero, Kelsith and Galen were steadily gliding towards the ground. Ptero used his wings, Kelsith used her weight to ‘swim’ through the air, whilst Galen spun his whole body like a propeller, landing with a boastful bow. The trio didn’t land far from Mirror, but not too far from the big battle, either. They exchanged uncertain glances before facing forward, where Mirror was still sat down waiting for them.

    “I wonder if Rune knew you could do that?” Ptero asked, raising an eyebrow at Galen.

    “Knew I could do what?” he replied, completely unfazed.

    “Never mind,” he sighed, posing with his two knives. Kelsith moaned a little and took place behind the two boys, locking eyes with Mirror. The Absol didn’t move.

    “Ptero!” Diantha cried, poking her head out from behind Mirror. “Am I glad to see you!”

    “We’re here to get you back, your highness. Mirror, you heard the king! Your days are numbered, thanks to your act,” Ptero announced. Mirror took a few seconds to respond, eventually standing up on all fours.

    “This is disappointing. I was expecting to fight Rune,” he said, sounding as cold and emotionless as ever. “Instead, he sends his friends to their deaths. He hasn’t learnt a thing.”

    “Tsk. Remember guys. Our only aim is to get Diantha back,” Ptero muttered. “One of us must distract him, whilst the other escorts Diantha to a safe spot. Once we can escape, fire the attack that’s the escape signal.”

    The others made sounds of acknowledgement, expecting Mirror to attack first. But he didn’t move an inch, remaining as still as a statue. Ptero growled in angst, wanting him to act so that he had something to counter. But Mirror showed unyielding patience, whilst Ptero had little time, little time that didn’t even have a written limit.

    Knowing this, Ptero finally initiated the fight, sprinting forwards so that he could dive into a Spark attack. Mirror dodged it by shifting his body to the side, moving so seamlessly that Ptero didn’t even register that he missed until he landed a few metres behind him.

    “What?” Ptero whispered, slowly turning around.

    “Ptero, be careful!” Diantha cried. Her desperate tone brought him back into focus, so he tried again, charging into a Spark attack.

    Mirror dodged it again with a shift to the side. This time however, he grabbed Ptero’s tail and stopped all his momentum, not suffering any effects at all from the electricity crackling all over the Emolga. Mirror’s other paw swung around and smashed Ptero directly into the ground so hard that he was left in a pothole. No sound came from Ptero other than that of his impact, and the attack was so sudden that the others didn’t realise it had happened until Ptero was in the ground, where all they could do was gasp.

    “Ptero!” Kelsith cried. She had been preparing to jump in with Draining Kiss, but stopped once she saw him half buried in the ground.

    “How could you? You might be fast, but do you have rhythm?” Galen said, leaning forward.

    He swiped both his arms across his front to release a number of Razor Leaves, to which Mirror shifted to the side at the last moment to avoid again. This time he darted far to the right so that the leaves missed him by a mile, and then began to zigzag toward Galen in this same high speed fashion. The movements threw the Sunflora right off focus, as he could barely follow what was happening. He drew his sword and aimlessly swung at the air in front of him, expecting to punish any move that Mirror made.

    Sadly, the contrary happened. In the blink of an eye, Mirror was directly below his baton sword for just enough time for Galen to realise he was there. In that very instant, a cloud of dark energy pulsed across Mirror’s right paw, which was drawn back for a Sucker Punch attack. Before Galen could even flinch, Mirror’s attack hit Galen in the stomach, earning a winded cough and a great burst of spit from the Sunflora. That one attack was enough to knock him out for good, and he collapsed to the ground, no longer breathing.

    “G-Galen! Dear gods, he’s this powerful?” Kelsith shuddered, staring in disbelief. Mirror slowly looked up at her, making her flinch. She didn’t hesitate to cry out and turn tail to the fight, realising that she was trapped between the war and this monstrosity of a Pokémon.

    “How pathetic. Given the mission, persuaded by reward, and you would still flee at the first sight of difficulty? Aren’t you aware that that very act is considered treason?” Mirror said, walking back over to Ptero, who was still conscious, but was immobile due to lack of strength. Mirror picked him up by the head with one paw, ensuring that his nails dug in deeply. Ptero whimpered in pain, helpless and dangling like a doll.

    “Do-don’t kill him!” Kelsith cried, reaching out a paw. She flinched back when Mirror looked at her again, not managing any other words.

    “Not even the face of a crisis will persuade you,” Mirror sighed, slamming Ptero into the ground again. His nails glowed white, threatening a Slash attack. “Whether you like it or not, I’m going to kill him. Are you going to make any attempt to stop that from happening?”

    Kelsith still didn’t reply, staring and breathing horrifically. She couldn’t stop shuddering or hyperventilating, not taking her eyes off the masked Absol.

    “You won’t. Then don’t say another word,” he said, facing Ptero again. He raised his voice in effort to attack, swinging both of his front paws straight down to slice Ptero in two. Kelsith cringed at the sight and just about looked away, surprised to not see any blood splatter from the merciless attack. That was when she realised that Ptero hadn’t been hit, he had been protected by Diantha, who growled and cried out as she pushed her scalchop against Mirror’s huge claws.

    “Grrk- argh, darn it, no! I w-won’t let you k-kill him!” she growled. He stared down at her struggling form for a moment, choosing to put more weight into his paws. He quickly began to crush her to the spot, causing Diantha to scream.

    Despite Diantha’s struggles to keep herself stood upright against Mirror’s weight, Kelsith didn’t move an inch, watching her get crushed alive by another Pokémon. Their clash went on for longer than a minute, all the time Diantha screaming and growling in agony as she pushed back to no avail. Only when she finally started to run out of breath did her screaming stop, replaced by lifeless moans and weak cries of desperation.

    At the same time however, Diantha’s form began to change, once again fast enough for Kelsith to not realise until it had long since started happening. Diantha was surrounded by waves of dark, purple fire and crackling, black electricity, which quickly intensified until it engulfed her and Mirror. A huge blast occurred and the duo exploded, Mirror’s shocked cry of pain being the only voice heard from the impact. Kelsith squealed and turned to the side, shielding herself from the wicked wind that sent her skidding across the ground.

    This same dark fire and electricity wavered across the battlefield, its appearance dangerous enough to bring the whole battle to a halt. In an instant, every last Pokémon in the battle stopped what they were doing and turned to the source of the dark powers. Diantha was barely visible at the heart of it, but the way she whimpered and stumbled about weakly gave away that it was her. The dark aura soon died down in the area except around her, leaving her looking weak but intimidating.

    No one knew what to say or what to expect, or even what had happened – one thing was certain, Mirror had been badly hurt by Diantha’s outburst and was now even weaker than her. No one could hear his breathing, but the way his head hung, unsteadily shaking up and down, gave away that his breathing had grown tired and desperate. His body crackled with paralysis and shuddered from burns, whilst visually covered from head to toe in cuts and bruises.

    “Was that Diantha?” Ariala asked, stood beside Rune. The sound of thunder booming through the clouds made her flinch, and her eyes shot upwards. A warm yellow glow sped through the clouds, shifting her mind into crisis. “Wait, that’s- that means-”

    “Ariala?” Rune said, glancing at her. Ariala kept staring until the distant clouds above Diantha parted, revealing a heavenly light from above. A Pokémon shrouded by a large yellow orb of electricity descended from it, floating down straight towards Diantha.

    “N-no! This can’t be happening,” Ariala gasped, glancing back and forth. “R-Rune! You’ve got to get Diantha back right now!”

    “Why, what’s-”

    “Just go, please!” she screamed, shoving him forward. She tried to run after them as well, but couldn’t manage anything better than a hurried skip.

    Fortunately for Rune, the war remained at a halt for him to sprint. Even the spectres seemed to be entranced by this godly Pokémon’s appearance, which soon came to focus when it was floating before Diantha. The orb surrounding it had disappeared, allowing it to be seen by all.

    A black, bird-like Pokémon with an enormous plume stretching up from its head now sat before Diantha. It stared at her with its cold, unmoving face, protecting half of its face with the large, yellow masks it wore on its arms. Spines resembling a bird’s tail feathers made up its lower half, letting it float just off the ground.

    “It looks like Tapu Fini? What does it want with Diantha, though?” Rune huffed, sprinting towards them with his arms hung loosely behind him. Only when he made that resemblance did he remember Ariala’s warning, and what this encounter really meant.


    “So you know who it was that used those dark powers,” Ariala said. Rune gave her a plain look, but his breathing became tenser. “I don’t wish to interrogate you. I’ll respect your decision to keep this a secret from me. But please, I can only give you a dire warning: that Pokémon cannot openly use those powers here. One of our Gods, Tapu Koko has sworn destruction of those dark powers. If a Pokémon provokes him with those powers, it may be disastrous.”


    If that warning was as obvious as she wanted it to be, then the unthinkable was about to happen. Rune’s face twisted in angst and fear. He ignored the cries of his body to keep running at full speed like this, but he was still at least a hundred metres away from them. Even Aqua Jet wouldn’t reach them in time. He needed just a few seconds, a little over ten in fact, to get there and do something about it that maybe change the way this scene was looking.

    Despite his wishes and mental begging for a miracle, everything was going wrong. Tapu Koko was stood over Diantha in a way that voiced dominance, his pose, face, and all else telling her not to dare make a move. All sounds drowned out to silence when Tapu Koko tensed up and crossed its arms, unfurling them in a cataclysmic burst of lightning.

    Electricity stormed all around him at a deafening volume, yet it all came out silent to Rune. All he could see was Tapu Koko slamming a deadly, blinding amount of electricity onto a single spot, his attack so overwhelming that the heavy wind that came from it took Rune off his feet, as well as any other Pokémon nearby. Rune himself could feel the suffocating bolts as they streamed past him, engulfing his whole body in burning pain that jolted his heart to a dangerous speed. Rune crashed to the ground in excruciating pain, yet ignored it all to scramble to his feet and continue sprinting towards the electric type deity, ignoring every last bit of pain and lack of energy.

    “Diantha!” Rune roared at the top of his voice, shoving Tapu Koko out of the way. The floor around her had become a crater bigger than every crater in the area, lit with flames, crackling electricity, and warmed with blackened earth. Diantha stood in the direct centre of the crater, her arms stretched out beside her, head tilted upwards and body unmoving. Rune didn’t waste time in grabbing her, surprised to be shocked back by a burst of static that lingered over her. He ignored the pain of that to stand back up and try again, gripping her sides with both hands to absorb all of the electricity that still lingered. He screamed her name as he did so.

    “Diantha, please, say something!” he begged, shaking her. Her eyes remained open, as did her mouth, but no sound or life showed at all. She fell straight backwards when he released her, almost hitting the ground harshly if not for the way he cradled her. He kept calling her name and begging, shaking her in hopes of a sign of life, but none came. He eventually laid a hand on her chest. There was no pulse.

    “N-no, this isn’t- Diantha, Diantha, wake up damn it, Diantha!” he staggered, laying her down flat. He started pressing her chest, calling out and attempting to jolt her awake somehow.

    But nothing came of it. Her body was without pulse, staring back at him with open eyes and an open mouth. No breath. No movement. Not even the twitch of her pupils.

    “Please, gods no,” Rune whispered, still shaking and putting pressure on her chest. Tapu Koko, Ariala, Mirror, and all the other Pokémon in the battle watched from their spots, unable to show emotion to what they were seeing.

    “Diantha, please for the love of gods, please wake up,” Rune begged, losing his tone to the pettiness of tears. He couldn’t control the way they splattered all over Diantha, or the way his voice degenerated with his lack of strength and desperation. Eventually his body hit its absolutely limit and he barely had the strength to stay leaning over her on all fours. He took the opportunity to try and breathe into her mouth, calling out her name between every breath.

    It didn’t work. Her body stared right back at him. Lacking hope and ideas, Rune finally stopped acting and stared back, mentally praying that it was all some morbid joke and that she would wake up.

    She didn’t.

    He stared back, waiting for that miracle, but it never came. Her dead body just stared right back at him.

    “Almighty no,” Ariala whispered, clutching her chest as she realised what had just happened. Kelsith couldn’t believe what she had witnessed and watched on, not knowing what to do. Mirror was as emotionless as ever, but even he didn’t move or say anything, as if there was some mutual level of respect that caused him to do so. The rest of the Pokémon in the battle watched on with that same level of respect, some Pokémon exchanging glances with one another to silently share their natural grief.

    “Diantha?” Rune said one last time. No response. Trembling with feelings unknown to him, he slowly moved a hand to change her pose, laying her hands on her chest. He then carefully closed her eyelids and her mouth, staying there for another moment in hopes that she would jerk in response to his uninvited movements.

    “You did this,” he whispered, shutting his eyes. “Damn it, why? What the bloody hell did Diantha do to deserve death?”

    Tapu Koko finally shifted back a bit. Rune clenched his hands into fists and slowly got to his feet, drawing the Sword of Earthly Elements. Oddly, the blade of the treasured sword was glowing a bright white, gleaming beautifully in the dark atmosphere. Rune shuddered in acknowledgement but ignored it, swiping it aside as he stood up and ready to fight.

    “You killed her!” Rune roared at the top of his voice, lunging at the legendary.

    “Rune!” Ariala cried.

    Tapu Koko hopped to the side to avoid him, staring at Rune coldly. No sound came from him at all, but Rune took no notice. The Dewott was screaming like a mad beast, almost aimlessly charging at him again and again with his sword raised high above his head. Every wild swing he made put a huge dent in the ground, just about missing Tapu Koko with each movement.

    This carried on until Rune ran out of breath again and stopped screaming, where he gave Tapu Koko a livid glare. His appearance was drowned in feral rage, but Tapu Koko showed no reaction other than his dodges. Eventually the legendary turned around and then took off back into the sky, shooting off with the sound of thunder and a stream of electricity in his wake.

    “No! Get back here damn you! I’ll kill you!” Rune screamed again, rushing to the spot where Tapu Koko just was. His strength ran low again and he fell onto one hand and knee, using his sword to keep himself stood up. He was breathing heavily and never took his eyes off where Tapu Koko had been. “I’ll kill you for what you’ve done. I swear it. I will kill you!”
     
  8. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    We're reaching a crucial point in the story, one where I'm afraid about how I'm going about it because I've never done this sort of thing before. But I'm still rolling with it anyway, scared that this might spoil things for people. Either way, unless I go all in with my ideas, no comments can be made, right? Here goes nothing...

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

    Episode 17: Final trigger


    [​IMG]

    “The fact that the battle disbanded after Tapu Koko departed is a miracle of the gods,” an Azumarill stated, tapping her staff on the smooth floor beneath it. Azumarill’s staff was as tall as she was, completely pink, and with a golden star on the tip like a stereotypical fairy wand. She looked displeased with Ariala and her party’s appearance before her, unbothered by their beaten up states.

    Behind Azumarill was an enormous throne with a silver, robotic maiden sat in it. Queen Magearna. After Rune’s declaration towards Tapu Koko, he hadn’t been allowed to even set foot into the castle, so he and his army, what remained of it anyway, were waiting outside for Ariala to finish a meeting she had been called for.

    “Your story connects with ours quite well,” Azumarill said, glancing at Magearna. The Queen made no sound, exchanging a glance with her. “You’re aware of what happened here whilst you were away on that unauthorised battle, yes?”

    “No, your highness. We haven’t been back here for a day yet,” Ariala replied, standing straight and tall. Azumarill’s face flattened.

    “Possibly before your battle took place, Charle came here with his sword raised. He stated that the things he had learnt about Vincent changed the way he viewed this kingdom, and then the entire army, the Cat’s Brigade, marched out with him,” Azumarill explained. “Tapu Koko has publicly executed the princess of Eris. The Cat’s Brigade have vanished after committing treason, attempting to kill you during that battle. Prince Rune declared that he would kill Tapu Koko, essentially declaring war on Faernia – right after marrying you. On top of that, you disobeyed the direct orders of Queen Magearna and had your wedding in secret, away from the public.”

    Ariala didn’t reply. She couldn’t. Clearly knowing she had nothing to say, Azumarill continued to talk, staring right into the Clefable’s eyes. “Princess Ariala. This is a national crisis.”

    “Hey c’mon, pilin’ on the pressure like that isn’t gonna help anyone here,” Nier cried, putting her paws on her hips. “We gotta get some pointers, here. Time isn’t gonna wait for us to figure out what to do!”

    “If you mean consulting Tapu Fini for guidance, she has sealed herself away for the time being. We won’t see her again for a least a week,” Azumarill stated. Nier went quiet. “Princess, do you see what your disobedience has done? We are now on the verge of the world war that we wished to prevent. We have no army to defend us. The public are confused, spreading rumours of ill fate while they watch Rune’s army in fear of when they will strike.”

    “Azu, what exactly did Charle say he learnt about me?” Vincent interrupted. There was a length of silence until Magearna glanced at Azumarill. Azumarill’s left ear lifted up as if listening intently to something the Queen was saying, but no actual words came out.

    “Are you sure that’s wise, your highness?” Azumarill replied. Magearna seemingly ignored that question, resuming staring forward. “Very well. He told us of your personal agenda. Your incentive to stop the Constellars above all else. That as a Pokémon originating from Eris itself, your opposition to methods of true peace aren’t surprising.”

    Vincent grit his teeth.

    “Should I be surprised, as well? As a hybrid, you are only still alive due to the princess’s pity of you, after all,”

    “You take that back, Azu!” Nier shouted.

    “Nier, please,” Ariala interrupted. “Now is not the time for underhanded comments or mistrust. What has occurred today cannot simply be overlooked. We must find a civil way to resolve all of this, or this world risks unnecessary damage. We need to find a way to stop this potential war.”

    “There is a point to these comments, your highness. To put it in a way that even an ignorant child like would understand: we no longer need your idealistic judgement,” Azu stated. Ariala’s face turned white. “You are to return to your quarters for good at once, and do not leave unless ordered. We will handle the rest.”

    “Wha-what?” she replied slowly.

    “You heard me. Return to your quarters at once, and you are not to leave unless it’s your orders. You’ve caused enough trouble,” Azu repeated, raising her voice. “We will deliver your meals and necessities as per our usual routine. You will have no reason to leave your quarters.”

    Ariala’s eyes were watering and her breathing became unsettled. She wanted to argue, but her throat and chest were twisting to the point that it hurt to keep breathing. Not a sound other than a struggled, near silent whimper escaped her. She couldn’t just leave things as they were and return to living in solitude, not after seeing so much. Not after having so many unfinished promises. Not when she had a child on the way.

    Despite her obvious paralysis to the idea, Nier and Vincent stood beside her and grabbed her hands, helping her to walk her to her room. She allowed them to without so much as a comment or a look. Azu and Magearna waited until they were long out of sight before moving again, the former sighing and kicking the floor in frustration.

    “You know, I wish I knew what was on your mind with this. The fact that you aren’t freaking out is almost unsettling. If the public saw you now or could hear what you were saying, then I’m certain some would suspect you of treason as well,” Azu sighed, giving Magearna a sceptical look. There was another lengthy moment of silence until Azu sighed again and turned to walk off.

    “Do you still trust me?” Magearna asked, surprising her. The Queen’s voice was hollow, feminine and robotic, yet iconic and unlike any other voice Azu had ever heard before. “If so, then wait and see what is going to happen.”

    Ariala and her retainers remained in silence until they got back to her room, where she almost immediately moaned out loud to herself and slumped against the door. Her room had been so well looked after that it was exactly as it was when she left it. Pink enough for her to camouflage in, clean and clear, and well furnished.

    She couldn’t bring herself to stand up and appreciate it all right now, though. She trembled in a pathetic effort to even look up. What was there she could possibly do now to change anything that was going to happen? Hopeless thoughts drowned her mind, making her gradually sag closer and closer to the floor.

    “Ariala,” Nier said, hoping to get her attention. She didn’t even move. “We’re not gonna do this. I’m not gonna sit here and watch this unfold.”

    “But what can we do? I have no doubt that if I’m considered a danger to the kingdom’s operations, then there will be more guards preventing me from leaving the room. And if we waste even a few days, my egg will prevent me from acting,” Ariala sighed. Vincent got her attention, walking towards the balcony windows of the room before pacing back to the centre. “Vincent?”

    “There are a few things that are bothering me about everything that has happened so far,” he replied, turning to face them both.

    “Only a few things? The whole shabang’s got the princess in tears, honey!” Nier cried. Vincent shook his head.

    “There are things that just don’t connect, even though they said that they do,” Vincent said. “Namely, Charle. It’s obvious to me that Master Lin must have told him all about me. But what did he really learn that enabled him to disband the entire Cat’s Brigade?”

    “Well they all follow him, don’t they?” Nier replied. Ariala’s mouth dropped as she had a small revelation, realising what Vincent was getting at.

    “Think about it. These are royal knights. It’s an honour to protect the royalty. Pokémon of that status couldn’t ask for more. Yet still, something he said or did caused the entire army to rebel and march out of this castle,” he explained. “On top of that, there was little effort to actually come and find you. During our journey, I was prepared to have to deal with knights that wanted to take you back here or resume our escort. Yet still, even with that whole ordeal with the protesters in the capital, the most we had to supervise us was Naomi.”

    “And knowing her, that was probably her taking it upon herself to come and find you due to being worried sick,” Nier added.

    “Exactly. Why isn’t anything being done?” Vincent asked. Ariala finally stood back up, sticking a hand out as if she wanted to answer. She quickly retracted and didn’t say anything. “Your highness, pardon me for my attitude here, but please speak your mind. You keeping quiet about some secrets is definitely part of the problem here.”

    “Urf. This is actually normal practice for Faernia,” she admitted, speaking quietly. The two Meowstic’s eyes widened. “We rely on the guidance of the Tapu. We do as they say and allow them to build our future.”

    “Even to this extent? Did they not care that you ran away from the castle for your own deeds?” Vincent gasped.

    “You’ve got it wrong. They likely consulted the Tapu for guidance on what to do about my running away. If the Tapu told them not to follow, then they didn’t follow,” she clarified.

    “That’s messed up! Who in their right mind wouldn’t try to help just because the Tapu said so? Are you trying to say that the Tapu told the Cat’s Brigade to listen to Charle?” Nier cried, putting her paws on her hips.

    “Faernia is very closely intertwined with the ideals of the Tapu. It is following that guidance that has allowed us to get this far,” Ariala explained. “Even I consult them through prayer from time to time. The worst cases would ask the Tapu for what to have for dinner. Since their guidance has taken our world so far, it is very difficult to say no to them. If they answer us with guidance we don’t understand, we follow it anyway under the impression that it will lead us to greater good – because every time we have, it has.”

    “Then… geez, that’s a rough spot. Tapu Fini isn’t seeing anyone right now, so can we even ask?” Nier replied. Ariala shook her head.

    “My leaving of home, my decisions up until now, they have all been my own judgement. I studied the Tapu’s guidance, the infrastructure of our kingdom and our world, our laws – I studied it all intensively and came to the decision to leave home and marry on my own terms. In doing so, I attempted to help Pokémon, and wound up causing our planet’s greatest crisis. I did it all without ever asking the Tapu for guidance,” Ariala sighed, looking away. “My intervention to their projected future is the sole cause of this crisis. And yet, this very topic makes me think deeply of Rune. He opposed the idea of our marriage once he learnt that it was actually the Tapu’s idea. Despite the circumstances, he was honest and told me how it was that the Pokémon of Eris truly live; free of guidance, learning from their mistakes and attempting to build a better world based on those mistakes. Even his army broke all stereotypes, made up of innocent Pokémon with great problems that they wished to resolve on their own.”

    “Rune,” Vincent muttered, going into a thought pose. Nier copied, matching his pose perfectly.

    “Based on what’s happened, both sides of the coin are justified. My intervention may no longer be necessary,” Ariala sighed again.

    “No. I think it’s completely necessary,” Vincent spoke up. “In fact, you and Rune’s intervention is mandatory. Right now, you hold the key.”

    “Hmm?” Ariala replied, standing back up.

    “Your child,” he clarified. Ariala’s eyes widened, and she laid a hand on her belly. “If you had followed orders directly, the marriage wouldn’t have happened yet, you might not have learnt about Eris the way you have, and you definitely would not have had a child yet.”

    “Our child… how could an unborn be the key to this horrible situation?” she wondered.

    “Just tell the world the truth. No one knows that you’re successfully a mum to be with the crown prince of Eris. You did what Pokémon were protesting about so much – proved that our two planets can come together,” Nier explained. “And when the child is born, they’ll be the living embodiment of our planet’s coexistence!”

    “What she’s saying is that we need to point the public in the right direction. We need to prove to them that despite the disbanding of the Cat’s Brigade, our planets can come together,” Vincent added.

    Yes, that’s true. I wouldn’t have had my child, yet,” Ariala thought to herself, shutting her eyes. “But that also means we would have constantly been under the protection of the army. Charle wouldn’t have met Master Lin, I wouldn’t be married, and Mirror wouldn’t have even kidnapped Princess Diantha.

    She stood up and walked over to her balcony, ignoring the concerned noises of her retainers. Looking out from this window, the weather looked like a storm was approaching. Deep, grey clouds blanketed the sky, an uncomfortable wind howled, and the world below was quiet.

    If I went out of my way to publicly announce that I was having a child with Rune, how would Pokémon react? Would they be disgusted? Would those opposing it wish for an abortion, or worse, attempt to murder me?” she thought hard, staring at the clouds. “No matter what way I look at it, acting now does nothing but feed into this dark foreboding I have. These clouds match those of my nightmare.





    Rune and Tapu Koko 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, Ariala sat, just about waking up to witness the oncoming battle. She stood up in panic, gasping frantically at both them both.

    “Damn you Tapu Koko. Damn you!” Rune shouted, pointing the Sword of Earthly Elements 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.






    If things carry on the way they are, that premonition will indefinitely come true. That I can tell,” she warned herself, staring intently. “These clouds match those of that horrible nightmare. If I run out to meet him now, I will undoubtedly witness it. The only way to avoid this outcome is to ensure that my child is born, and to find out this story from everyone’s point of view. If I can find out exactly what Charle did, what he learnt…

    “Princess?” Vincent said, finally bringing her back into focus. She gave him a stern look, and he didn’t speak further.

    “Nier, can I get you to go into the city for me, please? Right now, right this instant,” she ordered.

    “Can do, but how co-”

    “Don’t question it, please, just go. I need to know if the Tapu are here right now,” she raised her voice.

    “They are. I saw them patrolling above the clouds when we arrived. I was going to mention how unusual it was for all four Tapu to congregate in one place, but then Azu went and ran her mouth,” Nier answered, paws on her hips again.

    “We don’t have much time. Nier, Vincent, this is going to sound horribly unlike me,” she warned, glancing at them both. “Please, we need to get to the Stardust Treasury at all costs.”

    “Stardust Treasury? How come?” Vincent asked.

    “I want to find out Charle’s side of the story. But better still, it is the only place where we’ll be safe,” she answered, stretching out both arms. She began to strain and growl with increasing effort, surrounding both arms in dark smoke and energy.

    “A-Ariala? What’re-” Vincent gasped, stepping back.

    “I’m sorry, you two. But please, bear with this!” she shouted, surrounding herself in dark energy.





    Outside, Rune and his small army were stood in the direct centre of the city, a park at the end of a long road leading to Faernia Castle. Rune stood up while the others sat, nervous about the many foreign eyes watching them. Kelsith and Emerson were off in their own corner, sitting and trying not to lock with eyes with anyone. Shota and his small group of protesters gave anyone that stopped to stare a dirty look, thankfully getting them to leave.

    Rune ignored them all, however. His face was rigid and his form stunk of fury. If they were alive, he knew that Diantha would be having a go at him for looking so unwelcoming right now. Galen would be getting on his nerves, drawing attention to their group with his jolly obliviousness. Ptero would probably be telling him off for stuff that wasn’t his fault, taking the opportunity to advise him on things about the Tower of the Tapu.

    But they weren’t here. All Rune had were the bitter, traumatised faces of Shota and the others. And so he remained stiff and unwelcoming, using his own judgement to judge what to do next. Having waited in this spot for upwards of an hour now, he took a step forward and looked to the clouds, spotting four coloured lights swirling around in an uncoordinated pattern of sorts.

    “They’ve taken her away from me,” Rune stated. The others moved in response. “It’s obvious. My declaration has scared them into keeping Princess Ariala ‘safe’ from me.”

    “Is that what you think?” Shota replied after a while, skipping up behind him. Rune didn’t turn, folding his arms. “Hey, if you wanna fight, who am I to stop ya? This place looks like quite the dream. If I lived here, why would I ever complain?”

    Rune gave him a glare, causing the Togedemaru to snicker. “That’s what you’re getting at, right your highness? You did say you would kill the God the Faernians look up to. We’ll choose where we want to live, as a reward for our hard work in battle.”

    “Don’t beat around the bush, smartass. What do you want?” Rune asked. Shota sighed, looking carefree.

    “If you were gonna fight Faernia anyway, what was the point of all that big deal with our battle? This is what I wanted in the first place, huh?” he clarified. “But despite what I did, the stuff my sister stood for sticks to me. It’s why I didn’t kill you when I had the chance. And then I saw my dearest friend Ptero helping you out.”

    “I never did ask about your connection to Ptero. I just knew you two knew each other, that’s why I spared you,” Rune admitted. Shota sighed, and his face went plain.

    “Your highness, he’s just a mailmon. A mailmon gave his all to your cause, and died for you and your sister. That’s some peace he stands for, you know? Peace that’ll haunt me for the rest of my years,” he said, shaking his head. “That guy’s smart and had his life set out for him. Now I’m left never having an answer as to why he actually accepted your suicidal proposal, or why he didn’t run away from that unwinnable fight. I’ll never know what he actually saw in your cause to help you.”

    Rune fell quiet again, so Shota looked up at home. “Look, you’re the crown prince and all that. I know how these things are; letting Tapu Koko get away with his midday murder isn’t something you can just do. Hell, he’s the one that declared war on Eris, not you. Yet here we are, smack bang in the middle of the public, being labelled as the war hungry monsters. If it were me, I’d probably do something stupid like trigger the war right now, and then regret it years later when I start questioning Ptero again.”

    “I suppose I’m supposed to magically have a more intelligent response just because I’m the prince,” Rune replied, folding his arms.

    Before he could say anything else, a large explosion occurred in the castle in the distance. It was somewhere high up, looking like a powerful Pokémon attack had gone off. Rather than it being a harmless, grey burst of smoke however, it was a murky, shadowy burst of fire that crackled with dark electricity.

    “What?” Rune whispered, keeping his arms folded whilst the public lost their cool around him. The darkness continued to expand until it smothered most of the upper half of the castle. There was no denying it; Rune knew this dark power all too well. His mouth hung open but he remained stiff, staring at the way it lingered around the castle. The four lights parading above the clouds had stopped the moment the blast had appeared, and now they were heading towards the situation all at once.

    The others were asking questions around him, wondering why Rune wasn’t reacting. He ignored them all however, watching, thinking hard.

    “The darkness came from Ariala, who came from-” Rune muttered. He unfurled his arms and closed them into fists at his side. “This changes everything.”
     
  9. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Here it is, chapter 18. This is the part I'm most worried about due to having never executed such a big transition before. If the story no longer seems to make sense after this part, please, someone tell me!

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

    I had chosen to depend on Ptero to rescue Diantha. Despite the circumstances, I knew her character too well to risk going myself. I was afraid of screwing up, making a mistake during the battle, and having Mirror defeat me. But above that, I absolutely had to ensure that Ariala did not come to harm.


    Something Shota had told me had given me a lot of questions. Under the pressure of being completely surrounded by four formidable armies, Ptero still agreed to my ludicrous plan of attempting to rescue Diantha, to the point that he even died for it. That Emolga was definitely smart enough to cut his losses and say no to me, yet still he went, perishing at my flawed orders.

    I did not see it, but something that presumably Mirror did caused Diantha to unleash her forbidden powers, provoking Tapu Koko to descend on the battle and take her life. Poor Galen was caught in the strike and perished as well. But this god only functions as coldly as a machine; it was his duty to protect Faernians and dispose of the forbidden powers that Diantha had within her, even if it meant taking her life. He did what only a god would do, so I hold myself accountable for the death of this poor trio.

    But at the same time, as crown prince, I held the hopes, dreams, and wishes of every Erinian Pokémon that supports me. I could not hope to reason with them besides treating the situation as an act of war. And in a fit of rage that drowned my whole being, I retaliated in kind, declaring that I would kill Tapu Koko at all costs.

    I sent word of what had happened back to my father, and embarked on my own trek to the Tower of the Tapu. It was there that the Queen’s attendant and other figures of their royalty came and took Ariala’s army. They promised we would be reunited soon, yet hours passed with no sign of me even being allowed to speak to her again. Their actions fed into my rage and told me all I needed to know about their thoughts on the matter.

    And then I learnt the truth of what had happened ten years ago. I never would have imagined that words I mindlessly said to Ariala would change her way of acting and thinking, but she told me everything, and all under her own personal act of rebellion.

    She broke out of her own castle with powers that matched those of my Diantha’s. She longed to flee with me to the Stardust Treasury, escaping from the wrath of Faernia’s gods. They did not give chase, confused as to what they could do. They were placed in the same situation I was, unable to put their all into their personal wishes of simply eliminating the darkness entirely. Killing Faernia’s princess would turn their believers against them, especially in such rough times as these.

    Ten years ago, Father had sealed the dark powers of a powerful god within Ariala. Me and Diantha’s intervention caused Diantha to have those powers sealed within her as well.

    He knew everything. He knew of my devotion to protect her, that was why he had us marry. That was why he trained me to become a knight, why he gifted me with a powerful weapon of legend. And yet, why didn’t he just tell me that this was his aim from the start? What reason did he have to withhold such crucial information? Especially until the very last minute, when everything was said and done?

    This changed what I had to do. What we had to do. It changed how I felt about this world, both Eris and Faernia. It changed how I felt about Father, the gods of our world…

    It changed everything.




    [​IMG]

    Episode 18: Vestiges of war


    I had chosen to depend on Ptero to rescue Diantha. Despite the circumstances, I knew her character too well to risk going myself. I was afraid of screwing up, making a mistake during the battle, and having Mirror defeat me. But above that, I absolutely had to ensure that Ariala did not come to harm.

    Something Shota had told me had given me a lot of questions. Under the pressure of being completely surrounded by four formidable armies, Ptero still agreed to my ludicrous plan of attempting to rescue Diantha, to the point that he even died for it. That Emolga was definitely smart enough to cut his losses and say no to me, yet still he went, perishing at my flawed orders.

    I did not see it, but something that presumably Mirror did caused Diantha to unleash her forbidden powers, provoking Tapu Koko to descend on the battle and take her life. Poor Galen was caught in the strike and perished as well. But this god only functions as coldly as a machine; it was his duty to protect Faernians and dispose of the forbidden powers that Diantha had within her, even if it meant taking her life. He did what only a god would do, so I hold myself accountable for the death of this poor trio.

    But at the same time, as crown prince, I held the hopes, dreams, and wishes of every Erinian Pokémon that supports me. I could not hope to reason with them besides treating the situation as an act of war. And in a fit of rage that drowned my whole being, I retaliated in kind, declaring that I would kill Tapu Koko at all costs.

    I sent word of what had happened back to my father, and embarked on my own trek to the Tower of the Tapu. It was there that the Queen’s attendant and other figures of their royalty came and took Ariala’s army. They promised we would be reunited soon, yet hours passed with no sign of me even being allowed to speak to her again. Their actions fed into my rage and told me all I needed to know about their thoughts on the matter.

    And then I learnt the truth of what had happened ten years ago. I never would have imagined that words I mindlessly said to Ariala would change her way of acting and thinking, but she told me everything, and all under her own personal act of rebellion.

    She broke out of her own castle with powers that matched those of my Diantha’s. She longed to flee with me to the Stardust Treasury, escaping from the wrath of Faernia’s gods. They did not give chase, confused as to what they could do. They were placed in the same situation I was, unable to put their all into their personal wishes of simply eliminating the darkness entirely. Killing Faernia’s princess would turn their believers against them, especially in such rough times as these.

    Ten years ago, Father had sealed the dark powers of a powerful god within Ariala. Me and Diantha’s intervention caused Diantha to have those powers sealed within her as well.

    He knew everything. He knew of my devotion to protect her, that was why he had us marry. That was why he trained me to become a knight, why he gifted me with a powerful weapon of legend. And yet, why didn’t he just tell me that this was his aim from the start? What reason did he have to withhold such crucial information? Especially until the very last minute, when everything was said and done?

    This changed what I had to do. What we had to do. It changed how I felt about this world, both Eris and Faernia. It changed how I felt about Father, the gods of our world…

    It changed everything.





    “And that’s it. That’s the last entry. That was a bit over sixteen years ago,” An Oshawott said, reading aloud from an old book. He used a hand to swipe fur out of his left eye, re-reading the start of the diary passage again. “Thracia seven-sixty. We’re now Thracia seven seventy-six. Mother and Father have been missing from the world for sixteen years.”

    “Oh, now I get it!” A Pikachu responded to him. He was short and his voice sounded very high pitched, smooth, and young. The Pikachu wore a poncho themed after Charizard in its sunny, mega evolved form, complete with a hood that resembled the Pokémon’s head. The poncho even had eyes, teeth, and a tail with a real flame on the end of it. It was almost like the Pikachu was wearing live Charizard skin, but his naturally cute appearance prevented that from being intimidating in thought.

    “You see now why this is so concerning, Prem? And the worst part is, Mother won’t even tell me exactly what’s wrong.” Oshawott sighed, closing the book to stand up. This Oshawott was as studious as professor, but a lack of glasses and his unusually short height kept him apart from that trope. His head fur was a wild mess he didn’t seem to care about, a cheap backpack held several thick books for him, and his voice secreted a sense of pompousness with every word.

    “So like, the whole world’s at a standstill,” Prem cheered. “But because the prince and princess ran away with their legendary weapons, the war didn’t start. Those two are geniuses!”

    Oshawott paused. “I wouldn’t quite call Mother a ‘genius’. She’s doing exactly as Rune lamented his father for: keeping information from me,” he replied, putting the book into his backpack and attempting to seal it up. He hung it on his back, but stumbled a bit because of the weight of all the other books in there. There were so many that the corner of two poked out of the bag, preventing it from closing. “It’s time to study. We’re going to find out exactly why Mother and Father live in hiding.”

    “Okay. If anyone can figure it out, it’s you, Leos!” Prem cheered goofily. There was another pause from the Oshawott.

    Why did Father’s diary even stop there? Did he not have time to keep writing?” Leos thought to himself. “I can’t confirm that the Constellars have a large part in this but their powers resemble those of Diantha’s too much. I’m yet to find concrete proof of any connection.

    “Er, Leos,” Prem spoke up, looking shy. “I’m hungry.”

    Leos barely heard him, muttering to himself as he began to pace. “What you said just now about Mother and Father preventing war – that hasn’t happened. There are still battles of war going on, and far greater than what is written in Father’s diary. Them living in hiding hasn’t prevented the war between Eris and Faernia at all.”

    “It was supposed to though, right? The fighting would be terrible if Rune decided to actually fight Tapu Koko,” Prem replied.

    “You have faith in them, don’t you? Sounds like you like them more than I do,” Leos sighed, shaking his head and walking off.

    “I just don’t like fighting,” Prem moaned, having to jog to catch up to him.

    The duo barely managed to go a few steps before encountering a large group of ruffians, Zangoose and Mawile, from the looks of things. Both parties stopped and stared at one another the moment they caught sight of each other.

    Whilst these dirt marked Pokémon gave Leos and Prem a snarl and a spit, Leos was already ten steps ahead of the encounter he had walked into. He was silent, but his eyes were making sharp notes of everything around him. Seven enemy Pokémon, three Zangoose and four Mawile. The ground was sloped and slippery with wet soil, and a single tall tree kept Leos in the shade. If they did end up fighting this group, he would have the advantage.

    “I spy with my cranky lil’ eye, a rich kid! Hey sod, yer mam give yer dat fancy do?” one of the Zangoose laughed. “Think yer can spare us a pretty penny or two? Lend a fella a hand.”

    Erinians. Only tramps from Eris would open that way. But what are they doing on Faernia, and with fairies, no less?” Leos asked himself. He didn’t answer them, remaining in the same smart pose.

    “Hey, I’m talkin’ to ya!” Zangoose raised his voice. His comrades stood beside him, prepping their claws.

    Those Mawile have weapons. Not royal weapons, but there are staves on their backs.” Leos realised. “The only fairies smart enough to use staves are those that have once fought a dragon. Could those Mawile be ex-knights?

    “Oh I see how it is. Yer think yer too smart ta talk to the likes of us, don’tcha?” Zangoose shouted, gritting his rotting teeth. “We’ll show ya! Let’s get ‘em, boys!”

    “U-um, Leos?” Prem squeaked, guarding himself with one hand.

    “Are you serious? You’re really going to fight me just because I wouldn’t respond?” Leos finally answered, stopping them in their tracks. “Or was this really just an inevitable encounter, where you feel good about yourselves for dressing it up to look like a civil conversation that gives you an excuse to fight?”

    The Zangoose made a sound, letting out a confused grunt. “You know, make it sound like you’re being all friendly to me, but try and cheat me out of my obvious money. Either way, I end up fighting or giving you all of my money. I said it resembled a civil conversation, but really it was less social than a toddler talking to another toddler. Why bother with the pantomime if you just want to steal my money?”

    “Why you smartass!” Zangoose growled, baring his claws. He shouted as he rushed forward with his pack, but the group of them ended up stumbling a bit on the hill, slipping on the wet soil. Leos took their tripping up as a sign to act, and spun his scalchop in his hands. A Razor Shell erected from it, but not like any Razor Shell they had ever seen before – Leos’s attack jutted out from both ends of the scalchop, resembling a double-sided lance.

    “Don’t worry, Prem. I’m only going to scare them off,” Leos promised, relieving the Pikachu behind him. “That said, I wonder if my recent studies can let me do something fancy?”

    “After telling them off for trying to be fancy,” Prem sighed.

    “Hey, the difference is that this move actually is fancy,” he bragged, holding his Razor Shell to his side. “I call upon the stars to grant me your blessing – provide me an attack to make ease of this conflict! Star Metronome!”

    The words Leos had just said did in fact grant him a mysterious power. His whole body flashed with white light before letting out a thin stream of dark energy above him, which formed into a rotating, black star. The Star quickly grew and burst into a blurry light, showering the floor around Leos with streams of energy just like the one he was feeding into the star. Once it all stopped, those streams turned into clones of Leos, all shaped just like the Oshawott with his double-sided Razor Shell.

    “Metronome came out as Double Team! And with spectres, too!” Prem gasped.

    Still smiling and boastful, especially now that the ruffians were clearly regretting confronting him, Leos gestured a dash forward. His clones dashed without him, each of them targeting one of the Zangoose or Mawile at random. They copied his exact movements even though he hadn’t moved from the spot, smacking them around relentlessly with their weapons. In just a few moments, the quiet scene had been drowned out by cries and groans of Pokémon in pain.

    Leos’ triumph was short lived, however. Soon after he had ordered his spectres to attack, he found himself short of breath and drained of strength. It took less than half a minute for his heavy breathing to get Prem’s attention, and seconds later, Leos was leaned forward, gasping for relief. His spectres vanished with that, leaving the ruffians angrier than ever.

    “L-Leos? Are you okay?” Prem cried. Leos couldn’t even respond, anxiously grasping for breath. Despite his heavy breathing, his energy sapped at an alarming rate, to a point that he could barely keep himself upright. Suddenly the books on his back felt like a weight crushing him into the ground, and he fell onto one hand.

    “Now you’re definitely gon’ get it!” Zangoose growled, recovering from the attacks. He roared out loud as he charged up the hill, bringing Leos into a real panic. He had to move, and now, but his body couldn’t manage anything better than a tremble.

    “Leos! O-oh no, Leos!” Prem squeaked, cowering over him. The Pikachu stood over the weakened Leos just as the ruffians arrived, but did nothing more than guard his face. “St-stay away! Please!”

    “Keh, after your little friend’s fiasco? If you don’t wanna get hurt, stand aside, pipsqueak,” a Mawile spat, swiping his hand aside. He hesitated attacking Prem however, as if something had distracted him. Nothing out of the ordinary, besides the slight ruffling of the tree behind the children. Mawile still held still for a moment to ensure nothing was really there, and then roared as his head glowed for an Iron Head attack.

    “Leos!” Prem cried, turning his back and hugging Leos. It felt like minutes before his cowering finally stopped, and he realised that he was unharmed. He dared to look behind him, shocked to find the Mawile under the control of someone’s Psychic attack. The other ruffians were too surprised to make a move, even though they weren’t being targeted.

    “What?” Prem whispered in disbelief, getting answered immediately. Ariala stepped beside him and stopped there, her arms folded the whole time. “M-Mummy?”

    “Well? What do you have to say for yourselves?” Ariala began, half lidded at the ruffians. “You would truly target young Pokémon, even after seeing them so helpless on the floor? Surely ruffians of your kind know not to stoop so low.”

    “Y-you- shut up! Why should I listen to what a cranky ol’ Clefable’s gotta say?” Zangoose snarled, snapping his claws together.

    “Wa-wait, you dolt! Mawile growled, straining due to the Psychic hold on him.

    “Na-uh, not after that embarrassment! Y’all kid’s definitely getting’ what’s comin’ to ya now!” he shouted, ignoring his comrade. He charged toward Ariala with both claws hung loosely behind him, his face showing a crazed smile. Ariala sighed and swiped her right arm across her front, effortlessly creating a Reflect barrier in front of her. He bumped against the barrier so hard that he bounced back straight to the floor from it.

    Knowing he wouldn’t give up there, Ariala revealed her fan and spun it around in front of her, filling it with energy at the same time. The energy burst out from within as a charged Moonblast, which she fired forward with a flick of that same hand – the whole action had been performed with that same right hand. The Zangoose could only look up comically as the attack took him and his comrades off their feet, sending them tumbling back down the hill. Mawile had been freed from the Psychic due to the hit as well, landing face flat in the dirt below.

    “Leos, Prem, are you two okay?” Ariala asked, turning around. Prem gave a hearty nod whilst Leos forced himself to his feet, stumbling to his side quickly.

    “I didn’t need you to rescue me!” he growled.

    “Then don’t treat it as a rescue. Treat it as me taking you home, where you’re supposed to be, young man,” Ariala replied, putting away her fan. She wasn’t wearing anything right now, so she had to tuck it neatly into her tail. “Come on now, you two. I have something important waiting for you back at the hut.”

    “Ooh ooh ooh, a surprise? What kind of surprise is it?” Prem asked, bouncing up and down. Leos gave up and looked away.

    “Wait. Stop right there!” Mawile shouted desperately. The one that had been hit by Psychic had clawed his way back to his feet, ignoring his damage to trip after the trio. But Ariala ignored him, forcing him to put in more effort. “Damn you, are you really going to run away again, Princess Ariala?”

    That got Ariala to stop. She silently sighed, still not turning around. The other ruffians were surprised at Mawile’s statement, but even more surprised that they got a reaction of sorts.

    “You’re seriously thinking of running away and hiding again, huh. Do you even know what’s happening to Faernia, now?” Mawile raised his voice. Ariala still didn’t respond, keeping her back to them. “It would be remiss of me not to recognise you. I used to work in the Faernian Royal Army, after all.”

    So it’s true. The Mawile were ex-knights, but they’re paired up with Erinian ruffians,” Leos confirmed in his head. Ariala started walking off again, taking Leos and Prem with her by holding their hands. Mawile growled again and leapt forward.

    “Tapu Fini is dead!” Mawile shouted. Ariala froze, taking in a sharp breath that could be heard. “Maybe if you didn’t just run away from the world, you’d know what the heck’s going on. Tapu Fini is dead! The other Tapu are heck knows where, they don’t answer anyone’s prayers anymore. And why do you think I’m here, taking money from a child? I got nowhere else to go anymore!”

    Ariala turned around at last, looking like she wanted to give him a response, but no words came. Mawile was stood firm with both hands at his sides clenched tightly into fists.

    “What the hell else am I supposed to turn to? Erinians and Faernians are ransacking each other’s homes, beating each other up for gold and ****. Our fields and rivers are startin’ to look like Eris’, dying and dried up. We’re starving and killing each other out here, and what are you doing about it?” Mawile shouted.

    Ariala hesitated yet again, keeping her eyes locked onto Mawile’s. Even then, she ever slightly showed a hint of tears, hiding them behind a few blinks. “What are Queen Magearna and King Jyararanga doing?” she asked.

    “Wasting all our resources looking for you and their precious legendary swords, no doubt,” Mawile spat. Ariala didn’t respond, choosing to turn and walk off for good. “You bastard.”





    It didn’t take long for the trio to get back to their residence, which was actually just a gazebo hut hidden within the quiet clearing of a deep woodland. The central hut was where Ariala slept, worked, and where she had full view – and clarity of hearing – of everything for countless miles around. Several soil paths marked into the ground split from the central gazebo, leading towards different areas that Ariala and her small family had claimed as their own. They had their own field for growing crops, a makeshift temple with a Tapu statue in it, and their own campsite that they used for sleeping.

    “I’m off,” Leos announced the moment they got back.

    “To where, mister?” Ariala asked sternly.

    “There’s much I need to plan. It would be best if you weren’t to bother me,” he said, not even stopping to talk to her properly.

    “Well that’s just too bad. I’m your mother, Leos, and I won’t have you talking to me that way,” she replied. “There is someone waiting for you in your room, anyway. Remember when I said I had something special waiting for you? Your new personal retainer passed her recruitment test today.”

    “Her?” Prem said with a hint of disappointment.

    “Why did you bother getting me a retainer? I don’t need any assistants, and I might as well not be royalty,” Leos sighed, shrugging dismissively.

    “Will you at least meet them? I’m sure you will like her. She’s been trying very hard to get this position,” Ariala smiled.

    Leos sighed again and dismissed that, making his way to his room as intended. It was a short walk through a few trees and bushes whose branches he had to push aside to get through. He always emerged from them with sharp leaves and things stuck in his head fur, but he ignored them until they would start itching or something. Prem voluntarily plucked them out for him this time, earning a gleeful smile.

    Leos’ room was exactly as he liked it, despite a new retainer supposedly waiting there for him. A huge board stretching across one wall above a desk, both plastered with dusty notes all over them. A tall pile of worn out books towered to almost window height along another wall, each one in a messily organized order. The bin stunk of a need of emptying, filled with messes of food like banana skins or inedible nut shells. Even a cupboard of sorts had materials and papers overflowing out of it, with the actual clothing slapped on top of the pile rather than hung neatly. Ariala insisted that the clothing was sophisticated and needed to be looked after, but each item had never been used.

    “Good. She’s not here yet,” Leos said, kicking a few papers aside, dust puffing into the air in large clouds with each kick. He dropped his backpack off to start sorting through a few notes, practically tearing them off the board and desk as he searched them all. Prem caught his backpack and happily got to work putting the book inside with the others, making sure than Rune’s diary was set aside.

    “What’re we doing?” the Pikachu asked, wiping his eyes.

    “I want to make sure I carry the right evidence. We’re getting out of here, and we’re going to check out Castle Faernia. If I can prove who I am, I should be able to get access to everywhere in the castle,” he answered, half ignoring Prem. “There’s got to be something in there that’ll help me out with all this.”

    “If you just tell them who you are, they should let you in, won’t they?” Prem asked, tilting his head.

    “No. Oshawott are Erinian species. I’ll have to prove my identity in more ways than one to get through,” Leos replied, starting to breathe heavily again. His movements slowed and his words were gradually replaced with panting.

    “Leos? Le-Leos, take it easy!” Prem cried, coming to his aid. Leos stopped him with a hand, taking the time to stop what he was doing and catch his breath. He could help himself however, and wound up twisting around to lean against his desk so that he could keep standing up.

    “Curse- this fatal- genetic- ack,” he struggled between words.

    “Is he weakened?” a new voice asked, getting Prem’s attention before he fretted further. A Mime Jr. was stood in the doorway, coming in before she even got an answer. She took Leos into her hands, laying a hand on his chest. “Please, hold still.”

    “What’re you going to do?” Prem asked in worry.

    Mime Jr. ignored him for a few seconds, eventually standing Leos up and guiding him out of the room. There was clear incentive to disobey and stay in the room, but Leos was clearly too weak to resist at all. Once outside, she helped him stand for a few moments, where his breathing gradually began to settle and return to normal. Once his strength came back he broke away from her, shocked by her act of seemingly nothing helping him.

    “Your room is incredibly dusty,” she informed, answering his question immediately. “And you’re a fragile young Oshawott, Leos. Breathing all that dust in will hurt, especially if you haven’t taken the time to recover from your earlier trip.”

    “I am not a child. I-”

    “But you are very frail, and you did just come back here with your strength barely recovered,” she interrupted. “P-pardon me. My old master was fine with me interrupting them, but I have no idea if you are.”

    “So you’re that new retainer Mum mentioned,” Leos said.

    “Yes. I am Blossom, your new, personally appointed retainer. I was chosen for a very important reason,” Blossom introduced, bowing gracefully. Her movements were constant but fluid, as if well-rehearsed and planned. She ended by pointing to the red bump on her stomach, which was shinier than that of a normal Mime Jr. It was as shiny as a marble, and had the Libra star sign marked within.

    “You’re a Constellar!” Leos gasped.









    “And that’s it. That’s the last entry. That was a bit over sixteen years ago,” An Oshawott said, reading aloud from an old book. He used a hand to swipe fur out of his left eye, re-reading the start of the diary passage again. “Thracia seven-sixty. We’re now Thracia seven seventy-six. Mother and Father have been missing from the world for sixteen years.”

    “Oh, now I get it!” A Pikachu responded to him. He was short and his voice sounded very high pitched, smooth, and young. The Pikachu wore a poncho themed after Charizard in its sunny, mega evolved form, complete with a hood that resembled the Pokémon’s head. The poncho even had eyes, teeth, and a tail with a real flame on the end of it. It was almost like the Pikachu was wearing live Charizard skin, but his naturally cute appearance prevented that from being intimidating in thought.

    “You see now why this is so concerning, Prem? And the worst part is, Mother won’t even tell me exactly what’s wrong.” Oshawott sighed, closing the book to stand up. This Oshawott was as studious as professor, but a lack of glasses and his unusually short height kept him apart from that trope. His head fur was a wild mess he didn’t seem to care about, a cheap backpack held several thick books for him, and his voice secreted a sense of pompousness with every word.

    “So like, the whole world’s at a standstill,” Prem cheered. “But because the prince and princess ran away with their legendary weapons, the war didn’t start. Those two are geniuses!”

    Oshawott paused. “I wouldn’t quite call Mother a ‘genius’. She’s doing exactly as Rune lamented his father for: keeping information from me,” he replied, putting the book into his backpack and attempting to seal it up. He hung it on his back, but stumbled a bit because of the weight of all the other books in there. There were so many that the corner of two poked out of the bag, preventing it from closing. “It’s time to study. We’re going to find out exactly why Mother and Father live in hiding.”

    “Okay. If anyone can figure it out, it’s you, Leos!” Prem cheered goofily. There was another pause from the Oshawott.

    Why did Father’s diary even stop there? Did he not have time to keep writing?” Leos thought to himself. “I can’t confirm that the Constellars have a large part in this but their powers resemble those of Diantha’s too much. I’m yet to find concrete proof of any connection.

    “Er, Leos,” Prem spoke up, looking shy. “I’m hungry.”

    Leos barely heard him, muttering to himself as he began to pace. “What you said just now about Mother and Father preventing war – that hasn’t happened. There are still battles of war going on, and far greater than what is written in Father’s diary. Them living in hiding hasn’t prevented the war between Eris and Faernia at all.”

    “It was supposed to though, right? The fighting would be terrible if Rune decided to actually fight Tapu Koko,” Prem replied.

    “You have faith in them, don’t you? Sounds like you like them more than I do,” Leos sighed, shaking his head and walking off.

    “I just don’t like fighting,” Prem moaned, having to jog to catch up to him.

    The duo barely managed to go a few steps before encountering a large group of ruffians, Zangoose and Mawile, from the looks of things. Both parties stopped and stared at one another the moment they caught sight of each other.

    Whilst these dirt marked Pokémon gave Leos and Prem a snarl and a spit, Leos was already ten steps ahead of the encounter he had walked into. He was silent, but his eyes were making sharp notes of everything around him. Seven enemy Pokémon, three Zangoose and four Mawile. The ground was sloped and slippery with wet soil, and a single tall tree kept Leos in the shade. If they did end up fighting this group, he would have the advantage.

    “I spy with my cranky lil’ eye, a rich kid! Hey sod, yer mam give yer dat fancy do?” one of the Zangoose laughed. “Think yer can spare us a pretty penny or two? Lend a fella a hand.”

    Erinians. Only tramps from Eris would open that way. But what are they doing on Faernia, and with fairies, no less?” Leos asked himself. He didn’t answer them, remaining in the same smart pose.

    “Hey, I’m talkin’ to ya!” Zangoose raised his voice. His comrades stood beside him, prepping their claws.

    Those Mawile have weapons. Not royal weapons, but there are staves on their backs.” Leos realised. “The only fairies smart enough to use staves are those that have once fought a dragon. Could those Mawile be ex-knights?

    “Oh I see how it is. Yer think yer too smart ta talk to the likes of us, don’tcha?” Zangoose shouted, gritting his rotting teeth. “We’ll show ya! Let’s get ‘em, boys!”

    “U-um, Leos?” Prem squeaked, guarding himself with one hand.

    “Are you serious? You’re really going to fight me just because I wouldn’t respond?” Leos finally answered, stopping them in their tracks. “Or was this really just an inevitable encounter, where you feel good about yourselves for dressing it up to look like a civil conversation that gives you an excuse to fight?”

    The Zangoose made a sound, letting out a confused grunt. “You know, make it sound like you’re being all friendly to me, but try and cheat me out of my obvious money. Either way, I end up fighting or giving you all of my money. I said it resembled a civil conversation, but really it was less social than a toddler talking to another toddler. Why bother with the pantomime if you just want to steal my money?”

    “Why you smartass!” Zangoose growled, baring his claws. He shouted as he rushed forward with his pack, but the group of them ended up stumbling a bit on the hill, slipping on the wet soil. Leos took their tripping up as a sign to act, and spun his scalchop in his hands. A Razor Shell erected from it, but not like any Razor Shell they had ever seen before – Leos’s attack jutted out from both ends of the scalchop, resembling a double-sided lance.

    “Don’t worry, Prem. I’m only going to scare them off,” Leos promised, relieving the Pikachu behind him. “That said, I wonder if my recent studies can let me do something fancy?”

    “After telling them off for trying to be fancy,” Prem sighed.

    “Hey, the difference is that this move actually is fancy,” he bragged, holding his Razor Shell to his side. “I call upon the stars to grant me your blessing – provide me an attack to make ease of this conflict! Star Metronome!”

    The words Leos had just said did in fact grant him a mysterious power. His whole body flashed with white light before letting out a thin stream of dark energy above him, which formed into a rotating, black star. The Star quickly grew and burst into a blurry light, showering the floor around Leos with streams of energy just like the one he was feeding into the star. Once it all stopped, those streams turned into clones of Leos, all shaped just like the Oshawott with his double-sided Razor Shell.

    “Metronome came out as Double Team! And with spectres, too!” Prem gasped.

    Still smiling and boastful, especially now that the ruffians were clearly regretting confronting him, Leos gestured a dash forward. His clones dashed without him, each of them targeting one of the Zangoose or Mawile at random. They copied his exact movements even though he hadn’t moved from the spot, smacking them around relentlessly with their weapons. In just a few moments, the quiet scene had been drowned out by cries and groans of Pokémon in pain.

    Leos’ triumph was short lived, however. Soon after he had ordered his spectres to attack, he found himself short of breath and drained of strength. It took less than half a minute for his heavy breathing to get Prem’s attention, and seconds later, Leos was leaned forward, gasping for relief. His spectres vanished with that, leaving the ruffians angrier than ever.

    “L-Leos? Are you okay?” Prem cried. Leos couldn’t even respond, anxiously grasping for breath. Despite his heavy breathing, his energy sapped at an alarming rate, to a point that he could barely keep himself upright. Suddenly the books on his back felt like a weight crushing him into the ground, and he fell onto one hand.

    “Now you’re definitely gon’ get it!” Zangoose growled, recovering from the attacks. He roared out loud as he charged up the hill, bringing Leos into a real panic. He had to move, and now, but his body couldn’t manage anything better than a tremble.

    “Leos! O-oh no, Leos!” Prem squeaked, cowering over him. The Pikachu stood over the weakened Leos just as the ruffians arrived, but did nothing more than guard his face. “St-stay away! Please!”

    “Keh, after your little friend’s fiasco? If you don’t wanna get hurt, stand aside, pipsqueak,” a Mawile spat, swiping his hand aside. He hesitated attacking Prem however, as if something had distracted him. Nothing out of the ordinary, besides the slight ruffling of the tree behind the children. Mawile still held still for a moment to ensure nothing was really there, and then roared as his head glowed for an Iron Head attack.

    “Leos!” Prem cried, turning his back and hugging Leos. It felt like minutes before his cowering finally stopped, and he realised that he was unharmed. He dared to look behind him, shocked to find the Mawile under the control of someone’s Psychic attack. The other ruffians were too surprised to make a move, even though they weren’t being targeted.

    “What?” Prem whispered in disbelief, getting answered immediately. Ariala stepped beside him and stopped there, her arms folded the whole time. “M-Mummy?”

    “Well? What do you have to say for yourselves?” Ariala began, half lidded at the ruffians. “You would truly target young Pokémon, even after seeing them so helpless on the floor? Surely ruffians of your kind know not to stoop so low.”

    “Y-you- shut up! Why should I listen to what a cranky ol’ Clefable’s gotta say?” Zangoose snarled, snapping his claws together.

    “Wa-wait, you dolt! Mawile growled, straining due to the Psychic hold on him.

    “Na-uh, not after that embarrassment! Y’all kid’s definitely getting’ what’s comin’ to ya now!” he shouted, ignoring his comrade. He charged toward Ariala with both claws hung loosely behind him, his face showing a crazed smile. Ariala sighed and swiped her right arm across her front, effortlessly creating a Reflect barrier in front of her. He bumped against the barrier so hard that he bounced back straight to the floor from it.

    Knowing he wouldn’t give up there, Ariala revealed her fan and spun it around in front of her, filling it with energy at the same time. The energy burst out from within as a charged Moonblast, which she fired forward with a flick of that same hand – the whole action had been performed with that same right hand. The Zangoose could only look up comically as the attack took him and his comrades off their feet, sending them tumbling back down the hill. Mawile had been freed from the Psychic due to the hit as well, landing face flat in the dirt below.

    “Leos, Prem, are you two okay?” Ariala asked, turning around. Prem gave a hearty nod whilst Leos forced himself to his feet, stumbling to his side quickly.

    “I didn’t need you to rescue me!” he growled.

    “Then don’t treat it as a rescue. Treat it as me taking you home, where you’re supposed to be, young man,” Ariala replied, putting away her fan. She wasn’t wearing anything right now, so she had to tuck it neatly into her tail. “Come on now, you two. I have something important waiting for you back at the hut.”

    “Ooh ooh ooh, a surprise? What kind of surprise is it?” Prem asked, bouncing up and down. Leos gave up and looked away.

    “Wait. Stop right there!” Mawile shouted desperately. The one that had been hit by Psychic had clawed his way back to his feet, ignoring his damage to trip after the trio. But Ariala ignored him, forcing him to put in more effort. “Damn you, are you really going to run away again, Princess Ariala?”

    That got Ariala to stop. She silently sighed, still not turning around. The other ruffians were surprised at Mawile’s statement, but even more surprised that they got a reaction of sorts.

    “You’re seriously thinking of running away and hiding again, huh. Do you even know what’s happening to Faernia, now?” Mawile raised his voice. Ariala still didn’t respond, keeping her back to them. “It would be remiss of me not to recognise you. I used to work in the Faernian Royal Army, after all.”

    So it’s true. The Mawile were ex-knights, but they’re paired up with Erinian ruffians,” Leos confirmed in his head. Ariala started walking off again, taking Leos and Prem with her by holding their hands. Mawile growled again and leapt forward.

    “Tapu Fini is dead!” Mawile shouted. Ariala froze, taking in a sharp breath that could be heard. “Maybe if you didn’t just run away from the world, you’d know what the heck’s going on. Tapu Fini is dead! The other Tapu are heck knows where, they don’t answer anyone’s prayers anymore. And why do you think I’m here, taking money from a child? I got nowhere else to go anymore!”

    Ariala turned around at last, looking like she wanted to give him a response, but no words came. Mawile was stood firm with both hands at his sides clenched tightly into fists.

    “What the hell else am I supposed to turn to? Erinians and Faernians are ransacking each other’s homes, beating each other up for gold and ****. Our fields and rivers are startin’ to look like Eris’, dying and dried up. We’re starving and killing each other out here, and what are you doing about it?” Mawile shouted.

    Ariala hesitated yet again, keeping her eyes locked onto Mawile’s. Even then, she ever slightly showed a hint of tears, hiding them behind a few blinks. “What are Queen Magearna and King Jyararanga doing?” she asked.

    “Wasting all our resources looking for you and their precious legendary swords, no doubt,” Mawile spat. Ariala didn’t respond, choosing to turn and walk off for good. “You bastard.”





    It didn’t take long for the trio to get back to their residence, which was actually just a gazebo hut hidden within the quiet clearing of a deep woodland. The central hut was where Ariala slept, worked, and where she had full view – and clarity of hearing – of everything for countless miles around. Several soil paths marked into the ground split from the central gazebo, leading towards different areas that Ariala and her small family had claimed as their own. They had their own field for growing crops, a makeshift temple with a Tapu statue in it, and their own campsite that they used for sleeping.

    “I’m off,” Leos announced the moment they got back.

    “To where, mister?” Ariala asked sternly.

    “There’s much I need to plan. It would be best if you weren’t to bother me,” he said, not even stopping to talk to her properly.

    “Well that’s just too bad. I’m your mother, Leos, and I won’t have you talking to me that way,” she replied. “There is someone waiting for you in your room, anyway. Remember when I said I had something special waiting for you? Your new personal retainer passed her recruitment test today.”

    “Her?” Prem said with a hint of disappointment.

    “Why did you bother getting me a retainer? I don’t need any assistants, and I might as well not be royalty,” Leos sighed, shrugging dismissively.

    “Will you at least meet them? I’m sure you will like her. She’s been trying very hard to get this position,” Ariala smiled.

    Leos sighed again and dismissed that, making his way to his room as intended. It was a short walk through a few trees and bushes whose branches he had to push aside to get through. He always emerged from them with sharp leaves and things stuck in his head fur, but he ignored them until they would start itching or something. Prem voluntarily plucked them out for him this time, earning a gleeful smile.

    Leos’ room was exactly as he liked it, despite a new retainer supposedly waiting there for him. A huge board stretching across one wall above a desk, both plastered with dusty notes all over them. A tall pile of worn out books towered to almost window height along another wall, each one in a messily organized order. The bin stunk of a need of emptying, filled with messes of food like banana skins or inedible nut shells. Even a cupboard of sorts had materials and papers overflowing out of it, with the actual clothing slapped on top of the pile rather than hung neatly. Ariala insisted that the clothing was sophisticated and needed to be looked after, but each item had never been used.

    “Good. She’s not here yet,” Leos said, kicking a few papers aside, dust puffing into the air in large clouds with each kick. He dropped his backpack off to start sorting through a few notes, practically tearing them off the board and desk as he searched them all. Prem caught his backpack and happily got to work putting the book inside with the others, making sure than Rune’s diary was set aside.

    “What’re we doing?” the Pikachu asked, wiping his eyes.

    “I want to make sure I carry the right evidence. We’re getting out of here, and we’re going to check out Castle Faernia. If I can prove who I am, I should be able to get access to everywhere in the castle,” he answered, half ignoring Prem. “There’s got to be something in there that’ll help me out with all this.”

    “If you just tell them who you are, they should let you in, won’t they?” Prem asked, tilting his head.

    “No. Oshawott are Erinian species. I’ll have to prove my identity in more ways than one to get through,” Leos replied, starting to breathe heavily again. His movements slowed and his words were gradually replaced with panting.

    “Leos? Le-Leos, take it easy!” Prem cried, coming to his aid. Leos stopped him with a hand, taking the time to stop what he was doing and catch his breath. He could help himself however, and wound up twisting around to lean against his desk so that he could keep standing up.

    “Curse- this fatal- genetic- ack,” he struggled between words.

    “Is he weakened?” a new voice asked, getting Prem’s attention before he fretted further. A Mime Jr. was stood in the doorway, coming in before she even got an answer. She took Leos into her hands, laying a hand on his chest. “Please, hold still.”

    “What’re you going to do?” Prem asked in worry.

    Mime Jr. ignored him for a few seconds, eventually standing Leos up and guiding him out of the room. There was clear incentive to disobey and stay in the room, but Leos was clearly too weak to resist at all. Once outside, she helped him stand for a few moments, where his breathing gradually began to settle and return to normal. Once his strength came back he broke away from her, shocked by her act of seemingly nothing helping him.

    “Your room is incredibly dusty,” she informed, answering his question immediately. “And you’re a fragile young Oshawott, Leos. Breathing all that dust in will hurt, especially if you haven’t taken the time to recover from your earlier trip.”

    “I am not a child. I-”

    “But you are very frail, and you did just come back here with your strength barely recovered,” she interrupted. “P-pardon me. My old master was fine with me interrupting them, but I have no idea if you are.”

    “So you’re that new retainer Mum mentioned,” Leos said.

    [​IMG]

    “Yes. I am Blossom, your new, personally appointed retainer. I was chosen for a very important reason,” Blossom introduced, bowing gracefully. Her movements were constant but fluid, as if well-rehearsed and planned. She ended by pointing to the red bump on her stomach, which was shinier than that of a normal Mime Jr. It was as shiny as a marble, and had the Libra star sign marked within.

    “You’re a Constellar!” Leos gasped.
     
  10. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    After a bit of a wait, we're back with those bi-weekly updates. I don't have much to say this time - but I do hope that this chapter and the last do a good job of getting to know Leos and his new generation. They'll play the main cast right up until the end of the story.

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

    Episode 19: The Tapu’s omen


    [​IMG]

    “It’s quite cunning of Mother to make my personal retainer a Constellar,” Leos stated, back to rummaging through his notes and belongings. Prem and Blossom watched him with paws on their lips, curious as to what he was still looking for. “Don’t beat around the bush. What are you truly here for?”

    “Exactly what you wish for, Master Leos. Ariala told just how much you want to study the Constellars and their powers, so I guess she opted for one when it came to finding a retainer for you,” Blossom answered, using her psychic to help the Oshawott out. She lifted a few books that he seemed to be tossing aside. He paused until he realised she was helping, and continued scouring the room. “Constellars are always in groups, and you have your sermons to attend. You can’t be a Constellar and serve me that obediently,” Rune pointed out. There was a pause.

    “You’re good. That’s right, I’m not a Constellar right now; I left the religion a while ago. But as you can see, I’m branded, so I have a good amount of experience that I can help you on.” She remarked, posing proudly. “I can also still perform some artes, as well as maintaining the right to enter and leave their churches as I please.”

    Leos stopped what he was doing to twist around and face her, his face one of interest. Finally having his full attention, Blossom giggled and posed, continuing. “Do you get what I’m saying, Master Leos? I’m here to help you do what I know you want to do right now.”

    “Which is to go to the capital to find out what is really happening to our world,” he clarified, putting his hands on his hips. She copied him right down to his facial expression.

    “Yet still, in the back of your mind, you’re quite excited, aren’t you? A living Constellar, free of will, is standing right before your eyes. You don’t want to pass this opportunity up, that’s why you’re not directly objecting to me being your retainer,” she giggled.

    “I’m not objecting to that because I likely don’t have a choice in the matter,” he replied, straightening up. She copied in perfect sync, her perfect mimicry getting Prem’s attention.

    “Mother won’t let it go easily, so there’s no point right now,” Blossom said at the same time as Leos. The Oshawott gasped and edged back a bit, appearing antagonized by how perfectly she had suddenly copied him. “This is also why I was chosen. I’m a very special Mime Jr., Master Leos. When I mimic, I can get the exact thoughts and feelings of my target. That will let me pinpoint your true feelings and needs. With the exception of the discomfort mimicking can cause, you couldn’t have a better retainer.”

    “That’s so cool! Can you do it to me, too?” Prem gasped, bouncing excitedly.

    “I could, but I have sworn to only do it when necessary. Mind reading can be a crime, you know,” Blossom answered, finally returning to her own pose. “Back on point, you could say that I’m basically here to fulfil your wishes to study the Constellar religion. I’ll do my best to aid you.”

    Leos didn’t reply, staring directly into her blank eyes.

    “Didn’t you tell me not to beat around the bush? You’re the captain, Master. You decide when we set off,” she stated, rubbing her chin.

    “Even if it’s right now?” he challenged, cocking a small smile.

    “I’m impressed that you’re this excited to let me help you. Normally, Pokémon don’t have that friendly an impression of me, especially when they learn that I can read their thoughts,” she replied. “I believe you were searching for proof of your royalty, though. Ariala has that, doesn’t she?”

    “That would make sense,” Leos muttered as Ariala made herself present. He didn’t know what to say as she arrived in unfamiliar clothing, clothing that he knew the function of, but unfamiliar because the Clefable was rarely in it. She was wearing a dress of sorts, decorated with the iconic patterns and colours of the Tapu. Thick white fluff covered the top and bottom edges of the dress like that of a royal robe.

    “You want to leave that soon? For some reason, I did not think you would be that excited about getting your retainer,” she giggled, staying in the doorway. Leos didn’t reply, staring at her with half lidded fatigue. “We’re not leaving today. You haven’t even eaten, young man. But either way, a chaperone will be here tomorrow morning to pick us up. So make sure you pack your bags, since we will not be returning here for a long time.”

    “Wait, you said ‘we’,” Leos replied.

    “Yes. You should know how this is. If the public get anywhere close to where we currently live, we will have to relocate. You getting caught earlier puts us in that situation,” she clarified. His face tensed up. “That said, I’ll admit that I have concerns about the capital.”

    “About time you got shaken up. Former Faernian knights teaming up with Erinian rogues is quite an extreme, if I’m understanding our world’s history correctly,” Leos said. Ariala went quiet for a moment, shutting her eyes.

    “We will be departing before sunrise, so ensure you are ready or I will leave without you,” she ordered, walking out. Leos kept staring, unable to help but frown as she left.





    Ariala’s idea of a ‘chaperone’ just so happened to be Naomi and a few soldiers in a very basic, cheap, wagon. The group couldn’t have looked more casual, their royal status hidden only by a white sheet that covered their cart’s interior. It was quite cold and noisy as a result, but Leos didn’t care. He always felt sick anyway, so some chilly conditions weren’t worth complaining about.

    Ariala sat in front of Leos, but their seats weren’t facing each other so she had her back to him and the others. To his right, Blossom patiently watched the silhouettes of the outside world through their sheet covering, patiently taking in her own thoughts. On the opposite side, Prem bounced eagerly in his seat, playing with his hands and feet constantly.

    “What’s got you in a buzz?” Leos almost complained.

    “We’re going to the Tower of the Tapu and the castle, right? I’ve never been before. I’m so nervous I could burst!” he giggled.

    “We’re not going for a field trip, you know,”

    “Aw c’mon Leos, you know I know we’re going to study,” he pouted, his hoodie bobbing up and down. “But that’s what’s so exciting about it. Who knows what we’ll find! Plus, well…”

    “Well?” Leos repeated slowly. Prem started giggling, and his cheeks showed signs of blushing.

    “I might get to meet your family, too. That’s pretty exciting,” he laughed. Leos sighed and looked down at his feet.

    “My family won’t be there. I don’t have grandparents. Well, direct grandparents. You live with my Mother, and gods knows what’s become of Father,” Leos replied sternly. “It’ll just be a bunch of royal bigshots whilst Mother sorts out her business. No one else important to me will be there.”

    “Right right, I got it,” he nodded.

    Leos glanced at him, surprised to see a peppy smile on the Pikachu’s face. His own face flushed red a bit, yet he dared facing the Pikachu, scratching his messy head fur. “Then again, maybe you’re right. We’ve never been out this far, so it’d be wrong if we didn’t commemorate or something.”

    “What do you fancy? Food? Shopping? Whatever Leos wants, I’m happy to do, too!” Prem cheered.

    “I’m here to study. I ask because that’s what you want to do, right?” Leos asked, tilting his head.

    “If you wanna focus on work, then let’s focus on work,” Prem said, leaning towards the Oshawott. Blossom had turned to watch them now, confused by the suddenly light-hearted topic.

    “Prem, you’ve been helping me out with all sorts of stuff for like, the past two months now. I thought this was you implying you wanted to take a break for a bit. So come on, just choose something you want to do,” Leos smiled.

    “Okay. And I choose to do what Leos wants to do!”

    “That’s not- is this going to be another one of those times where you just be difficult for the sake of it?” he frowned. “I’m letting you choose anything for once, Prem. Take it or leave it!”

    “Wait, anything?” Prem slowed down, tilting his head. “Even, uh, the Luvdisc Lookout?”

    Leos’ eyes widened, and his heart picked up. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We probably won’t even have much time if we did go there.”

    “So much for choosing anything,” Prem pouted, folding his arms.

    “Please don’t be like that. I didn’t say no, just that we won’t have time,” he sighed, looking away. He caught sight of Blossom staring at him, and shut his eyes with a rough sigh. “Don’t get any ideas. Keep your mouth shut, this doesn’t concern you.”

    “Leos, please! If the two of you are planning a date, just call it a dinner,” Ariala giggled, glancing back at them.

    “It’s not a date. It’s just a break from studying,” Leos replied aggressively. “Then again, no surprise you have no idea what an actual date is.”

    Ariala face switched instantly, but she didn’t argue with him, turning back to the front. “We’re here, anyway. We’re taking a secret entrance into the castle, so keep quiet now, please.”

    Prem still laughed in excitement anyway, all until everyone else stared him to silence. Minutes later, Leos found himself having to deal with heavy bumps that made the whole carriage jump, as well as an almost unnoticeable rise in temperature. Wherever they had gone, he still felt cold, yet his body felt some need to sweat uncomfortably, as if he was boiling hot. The ending result was him breathing through his mouth rather heavily. Not enough to warrant a health concern, but it did keep him on edge.

    “All of you please follow my lead. I dislike saying this, but refrain from making comments unless necessary,” Ariala instructed, getting up from her seat. Their ride came to a stop a moment later, so she got to work on gathering her belongings and giving the knights their tasks.

    Leos made sure he was carrying his own backpack, which was filled with nothing but books. He ignored Blossom’s obvious concern to look around freely, impressed by the clean and smooth hallway they had stopped in. They weren’t inside a carriage depot or parking lot or anything, but a hallway within the castle itself. He took note of the electronic lights on the ceiling and the fact that they were off. Prem copied him, only with more excitable sounds and eagerness to look around.

    “This way now. Stay close,” Ariala said, drawing them all over. She had the guide of the soldiers and Naomi, but Leos could tell that she was walking her own way. He still played it safe and stayed within the boundaries the soldiers created, having to look between their rigid formation to admire all of the rooms and alternate paths they passed.

    As they ascended the castle the lighting became more pleasant, the temperature levelled out, and the background noise became more of what was expected. Pokémon practicing chants and taking on orders, hurrying back and forth throughout the castle’s bustling halls, the smell of extravagant foods seeping out from rooms where they might have been prepared, and more.

    He never grew up with it, but he knew enough about it all to feel stifled and bored by the predictable setting. The way the knights, butlers and maids rushed back and forth, fretting about the orders of their superiors and whether they were doing them right or not. Even the soldiers that were escorting him felt like a bother, their stale formation and robotic movements dulling any excitement he hoped to have from this visit. They had barely been here for a few minutes, and yet he already wanted to leave.

    That was until they reached the throne room, following minutes of excessive stairs and winding hallways. A set of eight Granbull clothed in elite knight armour guarded the way, shoving their spears across the door the moment they saw Ariala’s group approaching.

    “Queen Magearna is in an extremely important audience right now. None may see her, no objections!” one of the knights shouted. Ariala pushed her two protective knights aside to stand beside Naomi, causing the elite knights to stagger backwards.

    “Your highness! With the high priestess mark as well,” the same Granbull gasped. She exchanged a glance with her partner, who nodded instantly. The duo knocked hard on the door before pushing it open, letting Ariala’s group through.

    “Your highness!” Granbull shouted, interrupting a conversation. Ariala and Naomi were the first to gasp out loud however, freezing in the middle of the doorway.

    “Do my eyes deceive me? Did you receive the news and decide to return?” Azu remarked first. Four Pokémon were present: Azu the Azumarill, a Purrloin wearing a feather hat, Queen Magearna, and an old face that Naomi and Ariala hoped that they would never see again, the blue faced monster of unrecognisable species, Master Lin.

    “Who or what?” Leos whispered. Ariala immediately reacted to his words with a frightened shift, sticking her arm in front of him as if to protect him.

    “What are you doing here?” she asked in a low tone.

    The humanesque monster didn’t answer, instead remaining as formal as he could as he turned to face her. Both of his wrinkly hands clasped each other, barely poking out from his dark-brownish robe. Leos found himself mostly drawn to the large sash around his neck, which was adorned with the twelve zodiac symbols. His dark eyeballs made Leos uncomfortable however, so dark that it was almost as if he didn’t have eyeballs at all. If it wasn’t for the light reflecting off of them, or the piercing gleam of his red pupils, they would surely be seen as empty sockets rather than eyes.

    “Master Lin has proven to be an invaluable asset over the past week when this ordeal started. Aren’t you aware of what’s been happening?” Azu replied, a hint of bother in her voice.

    “Only from what the public has hinted to me. Very little has been reported to me as of late!” Ariala cried.

    “Your highness, if I may,” Master Lin interrupted, revealing his ragged, elderly voice. Despite saying so little, every word reeked of conniving intention, yet the Queen acknowledged him with a nod, letting him address Ariala. “The princess has been absent for a long time. It would be best to catch her up to speed by letting her see the current situation for herself.”

    “That would save us a lot of trouble, actually. Follow me,” Azu instructed, walking off before they could respond. She glanced at Leos as if only just realising that he was there. “This might be unsuitable for children.”

    “You don’t need to concern yourself with me,” Leos replied, a little offended by the comment.

    “My son will be fine,” Ariala did the same.

    “Very well then. You’ve been warned,” Azu shook her head. Master Lin and the Purrloin followed, but Ariala made sure that there was distance between their group and hers before doing the same.

    “Mother, what’s going on? Who is he?” Leos asked, taken by her weariness. She didn’t answer him however, urging Blossom to speak up.

    “He is Master Lin, the high priest of the Constellars. Of all the Constellars, he is the direct link to the stars themselves, and the only one able to translate the will of the zodiac into modern language,” she explained. “But this is news to me, as well. I was sure that the Constellars were enemies of Faernia, since they followed the will of entirely different gods.”

    “That’s what’s immediately got my concern. Why would the Queen ever request his help?” Leos asked in concern, rubbing his chin. “It’s time to study.”

    The group were escorted right out of the castle, requiring another group of knights to guard them. Leos’ thoughts raced on possibilities of everything he’d learnt so far, too much to care about the unnecessary protection. They quickly reached their destination, a large temple not far from the castle that was home to Tapu Fini, where Pokémon could consult the goddess to get their fortunes told. The temple was off limits and guarded by more knights, even though the city felt empty in this area.

    “I’ll warn you again. This will be visually displeasing,” Azu said, stepping aside to let Ariala’s group through. The Clefable marched in without hesitation, forcing Leos and his friends to jog after her. They all came to halt at the same time, jaws dropped and hearts heavy with disbelief.

    The temple was damp and cold, just like Tapu Fini’s Misty Terrain. However, said terrain wasn’t up right now, revealing the temple’s decaying stone walls and dark, spacious, single room interior. Right in the middle of that was Tapu Fini with her arms hung lifelessly to her side and head hung forward with her eyes strained shut. An iconic sword was stabbed directly into the top of her head so deeply that the blade couldn’t be seen.

    “I-it’s a dead body!” Prem squeaked, turning away to avoid looking.

    “No, no! How can this possibly be?” Ariala cried emotionally, forcing herself not to dive forward. The Tapu’s body had taken on a stony appearance, and wrinkles could be seen across her arms and face. She looked like she’d had the life drained out of her in every way imaginable, barely retaining a recognisable body shape. “What is the meaning of this?”

    “She’d locked herself in the temple about two weeks ago. Now we’re used to Tapu Fini doing that, but when she wasn’t even responding to our prayers, we had to investigate,” Purrloin recalled, revealing her smart, yet young sounding voice. “Master Lin was the only one who could open the temple without collateral damage, since it had a magic seal that only priests could open. When we got in, this is exactly what we found. Faernia’s royal treasure, the Sword of Divine Elements, stabbed directly through the goddess herself. We even checked the chamber where the sword is kept – it was stolen from right under our noses.”

    “Who is responsible for this? Haven’t you started an investigation?” Ariala raised her voice.

    “Calm yourself, princess!” Azu shouted. “Of course we did. That is what we were just discussing the results of. We’ve reached a wall in our findings.”

    “A wall?” Ariala replied.

    “Yes. Everything we’ve managed to decipher from the evidence is not only vague, but collectively makes no sense,” Purrloin clarified. “We decided to let Queen Magearna decide based upon our findings.”

    “Wait wait wait, Leos! You’re really smart; you can figure it out, right?” Prem said excitedly, bouncing between everyone. “You should share your findings with Leos. He’ll figure it out in no time!”

    “If our group of professionals couldn’t come to a solution, what makes you think a kid can?” Azu spat.

    “Actually, my son is rather intelligent for his age, I’ll have you know. Either way, you’ll be sharing your findings with me, so he is now involved,” Ariala replied.

    “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious now, either. I don’t approve of Prem’s excitement, but please, allow me to have a crack at it,” Leos added, folding his arms. Prem scratched the back of his head and snickered.

    “Hmpf. This ought to be a much needed laugh,” Azu spat again, folding her arms as well. “Keep up, now. When we entered the temple and discovered Tapu Fini, we immediately set out to seal the scene off and use forensics to find out who had been here.”

    “Good. You have paw prints from any possible entrances and any handprints on the sword, right?” Leos asked. Azu hesitated.

    “We found no recent prints on the ground, walls, or ceiling. We found proof of very aged prints, likely from long before Tapu Fini died, but they had all been washed away by her Misty Terrain. It has that effect,” Azu continued. Leos made a sound and started tapping his foot. “However, on the blade itself, only Tapu Fini’s handprints were found.”

    Only Tapu Fini’s? And no recent footprints?” Ariala shuddered.

    “Exactly. Whoever committed this crime has covered themselves exceedingly well. We just don’t understand how it’s possible. Someone managed to get in here while Tapu Fini had been sealed, used Faernia’s royal treasure to stab her with it, and then replaced their handprints with Tapu Fini’s,” Azu explained. “Stealing the royal treasure without us even knowing how is an impeccable feat in itself. I can’t possibly think of a species that is capable of doing that. Very few Pokémon even know that Faernia has a royal treasure.”

    “Tapu Fini would know that, right?” Leos asked.

    “Naturally, she would. She is one of the creators of that blade, alongside the other Tapu gods,” Azu answered.

    “And Misty Terrain erases any prints, right?”

    “It erases them to the point that they’re unrecognisable. We can still decipher how old the prints are, and all of the prints we found in the temple minus the handprints on the sword were from before Tapu Fini sealed herself in the temple.” Azu explained. “It’s actually fool-proof to a frightening degree.”

    “No, it isn’t,” Leos answered almost instantly. “Eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

    “You mean to say you have a solution? Already?” Azu said mockingly, sceptical.

    “The only Pokémon who could have done this is one who leaves no footprints, can erase prints with Misty Terrain, and knew about the existence of the Sword of Divine Elements,” Leos stated, slowly turning to Tapu Fini. The others slowly copied, raising their eyebrows at him. “The only Pokémon who could have killed Tapu Fini this way, with this evidence, is Tapu Fini herself.”

    There was a mass gasp, with everyone stepping backwards and covering their mouths. Azu flipped out however, stomping a foot down in front of Leos. “That’s absurd! What possible reason could our intelligent goddess have to murder herself, and with our planet’s royal weapon of all things?”

    “I can’t speak to know why. That lies in Tapu Fini’s thoughts. But if everything you told me is true, then that’s the only solution,” he replied, unfazed by her. “You didn’t even know that the sword had been stolen until you found it here, yes?”

    “Y-yes, that’s right. There were signs of Misty Terrain having been used in the castle as well, I believe,” Purrloin added.

    “My divine goddess, and mother of health and fortune,” Ariala shuddered, slowly putting her hands together in prayer. “If this is truly an act of self-harm, for what reason have you done this? Have you forsaken us?”

    “You mean to tell me that you believe this ludicrous claim?” Azu cried.

    “Whether I do or I don’t matters not. That was a prayer in request to Tapu Fini,” Ariala said. “The fact of the matter is now, we are without Tapu Fini’s guidance, and this poor goddess is deceased. Do the mass public know about this?”

    “Rumours have spread, at most. Between you and me, the other Tapu have been shirking their duties as well, so most Pokémon are starting to lose faith,” Purrloin answered.

    “Ida!” Azu shouted.

    “The Pokémon need their princess, Azu. Right now, more than ever, we need to cooperate to understand what our planet it going through,” Purrloin argued, sparing her a glance. She nodded back to Ariala. “The Tapu’s blessings have been dwindling, and most recently, have almost completely stopped. They no longer answer our prayers, nor have any of them been seen by anyone recently. If this is what has happened to Tapu Fini, then I fear greatly for what may have become of the others.”

    “Mother-” Leos gasped.

    “It’s okay, Leos,” Ariala swallowed, putting a hand out to stop him. “I know. I’ve waited too long to return. As princess of Faernia and high priestess of the Tapu’s teachings, it is my duty to do everything in my power to resolve this situation.”

    “And if we don’t, the war you ran away from will undoubtedly start,” Azu stated. “Our armies have only been ready and waiting for the past sixteen years.”
     
  11. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Nothing to say here, really. Just smooth progress, been given the go ahead by my mentor to focus on this story now, so I'll try for weekly updates until the end, from here. The target chapter total is 30, so we're not far from the end!
    Also, going to trial something here with the skits that I normally put at the end. If it takes up too much space and bother, I won't do it again after this part. Thoughts would be much appreciated!

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

    Episode 20: The lone product of the stars


    [​IMG]

    A painful silence had swallowed the room long enough for Leos’ allies to become restless. After learning about Tapu Fini, the group headed back to Faernia Castle and were finally let free from Ariala’s business. Leos, Prem and Blossom were allowed to use her room as well, still as pink and well looked after as ever. Despite being free from the troubling tasks that Ariala had taken on, none of them could bring themselves to say a word, all sat lifelessly in different spots in the room.

    It wasn’t even the death of Tapu Fini that had irked Leos so much. He hadn’t been mature enough when the legendaries were worth respecting. He felt he had no emotional attachment to the situation - for however long he could remember, they were just gods that Faernians looked up to by begging and praying.

    It was what Ariala had said to him that he couldn’t stop replaying in his mind that kept him quiet.


    “I apologize for getting you involved in this as far as you have. But please, do not concern yourself with me or the state of society any longer. You are still very young and have so much to learn. I want you to be free from such harsh duty, and live happily with your friends.


    Leos stiffened. It felt uncharacteristic of her, so patronising, so empty of honesty. His mother was clearly in mental turmoil, yet it felt as if she pushed him away from it all, like he wasn’t worthy, like he wasn’t a crown prince that would one day have to deal with harsh situations like this. Did she honestly think that he was going to sit on the side and ignore everything, frolicking in fields with his friends for the rest of the time?

    No, I won’t, even if she thinks I will,” he told himself, finally standing up off the bed. “That’s enough loathing. It’s time to study.

    “Leos,” Prem said, looking like he wanted to say something. Leos blinked at him, but he stood down without a word, playing with his feet.

    “Blossom. You said you can get us into the Constellar church, right? We’ve got to get to the bottom of Master Lin,” Leos asked, dismissing the Pikachu.

    “I knew this was coming,” Prem moaned anyway.

    “I see. You’re still shaken up by the fact that he was here,” Blossom replied, rubbing her chin.

    “Ariala and the other royals are going to stop us from doing any investigating around here, so we’ll do our own attack elsewhere. Is their main church somewhere you can get us?” he nodded.

    “It’s in the Stardust Treasury. We can easily get a ride there. I can get us in, too, but what do you intend to do once you’re there?”

    “Just find out as much information as I can. Learning about how these Pokémon use their powers would be a bonus,” he replied, packing his books into his bag. “It’s pulling at strings, but Master Lin must be here for his own motives. There’s just no way that someone in his position would cooperate with Faernia without personal gain. It just can’t be a coincidence that something this tragic happened at the same time.”

    “If you’re hoping to get to the Stardust Treasury, you won’t get there easily,” a familiar voice stated. The Purrloin with the feather hat was stood in the doorway, now only wearing a small band around her right ear with a single feather coming off it. She strolled in without a care, earning folded arms from everyone but Prem. “You said it yourself: Master Lin wouldn’t be welcome here. Why would there be transport going there?”

    “You’re saying we’ll have to walk?” Leos asked.

    “Not if I come with you. Pardon me for inviting myself, but there’s a reason I’d like to go there, especially with you all,” Purrloin replied with a bow.





    “My name is Ida, the current commander of the Cat’s Brigade. Yes, that same Cat’s Brigade that revolted against the Faernian royal family sixteen years ago,” Purrloin introduced. She sat with her legs crossed and head resting on one paw, half paying attention to the outside of their carriage. “Don’t worry, we’re not evil. That revolt was led by my husband, Charle. After Charle escorted Ariala to the Stardust Treasury, he said he learnt much about the truth of the royal family. He wouldn’t even share that info with me, though.”

    “So you’re coming with us to see if you can figure it out yourself,” Leos said. Ida confirmed with a nod, smiling at him.

    “But wait, if Charle’s your husband and he’s against the Faernians- wait, your marriage is in trouble!” Prem cried.

    “No its not, silly,” she giggled. “Charle’s not some villain. We married after he’d revolted, there’s no warrant for us to oppose each other. On top of that, aside from the fact that I’m a little lonely whilst he’s away on a pilgrimage, I’d say our relationship’s the strongest ever. He loves me more than a girl he’s been chasing all his life.”

    “Focus on topic please, Prem,” Leos growled. “Don’t you have any hints of what Charle found out?”

    “S-sorry, Leos! I was just worried,” Prem smiled. Ida sighed and looked away, checking to make sure that the Mudsdale pulling the carriage weren’t eavesdropping. Certain they weren’t, she leaned forward, urging the others to do the same.

    “Between you and me, I managed to squeeze some hints out of him. Something to do with Ariala’s missing retainer, the hybrid called Vincent,” she mumbled.

    “Mother doesn’t have any retainers other than Naomi, and she’s not missing,” Leos said, becoming stern.

    “You sure about that? Surely you know by now of your Mother’s secretive agenda?” Ida challenged. Leos sat back and his heart became heavy. “Naomi is Ariala’s personal chaperone; all she does is escort the princess everywhere. Ariala’s real retainers were a Meowstic couple, but the male was a hybrid. In all the years they served her, the only Pokémon that ever saw his form were those that fought him in battle.”

    A hybrid, a combination of multiple Pokémon,” he thought to himself, scratching his head. Before he could ask himself a question about it, the whole carriage skidded to a forceful stop, flinging everyone in it to one side with a scream. The cries of the Mudsdale and the sounds of a battle taking place brought them right to their feet, having to scramble out of the carriage before the Mudsdale dragged it around any further.

    Thankfully no one was hurt and they had clearly reached their destination, although they were a good hundred metres or so away. A large group of Pokémon were fighting against spectres; ghostly forms that resembled Pokémon species, but with a white, highly transparent texture. The Pokémon were gathered behind a knight no taller than Leos, who was clothed so heavily in armour that its species couldn’t be deciphered.

    “Those are Constellars!” Blossom cried. “I think the city is under attack from those spectres.”

    “Aren’t spectres the products of Constellar magic, though?” Leos questioned. He shook his head and readied his double-sided Razor Shell. “Never mind. Follow my lead, you two.”

    “We-we’re going to fight?” Prem staggered.

    “Yes. We’re only doing what we do as citizens of Faernia. We’re fighting the spectres, though. So you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone,” he smiled. “Since they’re spectres, would you do the honours?”

    Prem shuddered and moaned, eventually hanging his head and giving in. “Okay.”

    Ida had prepared her weapon of choice, a lengthy lance. She couldn’t help but gasp when Prem revealed his weapon. A dark blue orb decorated with a beautiful, spatial texture inside of it appeared in his arms, levitating off the ground. The orb floated in such a way that Prem could hug it to stay afloat, but the wings attached to his poncho flapped as if he was flying using them.

    “What kind of powers are these?” Ida gasped. Blossom’s jaw was on the floor as well.

    “Wait, I didn’t tell you guys that I’m a Constellar as well, did I?” Prem said with a blush, looking away from them. “I’m not very good, though. All my artes can do is weird stuff. But I can heal wounds.”

    “We’ll talk about this later. Now’s the time to engage!” Leos ordered, pointing forward.

    Several of the spectres had noticed them and came charging, forcing them into the battle whether they wanted to or not. Since he was at the front, Leos was the first to get hit by a spectre, a Raticate that tackled him. He let out a winded cry even though he blocked it with his Razor Shell, trying not to panic as its enormous teeth gnashed away at his scalchop. He couldn’t even stay balanced as he tried to rip his weapon away, eventually retaliating with Water Gun.

    Raticate was pushed a few steps back by the water, but remained on its feet. It let out an angered growl, noticing that Leos was already crouched on one hand, using his Razor Shell to hold himself up. It attempted to take advantage by going in to bite him again, but he was prepared this time, and stood up to whack it as hard as he could with his weapon, sending it flying backwards in defeat.

    “Why now?” he huffed, immediately falling back over to one side. Clashing with that one Raticate drained him of breath and focus. He felt like a vulnerable liability, yet it would take all of his strength just to stand right now. Even when another spectre took notice and came running, he couldn’t bring himself to stand up at all. Thankfully Ida slid in between them both and took on the enemy with her lance.

    “You okay?” She called, glancing back at him. Before he could reply, she pushed her weapon hard enough to floor the enemy, tossed it high into the air, and then stretched her nails out to enormous lengths. Fury Swipes, as Leos recognised it. The way she ripped into the ghostly figure to knock it down, and then caught her lance with a perfect pose was all he needed to see to know why she was the head of the Cat’s Brigade.

    Still down and catching his breath, Leos scanned the battlefield to summarise the situation. No matter how many times they were hit, the spectres kept getting up and coming back for more, almost as if they weren’t taking any damage. Someone had to be in command of them, someone that wasn’t nearby, from the looks of things.

    “Prem!” he called out. The Pikachu rushed to his side, flustered and sweating nervously. With a squeak quick mumble of words, he brushed some glittery dust off his spatial orb, which seemed to restore Leos’ energy a bit.

    “I tried to calm down the spectres, but they’re really disoriented right now,” he cried. “One of the Constellars back there summoned them. Some kinda psychic force making them go crazy is also stopping the Constellars from recalling them!”

    “A psychic disturbance is disorienting them,” Leos muttered, finally standing back up. He breathed in deeply, revoking his Razor Shell. “Blossom, Prem! We need to side with the Constellars. There’s no end to these enemies.”

    “I can see that. They’re being powered from a long distance,” Ida replied, still standing guard over him. “So our best bet is to just charge through them and get to the city.”

    “You’re that desperate to get there?” Leos asked, mentally preparing to do that, anyway. Blossom returned from her conflict as well, and both were unharmed but panting.

    “I’ve never had to fight a spectre before. They’re impossible to mimic, even for me,” Blossom complained.

    “We’ve got our opening. Charge with me!” Ida shouted before they were even ready.

    Leos coughed but followed after her, impressed by the way she ran right through the crowd. There was indeed an opening for them to charge through, a space between a few enemies and individual battles that was large enough for them to get through. Ida ran on all fours with her lance held tightly in her jaw, still having to use it to slash a few enemies, however. She put little effort into whipping her head with the weapon, almost as if this was something she had done countless times before.

    With his focus fixated on her, Leos hadn’t noticed the armoured fighter approaching from the side. He caught sight of them just before it was too late, and almost tripped up to stop himself from running right into their lance. The knight slammed their heavy weapon right onto Leos’ Razor Shell, bouncing off him with comical force.

    “Wha-what? Why me, I’m on your si-” he gasped, cut short by eagerness to fight. The knight pulled back and thrust at him, forcing him to defend himself with his scalchop. The knight never rested their weapon on Leos’, always pulling back to try a new slash every time he blocked. They smashed their weapons into each other a few times before the Oshawott pulled a surprise Water Pulse attack with a free hand, separating the two.

    N-no!” Leos cried in his head. He fell onto one hand again, sweating and breathing uncomfortably. “No matter how hard I try, my body just won’t let me battle. Blast, I can’t move!

    For a brief moment, it was as if the entire battle had frozen around the two of them. The knight stared at Leos through its armour, while he stared back in fury, fully expecting to be finished off while he was on the ground like this. But nothing of the sort happened, and a brief glance at the rest of the battlefield unveiled that the spectres were being kept busy by the other Constellars. So what did the knight want with Leos?

    “Master Leos,” Blossom said, popping up beside him. “I’ll use my Psychic to strip their armour. Permission?”

    “Why do you need permission to do that? Just do it, defeat them for me!” he shouted. Prem soon popped up beside them as well, helping Leos to stand.

    “Very well. Watch this,” Blossom said, posing with one arm stretched forward. Her body flashed with a pink aura, centred around the marble on her belly. With a thrust of her other hand, the same pink light outlined the knight, lifting it into the air. A struggled growl came from it as it fought back, twitching with movement as it was levitated. “Wait, it’s not very effective? Someone, quick, strike them down!”

    Leos had questions, but set them aside to force another Water Pulse attack out. An orb of water formed over his right hand, which engulfed the knight completely when he threw it. Once submerged, it fell to the ground, and Blossom’s Psychic attack was able to rip its armour off its body. Doing so burst the orb of water, but at least the Pokémon within was revealed.

    “A woman? Wait, what?” Leos gasped. Now the battle was really at a standstill, all eyes stuck on the creature that emerged from within the armour. “Who or what in the world are you?”

    The creature, a cross between an Oshawott and an Espurr, responded with a panicked shudder as she retrieved her lance and posed with it, prepared to protect herself from anything Leos’ group tried. She had an Oshawott’s scalchop on her belly as well, which she used as a shield. Her ears, eyes, fur, and overall body shape was that of an Oshawott, rounded and slightly chubby. However, her fur was tipped with coils of grey fur like that of an Espurr, whilst her feet and hands belonged to an Espurr as well. Since he couldn’t see her tail, Leos assumed it was an Espurr’s as well.

    “Speak of the devil – that’s Vincent’s spear!” Ida gasped, making the hybrid panic even more. It refused to say anything however, nervously glancing back and forth for an exit to its predicament.

    “Wait. You’re on our side,” Leos said, regaining his composure.

    “N-no I’m not!” she cried, revealing her young and high-pitched voice. “I ain’t never seen an Oshawott with a two sworded Razor Shell before! Yo-you’re the freak, so I’m gonna stomp you!”

    “My weapon? That’s just an ordinary Razor Shell. I input the energy for the attack for some different results,” Leos clarified, showing off the double-sided sword. He used his free hand to create a Water Pulse, making it levitate just over his hand like a magic ball. “It just takes a bit of thinking outside the box. But you, you’re a special case.”

    “N-no, not like this. Please, you’re just like the rest!” she cried, pointing her lance at him. Leos let up his attacks and raised his arms. “I’m just here to stop the bad guys! These spectres were causing trouble, and-”

    “And I have a solution. I had an idea, and it’s confirmed, now that I’ve seen you,” he cut her off, approaching fearlessly.

    “Master Leos!” Blossom cried.

    “Blossom, Prem, restrain her weapon!” he ordered. The duo immediately used their Psychic and Thunder Wave attacks to pin the hybrid down, making her cry out in panic. Leos could hear the commotion from the crowd around him as he walked, taking notice of the erratic movements of the spectres. The battle had stopped, but they were still out of control.

    He kept his hands raised to try and settle her, but she still shut her eyes and scrunched up her face once he was close enough to touch her. He didn’t hesitate to clench down on her ears, trying to keep them closed as tightly as he could. To everyone’s surprise, the spectres began to calm down after a few moments, stopping their movements entirely. Keeping his hands over the hybrid’s ears, Leos looked around, jaw dropped by their realistic reactions of relief. “I knew it. Whoever summoned these spectres, relieve them right now!”

    “Ye-yes!” several of the Pokémon called out. With a few prayers and an incantation, the spectres vanished into thin air, letting Leos and his group free the hybrid.

    “Leos, are you okay?” Prem cried, running over. He didn’t reply right away, fixated on the hybrid’s shamed appearance. She still scrunched up her face, knelt down and shivering as static fizzled over her.

    “I wish you hadn’t used Thunder Wave so hard. Can you heal her?” he commented, folding his arms. “My assumption was correct, thankfully. Espurr are known to need their ears to keep their psychic powers under control. It must have been her lack of control that made the spectres go crazy.”

    “Wha-what? No way, it’s my fault?” she moaned, shooting to her feet. She dropped her lance and scalchop, scrambling to pick them back up. “Waitwaitwait, it can’t be my fault, I- I just-”

    “Of course it’s your fault. You saw the spectres stop,” one of the Constellars shouted, making her cringe.

    “Freaks of nature aren’t allowed into the city,”

    “Who knows what’ll happen if we let the hybrid in?”

    All sorts of derogatory lines started to fly around as the crowd disbanded, but a number of Pokémon stayed behind to impose some authority. Their comments quickly drove the hybrid back to the ground, and she burst into tears right there.

    “I just wanted to be a hero!” she wailed. Leos tilted his head, shrugging to the others.

    “Can I have a moment?” he asked. Her wails softened and she nodded, struggling to look at him. “You’re an interesting one. I’ve never met a hybrid Pokémon before. In fact, I just learnt about the aspect of them. Seeing you is getting me quite excited. A whole new world of possibilities has opened up!”

    “Uh-uh, er, Leos?” Prem said, eyes widened. Ida giggled and Blossom sighed and shook her head, whilst the hybrid gawked at him, her eyes widened as well.

    “Inconveniently, I’m in the middle of an important task right now. But will you let me try some experiment with you? There’s so much I wish to learn about you!” Leos requested, sounding overexcited.

    There was a long moment of silence, and the hybrid blinked once. “Well? Will you accompany me?”

    “I er, eep, I didn’t think I could- wait, is that really what you want?” she shivered, starting to blush hard. Leos tilted his head with a hum. “N-n-no, I mean, it’s fine! You just want me to go with you, right? I’ll try!”

    “Oh brother,” Blossom sighed, shaking her head. Prem let out a squeak as well, freezing completely.

    “You’re not seriously saying you like me, are you? Who would’ve thought that to get someone to like me, all I had to do was fight them with my armour off?” the hybrid giggled.

    “I’ll reserve the judgement of whether I like you or not for later down the line. I just want to learn things about your physiology and potential,” Leos replied, making Prem sigh in relief. “Where did you ever get that assumption from?”

    “Leos, are you serious? Didn’t Ariala ever teach you about how to talk to a lady?” Blossom giggled. “Either way, this Pokémon is a hybrid. You heard the others, you won’t even be allowed into the city if she comes with us.”

    “I um, could put my armour back on or something,” the hybrid muttered, playing with her hands.

    “What does talking to a lady have to do with- you know what, no, don’t answer that,” he sighed, turning back to the girl. “What’s your name, if you have one?”

    She froze, staring at him. Despite having the face of an Oshawott, she still had the static appearance of an Espurr, making her thoughts unreadable. “It’s Griselle,” she eventually answered with clear hesitation in her voice.

    “Leos Aska, son of crown princess Ariala and prince Rune,” Leos replied, making the crowd of onlookers gasp. He gestured a handshake to her, smiling coolly. “I suppose that position is suffice to enter with the hybrid? She will be under my group’s custody and watch constantly.”

    “We’ll have to leave that to Master Lin, but,” one of the Constellars replied, rushing off.

    “Wait really? No way, you’re that Pokémon? No wonder you’re talented!” Griselle squeaked, bouncing. “Yes! It’s all the more important that I go with you, now. Yes, I totes need to! Please, take me with you, my prince Leos!”

    “Good, you’re okay with it. Pardon me for having a bit of business to take care of first, but please bear with me during that time,” Leos said with a bow.

    “It doesn’t matter, it’s fine! I know exactly who you are, my prince!” Griselle replied, running right up to him. “My blade is your blade. Whatever you want me to do, just say the order. I’ll do it, my prince!”

    “My prince?” Leos replied slowly.

    “He’s not your prince!” Prem objected, suddenly barging in between them. “Don’t say things like that!”

    “Yeah, he’s my prince! He just admitted it. And I accepted it,” she pouted, leaning towards him.

    “That doesn’t mean he has to. He just wants you for research.”

    “That too, but if I show my devotion, I’ll become more. What’s it to you, anyway?”

    “More than you’ll ever be!”

    “Is somebody jealous that I already have attention?”

    “Prem- what’s gotten into you two?” Leos snapped in anger. “Whatever, cut it out. Let’s get back to work.”

    “Yes sir my prince!” Prem and Griselle saluted in perfect tone and sync. Leos blinked at them both and then palmed his face.

    “Why do I have a bad feeling about this all of a sudden?”





    Griselle’s subordinate


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Oh it feels so good to be a chapter ahead while posting weekly. Nothing really to say once again, besides all the people keeping up to date and enjoying the story. Reminder that it's you all that keep me writing you often!

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

    Episode 21: Anger of the gods


    [​IMG]

    “Well this place looks welcoming,” Leos stated after a length of silence. After short negotiations with the Constellars outside of the Stardust Treasury, the group had been allowed inside so long as they kept a constant watch on Griselle.

    “I like it though. It looks pretty,” Prem giggled, prancing towards the Constellar church. It was still in the centre of the city, surrounded by a lake that let out an ominous, spatial atmosphere around it. Specs glittered in the air like stars, whilst a light fog made everything dark, hazy and blurry to look at. “I still don’t wanna come here, though.”

    “Pretty? You can barely see it,” Leos remarked, sceptical. If not for the warm light coming through the stained-glass windows, the building would be nearly invisible from their distance.

    “This place was built here for a reason, you know,” Blossom said, leading the way across the short bridge leading to the church. All was silent, minus their conversation. “Ignorant of Faernia’s seasons, this lake gets bathed in moonlight every night. But Etheria’s moons can’t be seen from here, not even with a telescope. It makes it perfect for communicating with the stars or viewing our star signs.”

    “So much has been happening that I’ve forgotten to ask you about why you have Libra branded on your stomach,” Leos said, tilting his head.

    “I can tell you that one!” Prem squeaked. “Constellars get branded by the star gods they worship – the star gods are just the zodiac signs. So me and you would be Aries, Leos.”

    “And by getting branded, you gain access to Constellar magic akin to your brand,” Blossom finished for him. “Constellars can use the magic of any star god, but only the one of which you are branded will your magic work correctly. Outside of the ability to summon Spectres, Constellar magic is very much identical to Pokémon attacks.”

    “Wait really? What’s the point of going through all that complex magic stuff if it doesn’t let you do stuff Pokémon can’t already do?” Griselle asked.

    “I imagine it lets Pokémon perform attacks they couldn’t normally learn,” Leos said.

    “Exactly that! And then there’s a few super special tricks. Like, my orb can summon items and heal wounds if I try hard enough,” Prem added happily.

    “Constellars are weird,” Griselle pouted, making Leos smile.

    I’ve not been branded. That would explain why when I used Double Team that time, it tired me out instantly,” Leos thought to himself, recalling his recent battles. Remembering that Ariala had saved him back then made him cringe, so he dismissed the thought to enter the church at last.

    The instant Leos set foot inside however, an overwhelming fatigue struck him. It was like a rush of cold wind blasted his front, causing him to gasp and his head to spark with a burning pain. He let out a sharp, dry, growl, grabbing his head with both hands as he struggled to stay on his feet.

    What the? Stop!” he cried in his mind, his eyesight blacking out almost completely. He couldn’t even tell whether he had lost consciousness or not, just that he spun and stumbled from lack of balance as his view faded to darkness.

    Seconds later, he was surrounded by gravestones in a grey, swamp-filled clearing. Heavy fog obscured everything that wasn’t centimetres in front of him, forcing him to grab the graves around him to stay on his feet. His focus returned as quickly as it had vanished, but he had been warped to this unsettling location.

    “What is going on? Prem? Blossom? Ida?” he called out, hints of panic in his voice. A single gust of wind blew past him for a second, erasing all of the fog in an instant. In its place, dark walls surrounded him on all sides in the distance. Around him, the swamp began to flow like fire, only its texture was purely black.

    Directly in front of him was Tapu Lele, laughing childishly with a cryptic echo applied to her voice. Her arms were stretched out as she used her tremendous psychic powers, which were being used to torment a struggling Ariala. The Clefable was suspended in the air, screaming and crying out as if her body was being torn apart, her death imminent. The princess couldn’t even open her eyes, twitching her whole body in very uncomfortable spasms.

    “No! Mother!” Leos cried, wanting to approach. He was stopped by another blast of wind, only this time, it was a powerful wind accompanied by the black flames. The flames morphed into a blinding tornado of fire that engulfed Tapu Lele completely, degrading her innocent laughter into sinister grunts of breath. The dark flames had infected her, transforming her into a monstrosity right before his eyes. He couldn’t even bring himself to properly identify the one-eyed monster she had become; just that the way it loomed over him, laughing, mocking him, spreading its toxic, dark flames in every which direction, terrified him beyond his greatest fears. And Leos knew to never be afraid of anything.

    The creature fell on top of him, causing him to scream at the top of his voice. In a flash of heated darkness, just as quickly as he had been warped there, he found himself staring at the stained glass artwork on the windows of the church. His breathing was unsettled, but not hoarse or tired like it was when he battled.

    “Leos! Leos, are you okay?” Prem cried in his face. He took a moment to blink at the Pikachu and settle his breathing, quickly returning to his feet.

    “Yes, I appear to be fine. I don’t know what happened there,” he admitted. He could still feel himself shuddering a bit, the appearance of the shadowy monster fresh in his mind.

    “Are you sure? That happened out of nowhere! Please don’t push yourself, I’m worried!” Prem squealed.

    “Me too! I’m the one the weird stuff should be happenin’ to. You sure you’re not tired?” Griselle cried as well.

    “I’m fine. Just some kind of strange dream,” Leos breathed out, shaking his head. He looked over at his allies, finding several Constellars surrounding him in concern as well. “I mean it, I’m fine.”

    “A premonition, and caused by nothing more than stepping into the church. You young man are a gift from the stars!” A Mimikyu announced, coming forward. Leos could only assume it was a Mimikyu, anyway. The Pokémon was shorter than Prem, having no visible feet of any kind at all. An aged, yellow rag covered most of its shadowy body, designed to look like a Pikachu. “Tell me, child, what did you see in your vision?”

    Leos’ face tightened and he hesitated, but he explained the contents of his vision anyway. To his surprise, his description caused a wave of chatter and concern to take over the room, and the Mimikyu edged backward.

    “I don’t- Prem darling, who is this Pokémon?” Mimikyu asked. “Such a nasty vision is befitting only of a Constellar Lord.”

    “This is why I didn’t want to come here. I’m not your darling,” Prem moaned, hanging his head.

    “So much is goin’ on, you’re losing me,” Griselle moaned as well.

    “Then just keep quiet and focus. We’ll explain later,” Blossom hissed, keeping back with her. Ida was stood over them both with her lance out.

    Mimikyu approached again, slowly unveiling its long, dark arms to hold Leos’ head up. He flinched away but calmed down once he realised she meant no harm. “I see it in your eyes now, actually. The only other Pokémon to get such a detailed, terrifying premonition was Master Lin. Someone go and contact him, please.”

    “Constellars only get premonitions when they get branded. But normally they’re super vague and don’t really mean anythin’,” Prem explained whilst the other Constellars got to work. “If you got one straight away, then that means you’re like, a super powerful Constellar, Leos!”

    “Prem!” Leos coughed, making him cringe.

    “O-oh, right, your name. S-sorry,” he shivered. Mimikyu giggled, and a hint of blush showed through her rag right by her real eyes.

    “Oh Prem, you’re as goofy as ever. You came back to get this Pokémon branded, didn’t you?” she asked. “I’ve missed you ever so much, you know. Sessions aren’t as fun without your character around.”

    Prem didn’t reply, shying away behind Leos. The Oshawott shrugged and sighed, gesturing to stand guard over his friend. “Pardon me, but you haven’t introduced yourself yet. Who are you?”

    “My name is Rosie. Master Lin has chosen me as his right hand. I- I love Prem, though,” she bowed. Only the top half of her rag bowed however, as her main body was too short. “And I mean love, with all my being. I didn’t have much to my life until I tossed away my old appearance, and modelled myself after him. Since becoming a Constellar and a Pikachu, my life has so much more meaning. I owe him every last hint of love and gratitude I can muster!”

    “Right,” Leos replied, sweating. “Wait. Prem, is that what you meant when decided to start wearing that Charizard poncho?”

    “It suits him wonderfully. Our Pokésonas, identified by well-crafted ponchos – how could we not be a match made in heaven?” Rosie sighed dreamily. She actually started rambling aloud, talking about nothing but Prem until Leos cleared his throat. “A-ah! I’m sorry about that. I’m just so excited to see you again! I truly cannot express more just how much I miss you, darling.”

    “I’m not staying, though. We only came to learn about Constellars,” Prem replied, losing his patience.

    “Where is he? There!” Master Lin shouted, coming from deeper within the church. He was sweating and his eyes were wide, but it somehow gave off a feel that was as excited as Rosie was earlier. Leos couldn’t even bring himself to respond, surprised to not be intimidated by the creature. “To think that it would be you of all Pokémon! Your deduction in Tapu Fini’s chamber should have given me the hint, and yet here I find myself losing words by your appearance right now!”

    “What’s gotten into everyone?” Leos raised his voice.

    “Within no given timeframe, a Constellar is chosen by the star gods, one that is capable of being branded by all twelve. They receive a clear premonition that allows them to lead Pokémon safely through the future,” Master Lin explained. He surprised everyone by bowing on one knee. “That Pokémon is no better the choice to become the successor to me, as the new Constellar Lord.”

    “Please stop bowing. It really doesn’t suit you,” Leos complained, trying to look away. “I hate to break it to you though, but I’ve no intention of becoming a Constellar, especially now that I’m supposed to be your leader or something.”

    “Of course. You are Ariala’s son. You’re devoted to the blessings of the Tapu, aren’t you?”

    “Actually I’m neutral. I don’t believe in any gods or goddesses to lead my life. I’m guided by fact and reality,” he replied, folding his arms. Griselle made a sound of surprise, staring directly at Leos now. “I came here to find out why you were in a place you weren’t supposed to be.”

    “We Constellars are segregated for our differing beliefs, but truly, the reason for our segregation is to prevent needless conflict. The Tapu have never taken kindly to our religion,” Master Lin answered, standing back up and cupping his hands together. “Set our differing beliefs aside however, and you will find that we both wish for the same thing – the salvation of all Pokémon in Etheria. When I heard of the news of Tapu Fini’s absence and my ability to access her chamber when no one else could, I had only one answer. You may investigate as you please, but you will find no evidence of malicious intent, I assure you.”

    Leos didn’t reply, staring at him for the evidence he needed. Lin didn’t even look offended by the obvious accusations, but he wasn’t about to give up. Inviting him to investigate was Master Lin’s biggest mistake however, and he was going to ensure the priest knew that.

    “Wait, Tapu Fini? Has there been much I’ve missed?” Rosie spoke up, tilting her ‘head’.

    “Leos. Even though you declined leading the Constellars, I implore you not to ignore your premonition,” Master Lin warned. “What you saw can affect the entire world, so even if you would not guide Pokémon to avoid the outcome, you can still save yourself. To that end, it would be remiss of me to not work with you in these pressing times. Rosie has already informed me that your premonition foreshadows Ariala in danger to Tapu Lele.”

    “I will deal with it my own way,” Leos replied.

    “Listen to me! All Constellar Lords get a premonition. Mine foretells of a terrifying war between the Tapu and Eris,” Master Lin raised his voice. Leos and the others went quiet, showing signs of concern. “News of Tapu Fini’s death have no doubt gotten to the other Tapu. They’re preparing for a massive assault as we speak!”

    “What?” Ida shouted above everyone else’s cries. “I am a commander! I would have heard about this if it was happening. Don’t spread lies!”

    “If you haven’t heard, then we have time yet,” he huffed, looking away. “Think about it. Princess Ariala is opposed to war between the two planets – I am certain that she would even go as far as to oppose the Tapu to prevent them from leading a war. If my premonition tells of a war and yours a grave battle between them both, then I believe we have a pair of fitting puzzle pieces.”

    “We can’t let Ariala confront Tapu Lele,” Leos whispered, looking at the floor. He quickly glared back up at Lin. “Don’t talk like you know my Mother!”

    \he nodded. “Do as you will, but you must heed these warnings. Together we can prevent this war.”

    “We have to move. Now,” Leos ordered, turning his back. He stopped in the doorway, half turning to look at them. “I still don’t trust you, but if it’s true I’ll find a way to stop that premonition my own way. You do you.”

    “Leos?” Griselle squeaked, bouncing after him. “Er wait for me!”

    “Yes, Prem, wait please!” Rosie cried. Prem stopped for her, making the others stop as well. “You’re going to go just like that? C-can’t I get something like a cuddle or a kiss? Pretty please?”

    “I think we all know the answer to that. Why even bother asking?” Leos shrugged.

    “I love you so much, Prem. I could never not ask,” she said, going quieter. Prem groaned and started playing with his hands. “W-will you?”

    “Master Lin, where could we find a graveyard?” he asked, ignoring her. Rosie moaned and sighed.

    “I could give you that information. Just one quick snuggle, darling. That’s all I ask!”

    “Behind the church,” Master Lin answered, making her moan even louder. “Go across the bridge and walk around the lake. You may find something unexpected there.”

    “Unexpected?” Leos raised an eyebrow.

    “A certain tomb. Whatever you are planning, go with careful respect,” he warned. Leos’ face tightened and he left at that, the others following in silence.

    No one spoke until they reached said graveyard, surprised to find that there was soil here. Unlike everywhere else in this section of Faernia, soil and greenery surrounded the countless stones making up the fields of the graveyard. There were paths, but those were made out of shorter cut grass rather than roads or stone walkways.

    Being this close to the lake and the church, the fog surrounding the church wafted here, keeping the area cold and hazy, but it was also lighter and easier to see through. The glitter from around the lake was there as well, but less prevalent and mostly scattered across the tops of the gravestones. Bug Pokémon could occasionally be spotted amongst the grass, either foraging for whatever nutrients they fed on or singing along with the Kricketot.

    “Uh-um, Prince Leos, aren’t you scared?” Griselle asked, slowing him down.

    “Scared? Of what?” he replied.

    “Your dream. I’d be frightened if I had a dream about my mum getting killed. Times ten since its Tapu Lele,” she said, prodding her paws together.

    “I can’t be afraid. If I let detrimental feelings like that affect me easily, then I’ll never deal with situations like this,” he stated, speeding up. “I must decipher the meaning of this daydream. Why it happened, whether it’s a real premonition or not, and why I even had it.”

    “Tha-that’s why I’m here, though!” she spoke up, pushing her way in front of him. “Mum and Dad said that if I was ever to meet the new prince or princess, that I should help them out with all my being. So let me handle big feelings like that! Don’t say I must do this, ‘cos we’re here to do it with you!”

    “I thought you said you didn’t understand what was happening?” he challenged.

    “I- I don’t, but I-”

    “Then don’t say things like that. It won’t be long until I can start my research on you, but don’t feel like you have to stick around me for no reason,” he said, walking around her. She stopped moving completely, her face of shock mirrored across everyone else.

    “Now now my lord, there’s no need for that attitude. We’re all here on our own terms, remember?” Blossom scolded, tapping the back of his head.

    “Except for- wait, you’re right. Never mind then, do as you will,” he dismissed, unfazed.

    “Don’t worry, he likes acting tough,” Prem whispered as he passed Griselle. “Stay around long enough and he’ll warm to you. I promise.”

    “Yeah… yeah! And either way, it’s pretty admirable. That’s my prince, shouldering the world’s greatest problems all on his own!” she laughed.

    “He’s not your prince, though,” Prem moaned.

    “If you’re done arguing, get over here. This is what Lin wanted us to see,” Ida called out, grabbing their attention. She was off in her own place, stood over a triad of stones. Leos didn’t waste time in reading them.

    “Ah. These are former members of the Faernia royal family. So the royal family get buried here,” he summarised, musing over the surrounding graves. Every grave here was put into a pattern that fitted within a large court, whilst each being grander than the other graves. One of the graves on the opposite side at the far end had been damaged however, so he walked over to investigate.

    “Why are the Faernia royal family buried in the Stardust Treasury?” Prem wondered.

    “Better yet, why are Eris’ royal family buried here as well? This side has their gravestones,” Leos added, losing his cool. He started following the pattern of the stones, talking aloud to himself. “The graves are ordered based on the generation that each family reigned over. There’s over a millennia of family history for both planets right here. But if we follow this pattern right to the end, then that means-”

    His theory took him right up to the broken grave. It had been dug up excessively and the headstone was chipped off and covered in cracks, but still readable. Sparkly glitter was littered all over this grave and more than the other graves, making it stand out even more. Diantha’s name and some respects were carved into it, as well as the dates when she was alive.

    “Princess Diantha perished at only age sixteen at the hands of our God Tapu Koko. It was tragic, and yet, it seems someone likes to drag tragedy further,” Ida stated, clearly disgusted with the state of the grave. Leos was flicking through Rune’s diary like mad, stopping at a page to glance up and down at the grave and the book.

    “The dates match. This is actually Princess Diantha’s grave. My auntie,” he whispered in disbelief. “Did Master Lin know about this? Or was he the one that dug it up? Callous bastard!”

    “Language!” Blossom scolded again, smacking his head. “My lord, I am still your retainer. And that means advising you.”

    “I never even agreed to you being-”

    “Leos, listen and look at yourself! You’re holding in your anger like a prissy, spoilt teenager!” she snapped, making him flinch. “We were given the right to investigate. This is our starting point. You need to calm down, look at everything logically, and respect that everyone else is here to help.”

    “Argh,” he growled, looking away. He dared to look over at everyone else; surprised by the mixture of emotions they all showed. Prem and Griselle were clearly worried, Blossom was right and angry with him and Ida resembled a look he had seen Ariala give him many times before. A stern combination that hinted at taking responsibility, as well as expectation of a turnaround of the current mood he was showing her. Steeling himself, he took in a deep breath and exhaled, shutting his eyes. “I’m sorry, everyone.”

    “Sorry?” Prem replied.

    “When I dragged you all into this, I thought it would be an easy case to solve. But it’s gotten so complex that I don’t actually know what to do anymore, and that’s turning into me mistreating others,” he explained, facing Diantha’s grave. “Tapu Fini’s suicide, Master Lin’s presence, my premonition, and now Diantha’s open grave – there’s no clear connection to any of it.”

    “That’s what I meant. It’s hard and it’s super scary, right? So let us handle some of the trouble, too!” Griselle said, standing beside him.

    “You can count on me though, Leos. It’s just like all those other mysteries we solved so far,” Prem said, doing the same. “We’ll just focus on one thing at a time until we’ve got a connection.”

    “Right, yes. It’s time to study. That’s how we’ve solved all our other cases so far,” Leos muttered, rubbing his chin. “This is why I count on you, Prem. Seriously, thank you.”

    “A-aww, but it’s all you, Leos,” the Pikachu giggled, scratching an ear. “So uh, what do we do first?”

    Leos took a while to answer, deep in thought. “The open grave is an immediate problem. Diantha’s body actually isn’t in there.”

    “So the missing Diantha,” Ida clarified. “If you want my thoughts, it’s the state of the grave that bothers me. It looks like someone was really in a hurry to get the body out.”

    Leos stepped back to get a proper look at it. The glitter all over it was impossible to ignore. It didn’t even look dug up properly. There was a deep hole with the soil spread out like something underneath had gushed out of it, while the headstone was dislodged. “Actually it almost looks like-

    A sharp revelation hit Leos and his eyes widened. He almost couldn’t breathe for a moment, lost in the danger that his possible solution had thought up. Desperate to disregard it as a guess, he spun around to check every fact he could.

    The glitter wasn’t in the air like it was around the lake; it was all on the floor or the headstones. And not surrounding headstones, only ones leading right up to this one. By walking backwards, he could see clear as day that the glitter was making a path.

    “Prem! These sparkles. Please tell me what they are!” he cried.

    “What’s gotten into you? Figured it out already?” Ida replied. Prem moaned a bit and then rubbed some of the glitter onto his arm, trying not to scratch the headstone. It disappeared into his hand, not leaving any discomfort at all.

    “These are Tapu scales. They’re just like the ones that come out when I use my healing magic,” he informed, widening everyone’s eyes.

    “And Blossom! Look at the way the grave was dug. That doesn’t look like it was dug at all, does it?” Leos challenged. She gave it a round of thought, eventually mimicking Leos.

    “You think Tapu Lele did this, didn’t you?” she shuddered.

    “Think about it. Tapu Lele is known to release scales that can heal when she flies at high speed. And with her Psychic, she could just pull the body up without even digging. That would create this ‘gushing’ effect that the soil is in,” he explained.

    “Why in the world would Tapu Lele want a dead body, and Princess Diantha’s of all Pokémon?” Ida asked, still sceptical about the idea.

    “A bargaining chip. An edge,” Leos muttered, flicking through Rune’s diary again. “She must know how much Diantha means to Rune. A challenging act for the death of Tapu Fini – Master Lin’s premonition could actually come true!”

    “Wait wait wait, but that’s a guess!” Prem cried. “What is true is that once Ariala finds out that Tapu Lele might have done this, she won’t stand for it. The two could fight! Then your premonition could come true, Leos!”

    “So either way, our next stop is to find one of the Tapu at all costs, right? More than anything in the world, we need to find one of ‘em, and quick!” Griselle squealed.

    “Right. We have to find out why Tapu Lele did this and stop her from fighting Ariala. We can’t waste time-” Leos stated, freezing completely once he turned around. Someone was watching them, a Dewott.

    The Dewott stood close enough for its features to be identified, and that was what stole Leos’ mind. It was tall and proper, with its arms held firmly to its sides. Its head fur was excessive and messy, half covering the tops of its eyes and stretching to neck level around the back of its head. A ragged, slightly torn red cape flowed behind it, half hiding a multi-coloured sword in a sheath. Its face was bold and calm, unlike Leos and his friends.

    They stood here for what must have been upwards of a minute, doing nothing but staring at one another. Eventually annoyed with his thoughts, Leos curled his hands to make fists, tightening his gaze.

    “Now you decide to show up. Come to get your diary back?” he said.
     
  13. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    Hello there! I decided to give this one a go because it looked pretty interesting to me. After reading the first two chapters, I can safely say it's already taken me for a heck of a ride.

    First off, I really like the style of this. It really reminds me of classic fantasy JRPGs, and having a Pokémon-centric story with that idea is pretty cool. The presentation is great coupled with the descriptions of scenery, objects, characters, and so forth. It really helped paint vivid and interesting scenes in my head.

    The characters seem pretty interesting so far. I certainly found myself wondering how Clefairy was able to hear basically everything in the area. Rune and Diantha are very cute, and they really felt like, well, kids. Cheerful, innocent, curious, and energetic. Also, their little bits of bickering got a chuckle out of me for sure. I can relate to that...

    (Although Rune saying "hell" so casually caught me off guard for sure lol)

    Rune is interesting in particular. He comes off to me as the kind of kid that just wants to have fun and explore stuff. A lot of the things he says was pretty cute, too. Maybe a bit (or a lot) rash, taking on enemies that are like, what, twice his size? Seems he didn't really bother with his training much either...

    ...Which brings me to that fight scene. And, well?... Hoo boy.

    I mean, I saw the content warnings, but that scene still managed to shock me. It was a lot more gruesome than I'm really used to, and it was probably the first thing that made Rune realize just messy war can be. Especially when everything quieted down and the horror of the scene really set in.

    And then we have the aftermath... first seeing Diantha in her current state (the whole dragon weapon thing is a lot to cover in and of itself), and then getting verbally destroyed by Jyararanga... seeing his reaction after all of that really says it all. It's all a horrible thing to go through, and it was really his fault. The realization of that is an innocence crusher, that's for sure. I wonder what will happen to Rune next, and I'll certainly keep reading to find out. I'm pretty hooked already.
     
  14. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    I'm still ahead on chapters, opting for a weekly release. So far it's working out. Yet another bunch of comments though, a real surprise that honestly made my day! Thanks so much for the kind criticism, RocketKnight!
    Perhaps the pacing might seem a little slow right now, but bear with me. As the title of this chapter suggests, we're edging towards some rather huge battles...

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

    Episode 22: On the precipice of conflict


    [​IMG]

    The tall Dewott didn’t respond right away, staring right back at Leos. Annoyed, Leos stepped forward and clicked his teeth, holding his scalchop in hand. “Well? You want it back, don’t you?” he shouted.

    “What are you doing here?” Dewott finally replied in his deep tone, not moving an inch. Dewott was totally unfazed by Leos’ aggression, which only made him get even madder.

    “Answer my question first,” he said in a low tone.

    “Hmpf. Keep it, it’s outdated. And you’ve read all the embarrassing parts already, anyway,” Dewott smiled slightly, folding his arms.

    “Wait a minute, diary- is this? Are you Dad?” Prem cried.

    “Look at the sword he’s carrying. That’s the Sword of Earthly Elements,” Leos pointed. The others gasped and joined his side. “What are you doing here? Why did you go missing for all this time?”

    “I answered your question, but you now won’t answer mine. I didn’t realise this was an interrogation,” Rune sighed, shutting his eyes. “I won’t play coy anymore. Stop what you’re getting yourself involved in. You won’t investigate this any further.”

    “After coming this far out? Why should I?” Leos shouted.

    “You’re going to accuse the Tapu of the missing body, aren’t you?” Rune asked. Leos glanced back at the grave, reminded of the clear evidence he had to it being Tapu Lele’s doing. “Think about what you’re doing and how it affects others. I’m sure Ariala raised you with that thought process. You’ll be putting yourself and many others in more danger than you realise.”

    “So what, I should just sit here and let them get away with something so callous?”

    “You’re still a child. You should leave it to the adults,” Rune replied. Leos showed his teeth now, losing his mind.

    “To hell with that! I’ve known you for less than five minutes and I can already tell that you and Mother are the same,” he snapped, revealing his double-sided Razor Shell. “I’m not going to sit around and do nothing. I’m not a child!”

    Rune opened his eyes again, hiding a deep sigh behind his stoic pose. “Are you going to fight me? Is that your solution?”

    “Uh-um, think about this one, Leos. It’s not good for family to fight,” Prem moaned.

    “Plus, this is Prince Rune we’re talking about. I mean, I’d love for the chance to spar with him, but is this really worth it?” Ida added.

    “Aren’t you guys with me? We’re going to stop a war from breaking out our way, no matter who gets in the way,” Leos said, raising a fist with them.

    “I like that attitude. Let’s give it our best, yeah!” Griselle replied with a bit of a laugh, posing with her lance. “I still don’t have my armour, but I should be alright!”

    “I hope you have a plan, my lord,” Blossom sighed, mimicking Leos. Her own double-sided Razor Shell formed from her imaginary scalchop, which glowed with pink energy.

    “Griselle and Blossom are already here. So that’s why you’re so brave,” Rune muttered. He withdrew one of his own scalchops, not making a Razor Shell with it. “Very well then. I will show you just a fraction of the power that you’re planning to challenge. Strike me down, and you win. Take a fatal blow, and consider yourself dead.”

    “I’m not a child. Don’t expect me to just sit around and do nothing,” Leos shouted, forming a Water Pulse around his left arm. He fired it with a thrust, immediately throwing himself into a sprint afterwards. He chased his Water Pulse attack to slash at Rune once he got close enough, but before his mind could register it, he swung at open air instead.

    What the?” he gasped in his mind. He was sure that his Water Pulse had hit something; it exploded in front of him. So why didn’t his Razor Shell hit? A quick glance to the left showed him that Rune had avoided both attacks, but was frighteningly close. Leos let out a cry and swung at him again, not seeing even a flinch of attempt to block or dodge.

    Once again, he nearly toppled over from swinging his Razor Shell at nothing. A mere instant ago, Rune was in the spot he clearly saw, but was now behind Leos. Growling in frustration, Leos spun around and swung his Razor Shell once more, this time continuing to attack afterwards. Every single swing he made, he was sure he hit, yet Rune was somewhere else. It was almost as if his eyesight was playing tricks on him, telling him his target was in one spot, whilst it was actually in another.

    “This- I- guys, can you see him?” Prem whispered, frozen in shock. Blossom and the others had stayed back to try and survey the battle, but to them, Rune was just as illusive.

    “I can’t,” Griselle choked, rubbing her eyes in disbelief.

    “There can’t be that big of a difference between us – going up against him is a death wish!” Ida growled, angry at her hesitation to join the fight.

    Before long, Leos ran out of breath and had to stop to reconsider what was going on, where Rune suddenly appeared behind him. The Dewott’s single Razor Shell poked his back, giving him a sharp spike in his senses that made him shiver.

    “Do you know what this is? This would be the time to surrender, lest you suffer great damage,” Rune warned.

    Leos growled, choosing to disobey. He stomped one foot on the floor to surround himself in water for an Aqua Jet attack, shooting straight forwards to escape this supposed inescapable position. Less than a second after he boosted however, he felt his neck get struck hard enough to choke and fall over. He couldn’t breathe for a few moments, causing him to panic and spasm on the floor, all until he realised what had happened. Rune had appeared in front of him, letting him ram directly into his Razor Shell.

    “And if you had pulled that in a real battle situation, your enemy would not hesitate to kill you from there. Your life would be over, your future stolen from you by those who oppose you,” Rune added, pointing his Razor Shell down at Leos’ chest. Leos was livid, but more so speechless at what he had just experienced. Was this really the end of their battle? He didn’t even last half a minute. If Rune was really some ruthless scoundrel in a war battle, would he really have died that easily?

    Rune soon let his son stand up, revoking his attack. “You know, it was my leniency with Diantha that caused her death so. She hadn’t nearly understood the danger that she was putting herself in, the danger that I was willingly allowing her to be part of. We both paid the price for it. I’m not going to let that happen to you.”

    “Wh-why don’t yo-you just- te-tell me what’s going-” Leos struggled, unable to stay upright. His neck hurt so much that he couldn’t even talk right.

    “You’ve seen that Diantha’s body has been dug up from the grave. That is as far as you go. Do I make myself clear?” Rune ordered, becoming furious. Leos didn’t answer. “I said, do I make myself clear?”

    “Y-yes- ahem- yes Father,” Leos replied, the same bitter fury coming out in his own voice.

    “Leos,” Griselle muttered, shuddering.

    “Return to the Tower of the Tapu at once. I do not expect to see you at a place like this ever again,” Rune instructed, putting his scalchop back on his hip. He walked towards Diantha’s grave, stopping before everyone else. “Try to be better role models, okay? He’s only sixteen; stuff like this he shouldn’t be exposed to.”

    “Don’t treat them like children,” Leos growled.

    “Wa-wait, Mister Dad- Rune- I mean your highness sir-” Prem stuttered.

    “Just Rune is fine,” he corrected. Prem paused.

    “Rune, at least tell us where you’ve been and what you’re doing!” he begged. Rune didn’t answer. “O-only if that’s alright and all that.”

    “If I tell you, will you keep it a secret?” Rune replied, folding his arms. Leos’ eyes widened.

    “O-of course! No really, I mean it!” Prem cried.

    “You have my word,” Ida promised, bowing.

    “I’ve been working with Ariala from a distance. We’re the reason that neither army has made a real move to attack each other yet,” he answered, making Leos gawk. “If you start trying to spark things by accusing the Tapu or the Constellars, you could mess up our plans. So don’t get involved in these affairs. Children need to stay at home.”

    “Wait, if you’re really stopping war, then let me help you! I’m-”

    “Did you not hear what I just said?” Rune lowered his tone, turning around. The stern look on his face silenced Leos. “Children need to stay at home. That’s an order. Ida.”

    “I understand,” the Purrloin replied, putting away her lance. “Gotta admit I hate to do this, but come on everyone. We’re going back to the Tower of the Tapu.”

    “Father,” Leos growled, watching him while his allies were rounded up.

    Just as they were leaving, Rune crouched down at Diantha’s grave. The messiness of his head fur and some ripped parts of his cape caught Leos’ attention the most. He hadn’t noticed it right away since he was so overwhelmed by his Father’s sudden appearance, but the way he looked now told a whole story.

    His head fur was just so messy and dirty, unlike Leos’ own. Sure, Leos didn’t care too much about his appearance, but at least his head had no black marks and was smoothed out to look orderly. It was so long as well, it was almost as if Rune never had the time to care for it. His cape was just as aged and weathered, falling apart with holes, loose threads, torn slits and more. Burns, bits of fluid, coloured stains and all sorts told of the many battles it had been used in. Why didn’t he ever get a new one?

    Unknown feelings were flaring up inside of Leos, just from staring at his Father like this. He didn’t know what they were, but they were making him regret everything he had just said to the Dewott. He wasn’t glad to see him and he knew it, so why was he so hesitant to leave now? Why did he want to say he was sorry?

    “Leos?” Ida called, returning him to focus. The others were all a good walk away already, so he cursed himself, shook his head and joined them, leaving the graveyard behind at last.

    “Um, I don’t know if this is a bad time but, I’m starving,” Griselle admitted, rubbing her belly.

    “It is a bad time,” Leos said, taking the lead.

    “Is it? I don’t believe we’ve eaten in a while, either. It’s a good call, my lord,” Blossom objected. Leos growled and smacked his forehead.

    “I’m sorry I’m sorry, I can’t help it!” Griselle cried.

    “It’s technically my fault since I was in charge of you during this trip, anyway. Since we’re heading back, it’ll be an easy diversion,” Ida smiled.





    About an hour or so later, the group had found their stop to rest and refuel, but Leos couldn’t bring himself to eat a morsel. The feelings he had were still there, and now that he was in a calm enough atmosphere to think about them, they were becoming clearer to him.

    As he stared across the mess hall of the Stardust Treasury’s dining district, the image of Rune’s battered appearance melted in with the friendly faces of all the other public Pokémon around. He hadn’t seen his father since possibly right when he was born, when he obviously wasn’t aware enough to get a good look. To only know him now as this old, gruff adult with an obscene level of combat experience over his own, hurt him.

    That was his first real encounter with his Father. He would never admit it, but with the way his Mother always acted, he wanted his first encounter to be a cliché family reunion of sorts. He wanted to meet Rune by surprise in a sunset field of flowers, and to run up and hug him without a care in the world. He wanted to be embarrassed by their comments towards the way Prem and Griselle acted. He wanted to show off his knowledge of moves and history that he had spent years researching and for them to praise him for it. He wanted them to be parents to him, just like the family of Pikachu sitting a few tables across. The child was crying over spilt juice, the mother was comforting them, while the father was roasting a berry pie with his electricity.

    He still didn’t believe in his Mother and Father’s wishes to stay out of their royal affairs. He knew too much, and it hurt too much to just sit and watch. But without being able to come close to Rune’s powers, what could he possibly do? Could he challenge Mother instead? Or was it simply fate, and he was actually wrong to get involved? He shook away that thought, only getting angrier with himself.

    “U-um, I know you’re paying, but it’s alright to go for another round, right?” Griselle spoke up, piling a plate in the centre of their table.

    “Another one? That was your fourth! How can you still eat?” Prem gasped.

    “I dunno. This is nothing compared to Mum’s cooking, but it’s still good. It makes me have to eat more to feel full,” she giggled.

    “That doesn’t make any sense, but help yourself. Between you and me, Queen Magearna pays for it all,” Ida snickered.

    “Swe-eet!” Griselle cheered. Blossom was the one to get up and purchase more for her. “My prince, aren’t you gonna eat? It’s best when it’s hot!”

    Leos turned to her, unable to smile at all. “Just going to remind you that Tapu Lele has my Auntie’s dead body. That Goddess is physically holding her dead body. Think about that.”

    “Leos,” she replied, going quiet. “C-c’mon, don’t say things like that.”

    “There’s nothing you can do right now. You’ve been spoken to by your father, you lost a duel, and in my case, I have direct orders to keep you safe. Whether you like it or not, I have to return you home, now,” Ida stated, her legs casually crossed as she swirled her paws around some leftover sauce. She made room on the table for Blossom returning with some plates, exciting Griselle. “You said you wanted to observe Griselle as a hybrid, right? Why don’t you focus on that for a while?”

    “I did, didn’t I,” Leos growled, snapping his gaze away. He immediately caught sight of some soldiers jogging towards them. “Faernian soldiers?”

    “Commander Ida!” the duo saluted at the same time.

    “Sheesh, what is wrong with you both? Don’t come barging into a public diner and call me that! You’re scaring everyone,” Ida groaned.

    “A-apologies, but it’s an emergency! We just received word from a messenger back at the Tower of the Tapu,” one of the soldiers gasped. Everyone sat up.

    “Tapu Bulu has returned to us, but has taken control of Faernia’s combat divisions. He’s preparing to mount a massive attack on Eris as we speak,” the other soldier reported.

    “What?” Leos screamed, kicking away his seat. The others lost their minds as well.

    “Apparently even Queen Magearna emerged to order the attack off, but Tapu Bulu and his followers refused. They have a fleet of airships at the ready. Something about getting revenge,” the soldier explained.

    “The news of Tapu Fini’s death,” Leos whispered, slowly turning to his friends. “I knew I should’ve kept challenging him. Rune and Ariala can’t stop this. Guys, we need to-”

    “Leos, no,” Ida objected right away. “Damn, this has really put me on the spot. What’re the orders from headquarters?”

    “They ordered an evacuation of the capital. The centre of the city is entirely Tapu Bulu’s fleet now,” the soldier reported.

    “They’re that aggressive towards their own Pokémon?” Leos gasped.

    “Send the message that I’m on my way. All units attack the fleet, keep them in Faernia’s airspace. We can’t let them leave!” Ida shouted.

    “Roger!” the soldiers saluted.

    “Wait, you two. I have a task for you two as well. This group here are Ariala’s son and his allies,” Ida said, surprising the two knights. “They need to get back to the castle. I’ll send the message and head back, but can I trust you to keep them safe here?”

    “Are you serious? Ida, my Mother’s in just as much danger!” Leos shouted.

    “Regardless, orders are orders. It’s my duty to protect you, and my responsibility for bringing you out this far when I shouldn’t have. You’re staying out of this,” Ida said, finally standing up. “Please keep these guys safe. I’m counting on you.”

    “Roger! Our lives depend on it!” the soldiers chanted, saluting in perfect sync.

    Ida charged off after that, leaving Leos to trip in petty effort to give chase. She was out of sight in seconds, surprising him with how fast she really was. She wasn’t that fast when they battled the Constellars.

    He was made to flinch by a sudden blast of electricity that struck one of the soldiers from behind, knocking him out instantly. Blossom and Griselle were the first to react, standing over Leos as they scanned the diner for their potential attacker, but no one was an obvious threat. Everyone else was thrown into a panic, cowering behind tables or defending themselves and their families however they could.

    “Who?” Leos whispered, flinching when another blast of electricity struck the other knight, this time directly on the head. The knight almost fell on top of him if not for Blossom yanking him away, but at least he could follow the attack to find the aggressor now. “Up there!”

    “Ah!” Prem squealed, hiding behind Leos’ group. A Togedemaru was latched to the ceiling with his spines, wiggling himself free to bounce off the fallen soldiers to safely land.

    “Well that was easy. I honestly don’t feel safe knowing our planet is protected by such incompetent fighters,” he said, looking down at them with a bored expression. “No time to waste though, huh? You sure you’re up for this, kid?”

    Leos didn’t respond, not realising that he was the one being addressed. “Hmm? Who are you?”

    “Just a bored guy looking for some action, really. But now’s not a time for a backstory about me. You wanna go up against Tapu Bulu, God of Earth and nature, right?” he replied, implying a shrug. Leos tensed up. “I can get you an airship. But I’m only gonna do it if you’re planning to go all the way with it.”

    “Wait, you can?” Leos gasped.

    “Master Leos,” Blossom sighed, smacking her forehead.

    “You don’t have to come,” he said, glancing back.

    “It’s not that. Ariala taught you to not to trust strangers, right? Especially not ones that openly attack the royal army,” Blossom replied.

    “Then don’t come,” Leos said, turning back to Togedemaru. “I can’t begin to express just how annoyed I am about all this. I’m not going to sit around and do nothing while some self-righteous gods do whatever they want with our world.”

    “You said it. I’m with you all the way, my prince!” Griselle cheered.

    “I-I don’t like fighting or disobeying family, but I do trust you more. We’ll be okay, right?” Prem shuddered. Togedemaru stared at them for a few moments, staying rigid and bored the whole time.

    “Hmpf. Don’t say you didn’t get warned,” he said. “The name’s Shouta. I’ve had my fair share of crisis aboard airships, so you don’t need to worry about me.”

    “Can you really get us an airship, though? What’s the plan?” Leos asked. Togedemaru hesitated again, turning his back.

    “That’s the thing: you’re the leader, here. This is your plan, so you should be the strategist, right?” he replied, walking off. Leos exchanged sceptical looks with the others, who shrugged and followed.

    Shouta sped up after leaving the diner, leading the group through the crowded streets until they reached a damp alleyway. They were away from the public here, but he still checked for anyone spying them before revealing a heavy manhole sat in between them. He had to glow in the dark with Flash, brightening dung covered walls to their left and right.

    “Is that stench?” Prem choked.

    “I just ate, too,” Griselle moaned, jerking away from helping him open the manhole. Shouta snickered a bit.

    “Well pardon me for picking a spot. The poor have gotta go when they’ve gotta go, you know?” he jested, climbing down first.

    “Pokémon without designated restrooms could at least litter the grass, couldn’t they?” Leos spat, holding his nose. Shouta stopped partway down, now looking annoyed.

    “Tell me, kid. Since you got here, when’s the last time you saw grass?” he asked. Leos didn’t reply.

    To their surprise, a sewer system ran beneath the city, but this one was higher tech than anything seen above ground. The area was still dark, but unlike the alleyways, was a little lit up by the pipes of energy lining the walls. Leos was immediately drawn to one and dared to touch it, flinching at how hot it was. They yellow energy flowing through was hotter than an iron.

    “There are different colours, too,” he muttered, blindly stumbling about to look around. “These are terrain extenders? Underneath the Stardust Treasury?”

    “Yep. Keep up and you’ll learn a bit more,” Shouta called out. He wasn’t waiting for them at all, practically ignoring them as he walked.

    Thankfully, Shouta didn’t take them too far. A few turns left and right at seemingly random and the group found a room amongst the sewer’s square twists. It was clearly intended to be a maintenance room or something, well protected by a heavy metal door with a huge warning on it. A massive padlock had previously been in place, but had been mashed up and now hung attached to the handle, unmoving and rigid from how beaten it was.

    “’Kay kids. Time to throw a party. I brought ‘em,” Shouta announced, stepping into the room. He immediately made for a beanbag and sunk into it, ignoring the surprised looks of all the other Pokémon around.

    “Shota please, you scared me!” a Sylveon cried, leaping towards the confused Leos. “Is this really them? Prince Leos and his group?”

    “You can see the hybrid, can’t ya? Sheesh,” Shouta replied. Sylveon groaned.

    “Er,” Leos mouthed, warily examining the room. The variety of Pokémon here had no clear connection, as did the operations taking place. There was a single table littered with wrappers and newspapers, many different kinds of seats, and the left wall had a map on it. The map was plastered with notes and scribbles.

    “Pardon the messy setup. The lazy hedgehog there likes to treat this place like it’s his bedroom,” a Greninja greeted, joining them. “We don’t have much time, so I’ll get to the point: we’ve been looking all over for you, your highness.”

    “Is this a trap?” Blossom asked, tensing up.

    “Far from it,” Greninja replied, shaking his head. “We’re remnants of an old battle. We’ve all suffered from that battle and didn’t get the things we were promised – we lost those things instead. So now we’re part of our own division, separate from the two planets. Instead of raging war against the royalty that did us wrong, we’ve banded together to fight battles against the wrong and simply build our own world – to deliver justice to all. We are the Deliverance.”
     
  15. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    Hi! Been wanting to check out what this story's like for a while, and I finally found a good moment. Here are my thoughts on the first chapter.

    I think "speck" is the word you want.

    So... his name is the name of his species in Japanese? That's a bit odd, but I guess it can make sense if that's a surname of sorts and Pokémon are named after their species.

    I think I notice a trend in the prose - a lot of the sentences are rather long, with several clauses. I'm still able to follow them at this length, but I wouldn't say the issue is having long sentences by itself - sentence length can vary across different authors' styles - but the lack of short ones. Almost all the dialogue tags seem to have another action attached to them with a clause, for example. I'm pointing this out as prose tends to read better when sentence lengths vary. I remember someone talking about this and likening a prose with homogenous sentences to repetitive noise while describing prose with variance in the sentence structures as a symphony. So, to summarize, I feel it would help to engage the reader better if some of these sentences were split to avoid a pattern.

    Eh, it kinda bothers me how Diantha addresses Rune as "big brother". I've never heard any sibling address another sibling by their sibling title in English (or Finnish, my native language). I think it happens in Japanese, which might be where this influence comes from - this story does have kind of an anime feel to it - but in my opinion it just doesn't translate. Later on Diantha addresses Rune by his name, anyway, so the "big brother" thing doesn't seem necessary. Them having a common father already suggests they're siblings, and the dynamic of the two feels typical for a little sister and bigger brother.

    Wait, so the Clefairy never thought of covering her ears to avoid the noise? Seems like a pretty obvious solution. I'm also not sure if I get why the noise only bothered her after she was left alone and not when she was being carried all the way to the room. Was the carriage that soundproof?

    This is... very odd phrasing. Sounds like video game terminology, but everything so far suggests a medieval-ish fantasy setting.

    Is the negation mark (¬) here intentional or accidental? I don't think I understand its purpose.

    General Comments

    What I've said so far has mostly just been critical, so let me get to what I liked - the worldbuilding. There's a lot in the story summary alone, which I guess I technically shouldn't count since I'm reviewing the first chapter alone, but it's neat. Dragons vs. Fairies are a sensible divide, but one I haven't seen before. I like that scary vs. cute dichotomy there. It does make me question why two Oshawott of all Pokémon are on the Dragon side from what I can tell, but I imagine that's explored later on, along with why they call a Kommo-o their father. The environment is rather bare-bones, but that's understandable as it's supposed to be a desolate mountain range. Zoroark guards to hide a castle entrance make sense.

    That's basically what I thought, feel free to ask me to elaborate on any points if you want to.
     
  16. Starlight Aurate

    Starlight Aurate Just a fallen star

    Heyo! I'm here to review your first and most recent chapters! I'll start off by saying that I like the little synopsis you have, and the images are all really cute!

    I think this ought to be "speck" of sunlight; "spec" is a different word entirely (with hope of success but without instructions to achieve it)

    This sentence confused me on the first read; I think because you wrote that his left claw let go of the rope holding the carriage and started climbing "it." Though you meant "it" to refer to the mountain, I thought it was the carriage at first because that was the last thing you referred to. Wording along the lines of, "he let go of one of the ropes holding the carriage and began climbing the mountain" or something like that would be clearer.

    In general, you tend to write fairly long sentences. That's okay, but sometimes they get clunky and would be easier to read if you split them up. For example, you have this:
    It's a bit clunky and includes phrases like "increasing elaborateness" which could be more easily read when written as "increasingly elaborate." Having long sentences is okay, but when you have a lot of them, breaking up some of them into a few shorter ones would help your writing flow more smoothly.

    I think you missed a word in this sentence--how much shorter is Oshawott than her? ;P
    Also, "finding herself stood" would do fine without the "stood;" just "finding herself before an Oshawott" works well enough!

    The two Oshawott are adorable ^_^ I love how they interact with each other and with Clefairy!

    It's also cute that Rune gestures for his sister and the Clefairy to go over the fence first; he's so chivalrous! And for Diantha to accept is really cute, like they're playing a knight and lady sort of game.

    I like the first chapter! The Komm-o was bound to find out that the kids had taken the Clefairy with them and escaped. I think it's a nice beginning with a fun setting, and you definitely leave us with a lot of questions! Why did the Komm-o kidnap the Clefairy, and what will he do with her? Why do two Oshawotts call that Komm-o their dad? Where does that secret entrance lead to? It was enjoyable to read!

    Chapter 22

    Well, the definition of "fatal" IS killing someone, so if he took a fatal blow, he couldn't just consider himself dead--he WOULD be dead.

    You shouldn't have the comma there, as "but was frighteningly close" doesn't form a complete sentences. Any piece of a sentence that comes after a comma should be able to form a complete sentence on its own. Perhaps instead write that "the attacks came frighteningly close to hitting him" or something along those lines.

    I think that ought to be a comma after "order," and not a period.

    "smiled" isn't really a speech tag--someone doesn't talk by smiling. I know you may be looking for words to use other than "said," but here having "Ida said with a smile" would be more proper and it would work fine.

    Aww, that's a cute scene! And it's quite understandable. I often wish my own family would fall into conventional family-type reactions or activities, but we just don't. Seeing other families do so and how happy they are with it makes me feel like I'm missing out on something. I definitely found this section relatable; poor Leos!

    "The" yellow energy, not "They."

    "Shouta," missed a "u".

    This is an intriguing chapter! Shouta brings up a good point when he takes out the guards so easily--are those people really safe when a commoner can do so much damage? I think your writing style improved a bit from when you first started, so that's good! You still have some large, awkward sentences, but those will become more refined and get better with practice and time =)

    Overall, I think you have a good and very creative story! I like the characters, and how they're all Pokemon. The storyline is very unique; I'm a sucker for high fantasy, so having a bunch of Pokemon warring between two world makes a great story, in my opinion. Your writing style is good, and as I said, it gets better with time; you still have some awkward, clunky sentences and might want to proofread more carefully before you upload. Good luck with it all!
     
  17. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    That review game sure is bringing in the comments, huh? Thanks for putting in the work, though. But most of your comments are more of pointing out direct 'problems' with the writing which can be sorted out with a mere edit, which will eventually be done. I'm more about the actual comments on the story and its quality! Favourite characters, the twists, the action, the setting, you know? I barely got a word about all that...
    Still though, I really appreciate it. And I appreciate it even more that this story still has so many reads, despite said reviews being somewhat negative on the concept. I know I've got my audience that enjoy this stuff, and it's you all that keep me reading, even though you're silent. So seriously, thank you all so much!

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

    Episode 23: Battle in the sky


    [​IMG]

    It didn’t take long for the group to set off. It didn’t feel long to Leos anyway, as an hour flew by while they got acquainted with their new ‘army’. The Deliverance had done a good job of introducing themselves and giving him confidence in his objective to stop Tapu Bulu. There weren’t a lot of them, but each and every one of them had a story to tell that gave them a considerable drive to do what they were doing.

    Their airship was as fancy as it needed to be. Leos stood at the front of it, staring out at the cloudy sky through the glass roof. Iron bars made a spiderweb pattern across the upper half of the ship, but only around the front. Otherwise, propellers carried the ship from the top, whilst giant, feather shaped oars rowed in perfect rhythm from the sides. It was all automated, where only the altitude and turning were manually handled by electricity and an awkward switchgear system.

    Blossom was stood behind him during the wait, trying not to make any sound that would distract him from whatever he was thinking. Eventually sighing to herself, she shrugged and stood as close to him as she could, mimicking his stiff pose. “Master Leos-”

    “Don’t bother with it. When you dragged yourself here, you decided to go through with it all the way,” he said, half turning back. She moaned a bit, shrugging.

    “I was actually going to advise you that you’re too tense right now. Is there something I can do to make you loosen up?” she said, making him sigh. He didn’t reply, going back to staring out the window. “Listen. You’ve given these other Pokémon a lot of hope, you know. So you’ll need to be able to plan well when it comes to this battle. You can’t be stiff and tense.”

    “Yeah yeah! Not many Pokémon are brave enough to confront a god. But you’re doing it anyway, despite all the odds and everyone saying not to. That’s why you’re my hero, Leos!” Prem squeaked, skipping into the room. It was obvious he’d been hiding for a while.

    “I guess I have to go along with that,” Leos said, rubbing his head.

    “Hmm. I notice you immediately bent to Prem’s support, but not mine?” Blossom giggled, rubbing her chin.

    “You’re only doing your job of supporting. Words from you aren’t genuine,” he replied. The other two silenced. “What?”

    “Don’t you trust Blossom? She hasn’t done anything wrong,” Prem said, rubbing his face.

    “This isn’t about trust? I never asked for a retainer because I already have you to help me,” he replied, folding his arms. “I know you’re only trying to be helpful and nice because it’s your job, or because I’m royalty.”

    “Then fire me. You’ve been the one in charge this whole time, so you’ve had that option,” Blossom said, smiling sneakily. “I’m sure you knew that, but you want to ask me all the more about Constellars, don’t you?”

    Leos gawked, unable to reply. “Precisely. Remember that you can’t hide ulterior motives from me. Either way, our motives just so happen to align with each other right now. I’m tired of letting the Tapu get away with the crimes they’ve done, and you want to stop them from starting a war.”

    “How often have you been reading my mind?” Leos asked, sceptical.

    “Not a lot. You’re just that transparent,” she giggled. Prem giggled with her, scratching his head.

    “Prince Leos!” Griselle sung, skipping into the room. “What’s everyone so giggly about?”

    “And here comes the rest of the noise,” Leos groaned.

    “Hey! Don’t be so grumpy. We’re about to fight,” she cheered.

    The rest of the Deliverance gathered around a moment later, each of them standing before Leos like soldiers. He wasn’t as bothered by their appearances as he was with the soldiers at the Tower of the Tapu however, as they all still held their character in their appearances. Tundra looked impatient as he stood tall and tapped his folded arms, Shouta barely gave an effort to look respectful, and Kelsith clearly wanted to look as proper as possible. The rest of the Deliverance barely had a ‘uniform’, they were just other normal Pokémon that looked ready to fight by his side. Something about them being normal put a smile on his face.

    “It’s time to study, huh?” he muttered.

    “We’ll be in contact in about ten. If those clouds clear up, we’ll likely spot them first,” Tundra informed.

    Leos turned back to the window, and surely enough, the enemy fleet came into sight after a few clouds passed. The number of enemies they would be dealing with intimidated him, but he knew he daren’t show it right now. Countless airships, possibly hundreds, filled the sky in a formation resembling a swarm of Beedrill. All of them were clearly army airships as well, equipped with cannons, a drill on the front, tinted armour, and less vulnerable propellers and oars.

    Fortunately for the Deliverance, they were set to intercept the very front of the fleet. That meant that Tapu Bulu was in their sights, coolly stood at the very front of the fleet on his own personal airship. It looked like a section of forested mountains had been pulled from the planet and planted on top of airship technology, as said airship had no protection outside of giant trees and steep, mossy hills across its surface.

    Tapu Bulu himself was at the very front of it, rigid and unmoving despite the heavy wind that must have been pushing against him. The black-scaled god resembled a bull, complete with long, green horns atop a tough red crown. His hands were large hooves, but his arms were even larger and muscular, whilst he stood on a single bell instead of having feet. The ring through his nose made it unmistakably Tapu Bulu, even though Leos had never seen him before besides the ancient artwork he’d seen all over Faernia.

    “There he is. We’ll be in their airspace in seven. Hope you can come up with a strat that won’t get us all killed before then,” Shouta said, drawing him back to reality. Leos glanced at him and blinked, then back at the army.

    “There’s a lot of ‘em. How many soldiers do you think are on board?” Prem asked.

    “Far too many to fight, that’s for sure,” he replied, tightening his gaze.

    “Hmpf. Don’t underestimate us now, kid. We ain’t pacifists,” Shouta snickered. Kelsith pinched him with a feeler.

    “We’re crossing their flight path, right?” he asked, getting a nod from Tundra. “We’re not in space yet, either.”

    “What’re you thinking?” Blossom said, a hint of concern in her voice.

    “We leave this ship and jump straight on as a select group,” he replied. “Tapu Bulu’s airship is completely unprotected. If we land straight at the target, we’ll have a good amount of time to fight him without getting swarmed. Airships aren’t exactly built to transfer soldiers across them.”

    “Ah. So we’ll technically be dealing with just one of those airships rather than the whole lot,” Tundra clarified.

    “Suddenly, a thousand enemies shrinks to a hundred!” Prem cheered.

    “Uh, is anyone listening to him? How’re we gonna jump on the airship?” Griselle cried.

    “We get as close as possible, jump, and whoever’s controlling this thing just flies back to Faernia,” he explained. “We split up as soon as we land. One group takes control of Tapu Bulu’s airship, while the other attacks Bulu himself. That way we can give ourselves more time, as well as get ourselves to safety back above Faernian ground.”

    “Hmpf. I like it. Logical, yet suicidal,” Shouta snickered. “Looks like you guys made a good call in choosing Rune’s kid.”

    “I-in-in case you didn’t realise, I’m a little on the fat side? You can expect me to make a jump like that!” Griselle squealed.

    “You shouldn’t even be here, technically. Sorry for dragging you into this,” Leos admitted.

    “Oh never mind that! You’re my prince, I said I’d help you!” she said, bouncing a bit. “But you know, this is a bit-”

    “You there in the delivery wagon!” a voice echoed through the sky, sounding unnaturally clear. Someone was speaking through a very powerful megaphone. “Move your airship, or we’ll run right into you!”

    “Like it or not, sounds like we’re going through with it. Weapons ready!” Tundra announced, raising an arm. The Deliverance rallied with him, some Pokémon spitting harmless attacks into the air instead of raising their weapons.

    “Did you hear us? Move your flight path! We won’t hesitate to run right through you,” the megaphone ordered. Leos and the Deliverance gathered near the exit of their airship, with Kelsith stood at the back to get a good view of how close they were getting.

    Leos’ heart began to race as he could tell just how close their airships were. The sounds of propellers and storming wind smashed against the door beside him, and he could only imagine just how cold and powerful it was. If they couldn’t get close enough to Tapu Bulu’s ship when they jumped, that wind would likely just blow them out into the sky, and then it would up to fate to decide what to do with them. He knew it was a ludicrous plan, yet he knew that if it worked, his parents would change their views of him entirely.

    He shook his head, losing focus for a moment. He came this far in his disobedience to them; why did their opinions on him matter? He wasn’t doing this to impress them and he knew it, so why did thoughts of them come up now, of all times?

    “Get ready to jump. Open the door,” Kelsith gasped, showing her fears in her tone. Rune shook his head again and gulped, getting a hand from Blossom and Griselle to get the door open. The heavy wind immediately smacked their faces and forced their eyes shut, dropping the temperature considerably. The propeller noises from earlier intensified as well, no longer muffled at all by the walls around them.

    Leos growled and tried to keep his breath in focus, his heart racing at the realisation of what he was doing. Tapu Bulu’s airship was so close that he could make out the blades of grass upon its surface. This was the timing they’d been waiting for. With a quick glance to ensure nothing else could stop him, he cried out as he leapt as hard as he could, barely covering any ground. He could feel the wind forcing him to glide in another direction, almost carrying him through the sky away from the ship.

    In fact, he was getting carried, not landing on the ground at the logical time he should have. The scenery of the trees and hills were scrolling past him as he fell, so he began to swim through the air as hard as he could, hoping to somehow beat it and latch himself to the ground. He was just too light, and he was soon spiralling helplessly through the air.

    “Leos!” Prem cried, doing the same just beside him. Leos chose to save his breath, struggling to find something, anything that he could grab a hold of. He eventually did grab Prem’s hand, whom was trying to hold both hands tightly. “Ready? Hold tight now!”

    Leos didn’t even reply, but Prem worked anyway. The Pikachu’s magical orb formed in between them, which flashed as if it released a spell. The familiar black star of a Constellar move appeared above them briefly before their weight multiplied by many times. The duo shot straight to the surface of the airship like a paperweight, almost smashing to the floor.

    “Gravity? Nice thinking!” Leos praised, laughing a bit. Prem’s Gravity move had affected the rest of the Deliverance as well, causing them all to have an easy time landing on the ship. Once he was sure they were all there, Prem let up on the move and his orb stopped glowing. “This is why I count on you!”

    Their celebrations were short lived, naturally. Once gravity returned to normal, soldiers began to gather around the group, surrounding them on all sides possible. Trees separated their formation however, leaving individual knights in eight directions. They were all Faernian, from Mawile, to Granbull, and a single Alolan Ninetales.

    “We have a saying for when we start our battles, you know,” Tundra said, keeping his back to the others.

    “Is now the time for childish rallies, though?” Shouta groaned.

    “Doesn’t matter. Now’s the time for us to Deliver the future!” Kelsith replied with enthusiasm.

    “For the Deliverance!” the Pokémon chanted in perfect sync, raising their weapons and attacks once again.

    Leos smiled a bit, and then slowed to a complete halt as they took over the battle with even more expertise than he imagined. Tundra tore through knights in single hits, throwing Water Shuriken right through the holes in their armour. He must have been hitting critical spots too, because each shuriken brought a knight to its knees, where Shouta rammed right into them with a sparkly Zing Zap attack. Being in the forested layout played well to Tundra advantage too, since he could jump from tree to tree like any ninja would.

    Kelsith was on the opposite side, going completely against the docile character Leos had seen of her so far. She was taking on five knights at once, using four of her feelers like stretchable hands to trip, tangle, and strike them from afar. She took on the fifth one directly with Fairy Wind attacks fired from her mouth, not hesitating to use Draining Kiss on the enemies who were vulnerable enough.

    Every member of the Deliverance was giving it their all to keeping the Faernian army back. Leos and his group did not have to do anything at all because of how well they were fighting, but Leos knew that he couldn’t sit around like this. Other soldiers would land on this ship at the earliest opportunity and turn this battle around. If the generic soldiers were being taken care of, then he needed to take advantage and go straight for the boss.

    “This way, Leos!” Blossom called out, getting his attention. He signalled for Prem and the others and followed her through a bundle of trees and bushes, much of it so congested that he couldn’t run or see the scenery around him. If it wasn’t for the wind still pushing heavily against them, as well as the stale light from the sky, he would believe they were in an actual forest.

    Surely enough, Blossom had taken them through it all and into the clearing where Tapu Bulu was waiting. He hadn’t moved from the front tip of the airship, only turned around to keep his eyes on the battle taking place.

    He wasn’t alone, however. Two Primarina guarded the way to him, both sat either side of a Meowth with light blue-grey fur. The Primarina were well protected by armour fit for their species, and the Meowth held a long sword in his left hand.

    “I’m impressed! You managed to get this far, and all with a plan that could get past the formation of Faernia’s greatest royal army: The Cat’s Brigade!” the Meowth greeted, pointing a finger at them.

    “The ship is covered with forest. Your soldiers could barely hold a formation,” Leos replied, stood one foot in front of the other. His right hand was ready to draw his Razor Shell at any moment. “Also, is this really the Cat’s Brigade? Primarina aren’t cats.”

    “Hey, I make the rules around here. This is as far as you go though, you little troublemakers. I don’t know who you are, but your charade is punishable by death. Prepare to face the full might of Faernia’s most powerful enemy, Paladin Charle, head of the Cat’s Brigade!” Meowth introduced, pointing to himself. He posed as he spoke, showing off quick, fancy movements with his sword.

    “Ida’s husband,” Prem shuddered.

    “Figures a big fighter like him would be guarding a Tapu like this. If Ida’s skill is anything to go by, then we need to be careful,” Blossom warned. Charle went on to emphasize that fact, crossing his arms over his front. Her curled up a bit and floated off the ground, releasing a deep, black aura of energy around himself. With a roar, he released that energy in a shockwave, surrounding himself in a sphere of spatial darkness. “Wait, Constellar magic? What move is that?”

    “You don’t know? Wait, why is Faernia’s royal army capable of Constellar magic?” Leos gasped, readying his Razor Shell.

    “Get them first,” Charle ordered, his voice completely changing. He went from sounding energetic to cold and merciless, ordering the two Primarina. The water types slid forward a bit before standing on their tails, both using Sparkling Aria at once. A high-pitched sound emitted from their mouths as orbs of water began to form in the air.

    “On your guard!” Leos shouted, retracting his Razor Shell to protect his face. A second later, the orbs exploded into countless more orbs of water, which each flew across the battlefield and exploded into bursts of water and deafening sound. Despite blocking as best he could, Leos felt himself getting knocked this way and the other, cringing at the pain that blasted his eardrums. His breath wasn’t knocked out of him yet though, and he merely tripped up from the attack.

    “I’ve got it!” Blossom cheered, glowing slightly. She began to mimic the Primarina, managing to create her own Sparkling Aria attack. The exact same animation played out in their favour, and Charle’s party were forced to block just as desperately as Leos’ group. This gave Griselle the chance to charge forward, where she was in range to start attacking one of the Primarina with her spear.

    Impressed with her reactions, Leos drew his Razor Shell again and aimed for the other Primarina, but his first slash was blocked by the armour on its arm. They both growled at each other, but Leos didn’t give up there. He began to twist and spin his scalchop as quickly as he could, slashing at different parts of the Primarina in hopes of hitting it somewhere its armour wasn’t protecting. He barely got off about six hits before the water type slapped him back, forcing him back on the defensive with an impatient Bubble Beam attack.

    “Prem!” Leos shouted immediately upon getting knocked back. The Pikachu knew the order before he’d even spoke, floating forwards with his magic orb as a support. He left off a Thunder wave attack, piercing right through the Bubble beam to hit the Primarina. It cried out in irritation, stunned to the ground as if not expecting the attack.

    Leos jumped right back in after that, firing a Water Pulse and then chasing it with his Razor Shell again. The Water Pulse caused the Thunder Wave to flare up and electrocute it, giving him the perfect chance to stab its vulnerable point with Razor Shell.

    “To think we thought up that combo one day, and it even works on elite soldiers,” Leos muttered to himself as the enemy fell in defeat.

    Meanwhile, Blossom and Griselle were taking care of the other Primarina, teaming up to power their way through its armour rather than find a way to strike around it. Blossom was stood at a distance, continuously using Psyshock to pin it to the spot whilst Griselle kept hitting its armour with heavy sideways slashes. Although they weren’t critically damaging it, the cries coming from the Pokémon told of the concussive damage it was taking and its inability to defend. Eventually Griselle foresaw an end, and she roared at the top of her voice as she put full effort into one more slash, swiping so hard that she spun her whole body around.

    A high-pitched scream took over the ship as the Primarina’s armour was torn right off from the attack. It panicked and used Aqua Jet to escape, arcing through the air and slamming to the ground beside Charle from how hastily it used the attack. He was smiling cockily despite the obvious loss of his two elites, which kept Leos on edge.

    “Good. You didn’t let yourself die from that,” Charle, snickered. “Can’t you take on multiple opponents, though?”

    “We can, but we’re long distance attackers. The other soldiers should be fighting upfront while we attack from a distance, but they all ran off when you ordered them to,” the Primarina complained, huffing weakly.

    “Of course it’s my fault. Could you have expected these kids to be this problematic?” he said, shrugging. “I won’t waste time. You know what to do.”

    “Sir yes sir! Which star sign?” Primarina asked. Charle thought for a second, snickering again.

    “Go with Taurus. It’s fitting for Tapu Bulu’s presence,” he replied.

    “Watch your step. He’s going to try something,” Blossom warned, keeping guard over Leos. Prem and Griselle stood either side of him.

    “Hey, you there. Constellars. What position are you in with the religion?” Charle asked.

    “I’m not with them anymore. Don’t think of me as a Constellar,” Blossom replied. She gasped and started mimicking him. Leos took notice, realising that she was going to read his mind.

    “I-I was pretty high up, but I left, too,” Prem added. Charle started laughing.

    “Then let me show you something new. The newly discovered power that Constellars are capable of, moves granted to us by the star gods themselves,” he bragged, snapping his fingers. His sheathed his sword on back, widening their eyes. “Let’s go! I call upon the stars to grant me your blessing!”

    As he began his chant, both Charle and Primarina began to move in the exact same way in perfect sync with each other. They crossed their arms across their chests and then stretched them out in front, keeping them crossed. As they did, dark, glittery energy resembling the starry night sky began to surround them, resembling a fiery aura.

    “Guys, spread out!” Blossom screamed, her face pale with fright. Leos didn’t question her due to her appearance, glancing at the others to see where they were going before taking up defence in his own open spot.

    “Let darkness brew no longer. Give me full reign over the cold grasps of the suffocating outer space!” Charle continued, still posing. He and Primarina crouched and curled their arms around to draw a circle, and then stood tall to gesture horns coming from their heads. The aura around Charle flared up even more, and the Taurus star sign appeared in front of him for a brief moment.

    “What is this?” Leos whispered, choking on his last words. The spatial sphere that surrounded Charle before suddenly appeared in the centre of their group, only this time, it resembled some sort of three-dimensional portal that distorted the air. The dark space violently began to suck everything into it, even the two Primarina knights.

    “Your defeat is at hand! Black Hole Eclipse!” Charle shouted, now using his hands to control the black hole. It grew in size, making short work of sucking in Leos and his group despite them spreading out so far from each other.

    Leos couldn’t even begin to register what happened next. It was already cold out in the sky on top of the airship, but once he was drawn into the centre of that black hole, he felt like he was stuck in the middle of a frozen lake, or worse. It was so cold that he felt like the moisture in his body froze instantly, causing him to choke on his breath and his body to go stiff. It ached all over and every attempt to wrench in pain resulted in even more pain, burning from the inside of his body to steal every bit of energy his little breath had left to give him. Even his eyes stopped registering what was happening, replacing his sight with burning, bright colours that gave him unbearable spasms.

    Outside of the chaotic attack, Charle was laughing maniacally, even though both of his Primarina had been trapped inside as well. When he reached the peak of his laughter, he crossed both arms, gesturing the crushing of the black hole as if he had been cradling it in his arms. Right on cue, the black hole burst into a giant explosion of dark flames, glittering stars scattering across the grassy floor in the aftermath. Leos and his friends screamed at that climax, left hovering in the air for a moment before falling to the ground like lifeless dolls. Their bodies showed no visible damage, but the black flames lingered over them told of the attack’s success.

    “Hmm, figures that even the elite soldiers couldn’t resist the greatness of my attack. If they’re the best Faernia has to offer me, then it shows that no one can stand up to me,” Charle bragged, scratching his chin. He slowly approached Leos’ discarded body, snickering at it. “Master Lin was right, though. The hybrids are a great danger to all of Etheria. To think Rune and Ariala’s kid would go through all of this trouble just to stop Tapu Bulu.”

    He gave a sorrowful sigh and then raised his sword, preparing to stab Leos. “Goodbye, Leos, prince of nothing.”

    He stabbed downwards with all his might, finding himself stabbing into the grassy ground instead. Leos’ body had been pushed away somehow, causing him to gasp and look left and right. To the left, Blossom was barely holding herself up with one hand, her other hand using Psychic.

    “Whoa. You survived that?” Charle said, laughing. He raised his sword again, renewing the spatial sphere that surrounded him before. “But what good is it now? You kids are as good as dead. You couldn’t do anything useful now even if you tried.”

    “Blossom replied with a struggled breath, forcing herself to her feet. She thrust one arm at him, using Psychic again to no avail. Charle didn’t even budge.

    “You idiot. I’m dark type. Why not just do things the honourable way and accept your crimes with death?” Charle snickered, shrugging. “What more honourable a way to end your criminal lives with death delivered by the paws of the almighty Paladin Charle? I’ll be sure to make the tale of our battle a legend. At least Pokémon will remember you for making it this far.”

    Blossom didn’t reply again, instead thinking desperately for a way to get out of this right now. Without being able to damage Charle at all, as well as Tapu Bulu watching patiently behind him, she had very few options. One fact that popped up in her mind as she surveyed was that Leos and the others were each close to the edge of the ship. She glanced back at Charle, who was still talking about himself, and settled on her last-ditch plan.

    “Please for the love of the gods, survive!” she begged, using Psychic just three more times. She only had the strength to use blasts on her three friends, sending Leos, Prem, and Griselle right over the edge of the ship.

    “You little- you suicided them!” Charle cried. Blossom tried to ignore him and turned tail to jump off the ship herself, but her effort only brought Charle to just as much impatience. He didn’t hesitate to run right up to her and stabbed her in the back, pushing his sword until it pushed right through her body. She couldn’t even let out a scream, uttering a sound of agony before slumping forward. “I gave you a proposition, and you still said no? You terrorists are too much sometimes.”
     
  18. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    I'm a fair bit behind, trying to catch up. So far I've only got reviews for chapters 16 and 17. Here we go =)

    Chapter 16

    Well, I was NOT expecting that outcome. Yikes. If any character was going to be killed, I thought it would be Ptero at Mirror's claws. Not Diantha, and not by Tapu Koko either. I know that was a potential threat brought up earlier, but I'd kinda forgot until he showed up. Very unexpected, and a huge twist. Will she come back at all? I guess I'll have to wait and find out.

    Poor Rune. He's absolutely snapped. This doesn't bode well either.



    I think this should be 'they'?



    'absolute'

    Chapter 17

    Oh wow, Ptero and Galen were killed? I missed that! Was it Mirror or the explosion Tapu Koko caused when he killed Diantha?

    Dang, I loved both Ptero and Galen ='(

    I'm really not sure what Ariala is trying to accomplish letting her powers go off like that. I'm gonna guess 'faking her death', but I might be wrong.



    Missing 'you'



    I think you want to use 'inevitably'. 'Indefinite' means 'not definite'.
     
  19. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Apologies for the really long wait for the next part! I've been writing my Kanto Oneshot for the origins competition going on here. I'm not allowed to post it until the competition is done, but you can read it on my Wattpad if you're curious.
    Quite a few comments on lines that I need to alter and correct, following that review game that had been going on! As per usual, all of these suggestions have been noted and are ready to correct when I get round to rewriting this story.
    We're on the very edge of shifting into the story's final arc, so the setup in this part is important.

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

    Episode 24: The Second Country


    [​IMG]

    Leos sprung awake, sitting upright instantly. A nightmare caused him to move too quickly, and he ended up growling and wrenching from a horrible pain in his back.

    “Prince Leos!” Griselle cried, leaning over him as he slowly fell back down. He didn’t look at her, but he recognised her voice enough to know it was her. He also recognised the nightmare that caused him to shoot awake this way. It was the premonition he’d had when he entered the Constellar Church.

    It took him a while to settle his breath and open his eyes, seeing a worried Griselle still leaning over him. Her face brightened when he looked at her though, her sunny smile being a big relief to the darkness he’d just seen. He felt like he was lying on damp sand or something of the sort, and stretched to try and scratch the itches it was giving him.

    “Prince Leos, are you alright?” Griselle asked, helping to pull him up. The moment she touched him, the reality of his condition hit like a truck: he was at one percent right now, barely awake and functioning. It hurt to sit up, his vision was blurry and dizzying, his ears were muffled, his body ached from famine, and more. He could barely raise a hand or utter a sound to reply, instead falling forward onto all fours.

    Darn it, not now!” he cursed in his mind, gasping for life. He was so sore and fragile that it hurt to breathe. “I should be used to this by now but… if I don’t recover, I really will just pass out again!

    “I’m gonna take that as a big no no. B-but on the bright side, I know where we are! And Prem is safe, too!” she cheered. “We don’t have far to go. Prem, Leos is awake!”

    “Prem,” Leos managed to huff, spotting the colours of the Pikachu approach. No doubt Prem was beyond worried, but he didn’t say anything at all. He just put his hands together and stared, looking as though he was going to cry at any moment.

    “Can you stand?” Griselle asked again. She barely gave Leos a chance to try since he was still puffing and panting on all fours. Nodding to herself and her thoughts, she shifted over to him and hoisted him onto her back, letting Leos lean over her.

    “Gr-Griselle, what’re you d-doing?” Leos gasped.

    “You’re not gonna make it, so I’ll take you as far as I can. It’s really not far to the tents, so you won’t have to worry about me,” she said, smiling at him. With that she jogged off, forcing Prem to run on all fours to follow.

    Thankfully, the unusual act caused Leos to wake up a little bit. He was still fighting to stay awake, but he could at least see and hear properly now. Wherever they were, it was nothing like anything he had ever seen. Griselle led them out of a tight enclosure of uniquely shaped towers of rock and into the vast expanses of a desert, but they appeared to be near to the edge of that desert. Sand, dunes, and heat fluctuations were all he could see to one side, whilst their destination, a prairie, covered the other side.

    The more concerning thing about this place was that no one was around. Leos hadn’t seen a real desert before, but he knew of all the dangers and comforts that led some Pokémon to live in them. Why not a hint of life was in sight was concerning, but in his current state, he knew not to question it.

    “Griselle, what is this place?” Prem finally asked. Once they reached the grassland, the heat from the sunlight seemed to cool. That was probably more due to the fact that the sun was setting, however.

    “It’s a place called the Second Country. Grandma can explain it better,” she replied, huffing between sentences.

    Having not heard of it before, Leos gave a groan and squirmed in discomfort. A large collection of tents and structures resembling cheaply constructed treehouses soon came into sight, just as Griselle had hinted at earlier. No one was around still, but the existence of these tents lifted any worries he had as to whether Pokémon lived here or not.

    “Now where is everybody?” Griselle sung a little, stopping in the middle of them. Prem searched with her as if he knew the place, but soon gave her a perplexed look. She ignored him, running into one of the bigger tents at random. Nothing was there except for a few soft mats on the floor. She set him down on one and brushed her paws. “There we go! I guess everyone’s just out right now. I wonder what happened?”

    “Griselle,” Prem groaned, while Leos didn’t answer. He just sat there with his arms wrapped around himself, groaning slightly when his stomach growled.

    “Okay okay, I get it, too hungry to move and all that. I-I can try and find some fruit or something, but until the others show up, I can’t get a proper meal,” she stuttered, laughing nervously. Leos glared at her, and she started sweating. “I guess I’ll just go and find that! So stay right here, ‘kay? I’ll be right back.”

    Silence fell, as well as a neat, dim lighting that came through the cloth obscuring the tent’s entrance. Leos and Prem stared for a while until the latter sighed and sat down, a troubled look on his face. Leos ignored it for a while until he strained to sit back and try to relax.

    “Leos,” Prem said, struggling to look at his friend.

    “Prem. Really, where are we?” Leos asked, breathing aloud through his mouth.

    “I don’t know. Griselle just said this place is called the Second Country. She seemed pretty happy that we ended up here, too,” he replied, looking away. Leos went quiet.

    “We’re dead, aren’t we?” he eventually asked.

    “Wha-what? N-no, we’re not dead!”

    “We fell to Charle’s attack. I have no doubt he killed us!” he hissed.

    “No, we’re not! I know it doesn’t make sense that we’re alive, but I can just tell. It feels too real,” the Pikachu denied, shaking his head. “Besides, I refuse to accept that I’ve died without- without telling you I-”

    Leos turned to face him at that, straight faced and bothered by the wording. Seeing that, Prem hugged himself and turned away, hiding his face. “Prem. What’re we going to do?”

    “I- I don’t know, Leos,” Prem moaned, slumping forward.

    “I’ll tell you what we’re going to do,” he said, surprising the Pikachu. “We’re going to figure out where we are, get back to Eris, and stop Tapu Bulu. We’ll find out what the Tapu are up to and stop them, too. And once all of this is over, we’ll get some ice cream.”

    “Ice cream?” Prem said, sceptical.

    “Yes. We’ll talk about that over ice cream,” he repeated, nodding. “Over at the Luvdisc Lake. I still haven’t forgotten that you wanted to go there.”

    “Leos,” Prem moaned, going bright red.

    “Until then, please try to focus. If we’re alive, then we need to find out where we are and how to get back,” Leos growled, scrunching up his face. “I can’t have you getting distracted by feelings like this. Not now. We have too many important things to do.”

    “Isn’t talking about this important, too?” Prem said, hanging his head.

    “Only if your priorities are in the wrong place. I’m on the verge of starving to death while my two families are about to engage in war that will destroy the world. Your feelings can wait,” he stated. Prem moaned again. “Urf, listen. It really is because of that Rosie character, isn’t it? I can’t see why else you’re so fond of me.”

    “Rosie?”

    “Yes. That Mimikyu Constellar that was with Master Lin. She clearly has her whole life set on being with you. She even dressed herself in that Pikachu cloth to look like you. Yet still you’re here, dropping obvious implications that you have feelings for me,” he explained. Prem jolted around to face him and his face went completely red.

    “Waitwaitwait, that’s not what I- that’s-” Prem squeaked, shaking his hands.

    “C’mon, Prem. There’s no point in trying to style it out now. I’ve already seen how you’ve been reacting to Griselle,” he growled. Prem started breathing a little heavily, clutching his chest. He wouldn’t stop blushing, but forced himself to look at his friend.

    “She’s… she put me off girls. No, wait. I don’t know how to put this,” Prem mumbled. “She changed me, Leos. We go way back, but she inserted herself into my life. I was only nice to her for a short while, and she started obsessing over me. She wouldn’t even let me use a litterbox without following me and saying how much she liked me. Back then, I didn’t even like myself very much.”

    “I can see why that much affection would be off-putting,” he replied, rolling his eyes.

    “When I left the Constellars- no. That’s a story for another time,” Prem muttered, looking away. “Just know that she’s the reason I left the Constellars. And then I met you, and you’re kinder than any girl I’ve ever met. Or just, I feel like I understand you. I’m happy to do what I do best, which is following and helping you in any way I can.”

    “Listen to me, Prem,” Leos said, looking away. He went quiet, shuddering from pain.

    “Leos?” Prem replied.

    “Think about things more carefully. I’m the first royalty of both planets at once,” he stated. There was another moment of silence until he faced Prem, showing how serious he was. “If I was to have a husband rather than a wife, would the world be ready for that? When the world already struggles to accept our planets joining together?”

    “Oh,” Prem gasped. Leos looked away again.

    “I’m not declining you. I don’t actually care about romance. But think about how I might feel, as well as whether you’re ready to deal with it or not,” he added, shaking his head. “And talk to Griselle and Blossom, okay? They’re girls, but they’re not Rosie.”

    “Oh no, that’s fine. I’ve already made up my mind on that,” Prem replied, going back to blushing.

    Before he could continue, Griselle returned along with two other Pokémon, two Meowstic at first glance. Once Leos’ eyesight focused however, he realised that the male Meowstic was a combination of said species and a Dewott, sharing similar mismatched features to Griselle.

    “Wait, you’re?” he whispered, trying to stand.


    Later that evening…


    “That’s quite a story. I kinda can’t believe that you guys almost went up against Tapu Bulu,” Nier remarked, rubbing the back of her head. Griselle’s parents had sorted out food and tended to any pain Leos’ party had, and had just finished listening to their story up until now. Time seemed to fly as darkness had fallen over the world, but it only felt as though an hour had passed.

    “If you had battled him, you would definitely had died. The gods don’t spare those that oppose them,” Vincent added, scratching his chin. “About your waking up here in the Second Country. I fear we may be able to answer that,”

    “Good. I need to know where this is and how to get out of here,” Leos nodded, still stuffing his face with apples and berries.

    “You’re in the Second Country, the second planet in the world of Etheria. It’s located directly in the centre of Etheria’s central planet,” he said, getting up. “Follow me for a bit, please.”

    “In the centre?” Prem asked.

    “In some undocumented generation in ages past, Eris and Faernia were once one whole planet that floated high in the sky. That planet surrounded this one we’re on now, and shrouded it in eternal darkness,” Vincent explained. “Eventually we ended up with what we have now. This is the planet that was once in darkness. It came to be known as the Second Country, the second world discovered by the ancients.”

    “Whoa, cool. The more you know. I didn’t know you knew stuff like this, Papa!” Griselle giggled.

    “This isn’t ‘cool’. How do we get out of here?” Leos snapped.

    “Well I got outta here. I’m pretty certain we can do it again,” she giggled again, silencing him. He turned his attention to where they were going, trying to make connections to the story he had just been told. Clouds covered the sky almost completely, and in the small spots where there weren’t any, the night sky peeked through. However, this darkness wasn’t like the nights on Faernia. Not a single star was visible. It was pitch black, almost like the darkness had been digitally coloured in behind the clouds.

    There were a lot more treehouse tents than he realised, and each one had been individually constructed and so was different from another. They weren’t even put up in a coherent pattern, scattered across the prairie like an actual campsite the size of a village. Vincent weaved around them until he reached a particularly large one that had a strange, greenish-orange light coming from it, and held the cloth up to let everyone through.

    “Blossom!” Leos gasped immediately. Lying on a mat in the middle of the room was the Mime Jr., currently being tended to by a very small hedgehog Pokémon. Grass and tiny yellow flower buds sprouted from the Pokémon’s back, whilst pretty pink flowers grew from the sides of its cute face. Right now, the Pokémon was straining as it used Synthesis on Blossom, but it came to a stop when Leos shouted.

    “I had a feeling you’d know her. We found her with a fatal wound yesterday,” Nier said, letting Leos take over. Blossom had been bandaged around her stomach and wasn’t awake, but was breathing. “Shaymin, how’s her recovery?”

    There was no reply, so Leos looked over at the Pokémon he hadn’t seen before, assuming that was Shaymin. The tiny hedgehog stared right back, its face straight and saddened.

    “But why? Why is she severely injured, unlike the rest of us? What happened to her?” he asked, turning back to Blossom.

    “She had been stabbed right through her back. My guess is she managed to save you by throwing you all over the edge of the airship, but took a stab from Charle in the process,” Vincent said, scratching his chin again. “The thing that concerns me is the fact that your father didn’t lead you here. Did he even mention the Heaven Seal?”

    “Blossom had no reason to try and protect us like that,” Leos huffed, gritting his teeth. “How do you know my father?”

    “It’s only a plan that the lot of us set up. If you’re here and you’re trying to fight Tapu Bulu, then it’s only right that know full well what you’re getting yourself into,” Nier answered. “We’re Ariala’s old retainers. And you’ve obviously gotten to know our daughter, who we sent out to help you out.”

    “That’s right!” Griselle cheered, raising an arm. Leos spared her a glance.

    These must be Mother’s other retainers that Ida mentioned,” he thought to himself.

    “Please listen to our story. You know about the legend of Faernia and Eris, don’t you?” Vincent asked.

    “Which legend? There are quite a few,” Leos replied.

    “Of the hero that created the peace treaty,” Vincent clarified. Leos folded his arms, implying he was listening and interested. “Many generations ago, the two planets were at war. Dragons and fairies opposed each other for land, treasure, food, and other things. It was a worldwide war that raged seemingly without end, all until it threatened to destroy the world. The dragons planned to use a powerful tool called the Dragon Weapon which could have brought all to ruin, but a lone hero stood up and sacrificed themselves to prevent its use.”

    “Seeing the danger that the weapon posed, while having their attentions brought to the destruction that the war had already caused, the dragons and fairies stopped fighting. They made a peace treaty that would stop them from fighting ever again,” Nier finished. “That’s why your parents are who they are. They came together and had you as a sort of ‘renewal’ of the peace treaty. But when you were actually born- actually, a little before you were born, things changed.”

    “So that’s who I am. Just a little symbol of your peace treaty,” Leos sighed.

    “That hero from the past? That Pokémon was a hybrid,” Nier added. Leos’ eyes widened.

    “Whoa, so just like Griselle? Does that mean Griselle’s this generation’s hero?” Prem gasped in excitement.

    “No. It’s Leos,” Vincent corrected.

    “I’m not a hybrid, though,” he questioned.

    “You really couldn’t figure that out? Your father’s a Dewott and your mother’s a Clefable. Those two can’t breed, yet they had you,” Vincent smiled. “On top of that, even when interspecies breeding is involved, the female always takes precedence over the male. You should’ve been born a Cleffa, yet here you are an Oshawott. An Oshawott that should excel at magical powers.”

    “You do! You can do Constellar magic without even being a Constellar, Leos!” Prem cheered, bouncing with excitement. “And you’ve got that double-sided Razor Shell, too. You’re a hero, Leos! A living, breathing, hero of legend!”

    “A hybrid,” Leos whispered, staring at his hands. “It makes sense. I can’t prove it right now, but it’s certainly a point of interest to follow. My body struggles to fight for long, almost as if my genetic structure isn’t built for it. It’s mixed up between an Oshawott and a Cleffa, limiting my natural abilities.

    “When you met Prince Rune, he should have given you a special Master Seal called a Heaven Seal. You can use that to become strong enough to do what you need to do,” Vincent said, folding his arms. “He made you fight him and then refused to say anything. I wonder why?”

    “Well, what is it I’m supposed to do?” Leos asked, sounding desperate.

    “That’s enough,” Shaymin finally spoke up, revealing her high pitched, girly voice.

    “Grandma?” Griselle said.

    “Grandma?” Leos and Prem gasped.

    “That’s enough of this conversation. You’re not ready for the Heaven Seal. That’s why he didn’t give you it,” Shaymin stated. The tent fell to silence. “… Go on, leave. Go find yourself something to do.”

    “Wait, what? Are you serious?” Leos replied.

    “Shaymin is the Goddess here. I’m afraid her word is final,” Vincent said, unfurling his arms.

    “Then forget the Heaven Seal and this whole legend thing. I need to know how to get out of here and back to Eris,” Leos cried, shaking his head. Shaymin gave him a saddened glare, silencing him.

    “So you can do what, exactly?” she replied. “Listen, hybrid. I’ve been watching you for a long time. I’ve seen you fight. I’ve seen you react. I know what will become of you and your friends if you leave here now. Well, if they’re really your friends, that is.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Leos replied.

    “You’re a prideful jerk, you know that? You didn’t care about your friends until I challenged your relations with them,” she sighed. She cut Leos off before he could respond. “How about right now, huh? No interest in the state of your friend?”

    He stopped to give that some thought, realising that she meant Blossom. The Mime Jr. was still unconscious, thankfully showing no signs of discomfort. “She’s not a friend yet, though. She’s just my retainer.”

    “Just your retainer, huh,” Shaymin muttered, looking down. “Get out of my sight, all of you.”

    “Shaymin, I desperately need to-”

    “Didn’t you say you wanted to experiment with Griselle and the fact that she’s a hybrid? Why don’t you focus on that for a while!” Shaymin snapped.

    “How did you know I- urf, I did say that, but there’s more important things right now,” he groaned.

    “You’re not getting the Heaven Seal and you’re not getting out of the Second Country. That’s final,” Shaymin stated. Leos glared back at her, but her expression didn’t budge.

    “C’mon, Leos. There’s nothing left we can do,” Prem said, tapping him on the back. He growled and continued to glare as he stepped away, deciding to do as he was told.

    Minutes later, the group was gathered outside, surprised at how dark it had become. Vincent and Nier didn’t waste a second in directing Leos and his group to a tent they could sleep in, once again weaving in and out of the inconsistent layout of tents and treehouses to find one. It didn’t take long, and conveniently, there were mats and blankets already laid out inside the one they found.

    “Well this is a predicament,” Leos complained, sitting down and folding his arms. “We’re stuck here until we either figure out how to leave, or Shaymin decides to give us a pass.”

    “Y-yeah,” Prem mumbled.

    “Is something on your mind, Prem?” he snapped. The Pikachu flinched, shaking his head. “Hmm. She mentioned the way I treat my friends, but what could that possibly have to do with getting out of here, or a seal of evolution?

    “Grandma can be hard to figure out sometimes. She is a grandma, after all,” Griselle piped up, giggling about something. “It gets super dark and super light super quickly in the Second Country, ‘cos it’s such a small planet. I think it’s something like an hour for it to go between day and night?”

    “Two hours, hun,” Nier corrected.

    “Just two hours between day and night here?” Leos said, surprised. “That’s not long to sleep. I’m not even tired.”

    “Well yeah. That’s why everyone lives in these tents,” Nier smiled, putting her paws on her hips. “Here is basically paradise, you know. Nothing much fights, Pokémon share because we don’t have currency, and nature’s thriving. You could honestly just live down here no problem.”

    “It’s not like I have a choice in that matter right now,” he groaned, looking away. “Wait a minute. Nature is dying on Eris due to lack of support. It’s only on Faernia because of the Tapu. How is it here?”

    “Beats me. Just one of those miracles,” Nier replied.

    “Are there evolution springs?”

    “Loads! I could take you to one tomorrow, if you want,” Griselle proposed. Leos started rubbing his chin.

    Nature without aid of the Tapu, Pokémon that coexist in a civilisation without currency… and Mother’s missing retainers are here, have been living here for quite a while,” he thought hard. “Sounds like I have a lot of work to do. When the sun rises, I’ll get to work.

    “Er… see the thing is, Prince Leos,” Griselle said, twiddling her feet and hands. “I was wondering if you’d let me show you around tomorrow, anyway. Just the two of us.”

    “Just the two of us? You know your way around so I don’t see why not, but why just us two?” Leos asked. Prem started making squeaking noises, sweating and backing off.

    “There’s something I wanna talk about, of course,” she said with a smile.

    “If there’s something important to talk about, just say it now,” Leos replied.

    “Psh, no! It’s one of those things. Ya’know, those things, that has to be talked about alone. I-it’s about me being a hybrid and all, and it’s sorta embarrassing,” she cried.

    “I guess. Okay. Prem, I’m counting on you to—” he agreed, freezing at Prem’s surprised appearance. The Pikachu was leaned against the wall with teary eyes. “Erm, yeah. I’m counting on you to explore the other areas. If we only have two hours of daylight, we’ll report back here when it’s dark.”

    “O-okay Leos,” he moaned, slumping forward.

    “I’ll figure something out one way or another. We’re getting Eris before Tapu Bulu, and I don’t care how,” Leos announced, raising a fist. Vincent and Nier exchanged glances and then nodded, promptly leaving the tent.
     
  20. SGMijumaru

    SGMijumaru Competitive Mijumaru

    Between life and a few tournaments, things kept me super busy last week! I really tried to update here on time, but I just couldn't manage it. So here is the new chapter, anyway. Apologies for the wait!

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


    Episode 25: Awakening


    [​IMG]

    “This way, Leos!” Griselle sung, skipping far ahead of him. He refused to run after her, but he did walk faster than usual to try and keep up. He didn’t say anything either, paying too much attention to his deserted surroundings.

    After a rest in the tents, the strange time functions of the Second Country came true and light returned to the world. A few other Pokémon showed up, coming out of their tents as if it was a normal morning even though there was only two hours of night. On top of that, the sun rose fast, making Leos and Griselle eager to leave.

    As they traversed the desert away from the prairie and tents, Leos kept his eyes on the surroundings as his mind wandered. Prem clearly didn’t want him to go out with Griselle like this, but couldn’t work up the courage to outright say it. He felt that the Pikachu had been acting strange from since they woke up here, but without anything bad coming out of it, he had no reason to complain about it. Yet still it bothered him, almost distracting him from what he knew he should’ve been thinking about.

    “So, what do you actually wanna see?” Griselle asked, twirling to a stop. Leos slowed down, giving her a weirded-out look.

    “For someone walking across a desert, you have a lot of energy,” he remarked.

    “Eh, it’s not so bad. It’s not super-hot or anything. Plus, I’m really happy right now,” she giggled, slowing down to walk beside him.

    “Hmm. Well, everything’s up in the air right now. My only idea is that evolution spring. I want to see if I can find out how nature is growing down here,” he said. “I was under the impression that the Tapu were absolutely required for nature to function. But this place has nature even without their blessing. I’m curious how.”

    “Oh okay. Aren’t you gonna ask why I’m so happy?” she said, batting his eyes. Leos gave her another look. “Heh, c’mon Prince Leos! No need to be that closed up. We’re out to have a good time!”

    “Are we? I came out to try and find a way out of here,” he replied. “Oh yeah, you did say you wanted to talk about something. Now’s a good time.”

    “Huh, really? You’re quite literal,” she said, going back to leading the way. She was heading back to the tall towers of rock where he’d woken up yesterday, much to his confusion. “There’s a dungeon here, but there’s no Pokémon around except for a few Zubat. They know me, so they won’t bother us.”

    “That’s helpful,” he replied.

    “As for what I was gonna talk to you about,” she said, slowing down. “It’s a bit of a bad confession. You won’t get mad, will ya?”

    “Tell me some good news,” he sighed, making her laugh.

    “Okay then, I will!” she said cheerfully. She spun around to face him, and her cheeks flushed a bit. “I really like you, you know!”

    Leos didn’t reply, stopping with her. He barely reacted, slowly folding his arms. She responded to his silence with a cute pose, twiddling her feet and hands together. “Hey c’mon, I mean it you know! I’ve never had anyone treat the real me this well.”

    “What do you mean? Blossom and Prem have been treating you just fine. The Deliverance didn’t seem bothered by you being a hybrid, either,” he replied.

    “But you’re the only one that’s ever said they’re interested in me. And I’m like- Papa always said to cherish the Pokémon that like you. And I’m not a slow Pokémon either, so I’m ready to go in, if you know what I mean,” she rambled, leaning side to side. “C’mon. Let’s get you to that spring.”

    “Hold on, I’m losing you a bit. I said I’m interested, but only because I’ve never seen a hybrid Pokémon before,” he pointed out. “If it were up to me, we’d be in a lab and I’d be testing all sorts of reactions with you.”

    “That’s fine, too. Instead of a lab, we’ve got a little lake.” she said, slowing down again. In the middle of the towers, the shade darkened much of the area. They could still see all the exits as the place wasn’t exactly maze-like, but it was hard to see the ground around them. Leos took note of the how the sand felt wetter here than out in the desert, but that didn’t seem to bother Griselle. She searched the area a bit before stopping by a hole, pulling him over. “Down here. It looks dark, but there’s candles and stuff.”

    Leos examined the hole in caution. A rope ladder had been tied to the top of the hole by sturdy wooden pegs, which were stuck down via some sticky webbing. It clearly went down a long way and was jet black when looking straight down.

    Griselle nodded to him and then slid down first, urging him to set aside his concerns and follow. He climbed each step carefully, surprised to find the ladder wasn’t built for a Pokémon his or her height as the steps were so far apart. His heart jumped and he screamed when he reached the bottom as Griselle playfully hopped up to yank him down, making him fall on his backside.

    “Wow, you got scared!” she laughed, pointing at his surprised face.

    “G-Griselle!” he cried. He froze, surprised to be able to see her clearly. There really were candles down here, lighting up a long hallway littered with small mounds of sand. Strange markings covered the walls to the sides, whilst grains of sand trickled from the ceiling in various spots. “What is this place?”

    “We call them the Ruins of Origin. No idea why to be honest, but they’re super interesting. C’mon, I’ll show ya around! There’s something you’ve gotta see,” she called out, jogging away. He watched her for a moment, still surprised by how much energy she was showing. He had only been walking, yet even he felt like he needed to take a seat somewhere. It was almost embarrassing, being outdone by a Pokémon as fat as her.

    At first glance, there wasn’t much to these ruins that stood out. The markings were clearly decorative and served no deeper purpose, the Zubat Griselle mentioned could be spotted napping on the ceiling, and the sand covering the floor was uneven as they walked across it. Otherwise, it just felt like a long hallway; humid, quiet, and devoid of the excitement Griselle was showing. That was until about minute of walking brought them to a circular room with multiple exits. Some sort of ancient apparatus was sat in the centre of the room, with several iron bars holding a perfectly spherical ball.

    “Think you can figure this one out?” Griselle said, making way for him. He walked right up to it and stared at it from top to bottom. Two tall pillars made of stone blocks, where the iron bars jutted out of the stone to make a web of hands and claws to hold the ball in place. The ball was intriguing in appearance, with the top half black and the bottom half white. The top half had the design of chains across it.

    “What is this? Some kind of seal?” Leos said, trying to pull the ball out. It didn’t so much as budge, even when he growled and put effort into it. He clutched it with both hands and pulled as hard as he could, but the action proved fruitless. “It’s stuck tight. Whoever put this here clearly doesn’t want Pokémon taking it.”

    “I pulled it out once, but Papa put it right back. You’re smart, though! You could figure it out, right?” she said, bouncing eagerly.

    “I guess. I couldn’t figure it out here, though. Take it out for me, and we’ll bring it back,” he nodded. She cheered and then took a few steps back, bracing herself. Leos flinched when she charged at it, throwing her whole body into the ball to knock it out of place. She recoiled harshly and was winded from the hit, but the ball came free. “Are you okay?”

    “Y-yeah, j-just, ow,” she whined, rubbing her side. “That never doesn’t hurt.”

    “You’re crazy, you know that?” Leos sighed, shaking his head as he retrieved the ball. “What material even is this? It’s smooth like metal, but it’s so light.”

    “Ooh ooh ooh, and get this!” she piped up, snatching it from him. She tapped the button on it and flipped it around as she did so, pointing the button at Leos. He flinched again when a laser shot out of it, surrounding his body in warmth. The next thing he knew, he was travelling at high speed, getting sucked into some kind of void of darkness.

    “What? Griselle!” he screamed, searching left and right. He blinked a few times, finding himself in some kind of world of comfort. He had fallen on his backside, but the ground below him was softer than a cushion. The sky was what took his attention however, as it looked like a faded projection of the outside world had replaced it. He could see clouds, blue, and sunlight like it was a normal, beautiful skyline view, but the transparent image of a smiling Griselle and the sandy ruins around was melded into it. He could even hear her boastful snicker, sounding just as distant as he expected it to.

    “Okay, I’m gonna let you out now. Prepare to land!” she announced. His view turned away from her and faced the ruins floor, and then a light surrounded him just as suddenly as the one that had sucked him into this world. It pulled him out with comforting momentum, not hurting or feeling the slightest bit bothersome despite pulling him against his will. Seconds later, Leos was back in the outside world.

    “What was that?” he gasped, glancing left and right again. Nothing had changed. He had been sucked into a world via the ball, and then sent out with so much ease that he couldn’t believe it.

    “It’s called the Lock Ball. We don’t exactly know how it works or anything, but it can seal Pokémon inside and call them out at any time!” she explained. “Papa was sealed inside of it for the longest time. He left it down here because he doesn’t want anyone to mess with it.”

    “A ball that can seal Pokémon inside of it. And that world I entered within the ball… it was comforting, yet convenient, capable of seeing and hearing the outside world,” Leos muttered, taking the ball back. He cradled it obsessively, turning it in his hands. “This has got to be the most remarkable piece of technology I’ve ever witnessed. That something like this exists, again, outside the awareness of the Tapu!”

    Griselle didn’t say anything, so he looked up at her, and then gazed around at the rest of the ruins. “I’ve not been here for long, yet the Second Country has proven to be a wondrous world. Two hours per day and night, an abundance of nature – Griselle, you’ve got to show me the rest of this place!”

    “You’re excited to look around? I didn’t take you for much of an explorer, you know,” she giggled, directing him down one of the paths.

    “Experimenting doesn’t mean sitting in a lab or a room reading books all day. The best way to gain information is by doing, having your own experiences and trying things out,” he explained, fixated on the Lock Ball. “If the situation calls for it, I will gladly travel the world to discover and learn.”

    “And to do that, you’ll need to be strong, right?” she asked, going quiet. Leos slowed down as well.

    “Of course. Etheria is a dangerous place. And with Master Lin and Tapu Bulu doing what they’re doing now, I can’t even think about this,” he muttered.

    “Oh no no, that’s not what I meant! I’m here to help you, so like,” she cried, shaking her hands. She started walking beside him. “We’ll all help you, you know? We’ll get back to Faernia and all that, but when this war is over… we can travel together or something.”

    Leos looked up at her. “You can’t possibly mean what I think you mean.”

    “What do you think I mean?” she said with a giggle, walking backwards.

    “You’re starting to give me the same vibes as Prem. You gush out these little hints that you like me romantically,” he said. “The difference is, I’ve known Prem all my life. He’s practically a member of the family. I’ve known you since… er, not long at all.”

    “And? How long does it take for you to get a judgement?” she replied. He blinked, tilting his head. “You know, I’m either pretty enough for you, or I’m not your type. Which is it? ‘Cos you’re my type.”

    “I… don’t get that philosophy. I couldn’t possibly decide on a romantic partner after being with them for such a short space of time,” he said. “If you’re just trying to stay on my good side so that you can stay as my bodyguard, you don’t have to. I’ve seen your physical strength and determination. I trust you enough to be by my side.”

    “I’m not! I’ll do that anyway. You know like, Pokémon are either scared of me ‘cos I look really weird, or they don’t mind me. But you straight up said you’re interested, so,” she explained, twiddling a foot. “Maybe it’s the Oshawott in me talking, but I honestly think you’re pretty cute, and you’re trying really hard as the new prince. I can only look up to that, you know?”

    Leos didn’t reply, staring at her. His face was straight and unclear, making her nervous. “S-so which is it? Am I cute, too?”

    “I won’t make any comments,” he said.

    She puffed her cheeks at him. “Oh c’mon! You’ve got to think something. Can’t even give me a rating outta ten?”

    “You want me to rate you? That sounds horrible!”

    “It’s not horrible! Everyone does it, right?”

    “I couldn’t possibly apply a rating to someone, especially not based solely on their appearance. That’s all there is to it,” he stated. She whined at him and faced forward, finally giving up.

    The path they had been walking along didn’t change direction much, but Leos could tell that it was sloping down further into the planet. After a few minutes it finally turned into a steep slope that he could see himself slipping down if he wasn’t careful. Luckily there wasn’t much sand here so the ground was rough enough not to, but the darkening appearance of the whole area still slowed him down.

    “Down there is the Evolution Spring. Urf, I kinda wanted you to be on a high note when I told you this,” she mumbled, playing with her hands. She ignored his obvious question and jogged down the slope, urging him to follow.

    The Evolution Spring was a complete transformation from the Ruins of Origin. It was a shallow pond filled with luminous water that reflected off the rocky walls and ceiling, giving everything a humid, turquoise hue. In the centre of the lake was a glowing white Master Seal, an orb surrounded by strands of fluctuating light.

    “That’s the Heaven Seal. The thing that Shaymin didn’t want to give you. It’s been here the whole time,” Griselle said.

    “What?” Leos whispered.

    “The truth is, you’ve been knocked out for quite a few days, Leos. And I don’t mean Second Country days, I mean Etheria days. We woke up before you so I went to get help, and then Shaymin told us to keep it a secret from you,” she explained. “But me and Prem knew how upset you’d be. So I knew I’d lead you here when the time came, anyway.”

    “If I’ve been asleep for that long, then that means- and here you are trying to talk about silly little relationship fluff!” he shouted. “Tapu Bulu must’ve reached Eris ages ago! Gods know what’s happening up there.”

    “Shaymin wanted to test you. She said she knew what you would have to do to stop Tapu Bulu. The Heaven Seal will give you the power, but it won’t do anything if you have a low support level from your friends,” she continued. “I thought, maybe if you sincerely had a little time away, we could bond a bit and it might work for you or something.”

    Leos coughed, maintaining his anger with a shake of his hand. “You thought wrong, Griselle. I’m actually really mad right now. That’s what’s been bothering Prem, not this silly love stuff. While we’re faffing around here, Pokémon are dying left right and centre. And the power to prevent it all has been right here the whole time?”

    “Leos!” Griselle gasped, sticking a hand out. She couldn’t stop him from dashing off after the seal, watching in worry. The water went up to his head in height, so he wasn’t that fast and had to splash through to reach it. He didn’t seem to notice the oddity she spotted running towards him however, and her heart skipped a beat. Someone had leapt past her and was aiming for a critical hit on him. “Leos, look out!”

    “What?” he snapped, spinning around. His moment of blind anger sunk into shock and panic when he saw the situation he’d put himself in, that he was seconds away from being torn into by a claw that was twice his size. He could barely react with a sharp squeak, but thankfully for him, Griselle was ten steps ahead already. She threw her lance, having it lodge into the ground in between them both. This made the mysterious attacker’s claw hit the handle of the lance instead of Leos, letting him throw himself beneath the water to get away.

    He scrambled through the shallows, daring to look back after a moment. The Pokémon hadn’t followed him, letting him stand up and get full view of it. It was an Absol in a mask, with only one eye showing through the mask. One side was jet black, the other side white. It stood in front of Griselle’s lance, motionless and unfazed by its obstruction.

    “Whoa. Griselle, you saved me,” Leos whispered, staring at the Absol. “Wait, I know you. You’re in Father’s diary. Mirror, Princess Diantha’s murderer!”

    “Murderer?” Griselle shrieked.

    “I see. That’s the title I’ve been given,” Mirror replied. “Surely you’re more intelligent than that, young man?”

    Leos quivered, trying to keep calm. “Why are you here?”

    “To do what my species does. To enact what you and I have been destined to do,” he answered, still not moving at all. “You’re pushing forwards, yet you don’t have the qualifications. To do so guarantees death to us all, and you know it. Your father knows it. Your friends and the goddess of this land know it, as well. Yet here you are, defying them.”

    “That’s what I am. I defy what future Pokémon want to give me and make my own fate, based on the logic of my own experiences,” Leos replied, stretching one foot forward. “I know that Absol foretell disasters. But unless you outright tell Pokémon what you’re up to, it doesn’t excuse your actions.”

    Mirror remained still for a few moments. “Your determination is admirable, but it’s in the wrong place. I will have to redirect it by killing you.”

    “I’d like to see you try!” Leos coughed, flicking his scalchop into his right hand. His double-sided Razor Shell formed, and he posed with it.

    “Wait, Leos!” Griselle cried. “Let me help! I just need to get my lance back.”

    “Griselle, get away. This is my fight!” Leos called out, keeping his eyes on his enemy. Mirror didn’t move, so it was now obvious he was guarding the weapon.

    “Stuff that! I’m not gonna leave you here,”

    “You don’t have anything to do with this battle. Stay back!” he ordered.

    “Argh, don’t you get it you royal dolt?” she snapped at the top of her voice, leaning forward. “I love you. Prem loves you. Blossom and everyone else really like you, too! We’re not here to just do what we wanna do. We’re here ‘cos we’re your friends! Think about us for once!”

    Leos heard her loud and clear, but he couldn’t reply as Mirror finally attacked. The Absol twirled his head around to surround himself in dark waves of energy, firing it all forward a second later. Leos dove to avoid the Dark Pulse, swam to his feet, and then rose both hands to charge his Water Pulse. He threw it with all the force he could, but Mirror sliced it in two with an effortless slash of a single paw.

    “No, I’ve got to get him away from this so that I can get my lance,” Griselle whispered, having a lightbulb moment. “Leos, the Lock Ball! Use it!”

    “The Lock Ball?” he muttered, realising right away. He retracted his Razor Shell and revealed the ball, copying Griselle’s actions from earlier. Mirror seemed to recognise the potential danger and leapt into the air, avoiding the laser completely. Of course, this let Griselle run over and grab her lance, where she wasted no time in making herself the centre of attention.

    “You picked the wrong Pokémon to mess with. I’ll never let you kill Leos!” she shouted, readying her scalchop as a shield.

    “Griselle-”

    “Quit it, Leos! I’m not letting you fight this alone!” she shouted, not looking back at him. “This is my fight as well. Even if it’s just to protect you or to fight who you want me to fight. It’s my fight too, so I’ll stand to protect you any way I can!”

    He didn’t reply, staring at her with a gawk. “To want to protect me so much, even though I never once asked for it. Even though I never treated her like a friend, she’s putting her life on the line to protect me. Blossom did the same thing.

    Griselle and Mirror broke into a battle of their own, but the hybrid was struggling from the get-go. Her scalchop wasn’t big enough to block his Dark Pulse attack, and she was too slow in the water to dodge it. She braced herself behind her scalchop to resist two of them anyway, and then charged through the water with a war cry, thrusting her lance the moment she was in range. Mirror moved at the last moment he could, swiping the weapon aside with a single slash of his paw.

    Griselle and Blossom don’t really have any noble ties, either. They have no reason to put that much effort into kissing up to me,” Leos thought to himself, watching their battle intently. Now that Griselle was close to Mirror, he resorted to using Slash rather than Dark Pulse. Griselle was blocking each attack, but the size difference caused her to topple side to side with each hit. Despite the obvious pain taken from each hit, she stayed on her feet and struck back as hard as she could, never wavering.





    “Then forget the Heaven Seal and this whole legend thing. I need to know how to get out of here and back to Eris,” Leos cried, shaking his head. Shaymin gave him a saddened glare, silencing him.

    “So you can do what, exactly?” she replied. “Listen, hybrid. I’ve been watching you for a long time. I’ve seen you fight. I’ve seen you react. I know what will become of you and your friends if you leave here now. Well, if they’re really your friends, that is.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Leos replied.

    “You’re a prideful jerk, you know that? You didn’t care about your friends until I challenged your relations with them,” she sighed. She cut Leos off before he could respond. “How about right now, huh? No interest in the state of your friend?”

    Leos stopped to give that some thought, realising that she meant Blossom. The Mime Jr. was still unconscious, thankfully showing no signs of discomfort. “She’s not a friend yet, though. She’s just my retainer.”

    “Just your retainer, huh,” Shaymin muttered, looking down. “Get out of my sight, all of you.”





    Now that I think about it, what Griselle and Blossom have both said is visually sincere. Especially Griselle, right now. The way she gives her all in a fight like this, and thought of me when choosing to do so…

    All of a sudden Mirror leapt backwards, landing back by the entrance to the spring. Griselle gasped but didn’t give chase, staying wary for what he was going to try. To her and Leos’ surprise, he simply turned and started walking away, leaving not a hint of any additional aggression.

    “What? Where are you going?” Leos gasped. He stopped and glanced back after a moment, his single eye piercing right through Leos’ calm stance.

    “My work here is done for the time being. I’ve no reason to continue fighting you for now,” he replied. “No one came to harm during your realisation right now. Keep those thoughts safe, and we might not ever have a real battle.”

    “So much for trying to kill me,” Leos muttered. “Why can’t you just explain yourself? What is it you’re really up to?”

    “Remember this: when the time comes to search for the final Shadow Partition, find me in the temple of the shadow’s first descent. There, we will decide this world’s fate,” he said, walking off.

    “You’re really gonna leave after all that? After leaving a scary message like that?” Griselle shouted. Mirror ignored her, walking back up the slope until he was out of sight. Even when he was gone, the duo waited for a few moments in silence before moving.

    “Griselle,” Leos said, wading over to her. “I’ve made a serious error in my thinking, and just now, I’ve realised something I should’ve been doing. For now, thanks so much for standing up for me there.”

    “Leos!” she squeaked at the top of her voice, jumping on top of him.

    “G-Griselle?” he cried, backing off in surprise. He ended up catching her, holding her up for a brief moment. Their eyes met and he blushed, but her weight quickly got the better of him, and he began to stumble backwards. “G-get off m-me- Griselle, I’m gonna-”

    [​IMG]

    He didn’t get to finish, falling right back into the water. She sat on top of him, giggling uncontrollably the whole time. “What is wrong with you? Get off me already!”

    “Na-uh. I like it here,” she said, batting her eyes at him. He growled at her and wiggled under her weight, attempting to push her off with his hands. It was only when he looked up at her face that he realised exactly what position they were in, and he slowed down to stare. She didn’t feel heavy right now, but she still pinned him to the spot by sitting on his waist. His mind wandered from the cheeky smile of her face to her other features, like how soft she felt, or how happy she earnestly looked. He could feel his face began to heat up, so he leaned back to hide his head underwater and retracted his hands.

    “Griselle, seriously! Please get off me!” he shouted from beneath.

    “Aw fine,” she whined, hopping off.

    He stood up and brushed himself off, making sure to face away from her. “Geez, right after I said something nice for once. What is wrong with you?”

    “You thanked me! Someone actually thanked me, and that made me really happy!” she cheered, skipping around to face him. He kept turning away, rubbing his face to try and erase the blush.

    “For real? Forget it. You’re so weird,” he said, getting a hold of himself to face her. “Look, I thought wrongly of you and the others. That’s all.”

    “Whatever you say, my prince,” she giggled. He groaned and rubbed his face, searching the room for the Heaven Seal they had left. It was still in the middle of the room, floating on top of the water.

    “It’s untouched. Mirror could’ve destroyed it or something, but he left it behind,” he said, approaching it.

    “Are you going to try and use it?” she asked.

    “Of course. My main aims still stand that I really need to get to Eris and stop the Tapu. It’s just this time, I,” he said, turning back to her. “I’m asking you for help. And I’m not going to force you to-”

    “You already know the answer, silly! C’mon, I just confessed to you. Why wouldn’t I say yes?” she replied, bouncing.

    Leos breathed out and smiled at her. “Thanks, Griselle. You’re right. Let’s try the Heaven Seal.”
     

Share This Page