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It's Not Always Black and White

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by UncleKAKAA, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Prologue
    N's Castle: Ghetsis

    Ghetsis watched as Bronius dragged Serperior before him. Crimson blood traced behind it, glinting in the flickering candlelight. He placed the serpent's slumped body with feigned tenderness in front of a young N, then fled the room. The small boy whimpered, tears coating his cheeks as he stroked the Pokemon's head and stared into its dull eyes.

    Ghetsis circled behind him, footfalls echoing against the marble flooring. He could smell the animal's blood, sharp and metallic. Good. That meant N could, as well.

    "Do you see, my son?" Ghetsis whispered, leaning into N's ear. "This is what humans do to Pokemon. They are venomous. They are malicious!"

    He knelt beside the boy, laying his one good hand atop the Serperior's stiff, cold skin. His other arm crusted over with a black like charcoal. It throbbed in tune with his heart. Calling his name. Taunting him. Oh, those who'd done that to him would pay. And N was the key to his vengeance.

    "You are not like them, N," Ghetsis said. "You understand Pokemon. In time, you will free them. You will be the herald to save these poor, little creatures."

    "I can't hear its voice, father," N whispered. "Why can't I hear its voice?"

    Ghetsis placed a hand atop N's head. His hair, greenish like Ghetsis' - though he wasn't N's biological father - was soft to the touch. No. Ghetsis would never have a son like this monster, this inhuman, who could supposedly speak to Pokemon.

    "It has died, my son," Ghetsis said. "Do you see the wounds along its body? It is what humans do."

    Ghetsis, of course, had killed the creature himself.

    "This is horrible," said the boy, choking on his tears.

    "Yes. Yes, it is."

    "We have to do something, father. We have to."

    Ghetsis turned, folding his hands behind his back, fingering the dead skin of his right hand. He could feel the edges of his lips slowly creeping upward.

    "In time, my son," he said. "In time."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter One:
    Castelia City: King

    "Obnoxious kid. I'll crush that foolish pride, right along with that Charizard of yours!"

    King leaned forward in his office chair. His cubicle enclosed the space around him, gray like the slate-colored walls of a prison.

    He turned his attention back to the crystal-clear computer screen, idly tapping at a miniature Pokeball model he had beside his keyboard.

    "I've battled gym leaders and countless other trainers up until now," Red thought, his high-pitched voice trailing up through King's headphones. "I've seen how they care for and love their Pokemon! These badges here are proof that I understand how the gym leaders feel!"

    King hit the space bar with a click, pausing the video, then snickered into his elbow. Seriously? Red expected to win because he loved his Pokemon? What a bunch of garbage.

    This TV show is horrible, he thought, shaking his head. He'll never win, especially not against Giovanni's Rhydon. What a severe type-disadvantage right there. One stone edge is all it takes.

    He glanced over his shoulder, checking to see if Terrance, his boss, had come around to check on him yet. King sniffed, still smelling donuts on the air. Terrance and the others were still busy chowing down, no doubt.

    He clicked the video back on.

    "I won't lose to you!" Red shouted. "Not to a person like you!"

    Yeah, yeah. Let's see the battle already.

    Red and Giovanni both sent out their Pokemon, Charizard, and Rhydon; then, they called out the same move: Mega Punch. What kind of tactical strategy was that? Red wasn't even attempting to play to Charizard's strengths, like utilizing the fact that it could fly. Lazy bastard.

    The two Pokemon collided. King upped his volume.

    "Use Mega Kick!" Yelled Red.

    "Fury Attack!" Giovanni called back.

    Charizard flew backward, cracking into the wall behind it with a crash. Rhydon charged with a Horn-Drill. King leaned even farther forward.

    And a sudden Seismic-Toss from a recuperated Charizard then ended the battle.

    King let out a breath he'd been holding and finally sank back, the soft backrest of his chair pressing against his shoulders. Red had pulled out another miraculous win, of course. King understood the need for a passionate battle with showy explosions of dust, ideals between Pokemon trainers on the line, but, in actuality, that was hardly how it ever happened. The writers could have, at the very least, added some semblance of tactical-

    Someone rapped at his shoulder. King blinked, pulling out his headphones. The steady patter of rain against the office's glass windows flooded into his ears, along with the distant howling of the wind. King didn't have to turn around to know who loomed behind him; he already smelled that nauseating cologne.

    He sighed, then glanced over his shoulder anyway.

    Terrance was a heavy-set man who consistently managed to appear as though he was a Cheri berry about to pop. His signature Pidove perched atop his left shoulder, oblivious, as it licked it's wings, to how much Terrance leaned forward in an attempt to look imposing. It didn't work: that particular physiological effect of invading someone's personal space became rather ineffective when they knew you were doing it.

    "My office," Terrance said, dropping his voice a pitch lower than what it usually was. His Pidove chirped. "Now."

    He turned on his heel and strode off, leaving King glad he could breathe through his nose again, what with that smell gone.

    He rubbed his eyes, tiredness burning at their edges. He'd been up late again considering how a pre-evolution Pokemon might go about beating one two stages higher than itself, like a Charmander attempting to win against a Charizard. Whether that was possible or not, of course, depended on the intellect and determination of the trainer controlling it.

    Rolling a shoulder, King stood and pressed the power button on his monitor, then on his desktop, watching the monitor screen flick to black as he shut everything off. He pocketed the miniature Pokeball he'd been rolling around in his hand, then followed after Terrance.

    He turned out of his cubicle. The office was quiet; only the monotonous hum of a few computers, along with the clicking of keys, sounded over the ceaseless rain. Most people were in the glass-walled conference room to his right, eating donuts. Pokemon scampered all about in there, and people tilted their heads back with laughter. He couldn't hear them through the walls, even with the door creaked open a bit, which was how he'd smelled the donuts earlier. None of them were working, yes, but Terrance enjoyed singling him out because King was smarter, and didn't come prancing over as soon as called.

    King adjusted his collar and tie, then started walking, putting his hands in his pockets. The office heat soaked through his undershirt like water through a thin cloth. Terrance was too cheap to allow the air-conditioners to be turned on, even during the middle of Summer.

    Continuing on, he passed empty cubicle after empty cubicle. The majority of people who worked for the Battle Company would be down a few floors, battling one another for research purposes. King had no Pokemon to do that, of course.

    Just before the door to Terrance's office, he stopped. Up above him, in the corner between two of the whitewashed walls, a flat-screen TV hung, where a pretty woman with auburn hair relayed the latest news. Apparently, the government was sponsoring a tournament for new trainers. King had heard the number of them who actively battled was at an all-time low; no doubt, this tournament's purpose would be to promote Pokemon battling. The strength of the economy, after all, depended on the sale of such items as Pokeballs and Potions. More trainers meant more of those things would sell, thus boosting the economy.

    King stared at the program for a prolonged moment before stepping into his boss's office. The reek of his cologne stained the whole room.

    Terrance folded his hands atop his desk; his bulbous face creased by a deep frown.

    "What took you so long?" He demanded.

    King shrugged. "Interesting thing on the television outside."

    "You watch your attitude, Mr. Parkman," Terrance said, wagging a meaty finger in King's direction. He flicked his head toward the chair opposite himself, obviously more bland in style than his own. "Sit."

    King did so. Terrance's Pidove, still on his shoulder, cocked its head at King.

    "Do you know why I called you into my office, Mr. King Parkman?"

    King cleared his throat. "I can imagine why. Listen, Terrance, I understand you're trying to promote a sense of community and all that with inviting everyone into the conference room, assembling them around food. Ostensibly, This meeting is because I'm not working, but the others have been allowed to break from working. So I can only assume the actual reason you've called me in here, is because you're upset I don't take part in these 'generous givings' of yours. That I'm not so easy to coax as some of the others."

    Impossibly, Terrance's face flushed even redder than it already had been. Maybe he actually would pop.

    "You think you know everything, don't you, Mr. King Parkman?" He spat, shoving a finger down onto the table. "I'm your boss, kid; you aren't mine!"

    "Referencing my age now, eh, Terrance? That's a pretty poor attempt at trying to look superior. I'll tell you a little something about leadership, though. You don't get people to listen to what you're saying by stating, 'I'm da boss.' Or, as a matter of fact, by giving them donuts."

    "That right?" Terrance roared, snapping to a stand. His Pidove took to the air above him, chirping loudly. The office outside had gone still; he could almost hear the bated breaths of those outside.

    "Why aren't you in my position then?" Terrance said.

    King shrugged again. "I have no desire to be in that position."

    "Why you little…" Terrance rounded the desk, nostrils flaring as he came to stand over King. "Listen to-"

    "Watch out. This behavior isn't very fitting of-"

    "Mr. Park-"

    "Step back, Terrance. That little trick of yours doesn't work on me."

    He did so, but his fists had begun to clench and unclench, clench and unclench. King smirked up at him, folding his hands in his lap.

    "Get out," Terrance whispered.

    King frowned. "What?"

    "Get out!" He screamed, pointing to the door. "Grab your things and go! I'm firing you!"

    "Hold on; you can't-"

    "GET OUT!"

    King froze. He could hear only the chirping Pidove, like a blaring alarm, and Terrance's labored breathing. A thick tension, almost palpable, settled in the office, weighing on King's shoulders. Suddenly a sour taste permeated out from the corners of his mouth. He'd done it again, hadn't he? He'd gotten fired from another job.

    King fled. Outside, the others scowled and glared at him. He disregarded them with a sneer and strode from the building, toward the elevator, where he clicked one of the buttons and descended to the lobby. The receptionist said nothing to him, and he said nothing to her as the glass door exiting the building opened for him as if kicking him out. Moist air rushed over him as he stepped into the rain descending from a dark, starless sky.

    The door slid shut behind him. The skyscrapers of Castelia City rose around him like judgmental spires. He looked straight up, letting the storm batter his face as the wind whipped about his soaked attire. Even the streetlights and illuminated windows of buildings couldn't do anything to expel the darkness.

    He turned, grasping the miniature Pokeball in one hand, and left the Battle Company building behind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  2. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Two:
    N's Castle: N
    N would be a king.

    Not one like those who had ruled over people and lands alike in the first days of Unova, but different. A symbol, instead. Commanding over others had never been, nor ever would be his goal. His golden scepter would be like the wand he used to restructure society into a place where beautiful Pokemon didn't become exploited for entertainment and labor. The crown that would rest on his head would be the representation of that ideal. People and Pokemon alike would look at it and smile.

    His father Ghetsis carried that crown into the throne room, boots clanking on the floor. The golden headpiece glinted in the light of the chandeliers, which cast a halo down on N and his seven sages, who flanked either side of the raised dais he stood on.

    N grinned. He loved and admired his father, perhaps more than he did anyone else. Ghetsis was a kind, selfless person; N had seen it. He'd gone out of his way to show N the horrors of the outside world. Without him, N wouldn't be anything. He'd never of had the opportunity to show the world the error of its ways, and free Pokemon so they could live in happiness, as all living things deserved.

    Ghetsis stepped on to the dais. He returned N's smile as he came to stand in front of him.

    "My son," he whispered. "I am so proud of you."

    N beamed. "Thank you, father."

    "Are you prepared for this burden? Are you prepared to lead the world into a new age?"

    "Yes, father. I am."

    N bowed his head, and Ghetsis slid the crowd in place over his forehead. It was cold against his skin. Ghetsis pulled his arms back, but not before N saw the charred skin of his right arm, as black as a Zorua's fur. He had never told N how that had happened, despite the many times he'd asked.

    Ghetsis backed away, leaving N to stand alone. Cheers and claps erupted from the seven sages, their robes swaying and their necklaces catching the light. In the distant corner of the room, his sisters, Anthea and Concordia, both paragons of beauty and kindness, smiled at him and clapped softly.

    Freeing Pokemon was the sole reason he'd been born into the world. He spoke to them; he heard their voices when no one else could. He would take all of their pleas and cries for salvation upon himself.

    Once the sages had quieted down, his father ushered them from the room, speaking in hushed tones that didn't carry quite so far in the throne room that he could hear what they said. They would all return to their various duties in the castle, which had once belonged to ruler-kings. Ghetsis had long since appropriated it for them.

    He stepped down onto the floor. It glistened enough that, when he looked down, he could see his reflection in the tiled marble. The crown fit snuggly over his pulled-back green hair. This really is my purpose.

    Anthea and Concordia stepped in front of him. He looked up and smiled.

    "Congratulations, N," Anthea said. "We're so proud of the man you've become."

    "I am who I am because of you both and father," he said, shaking his head.

    Concordia came to stand behind him, laying a soft hand on his shoulder. The three of them hadn't ever had a mother, but Concordia had dutifully taken that job upon herself, as the oldest.

    "Come now," she said. "How about I fetch you something to eat?"

    He frowned. "Why? Father said we were to travel to Accumula Town.

    "Come, come," she said, hustling him out of the room. Anthea followed at their side. "A little bite to eat before you go will only help."

    He sighed but found that his smile hadn't disappeared in the slightest. "Alright, Concordia. But only if you two eat with me."

    They chuckled in response and agreed.

    This day marks the start of everything, he thought. Soon the world will be a better place than it ever has been before.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  3. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Three:
    Castelia City: King
    King stepped up to his apartment building. Sunlight reflected against its many windows; the rain had since passed, but not before it'd soaked King down to his very bones. His clothes, intent on staying plastered to his skin, were damp and soggy, especially around the shoulders.

    He searched the face of the building with heavy eyes. He could almost pick out the windows of his room, apartment fifteen-fourteen, among all the others. After dealing with air-head Terrance, sinking into his bed was exactly what he needed. Maybe a few beers to get him relaxed, as well, even though he wasn't yet twenty-one, but twenty. Close enough. His level of maturity went way beyond where he needed regulation on what he did and didn't drink. He understood the law, of course, but he wasn't going to follow it.

    King stepped forward, letting the glass doors of the apartment complex slide open before he headed into the lobby. In terms of layout, the building was much the same as the Battle Company. Castelia City could do with some variety. People and Pokemon bustled about here, filling the room with their noise, blocking his way to the hallway elevator at the far left. He pushed past them, ignoring some dirty looks he got from a select few who didn't enjoy getting thrown off-kilter a little bit. He didn't care much: he had other things to think about.

    Turning down the hallway, he went a little ways before stopping at the elevators. He tapped the up button on one of them, watching as it alighted with a soft yellow glow in response to his touch. Yes. Other things to think about. Like the fact that he hadn't paid his rent in… a long time.

    There weren't many other options now other than getting evicted. Already, Samantha, his landlord, had warned him that it would happen if he continued not to make monthly payments to her. No more beer then. But he didn't have the money to pay it, especially now that he'd gotten himself fired. Again. He'd have hell to pay, once Samantha heard of that.

    The elevator doors slid open. Someone strode out, a Munchlax - that was rare in Unova - trailing at her heels. In terms of usefulness, Munchlax didn't have much going for it, but Snorlax had the potential to be a battlefield asset if used right. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts, and took their place inside the elevator. He tapped the button for floor fifteen; the doors shut, and the elevator jolted upward. Bland music jingled out from the speakers.

    King happened to be a firm believer that no matter what situation, anyone could get out of it if they were rational and intelligent enough. Most people, of course, that didn't pertain to, due to laziness or other factors like not being smart in the first place. For him, however, that would apply to convincing Samantha into giving him more time. She'd probably be waiting outside his door. He would own up to what he had done, then figure out some plan to get the payments to her before she kicked him out.

    The elevator came to a stop, then reopened.

    He sighed immediately. In front of him, in the hallway, stood Stephanie: an uptight woman in a business suit. King noted she looked particularly rat-like today. He'd never liked her - and not solely because she had an uncanny knack for tracking him down - but because she regularly ran around huffing and puffing with anger. Was it so hard to control your emotions instead of letting them take command over you? Like they were the driver and she the car.

    The doors began to slide shut when he didn't step out, but she strode forward and jammed her foot between it, then pried it open with hands which had the nails painted pink.

    She glared at him. "Get out here."

    He blinked and did so, moving past her. Well, here we go. I'm dealing with a lot of these people today, it seems.

    She whirled on him. "Oho, I've been waiting for you, King. Mr. Fired-from-his-job."

    "What?" He said, eyebrows knitting together. "How the hell do you know about that already?"

    She nodded slowly, confidently. "Oh, yes. Remember Tracey? No, you probably don't, always cooped up in your own head. She works at the Battle Company. Told me all about your little antics, King. I just got done reading her texts!"

    He tsked. Damn.

    He'd forgotten all about Tracey. He should have paid more attention to who his colleagues were and their connections. He would have foreseen this happening and planned accordingly. Any situation could be overcome with enough intelligence, yes, but this was a slip-up on his part.

    "Do you remember the eviction notice I gave you?" She went on, pointing a finger at him. "Well, you've done nothing to prevent being kicked out, so-"

    "Listen, Stephanie, just listen for a moment, would you?" He interrupted. "Sort through those memories of yours to where I had a stable job. I've been a tenant for three years, Stephanie, three long years. You're upset. Right. I'm not in the right here, believe me; I'll admit that, but I will get another job, and when I do, guess what? You'll have money coming out your ass, so fast you won't know what to do with it."

    "No." She shook her head. "No, I don't believe a single word, Parkman. I'm evicting you, and that is that. I don't want to take this to court, but I'm terminating your lease. If you're not out in a month, to court we go, so get whatever you have in there and. Get. It. Out!"

    "Hold-"

    "End of discussion! You've got a tongue like a Seviper! Better to rent that room to someone who will pay!" She stormed off, heels clicking.

    He sighed. So much for using intellect to prolong his stay in the apartment. He supposed that sometimes, especially when the other person became fueled with emotion, that there wasn't anything you could do. Because of that, in thirty days, he would be homeless.

    He took in a deep breath, then exhaled it in one go. Everything had come crashing down around him in a single day; that brittle foundation he'd managed to build with so much time and effort. Should have planned for this. Should have done something…

    He shoved his hands in his pockets and started down the narrow hall; its walls painted a cerulean color. There was nothing to do now except keep trudging forward. He'd think of something. He always did.

    The door to his room loomed in front of him. The keys he'd had in his pocket jingled as he pulled them out. He stuck it in the lock, turned it, and the door clicked and crept open.

    Posters of various Pokemon battles lined the walls. King looked about, shutting the door behind him. Rays of sunlight trickled in from the window at the far wall, splaying out on the clean wooden floor and folded blankets tucked into the corners of his couch. The room still smelled of the breakfast he'd cooked that morning: pancakes. But that wasn't right. How could the smell have lingered for hours?

    He threw his keys on to a table by the door. They landed with a clatter as he moved into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, cold air smacking him in the face.

    Gone. Food like that was a luxury at this point, but no sign of the pancakes remained.

    Did someone really break into my apartment just to steal pancakes? Really. How pathetic is that?

    Calmly, he stepped out from the kitchen and into the living room. The possibility remained that they were still in the apartment, whoever it was that had stooped that low. But if someone had broken in…

    To his right, beside the couch, the door to his bedroom lay opened. The slit from which he could see through showed nothing but inky blackness.

    He approached, placing a palm on the wooden face of the door and pushing. It creaked with a low groan. He reached inside, peering inward, and flicked on the light-switch.

    A man stood at the foot of his bed.

    King jolted into motion, darting back into the kitchen, shoes scraping against the wooden floor. He threw open a drawer with a bang. Knife. Where's the knife?

    The man came out of the bedroom. King whipped his head up, knife held in one hand, jaw clenched. He froze.

    Wispy red hair. Brown eyes. Gray undershirt, with a black tie and pants. He looked… he was looking at himself.

    Wait! A voice echoed in his head. I… come in peace!

    The form dissolved into light, and in an instant, King stared at a small Zorua with a sheepish grin on its face.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  4. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Four:
    Accumula Town: N
    "You must see! This world requires change!"

    People stopped and stared at N, where he stood atop the swaying grass of Accumula's town square. A real town, with buildings everywhere that stretched upward from the ground, people chatting and laughing in the paved streets between them. The palace would dwarf most of the structures, but even so, this was a place where real people lived. The smells of soil and fabric rose into the air, and no matter where in the town he had gone, always he heard the sound of conversation. N found himself loving it.

    But one thing he did not like. A storm cloud that hung over the town. And that was the Pokemon forced to live here against their will. Accumula Town was a place for people, not for the poor creatures. He refused to believe they lived in harmony.

    "The Pokemon," N continued, gesturing with his arms out before himself, inviting people to come and listen to his words. "Are suffering! You must open your eyes and be witness to this truth! I hear their voices, they cry to me and tell me of their troubles, yet we continue to constrain them in devices and work them until their bones can labor no longer! All because we are lazy!"

    The wind whipped at N's hair, warming one side of his face. A small crowd of people gathered in front of him. He heard their mumbles and saw their faces furrowed in confusion, but he continued to go on. Often, the truth was hard to swallow.

    "They are suffering," he said, softening his voice now that they had accumulated. "But I believe change can occur. I believe in the people. Pokemon deserve so much better than what we give them."

    Beside him, Ghetsis frowned. N's heart tightened in his chest. Had he said something that his father didn't like?

    He went on. "I ask you to consider my words, and then ask something of yourselves: is our relationship with Pokemon truly that at all, or is it merely a selfish use of their kind nature for our gain?"

    N lowered his hands, as Ghetsis had told him to do, which would signal to the crowd that he had finished speaking. Some frowned, and yet others laughed as they departed away from him to continue their daily tasks.

    N clenched his jaw, watching them go in frustration, but the feeling changed when he turned to speak to Ghetsis. What had N said wrong? Why didn't the people look like they were considering his words?

    His father motioned to a nearby bench. N sat eagerly, feeling the solid wood press underneath his shoulder-blades. Ghetsis, with a flourish of his magnificent robe, sat beside him.

    "Why didn't they listen to me, father?" N blurted out. "I appealed to their emotions."

    "You did, my son," Ghetsis said, leaning forward. The edges of his lips turned slightly downward, not quite a frown, but in the way that happened whenever he was displeased. "But do not say you believe in humans. They are evil creatures. They can be made to see, my son, but you must not grow to believe they are good. Do you understand me?"

    "I… I do, father."

    He patted N's knee with his scarred hand, then leaned back in satisfaction. "Good. You listen to me, and the world will be a better place for it. My son, you must be the one to preach to the populace. You are the only one fit to do so. Your ability to speak to Pokemon is proof of that."

    N shifted. "But they didn't seem to be listening to me, father. Please don't mistake me, I don't doubt your wisdom, but most of them simply laughed as if what I was saying was completely nonsensical."

    "They gathered around you. That is enough, for now. You have planted the seed of doubt, and they will begin to talk."

    N smiled, content with that. Ghetsis always knew what was best, and knew more than anyone how the world worked. N trusted his judgment completely.

    One of the Seven Sages, who had been waiting nearby, removed from the speech, came to Ghetsis and whispered in his ear. N couldn't hear what they said, but he didn't have any desire to listen. His father's business was his own.

    Ghetsis stood suddenly. When N moved to follow, he laid a hand on his shoulder.

    "I'll be leaving for now," Ghetsis said. "Explore the town. See what humans are. I will come to get you later."

    N opened his mouth to protest, but his father left with the Sages before he had a chance to speak to him. I may as well make the best of it. There is so much I've never seen before like a whole new world spread out before me.

    He stepped down from the town square. Above, thin, wispy clouds trailed along the blue sky, pulled by the constant wind. He admired their beauty, common as clouds and blue skies might be.

    He started down the narrow street, flanked on both sides by buildings. He wasn't alone, of course, not in a town; most people walked along the sidewalk with him, enjoying the warmth of the sun, and a car only passed now and again. Trees seemed to sprout wherever they were allowed purchase, their branches like fingers reaching up toward the sun.

    The sound of a jingling bell pulled his attention to the side. It came from a pink-colored building next to the street, with round, umbrellaed tables out in front where people ate and drank, laughed and talked. The smell of pastries spilled out of the glass doorway. The tiny, golden bell attached to its rim sounded each time someone entered.

    N found his legs moving in that direction, almost is if the enticing smells were a rope pulling them along. Accidentally, he bumped into someone near the doorway. N apologized first, then went inside.

    A counter ran along the far wall, which a large man with hairy arms wiped down with a rag. Stools lined the other side, where people sat hunched over food and drink. To N's left, right below the windows, were caramel-colored tables and booths, sunlight splaying down atop them. Some sat there, as well. N wondered why someone would choose to sit at the counter when they could relax beside the windows, watching the sky and the town.

    "Hey, kid, you gonna answer me?"

    He blinked. The burly man behind the counter had stopped cleaning to look at him.

    "Oh, I'm sorry," N said, "What did you say?"

    "What'll it be?"

    "What will what be?"

    The man frowned. "Your order?"

    Oh! He's asking me what I want to eat or drink. N searched the room with his eyes. How was he supposed to know the selection to choose from?

    Trying not to upset the man behind the counter, he settled on something a woman was eating. It did look appetizing.

    He pointed at her. "I'll have what she is having."

    The man nodded. "Alright. You take a seat wherever you feel like, and I'll have someone bring it over for you."

    As he spoke, N looked at him, trying to find the evil glare in his eyes that he knew would be there, but he saw nothing except kindness.

    He glanced away, taking a seat by the window. Light washed over his face as he gazed out and watched the people pass.

    Humans were evil. He knew that. As clear as day, he could remember a Serperior, cold and without life, being dragged before him. Ghetsis had said it had been abused and eventually killed by humans. But were humans all like that? His father and his sister, no, of course not, but they were the exception. Right?

    N pursed his lips. Yes. Humans were evil. They had to be. His father had said that, after all, and so it had to be true.

    A clattering sound announced his food's arrival. The waitress smiled, and he smiled in return before turning to what she had brought him.

    A slice of creamy cake sat on one platter. N beamed. It looked delicious. The other item was a black, steaming liquid in a white cup. Its color reminded him of a night sky, and she'd also given him a small pitcher of milk and a metal spoon to go along with it. He didn't have any clue what it was or why there was milk, but everything smelled good all the same.

    As he picked up his fork to cut into the cake, someone slid into the booth across from him. He paused with the fork in midair, looking up. It was the same person whose order he had copied, a petite woman with sun-kissed blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. She looked to be about his age.

    "Oh," he said, "Hello."

    She leaned forward conspiratorially. "I saw your speech outside. You want to free all Pokemon?"

    "Pokemon are oppressed creatures!" He said. "They are hurting each day, and we are blind to their pain."

    "Hey, I'm not saying you're wrong," she said, holding up her hands in a pacifying gesture. "I'm just curious. You think people will start to listen to you?"

    "Of course," he nodded, taking a bit of his cake. A lemon flavor burst across his tongue. "This is good!"

    The woman smiled, then leaned back. "I'm glad I could help you get something you enjoy."

    "I apologize," he said, flushing. "I wasn't entirely sure what to order."

    Again, she smiled. "My name's Luna. What's yours?"

    "You can call me N."

    "N, huh? Well, listen, N, you seem pretty dedicated to this cause of yours. Are you going to the Vertress City tournament?"

    He froze. "The what?"

    "Yeah. The government is sponsoring a tournament for novice trainers at the stadium there. You didn't know about it? I've heard of a lot of people are taking up Pokemon just to participate in it. There's a big cash prize at the end, they say."

    "I must go!" He shouted, shooting to a stand. She peered up at him, raising an eyebrow, and many of the people in the building turned to look his way. "I must go. I must stop it from happening."

    She shrugged. "Well, be my guest. Maybe I'll see you there."

    "Yes, maybe," he said absently, "I must go inform my father."

    "Hey! Where are you going? You've gotta pay for your food!"

    The bell above the door jingled as he rushed out, ignoring Luna's shouts. He didn't know if there was a way to stop the tournament, but even if he could not, a large crowd would gather there. His father would know what to do. His father would know.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  5. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity.-

    Chapter Five:
    Castelia City: King
    "What is a Zorua doing in my apartment?"

    Don't yell, sir! I smelled pancakes.

    "Great. A Zorua whose voice appears in my head invaded my apartment for pancakes."

    King slumped against the counter, exhaling. He dropped the knife he'd been holding back into the drawer, then closed it with a thud.

    "Alright," he said, looking at the Pokemon. It trotted over to one of the rays of sunlight trickling in through the window, and laid in the warmth, licking its paws. "Come on, time for you to get out."

    It jolted to a stand. Do I have to leave now? King heard in his head. It was a creepy experience like his thoughts were talking to him but in a different, higher voice.

    He cleared his throat. "Yup. Out you go. I've got to get all this stuff out of here, anyway."

    Really? How come?

    "Because, I-" He cut himself off, giving it a sideways look. Was he really having a conversation with a Pokemon? It was a wonder how it had gotten into the apartment in the first place. Probably snuck in as he'd been leaving that morning, then raided his fridge while he was gone. He'd have to get rid of it.

    "Hey, guess what?"

    Oh, hey! What?

    "There are more pancakes outside. Oh yeah, I keep a whole bunch out there." He stepped over to the door and opened it, gesturing outside. The Zorua scampered over and peered out.

    Really? Where? You're not lying?

    He picked it up, feeling its silky black and red fur brush against his fingers, and placed it outside, then shut the door and clicked the lock. He smiled in satisfaction. Better go clean the bedroom now, he thought, stepping in that direction. The apartment still smelled sweet like pancakes, and he imagined he'd have a whole mess of stickiness to clean. Zoruas had always interested King, ever since he was a little kid, because of their unique ability to transform into people and other Pokemon. If used right, that had the potential to be a force on the battlefield, but most trainers he'd seen battle with them tended to underuse the ability or forgo using it altogether. The one he'd placed outside was unusually human-like in its attitude, probably because of some over-developed physic powers. Impressive, sure, but he didn't want any Pokemon around him. Not now, and not ever.

    I can't become a trainer, he thought. I can't. He would find another job, that's what he would do. He'd find another place to live. He had to think of a plan, that was all. That was what he was good at. That was what he could do, what he was best at doing.

    Hey! There aren't any pancakes out there!

    He froze, startled for a moment, then sighed. He glanced over his shoulder in time to see a Tynamo squeezing under the door, then watched as it dissolved into a bright ball of light and appeared back again as a Zorua. It frowned at him.

    Not nice. Don't you have any morals?

    He snorted despite himself. "Morals? What would a Pokemon know about morals?"

    I don't know, it said, jumping onto his couch. I just heard a human say that once.

    "Alright, listen, get off the couch, would you? You'll get dirt on it."

    It gave him a wry smile before tucking into the corner, between the cushion and the arm. King groaned but ended up shaking his head and deciding to ignore the thing. It would leave; eventually, he was sure, if he didn't give it any attention.

    He stepped into the bedroom, shoes tapping on the wooden floor. The door creaked as he pushed it all the way open, then undid his tie, which relieved the pressure around his neck. He chucked it onto the bed. Right at the foot, where the Zorua had been standing as King, was an upside-down platter surrounded by syrup that reflected the lamp-light above. King sat down on the bed, pointedly not looking at the poster of a Pokemon battle he had above the backboard.

    Thirty days. King would have to hire Gurdurr-Movers to get all his stuff out. Where was he going to get the money for that? Where would he even put the furniture? Where would he live afterward? Where? Where? Where?

    Calm down, King, he told himself, shuddering. Calm down. Just start thinking about what to do, and everything will be alright.

    That didn't make him feel any better.

    Hey, what are you doing in here?

    King blinked, looking over his shoulder. "You're still here?"

    It looked guiltily at the plate on the floor.

    Sorry. I'm sorry, sir. You're probably mad at me. I was just so hungry and everything.

    "Never mind that, seriously," he said as it hopped onto the bed. "Why are you still here? I don't have any food left for you."

    I… um… Its tail slumped. I had a friend. He got chosen by a trainer. I thought maybe I'd try and find a trainer, too! It seems like so much fun. Are you a trainer? Have you ever thought about becoming a trainer?

    King froze. It is not asking me this right now.

    Hey, you can hear me in your brains, right? Are you a trainer?

    "No," he muttered, standing. He licked his lips.

    You're not? Well, why don't you become one?

    "I can't."

    You know, sir, I heard there was this really cool-

    "I said I can't and won't and never will become a trainer!" He shouted, silencing the voice in his head. "Do you understand me? I don't want to become a trainer! This is the life for me!"

    Somewhere off in the distance, a Pidove croaked. The thick tension in the bedroom absorbed the chirp until there was nothing left but silence.

    The Zorua's ears folded back and it looked like it wanted to curl into itself and cry. Instead, it slunk away from the room, and King had a distinct impression, once it had left, that it had gone for good.

    He threw himself down onto the bed, chest heaving. Sweat pooled at the armpits of his undershirt. This wasn't like him. This was entirely unlike him. King didn't let his emotions get the best of him. That was what people of low intelligence, like Terrance and Stephanie, that was what they did, but not King. He was a higher-class of person, the best kind of person. He controlled his emotions. He knew what he wanted. He had a plan for everything at any moment. Oh, yes, ask him anything, and he would have an answer. What are you going to do now that your stupid show of confidence got you fired, King? Oh, don't you worry, King, I know what to do. I know what I want to, and it isn't to become a trainer.

    He rose, arms dangling limply at his sides. Every time he looked at the walls around him, it looked like they were coming closer, pushing farther and farther inward until they would squeeze him and crush him down to nothing but blood and dust.

    Something needed to change. That Zorua was wrong. King had no desire to become a trainer. And, besides, even if he did, his dad had made it abundantly clear that he would never be good enough. Never compare to him. Don't ever try it, son. If you do, I will hunt you and your Pokemon down, and I will beat you into the dirt until you never feel like getting up again. You will never be good enough to become a trainer.

    He squeezed the bedsheets, so hard that the muscles in his arm felt about to pop. Don't think about that voice. Ignore that voice. You don't have a father. Oh, yes, that's right. I don't.

    He swallowed a deep breath of air, filling his lungs, held it there, then let it all out. Finished with that, he went into the kitchen, wet a rag, and began cleaning up the mess left for him by the Zorua.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  6. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Six:
    Vertress City: N
    N relished in being able to see the world. Ghetsis agreed that the tournament was an excellent place to spread their ideas, and so together, they began their journey to Vertress City, starting at Striaton City, miles and miles away. N learned the Vertress Tournament was not for another thirty days, and so there was no hurry in arriving on time, not that they would be participants, of course.

    On the way, he saw sprawling grasslands and marvelous mountains stretching upward, the knuckles of the earth whose tops melted into the sky. Everywhere were vibrant green trees flourishing in Unova's summer heat, as were the flowers, and all plant-life, including some Pokemon. He witnessed metal cities bustling with people and quaint towns of warehouses and museums. His father kept him close, for fear of his well-being, but N loved the travels nonetheless.

    Once, however, in a place of neon-lights and Ferris wheels called Nimbasa City, that they had come to after passing the deserts outside Castelia City, N lost his father in a surging crowd of people. He had immediately scorned himself for acting like a child, as he had been practically mesmerized by the creation of a pink, foam-like food named cotton candy, spun and crafted by an artisan with the aid of his Pokemon. N had tuned his ears and found himself taken aback when he discovered that the Pokemon loved and cherished the one who owned her and the time they spent together. N had stared at them even longer afterward, wondering how that could be.

    It, eventually, however, clicked. The Pokemon didn't know any other life, but one of subservience, and so had nothing else for comparison. She did not realize that there was an opportunity away from humans, where she could live life to the utmost and the fullest. She may have been treated decently by her owner, but that was one case, and N could not forgive or forget what he had seen as a child: Pokemon beaten and abused until their life abandoned them. Eventually, Ghetsis had returned and led him away. N had begged his father's forgiveness, and when Ghetsis, being the kind man that he was, did forgive him, they fled the crowds and departed from Nimbasa City.

    From there, they crossed together over gleaming waters via the Driftveil Drawbridge, and into Driftveil City, then through the cold mountain passes to Mistveil City, where snow coated the land like a white blanket, and later on to Icirrus City and lastly to Opelucid City. Each place they went, Ghetsis outlined a speech for N to proclaim, and he did so very willingly. In some cities, they gathered more of a crowd than in others, and the reactions they received varied from place to place. Even once, the Unova government attempted to stop them, but Ghetsis' words were that none of it mattered, that they only needed the people to begin thinking, and so N listened. Finally, when they arrived at Vertress City, they performed one last speech before going on their way to the Vertress Arena.

    N stared upward in fascination, shielding his eyes from the glaring midday sun. There were five magnificently big arenas in total, each colored differently and arrayed together with one in the center and the four others at diagonal points around it, like a four-limbed star. The city erupted with the sound of tourists everywhere; all come to entertain themselves with Pokemon battles. Tourists, of course, attracted vendors, and so stalls numbering in the hundreds set themselves outside the center arena's entrance, even ten days before the start of the event. The smells of their food intertwined together with the crowds, enticing would-be buyers to purchase their wares.

    Ghetsis placed a hand on N's shoulder, pulling his attention away. "Come, my son. I wish to rest after the long journey."

    N nodded, beginning to follow his father to one of the many hotels nearby when someone from amid all the people called out his name.

    "Hey, N!"

    N only turned, blinking, but his father spun toward the noise like a startled Pokemon.

    It was Luna that ran toward them, waving her arm in the air, blond hair streaming out behind her like a river of gold. She wore a vibrant yellow dress that matched the sun.

    N found himself smiling. He waved as she approached.

    "Hi, N!" She greeted, stopping in front of him and Ghetsis.

    "Hello, Luna!"

    She smiled, then turned toward Ghetsis. "Who's this?"

    "Ah, this is my…" He trailed off upon looking at his father. A deep frown had creased into Ghetsis' face, and to N, it was as though the glower invited shadows into his expression that hid between his furrowed eyebrows and down-turned lips. N huddled into himself, glancing away. He did not mean to upset him. "My father."

    Luna's smile, however, never faltered as she held out a hand for Ghetsis to shake. He frowned at it.

    "Hello," she said. "I'm Luna. It's nice to meet you! I like your robe."

    He shook her hand reluctantly as if dirt and grime covered it. "And what is your relationship with my son?"

    "Oh!" She said, looking back at N. Ghetsis pulled his hand away and tucked it into the elongated sleeves of his robe. "We're friends. Speaking of, would you like to explore the city with me, N? Not now, I mean, sometime soon, though."

    "I would-" N cut himself off, meeting her gaze. He tried to explain without saying any words; he did not want to be mean to Luna, but Ghetsis didn't like her. His father came first. "I-I will be busy, Luna. I'm sorry."

    She shook her head, and yet again, her smile didn't fade. How could she continue to do that, when N had been so rude? "That's okay. Maybe I'll see you around!" She turned, waving goodbye to them as she melded back into the crowd. "Anyway, it was nice meeting you, N's dad!"

    N looked at his father, face flushed.

    "Where did you meet that girl, N?"

    "In Accumula Town, father," N rushed to explain. "We only spoke for a moment then, before I learned of the tournament and came to you."

    Ghetsis nodded. "I do not want you speaking with this Luna any longer, my son. Am I understood?"

    "Yes, of course, father."

    "Good. Now, come."

    Ghetsis turned his back on N, seeking one of the many hotels. N took one last glance at the crowd before he followed behind his father, rushing to keep up.

    Ghetsis was right, of course. N wouldn't speak to Luna, even if he found his thoughts lingering on her and her enticing smile. Even if he wanted badly to have another conversation with her.

    But that didn't matter. N had one goal in mind - Ghetsis knew that and was ridding N of any distractions - and his stay at Vertress City wasn't for pleasure, but accomplishing that goal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  7. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Seven:
    Castelia City: King

    King shuddered against the cold. It was warm in his apartment, of course, but still, he shivered. It was the cold of knowing how many months he would spend without a roof over his head, exposed to biting winds and heavy rains if he didn't do something.

    He sat alone in the living room of his apartment, arms slumped on his knees, hands dangling toward the floor. It'd been twenty days, and he had yet to relocate a single item of furniture. Grey darkness veiled the room. Water wept from the kitchen faucet, dripping over and over into the metal sink, leaking down into the drain. Drip. Drip. Drip.

    He ran a sweaty palm over his forehead, trying to banish the dull thud pounding incessantly behind it. His head felt like someone had jammed it with wool. Three voices, all intermixing together, jumbled about inside. One, high, and child-like. Are you a trainer? Why don't you become a trainer? Another, rigid and cracked enough to sound like two pieces of gravel grating together. You never try and follow in my footsteps, boy. I'm the greatest there ever was and ever will be. Do you understand me? And the last, his voice, weak and uncertain.

    I need to do something.

    Someone started to pound at the door. King whipped his head toward the noise, expecting that at any moment, his father would burst through and stomp over to him. Then, the beatings would begin.

    Instead, a different voice called out.

    "King? You better be in there!" Stephanie. He looked back toward the floor. "I know you can hear me! Get your ass out here and tell me why you haven't moved any of your things out yet! Now!"

    He stood, swallowing a deep breath, heart pounding in his ears. He had to do it. All the other doors and all the different paths, they were closed and gone now. He had one option, one chance to see if he was good enough. All his life, he had believed that there was one thing he could never do, and that was to become a trainer. He had always been scared that if he tried, his father would kill him for it. Now there weren't any other options.

    He circled the couch, heading for the bedroom, ignoring the pounding at the door like a heartbeat. He wreathed a hand around the metal doorknob. The door creaked as he opened it, then stepped inside. Under the bed. That's where it would be.

    He came over to the bed, pressing his chest on the floor as he lay. There, right where he had put it all those years ago, was an empty Pokeball caked in dust. The button in the middle stared at him like an eye, taunting him, measuring him up.

    Don't you do it, boy, his father's voice echoed in his head. Don't you go and do it. You know what will happen.

    King hesitated. Was he going to let his father control his life, who he chose to be, even now? No. He wasn't afraid. He was no longer a sniveling kid who cowered under his father's gaze, always lurking behind him like a beaten Pokemon, forever stuck in his far-reaching shadow. The Vertress Tournament had a cash prize at the end. If he won it, everything would be better. Everything would fall into place. That was the plan he had come up with. That was what he had decided. It was time to take a stand.

    King reached out and grabbed the Pokeball.

    He stood, stomping away from the bedroom, gripping it tightly in one hand. He did not think. He didn't dare let go of it. If he did, he wasn't sure he'd be able to pick it up again.

    Stephanie backed away in surprise as he threw open the door to the hallway.

    "King? What are you-"

    He pushed past her, then turned a corner toward the elevators. Her screams after him died as he descended to the lobby.

    Warm air washed over him when he stepped outside. Wind rippled his clothes, tossing his hair about. Above, the sun shone amid faces of gray clouds. Ignoring cars, ignoring people, he sprinted out onto the sidewalk, searching, searching. He peered down streets and alleyways. His breaths grew ragged as he scoured the city. Finally, chest heaving and throat burning, he found the small, red, and black bundle of fur sleeping in a heap of garbage bags, tucked into the corner of a narrow alley between buildings.

    He stepped up to it, panting. "You the… same one?"

    It picked its head up from the trash. Dried blood seeped down from a tear on its ear, staining its fur, and one eye was swollen purple.

    Sir?

    King breathed in through his nose, eyebrows furrowing. "What happened?"

    It shifted, favoring one leg as it stepped out in front of him. Somehow, even though it was a Pokemon, he could see incredible sadness and confusion in its one eye as it looked at him. His heart clenched in his chest. It was just a Pokemon, sure, but the world could be an incredibly cruel place, even to them.

    I… tried to find a trainer.

    "Well," King said, holding out the Pokeball. "You've found one."

    Its tail started to wag. Really? Oh, really? Thank you, sir! Thank you! I knew you were a nice one!

    "Alright, alright." He gestured over his shoulder with a flick of his head. "Come on. Let's get you to a Pokemon center."

     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  8. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Eight:
    Humilau City: King
    13 Years Ago

    King bounded along the docks, his bare feet slapping against the wood. He laughed, feeling the ocean breeze ruffle his red hair. The salt-smelling wind was happy, too, because it was summer and warm, and it danced right along with him and his lillipup, who raced at his side. His mother had given him Lilly on his fourth birthday. She said she'd had Lilly for a long time, but she had never evolved. That was alright with King. She was his best friend, and he loved her all the same.

    The homes along the docks seemed huge to King, blurring by him as he ran with Lilly. The people who lived in them, also giant, gave him grins as they stumbled out of his path. That was right. He didn't just dance with the wind, he was the wind, and nothing could stop him from running, except for when he felt like it.

    He came to a stretch of the marina where the homes were behind him, and the ocean swelled into view, reaching to the horizon. King gasped, padding to a standstill and looking out at it. He'd lived in Humilau City all his life, but he would never stop loving this blue place his mother called an ocean.

    The waves glittered under the bright sun that hung high in a sky without a single cloud, just a thick blanket of blue, like the ocean except darker. He looked down. The clear, greenish water smiled back at him, and he could see below its swishing surface and hear the tiny waves - miniature versions of the ones out in the open ocean - lapping up against the jutting pillars of wood that held up the dock. A green form whirled about in between them.

    "Look, Lilly, look!" They both laid down, peering over the pier's edge. The tip of King's finger plunged into the water as he pointed at the fish. The warm liquid caressed his skin. "It's a basculin! Isn't it cool?"

    She licked his face.

    He chuckled, rolling over onto his back. Lilly jumped on his chest and continued to stroke his cheeks with the rough surface of her tongue.

    "Hey!" He grinned, stomach pained from laughing. "Cut it out, Lilly! Cut it out!"

    A shadow fell over them. Lilly stopped licking King's face and hopped off of his chest. He wiped away the slobber, calming himself before rolling over onto his stomach and looking up to see who it was that had spoiled their fun. Immediately, he looked down again.

    His father had stepped in front of the sun; arms crossed over his chest. He was even bigger than the others, and to King, it seemed as though he stretched up to the sky. When he came, the wind left, and the air went still. King shifted, unconsciously rubbing Lillie's soft, golden fur.

    "What are you doing, boy?" His father growled. The noise was like sudden thunder cracking through a perfectly blue sky. King was sure the docks would start to split and break every time his father spoke.

    "Nothing, dad. Lilly and I were just-"

    "Get off your damn stomach while you're speaking to your father!"

    King staggered to his feet, not daring to look up, but instead keeping his eyes glued on the black shadow.

    His father squatted down so that King could hear his voice all the clearer. "You like Pokemon, don't ya', King? You adore that dog ya' mother gave you.'"

    "V-very much, dad."

    "Well, how about this." He could hear the toothy grin in his father's voice. "Why don't you have a battle with your father? You can use that little pup of yours. Eh? How bout's it?"

    King's eyes went wide. "Father, I can't do that, you're-"

    He shuffled King over to the opposite end of the dock, pushing him with his leg. Lilly followed. She was always a good friend. "Now, you're not disobeying me, are ya'?"

    He didn't say anything, but huddled into himself, wishing he could disappear. Lilly stepped up next to him and licked his hand. He looked down at her. Try your best; that look said. Try your best, and I will, too. They couldn't beat his father, but Lilly knew that and wanted to attempt it anyway. Well, King had watched many, many of his father's battles and had even practiced being a trainer with Lilly a few times. Maybe he could do something.

    His father stopped a ways away and turned, hands on hips. No one paid them any mind; Pokemon battles were all too familiar in Humilau City.

    "Alright, boy. Let's see here. Don't you look so worried. This'll be a good lesson." He pulled a Poke ball from his waist and tossed it into the air. It thudded against the dock, then opened, and all a sudden, King stared at the bulbous form of a jellicent; sunlight reflected on its smooth blue skin. Lilly stepped up to meet him; her head raised high. She did know one electric type move, but King didn't know how effective it would be.

    His father peered around jellicent, grinning. "Well, go on, boy. Attack em'!"

    "Lilly, use, um, Take Down!" She listened, bounding forward, paws striking wood, until she reached jellicent. She leaped and tackled it. King's face lit up, but the excitement faded when Lilly bounced off without leaving so much as a scratch.

    His father cackled. "What are you, stupid? Jellicent is a ghost type, boy! Do you think you can become a trainer if you don't even know that? Jellicent, Hydro Pump!"

    King's breath snagged in his throat. He knew that move.

    A ball of water began to coalesce in front of jellicent. King sprinted over to Lilly, grabbing her and hugging her into his arms. He pressed her soft fur against his cheek as he huddled down, cradling her, his back to the jellicent. Please let Lilly be okay after this. Oh, please.

    A torrent of water engulfed them. It felt like whips snapping against his skin as he was submerged. His feet slipped. His stomach lurched as Hydro Pump blasted them off the dock. For a moment, he was suspended in air, no water around him, before being dunked under again. He clutched Lilly, kicking his legs, searching for air. Please be okay, Lilly.

    He broke the surface with a gasp. He blinked, reorienting himself to where he was: treading water at the surface of the ocean. The dock was in front of them. They'd been pushed into the water by Hydro Pump.

    King looked down, salt burning his eyes. Lilly whimpered, looking up at him, and her fur was soaked all the way, but otherwise, she seemed okay. He smiled.

    His father's face appeared above them. "Well, get up here, boy!" That dog can still fight, if only because ya' cheated." He left them to get back up.

    "It's okay, Lilly," King whispered, lifting her onto the dock. She shook her fur to get all the water out of it as he pulled himself onto the wood. "I have an idea! Mommy told me of this cool move she taught you."

    She wagged her tail, padding over to face jellicent again. King straightened, dripping water as he took his place behind Lilly. His clothes felt tight and uncomfortable, chafing under his armpits, and his skin was red where Hydro Pump had bitten him, but he did his best to ignore the feelings. If Lilly wanted to fight, then so did he, even against his father.

    "Come on, then," his father said beside jellicent. "It ain't over just yet!"

    "Lilly!" King shouted. "Use Attract!" Complying, she whirled, winking, and a tiny pink heart formed in front of her. It sailed toward the opposing Pokemon.

    His father bellowed a laugh. "You don't learn, do ya'? Attract is a normal-type move!"

    King clenched his fists as the heart drifted closer and closer to jellicent, who hovered in place as if he couldn't even see it.

    Something had triggered in King's memories when he remembered that ghost-types couldn't get hit with a normal-type move. His mother had told him that, but he'd forgotten jellicent was a ghost-type. She had also said to him that that only applied to attacks that directly hit the ghost-type, like Take Down. Not moves like attract.

    He beamed when the heart swirled around jellicent's head, and he fell limp, gawking at Lilly. Mommy was right!

    His father grimaced. "What the-"

    "Lilly, use Crunch!"

    She leaped, clasping her jaws on jellicent's rubbery skin. It continued to stare in infatuation.

    "Jellicent, you ****! Icy Wind!"

    Nothing happened. Lilly vaulted back onto the dock.

    "Again, Lilly!"

    "Hydro Pump!" Nothing.

    "Crunch!"

    "Icy Wind! Shadow Ball! Goddammit, Water Spout! Water Spout! WATER SPOUT!"

    "Okay, Lilly! Wild Charge!"

    Sparks zipped around her. King shielded his eyes as bright yellow electricity engulfed her. She darted forward like a lightning bolt, crashing into jellicent. He cried out as he fell backward, flippers flailing in the air. He landed on the dock with a thud.

    King cheered, throwing his hands in the air. The pain from Hydro Pump vanished. "We did it, Lilly! We did it!" She sprang into his arms, panting from being so tired, but still licking his face anyway. He held her tighter than he ever had before. They danced and spun around, and the wind joined them in it, too.

    Joy welled up inside him, but he froze when he looked at his father, and all that disappeared like a snuffed-out candle.

    His father seemed to have grown the size of a skyscraper, up and up, looming over King and Lilly. His face was contorted and warped so much King didn't recognize him. He shied away, shaking. King thought his father would be proud of him. Now he realized he'd done something horribly wrong.

    His father began to kick jellicent. "Get up, you stupid ****! Get up! Get up! I swear to god, I am not losing to some snot-nosed kid, not my own damn kid!"

    Jellicent groaned a deep and echoing sound, then picked himself up to a float.

    "Now! Water Spout!"

    A wingull screeched in the distance. King stared up at the sky and the sun as they became obstructed by a downpour of gigantic raindrops like pointy, sharp icicles.

    They smashed against the docks, plopping into the water, sending sprays of water outward in all directions. King crouched down with Lilly, screaming her name over the crashing sounds and her barking. Pain slammed against his back. His vision became blurry with tears as he was toppled onto his side, exposing Lilly. The Water Spout struck them like a flurry of blows from a hitmonchan.

    The pain hammered through King's small body. He blacked out.

    When he opened his eyes again, light flooding into his vision, his father loomed, strangling Lilly by the throat with one hand. A bundle of people had gathered behind him, but none of them would dare oppose his father.

    "You see this, boy?" He snarled, clutching Lillies limp body harder. "Pokemon are tools. That's all they are. You can't be friends with a stupid thing like this."

    He flung her into the water.

    King screamed, his voice hoarse and gargled with tears. He crawled toward her, nails digging into the wood. Please, please, please, please.

    A boot cracked into the small of his back, stopping him. Spittle exuded from his mouth as he coughed, and a meaty hand grabbed him by the collar and pulled him up.

    He scrunched his eyes so hard he thought they would pop out. He struggled, heart squeezing in his chest, hot tears pouring in trails down his cheeks, the walls of his throat closing. He would not look at his father. Scary. Scary. Scary.

    "Listen to me, boy," his father whispered. King could feel and smell his hot breath. "Don't you ever become a trainer. You never try and follow in my footsteps. If you do, I will sink you into the ground until you never feel like gettin' up again. You will never be better than me, do you understand? Never! Don't you think for a moment that you even came close to beating me! I'm the greatest there ever was and ever will be!"

    King could only sob, chest heaving.

    His father tsked and dropped him to the wood. Dull pain erupted in his side as he landed, but still, he could hardly feel it when compared to the roaring fire of hurt pulsing throughout his body. As his father stomped off, pushing through the crowd, King pulled his knees to his chest, shaking and shaking and shaking.

    He did not go after Lilly. If he did, his father would be there and would break him and snap him and beat him until there was nothing left to beat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  9. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity.-

    Chapter Nine:
    Vertress City: N and King

    The roar of a thousand people erupted all around N. Never before had he seen so many accumulated in one place as he had here, seated on the bleachers of Vertress Stadium. A great hum of conversation, of laughter and chatter, droned around them, sounding like a hundred stampeding bouffalant. Colors were everywhere, and the smells of buttery popcorn and other food items mixed in with the crowds. He searched for the sun-bleached hair that would mark Luna, but with so many, he knew he would never be able to pick her out. He had not seen her since arriving in Vertress City.

    A hand gripped his shoulder. N blinked and turned to find his father ushering him toward their seats. He complied, and together they settled themselves down, shoulder to shoulder with others. His father wouldn't like being so close to so many, but with the excitement built over the weeks, these were virtually the only spots left.

    Ghetsis grimaced, as N though he might. "The sight of so many people turns my stomach. Wouldn't you agree, my son?"

    N opened his mouth, hesitating. He had initially viewed the great multitude of people with amazement, but Ghetsis was right: they were all here only to entertain themselves by watching Pokemon get hurt and injured. That did permeate his mouth with a sour taste.

    "Yes, father."

    "Some who are here have no doubt heard our speech," Ghetsis said, leaning close so that N could distinguish his voice among all the rest. "They will see these battles, and the questions we've planted in their heads will stir like slumbering beasts. Today, we will not take any action. We will simply watch but in the coming days… that is when we will strike, my son."

    N nodded. His father's judgment was sound, as always. "I see, father, I-"

    N cut himself off when a man, wearing a light-blue suit, strode out into the arena below. The floor was sand, and the bleachers ringed around it on every side. N and Ghetsis were reasonably high up, so much so that N felt as though he could touch the clear blue sky, but they could still see well. He would watch the battles, not for enjoyment, but so that he could ingrain the memory in his brain, and never forget how terrible it had been. These fights between Pokemon would be the fuel that propelled his speeches.

    The man below raised a microphone to his lips. Those in the stadium noticed him, as well, and the noise dampened down to a gentle murmur.

    "Ladies and gentlemen!" He greeted, gesturing with one arm. "The Unova government greets you! Welcome to the Vertress Beginner's Tournament!"

    A roar of stomps and cheers erupted from the crowd. Ghetsis tsked, scowling.

    The announcer continued. "Allow me to explain the rules, onlookers! Three hundred and forty-four entered the preliminary match of the tournament. After many trials and tribulations, only sixteen have made it to the main-event to battle before you here today! Each participant will square off, that's right, square-off, in a one-on-one bout, and each will be able to use a maximum of three Pokemon. This will continue over four days until there's only one winner, who will receive a special cash prize of one million Pokedollars!"

    Another wave of cheers sounded. As the announcer called the first competitors forward, N put his elbows on his knees, watching intently. His heart weighed heavy with sorrow that so many found joy in this sort of thing.



    Oh! I'm excited! Are you excited, sir? I'm so excited!

    King crossed his arms, leaning back against the steel wall behind him. He looked to his right, where the arena stretched out under the sunlight, and all the hundreds and hundreds of people waited. The announcer was out there - a thin man shaped like a stick - calling King's name and the name of his opponent. So I'm up against that Steven guy, huh? The people in the stand were a blur of colors from this distance.

    Hey, hey! Are you excited?

    King looked down. Zorua stared up at him, swishing its tail back and forth. After he'd brought it to a Pokemon center, everything else had healed fine enough for battle, except for that tear in its ear. The nurse had said that it was a permanent scar. King squatted down, coming level with it, and wondered how it could still trust humans after what had happened.

    He cleared his throat. "Alright, listen," he said. It sat on its hind legs, nodding. "Remember the plan? Steven uses a psychic type, so we have a good first match-up."

    I got it, sir!

    King stood. "Alright, then. Good." He pointed the Pokeball at Zorua, and it dissolved into a streak of light, then got pulled into the device through the center-button. He held the ball at his side, swallowing hard, taking deep breaths. His heart thrummed in his chest, but he maintained a neutral expression on the outside. Everything was at stake here. This tournament was where he got to see if he had what it takes to become a trainer, or if his father had been right, and he was good for nothing. If he lost, that was it. He would toss zorua into the wild and live the rest of his life scrounging on the streets of Castelia. Some of the other trainers, he'd learned from listening to their conversations, participated in the tournament because it was fun or they wanted fame and fortune - petty goals like that. King had trained the zorua to the point of exhaustion on the way to Vertress and even did training of his own, watching professional battle after professional battle. For him, it was all or nothing.

    "… and his challenger, all the way from Castelia City, King Parkman!"

    King threw his Pokeball in the air, snatched it, and stepped out into the light. Waves of blaring cheers like an earthquake followed his footsteps. The government really did a number in hyping this thing up. Not that that's a good thing. Spotlight isn't my thing.

    He came to the middle of the arena and stopped in front of his opponent, Steven, who looked to be about nine feet tall with his face covered in long, blond hair. The announcer moved over to their right.

    "Would the challengers please release their Pokemon!"

    King tossed the Pokeball into the sand. It landed, and zorua appeared as a meinfoo. He could see its face straining as it remembered the plan, using Nasty Plot, which was ultimately just thinking evil thoughts.

    Steven chucked an Ultra ball, and out came the gothita he'd used in the preliminary. It was a powerful Pokemon.

    The announcer nodded. King could feel the anticipation bubbling through the crowd, mimicking his own feelings, but he kept a neutral expression.

    "Now! Let the battle begin!"

    King shoved his hands in his pockets, gripping the fabric inside. Steven placed one foot behind the other, smirking at him. The sun glared above, radiating heat down on them. The crowd bellowed.

    "Meinfoo, huh?" Steven boasted. "Looks like I'm at an advantage here."

    King waved a dismissive hand. "Yeah, alright. Boasting isn't going to get me to make a hasty move, Steven, buddy, so you can just forget that tactic. You're better off focusing on using actual strategies, I'd say."

    He grimaced. "Alright, then. I'll start with a bang! Gothita, Psyshock!"

    The wind gusted at King, tossing up the sand around him. Gothita vaulted into the air, throwing its arms out in front of itself. Blue and purple energy coalesced into a ball at its palms, like a mass of syrup. Zorua - meinfoo - looked back at King. He nodded.

    Zorua rushed forward. Gothita scrunched its face, then released the ball of energy, falling back to the ground. The Psyshock slammed into zorua, kicking up a cloud of sand and obscuring it from view.

    "An early Psyshock from Steven!" The announcer cheered. "Is that it already?"

    King paused, meeting Steven's eyes. The man was assured, alright. Too bad that confidence was misplaced.

    He sniffed. "Dark Pulse!"

    Steven's eyebrows furrowed. From the cloud of dust, Zorua leaped in the air in its true form, trailing streams of sand off its black and red fur. A sphere of dark, swirling purple energy formed at its mouth. It expelled it in one blast.

    King watched as the move collided with gothita, throwing it back.

    The stadium exploded into whoops and cheers.

    "I don't believe it!" The announcer called. "King's meinfoo is a zorua! What a twist!"

    "Gothita!" Steven grabbed the limp body of his Pokemon, clutching it his arms. It didn't move.

    "It… it looks like gothita is unable to battle! That makes King the winner!"

    He released a long, heavy breath and took his hands out of his pockets.

    He bent down and grabbed the Pokeball, returning zorua inside it. Nodding to the announcer, he turned on his heel, leaving the sounds of the stadium behind as he ducked back into the hallway before the arena entrance. Alone, he sunk onto the floor with his back at the wall, chest heaving. He'd done it. He'd won his first battle as a Pokemon trainer.

    He wondered if his father was somewhere in that crowd, watching, judging. No. He was probably off abusing one Pokemon or the other.

    And, besides, King didn't have a father, anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  10. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member


    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Ten:
    Vertress City: N

    N wandered from the arena with his head down. People jostled him shoulder to shoulder, cloth rubbing against cloth, skin against skin. A spray of sweat coated his forehead. It was challenging to walk, with so many people moving in a current like a horde of basculin. The first day of the tournament had ended, and as such, everyone withdrew at the same time.

    The tournament. While others had cheered and whooped, N had studied the battles with a heavy heart, grimacing each time a Pokemon was hurt, each time the onlookers screamed for it to happen again. How could they do that? How come they couldn't see how terrible it was, or envision, even care, how the Pokemon might be feeling?

    Maybe his father, in the end, was right. Perhaps humans were evil creatures, a plague on the earth.

    He clenched a fist. Even if they were, N would change all of their minds. He would give Pokemon their freedom, no matter what it might take. That was the least they deserved.

    The sun glared overhead. N shielded his eyes as the people and noise around him began to scatter, and he realized with a start that he had already exited the arena. He spun around. People passed him in groups, talking excitedly.

    Where was his father?

    He searched the many faces, watching for green hair, waiting for a robe or a burned, charred hand. Panic welled inside of him, an invisible hand clenching his throat. A sour taste permeated his mouth. Ghetsis had been next to him moments ago. Where had his father gone? What had happened to him?

    N had been without his father for a short time in Accumula Town, but even then, he knew his father was safe. As a child, if his father was not around, N still knew he was safe because his siblings had assured him so. Ghetsis did not like people. What if he had become embroiled in a fight with someone? No. His father was not like that. He was calm, kind, and helpful. Loving, and-

    Someone tapped his shoulder from behind. He broke into a relieved smile, and turned, only to find that it was not Ghetsis, but Luna. His smile stayed. The hand around his throat released its grasp. She was not Ghetsis, no, but she was still a familiar and comforting face.

    "Hi, N!" She greeted, returning his smile. She wore a wide-brimmed hat that shielded the attractive features of her face from the sun.

    "Ah, Luna! I'm so glad to see you. May I ask if you've seen my father? I can't find him anywhere."

    She cocked her head. "He got lost?"

    N nodded, still scrutinizing for any sign of him. "Well, more likely that I got lost from him. I'm sure he's searching for me, but yes."

    Her face lit up. "Follow me." She wrapped her hand in his. "I think I saw him this way!"

    Her excitement was contagious. "Excellent! Thank you, Luna!"

    She pulled him through the crowds, holding her hat to her head with the opposite hand so that it did not fall off while they ran. The number of people thinned as they progressed further from the arenas, eventually arriving at the outskirts of the city, where lines of trees stood sentinel over the fields and plant-life beyond. N was panting even before they reached this point - he was not used to so much physical activity - his chest heaving and his heart pounding, but he grinned nonetheless. She knew where his father was.

    Luna ducked into the trees, tugging N into the forest after her. The sun glittered past a canopy of leaves. Calls of Pokemon, the crunching of sticks, and the ruffling of bushes replaced the city sounds. N marveled at the juxtaposition between the forest and the city, and how such vibrant life could thrive next to such boisterous human activity.

    Eventually, however, as they continued, N's mood became more agitated. Had she seen Ghetsis out in the forest? Surely she wouldn't lie to him. Humans are evil, N. They will try to take advantage of you. Do not extend your trust farther than your father, my son.

    N stumbled. The trees suddenly looked as foreboding pillars, their creaks as cries into the wind. The bushes became tangled knots of wire, pulling at him, attempting to twist around his ankles. The wind howled. In the distance, Pokemon screamed. Where was Luna taking him?

    Ghetsis. His father was right. He had been right all along. Luna was going to-

    They broke into a clearing. Luna let him go, and he fell to his knees, breathing ragged breaths. It wasn't only because of the run that he could not control his breathing, but also because he found himself in awe at the beautiful nature surrounding him.

    A field of yellow flowers spread out below them, from where they stood together atop a green hill. In the wind, the flowers swayed like dancers, petals kicked into the air, and pollen stirred. A sweet scent filled the clearing. Cottonees and whimsicotts spun about, carried by the wind, summer deerling hopped amid the flowers, enticed by the smells, and even lilligant poked out of the fields. It was a gorgeous sight to behold.

    Luna skipped in front of him, hands intertwined behind her back. She looked delighted. "So? What do you think?"

    N pushed himself to a stand. How could he have ever thought that Luna was attempting to bring him harm? All she had wanted to do was show him this.

    "It's beautiful, Luna!"

    "I knew you'd like it. I've been coming here recently to paint."

    "You like to paint?" He asked her, prying his eyes away from the Pokemon. Places such as this were where they were best, where they were happiest.

    She nodded. "Yes. I love to."

    "Would you show me your work sometime?"

    "Of course," she said, sitting down on the slope of the hill. She patted the space beside her. "Come on. Come sit."

    He did so, smiling. The wind whipped his hair about. When Luna pulled off her hat, it did the same to her golden locks.

    "So. I'm sorry," she said. "Your fathers not anywhere dancing among those flowers. I lied."

    N frowned. He'd almost forgotten that was where she was supposed to be bringing him: to Ghetsis. Strangely, however, he couldn't bring himself to be angry with her.

    "It's okay," he said, looking back at the flowers. "I'm sure he is fine… though he might be angry with me for losing him in the first place. I… and, please, don't blame yourself, Luna, but I do not like to make him angry."

    She laid a hand on his arm. He turned to look at her, and her face was etched with sympathy. "I am sorry, though, but it looked like you could use some time away from your father."

    "What do you mean?"

    "It just seems like he's overbearing, and doesn't let you do what you want."

    N hesitated, then shook his head. He pulled his knees up and laid his arms atop them. "No. He is simply trying to protect me. As a child, I was always venturing off toward one place or the other. He is only trying to keep me safe."

    She nodded, then stood. N followed her lead.

    "Right. Well, I just wanted to show you this." She smiled. "Let's go find your dad."

    She led him by the hand through the forest, backtracking from where they had come. She seemed to know where she was going, and soon the field of flowers disappeared from view, blocked by the many stout tree-trunks and plentiful leaves.

    When they finally arrived back in Vertress City, hair jumbled and full of tiny sticks, Ghetsis was waiting for them. The people had since dispersed, and the sun hung low in the sky, painting the horizon a spray of oranges and reds.

    Ghetsis stomped over to them; his face shadowed and creased with anger. He had tucked his hands into the sleeves of his robe, but N could see the ripple in the cloth where he gripped it tightly.

    N pulled his hand from Luna's grasp, bowing his head. He kept his eyes plastered to the ground. Immediately, he wanted to be anywhere, but there. He wished to hide, to run, and watching the flowers and the dancing Pokemon suddenly felt like the immature activities of a child.

    "What is the meaning of this?" Ghetsis boomed. N flinched, sparing a momentary glance at Luna. She challenged his father with determined eyes. No, Luna. Please. Please let the matter go.

    "I took N somewhere in the forest," Luna said. N grimaced. "I thought he needed a little bit of freedom."

    "You…!" Ghetsis sputtered.

    "Yup, that's right. N was trying to find you, but I forced him to come with me. It was my idea."

    A hand flung out and girdled around N's arm. His father yanked him forward, towing him away from Luna as if she were a diseased raticate.

    "Do not interfere in the affairs of our family!" Ghetsis shouted back at her. "We do not want to be associated with lawless god-for-nothings!"

    N stumbled after his father. A heavy lump sat in his throat. He did not look back at Luna.

    He did not want her to see his shame.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  11. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Eleven:
    Vertress City: King
    King turned away from the arena, tossing his Pokeball up and catching repeatedly. The sounds of cheering faded behind him with each echo of his footfalls in the long metal hallway. He grinned to himself; he'd won another battle and was now one of the four that had progressed into the semi-finals. He was doing it. He really was doing it. He'd started to question why he had ever doubted himself. All the others barely so much as strategized: they threw their Pokemon out and hoped for the best.


    He buckled the Pokeball at his waist, next to several empty ones - he'd had enough in his bank account for their small price - and moved from the arena hallway into one of the waiting rooms. A few of the participants who'd lost still lingered, some even going as far as to shed tears. King shook his head, passing one of the tables where they were allowed to sit while idling before a match. Crying wasn't going to get them anywhere. If had they relied on their logic, instead, or controlled their emotions a little more; then they might have made it farther than the second round. All they could do now was learn from their errors, but King doubted they would. Most people hated to admit when they'd made a mistake.


    Before he could leave the room, a girl stepped in front of him; arms crossed below her chest. She was tall, only a few inches shorter than he was, but she raised her nose at him like she was ten feet tall and ten times better than him. She had raven-black hair let loose around a pretty face, and such a strong scent of fruity perfume radiating off her that he figured she wore the equal of what Terrance had in cologne. He blinked. He had watched both of her battles, and based on those; she had a right to be confident: she was one of the only other ones who used strategy.


    He wrinkled his nose. "Uh, Vanessa, right? You need something from me?"


    "No, not particularly," she grunted. "I wanted to meet the man I'll be facing in the final round. You're not much up close, however."


    He raised an eyebrow, smirking. "Ah, I don't know what you were expecting: most of the greatness is up here." He tapped his temple. "At least you've noticed that none of these other people know what's going on."


    She matched his smile. "Yes, indeed. Let me give you a small tip. The brains behind our tournament here have decided the final match will be a double battle. They're going to announce that after the semi-finals, but I'm letting you know early."


    "Yeah? What's the motivation for you to do that?"


    She shrugged. "I merely want the final match before I win to be exciting. You will need to catch another Pokemon besides that zorua, and have the time to train them." She started to walk away even before she'd finished speaking.


    King followed her with his eyes as she stepped into another group's conversation. Even if she was lying, he could still benefit from an extra Pokemon. The forests outside Vertress had plenty to choose from, or so he'd heard.


    He walked from the waiting room, out into the arena hallways, then into the blazing midday sun. He rolled up his sleeves and ran a hand through his red hair, scanning his surroundings. Groups of people walked this way and that, the sounds of their chatter filling the air. The smells of food coming from various stalls and stores hung in the area. In the distance, a line of trees surrounded the city. He headed in that direction, hands in pockets.


    Vanessa used a whimsicott and a venipede: both of which she'd revealed in previous matches. A flying-type or a fire-type would be super-effective against both, but there wasn't any guarantee that she didn't have other Pokemon that could counter either typing. Vanessa was right; the two of them were going to battle, provided they didn't in the semi-finals. She had seemed so assured that they wouldn't, though. Either way, they were the two that relied on logic instead of luck or even pure-strength. That was enough to guarantee their spots in the finals. Still, while a flying-type would be extremely useful against her known Pokemon, they were both also super-effective against zorua. That would be a tough challenge to overcome.


    He stepped to the edge of the tree line. The wind sighed through the leaves. Yes, because of Vanessa, winning the tournament would be difficult, but he would win. He had to win. No matter what.


    He pushed past branches and through curled-up bushes, striding into the forest. Sunlight trickled past the canopy, splaying down onto the tangled underbrush. As he progressed further inward, he tuned his ears to the calls of Pokemon, listening for which was which. He heard mostly grass-types like pansage and the occasional sound of something like venipede. A few times, he detected the high-pitched, squealing alarm of a pidove, or a squawk from a ducklett, probably coming from a nearby lake secluded inside the trees. Neither was what he wanted: pidove wasn't strong enough - it was, at best, mediocre, even when evolved to a unfezant - and ducklett a water-type. He needed something better if he'd stand a chance against Vanessa.


    Then he heard it: the call of a rufflet.


    Right before it dived for his head.


    He stumbled backward, cursing. His back hit a nearby tree. The rufflet flapped its wings as if challenging him, all while squawking its head off. Looks like the answer to my prayers comes in the form of this feathered killer.


    It lunged for him. He rolled out of the way, groping at his waist. Dirt stuck to the fabric of his clothing, smearing over his knees and arms. He snatched the right-most Pokeball: zorua's, and chucked it in the air.


    It appeared in a flash of light, hopping onto the ground. The rufflet's attention immediately went to it, and zorua's face lit up like a kid who received a big basket of candy.


    Ooh, a fight! Wow! What is it? Looks tough to me, sir!


    "No time," King called. "Dark Pulse!"


    You got it!


    Zorua flipped backward into the air, facing rufflet. He built a Dark Pulse and let it loose in a stream of swirling energy the color of an inky black night sky.


    Rufflet dodged. Streams of white light began to whip and spin around it as it flapped its wings harder. ****. Aerial Ace. No way zoruas going to be able to dodge that.


    His Pokemon landed, eyes wide. The rufflet became a blur of speed, crashing into zorua, flinging it into the trunk of a tree. It hit with a crack and a nipped howl, then fell into a pile of leaves.


    "Zorua," King said. "Come on. Get up."


    Right, sir. I can fight, It said, wobbling to its feet. Don't worry. I'm good enough. I can fight!


    Rufflet's wings began to glow. It was preparing another move: Wing Attack.


    "Then prove it!" King said. Rufflet dove toward zorua, who gritted its teeth and planted its feet. "Foul Play!"


    It vaulted over one of the rufflet's wings. It grabbed the bird's neck-fur in between bared teeth, then whipped its head, spinning. Leaves flew, whirling into the air as zorua slammed rufflet against the ground. It didn't move.


    King smiled in satisfaction as zorua landed. He unhooked one of the empty Pokeballs and cast it at the rufflet, watching as the device pulled it in and snapped shut.


    It shook once. Zorua balked at him.


    Wait, sir! You're catching it? You didn't tell me that!


    King crossed his arms at it. "You didn't think you were going to be my only Pokemon, did you?"


    It bounded over to the Pokeball after its third shake, baring its teeth at the red and white ball. No! Don't work! Come on; you can do it! Escape! Come on, bird!


    King raised an eyebrow. The Pokeball clicked, and zorua's ears slumped in disappointment. King walked over, bent down, and grabbed the Pokeball in one hand.


    "What's wrong with having another Pokemon?" He asked, tossing the Pokeball and catching it.


    Zorua turned away from him. Nothing!


    He shrugged. "At any rate, let's meet him." He dropped the Pokeball next to zorua, and rufflet appeared, head cocked. Zorua stalked up to it.


    Hey, you listen! I was our sir's first Pokemon, so that means that he likes me better! Capeesh?


    Rufflet narrowed its eyes.


    Mhm. That is right! You just-


    Rufflet pecked zorua in the forehead. King sighed as the fighting between them progressed into a brawl. He didn't particularly care what relationship his Pokemon had with one another - they were animals, not humans - but it would be hard to get any training done with zorua continually picking a fight. He returned it to its Pokeball, and rufflet blinked, then turned to him.



    "Come on," King said. "Let's see what other moves you've got in your arsenal. There are plenty of pansage around for you to practice on."
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  12. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Twelve:
    Vertress City: N

    N wanted to hide, disappear forever, never to show his face again. He was so ashamed of himself. After everything Ghetsis had done for him, raising him into adulthood, he repaid his father by running away into the forest, leaving him worried and fretful. And what for? Luna was excellent company, but if it meant facing Ghetsis’ disappointment, then the times he spent with her were not worth it. They weren’t.


    He wished his thoughts did not sound like he was trying to convince himself.


    N slunk behind Ghetsis as they strolled together through the bustling city roads. They had finished another speech, and a small but curious crowd had gathered around them when they had done so. People were starting to recognize them, and more importantly, listen when they spoke. But, while it did make him feel extremely happy that they were making progress, his father had become more protective over him than he ever had been before. When N had wanted to explore the rest of the city, Ghetsis had agreed, but only if he went with him. Even though his father was only looking out for N’s well-being, he couldn’t help but think that he might never experience anything like the time in Accumula Town again. Where he had met Luna.


    Ghetsis turned a corner. N followed. His father scowled when a child danced by them, waving a pink balloon and giggling, but they soon resumed their walk. N tried to focus on the great sights to see, as was his original intention. The buildings, the people, and the blossoming trees that lined the paved streets. As they walked, however, his thoughts continued to slip into thinking of Luna. He speculated on which hotel she might have been staying in, or whether she, too, like all the others, enjoyed watching Pokemon injure themselves in the name of entertainment. She didn’t seem like that kind of person, but why else would she have come? Most of all, he wondered if he would ever see her again, or, if, because of how he treated her before they departed, she didn’t want to be around him anymore.


    The thought made his chest feel heavy, like a cumbersome weight settling atop it.


    His father’s voice pulled him from his reflection. The city sounds flooded in afterward as a hum of background noise.


    “About this… Luna business,” he said, casting a sideways look at N. The lines creasing his face told him that his father still wasn’t happy. “I-”


    “I’m sorry, father!” N blurted out. “I meant to apologize, and it was wrong of me not to, and also to leave you behind such as I did. I am sorry, father.”


    “Do not interrupt me, my son. You should know this by now.”


    N’s breath caught in his throat, shoulders slumping. “Yes, father.”


    “As I was saying,” Ghetsis continued, scanning the city around him with eyes like a braviary’s. “An instance like that shows me, while you are the herald that will free the Pokemon, as a person, you are still vastly immature. It is, therefore, my duty to continue to guard you and watch over you so that you don’t come to harm from people like this Luna character. The world is an evil place, my son. You would do well never to forget that.”


    N nodded hurriedly. “Of course, father. You are right.”


    They continued. N worked to banish the thoughts of Luna from his mind, but each time he did so, an image of her pretty features crept back into his thoughts like a slow plague. He shook his head, trying to clear it. He didn’t want to think of her. He did not want to. She was as evil as the rest of them. Her smiling face and cheery attitude were a facade. That was all they were.


    A flicker of movement near the tree-line caught his eye, followed by the sound of snapping twigs. He turned, and so did Ghetsis, peering past buildings. N expected to see a startled Pokemon run out, accidentally stumbling into the city while fleeing from a predator, but, instead, a man with wispy red-hair was the one to step out. Dirt stained his formal attire, and Pokeballs hung at his waist. He brushed bits of soil and tiny leaves from his shoulders, placed his hands in his pockets, and walked forward with a confident stride.


    N immediately recognized him as one of the participants in the tournament. He released the pressure in his jaw, realizing that he had been grinding his teeth.


    “Father,” N said, keeping his eyes on the trainer. The man was too absorbed in thought to notice N and his father. “May I go speak to this man? He is a trainer participating in the tournament, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I wish to see if I can change his mind about battling with Pokemon. Convincing a trainer would be a great step for me, father.”


    Ghetsis hesitated, then nodded. “Very well, my son. I will be watching.”


    N grinned. “Thank you, father.” He left Ghetsis at the street corner, but he could feel his father’s eyes on his back. N would show him what he was capable of, that he could be the son his father wanted and not someone who traipsed off to look at flowers.


    N stepped in front of the man: King, he remembered his name was. He waited until they were close to one another, then opened his mouth to speak, expecting King to stop. He did not. The red-haired man walked around him as if he were no more than a telephone pole at the sidewalk.


    N started, his cheeks staining a deep red. He circled King, stepping in front of him once more and clearing his throat.


    “Hello,” he greeted. This time, the trainer did stop and yawned as he looked at N, talking through a clenched fist. “Did you want to talk to me? I was wondering why you were standing there like a tree or something.”


    N pursed his lips. “Yes, I did want to speak with you.”


    “Alright. Well, listen, make it quick,” King pinched one section of his clothes. “I need to get this washed.”


    “I was… wondering,” N began, glancing over his shoulder, toward where Ghetsis stood watching. He shifted, standing straighter, and addressed King with more confidence. “You are a trainer. I have seen you participating in the tournament. But how can you? How can you willingly subject beautiful Pokemon like your zorua to torture? I try to understand, but I find myself unable to. Don’t you see the pain that you are causing them?”


    King scrunched his eyebrows, smirking. “What?”


    “I am serious!” N exclaimed. “How can you not see?”


    King chuckled, and then did so again, then again, louder each time until he doubled over, clutching his abdomen as his shoulders shook with laughter. The sound rang in N’s ears. He clenched his fists, feeling his face burn hotter, even as King wiped his eyes, and his laughter quieted.


    “Oh, man,” he said, one last chuckle escaping him. “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and I’ve met some pretty dumb people. You are serious, aren’t you? Wow. I didn’t think I’d be hearing that one today, that’s for sure.”


    N glared at him.


    “Listen,” King said, shaking his head. “Pokemon are tools, not humans, so we don’t treat them the same way. They’re a means to an end.”


    N balked. He could not believe what he was hearing. There were people that thought this way. They considered Pokemon nothing more than playthings to be tortured and abused. Bile rose in his throat, and his stomach churned as if he’d eaten a bad meal. Sharp, red pain pulsed through his hand, where his fingernails dug into his palm.


    “Someone like you will never win the tournament!” N shouted. “Pokemon are our friends, not… not tools!”


    King shrugged. “Yeah, alright. You can think whatever helps you sleep at night; it doesn’t make a difference to me. And, seriously, calm down. You’re getting all worked up over some philosophy. Stop trying to force it on others, then, if you’re going to act like that when people don’t agree with you.”


    N opened his mouth, struggling for the rights words to say, but all that escaped was empty air. He stomped away, desperately trying to save himself from further embarrassment.


    Lately, shame followed him wherever he went, like a stray lillipup nipping at his heels. Why did nothing work? What was he doing wrong? All he knew for certain was that King would not win the tournament. Not someone like that. Not someone who believed what he did.


    It was with slumped shoulders that he came back to Ghetsis. He didn’t look up at his father, but he knew; he could feel the disappointment radiating off him in waves.


    They walked back to their hotel in silence. I must be better. I must be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  13. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Thirteen:
    King and N: Vertress City
    It was time. The final match was here.


    King stood before the arena, waiting for the announcer to call his name as he had in all the other matches leading up to this final one. He breathed, smelling the sweat that slithered down his forehead, then exhaled through his mouth, trying to stop his heart from slamming against his chest. King would not let his nerves distract him. He would not let his emotions control him. He needed to stay calm if he was going to win.


    The semi-finals had finished. King's final opponent, as she had guessed three days before, was Vanessa. She'd won her previous match without her Pokemon getting so much as even a little scratch. King would've liked to figure that her opponent had been garbage, and that was why she'd won so quickly, but he knew it was because of her skill, and nothing else.


    The plan he'd come up with was to send both zorua and rufflet out as, well, rufflets, and Vanessa wouldn't know which was the zorua. She couldn't even know that he had a rufflet: King hadn't used it in the semi-finals match. The two of them would rush in as soon as the battle began. Hopefully, Vanessa wouldn't know which to attack. If zorua did get stuck in a position where it couldn't dodge, rufflet could always step in and take the hit. If it was a bug or grass-type move, it would barely get damaged.


    He licked sweat off his upper-lip, tasting salt. The announcer called his name. He stepped out into the arena, kicking up sand and dust with each step.


    The crowd screamed, chanting his name as he stopped a small ways away from the center of the stadium. He could practically feel the way the people stirred with excitement. Somewhere amid all of them was the person that proclaimed King could never win the tournament because he didn't love Pokemon enough. But this wasn't some TV show, planned and scripted by writers. This was real-life, where the mind ruled, not ideals.


    "And his challenger," the announcer called. "She's dominated all of her previous matches: Vanessa Rose!"


    She strode out of the opposite entrance, taking the cheers and whoops in stride. Once in front of King, she halted, hands-on-hips, smirking at him.


    He returned the look. He pushed down the fluttering in his heart. This was it: where it all began, or where it all ended.


    "King," Vanessa greeted. "We finally meet in the arena. I'll be using every tactic I know. No hard feelings, of course, but that money is already mine."


    King grunted. "Don't get too cocky now. I'm not a pushover like all the others."


    "Indeed, but it makes so difference. I've already won."


    "We'll see. I'm doing this for more than just some pieces of paper."


    She raised one of her angular eyebrows, but before she could comment, the announcer's voice rang through the microphone in his hand.


    "Now! As we previously announced, this will be a double battle! If the participants would please release their Pokemon!"


    King unstrapped his two Pokeballs. Vanessa did the same, tossing them onto the ground. Two spheres of light formed into venipede, on her right, and whimsicott to her left. Good. She was using both the same Pokemon she had in previous matches. That gave King an early advantage.


    He released his Pokeballs. Both rufflets came out, zorua on his left, and the real one on his right. Zorua looked back at him and nodded, while rufflet glared daggers at both Vanessa's Pokemon. At least the bird was ready for a challenge.


    Dust swirled. The onlookers went silent, and a tense, almost palpable feeling hung heavy in the air.


    "With further ado! Let the final match of the Beginners Vertress Tournament… begin! The first to faint all of their opponents Pokemon will win!"


    King rested his hands in his pockets, clearing his mind of any other thought other than winning. He didn't think of his father: how he might be watching, judging. How, if he lost, that man would no doubt come and find him and laugh in his face, screaming and swearing that he had told him so, that he'd been right all along.


    "Alright," King shouted, pointing. "Rufflet, run for-"


    "Whimsicott, Dazzling Gleam!"


    King froze. Dazzling Gleam? He had studied all four moves whimsicott knew. Dazzling Gleam wasn't supposed to be one of them. But she would hit her venipede, too.


    Whimsicott started to glow, auras around its body shimmering with rainbow light. ****! Venipede is a poison-type! It doesn't matter if it gets hit.


    His plan was collapsing already.


    "Rufflet," King said, keeping his voice level. "Protect zorua."


    The bird looked back at him, then to zorua. It narrowed its eyes and didn't make a single move.


    King tsked, raising a hand to shield his eyes from the glowing light. If he didn't act, they'd both get hit by spheres of fairy energy. "Rufflet, Aerial Ace on whimsicott!"


    It bolted forward, white streamers of light stirring the air around it. Whimsicott flashed brighter. Vanessa smiled.


    "You have revealed who is the real rufflet, King. Venipede, Venoshock on rufflet!"


    "Rufflet, dodge! Zorua-"


    Whimsicott released the light. King pulled back, shutting his eyes and throwing an arm over them. The crowd roared. When the light dissipated, King blinked, looking around hurriedly. Zorua, back in its original form, struggled to a stand, legs shaky and teeth gritted. Rufflet flew in the air, reeling from the attack. Before King could react, venipede, who was barely affected by Dazzling Gleam, released a spray of poison toward rufflet.


    "Whimsicott, Cotton Spore," Vanessa called.


    King growled. "Tail Wind!"


    Rufflet dodged the sprays of poison, then flapped its wings, creating gales that whirled around Vanessa's Pokemon. The wind slapped the rest of the poison back, left to coat the ground, and whimsicotts spores were blown to the opposite end of the arena, failing in their use. Sand spun.


    King breathed, chest heaving already. Sweat stained his face. As rufflet's gales subsided, King wiped some of it away with the back of his arm.


    Rufflet returned beside zorua, who had regained its composure and looked about ready to pounce.


    "A heart-pounding beginning!" The announcer cried. "It looks like our competitors are squaring off for round two, but King has come out much worse for wear than Vanessa!"


    I need another plan. Now. She completely foiled my first one.


    "You see, King," Vanessa said. "I will win."


    Plan. I need a plan. Something that can capitalize on both zorua's illusion ability and rufflet's keen eye.


    He watched the last stream of sand from rufflet's Tail Wind fall back to the ground. Got it.


    Vanessa smirked at him another time. He smiled back.


    And again, they started to battle.


    "Whimsicott, Razor Leaf!"


    "Tail Wind!"


    Rufflet took to the air, using Tail Wind. Leaves scattered around the battlefield.


    "Aerial Ace on whimsicott!"


    Rufflet plunged forward. Venipede skittered in front of whimsicott.


    "Venipede, Protect."


    A shimmering wall appeared in front of the two Pokemon. Rufflet attempted to slow to a stop, but was too late, and slammed beak-first into the wall. It flapped backward, squawking.


    The barrier disappeared. "Venipede, Venoshock on zorua."


    "Zorua, dodge, and use Extrasensory! Rufflet, Wing Attack on whimsicott!"


    "Cotton Spore."


    The battlefield exploded into motion. A spray of poison launched toward zorua, who sprinted forward, weaving through the splotches. Rufflet dove for whimsicott, wings glowing. Zorua leaped, spinning, releasing a beam of multi-colored energy at venipede.


    "Venipede, Protect!"


    The beam deflected into the sand. Zorua landed on the ground, careful not to step in poison, and whimsicott bounced away from rufflet, whose wings snagged at the balls of cotton hanging in the air. It fell to the ground.


    King clenched his fists. His lips were dry, his tongue like sandpaper.


    Both of her Pokemon turned to zorua, who stood in between them. Rufflet furiously plucked the cotton out of its wings with its beak.


    Vanessa sniffed. "Whimsicott, Moonblast on zorua! Venipede, Bug Bite!"


    A ball of light coalesced in front of whimsicott. Venipede skittered forward.


    "Rufflet, fly next to zorua, and use Tail Wind into the sand!"


    Venipede neared. Rufflet spiraled forward, wings clear of cotton, and hovered next to zorua. Dust kicked up everywhere when it used Tail Wind, stirring up a cloud that obscured all the Pokemon. It was time to use his plan.


    "The battlefield had fallen under a cloud of sand!" The announcer cheered. "What will happen now?"


    "Zorua, transform into whimsicott!" King yelled. "Rufflet! Lift whimsicott into the air!"


    The cloud of dust stilled. A blink later and rufflet spun outward, trailing sand off its wings. It held whimsicott in its talons.


    "That's obviously zorua!" He heard Vanessa call.


    "Zorua, Extrasensory!"


    The whimsicott above didn't move. Vanessa balked, then stuttered out an order. "Whimsicott, Dazzling Gleam!"


    Come on, zorua. You can hit the venipede. King couldn't see anything from within the cloud. Vanessa was too focused on rufflet to remember to call Protect, but zorua would have to guess where venipede stood based on where it'd been before. Come on!


    Above, whimsicott began to glow again. "Rufflet, drop whimsicott, and use Aerial Ace when it's in the air!"


    Whimsicott toppled downward. Inside the dust glowed. Rufflet spun back around, preparing an Aerial Ace. It flew, closer and closer. Dazzling Gleam was almost finished.


    King swallowed hard, eyes wide. Come on, come on, come on.


    Whimsicott released its move. Rufflet dove for it. The crowd sat with bated breaths, watching, waiting.


    King shifted. The next moment, venipede flew out from the cloud of stirred sand, skidding along the ground. Vanessa whipped her head to look at it, gasping.


    Whimsicott crashed to the floor. Rufflet hovered above it, flinched, and then topped as well, its wings failing it. Dazzling Gleam had hit.


    "I don't believe it!" The announcer said. "All three Pokemon are down!"


    When the dust and sand settled, zorua still stood, breathing heavily, eyes squeezed shut. It had remembered where venipede was and hit it. More importantly, it was still standing.


    The crowd yelled so loud it sounded like rumbling thunder. King fell to his knees, turning his head to the sky.


    I won.


    Zorua bounded to him, running around in circles, hopping up and down with overjoyed excitement.


    We did it, sir! We did it! It ran onto his lap and started licking his face. A memory of a lillipup, doing the same thing as he lay laughing, flashed into his mind. He patted zorua and pushed the memory away. It wasn't the time to think about that.


    King pushed himself to a stand, placing zorua by his heels.


    "Both Vanessa's Pokemon are unable to battle! That means-"


    "It means nothing!" Vanessa growled, interrupting the announcer. She placed her hand behind her back, then outstretched it, and in her grasp was another Pokeball. Dread surged through King's chest. He took a step back. ****.


    She released the Pokeball and out came a pignite, kicking up sand as it stomped on the ground.


    "Vanessa has a third Pokemon?" The announcer said. "I'll tell you now, folks, as much as I wasn't expecting that, it's completely legal, even for a double battle! The max amount of Pokemon is three!"


    King growled."I should have thought of that," he said. "I should have been the one with that strategy."


    Sir?


    "I told you," Vanessa boasted, crossing her arms. "My victory is assured unless you had the foresight to capture a third Pokemon. No? A shame."


    Zorua stepped in front of him. I don't care, sir! I'll fight!


    "Goddammit," King said, turning his head. "I got so close."


    Don't stop now, sir! Please, trust me. I can do this!


    King gave it a sideways look, opened his mouth, then hesitated, closing it again. He grunted. "You're right. I've come this far, so there'd be no point in stopping now."


    Exactly! But I'll fight only if you make me pancakes after.


    "Why not," King smirked, shaking his head. "If we win, you can have all the pancakes you've ever wanted, and then some."


    Yay!


    "I hope you're finished talking to yourself," Vanessa said.


    King nodded. "Indeed."


    "Now we have round three! Could this match get any more exciting?"


    King planted his feet. His heartbeat like a drum in his ears. Hot sweat trickled down his temple. A spray of it had plastered his clothes to his skin.


    He closed his eyes, breathed in deeply, then opened them again.


    "Extrasensory," he called.


    Pignite dodged without an order from Vanessa, who also had to dive away from the rainbow beam. Pignite barreled forward, snorting and stomping.


    "Let's try out that technique we practiced on the way to Vertress, zorua," King whispered. Vanessa rose to a stand, grumbling.


    You got it!


    "Zorua, transform into pignite!"


    It did so, then charged toward Vanessa's Pokemon. She growled, and pignite stumbled back, confused.


    The two Pokemon slammed into each other, locking arms.


    "Pignite, Arm Thrust!"


    Her Pokemon reeled one of its arms back.


    "Transform!"


    The strike met empty air as zorua morphed back into itself, too low on the ground to be hit.


    "Pignite, Flame Charge!"


    Tongues of flame sparked around pignite, then erupted into a sphere of fire that wreathed around it. It charged zorua.


    "Transform into tynamo!"


    Zorua slithered in its tiny form past pignite's legs, who snorted in confusion, stopping.


    "Extrasensory!"


    "Pignite, behind you! Flame Charge!"


    Pignite spun. Zorua released its attack. Pignite raged through the beam and slammed into zorua, reverting it into its true form.


    It catapulted into the wall, hitting with a thud and a yelp.


    "Zorua takes the first hit, even after striking pignite! On top of that, its already damaged from whimsicott's Dazzling Gleam!"


    Zorua curled into itself, hacking and reeling from the pain. Pignite stomped forward, the flames around it disappearing.


    "Zorua, get up!"


    "Pignite. End this with Arm Thrust."


    Pignite stood over zorua, pulling a fist back, preparing to strike. King looked away, his heart sinking.


    A slam echoed through the arena.


    The wind gusted through King's hair. He opened his eyes. Pignite looked around in confusion. There was a crack in the wall, but zorua wasn't there.


    The ground in front of King's feet broke. He looked down, mouth open.


    A drilbur burst through the sand and crawled onto the hard ground, slumping, breathing heavy.


    "Amazing!" The announcer cheered above the crowd. "Zorua transformed into drilbur to escape, using its claws!"


    King chuckled as zorua morphed, still laying on the ground.


    "You crazy son of a *****," he said.


    I'll keep fighting, sir. It struggled to stand. I'm good enough.


    Vanessa roared, pointing at zorua and King. "Pignite! Heat Crash!"


    Waves of heat poured away from pignite as it became embroiled in another sphere of fire. It leaped into the air. Zorua looked at King.


    "Alright," King said. "We've got to end this right now. Heat Crash is a powerful move since pignite is so much heavier than you are, understand? That means there's only one move we can use."


    It nodded. Pignite rocketed toward them.


    "Foul Play!"





    N lurched to his feet. Many of the others around him did the same. This could not be happening.


    The dust in the arena settled. Tears filled the edges of N's eyes. Pignite lay face down in the sand, and zorua stood victorious. The battle had scattered the other Pokemon in the arena, leaving them motionless. Lifeless, like a trees abandoned leaves.


    The people screamed King's name. N wiped away a stray tear. He cried for the injured Pokemon. He cried for the ignorant populace that relished in the Pokemons wounds.


    He cried because a man like King had won.


    Ghetsis laid on a hand on his shoulder. "It is time, my son."


    N nodded. He slid away from his seat, jostling past people with their arms in the air. He stalked down the stairs, to the railing a few feet above the arena. Security watched him uncertainly.


    He leaped over the railing. The guards shouted after him as he landed, interrupting the announcer in mid-speech. Pain bristled through N's calves, but he did not care. He stomped forward, tears drying as rage built inside of him.


    The crowd turned silent. King and the announcer watched him with eyebrows raised, while Vanessa had sunken to her knees, head hung low. N ignored the startled announcer and ripped the microphone from his hand.


    "How can you all sit there and cheer!" He shouted into the microphone. "How can you watch and not be disgusted with yourselves? Pokemon are innocent creatures, and yet you scream with excitement when they are injured!"


    He gestured to all the fallen Pokemon, spittle flying from his mouth. "Look around you! The government absorbs your attention with these battles, in the hopes that you will buy more Pokeballs and potions and tickets to tournaments so that they may be more powerful!"


    Security poured from the arena entrances, racing toward him. "Do you see? They try and prevent me from opening your eyes! They do it because-"


    Hands caught his shoulders, slamming him to the ground. He clutched the microphone as if it were his lifeline, uncaring of the sand that filled his mouth.


    "Because they know… I am right! Open your eyes! Do not be manipulated! Release your Pokemon so that they be happy!"


    The security ripped the device from his hands and began to drag him away.


    They could not stop him. He was more affirmed in his goal than ever before. If someone like King could win, someone like that, then this world needed changing.


    N would see to that himself.






    King exited the stadium; a briefcase of one million Pokedollars in his hand, Pokeballs strapped at his waist.


    He'd won. That green-haired man, who'd stomped into the arena, had interrupted them, but King was still declared the winner. The man had spouted nonsense, but his eyes had burned with such intense fire that the crowd had frozen where they stood. Even King did. If nothing else, the guy had believed what he said, even though it was rubbish.


    King stepped forward into the city, heading for the Pokemon center. Release your Pokemon, he'd said. King was about to do that exact opposite. Finally, he was a trainer. Winning the tournament banished any semblance of doubt he had left.


    It was time to challenge his first gym.

     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  14. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    End of Act One
    I'm just putting this here to mark where Act One of the story ends. To anybody reading it, I hope you've enjoyed so far! :) Things are about to get extra spicy, hehe.
     
  15. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Fourteen:
    Vertress City: N

    The bars of N’s prison were like thin tree trunks, corrupted, and grayed. They stretched up from the ground, the rust their bark. N slouched against them, gripping with white-knuckles, feeling the cold metal dig into his forehead as he pressed it on the cell.


    They had thrown him into a temporary prison for the simple act of proclaiming his beliefs to the populace. He did not know how long they were going to keep him there before a trial in court. He did not know, and that was what made his heart wrench in his chest. How long were they going to keep him jailed and imprisoned, like a Pokemon in a Pokeball? He wanted, needed, to be out in the world, convincing the people that the government was controlling them so that it could feed off the revenue from Pokemon battles. For N, being inside the prison was worse than death itself. He couldn’t be productive toward his purpose in life and had to suffer, not able to do anything but sit, day after horrible day.


    He tore himself away from the bars, placing his back against the hard, gray stone wall. He hugged his knees to his chest, shivering. It was cold in prison, despite the season outside being in the middle of a warm summer. The walls and gloom absorbed any ounce of heat, stealing it away from those imprisoned. The only light came from one ceiling lamp outside his cell, and the identical ones outside each other cell, which made the cage bars cast black shadows over him. He heard the sound of the other prisoners in separate pens, heard them cough and shuffle, along with the footfalls of an approaching policeman. N glared at the man as he passed, but he did not seem to notice.


    It was people like that constrained N and prevented him from accomplishing his goal.


    But he knew his father would come for him. No matter what happened, Ghetsis would not leave N to rot and decay any longer inside the cell. If I don’t get out of here soon… I think I may go mad.


    He tossed his head back, glaring at the ceiling. I cannot be in here, not for one... more... second!


    A crash sounded above him. The lamp outside his cell shook, creaking back and forth. N jolted to a stand, grasping the bars. Some of the others yelled in surprise, calling out questions that went unanswered.


    It was his father. It had to be. But why had his father let them capture him? Why did he wait for days to come?


    The noise above drifted away to silence until N could hear only the confused murmurs of his fellow inmates. He stirred as half a minute passed, then one in full, and then another. He found himself giving up hope again. It was as if each moment he spent behind those connected rods of metal, was another they sapped more and more from him. Father is here; he tried to tell himself, he is coming for-


    Another blast erupted, followed by a cry and the sound of clanging metal. Footsteps echoed down the stairs to the prison. They drew closer. Closer, closer. Prisoners gaped or growled as a shadow stretched and then shrunk as it moved toward N.


    Ghetsis stepped in front of his cell. He held a rack of keys in one hand, that jingled as he began to unlock the cage.


    N’s heart swelled in his chest. He beamed.


    “Father!” He said as the door swung open. “It’s you! I knew-”


    “No time, my son,” Ghetsis interrupted, beckoning N to follow him back the way he had come. “We must leave here before more in the police force arrive.”


    They jogged the dimly lit hallway. N had never seen his father run so fast. At the concrete stairs leading upward, bodies in blue uniform lay scattered at the steps, unmoving, unconscious, or…


    Dead.


    N scrambled up after his father, adrenaline pounding through his veins. He didn’t dare look back at the faces of those they passed. “Father… how did you…”


    They arrived at the police station’s upper floor. Night seeped in through broken windows, their shards glinting in the moonlight. “There is no time,” Ghetsis growled. “I will explain later.”


    They passed shadowed lumps collapsed against tables, and on the floor, some N had to step over, some covered in shelves-worth of discarded paper like so many leaves. He rubbed a hand against a section of wall, covered in spots of flaking soot. N smelled the stench of something burning and plugged his nose against the awful, acidic stench. What was that?


    Ghetsis led him outside, into Vertress City, where the smell no longer stained the air. Sirens blared in the distance. Had his father used Pokemon? No. No, no, no. N refused to believe that could be a possibility. It must have been some technology developed by one of the Seven Sages. Yes. That was it.


    His father yanked him by the arm, and they darted into the forest, into a symphony of Pokemon calls. When they were at a distance Ghetsis deemed to be safe enough, they crouched and rested against the trees, breathing heavily. Their gasps sounded like echoes in the night above the sirens that had faded into the distance.


    “The people…” Ghetsis breathed. It must have been incredibly difficult for him to run in his robe. “Have answered.”


    “They have, father? That’s excellent news! What have they said? What action have they taken?”


    Ghetsis rose to his feet, brushing dirt off his robe. N stood as well. “There are some who have expressed similar views to our own. We must establish an organization for these like-minded individuals to gather, my son, with you as the face - the rallying call - behind their cause.


    N nodded without a moment’s hesitation. He was ready. He had seen all he needed to see. He had witnessed people like King, how the government rewarded his awfulness.


    “You realize, my son,” Ghetsis continued. “That after this day, you will be a wanted criminal.”


    That, however, did make N hesitate. He did not like the idea of committing crimes, but he would do whatever it took to see his goal come to fruition as he had always wanted.


    “I see, father. I understand. What will you name this organization?”


    Ghetsis peered past the black trees. N could barely hear the sirens, but surely the police would be looking for them. N was not worried. His father always knew how to escape a sticky situation.


    His father looked back at him. “Team Plasma, my son. We shall call it Team Plasma.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  16. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Fifteen:
    N's Castle: N

    The palace doors sealed shut behind N and his father. They moved through the small antechamber, which was empty and without light, but which N loved the sight of all the same. He breathed in the familiar scent of dust and smiled at the walls. It felt good to arrive home finally, but he didn't want to stay for too long. There were no wrongs to right here.

    Ghetsis unveiled a hand from his robe and pushed open the dark, wooden doors to the main chamber, stepping through. N followed. The light of the many chandeliers greeted them.

    The room was large; the walls painted over with chipped, red paint. There were doors to the right and left that served as entry to the many zigzagging corridors. A wide, marble staircase at the far wall led to the upper floor, which was railed by balustrades and columns. At the foot of the stairs, both of his sisters were waiting for them.

    They beamed at N.

    "Anthea! Concordia!" He ran to them, footfalls echoing against the marble floor, and hugged them both in a tight embrace. They smelled faintly of a fruity perfume, as they always had.

    "We're so happy to see you, N," Anthea said.

    "How have you been?" Concordia asked. He released them, unable to stop the edges of his lips from pulling upward.

    "I'm well," he said, squeezing their shoulders. "Very well."

    Anthea's smile lessened, and she shared an uneasy look with her sister. N frowned. What had he said?

    "Is something the matter?" He asked.

    Concordia shook her head, then took N's hand from her shoulder and squeezed it comfortingly. "No. Of course not, N. We're so happy to see you again. Why don't you come to the kitchens, and we'll see you fed?"

    He shook his head. "Father says the Sages will gather for a meeting. I am to join them." He stepped to the side so that they could look at Ghetsis, where he stood patiently in the center of the room.

    They bowed. "Father," they said in unison.

    He stepped forward. "Anthea, inform the sages that we have arrived. Tell them they are to assemble in the throne room. Concordia, see that you prepare it."

    They nodded and hurried up the stairs. Anthea looked over her shoulder at N, and he offered a small wave before Ghetsis turned to address him.

    "We will be discussing the future of the newly created Team Plasma," his father said, "and the plan for convincing more of the populace. Furthermore, whether we will begin freeing the Pokemon through force, intimidation, or continued persuasion."

    N cocked his head as they started up the steps. "Force, father?"

    "Yes," he said, his tone dry. "It may be necessary to capture the Pokemon from ignorant trainers who do not listen to our cause and release them peacefully. Once we have obtained them, we would then release them to the wild."

    N opened his mouth, then closed it again. He supposed it was possible that using violence, the person, or, worse, the Pokemon, might be injured, but he trusted Ghetsis' judgment, and he would take any step toward furthering his goal, even if that meant using force. He was, after all, a criminal, and so perhaps it was necessary.

    They arrived at the top of the steps, where the landing split into two pathways leading left and right. There was no noise except for their muted footsteps on the carpet as they turned right.

    His thoughts churned. He wondered about his goal, but as he did so, Luna kept slipping into his mind. He pushed an image of her away. She was gone. There was no use in thinking of her anymore. But why couldn't he stop? He had no time for relationships like the one he'd had with her, which would only harm him in the end, as Ghetsis made clear. No time. And, besides, if being with her did not further his ambitions, then there was no point to it.

    They turned again and came to the throne room, where the door stood ajar. Ghetsis led N inside. Below the dais, where the ornate throne sat, Concordia had arranged wooden chairs in a circle. A number of the Sages had already arrived: Bronius, Gorm, and Rood. Gorm noticed them enter and shuffled his way over.

    He dipped his head to Ghetsis. "My Lord Ghetsis. It is so good to see you again! I have heard things have gone, ah, very good. No, indeed, I have seen it."

    Ghetsis nodded and moved around Gorm, where he exchanged terse words with the other Sages already seated. Gorm followed him with his eyes, jaw unhinged, then startled himself from staring and bowed to N.

    "My Lord N," he said. He was a short man with a drooping gray mustache that hung past his jowls. N had always liked him. He worked hard to please Ghetsis, and N could do nothing but respect the Sage because of that.

    He smiled. "Gorm. Have things been well?"

    He raised his head and nodded hastily. "Oh, yes, My Lord. Very, thank you." His eyes darted about nervously, but then, he had been like that for as long as N could remember, and the Sages had been around since he was a boy.

    "Shall we join the others, Gorm?" N asked, gesturing toward the group.

    "Oh, ah, yes, Lord N. Yes."

    N nodded.

    They walked together to the ring of chairs, where Bronius and Rood sat with Ghetsis. Each Sage wore a robe of their own, like Ghetsis', though none nearly as intricately designed. It was only proper, he thought, since Ghetsis was their leader. Bronius was a heavy-set man, whose bulk strained against his robe, and Rood a stark contrast: slim and composed.

    N said his greetings and sat next to his father. Gorm placed himself where he had been previously: beside Bronius.

    The room was filled with dry coughing and sniffing as they awaited the arrival of the remaining Sages. Each was much older than N, and while he highly respected all of them for their dedication, they tended to make a great deal of noise, even when not talking. Not his father, of course, and perhaps not Rood, who both remained composed and patient.

    N relaxed in his seat, and the three other Sages eventually trickled in and took their places. Giallo was first, then Ryoku, and lastly arrived Zinzolin. When each settled themselves, Ghetsis stood and folded his arms inside the sleeves of his robe.

    "We are starting upon a new path," he said. "We are now part of the group Team Plasma. We will be discussing the best approach to releasing all Pokemon from the bonds of servitude." He sat.

    "Recruitment is progressing nicely," Rood said. "Lord N's incursions in society have garnered much attention from the general public. Government agents and special police forces have, as expected, attempted to stop me, but I have dealt with many of them accordingly. The Unova leaders are wary of our… revolution."

    "As they should be," Bronius said. "But where will the grunts stay? Don't tell me we're flooding the castle with them.

    Ghetsis turned to him. "The majority will stay where they are and be contacted when I wish them to carry out assignments. We will have a presence in each town and city, and eyes everywhere."

    The group nodded their assent. Gorm leaned forward, mustache shaking as he spoke. "I, ah, have a proposal, My Lord Ghetsis."

    "Speak."

    His gaze fluttered about. "The homeless, My Lord," he said. "There are an, ah, exceedingly great many of them in the major cities. What if we were to give them food and shelter, here in the castle, in exchange for their service?"

    Zinzolin scowled. "I'll not have the grubby and dirt-stained around me," he said. To N, his voice sounded like two pieces of gravel rubbing together. He had a pinched face lined with deep creases. N tried to find good things to like about the Sage, but he found it difficult, at times.

    "The decision does not rest in your hands, Zinzolin," Ghetsis said. Zinzolin grunted.

    "I think it is a great idea," N chimed in. "Perhaps I could even see to it myself, father?"

    "No, my son," he answered. "After the business in Vertress City with the girl and your criminal status, I will not risk it. You will be able to boost the morale of our subordinates by showing yourself to those already recruited, but that is all you will have to do with recruitment."

    "Business with the girl?" Rood asked. "What do you mean?"

    The eyes in the room shifted to look at N. He met their gazes in turn, trying to hold steady, but he felt his cheeks stain red. He had not meant to escape with Luna. He hadn't.

    "It does not matter," Ghetsis said. "We are straying from the topic at hand. Your idea is possible, Gorm, and while I do not wish to have any more of them around me, as Zinzolin said, it is feasible and beneficial. There is an issue, however, in that we do not have the supplies to feed them."

    "We can always farm the nearby land," Ryoku said: a gaunt man with a high-pitched voice. "We haven't in, well, ages, as I recall, because of the lack of manpower, but that shouldn't be a problem if we task it with some of these recruits."

    Ghetsis was still for a moment, the creases of his forehead indicating that he was thinking on it when eventually he nodded his agreement. "Very well. There are no objections other than that of Bronius and Zinzolin? You will both live with this, whether it suits you or not, as I will."

    Bronius grunted, and Zinzolin's scowl deepened. When none of the others voiced an objection, Gorm exhaled and grinned proudly. N could not help but smile at the look.

    "Furthermore, Ghetsis," Rood said, "I believe we should consider, now that we are beginning to acquire a collection of supporters, becoming a more aggressive force. A more proactive one."

    "Go on."

    Rood cleared his throat. "Lord N has successfully opened the populace's eyes, as I did mention earlier, but now that we have their attention, we must hold it, or risk falling back to the shadow. We must strive for bigger, for more. I propose we begin to ransack certain places, stealing the Pokemon held there and disrupting the order of Unova. Only then will we be most persuasive."

    "You suggest we create anarchy?" Ghetsis asked.

    "Indeed."

    "I have thought the same."

    "Agreed," Bronius said.

    All of the Sages progressively murmured their mutual agreement. They seemed intent on the idea, and N had no objections. If that was their desired plan, then he, too, wanted to be a part of it.

    "I get we're all bent on saving Pokemon," Zinzolin growled, startling N from his thoughts. "But I've heard tales of powerful legendary beasts. If we were to harness their power, then-"

    "No!" N shouted, standing. "That goes against all we stand for."

    Zinzolin scoffed. "You're naive. The servitude of two greater Pokemon will allow us to free all the lesser ones."

    "It is not right," N flared. He met Zinzolin's cold gaze. He would not back down, not when the issue involved Pokemon.

    "Sit, my son. I will not base the future of this organization off of idle rumor."

    Zinzolin tsked. N seated himself but turned to address Ghetsis.

    "Father," he said. "If we are beginning to act, really act, please allow me to perform some of the duties. Allow me to lead our members on attacks."

    Ghetsis pursed his lips. "No, my son. I cannot risk you. It is not the right time."

    "Please," N said. At times, his father's care went too deep, even though N loved him for it. "I do not care about my life, only about freeing Pokemon. Father, if you will not allow me to participate in recruitment, allow me this."

    "N is, ah, the face of our organization, My Lord Ghetsis," Gorm said, glancing at N. "If… he participates in these activities; it will only further spread his name, yes? Therefore more will be willing to rally behind our Lord, and he will gather, ah, more attention about himself."

    "I do not see the harm in it," Rood shrugged. "He has the zealousness of youth. I say, let him go."

    Ghetsis scowled at them, and Gorm flinched. Eventually, however, his father sighed and nodded. N beamed.

    "Thank you, father. I will not disappoint." He leaned back in his chair. The conversation around him continued, but he listened with only half an ear, stirring and shifting in his seat. He was too excited to sit still. He wanted to leave the castle that very instant and begin to make his mark on the world. Team Plasma would start to free Pokemon, and people would learn the errors of the society in which they lived.

    N was at the center of it. He had never wanted to lead or even participate in criminal activities, not before, but things had changed. He had changed.

    And now it was time for Unova to do the same. He fidgeted until the meeting was over, and the Sages dispersed, each going their separate ways. For the remainder of the day, N found himself not able to relax, and he slept for a short time only when day turned to night. In the morning, he rushed to meet his father, and together they set off.

    Back out into the world.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  17. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Sixteen
    Opelucid City: King
    "Dark Pulse."

    Zorua spun, leaping in the air. Drayden's axew shielded itself with its arms, but it was too weak to provide any real resistance.

    The move hit, knocking it back onto the gym's metallic flooring with a thump. It didn't get up afterward.

    "Axew is unable to battle," the ref called. "King wins!"

    He smirked. Zorua bounded up to him, grinning like a fool.

    We did it! Woo!

    "Yup," King said. He held out a Pokeball, and zorua disappeared inside it. He hooked the device back on his waist. "That we did."

    Drayden returned his Pokemon to its Pokeball, then started to walk toward King. The dragon-type gym leader was jacked with rippling muscle, even in his old age, and had a snow-white beard that covered his lips. For someone who looked so fierce, though, the battle hadn't even lasted five minutes. King knew the gym leaders changed what Pokemon they used based on how many gym badges the challenger had, but, still. That was a walk in the park.

    "Nicely executed, son," Drayden said, holding out a veined hand. King eyed it, then shrugged and took it in a handshake.

    "Thanks," he said. He took his hand away, and in it gleamed the black and gold Legend Badge. "Are all gyms this easy?"

    Drayden grunted. "No. There's only so far someone can get on strength and intelligence alone."

    "You sure about that, old man?" King chuckled. "Those are pretty much the only two factors that determine the outcome of a Pokemon battle. That combination was what allowed me to beat, not just you, but win the whole Vertress Tournament."

    The gym leader eyed him up and down. King was about to say something when Drayden turned on his heel and started on his way. King blinked.

    "You'll see, son," Drayden said as he walked. "One of those gym leaders will open your eyes sooner or later. Shame it couldn't be me."

    King frowned as the man disappeared behind a sliding glass door that led further into the gym. What did Drayden know that he didn't? King was all for learning new things, but what could be a factor besides the trainer's intelligence and the strength of his Pokemon?

    He turned, heading for the gym exit. The trainer's determination? Typing advantage, too, but that counts under intelligence.

    He shrugged, eying the badge in his palm. He pinned it to his shirt.

    It didn't matter, in the end. At the rate he was going, he'd be at the Pokemon league in the blink of an eye. No battles lost, yet. If he'd started way back when, chances were he'd already be the Champion of the whole damn region.

    The doors slid shut behind him as he stepped out onto the streets of Opelucid City. The orange sun hid behind the tall, black buildings that reminded him of Castelia City. The people, too, were the same, all bustling about wearing skirts or suits and holding black briefcases. Bronze painted the sky, and the clouds flared with reds and oranges under the setting sun. Wind whipped at his hair as he started down the sidewalk.

    Both zorua and rufflet were performing well, though neither had evolved. He figured it was about time for a third Pokemon. Wonder what the best-

    "Wow! Are you King?"

    He stopped. His eyebrows furrowed themselves into knots. Who in the?

    He glanced over his shoulder and didn't immediately see anyone until he looked down. A kid, probably around six or seven, stared at him with wide eyes, hands clasped before himself. A little ways away, a man waved at him and watched. Probably the kid's father.

    King spun and squatted down. "Yeah, sure, that's me. Do I know you?"

    "You're the trainer with the zorua with the rip in its ear, right?"

    King grunted. "Yep."

    The kid squealed. "Can I see him?"

    King eyed him, taking zorua's Pokeball from his waist. Probably knows me from the tournament. Well, can't say it isn't nice to be admired, eh?

    He held out the Pokeball. "Alright. Here. Go on and throw it."

    Amazingly, the kid's eyes got even wider. He took the device in both hands as if it were the greatest thing he'd ever held in his life.

    "What… what should I say?"

    "Hm. Zorua, I choose you!"

    The kid danced on his feet. "Okay, okay, here I go!" He threw the Pokeball, away from any people. "Zorua, I choose you!"

    Zorua appeared. It looked around curiously.

    "It's like I'm an actual trainer!" The kid beamed.

    King stood and ushered zorua over. "Damn straight, bud. Er, I mean, yeah, it is!"

    Hey, sir! Whose this? Hi! Who're you?

    The kid squeaked with excitement, again, when he realized zorua could talk. King let them do their thing as the father came over to introduce himself.

    "Hey, thanks for that," he said. "Brandon's a big fan of yours ever since we saw you in the tournament. Come on, Brandon, let's leave the good man alone."

    He waved to King with one hand and took his son's hand in the other. They walked away into the crowd, the kid bubbling over how much he wanted a zorua, and the dad promising he'd find him one and let him have it all to himself.

    What's with the look, sir? Sad he paid more attention to yours truly?

    King grunted. "Yeah, right. Come on, let's go."

    Zorua hopped onto his shoulder and made himself comfy. King joined the stream of people and noise moving down the street.

    We're we going, sir?

    "Gym battle. I beat the first, so, as it goes, we're off…"

    He froze. People shouldered past him, cursing. The flow eventually curved around him, but he wasn't paying any attention: he was looking up at a big flat-screen TV on the side of one of the buildings.

    Sir?

    "Hold on," King said. "Listen."

    "… Reports say that the man at the head of these recent break-ins," the news lady announced, "is the same perpetrator who escaped from a temporary holding cell in Vertress City mere days ago, leaving behind a nearly destroyed police station in his wake. Police first arrested him for leaping into the arena at the end of a government-sponsored tournament, stealing a microphone, and proclaiming that all Pokemon are suffering. His current whereabouts are unknown, but police are working tirelessly at the scene…"

    A picture flashed across the screen. A mug shot of a man with long green hair. It was him.

    Hey! I remember him! Zorua said.

    King nodded. "Looks like he's starting to take action. How stupid can you be? All to save Pokemon when they don't even need saving." He started walking again.

    You think they'll catch him, sir? Red-handed?

    "Dunno. Doesn't matter. I'm focusing on one thing and one thing only."

    He glanced at the screen, then turned his attention forward, ignoring the news. "Come on. I've got another gym badge to win."
     
  18. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Seventeen
    Opelucid City: N
    N observed the gym from the shadows of a nearby alleyway. Fluorescent light spilled from its glass windows, bathing the street, but the shroud of night prevented him from being seen his small distance away. Around him, the buildings of Opelucid City rose, opaque towers of black, with illuminated windows as pinpricks of light on their inky surfaces. The city breathed with noise from afar, but not from nearby: there were not many people outside the gym. The night air was warm and sticky with moisture. N tugged at the color of his black shirt.



    "He must not see you, my son," Ghetsis said to him. The other members of Team Plasma crowded around his father, both of them wearing dark clothing to shield themselves from view. "Drayden is powerful, as much as I loathe to admit it. If he discovers you before you capture the Pokemon, he will loose them on you. Nevertheless, I have provided something that may yet aid you should you need it. Do not fear its use. Am I understood?"



    "Yes, father."



    Ghetsis looked to the two others, Emile and Julia. They each nodded their agreement.



    "Good," Ghetsis said. "I will be waiting for you where we discussed earlier. Do not fail me."



    His father took to the streets. N looked again at the gym. Ghetsis was gone; it was up to N.



    Julia nudged him on the shoulder. She unzipped a backpack and pried it open. N turned and looked inside.



    Inside was a pistol.



    "Damn," Emile whispered, peering in. "Where the hell did your father get that?"



    "I… do not know," N said, then shook his head. Tentatively, he took the weapon, examining it. Could a thing this small be so dangerous? "There is only one?"



    "Yeah," Julia said.



    "I will take it. My father wishes, above all else, for us to be safe, but I do not think he thinks we'll have to use it. It is a precautionary measure, I'm sure."



    They nodded.



    "Alright, let's go already," Julia said, slinging the pack over her shoulders. She was undoubtedly an eager one; N could tell it by her tone and the way her expression changed when she spoke of Pokemon. Not that it was a bad thing. "Steal this guy's Pokemon, right? Easy."



    "Gyms are always unlocked," Emile said. "I guess because nobody ever thinks of breaking into one, you know? Everyone admires them and everything. Oh, and there's not much to take, anyway. Unless you're us."



    Julia glared at him. "How do you know that?"



    N looked at him as well.



    Emile glanced between them, then shrugged. "I… used to be a trainer for a gym. You know, one of the supporting people?"



    "You were a trainer?" N spat.



    "Woah, woah," he said, holding up his hands in a pacifying gesture. "That was a long time ago. And, don't worry, it showed me that being a trainer is wrong. I couldn't stand to watch the Pokemon get injured anymore. That's why I'm here, N. Sir."



    N breathed a sigh of relief. "Ah, that is good to hear, Emile. You had me concerned for a moment."



    "Ha, yeah. Apologies, boss."



    Julia did not look away from him. "He's suspicious. Once a trainer, always a trainer. You think you're ready to commit a crime?"



    "It's not really," Emile said. "We're saving Pokemon."



    "We're stealing."



    Emile shrugged. N shook his head and ushered them closer to him.



    "Come. We have work to do."



    He led them across the street toward the gym, where they crouched along the side wall, no light to illuminate them. Very few people lingered in the street, not at this time of the night. Opelucid City was not Castelia City, and they were not in the center of Opelucid, where traffic was most oppressive.



    Even so, N's heart thumped against his chest. He clenched his hands to prevent them from shaking, gripping the gun tight in one of them. What if Drayden discovered them? Called the police? N would return to jail.



    That could not happen. N would not let it.



    He pictured his father, awaiting their arrival. Even after N had disobeyed Ghetsis once, he was still allowed this chance. He could not fail when it mattered most.



    He signaled Julia and Emile to follow him as he dove into the light cast from the gym, jogging to the sliding glass door. Could it open any slower? He sprinted inside with his partners behind him and looked out once the door had shut. No one had noticed them. N exhaled deeply.



    "Do you think Drayden heard the door open?" Emile whispered.



    "Shut up," Julia hissed. N crouched against the wall and led them further inward, stepping lightly on the metal floor. They crossed the fighting stage, where trainers abused Pokemon every day. It reminded him why he was going to such lengths.



    He gripped the gun tighter.



    Their footsteps, no matter how quiet, sounded to N like cannon fire. His heart thrummed even louder. Sweat seeped from his forehead, trailing in a line down his chin. He wiped it with the sleeve of his shirt before it could fall and hit the floor.



    Another sliding door marked the way forward. N heard nothing coming from inside, and so they crouched through. Beyond was a room with sleek white walls and a ceiling too high for N to see in the darkness. There was a door on the right wall, and nothing more. N inched toward it.



    "Hey, wait!" Emile called silently, causing N to look over his shoulder. Opposite the door, Emile had found and opened a shelf hidden as part of the wall. Pokeballs jutted out from hollow indents inside.



    N rushed over, smiling, Julia behind him. "Excellent, Emile! Come, Julia, let me see that pack." She handed it to him. As fast as he was able, he stuffed the Pokeballs into the backpack. Emile discovered more shelves and began to pry them open, revealing Ultraballs and Greatballs, Duskballs, and Heavyballs. N's smile widened to a grin, his anxiousness disappearing. He moved down the wall, shoving the devices into the pack with Emile and Julia's aid.



    "Look at all of these!" Emile exclaimed. "How the hell did he get so many? And they're all dragon-types?"



    "Who cares?" Julia said. "Let's grab them all!"



    N nodded. "I cannot believe we found them all so easily! Still, we must hurry! We do not know where Drayden is, but-"



    The door opened. Light spilled from inside, crashing over them. A large shadow blackened the ground.



    "What is going on here?" Drayden boomed.



    Emile dropped a Pokeball he was holding. It thumped to the ground. "****!"



    He sprinted for the door.



    "Emile!" N shouted. Dread gripped his throat. Drayden lunged for Emile, tackling him to the ground. He slammed burly arms down on Emile's shoulders, pinning him. Emile kicked and yelled. Julia backed against the wall, cursing.



    "Use the Pokemon!" Emile screamed. "Does that work? Dammit, try it, try it!"



    "I will not!" N shouted. Thoughts whirled through his mind. The gun. I must use it. There is no other choice!



    N pointed it at Drayden. His voice shook and trembled as he spoke.



    "You will back away, and you will let us leave, Drayden. Release my friend. I do not want to harm you."



    Drayden froze. He turned his head to look at him. He did not release Emile, who grimaced and cried out.



    "You're the one," Drayden growled. Veins ripped through his forearms. "The one from the tournament."



    "Release Emile!"



    Drayden did not move. His gaze bore into N. Another moment passed. Then another. A herdier barked in the distance. The gun shook in N's hand. The walls seemed to be closing in on him. Closer, closer, closer. Suffocating. Numbing.



    The gym leader charged at him.



    Time seemed to slow. N's throat locked. His eyes went wide, eyelids peeling back in horror. His heart broke, collapsed, crumbled. He did not want to do it. He did not. Could not. He wouldn't!



    I won't do it!



    He fired the gun.



    The explosion seemed to crack his mind in two.



    Drayden crashed to the ground. Blood pooled from a wound at his throat. A cold blanket of silence enveloped the gym.



    Julia grabbed N's arm. "Come on! We have to leave!"



    The bag and the gun fell from N's grip. He looked down at his hand. It was pale. Ghostly-white. Emile cursed and grabbed the Pokeballs rolling out from the pack before he could grab it. Julia led them away.



    Numbness crept over him. The scorching night seeped into his skin. He ran, following the shadowed figures ahead of him.



    He did not look back.



    He did not think.
     
  19. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is wrong. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him/ Realism and maturity. -

    Chapter Eighteen:
    Route Eight: King
    "Zorua, Extrasensory. Rufflet, Aerial Ace."



    Zorua glared at rufflet, neither one of them doing as he asked. King sighed. Their opponent, amoonguss, danced around. Then its head began to glow.



    "Oh, come on. It's using Solar Beam. Rufflet, Aerial Ace. Zorua, I swear, don't you move a muscle."



    Rufflet bolted forward, squawking. It crashed beak-first into the amoonguss, who toppled over into a puddle like a fallen tree. Rufflet flew around happily over its unmoving body.



    Zorua whipped around and glared at King.



    Sir! How could you?



    He shrugged, shifting to adjust the pack slung over his shoulders. He didn't have to worry much about money, not after the tournament, so he'd bought it and a few supplies before leaving Opelucid City. "Try working with rufflet next time."



    Zorua huffed and turned its back on him. He frowned, sighed again, and went over to return rufflet to its Pokeball. Once it was, he looked around for any sign of another Pokemon to fight.



    Trees scattered the flat swampland in patches, long stretches of glistening water between them. He was pretty sure summer had ended some time ago, evidenced by the splotches of reds and yellows and oranges stained through the green. After Opelucid City, he'd decided to head for Icirrus City, where the ice gym-leader Brycen made his home. King had first crossed the Tubeline Bridge, to get here: Route Eight, where he decided rufflet and zorua could use a fair amount of training before he attempted his second gym badge.



    He studied the area, watching for any movement among them that might indicate the presence of a nearby Pokemon. He found nothing.



    Zorua trotted over and rubbed up against King's ankle like a purrloin.



    What're you looking for?



    "Looks like you're over your little pouting session," King said. Zorua frowned at him. "Why do you refuse to work with rufflet?"



    No reason.



    "Zorua."



    What?



    "I'm not playing these games with you."



    It isn't a game! There's no reason. I just don't like him.



    King turned away from looking around and squatted down to meet it at eye level. "Listen. Think back on the tournament. Because you didn't like rufflet, I couldn't have you both attack the same target or even have rufflet protect you when you needed it. That could have cost the match. You're going to have to work with rufflet, whether you like it or not, so tell me why you won't so I can fix it."



    Zorua looked away. King sat, drumming his fingers on his knee for a long while before it decided to speak.



    Do you remember when you found me, sir? In the alley? I was so happy! Those other people, they wanted nothing to do with me, but you, sir, were different! You took me in and cared about me. I wanted to work so hard to repay you, but… but what happens when you catch more Pokemon? I'm afraid you're not going to need me anymore, sir!



    King blinked. "Woah, let me clear something up first. I only came to get you that time because I wanted to use you in the tournament, not because I felt sympathy. Mature up a little, zorua. That's probably your issue."



    The wind rustled through the trees. Something splashed in one of the nearby ponds.



    Sir? Are you joking?



    "What? No."



    Tears welled up in the corners of its eyes. King started in surprise. Pokemon can cry? Since when is that a thing?



    You're not serious!



    "I am, I mean-"



    It darted into the woods.



    "Hey!" King called, shooting to a stand. He fumbled for zorua's Pokeball. Once he unhooked it, he looked up and aimed it.



    Only zorua had already disappeared.



    He slumped, scratching the back of his head. "What the hell is this all about?" He looked for any black or dark red amid all the other colors.



    Zorua was gone.



    He circled a large puddle, heading in the direction it had run. He buckled the Pokeball at his waist, shaking his head. Well, ****. Guess I have to go find it. He scanned ahead, looking from left to right.



    He started forward.



    As he progressed further into the marshland, away from the main road, trees became less sparsely populated and instead bunched together in dense thickets that shaded the sun overhead. He considered sending rufflet to scout the area. Eventually, though, he resolved that, with all the trees, it wouldn't do him much good. Besides, the last thing he needed happening was to get caught alone by one Pokemon or another while he didn't have one to defend himself with. The calls of all sorts of them echoed through the swamp.



    He checked in trees and through swatches of thick undergrowth, and by the deep pools of water, sometimes waiting by them. He watched for tracks or tufts of black fur that might've gotten caught on some bark or a branch but found nothing. The sun sunk in the sky. He was wasting time.



    He slumped against a tree, wiping sweat from his forehead with a sleeve. Dammit, it's hot. No sign of zorua. His mouth felt dry, and his tongue swollen.



    He slipped off the straps of his pack, then slid down to sit with it next to him. He dug out a bottle of water, downing it all in one go, then tossed the empty plastic back inside. He sighed and leaned his head on the tree. Better.



    Where could zorua have gotten to? Why did it run away in the first place? He guessed that it hadn't realized it wasn't anything special to King. Could Pokemon even feel that level of emotion? Apparently so. Or maybe it was a zorua thing. He'd never met another Pokemon that could speak through telepathy, either.



    He zipped his pack and stood, having regained his breath, and slung it over his shoulders. Suppose I'll-



    Something cried out in the distance. King stopped, listening; it sounded like a zorua.



    He jogged in that direction, pushing through trees and stepping over bundles of undergrowth. The cry sounded again. King sped up. Don't die on me. I need that illusion ability!



    He broke through a clearing, where a vast, sparkling lake took up space in the center. To his right, a black bundle of fur crouched against a tree, desperately trying to shield itself from an onslaught of attacks dealt by a dozen tympoles, all dousing zorua with jets of water.



    King charged. Zorua looked up, cringing against the pain.



    No! Stay away! I can do this on my own! I'm good enough!



    He ignored it and chucked rufflet's Pokeball into the air. It appeared, morphing from a ball of light.



    "Tail Wind!"



    Guests of air beat at the surface of the water, sending ripples coursing through it. The tympoles wailed and dove underneath the water. King jogged over to zorua, where it huddled against the base of the tree.



    I'm good enough, sir. You'll see. You don't need any other Pokemon. I'll be… the best.



    King sighed. He returned it to its Pokeball. "I'm sure you will, zorua. I'm sure you will. Just don't make me have to chase after you again."



    Rufflet squawked. King tucked the Pokeball in its place and turned, seeing rufflet circle around in the air. Something in the water had its attention.



    King came to the edge of the lake, blinking. One of the tympoles hadn't fled with the others.



    It smiled lazily. King grunted, squatting down.



    "What's up with you?"



    It blew into the water, creating bubbles that popped at the surface.



    "Well," King said. "Nothing like a good seismitoad."



    He tossed the Pokeball at it. The device floated, shook three times, then clicked. King fought the urge to laugh as he grabbed it out of the water, standing up.



    "Not much resistance, eh?"



    He held it in front of him. "Nice. Now that that's settled, let's stop wasting time."



    He walked over to rufflet's Pokeball, and returned it inside once it flew down at his call. Far off in the distance, he thought he could make out the faint shape of buildings atop a hill.



    "Icirrus City," he said to himself. He put rufflet with the others. "The second gym badge is calling my name."
     
  20. UncleKAKAA

    UncleKAKAA Active Member

    - N wants to see all Pokemon freed. Society is evil. King desires, like so many before him, to become the Champion, but is hounded by his past. Doubt weighs on his shoulders. Ghetsis yearns for it all. Vengeance burns hot inside him. / Realism and maturity.

    Chapter Nineteen:
    Forest outside Nacrene City: N
    It was for the goal. Humans are evil. It was for the goal. Humans are evil. Evil. Evil. Evil.



    "They're evil," N whispered, burying his face in his hands. No matter how many times he repeated the same mantra to himself, the feeling in his heart would not go away. As if the guilt were breaking it in two.



    He had killed someone - a person with hopes, and with dreams. Drayden may have had a family. Children. Grandchildren. Now they would all witness his pale, lifeless body as they placed it into the ground. Tears would fall in streams down their faces. Sadness, anger, and grief would stir and pull inside of them. All because of N. All his fault.



    He let his arms slump to his sides. He sat amid the coloring trees of a forest, staring with unblinking eyes at the licking flames of a crackling campfire. Heat splayed across the front of his body, and its light was a beacon that chased away the darkness of the night. His father had since fallen asleep, rolled up in his bedroll at the edge of the fire's illumination.



    N could not sleep. When he did, he dreamed the same dream again and again of Drayden crawling toward him, fingernails splitting as they scraped the metal floor of the gym, black holes where his eyes should have been, blood weeping from a hole in his throat as he pleaded with N, demanding to know why. Why, why, why, why.



    To free Pokemon, N would tell him. To free them. Was it worth it? Drayden would respond.



    In the dream, N could not answer then. He wanted to believe that it was worth it, that in taking one human life, he had saved hundreds of Pokemon from servitude. He did not want to think about what those Pokemon had said to him when he had released them into the wild. Where is Drayden? Where is our master?



    He looked up. The first inklings of dawn glimmered through the trees, the sounds of many an awaking Pokemon coming with it. How long had he been staring into the fire, absorbed in his thoughts?



    He knew that his body was beginning to shut down after days of not sleeping or eating. He glanced at the shadowed lump of blankets that was his father. N had tried to talk to him, but Ghetsis had proclaimed that what N had done was an act of extreme good, that the world - the Pokemon - were better for it. N desperately needed, more than anything, to believe those words, to expel the doubt in his mind, but he could not. Despite how painfully hard he tried to convince himself, despite how he knew how wise his father was, how Ghetsis could always see the truth in all things, N could not convince himself.



    It was for the goal, N. For the goal.



    Something rustled in the bushes nearby. N spared, whatever it was, no more than a glance. He did not care. If it was a Pokemon, then there was the possibility it could attack him, but he didn't think he had the will to defend himself. If it were a person, an agent sent by the government, then perhaps N would allow them to take him into custody. Maybe then the guilt would stop hanging over him: a great burden the size of the world that pushed down on his shoulders.



    N heard the thing step out from the cover of the trees and bushes, but still, he did not look. Instead, he squeezed his eyes shut and resolved to let it do what it wished.



    "N? Is that you?"



    He froze. That voice. It… cannot…



    A hand, soft, with slender fingers and painted nails, tentatively touched his shoulder. He turned slowly, and first saw sandals and a flower-printed dress, and sun-kissed blond hair…



    "Luna," he whispered.



    "N?" She said. "You don't look so good. Wow, you've gotten skinny! Are you alright?"



    He shot to a stand, grabbing her arm and pulling her into the woods, away from the fire. He looked over his shoulder. The sun had risen further. Was there enough light that Ghetsis could see them? Gently, he tugged her behind a large maple tree.



    "You cannot be here," he hissed. "My father is over there, sleeping, but he may awake soon. If he-"



    "N," she said. "What's wrong? Tell me."



    "Luna, we cannot speak here…"



    "Fine. Let's go somewhere else, then."



    "Luna-" She touched his arm. He yanked it away.



    "My father, Luna," he said. "He does not want me to speak to you anymore. I won't go against his wishes, not again. Please, Luna, leave me."



    She glared at him. "Are you going to do what he tells you for the rest of your life? You're not a little kid, N, and I can see that you need to be away from him. Have you looked at yourself recently? Really looked?"



    "I…" he peered around the tree, at Ghetsis, who had not moved so much as a single muscle. He had always been a heavy sleeper.



    Luna intertwined her hand in his. Her smile returned, bright and radiant. "Come on. Don't keep a lady waiting forever."



    He opened his mouth to object, but the words died on his lips as she pulled him along.



    It was almost identical to what occurred in Vertress City, all those nights ago. Ghetsis had scorned him as immature, but… Luna was right, N needed to be away. Not necessarily from Ghetsis, but from the thoughts that plagued N's mind. Now that he had left, he did not think he could sit in front of that fire a moment longer, letting the cracks in his heart multiply.



    As Luna led him farther and farther away from his father, the trees thinned until they grew in no more than sparse patches; the ground covered in a field of grass that sprouted from every inch of dirt. N gasped when Luna led him to the edge of a cliff. Far, far below, was a forest of a million trees, and in the distance, the glare of an orange sun peeked over the horizon.



    Luna let go of his hand, slipped off her sandals, and plopped down at the cliff's edge as casually as for a meal. She smiled at him, her feet dangling off the edge. She patted the space next to her.



    He peered over the edge, licking his lips. "I am not so sure. Is it safe?"



    "Of course. Cliffs don't bite; they just sit there."



    He chuckled, then slowly lowered himself to sit beside her. The wind swirled around them.



    "So," Luna said. "I've seen you all over TV. You're practically the only thing anyone is talking about. People are starting to consider what you're saying, too."



    He brushed invisible dust off his pant legs. "I… yes. I have to free Pokemon."



    "Did you have to kill Drayden, as well?"



    His breath snagged in his throat, forming into a lump there. His mouth hung open. He did not know what to say. How did she know it was him? He did not want to look at her: see the accusing expression on her face.



    The thoughts returned.



    He looked below him. Why was his life worth any more than Drayden's? Who else but N could pay for what he himself had done?



    A life for a life.



    "Why did you do it, N?" Her voice was a whisper. "I thought it might have been you. Your face tells me I was right."



    Repentance.



    "Look at me, N."



    The wind howled in his ears. Freedom.



    "Look at me."



    He did.



    And there was nothing but sympathy in her face. Her eyes, beautiful, sparkling globes, called out to N. They pulled the words from his mouth, and he could not stop it as he laid his soul bare for her.



    "I did not mean to," he said. His voice trembled, and his shoulders began to shake. He squeezed the fabric of his pants. "I swear it, Luna. I did not mean to. I only wanted to save the Pokemon, only that, but my father gave me a-a weapon, a… gun, and when Drayden discovered us… I-I did not know what to do! I hate myself for it. More than you could know, Luna. More than you could know. Everything got too carried away. Drayden should be living and I… I…"



    She pulled his head to her chest. His arms slumped at his sides.



    "It's okay, N. I understand. It's okay."



    His mouth stayed agape. She doesn't hate me. She forgives me? Me?



    He hugged her tightly to him and did not let go as the tears poured from his cheeks, and he wailed. She didn't release him. She didn't judge him for crying in front of her. She only held him close and did not let him go.



    Behind the pounding ache of his forehead from weeping, he had a faint thought. This is what I have always wanted.



    She stroked his head, and like a patient mother, sat and waited. N could feel the weight on his chest lessening with each tear that trailed down his cheeks. He could not believe she was so kind.



    "Look, N," she said, once his tears had died down. "The sun is up."



    He wiped his eyes and did so, surprised to see that the land was bathed in light from a sun a small way above the horizon.



    "Thank you, Luna," he whispered.



    "Let's get you back before your father wakes up," she said. Reluctantly, he nodded and allowed her to pull him to his feet. He did not let go of her hand once he was standing.



    "When will I see you again?" He asked.



    She grinned. "Soon, if that's what you want. I'll come and find you."



    "Do you promise me?"



    "Promise."



    Still, he didn't let go of her hands. She raised an amused eyebrow at him.



    "I… goodbye, Luna." He ducked into the woods, his heart pounding. As he made his way back to the camp, his exhaustion seemed to have faded, and the biting hunger in his stomach gone. He felt alive again. He found himself not even caring if Ghetsis was awake or not, but when N arrived, his father was still sound asleep, and N returned to his position sitting atop the same log next to the fire, thoughts of Luna spinning through his head.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020 at 3:26 AM

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