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The Bonds That Break (PG-13)


Master Procratinator
EDIT (4/8/07): Due to the fact that I take uberly-long to update, I've decided to start a PM list. Just ask me if you want to be on it and I'll put you on. ^_^

PM List:

Master Blastoise

Rated PG-13 for violence and mild swearing. (Although there's not too much of that in the beginning)

I guess I better post this before I back out at the last minute. Because I liked Pokemon XD so much and I was bored in Study Hall, I decided to write a Fan Fiction about the events after XD. (Although the Prologue takes place before XD) I first began writing this on paper and only now did I decide to get off my lazy bottom and type it.

DISCLAIMER: If I owned Pokemon, would I be writing a Fan Fiction? I barely own anything. As a matter of fact, only a few of the characters in this fic I made myself.

So let's begin, shall we?


The crisp fall air was carried throughout the forest by the cool breeze. Dead red and brown colored leaves dragged across the ground as the wind swept them away from the trees they fell from. The sky was painted with a golden hue from the sun mixed with scarlet colored clouds.

Michael reached for one of the leaves that skidded past him. He sat down glumly on the pavement and began twirling the leaf by the stem. Moving a strand of red hair away from his emerald eyes, he depressingly laid his hand on his cheek and sighed.

Everything had been so chaotic at the Pokemon HQ Lab for the past five months. The entire staff was running around the place non-stop, talking about a hero that defeated some organization somewhere in the desert, and about a new project that they were working on. They've been focused on those two things and nothing else. Even Michael's own parents were caught up in the mess.

The electronic door from behind the nine-year old boy opened and was followed by a set of footsteps. The tall man spotted Michael sitting down glumly on the pavement, and began to approach him. His snowy white lab coat swayed with the gentle wind, as did his long red hair. The words "Pokemon HQ Lab: Director" was stitched on to his lab coat.

"Mind if I sit down?" he asked Michael, his voice calm and cool just like the breeze blowing past them.

Michael didn't bother looking into his father's yellow eyes as he slightly nodded. The director sat down next to him and laid his hands on his knees. He stared into Michael's saddened face while his own began to copy the negative emotions.

Breaking the silence, the director spoke up while staring at the ground, "I've noticed you haven't been acting very happy lately. You've been looking rather sad, as a matter of fact. Is there something wrong?"

"You're always busy and going places. You never have time for anything else." Michael moaned, keeping all eye contact away from his father.

"So that's what this all about," the director whispered to himself. He moved himself closer to Michael and looked him straight in the face, "Michael, I know things have been pretty hectic around the lab lately, meaning that me and your mom have been very busy."

Michael still avoided looking at the director and began picking at the sides of the leaf in his hand. Being the head of the lab, Michael's father was always under a sea of work and stress. If he wasn't at the lab working on the new project, then he out in other places researching.

"Of course, that's no excuse for being so inattentive. I should be spending a lot more time with you and Jovi than I have lately.” Michael’s father admitted, full of sadness and regret.

At first, Michael believed that his father couldn't understand how he felt, but the tone of his voice was enough for the boy to finally look into his face. The director seemed about as sad as Michael was just moments ago, staring at the ground dully and watching the leaves blow past him.

“What are you working on, anyway?” Michael asked, changing the subject.

“Well, it’s a machine that we call the Purification Chamber. We’re trying to make it so that it will purify Pokemon whose hearts have been closed.” Michael’s father tried to explain, not exactly sure how to.

“What does it mean when a Pokemon’s heart has been closed?” questioned Michael. He had heard a lot of people talking about closed hearts, but he never understood what it meant.

“It’s hard to explain. You’ll understand it better when you’re older.” the director told him, knowing that the concept was too hard and complicated for a nine-year old to comprehend.

“Is that why you have to go away again?” Michael asked glumly, staring into the forest. The leaves from the top of the trees concealed the sunlight from the forest floor, just like loneliness shadowed Michael's emotions.

“Unfortunately, yes. I’m not too thrilled about it either, trust me.” he admitted, giving out a small laugh, hoping that he could lighten up his and Michael’s mood.

But Michael refused to smile. He failed to find any joy or happiness when his own father couldn’t spend time with him, even though that was all he ever wanted. Before this "Purification Chamber" came up, his father would spend time with him every day. Now, Michael would be lucky if he spoke to his father once every day.

The director sensed his son's negative sentiments; he didn't even have to look in Michael's direction to know how Michael was feeling. Ever since the day that the boy was born, the director knew there was a tight bond between them. He always compared such ties with a Spinarak and its web. The Spinarak was connected to the web, feeling the tiniest vibrations through the strands of the web, similar to the way the director could tell what Michael was feeling no matter how much he tried to keep his emotions hidden from everyone else. If the Spinarak's web was ever destroyed, then the spider-like Pokemon would just rebuild it, restoring the web back to its tight and firm state.

“However, I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be gone. Since things might be awfully lonely for you while I’m away...” the director began as he smiled and reached into his pocket.

Michael’s attention shifted to the object that his father slowly pulled out. His eyes widened and his face banished all of the sadness that was present in his emotions once he saw his father hold a small red and white sphere in his hands.

“I know you’re not quite ten yet. But your birthday is in a couple months and I wanted to give you this before I leave, just incase I don’t get back in time.” the director explained, handing him the Poke Ball.

Michael couldn't believe what he saw for a moment. Once he was sure that it wasn't a dream or an illusion, he reached for the Poke Ball and held it in his hands. He moved his fingers across the ball, soaking in the feel of the cool, smooth metal.

A smile widened across Michael’s face as the gloom that once filled him vanished. He flung himself into his father’s arms, nearly knocking him backwards.

"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" Michael repeated over and over, hugging his father with more force each time.

Once he regained his balance, the director wrapped his arms around Michael, holding him close. He relished every moment of the embrace, as if it was the last time he'd ever hug Michael again. The director reluctantly released himself from Michael, still trying to maintain a smile to hide his own negative emotions.

"Well? Aren't you going to open it?" the director asked, his attention on the Poke Ball.

Michael took his arms away from his father and excitedly pressed his finger on the small button in the middle of the Poke Ball. The top, red half of the sphere opened and released an orb of glowing ruby-colored light. The light rapidly formed into a brown, furry, fox-like creature. She had a mane of snow-white fur and a fluffy tail. She stared up at Michael with big, black eyes that would be able to melt anyone's heart.

"Veeee?" the Pokemon squealed in a soft, endearing voice.

"A... An Eevee!" Michael exclaimed, picking up the small and young Eevee.

Michael cradled the Eevee in his arms, petting her velvety fur. The Eevee reached up and gently licked Michael on the cheek, obviously taking a liking to the boy. Michael laughed joyfully as he scratched the Eevee behind her long ears.

As a flurry of leaves swept past Michael, the Eevee eyed them curiously, not taking her attention off of them. The Eevee squirmed in Michael’s arms, eager to examine the leaves. Michael bent down and carefully placed Eevee on the ground, excited to see her reaction.

The Eevee slowly crept up to one of the leaves once the wind had subsided for a moment. She sniffed the leaf and began swatting at it playfully. When the breeze had picked back up, the wind had picked the leaf up into the air. The Eevee chased after the leaf and jumped at it when it floated above her. The Eevee eventually found herself in a large cluster of leaves. She swatted its paws frantically after the leaves twirling in the air around her, trying to catch one of them.

Michael held his hand over his mouth, stifling his laughter. Watching the Eevee play around cutely with a bunch of leaves was so hilarious in his eyes, he couldn’t resist himself. Even his father let out a chuckle under his breath, struggling to keep the serious expression that was normally on his face.

“Come on, Michael. It’s late. We should be getting inside now.” the director told Michael, who was still in a fit of laughter watching the Eevee’s antics.

Michael nodded to him and ran after his Eevee. Even after the Eevee was lifted of the ground, she was still swiping at the leaves on the ground. She tried to jump out of Michael’s arms and attack the leaves again, but Michael’s hold on her was too strong. Michael found his Eevee’s stubborn and adamant behavior amusing and failed to stop laughing.

Once the Eevee had finally calmed down, Michael dashed back into the lab with his father. Seeing Michael that happy had brought a great amount of joy into his heavy heart. He turned to Michael and smiled at him, fearing that it would be the very last smile that Michael would see on his face.

* * *

Michael slept soundly wrapped up in the warm cotton blankets. His Eevee was curled up next to him, her paws twitching as she was trying to swat at something deep in its slumber. Both of them, absorbed in pleasant dreams, barely stirred at any noises that the occurred outside of their sleep.

A thin ray of light pierced through the darkness as the bedroom door slowly and silently opened. The director peered through the crack between the door and the wall. He quietly entered the room and tiptoed to his son’s bed. He stood above his bed for a moment, trying to keep back the flood of tears that gathering behind his eyelids.

Michael’s father bent down stroked the child’s head, letting the crimson hair pass gently through his fingers. He then kissed Michael on the forehead, hardly wanting to lift his lips up away from the boy’s skin.

"Goodbye, Michael." he whispered in his son's ears before he lifted his head away from the boy.

The director remained in the room minutes after he said his goodbye, staring at Michael as if he would never see him again. After imprinting the sight of the child in his memory, the director halfheartedly left the room, looking back several times.

* * *

The darkness of night fled away as the bright yellow sun rose over the hills. The small droplets of water that collected on the blades of grass sparkled dazzlingly when the light hit it just right. From deep within the forest, the morning songs of birds echoed through the trees.

In the road in front of the lab, an average-sized transport boat was hooked up to a rusty-looking truck. The truck was obviously aged, with the pale-white paint peeling and various scratches and dents covering the exterior. Instead of wheels, the truck was supported by disc-shaped devices that would cause the truck to hover in the air when it was turned on.

The boat, on the other hand, appeared to be fairly new. The black metal was polished enough that the reflections of the forest in front of it could be seen. On the side of the boat, the words “Black Dragon” was painted on it in a noticeable white paint.

A young man, whose head was covered in shaggy brown hair, observed the boat admiringly. His narrow eyes stared into the shiny metal that coated that boat, admiring every inch of the vessel and envying the owner.

As the man adjusted his glasses and continued to stare at the boat, the woman that was leaning against it shook her head and sighed. She didn't understand him one bit, obsessing over anything new and shiny that he laid his eyes on, whether it was a boat, automobile or a new piece of computer software.

A professional air surrounded the tall, slender woman. Her face and deep emerald eyes was straight and serious, like many of the other people that worked and lived at the Pokemon HQ Lab. Her light brown hair was fashioned into a beehive style. She was dressed in a light, lavender skirt and black high-heeled shoes.

“You wish, Krane.” a voice from behind the man laughed while he was circling the boat, looking like he was about to take it for a joyride in the nearest body of water.

The director strode down the concrete steps, smiling and laughing at Krane's obsession with the boat he rented. Krane stop examining his fascination for the moment and laughed back at the director. “When you get back, perhaps I could buy this beautiful thing and take it out for a spin.”

“When you learn how to drive a boat, that is.” the director chuckled, failing to imagine Krane on a brand new boat and keeping control of himself.

The woman couldn't help but laugh at her husband's joke, as it was hard to imagine Krane in a boat and remaining sane at the same time. She and her husband found out the hard way that Krane should stay away from anything with a wheel when they foolishly let him drive a brand new truck not long after they had graduated from college.

"You did say goodbye to the kids, right?" she asked the director once her laughing subsided.

“Of course I did, Lily. I’m not that caught up in my work.” he assured her as he wrapped his arms around him and tenderly kissed her on the lips. The melancholy aura around him that was present around Michael was present when he hugged Lily as well; though he didn't dare to show it.

“And don’t worry. We’ll be sure to keep the lab in order while you’re gone.” Lily guaranteed the director after she slowly pulled herself away from his lips.

“Good. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get what we need and come straight back before all havoc breaks loose in the lab,” the director joshed around before putting his serious face back on, “From the rumors I’ve heard, the island where I’m heading has been said to hold of the many shrines dedicated to Celebi. And if has to do with Celebi, then I might be able to find something having to do with purification.”

“Speaking of Celebi, the Relic Stone in Agate Village would be a much more logical place to research, since that was where the Shadow Pokemon was purified in the first place,” Krane mentioned after finally separating himself from the boat, “Are you sure about going to some far off place for research, when you could study in a place much closer to home? I mean, Timeshift Island isn‘t even close to the Orre Region.”

“I’m sure. We can’t just rely on one place for our studies. For all we know, everything we need could be on that island.” the director refused Krane’s advice, in a rather unwilling and forced manner.

Saying goodbye to his wife and friend, the director opened the creaky truck door and sat himself down on the driver's seat. He stuck his head out the window and waved goodbye one last time. After taking his eyes off Lily, Krane and the Pokemon HQ Lab, he turned to the wheel and started the engine. The truck's hover-devices forced a blast of lightweight, invisible gas at the ground, causing the vehicle to float in the air. The devices then faced the HQ Lab and thrust the truck forward down the forest road.

Once the Pokemon HQ Lab was concealed from sight by the branches and leaves of the forest, a sudden feeling of dejection leapt out of the director's darkest thoughts and overwhelmed him. He couldn't help but thinking about his family every minute as he drove down the dusty road, but he also couldn't help but being taken over by the fact that his entire life at the HQ Lab was a lie. As much as he wanted to turn the truck around and return to his family, the consequences of doing so would be fatal to them. Besides, he knew that they couldn't handle the truth. The truth that revealed the life he kept hidden in the shadows.

* * *

The Eevee skidded across the smooth, polished floor as she chased after a rubber ball that bounced past her. She clumsily dashed after the ball, not used to running on such a slippery surface. The ball ricocheted off the wall and flung itself straight over the Eevee’s head. The Eevee abruptly stopped running, but continued to slide across the floor as if she was on a sheet of ice. She slowed down and came to a stop only inches away from the wall.

The ball bounced back into Michael’s hands, who was standing above Eevee, chuckling. His father was right; the Eevee provided him relief from the usual boredom of the lab. The furry little Pokemon knew how to keep both itself and Michael amused. The Eevee playfully chased after nearly anything that moved, whether it was a rubber ball, dead leaves or Michael’s feet as he walked around. The Eevee’s tireless spirit meant that Michael had to play with her for hours at a time. Which wasn’t much of a problem, as Michael would just be staring off into space in his room otherwise.

“Maybe next time, I’ll throw the ball a little easier.” Michael laughed under his breath, tossing the ball up and down in the air.

The Eevee quickly sprang onto her feet and sprinted over to Michael with her tail wagging excitedly. She hopped up and down repeatedly like it was on a trampoline, trying to reach the ball in Michael’s hands. Even as she failed each time, the Eevee refused to give up. The ball had to be in her paws, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Michael grasped the ball firmly once it landed back in his hands. He stretched his arm back and proceeded to toss the ball, aiming it away from the windows which Michael knew he'd be in serious trouble if they were broken.

But just as Michael began to thrust his arm forward, something had jumped up and grabbed a hold of his hands. At first Michael flinched at the feel of somebody suddenly grabbing him, afraid that somebody was trying to kidnap him. But once Michael realized that the hands weren't firm and hard like somebody was trying to hurt him, and that they were soft, small, and gentle, he grew less shaken and more annoyed.

"Jovi wants to play with Michael's Pokemon too!" the little blue haired girl squealed, tugging at Michael's hands. Her high, childlike voice rang in Michael's ears, annoying him in nearly every way possible. Michael may have been free of boredom, but he certainly wasn't free from his little sister aggravating him every three minutes of his life.

"Jovi! Not now!" Michael moaned as he tried to free his arm from his sister's grip.

Only after constant struggle did Jovi finally release her hold on Michael. When tugging at her brother's arm didn't work, she moved on to her next strategy of persuasion. Her cheerful demeanor quickly transformed into a saddened state. She attempted to win Michael over with her big green eyes that began to look glossy from the tears forming. Jovi lowered her head, but continued to stare at Michael depressingly.

She's not going to fool me this time, Michael thought to himself as he rolled his eyes. Whenever Jovi didn't get her way, she'd always act sad and cute just to get sympathy. It might've worked on her and Michael's parents, but Michael was determined not to be gullible enough to let Jovi win him over.

Just as Michael was about to tell his sister to bug off, his attention shifted to the room next to him. His mother, Prof. Krane and a police officer had been in there for almost half an hour and they still haven't come out. Michael began to grow curious of what was being discussed inside as he stared pryingly at the closed door. A cold, chilling feeling came over Michael while his attention grew more focused to the room. Judging from the bad premonition that rushed through his thoughts, Michael knew that something was horribly wrong.

"Alright, fine." Michael blurted out, forgetting that he told himself that he wouldn't fall for Jovi's tricks.

Michael carelessly tossed Jovi the rubber ball, his attention barely on her. Once Jovi had the ball in her grasp after reaching for it clumsily, her fake tears disappeared and a smile replaced the frown that she believed won Michael over. Jovi's already rosy cheeks grew brighter as a joyful and victorious grin spread across her face. Charming other people easily was entertaining enough; but making somebody that isn't easily tricked -like Michael- to cave in was even more enjoyable to Jovi.

Michael tiptoed over to the metallic door as his Eevee pursed the ball that Jovi flung across the room. He looked behind him several times, not only to make sure that one of the staff members wouldn't catch him eavesdropping, but also to be able to dodge out of the way in time if the rubber ball came flying towards him. Michael laid his hands on the cold, steel door and pressed his ears against the metal. Luckily, neither the walls nor doors in the lab were soundproof, so Michael was able to make out faint voices through the door. Michael blocked out every other sound around him, which included his sister giggling annoyingly, so that he could focus on the voices he wanted to hear.

"How do you know it was his boat?" the voice of his mother asked, mixed in with mournful sobs.

"Some of the debris from the boat managed to survive the explosion. We recovered a piece of metal that had the words ‘Black Dragon’ painted on it with white paint. And if I'm not mistaken, the boat that your husband rented a week ago was named the 'Black Dragon'" another voice -who was obviously the police officer, since Michael had never heard that voice before- explained.

Michael's heart immediately sank at the officer's words. It couldn't be true. They couldn't be talking about his father. Michael shoved himself with his hands, hoping that he could wake up from such a nightmare. But he failed to jolt himself back into reality, because it was reality.

"But why? Why would somebody plant explosives in his boat? He would never hurt anyone! I don't even think he's made an enemy in his entire life!" Krane stuttered, full of shock and disbelief.

"Well my best guess is that some of the remaining members of the disbanded Cipher must've got word of the project. They probably figured that if they could kill off the director of the Pokemon HQ Lab, then the Purification Chamber project would fall apart and they would be able to rebuild Cipher." the police officer guessed with uncertainty.

The name "Cipher" rang a bell to Michael, as he heard it several times by the staff members. He then recalled that Cipher was brought up every single time that the news about the organization that used to be elsewhere in the region. It wasn't long before Michael realized that "Cipher" must've been the name of the organization.

"But no one outside this lab besides you has heard that we were working on a new project! We've hardly left the lab since we began working on the Purification Chamber!" Lily sobbed, pausing in between sentences.

"Did your husband leave for research at any time before this?" the officer asked, his voice full of sympathy for the woman weeping in front of him.

"Once. He said that he went out to the desert to try to find information about the Shadow Pokemon a while back, but it was only for a day," Lily answered, sniffling while trying to get herself together, "And besides, he would never leak out such information like that, knowing that there might have still been scattered members of Cipher!"

Shadow Pokemon? Michael questioned to himself. The topic of Shadow Pokemon was mentioned a few times, but only in whispers. Although Michael had heard Shadow Pokemon being discussed without rest inside the Purification Chamber room. Suddenly, he remembered his conversation with his father just the evening before. His father mentioned that the Purification Chamber was supposed to heal Pokemon that had their hearts closed. Michael began to wonder if the Shadow Pokemon and the Pokemon with closed hearts were the same things.

"Cipher must've heard about the Purification Chamber somehow. That's the only possibility I can think of." the officer sighed. The sound of his footsteps came closer to the other side of the door. Michael still had his ears planted on the door, knowing that from the sound of it; the officer wasn't close enough the door to leave the room.

"We still haven't managed to recover his body yet. And as massive and fiery as the explosion was, there was no way he could've survived it. If he did manage to live through the explosion, then he would've drowned in the ocean, since it was about five miles away from shore. We'll notify you once we do manage to find his body," the police officer glumly informed Krane and Lily. He came right up to the other side of the door and stopped in his tracks before he opened the door, "I'm sorry. I truly am."

Michael backed away from the electronic door seconds before it opened and the officer walked out. The tall man, dressed in the standard blue uniform of all police officers in the region, glanced at Michael solemnly before leaving the lab. Lily and Krane walked out of the room after the police officer did and stopped as soon as they saw Michael at the door. At any other time, Lily would've scolded Michael for eavesdropping, but with the grief filling her head, the thought never crossed her mind.

Michael stared at his mother's tear-filled eyes, hoping for some reassurement that what he just heard wasn't true. He wanted to ask her if it was a lie, but the mournful silence was enough of an answer. Krane lowered his head and clamped his eyes shut, preventing a flow of tears that were about to burst out. The loss of his best friend was too hard for even him to fathom.

Once Michael couldn't hold it in any longer, a river of water rushed down from his eyes as he threw himself in Lily's arms. Lily fell down to her knees and held her child tightly in her arms. Her shoulder quickly become soaked as Michael cried incessantly on it. His yelling and screaming for his father were muffled by his endless sobs.

"Dad..." Michael cried, still unable to fully believe that this was happening to him.

Michael's crying began to calm down after a few minutes, but he was still unable to see with the wall of water blurring his vision. Just as another cascade of tears was about to flow down Michael's face, a tiny, scratchy tongue licked Michael on the cheek. Michael looked over to his side, barely moving his head, and saw his Eevee sitting next to him, purring sympathetically. Michael reached his hand out to the Pokemon, stroking her soft fur. He hoped that the Eevee could help take his mind off his father, but no matter how hard Michael tried, the thought of him lingered in his head despite the Eevee’s attempts to cheer him up.

Jovi stood in front of Lily and Michael, confused at the sudden feeling of grief that conquered them. Too young to understand the concept of death, the four-year old girl failed to understand why Michael was crying for their father. But even though she didn’t understand, Jovi felt sadness take over her while looking at her family’s depressed state.

But even as Lily, Jovi and the Eevee offered him their sympathy, Michael eventually paid no attention to them. He was blind to the others around him for the moment. Sadness wasn’t the only thing that overwhelmed Michael’s thoughts and emotions. Anger ignited into a fiery hatred towards those people, this Cipher group, that killed his father. Michael simply didn’t understand. Michael didn’t understand why anyone would kill his father, why anyone would be so evil to do such a thing.

But that didn’t matter now to Michael. Michael was sure that with the right training, Eevee would become strong and adept at battling. He was confident that he would somehow obtain new Pokemon and build a strong, unstoppable team. Then, and only then, Michael would track down these Cipher people and get revenge, the only thing that Michael now longed for.

* * *

The molten hot rivers of lava oozed out of the crater of the volcano. Towers of steam erupted from the melted rock as it met the cold sea. Fierce waves crashed upon the rocky shores of the foreboding island. Dark, gray clouds surrounded the island, concealing it from the rest of the world. A large, silver dome rested above the volcano’s crater, overlooking everything below it.

Michael... Lily... Jovi..., the former director of the Pokemon HQ Lab thought painfully to himself. He stared out into wide open sea around him, regretting every second he stood on the wretched island. He betrayed the entire lab, his friends, his family. For all he was concerned, he no longer existed. He was dead to his family. At least that’s what they thought. He was no stranger to emotional pain, but nothing could ever amount to the heartbreak that he felt every moment. As long as he was with the very organization that the Pokemon Lab tried to stop, he could never see the faces of his family again. The family that was his children and wife, that is.

Another man that resembled him a great deal, obviously his brother, stepped next to the former director. He was a tall, slim man with soothingly blue hair that stretched down beyond his shoulders. Like his brother, the man wore expensive-looking and elegant robes, although it was marked with blue and gray patterns, instead of red and gray. Blacks shades like the ones that his brother wore concealed his eyes and seemed to symbolize authority. Premature wrinkles formed around his mouth where a sinister smirk usually spread across his face. But no such smile was present at the time. Instead, his entire face was straight and calm, failing to show any other sort of emotion.

“Eldes.” he addressed the former director, in a voice similar to his own.

Eldes simply nodded, his spirits too low to respond with words. Eldes’ brother stared out into the sea with him, but neither were exactly sure what they were staring at. For some people, screaming or punching at something was a way to release negative emotions. A few others talked about their problems to get their worries and pains off their chest. But Eldes did neither. For him, the only way to relieve the pain was to see his wife and children. But his position in Cipher forbade it, meaning that the pain and misery would linger in him until Cipher finally crumbled.

“Grand Master’s orders.” Eldes’ brother reminded him, breaking the silence.

Eldes’ head filled with anger at the reminder, though his face didn’t show it. His word meant nothing against the Grand Master’s, which meant that Eldes wasn’t able to stop him from ordering him to do such a thing. Forcing him to fake his own death and sever his bonds with wife and children just to cause the Purification Chamber project to crumble; Eldes was beginning to wonder if the Grand Master was completely insane. Of course, the fact that the Grand Master barely even considered Eldes and his brother his own sons anymore was enough of an answer.

Eldes never once thought that the Grand Master would command him to be separated from his family. The moment the Grand Master gave his orders, Eldes realized that he had somehow found out about the Purification Chamber, despite his attempts to keep it secret. If it was anyone else that had tried to commit treason against Cipher, they would’ve been put to death. Eldes figured that either the Grand Master still had compassion for him somewhere in his corrupted heart, or that Eldes was just too valuable of a trainer to throw away.

Of course, there was obviously consequences for trying to destroy Cipher. The Grand Master was well aware that Eldes loved his family more than anything in the world, and losing them would be a much more painful punishment then simply killing Eldes himself. Surprisingly, a small, tiny bit of mercy appeared in the Grand Master’s soul that day. He gave Eldes a choice of which punishment he would rather have. Either the entire staff of the Pokemon HQ Lab would be killed and all the data collected for the Purification Chamber would be deleted, or that Eldes would have to forever leave his family and fake his own death.

Shocked and horrified at the choices he was given, Eldes’ heart plunged into a sea of shadows and nightmares. Eldes would never be able to live with himself if the people he grown so close to was murdered, especially at the orders of his own father. But Eldes couldn’t stand never seeing his family again either. Both choices proved difficult and painful for Eldes to bear. However, he chose the latter, since he would much rather have his family live, yet never be able to see them anymore, then to have them killed.

Not even a day after the Grand Master’s orders were given, the way Eldes would fake his death was planned. Using a rented boat, Eldes would claim to his family and the rest of the staff at the Pokemon HQ Lab that he was using it to travel to research at Timeshift Island, where a shrine dedicated to Celebi exists. However, the boat would be set on autopilot while a time-bomb was set to explode after an hour at sea. The boat would sail off without Eldes while he was being transported by his brother to the Cipher Headquarters. By the time the time-bomb exploded, it would be a few miles off of the coast of the sea-side town, Gateon Port. The vessel would be far enough away that no one would notice that there was no one inside, but close enough that the explosion could clearly be seen.

“I know.” Eldes responded to his brother in a hardly audible tone.

His brother looked at Eldes one last time before heading across the bridge leading into the silver dome. Eldes wasn’t even sure if his brother was giving him his sympathy, or just rubbing it in. Lately, he failed to show any positive emotion whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the only emotion that ever came out of him recently was anger, and that was only when he was putting incompetent peons in their place.

As Eldes began to follow his brother, he questioned if the bond he used to share with his brother and father was severed as well. If he had any real family left was beyond him. His family back in the lab thought he and been killed, and the Grand Master just considered Eldes a pawn in his plan for all he was concerned.

Eldes knew for sure that the only way that he’d ever have his family back was if Cipher was defeated. But with the Shadow Pokemon that supposedly can never be purified in development; all Eldes could do was stand back and hope. Hope for a miracle.

Apoligies for the uber-long prologue. >_< I seriously didn't expect it to be this long.

I'm writing a fic about Eldes. I bet no one saw that coming. [/sarcasm] And I'm well aware that Eevee as a starter is terribly overused. But since it was Michael's starter Pokemon in Pokemon XD, I couldn't really get around it.
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Power of the mind
Interseting how you put Eldes as Michael's father. But then would Michael reconigze Eldes when he battles him? Just asking.

This whole thing intersets me and I wanna see how you continue with this. Good job.


Master Procratinator
But then would Michael reconigze Eldes when he battles him? Just asking.

Yeah, I realized that not too long after I finished typing the prologue. I'm going to try to explain why Michael wouldn't reconize Eldes in the first chapter; but I'm still brainstorming on how to do that. :p

And besides, since I'm such a procrastinator and I'm slow at writing, it might be a while before I get the first chapter up. Though I obviously might want to shorten the length a little bit. ^_^;


Well-Known Member
Wow. Nice prologue. I'm glad you didn't just rehash the same XD story and instead are adding to it and making it much more suspenseful and exciting. Can't wait to see more.

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
Very good work! I like how you incorporated Eldes in a different way, and then explained the relationship between Eldes, Ardos and Greevil. I'll look forward to seeing how Michael doesn't recognize Eldes (perhaps Eldes admits the truth after all, seeing as he's the last battle before Greevil himself?) and how Greevil discovered the Purify Chamber project.


Master Procratinator
Meganium: Thanks. I wanted to avoid retelling the same story I've played through several times. But since the fic itself takes place after Pokemon XD, it's not really going to repeat XD's storyline, anyways. Although:

There will be quite a bit of flashbacks to some of the events in Pokemon XD in the first chapter. A few of the flashbacks don't even take place in XD.

TGB: Heh. I've always imagined that Eldes used to have a close relationship with Greevil and Ardos. But it then went all 'asplode with Greevil going insane and Ardos turning into the evil and relentless person we all know and love. X3

And I'm still trying to figure out why Michael wouldn't reconize Eldes. :/ *kicks Writers Block*

But since Michael doesn't know who Eldes is, he sees him as a heartless Cipher Admin like everyone else in Cipher is in his eyes. Therefore, Eldes finds it's not going to be all that easy telling Michael that he's his father; especially since Michael doesn't trust him in the least bit.


Master Procratinator
I is lazy. D:

I am SO sorry for the delay. Writer's Block kept me from progressing on this as quickly as I wanted to. So yeah, I need to learn how to post chapters at reasonable rates. XD Anyways:

Chapter One: Renegade:

At first, Eldes thought that he hoped in vain when he dreamt about Cipher's downfall. No matter how hard he tried, the image of Cipher finally crumbling just wouldn't form in his mind. For a while, he believed that the chances that the horrific organization would be defeated was slim to none. Even though Eldes lost all hope for a brighter future, the final battle was taking place. The battle that would decide Cipher's fate once and for all.

Eldes stood in front of the wide plasma screen that stretched across the control room, watching every second of the battle. Ever since Eldes was separated from his family, he dreamed of the day that some brave soul would finally take his father on. But little did Eldes know that the brave soul that he dreamed about was his very own son.

After almost two hours of ceaseless fighting, it had come down to a strong-willed Vaporeon that remained standing even after all her comrades had fallen, and a tainted Zapdos that attacked its victims without any mercy whatsoever. The lightening-yellow bird ruthlessly struck the exhausted Vaporeon with midnight-colored bolts of electricity, taking in sadistic pleasure at watching its opponent suffer. However, the resilient, blue-skinned Pokemon withstood the surges of electrical energy against all odds. Once she was able to get back on her feet, she proceeded to assault her enemy with fierce jets of rushing water that formed from the moisture that the air around it held.

It wasn't long before both Pokemon became downright exhausted. The Zapdos' wings grew too tired to support itself in the air, so it weakly stood on its feet while staring down its enemy. The Vaporeon struggled to keep herself standing on her wobbly legs, looking like she was about ready to collapse. Both Pokemon were nearly exhausted of all their energy. Neither of them had enough vigor to attack, nor protect themselves if they were attacked.

While the tired Zapdos struggled to catch its breath, all its master could do was laugh menacingly, not bothering to show any pity or sympathy for the worn-out Pokemon. At first glance, the Zapdos’ master seemed to be a bald, harmless looking man. But his small stature and elderly appearance deceived what he really was: the cruel and coldhearted individual that was the Grand Master of Cipher.

“Just give it up, child,” the Grand Master taunted the teenager that stood directly across from him, “What honestly made you think that you could defeat me? Your pathetic Vaporeon is on the verge of fainting as it is. All it will take is one more attack from my Zapdos for that worthless excuse for a Pokemon to put out of fighting for good! You don’t stand a chance!”

It was evident on Michael's face that his anger reached a boiling point. It had been glaringly obvious that he despised the Grand Master to begin with, but a look of pure hatred formed in Michael’s eyes after hearing the Grand Master‘s comment. “Open your eyes, Greevil! Your Zapdos is just as exhausted as Autumn is! It barely has the energy to lift up a wing, let alone send out another attack! You’re insane if you think that you can force Zapdos to battle any more! Just because it’s a Shadow Pokemon doesn’t give you the right to treat it like a mindless drone!”

“It is a mindless drone, you ignorant child!” Greevil erupted in a fit of laughter, “What did you think Shadow Pokemon were?!”

Michael’s eyes only grew more agitated as the sound of Greevil’s sinister laugh echoed throughout the wide open arena. Once Greevil had collected himself, he glared at Michael maliciously while a malevolent smile crept across his face.

“Should I remind you that Shadow Pokemon will listen to their master’s orders without argument? It doesn’t care how exhausted it is or how cruel it would be to mercilessly attack a Pokemon that has no chance of winning! All it’s concerned about is that it obeys it’s master! In other words, me,” Greevil chuckled confidently. “Zapdos! Finish this with Shadow Bolt!”

Zapdos feebly straightened its posture and painfully spread its wings. Dark, electrical energy charged around its body as it focused on the Vaporeon, who was apparently named Autumn. Once the electricity grew strong enough, Zapdos let loose a flurry of crackling bolts of lightening. Each bolt danced in the air in wild spasms before they all forced themselves in the direction of the helpless Vaporeon. But every last one of the bolts either came close to striking Autumn, or struck the ground nowhere near its target. Zapdos had completely missed its mark.

Greevil’s confident expression was quickly replaced with frustration as Zapdos came close to crashing to the floor. It attempted to attack Autumn again, but Zapdos proved to be too tired to attack with even the weakest Shadow Bolt. Zapdos’ legs shook uncontrollably as it strained to stay standing.

Seeing his chance, Michael pulled out the last Ultra Ball that remained in his pocket. If Cipher was to be defeated, then the Ultra Ball would have to succeed in snagging Zapdos where ten other Ultra Balls have failed. Michael grasped the ball firmly while the machine that was attached to his left arm lit up with a florescent yellow light. The light transferred to the Ultra Ball, surrounding the white, black and yellow sphere in a bright, fire-like aura.

Michael took in a deep breath and thrust the Ultra Ball forward, aiming it straight at Zapdos. The moment the Ultra Ball collided with the bird, Zapdos' body transformed into a glowing mass of red light. The Ultra Ball's top half opened and sucked in the mass that used to be Zapdos like a vacuum. The ball slammed shut and fell to the ground, where it began to wobble back and forth. Both Michael and Greevil eyed the ball anxiously, not sure whether to expect Zapdos to stay in the ball, or for the legendary bird to break free.

But after the Ultra Ball had rocked back and forth three times, it suddenly paused and made a clicking sound as it locked Zapdos inside.

A sigh escaped from Eldes' mouth the very moment the Ultra Ball succeeded in capturing Zapdos. It wasn't a sigh of disappointment or anger, but rather a sigh of relief. After years of endless toil for such a horrifying organization, after living without the slightest bit of hope and after forever damaging the lives of dozens of innocent Pokemon; it was finally over.

Eldes wasn't the only one overcome with relief, however. Michael's demeanor seemed to be less tense after seeing that his last Ultra Ball succeeded. His shoulders dropped and his breathing began to grow more calm and less stressed. Autumn stumbled over to him, smiling while gazing at the boy with eyes that were as black as coal. Michael bent down and congratulated Vaporeon, scratching behind her fin-like ears and rubbing her rubbery hide before returning her to her Poke Ball for a well-deserved rest.

But while Eldes and Michael were relieved, the only emotion that could be detected on Greevil's face was shock. His golden eyes were fixed on the Ultra Ball while his jaw hung open. When Greevil lifted his head, Michael saw that the disbelief had mixed with anger.

"You... You got lucky! That was nothing but sheer luck!" Greevil hissed, clenching both his fists and his teeth.

"So I got lucky. That still doesn't change the fact that I won." Michael retorted, picking up Zapdos' Ultra Ball.

Greevil's fists tightened as he clenched them harder, an obvious indication that he wanted nothing more than to run across the arena and strangle Michael. But as the boy's words sunk in, Greevil could do nothing more than fall to his knees in defeat.

"No... This can't be... He's just a child... He didn't win... He can't win..." Greevil muttered to himself, denying everything.

Eldes got a glimpse of silky, blue clothing swaying elegantly as the air conditioner blew against it out of the corner of his eye as he was still watching the plasma screen. Eldes turned his head to get a full view, even though he knew who was standing behind him.

"What happened here?!" his brother wasted no time demanding to know as he kept his eyes on the screen across the room.

"The boy won, Ardos. It's over." Eldes informed him, remaining calm and hiding his pleasure over the outcome.

Ardos growled lowly and muttered unintelligible swears under his breath. Ardos never liked Michael. As a matter of fact, he hated the boy, and being related to him didn't change a thing. All Eldes had to do was look at him, and the loathing and resentment that filled the air around Ardos would send chills throughout Eldes' body.

Ardos spun around and stormed off to the elevator that led to the arena, still swearing in whispers. As Eldes watched his clearly fed-up brother rush to the elevator, his head began to swarm with horrible premonitions. The infuriated aura that surrounded Ardos was enough to give Eldes the impression that he was up to something.

Not wasting any amount of precious time, Eldes dashed over to the elevator, nervously waiting for the platform to come back down. Although he knew that whatever was going through Ardos' head was certainly spiteful, Eldes had no idea exactly what he was going to do. But that didn't matter in the least bit to Eldes. He was sick of the shadows. Sick of the fear, sick of the hopelessness. And just when the torment seemed to end, just as the madness would finally be over, Ardos had to step in and try to keep the insanity alive. Eldes realized that it was about time that he stopped being a coward and stood up against Cipher for a change.

When the platform had finally lowered down to the floor, Eldes took one last deep breath before stepping in. Seconds seemed like hours as the elevator lifted Eldes up into the battle arena. Anxiety dominated him to the point where he could hear his own heartbeat. Beads of sweat formed and rolled down his face, not only from the extreme heat of the lava that bubbled below the silver dome, but also from the fear of what was to come.

The elevator opened its glass doors and revealed the gigantic, round arena. Every last bit of metal was either black or gray; lacking any trace of bright colors. Small beams of light escaped through small cracks in the dome-shaped roof above, which could open itself up at the press of a button.

Standing in the middle of the arena like an Onix towering over a Wooper; Ardos stood above Greevil while shooting several hateful glares at Michael. "...if we're to continue with our plans, then we should destroy Citadark Isle while the boy is still on it."

Eldes nearly felt his heart climb up into his throat, almost expecting it to stop altogether. At first, he refused to believe that Ardos said what he said. He did all he could to deny the fact that this was the same Ardos that Eldes knew from the very moment he was born, the same one that always stood by him and promised to always be on his side. Hearing such words be spoken by his own flesh and blood; it was almost if Eldes didn't know him anymore.

"You can't do that! You'll kill everybody on the island!" Michael exploded, directing his fiery waves of anger at Ardos.

“And that ‘everybody’ includes you,” Ardos retorted sharply before turning his attention back to Greevil, “If we don’t escape, then Cipher will surely be finished. There’s a helicopter waiting outside for us. We need to leave now!”

While Greevil stayed in the spot he was, deep in thought as he stared at the floor; a spark of hope lit up in Eldes’ gloom-filled heart. If Greevil was thinking about Ardos’ suggestion instead of imeddiately agreeing to mindlessly murder dozens of people and Pokemon; Eldes knew for sure that he wasn’t as heartless as he implied for the previous five years.

But even though hope still burned in his soul, dark, gray clouds formed and let loose a downpour of rain when Eldes noticed a glimmer of rage and fury in Greevil's yellow eyes. Instead of gambling on whether Greevil would agree or not, he stepped forward and yelled, "Wait!"

His voice echoed throughout the arena as the three people standing before him all turned their heads towards Eldes simultaneously. Ardos narrowed his sea-green eyes from behind his sunglasses, which suddenly began to fill with frustration, as if he could tell what Eldes was going to say.

"I thought that you were better than this, Ardos. You should be ashamed, even thinking about sacrificing dozens of lives just so you can carry out your plans!" Eldes responded to Ardos' obvious show of irritation, while feeling ashamed of himself for thinking that Ardos would never betray him.

"Ashamed?" Ardos simply laughed, tightening his growingly spiteful glare at Eldes, "Why should we waste our time saving worthless servants that failed us, when we can escape now and ensure that Cipher lives? Being caught up in your foolish morals will only guarantee that Cipher will die!"

Foolish morals? Eldes thought to himself over and over as he tried to grasp Ardos' words. What has become of him?! He can't be this cruel!

"You failed in defeating the boy also. Does that mean I have the right to kill you?" hissed Eldes, which seemed rather foreign to the way he normally spoke. He was done tolerating Ardos’ merciless nature, and his darker, more irritable nature couldn’t help but put a stop to it, “The Grand Master, you, me... There’s no use in denying it anymore, Ardos! Cipher is finished and nothing you do will change that!”

“Grow a spine, you coward! If you believe that Cipher is finished, then you mind as well just go up in flames along with that brat!” Ardos growled, showing more anger as each second passed. His pupils dilated into a ball of emerald flames and his teeth clenched to the point where Eldes thought they were about to break. The wrinkles that were prominent around his mouth grew more noticeable as his smirk was transformed into an infuriated frown.

“You‘re the spineless coward! You can’t even admit that you lost!” Eldes erupted like a previously dormant volcano. Michael and Greevil stared at him with astonished faces, like they were expecting Eldes to explode into a million pieces. Even Eldes himself was surprised at his own outburst.

“This never would have happened if that boy hadn’t interfered. The only way we can proceed is if we get rid of the boy...” Ardos snapped back, seemingly unfazed by Eldes’ furious reaction. His voice then dropped to a whisper as his malicious green eyes continued to direct their malevolence straight at Eldes, “...like we should’ve done a long time ago.”

Eldes took a heavy breath to extinguish the flames that fueled his temper, but they were adamant in burning with each threat to Michael Ardos made. Eldes found that he now had two problems to juggle with: Keeping Michael alive, which was his original motive, and preventing Ardos’ tainted soul from driving him into insanity. But new fears began to surface when his more darker thoughts told him that Ardos going insane was inevitable. If he couldn’t convince Ardos to change his ways, Eldes hoped maybe he could sway Greevil’s decision.

“Please. You can’t go through with this.” Eldes aimed at Greevil, his voice reverting to its original calm tone, “Think about everybody that worked tirelessly for you. You can’t just kill them off like tools that you could just throw away.”

Greevil kept his eyes on the ground, still absorbed in thought. Even after all Greevil put him through, Eldes couldn’t help but felt sorry for his father on his knees choosing between his two sons. Eldes could barely imagine himself in such a situation, having to choose between Michael and Jovi. But the more Eldes thought about it, the more he pondered whether Greevil was basing his decision on who was right, or who he could benefit more from.

The spark of hope that flickered deep within Eldes’ heart was blown out when Greevil lifted his head and announced his decision, “Ardos is right.”

Every last bit of good-natured and hope-filled thoughts that lingered in Eldes’ head plummeted into an abyss when Greevil’s words were uttered. But while Eldes was lost in his feelings of shock, Ardos’ mouth widened into a sinister and menacing smirk, a sight that Eldes was familiar with.

No... I can’t let him do this! Eldes screamed in his mind, terrified by thoughts of losing Michael forever, something that was impossible for him to fathom. Eldes realized that for the past five years, all he ever was a coward. Living each gloomy day in a hopeless shadow, fearing the worst out of everything that happened. Eldes couldn’t stand it anymore. He was done being afraid of the man that raised him from birth. Courage rose up from the depths of his soul and vanquished the fear that plagued him as he blurted out, “Please! Father!”

Any other time, Eldes knew that Greevil would punish him if he called him something besides "Grand Master", "Master Greevil", or "Sir". But instead of becoming enraged, as Eldes expected, Greevil simply shifted his eyes in Eldes' direction, looking at him like he wasn't even aware that Eldes was his own son.

"Don't call him that!" Ardos barked as he swiftly spun around the moment that Eldes spoke his words, "You're only to address him as the Grand Master!"

"He is not your master, Ardos. He is your father, as he is mine, in case you've forgotten." Eldes retorted, only making slight eye contact with Ardos as he approached Greevil.

As he strode past Ardos, Eldes' mind blocked itself from taking in any of Ardos' hateful words that he predicted would be said, although nothing more than a snarl escaped Ardos' mouth.

"You know that this is wrong and that Cipher is finished, Father. Trying to rule the world by forcing Pokemon into maddness isn‘t only cruel, but it's not possible, either. Out of all people, you should've realized that a long time ago," Eldes honestly spoke his mind for the first time in years, all while maintaining a soft, gentle tone, "I was in the wrong as much as you, Ardos, and the rest of Cipher was; I don't deny that. I should've said this much earlier, instead of waiting until it got to a point like this. We'll have to face justice sooner or later; we can't deny the inevitable."

"Are you suggesting that we turn ourselves in?!" Ardos screeched, his voice growing hoarse from the constant yelling.

"That's exactly what I'm saying." Eldes answered under his breath.

Eldes heard Ardos give out one last groan before turning his back and hissing like an Arbok, "You're a fool Eldes. Trust me, you'll regret this one way or another."

Ardos stormed off, sending forth a vicious gust of hatred and a shower of raindrops that were not made of water, but pure contempt. He never looked back even once as his blue robes swayed back and forth while he rushed to the elevator like a furious hurricane speeding along the ocean, aiming for land.

Once the elevator took Ardos out of his sight, Eldes gave a deep sigh and glumly shook his head. He felt like at that moment that a knife slashed through the connection they had and left it in a thousand broken pieces. All his life, he thought that their bond was unbreakable, like the hardest forged steel. Now, he realized that it more closely resembled glass, with which a single stone could indefinitely shatter it.

Once he could escape from the fog of gloom that Ardos left behind, Eldes shrugged off the darkened clouds and turned his attention back to his father. “For the past five years, I got the impression that you didn’t consider me and Ardos your sons anymore. But I have always considered you my father, regardless of everything that you did to keep Cipher running. Nothing will ever change that.”

It wasn’t hard for Eldes to tell that his words were starting to sink into Greevil. For the first time in what seemed like forever, Greevil had neither hatred nor sadism in his aura, but rather regret and guilt. He held his wrinkled hand to his forehead and clamped his eyes shut. “What... What have I done?”

Nodding his head in satisfaction, waves of joy surged through his veins, disintegrating the dejection that previous occupied his thoughts. A small -but still clearly noticeable to both Michael and Greevil- smile crept across a face that hasn’t experience a real smile in the longest time.

“You had the courage to admit your mistake and realize you were wrong. But please, will you now have the courage to stand up?” Eldes asked of him, holding out his hand.

Greevil extended his hand to Eldes, resisting at first. Once his hand met Eldes', Eldes grasped it and pulled Greevil up to his feet. When he still refused to look him in the eyes, Eldes could tell that Greevil was far more ashamed of himself than Eldes could have ever been.

"Everything... All of it... All of it was a mistake." Greevil muttered to himself, in such a low tone that Eldes could barely pick up the words.

"We all make mistakes. I've made the same ones you did. You're not alone." Eldes assured him, sharing his feelings of guilt.

But Eldes refused to let the guilt win over him at that moment. Cipher was no more, which was a cause for happiness, not looking back on dark memories. But still, Eldes couldn't find it in himself to celebrate when there was still one more problem to deal with...


Eldes turned his head, expecting the spot where Michael stood to be vacant. But to his surprise, the boy was still present, beginning to put his body in motion and head for the elevator. Eldes wasn't sure why Michael still remained, when he could've left much earlier. Two possibilities began to form in Eldes' thoughts. Either Michael was scared that if he tried to escape, Ardos might catch him and kill him on the spot, or that he had faith that Eldes would resolve the issue at hand. Though Eldes was hoping that the latter was true, his sense of logic told him that the former was more likely.

Before Michael had the chance to leave, Eldes approached him just as Michael began walking. The more Eldes looked into his face, the harder he found it to believe that this was his son standing before him. This was the very same boy that begged Eldes to play with him outside every chance he got. This was the same boy that turned to Eldes first out of all people when something troubling was on his mind. The same boy that was always dreaming that he could be a Champion Pokemon Trainer, was the same boy that defeated the strongest trainer with the most powerful Pokemon that Eldes has ever known.

And yet, that same boy that showed Eldes more love than he could imagine at one time was the same boy that was glaring at him with the deepest feelings of resentment that Eldes had ever seen in a child's eyes.

Eldes almost found it hard to speak, frozen in place just from seeing the bitterness that Michael was showing him. I can't keep this from him anymore, Eldes admitted in his mind, He has to know sooner or later.

"Michael." Eldes addressed him, the nervousness becoming the prominent feature in his voice.

Michael didn't bother answering. He just continued his bitter stare at Eldes as his feet inched closer to the elevator. His sharp, icy look chilled Eldes' blood. Seeing that sort of expression on his face, an expression that Eldes would've expected to see in Ardos, was a clear indication to Eldes that Michael loathed him.

"If it wasn't for your bravery, then neither me or Father would've realized that we were following the wrong path all this time," Eldes finally spoke up, gathering all his courage, "For that, I sincerely thank you. I would be honored to have another battle with you someday, just not as enemies as we were the first time."

Eldes once again held out his hand, hoping in his mind that Michael will not decide to hold a grudge and forgive him. But when Michael turned his head away, refusing to shake his hand, Eldes found that he couldn't hold it in any longer, "Michael, there's something that I need to tell you."

Michael's emerald eyes slightly moved to make eye contact with Eldes, showing interest in what he had to say. But his unforgiving aura remained the same, no matter how much guilt absorbed Eldes' thoughts.

"I never should've hidden this from you. You had a right to know and I'm done being scared of telling you who I am.", Eldes took a deep breath and let the words flow out of his mouth, "Michael, I'm your fa-"

The ground suddenly and violently shook like an earthquake was splitting Citadark Isle in half, cutting Eldes off. Cracks began forming in the metal floor and small bits of steel fell from the dome-shaped roof over their heads. The fiery explosions from below that echoed in the arena failed to have an effect on Eldes' ears as his heavy heartbeat blocked out all other sounds once he realized what was happening. Ardos! He activated the self-destruct function by himself!

The terrified expressions on both Greevil's and Michael's faces seemed to be out of place to Eldes. Never before had Eldes ever seen Michael in such a state of fear. Shivering in fright was the only motion that Michael's body made, as he was so terrified that he was frozen to the spot he was standing in. His uneasy hands trembled as his vision set itself on the floor, never focusing them on something else.

Eldes couldn't bear to see Michael in such a condition, yet, he couldn't take his attention off of him. As much as Eldes wanted to run over to him and comfort Michael, he found that he was frozen in fear himself.

While Eldes was still glued in the spot he was standing, the sound of the floor cracking behind him suddenly leapt into Eldes' ears. The moment he spun around, the floor beneath Greevil split open and revealed a pit of ravenous flames and a sea of bubbling lava. Greevil didn't even get the chance to let a horrified scream out of his mouth before he plunged into the lava and was consumed by the relentless inferno.

"FATHER!" Eldes yelled with tears welling up in his eyes while towers of flames erupted from the merciless pit of death that boiled below him.

The clouds of gloom and darkness returned to Eldes' soul, fogging his vision with grief-stricken tears. The darkness erupted with sorrow-filled thoughts that blinded his mind‘s eye to any of the brighter thoughts that remained in him. Is fear and grief the only emotions I have to live with?! My life is nothing but a living nightmare! Why can’t my life be a dream for once?!

Immersed into a pool of bleak sentiments, it was only by chance that Eldes heard the floor cracking again. He broke himself free from the gloom that imprisoned him and instinctively dashed towards Michael as fast as his long legs could carry him. He had already seen the destruction of his and Ardos' bond and the death of his father. If he witnessed Michael's downfall, Eldes would be emotionally torn apart.

Every move Eldes made felt like he was moving in slow motion. The area around him was distorted; Michael being the only clear image in front of him. As every second passed, the floor came closer to caving in and beams of red-hot light escaped from the cracks beneath Michael. Just as the floor finally broke apart and nothing but thick, heated air existed between Michael and the awaiting pool of lava; Eldes dove for Michael's hand, extending his own as far as it could go. Eldes' hand came closer and closer to Michael's until Eldes could feel the boy's hand touch his.

But it wasn't enough.

Before Eldes could get a tight grip on Michael's hand, the boy fell out of his reach and plummeted into the flames right before Eldes' horror-struck eyes. As soon as he slammed down to the ground, Eldes closed his watery eyes shut, not be able to bear the sight of his son's body being reduced to ashes. A waterfall of anguished tears rushed down Eldes’ eyes, soaking every inch of skin the cascade came in contact with. The broken-down man slammed his fists on the floor. Nothing at that moment held Eldes back from letting out an agonizing scream that was spawned from every nightmare that haunted Eldes. A scream that felt like a tremor shaking the interior of his mind.

* * *

The startling sound of his own cries forced Eldes to bolt upright and open his soaked eyes. Every breath he took was a heavy gasp. His heart pounded in his chest and boomed in his ears. Only once he realized that he was not in a battlefield awaiting to be swallowed by the merciless fire, but rather in a cold, stony cell behind iron bars, did he begin to calm down.

With a hissing groan, Eldes laid his head back down on the old, worn out cot that he was forced to sleep on night after night. Though his eyelids wanted desperately to close in front of his eyes, Eldes strained to keep them open. Every night was the same barrage of nightmares from his worst fears by twisting events from his past. Prison seemed like heaven compared to the plague that expected him every time Eldes would drift off to sleep.

Prison didn’t frighten Eldes in the first place. Almost no one dared to approach him. The ones who did harass him screamed their insults from afar, like he was a fatal disease. Eldes knew exactly why he was so hated, even if being called a “disgrace to humanity” and a “Pokemon torturer” every day wasn’t enough of a clue. Eldes found it rather ironic that everybody who he’s come in contact with lately fears a person whose life is occupied by fear.

It was no surprise to Eldes that not only the entire prison he served his sentence at, but everybody across the globe, hated Cipher and anybody associated with it. Being the highest ranked Admin at one time didn’t help Eldes in the least bit. Only one other person was hated more than he was, and that person was the only one in the whole world that shared a real bond with him. Even so, that bond was still weak, only starting to repair itself from repeated blows over the years.

But it was still a bond.

Over time, Eldes had began to notice that the Grand Master part of Greevil’s personality was starting to disappear, for the first time in a long time, Eldes could have an honest discussion with him. Besides, Greevil was all Eldes had and the only person Eldes could turn to if there was a problem.

Even though Eldes could barely feel the bond between him and Greevil, he shuddered to even think what life would be like if his father never changed his ways. During time that Eldes worked for Cipher, he wasn't even sure if Greevil was his father anymore.

* * *

Feelings such as hatred was not normally part of Eldes' nature. Even though he tried to keep himself away from such emotions, he hated one thing more than anything: lies. Yet, he was forced to do what he despised everyday. Truth and honesty was rare in the words he spoke to the ones he loved. But Eldes was aware in his mind that the truth would hurt them much more than the lies would.

Unusually calm waves splashed against the sides of the metal boat as it approached the volcanic island, carrying Eldes with it. It was unlike Citadark Isle not to be surrounded by vicious waves that would tear a boat apart in a matter of seconds. However, these waves were not created by violent storms or slashing blasts of wind, but by a machine hidden deep in the island that was designed to produce strong, artificial waves. The machine could shut off easily, giving a powerful figure of Cipher -like Eldes- a chance to reach the island upon notification, without being killed by the deadly waters.

Within a few minutes, Eldes laid down the boat's anchor in a small bay protected by the island's rocky shores. He looked to his right, surprised that he didn't see a luxurious white yacht docked next to him, as he expected. Eldes quickly grew to ignore it and proceeded across the island, making his way across several bridges stretched across burning rivers of lava. He came to an electronic elevator built into a glass tube, scaling a sheer cliff that loomed above Eldes. The platform rose up the moment both of Eldes' feet made contact with the platform. The elevator brought him to the crater of the volcano where the grand, silver dome hovered above the lava, supported by large metal beams that was attached to the crater's edges. He made his way across the bridge leading into the dome, moving quickly to avoid being affected by the heat rising from the molten rock below.

Once Eldes entered the dome through the automatic doors, he was relieved by the breezy air produced by the air conditioning in the dome as it cooled down his body after it was exposed to the sweltering heat. Once he grew adjusted to what felt like icy winter air compared to the hellish flames that burned below his feet, he strode through another set of doors that led into the main control room.

In front of Eldes, Ardos stood before three peons, each sporting the same suits of armor. Each of their faces was concealed by white metal helmets and black visors that covered their eyes. Around their necks were scarlet colored bandannas that waved behind them as the air conditioning blew at the cloth. Their arms, shoulders, chests and legs were shielded by the same white metal as the helmet. The rest of their bodies was dressed with a black fabric that Eldes thought looked rather tight and uncomfortable. They each stood next to each other in a horizontal line, standing in a position with their backs straight and without the slightest hunch in their stance. Eldes could make out the faint outlines of their eyes from behind their visors and saw that their eyes were focused solely on Ardos without ever wandering off.

"...once you are inside the lab, gather as much of the Shadow Pokemon data as you can and get out immediately. Cipher doesn't need to attract anymore attention than it already has. We've learned from what happened five months ago that making ourselves known to the public only results in utter failure. Neither me or the Grand Master will be very pleased if anyone finds out that we are still operating." Eldes caught some of the orders that Ardos was making to the three peons. His eyes scanned each of them as they stood motionless in silence. "Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes sir!" the peons responded simultaneously in a soldier-like fashion.

"Good. You're dismissed." Ardos informed them sternly.

The peons marched out of the dome past Eldes in a single-file line. Once they had left, Eldes couldn't help but comment on Ardos' orders, "Shouldn't we wait awhile before attempting to return to our old bases? Since Evice was defeated, the Orre officials have been on high-alert across the region. Because their police force is currently scanning the region for anybody relating to Cipher, they might spot us recovering Ein's information and our cover would be blown."

"And if these 'officials' find the lab, then they'll delete the data and leave us with nothing to rebuild Cipher from." Ardos argued smugly. Eldes wondered why he even bothered getting into a debate with him. Ardos always seemed to have an answer to prove Eldes wrong, and then enjoy his effortless victory.

"I see that the Grand Master hasn't returned." Eldes changed the subject to avoid arguing with Ardos even more.

"He informed me a while ago that he'd be running late," Ardos told him bitterly, still upset that it was one of the few times that Greevil left Citadark Isle without Ardos or Eldes, "Apparently, his meeting with Team Snagem was longer than he anticipated."

"Why did he want to speak with Gonzap anyways?" wondered Eldes.

"To cut all ties with Team Snagem, I assume," Ardos answered. It made sense to Eldes, since Greevil had often expressed his displeasure with the loss of Team Snagem's Snag Machine. "But we don't need them anyway."

Ardos began to move forward to the elevator leading to the arena as his lips curled into a smirk. He turned to Eldes and widened his grin even more. "Come here. There's something you need to see."

Even though Eldes wasn't sure if whatever Ardos had to show him was something he wanted to see, Eldes followed Ardos without a word. While the elevator lifted the two brothers up, Eldes considered each possibility for what Ardos wanted to show him. When he arrived at the arena, however, he threw away all his previous guesses, as Eldes thought he just saw the impossible.

Electricity flowed along curved iron beams to form a cage almost tall enough to reach the top of the dome. The iron was newly forged and made from the sturdiest material. But the cage itself wasn't what created the awe that forced Eldes' jaw to drop; it was what was inside the cage that brought him into amazement.

The Pokemon's coal black eyes leered at Ardos and Eldes as its slender neck arched up like a snake's. Its smooth white skin shone like glass when even the smallest ray of light hit it; while its ocean-blue was dully-colored in comparison. The Pokemon made a half-roar, half-growl inside its tightly muzzled jaws as its long tail swished furiously as much as it could without hitting the electric cage. Indigo, rectangular spikes lined its back and tail. It stood on two clawed feet and had a pair of monstrous, hand-shaped wings folded against its body.

Despite the unpleasant glare that it shot at Eldes and Ardos, Eldes sympathized with the Pokemon. Eldes could almost feel himself in the Pokemon's position, enclosed in a cramped up cage that would send volts of electricity through his veins if his body touched the edges even just a little; and a steel muzzle locked against his face, unable to even move his mouth.

"How... How did... Where did you..." Eldes at loss of words while gazing upon the magnificent creature above him.

"We located it around the Whirl Islands in the Johto region. Although it took our peons days, we eventually managed to exhaust it enough to bring it back here." Ardos replied without stuttering like Eldes did. While the Pokemon looked down upon him with raging eyes, Ardos simply let out a pitiless chuckle, smiling in the face of a Pokemon that could easily kill him.

"I can't believe I'm seeing Lugia in front of my very eyes," Eldes gasped while his attention was on the breathtaking Pokemon, "What do you plan to do with it?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Ardos tried to hold back a laugh while Eldes rolled his eyes.

I swear he thinks I'm stupid sometimes. One of the things about Ardos that always annoyed Eldes like a Beedrilll hovering in his face was that Ardos took every opportunity to try to look more intelligent than him. Ardos knew as well as Eldes did that Eldes was the farthest thing from stupid; but Ardos simply didn't care. Eldes tolerated it when they were younger, as Ardos didn't try to be a showoff as often. But recently, Eldes often held back the urge to slap his hand across Ardos' face. There was no doubt that Ardos vied for Greevil's attention to make himself look better than Eldes; but Ardos had to be a know-it-all even when Greevil wasn't around, which vexed Eldes to no end.

When Eldes remained silent, Ardos continued, "Once we can recover the Shadow Pokemon information from the lab and copy it like Ein was supposed to do, we plan to create a Shadow Pokemon out of this Lugia."

"But how do you expect to turn Lugia into a Shadow Pokemon? Creating Shadow Tyranitar was hard enough as it was. Entei, Suicune and Raikou was just as difficult. Turning Lugia into a Shadow Pokemon would take years." Eldes regrettably argued with Ardos, expecting another show of egotism from him.

"True, the process will be long and hard. But it will be worth it. And this time, our strongest weapon won't be in the hands of a fool that fell to children. The Grand Master himself plans to use this Lugia as the figurehead of his future Shadow Pokemon army.” Ardos explained, and to Eldes’ surprise, lacked any haughtiness in his tone of voice.

“But what if the children that defeated Evice learns about our plans? They’d just snag Lugia and purify it.” Eldes tried to point out every flaw in the plan.

“We’ll take care of that when the time comes. As long as nobody knows of our existence, then we will not have to worry about those children. The Grand Master figures that by the time Project XD001 -which is what he calls Lugia’s transformation into a Shadow Pokemon, by the way- is completed, there will be nothing anybody can do to stop us. To ensure our success, we will take every measure to guarantee that Lugia will be unpurifiable.” Ardos shot down Eldes’s hopes of pointing out critical weaknesses in the project.

Before Eldes could have the chance to object to the project even further, the elevator doors behind them opened and dropped off a Cipher peon. “Sirs! The Grand Master has just returned to Citadark Isle. He wishes to see both of you in the control room,” the peon paused for a moment, opening his mouth several times with no words coming out, “...immediately.”

Eldes cringed at the emphasis on “immediately” that the peon put in the word. If a peon came to him and Ardos and carried on the message that Greevil wanted to see them; it was never a good sign if the words “immediately” or “now” was used. Eldes figured that the meeting with Team Snagem got on Greevil’s nerves; but he feared that there was something more.

Eldes and Ardos followed the peon down the elevator and walked into the control room where Greevil awaited them. As Eldes had suspected, Greevil had a sense of irritation around him. He sat in a throne-like chair that hovered above the floor, tapping his fingers on the armrest. He was silent for a while without saying a word. Yet, his yellow eyes spoke words of anger as he stared down Eldes like a Seviper would to a Zangoose.

"Eldes." he spoke up calmly, although mixed with anger, "Step forward."

Eldes glanced back at Ardos once before moving closer to his father. He had no idea what to expect from Greevil, as he rarely singled him out for discussion.

"Closer." Greevil instructed once Eldes stopped in his tracks.

He continued to move closer and once he stopped, he was only inches away from Greevil. If he was any closer, he would've been in Greevil's face, something that Eldes tried to avoid. Eldes and Greevil remained quiet, their eyes on each other. Eldes noticed that Greevil was grasping his wooden cane firmly as if it was a sword and he was warrior about to go into battle. Before Eldes could even take action, Greevil stood up on his chair and swung his cane at Eldes' chest.

Eldes doubled over in pain, holding his hands over the area where the cane hit. While he was still gathering his thoughts, he felt another blow from Greevil's cane, this time, on his side. The blow sent Eldes falling to his knees, gasping for breath. Greevil's cane might have been made of wood, but it was just as hard as a rock. The throbbing pain prevented Eldes from standing. He remained on his knees, applying pressure with his hands on the area of impact.

Weakly turning his head, Eldes saw Ardos looking down on him with shock and surprise, yet, no sympathy. He just stood there with his mouth half-open while constantly looking back and forth between Eldes and Greevil.

"You have a lot of nerve pulling a stunt like this behind my back! You were sorely mistaken if you thought I was too stupid to let this go unnoticed!" Greevil hissed, clenching his fists even tighter around his cane.

"I... I don't know what you're talking about." Eldes exhaled deeply, barely able to speak.

"Don't lie to my face!" Greevil yelled, swinging his cane at Eldes again, "You know exactly what I'm talking about!"

Eldes was desperate to keep the urge to yell out and cry inside of him. When Greevil considered both a sign of weakness, Eldes couldn't afford to show them.

As Eldes stayed silent with nothing to say, Greevil asked, "Do the words, 'Purification Chamber' mean anything to you?"

Eldes almost felt like he'd have a heart attack.

How did he find out?! It was as if his entire world collapsed before his very eyes. He didn't need to be able to see the future to know it was all over. What he didn't know however, was whether it was over for the Purification Chamber and everyone who worked on it, or if it was over for his life in general.

"Obviously, it does." Greevil continued, finally sitting down, "I shouldn’t have to tell you that I'm not going to take this lightly. However, I'll offer you a choice. Either you can choose to have everyone who knows about the Purification Chamber eliminated; or detach yourself from the Orre region and everyone that knew you."

Eldes became dumbfounded by the choices Greevil had just given him. Making such a choice to Eldes was like having to choose whether he'd rather die by having a dozen spears gradually lodged in his chest one by one; or having burning acid dissolve every inch of his body from the inside.

"Do... you mean... fake my death?" Eldes said, even though he already knew what Greevil meant.

"Yes! What the hell did you think I meant!?" Greevil sighed with a roll of his eyes. When Eldes still remained silent, Greevil's irritation began to return. "Make your choice! I have better things to do than wait for your decision! I could just kill off your family now if you plan on remaining indecisive!"

"No! Please! Don't hurt them Fa-" Eldes lifted his head and shouted, before abruptly cutting himself off. "...Sir."

"Then I assume you'd rather have the second option." Greevil ignored Eldes' slip in his words.

"Yes sir." Eldes answered halfheartedly.

Greevil didn't show much of a response. All he did was slightly nod his head before saying "Get out of my sight."

Eldes would have gladly stood up and get away from Greevil as fast as he could, but his legs struggled to lift up his bruised body. He waited for a moment, hoping that Ardos would run over to him to help him on his feet. But Ardos never even moved an inch. Eldes was forced to lift himself up without anyone's help. Still hunched over, Eldes dragged himself out of the control room with no desire to look back.

Continued in next post 'cause it's too long. XD
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Master Procratinator
* * *

Eldes carefully laid himself on the cotton sheets of the bed and pressed one of his feathery pillows on his stomach, expecting the pressure to relieve the pain.

But then again, no amount of pressure would quell the pain that his thoughts produced. Eldes should have known that Greevil would discover the Purification Chamber project sooner or later. However, Eldes never suspected that he would find out after only five months into the project. He had barely even started on it and it had already been destroyed. At that pointed in time, the thought of the Purification Chamber being completed seemed like a distant dream to Eldes.

The Purification Chamber wasn't Eldes main concern, however. What would become of the ones he would leave behind? Would they move on, or would their lives be completely shattered.? Eldes felt like he mind as well have taken a mallet and crush their hearts personally.

Eldes stared at the tiled ceiling, overcome by loneliness. With Michael, Jovi and Lily soon to be absent from his life, and with Ardos' and Greevil's obvious distrust in him, Eldes was left with nearly no one to turn to.

The bedroom door opened while Eldes still had his eyes on the ceiling. Bitterness kept Eldes from moving his head. The last thing he wanted was to make eye contact with someone that refused to help him when in need.

"Why didn't you say anything, Ardos? Why did you just let him do that to me?" Eldes spoke his thoughts out loud.

"You know damn well that my word means nothing against the Grand Master's." Ardos replied coldly.

"Even so!" shouted Eldes, "You shouldn't have just stood there! I needed your help and you never gave it to me! I would've been there for you if you were the one in my position!"

"Oh, really?" Ardos gave a humorless laugh.

Eldes turned his head with the intention to make Ardos realize that he was being truthful, and to let off his anger at the same time. However, the notion to do so vanished when Eldes saw the clearly visible, dark red circle that enveloped around Ardos left eye. The bruise that forced Ardos' eye to squint was similar to the streaks of red that ran across Eldes' chest.

Without another word, Ardos spun around and left the room, leaving another weight of anger for Eldes to carry. It was then Eldes started to predict a bleak future for him and Ardos. Never before had Ardos shown strong and dark feelings directly towards Eldes. Once inseparable, Eldes could sense their bond slowly coming apart. Anything that Eldes knew, Ardos knew as well and vice versa. It had been that way since as far back as Eldes could recall. Little did Eldes suspect that the one thing that Ardos didn't know about was the thing that would cause them to drift farther apart.

I'm a traitor... to everyone.

With thoughts of betrayal still fresh in his head, Eldes closed his eyes and sought refuge in his dreams. Yet, not even in his dreams would he be free from the grief life just handed him.

* * *

There was no turning back now. The deed had already been done and there was nothing that Eldes could do to change it. Even if he could escape from the island that felt like a living hell and return to his family, the truth would have to be revealed to them, and Eldes could barely live with the truth himself.

He wanted to let the pain go, but it wasn't possible when Greevil had called him up to the control room, and Greevil just loved to rub salt into the wound.

The first thing Eldes saw when he walked into the control room was a row of light-weight, purple creatures floating above the floor. These Pokemon smiled wickedly with their ghostly eyes watching Eldes' every move. Horn-like protrusions scaled their purple backs. Their clawed hands were detached from their bodies, floating in place with the use or need for arms. The Pokemon's appearence unnerved Eldes, as he was growing more uncomfortable with each second the Pokemon watched him.

However, Eldes found the spiteful stare Greevil was giving him even more unnerving. His father wasn't the one to forget things easily, especially not after only three days.

"I assume you're wondering why I've called you here." Greevil asked with the same tone he had three days earlier.

Greevil strode past the row of the ghost-type Pokemon; stopping in front of one that stood out in particular. The Pokemon was of the same species as the others. However, it was colored with a slightly darker purple color and had one abnormally large hand bigger than the other.

"And you're probably also wondering why I have these Haunter assembled next to me." Greevil added.

The Haunter may have had a chilling sensation to them, but there were ghost Pokemon, after all. However, they didn't give Eldes such an icy feeling as Shadow Pokemon did. Greevil was normally only interested in using Pokemon that obeyed him without question. Why Greevil assembled Pokemon that could use free will was beyond Eldes.

"I should inform you that these are not ordinary Haunter. You see, these Haunter have been trained over many years to be able to reach into someone's mind. Once inside, they can erase certain things from that person's memory," Greevil explained, "I'm sure you can figure out what I intend to do."

Once Greevil stopped talking, it took only seconds for Eldes to realize Greevil was beating a dead Rapidash. To force Eldes to cut all ties with his loved ones broke his spirit enough. But now to erase their memory of him rendered Eldes broken beyond repair.

In his state of shock, Eldes barely noticed that the darker-colored Haunter had its stare directed at Eldes. However, unlike the other Haunter around it, this one had the first sympathetic look Eldes had seen in days. The Haunter still wasn't free of the dark sensation that came naturally with it, but the difference in its eyes that separated it from the other Haunter soon became clear to Eldes.

"However, these Haunter cannot completely wipe a person's memory. They have the ability to delete three things: what me, you and Ardos look like, the sound of our voices, and our names. They are also to find any photographs, documents or tapes including us and destroy them," Greevil continued while part of Eldes was still focused on the Haunter, "These Haunter can wipe the things I mentioned from the memories of three people each night. With twenty Haunter here, it will only take a few weeks for them to affect the entire Orre region."

The Orre region was one of the least populated regions in the world, mainly because of the dry, arid desert. Most of the people lived in the pine forest that was dwarfed in comparison to the desert that stretched across the land. With sixty wiped memories each night, it wouldn't take long for the little fame Eldes had to be gone.

When there was nothing else to be said, Greevil dismissed Eldes, who sulked out of the room. Disheartened, he left behind any hope of reuniting with his family ever again.

* * *

That night became the start of many sleepless nights. Eldes' eyes were closed, yet, sleep failed to come to him.

When so many thoughts screamed in his head, Eldes was not surprised he was developing insomnia. He tried to ward off bad thoughts with good ones, but he was fighting a hopeless battle.

All of a sudden, the air filled with a sinister feeling. The silence in the room became worrying with the sensation of somebody watching Eldes. He sat up in his bed, unable to take the paranoia anymore. He reached for the small desk lamp sitting next to the bed. The light bulb only produced a dim light that barely reached the end of the bed, but it was enough to reveal the mass of darkness hovering over him.

"Hauuuuunnnter!" the Pokemon breathed in a raspy voice.

Fear froze the blood in Eldes's veins, rendering him motionless. When he tried to scream, all that came out was heavy gasps. Every thought disappeared from his mind, except for the frightening images of what the Haunter might do to him.

Moments passed without the Haunter making a move. Eldes became less tense after he saw the Haunter meant him no harm. But if it's not here to attack me, what is it here for?

The Haunter held up its index finger while its face showed concentration. It then opened up its black hole of a mouth and shoved its larger hand inside. As the hand remained inside its body, Eldes debated with himself whether he should have been scared or disgusted.

The Haunter's hand came out of its mouth with a crumpled up piece of paper. Eldes' face twisted as he watched the Haunter's saliva slowly drip off the wet paper. He leaned back gagged when the Haunter reached its hand and the paper closer to Eldes.

"Hauuun. Haunnnter!" it urged Eldes, reaching out even further.

Reluctantly, Eldes extended his hand toward the ball. He made the mistake of grabbing it with his entire hand instead of with his fingertips. As a result, his palm became soaked by a thick, sticky liquid that caused his hand to shake. Eldes quickly withdrew his hand and carefully took the paper with the fingers of his dry hand.

He looked back up at the Haunter, who was patiently staring at the paper. Sighing, he opened up the ball, careful not to rip it. When it was completely unraveled, Eldes thought he was dreaming.

Michael's wide and joyful smile was the first thing that stood out to Eldes in the photograph. The picture also showed an equally cheerful smile on Eldes. Michael was sitting on Eldes' shoulders, laughing with all the happiness a child could show. In the background was a wide, open arena surrounded by sandstone walls.

Eldes could remember the day the photograph was taken like it happened just days early. Michael was six years old at the time, with Jovi's due date in a few months. Eldes had decided to take Michael to the recently opened Orre Colosseum. It was just the two of them that day. Eldes had told Lily that he promised that they could go out and spend the day together. Lily understood completely, saying that days like that day in which they could spend a lot of quality time together would be good for Michael.

Not only did Michael enjoy the day, but it had also sparked his interest in Pokemon battles. Whether it was reenacting Pokemon battles with plastic figurines or discussing possible winners of battle tournaments, Michael and Eldes found an interest that the both of them could always talk about.

After a few minutes of relishing those happy thoughts while staring at the picture, Eldes looked back up to the Haunter with a sincere smile on his face. "Thank you."

"Hauuun! Hauuun! Hauuuuuunter!" the Haunter replied, nodding its head enthusiastically.

Eldes became so focused on the picture in front of him, he hardly noticed the Haunter leave by fazing through the walls. Only when the dim light finally blacked out did Eldes put away the photograph by hiding it under his mattress. At the very least, he now had some way to see Michael, even if he wasn't in person. Eldes still had doubts that he'd reunite himself with Michael, but the picture gave him some much needed faith.

It was a start.

And as you can see, I failed miserably at trying to not go overboard with length. XD

Also, I know somebody is going to ask me this, so I'll answer it now. No, the Haunter can't make people forget that Cipher existed. They can make people forget Cipher's name and what the peons and admins look like, but the people would still know that there's an organization trying to take over the world with deranged Pokemon. Heh, I don't know if the reason why Michael has no idea who Eldes is will work for you guys, though. :p
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shove 'er in! ;O
That AMAZ-Z-Z-ZING! That was just ZOMgath! I'm not a rabid fangirl like you on the Ardos or Eldes (#1 I ain't a girl) but, seriously, I knew Eldes was always a kind guy inside but you just gave me this new perspective on him. Battling your own kid, having to fake your death, having your father and son die, having your brother betray you. Oh.My.GAWD!

Ftw, I love how you said, "Eldes's life was a nightmare." cause' it truly is. . .

Hopefully, your gonna write more and won't keep such a god forsaken long time to update! xP

I wuv it, Bluey. . .


Saffire Persian

Now you see me...
Don't worry about an uber-long prologue. I've done it myself before. : P. And whoever had the guts to rate this story one or two stars (whatever) deserves to be mauled by a Persian.

I've been meaning to read your work after my debut in Bulbagarden (which I have sense abandoned pretty much). Thanks for reviewing my work there, BTW. It was much appreciated in that pretty-much-post-mortem fanfic forum. *cough*.

So lets get on with this review, shall I? Excuse any incoherentness. It's 1 AM thank you very much.

Everything had been so chaotic at the Pokemon HQ Lab for the past five months. The entire staff was running around the place non-stop, talking about a hero that defeated some organization somewhere in the desert, and about a new project that they were working on. They've been focused on those two things and nothing else. Even Michael's own parents were caught up in the mess.

Michael? This an XD 'fic then? o.0 Guess so. I'm not entirely 'up' with the canon of the game. Despite the fact that I own it and have played it.. not beaten, but played. I got to the point where I caught the Meowth, purified it, and evolved it. (XD). So can't help you on characterizations much here (though the characterizations were rather shallow).

"Mind if I sit down?" he asked Michael, his voice calm and cool just like the breeze blowing past them.

Why a semicolon? I see no need of one. A comma is what you're looking for.

"I've noticed you haven't been acting very happy lately. You've been looking rather sad, as a matter of fact. Is there something wrong?"

Again, no semicolon. Comma. A semicolon is used to join otherwise independent clauses -- as in, said connected sentence could stand on its own if need be. "As a matter of fact"-- just that little bit -- could not stand on its own four feet if you gave it wheels. It leaves you hanging as a solitary sentence, leaving a very distinct 'as a matter of fact... what?" inscribed in your internal thought processes.

"So that's what this all about," the director whispered to himself.

No period. When you are having tags afterward, you always use a comma, if you were just going to use a period of it was just a slab of dialogue with no attribution tags (he said, she said, he whispered, she whispered). You seem to be doing this throughout, but I'm not going to point them all out; it'd just be beating a dead horse after all.

“What are you working on, anyway?” Michael wondered, changing the subject.

I think 'asked' would be a better word to use here. Wondered seems more like a thought - or something that was said that was only meant to be heard by Michael himself.

“It’s hard to explain. You’ll understand it better when you’re older.” the director told him, knowing that the concept was too hard and complicated for a nine-year old to comprehend.

Ah, the older excuse. Gotta love it. Oh, and methinks nine-year-old should be hyphenated all the way. As..erm.. shown. o.o'

The director sensed his son's negative sentiments; he didn't even have to look in Michael's direction to know how Michael was feeling.

Now here's where a semicolon could come in to play - just between the two sentences here. The second could stand as a separate sentence, but it just sounds better connected.

"A... An Eevee!" Michael exclaimed, picking up the small and young Eevee.

Yay! An Eevee. >.> Wonder what it'll evolve into. I chose Umbreon.

It swatted its paws frantically after the leaves twirling in the air around it, trying to catch one of them.


“Come on, Michael. It’s late. We should be getting inside now.” the director told Michael, who was still in a fit of laughter watching the Eevee’s antics.

As I pounded into Iceking, comma before a direct address. Thankyouverymuch. Methinks it's a typo... since I don't think you do that all the time.. but meh. It needs a comma. *eyes twitch*.

"Jovi wants to play with Michael's Pokemon too!" the little blue haired girl squealed, tugging at Michael's hands. Her high, childlike voice rang in Michael's ears, annoying him in nearly every way possible. Michael may have been free of boredom, but he certainly wasn't free from his little sister aggravating him every three minutes of his life.

Did Jovi insist on using third person with herself in the game to? Can't remember.. But Good Mew. XD Jovi needs to learn that Jovi is I. XDXDXD

Her cheerful demeanor quickly transformed into a saddened state. She attempted to win Michael over with her big green eyes that began to look glossy from the tears forming. Jovi lowered her head, but continued to stare at Michael depressingly.

Depressingly is very odd sounding to me. :/

"But why? Why would somebody plant explosives in his boat? He would never hurt anyone! I don't even think he's made an enemy in his entire life!"

aww. Poor guy.

"We still haven't managed to recover his body yet. And as massive and fiery as the explosion was, there was no way he could've survived it. If he did manage to live through the explosion, then he would've drowned in the ocean, since it was about five miles away from shore. We'll notify you once we do manage to find his body."

What a little ray of sunflower-y sunshine. XD.. Kinda made me laugh on how he said that basically "he's dead no matter what, so don't hold on to hope." Methinks he would've tried to leave an opening that he might be alive... being a policeman. XD Must be some kind of cynical dude.

Once Michael couldn't hold it in any longer, a river of water rushed down from his eyes as he threw himself in Lily's arms. Lily fell down to her knees and held her child tightly in her arms. Her shoulder quickly become soaked as Michael cried incessantly on it. His yelling and screaming for his father were muffled by his endless sobs.

Aww. Poor kid. Nice portrayal of emotions there.

But that didn’t matter now to Michael. Michael was sure that with the right training, Eevee would become strong and adept at battling. He was confident that he would somehow obtain new Pokemon and build a strong, unstoppable team. Then, and only then, Michael would track down these Cipher people and get revenge, the only thing that Michael now longed for.

And so the journey begins, eh?
For all he was concerned, he no longer existed.

How about, "As far as he was concerned', or 'as far as his family was concerned'. It flows better, as the above sentence of yours is rather awkward. I prefer the latter, as it lends more impact.

Surprisingly, a small, tiny bit of mercy appeared in the Grand Master’s soul that day. He gave Eldes a choice of which punishment he would rather have. Either the entire staff of the Pokemon HQ Lab would be killed and all the data collected for the Purification Chamber would be deleted, or that Eldes would have to forever leave his family and fake his own death.

First bold: I like how you wove that sentence together. Sounds nice. Second bold, I suppose a semicolon could work here, but a comma is more befitting.

Eldes’ heart plunged into a sea of shadows and nightmares.

Again, nice wording.

all Eldes could do was stand back and hope. Hope for a miracle.

I'd say that's all he could do, too. XD.. Though that sounds awfully pessimistic of me.

Anyways, nice job with the long-ish prologue here. You do a great job with narrative and portraying actions in a way people can actually picture it easily and with little effort. Your vocabulary is mastered well, as really, aside through a few semicolon/comma things, it was very good. No spelling errors as far as I could see; it's nice to see that you've taken the time to thoroughly proofread this.

I also like the twist about Eldes faking his own death (dun think that was in the game.. or was it? Ah well.). And it lends more belivability for him dissapearing, and serves as a fuel for Michael's anger and thirst for revenge, which no doubt leads him to set out on his journey with the yet nick-nameless Eevee that is as darling as heck. Though, is Eevee a he or she? I would like to know - as it seems a bit impersonal for my tastes. :/

Personality-wise, you do a pretty good job as giving each character a rather distinctive personality - and it's nice to see they aren't cardboard cutouts. And as said before, you manage to flush out each character's motivations so their actions are believable. It'll be interesting to see where you go with this.

However, I felt the dialogue sounded a bit... stiff at times. I got what you were trying to say, but it seemed to not be backed up by pure emotion some of the time. It sounded mechanical sometimes, and it was hard to detect any emotion vibrating from it. This could be on account on a few things. Pacing through dialogue could be one reason - breaking at certain times lends to the effect, and makes things less stiff, and moves the pace along accordingly. For example - quoted from your story:

"Jovi!" Michael groaned, attempting to pull his arm from his sister's firm grip. "Not now!"

I might even argue to do that "Jooooviiii" thing to make it sound like what I imagined it sound like. You also seem to tend to use more passive sounding sentences, which often slow the narrative down at times when it doesn't need slowing. Passive sentences are less action-y and more calm. It's like a still pond compared to a sea. The sea moves with waves lapping at its corner periodically, a pond contents itself by staying rather still.

You want the majority of your sentences to sound active, if possible.

For example: "Dinner was being cooked by Lilly" is passive. "Lilly was cooking the dinner" is active.

I'm not saying you do this all the time, and on the whole of things, you do what you need to do quite well. Just make things more 'active' - run, don't walk.

Also, you tend to use the same length of sentences over and over and over and over and over and it gets as blah as using that over and over thing at times. You want to vary sentence lengths. Find a good balance. Remember: long paragraphs slloooow things down, short ones (and dialogue) tend to speed things up. Long paragraphs are all fine and good, but try to slim them down when need be. You don't always need to describe every action or thought at length (though I'm sure there are many times tha tyou will). And don't be too wordy if you can help it. When you can say things in two instead of five, do it into. "More is less, less is more."

Also, you tend to always use 'tags' at the end of dialogue. You don't always need that, and it lends to a bit of variety in your narrative. ^_^ Just a tidbit I picked up while reading.

It's also fun to portray physical actions as they happen in certain situations to make tensions rise, or whatever you might want to do. Example:

"But why?!" Krane stuttered, eyes widening with shock. "Why would somebody plant explosives in his boat? I mean"--her hands clenched together tightly --"he would never hurt anyone! He doesn't have any enemies or anything like that. So I don't think anyone would want to hurt him..."

And yeah. XDXD... Just things that I noticed during the prologue of your tale. You do a nice job throughout, and it was an enjoying read. Nice job.

Oh, and as a word of advice, I wouldn't post a new chapter more than once a week. Posting more often than that is rather intimidating. (A week in a half is pretty nice, too.)


Master Procratinator
Divinity: WHO ARE YOU CALLING RABID?! *foams at mouth*

^Joking. Just joking. ^_^

Heheh. If was really as much as an Eldes/Ardos fangirl as I often imply, I probably would have used up three or four paragraphs describing how hot Eldes and Ardos are. X3 *shot*

Battling your own kid, having to fake your death, having your father and son die, having your brother betray you.

Eh, I thought I made it clear in the chapter, but I guess not. :p Michael and Greevil are both alive. That part about them dying was part of Eldes' nightmare. A rather frequently occuring nightmare, as a matter of fact.

Hopefully, your gonna write more and won't keep such a god forsaken long time to update! xP

'Course I'm gonna write more. :D And if I ever take this long to update again, I give everyone that reads this fic permission to smack me silly with whatever random Pokemon they see necessary. That’ll make me learn. XD

Thanks. :D

Saffire Persian:

And whoever had the guts to rate this story one or two stars (whatever) deserves to be mauled by a Persian.

Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of a giant, man-eating Trapinch. But Persians work good too. :D

Hahaha. It’s alright, though. I heard that somebody has been going around rating just about all fics one star lately, regardless if they deserve it or not.

Ah, the older excuse. Gotta love it.

Hahaha. Still not as bad as the “Just because” or “I’m an adult” excuses, though. :p

Did Jovi insist on using third person with herself in the game to? Can't remember.. But Good Mew. XD Jovi needs to learn that Jovi is I. XDXDXD

Yep. Although there was one time in the game she slipped and used “I”. So I think she just does that to annoy Michael. XD

I also like the twist about Eldes faking his own death (dun think that was in the game.. or was it? Ah well.).

No, it’s just my crazy and probably untrue theory. XD (I will be VERY surprised if I turn out to be right) I don’t know. I just saw a bit of a resemblence between Michael and Eldes. And besides, Eldes being Michael’s father WOULD explain an awful lot.

the yet nick-nameless Eevee that is as darling as heck. Though, is Eevee a he or she? I would like to know

0_0; Eeek! I forgot a nickname and a gender! TO THE EDIT BUTTON! *flies away with cheesy fanfare*

Oh, and as a word of advice, I wouldn't post a new chapter more than once a week. Posting more often than that is rather intimidating. (A week in a half is pretty nice, too.)

I’ll be lucky if I can get a chapter in once every month. XD From what I have planned for the second chapter, I’m guessing that it’ll be much shorter than the ridiculously long first chapter, so it shouldn’t take me long to get the fic updated. (Of course, now I jinxed it.)

Thank you so much for you comments/advice. I appreciate it. ^_^ And I’ll keep those commas and semicolons in mind. ;)


shove 'er in! ;O
Eh, I thought I made it clear in the chapter, but I guess not. Michael and Greevil are both alive. That part about them dying was part of Eldes' nightmare. A rather frequently occuring nightmare, as a matter of fact.

I am so god damn stupid! I was skimming it really quickly. . .I guess I'l l have to read the damn long chapter again. -___-



Well-Known Member
Uber long chapter uber long chapter is all that is one my mind the ever drawing of continuing to read even when tired...i love that lol. Great great fic you got there. lol though I find it hard to believe that it took like a long long time for you to get chapter 1 up but you did so thats cool. Everything has a good flow to it there isn't any bumps in there that makes it quite noticable or forces you to reread something due to a confusion. Uh not much to say really sapphire persian really pointed out all of the stuff that felt like it should be fixed. Other than that I do look forward to the next time you post your next which should be soon I hope.



Master Procratinator
I am so god damn stupid! I was skimming it really quickly. . .I guess I'l l have to read the damn long chapter again. -___-

Nah, don't feel stupid. I'd probably do the same exact thing, seeing as how impatient I am. :D And how long my damn chapter is... 0_0

I find it hard to believe that it took like a long long time for you to get chapter 1 up but you did so thats cool.

*sings very badly* 'Tis the season to be lazy... *inhales* FA LALALALA LALALALA! *windows shatter*

... I'm sorry you had to hear that...

Eh, what I was trying to say was that the delay was mainly because I'm such a lazy procrastinator. :p Of course, High School and Writer's Block didn't help much either.

Thanks for your comments. :D

Oh yeah, I finally decided on a gender and nickname on that Eevee/Vaporeon. It's a girl and I decided on the name Autumn. 'Cause y'know, she likes to chase leaves and Michael got her in the fall and... well, you get the idea. :) Yeah, I know. Not my most creative name, but I can't imagine that a nine-year-old would give his Pokemon some really complicated name like I do. XD


Master Procratinator
Attention Duelists! My hair is posting a new chapter! *yugioh abridged series reference lolz*

Heh, yeah. I was the one that said you guys are free to attack me with random Pokemon if I take this long to update again. *shields self* But before you do, I just want to say that about two weeks ago, my computer went asplode and kept me from working on my fic. Well, it didn't explode, but it did get messed up big time. I'm actually surprised I didn't lose the entire fic. So I probably would have gotton this up sooner if that didn't happen.

Enough of my rambling. I made you guys wait this long in the first place, so, here's the next chapter:

Chapter Two: Power Corruption

Gateon Port had always been a city full of activity, sights and sounds, for as long as Eldes could remember, that is. The gentle waves that rolled into the harbor brought along a salty aroma that filled the air. Along with the sound of the ocean waves, the occasional cry of a Wingull could be heard in the city as well. The most prominent sight in the city was the tall stone lighthouse that watched over the rotating bridges and the warehouses below it. Aside from the rare bar fight breaking out at the Krabby Club when too much Mago Berry juice had been served, Gateon Port had a relatively peaceful atmosphere. It was hard to believe that such a forbidding place such as Citadark Isle was only a few miles away.

Five years ago, Eldes would have stopped by the seaside town at least once every week. But ever since being virtually chained to Citadark Isle, he had only been to Gateon Port three times; and all three visits had been made in the past few weeks.

Had he not been wearing a pair of dark shades, Eldes would’ve had to squint his eyes when he stepped off the yacht that pulled into the harbor. Because Citadark Isle was constantly surrounded by storms, the sun rarely reached the island through the clouds. Eldes’ skin became a pale and ghostly white from the lack of sunlight. Ardos and Greevil on the other hand, both looked like they were one of the living, as they could leave Citadark Isle whenever they pleased. Eldes felt like a zombie in a city full of sun and liveliness.

...A rather famous zombie in Gateon Port, that was.

It wasn’t just Eldes that caught Gateon Port’s attention. The threesome of Eldes, Ardos and Greevil had not only become frequent visitors, but the main topic of gossip throughout the town. No one knew exactly who they were or where they came from. They only knew that a short old man named “Mr. Verich” with two bodyguards suddenly came into town one day and started paying the tab for everyone at the Krabby Club with an amount of money that seemed like pocket change out of Greevil’s wallet.

Once Greevil had stepped off the yacht, Ardos and Eldes followed at his side with Ardos being on Greevil’s right and Eldes on his left. As they strolled down Gateon Ports’ paved streets, the locals began to notice them. Eldes could hear a plethora of whispers coming from everywhere around them.

“Isn’t that the guy that pays for everyone at the Krabby Club?”

“I wonder where they came from? I don’t think they’re from around here.”

“I hear he’s fabulously rich!”

“His bodyguards look like they’re awfully strong. I wouldn’t want to mess with them.”

“The red bodyguard looks awfully pale...”

The closer Eldes came to the Krabby Club, the more the whispers increased. Eventually, Eldes began to hear giggles coming from young girls in either their late teens or early twenties staring at him and Ardos. Just as Eldes tried to shut out the annoying giggles that were ringing in his head, they became even louder when Ardos found the need to smile at the girls.

Suddenly, the town became silent as the locals all turned their heads in the same direction. A loud, booming voice soon became the only sound that could be heard.

"You little brats aren't gonna mess with me and get away with it! My Shadow Pokemon's gonna crush you into pieces!” the thundering voice shouted, followed by the sound of a Poke Ball opening.

The moment the word "Shadow" was uttered, Greevil exhaled deeply and approached the owner of the voice, "That'll be quite enough."

Ardos and Eldes followed Greevil and ended up on the opposite side of the harasser. Taller than even Eldes, he was a large, bulky man with thick muscles and a tall, blond mohawk. His red t-shirt that had a lightening bolt pattern printed on it seemed far too small for him, as it left his bellybutton exposed.

Standing below the man was a Zangoose. The Zangoose was covered in a coat of thick, white fur, with the exception of a stripe of red fur -resembling a scar more than it a marking- stretched across its eye and chest. On its front paws, the Zangoose was armed with a pair of sharp and deadly claws. Its tail was bushed out while its red feline eyes kept its cold glare on its targets.

After observing the man and his Zangoose, Eldes glanced over to the people that upset him. Eldes looked at them once, but had to do a double-take when he realized who they were.

Standing across from the man and his Zangoose, was Michael and Jovi.

For a split second, Eldes' eyes widened and his jaw hung open. He quickly gathered himself and hid everything he felt at that moment before anyone could notice. After five years of living without them and never expecting to see them again; Michael an Jovi were only a few steps of a distance away from Eldes. Eldes desperately kept the urge to run over to the two children, hold them in his arms and tell them how much he missed them.

Aside from being much taller than she was five years ago, Jovi did not change much to Eldes. Her innocent demeanor, rosy cheeks and sky-blue hair remained with Jovi after half a decade. Jovi was wearing a light, white skirt that reached down to her knees, resembling the same kind of skirt she often wore the last time Eldes saw her.

Michael, who Jovi was using as a human shield, had gone through many changes, however. He wore a much more serious expression on his face than Eldes had ever seen him show. His choice of clothing had changed entirely as well. His yellow vest and baggy blue jeans replaced the t-shirts with one-liner jokes printed on them and the colorful shorts he wore in the past. Michael was now wearing a blue sweatband on his head with a small machine fastened to it next to his left ear. In addition, a pair of brand-new goggles hung from his neck.

But what truly stood out most of all was the strange machine on Michael’s left arm. The metal was new and shiny, reflecting light from the sun right at Eldes’ eyes. The machine was attached to his shoulder with a single wire connecting it with the metallic glove on his hand. The odd machine had not only caught Eldes’ attention, but Greevil’s and Ardos’ as well.

Greevil quickly took his attention off of Michael’s machine and turned back to the man in front of him, “I don’t know whether you’re just trying draw attention to yourself or actually willing to attack two innocent children, but either way, there’s no need for it. Return your Pokemon to its Poke Ball and leave quietly. Pokemon shouldn’t be used in such a manner in the first place.”

While the onlookers standing around the area nodded their heads in agreement, Eldes wanted to shake his. Though Greevil’s advice sounded honest to those that didn’t truly know him, it sounded forced and unnatural to Eldes.

“Aw, zip it, old man! Or do you want me to stomp you flat too?” the man growled and ignored Greevil’s advice, stamping his feet on the concrete ground.

The man wasn't about to let go of his anger easily, and Eldes knew it. With the man's sights on Michael and Jovi, Eldes was not going to let the anger be taken out on them. He clutched one of his Poke Balls and began to move forward, but Ardos stepped directly in front of him and said, "I'll handle this, Mr. Verich."

Ardos stood in between Michael and the Zangoose with a rather amused smirk on his face. He casually reached for one of his Poke Balls at his belt, pressed the small white button in the middle and released his Alakazam.

His Alakazam seemed just as threatened by the man and his Zangoose as Ardos was, which wasn’t a whole lot. The Alakazam’s yellow body appeared to be rather fragile, having a thin body and weak limbs that looked like they could easily be torn apart. His brown torso and kneecaps looked like a form of armor at first glance, but they looked just as breakable as the rest of its body. However, he did not seem to be in any state of worry over his brittle form. In a relaxed manner, the Alakazam stared down his adversary without the slightest hint of fear in his eyes. He held two silver spoons, one in each three-fingered hand at his side without a care in the world.

“You think that you can just waltz up here and tell Zook what to do?!” the man snarled at Ardos, who was smiling and chuckling at every taunt thrown at him, “You’re goin’ down! Zangoose! Shadow Rush!”

The Zangoose crouched down on all fours with its rabid eyes fixed on the Alakazam. As the Zangoose sped towards the Alakazam, the feeling it gave off become colder and darker. Once it was only a few feet away from its carefree enemy, the Zangoose leapt up in the air and spread out its claws and aimed them right at the Alakazam.

With lighting-quick reflexes, the Alakazam pointed one of the spoons he held at the Zangoose. The flowing golden moustache he wore on his snout straightened out. His eyes glowed a bright blue and a psychic energy of the same color surrounded his body. The psychic energy enveloped around the Zangoose and froze it in mid-air. The air between the Alakazam and the Zangoose rippled like water before the Zangoose was sent flying backwards into a group of trashcans yards away.

Zook quickly became dumbfounded at his crushing defeat as he stared at his Zangoose that was lying in a pile of trash, moaning painfully. The onlookers gathered around the area -including Michael and Jovi- were just as speechless at Ardos’ and Alakazam’s power, while Eldes simply rolled his eyes behind his sunglasses.

“Is that all? Pity. I was hoping for somewhat of a battle,” Ardos gave taunts of his own as he returned his Alakazam to his Poke Ball, “And you’re not fooling anyone by claiming that your pathetic excuse for a Zangoose is a Shadow Pokemon. Even if it was, I’ve faced Magikarp that put up a more challenging fight.”

Zook clenched his fists, looking like he was going to snap Ardos in half. But instead, he took a deep, aggravated breath and stepped back, "Dammit all... You're too strong... I'll let you be today; but I ain't forgettin' 'bout this!"

With a grunt, Zook brushed past Michael and Jovi without another word. Michael and Jovi turned around and watched him stomp out of the port with his fists still tightened up. After he was out of sight, Michael turned his head slightly towards Eldes, and then looked at him directly in the eyes.

Say something... Eldes waited hopefully for Michael to realize that his father who he thought had died years ago was standing only a few feet away from him. Eldes was expecting such a thing too hopefully, however. Michael soon turned his head towards Ardos and Greevil without saying a word to or about Eldes.

"Should I go after him?" Ardos asked Greevil, still not satisfied with his victory.

"No, no. He won't cause anymore trouble. Leave him be." Greevil answered with his mask of calmness still on, "We should be on our way."

Ardos bowed his head and went with Greevil towards the large, Krabby-shaped building ahead. Eldes reluctantly followed the two, lagging behind them after lingering for a moment to look back at Michael and Jovi. As painful as it was to leave them, Eldes couldn't stay behind.

"Umm... Thank you?" a little voice spoke up behind Eldes.

Greevil, Ardos and Eldes turned around to get a full view of Jovi with her big, astonished eyes still set on them. Michael still remained silent, but nevertheless was as amazed as Jovi was.

"There's no need for thanks, little girl," Greevil chuckled with the fake, cheerful smile on his face, "We were only doing what needed to be done and nothing more."

Greevil, Eldes and Ardos soon had their backs on the children and were back on their way to the Krabby Club. With every moment that Eldes spent walking with Greevil and Ardos, the more he wished he could run over to Michael and Jovi and leave Cipher forever. But he had already tried to do so once before. Betraying Cipher once wreaked the lives of those Eldes loved. Betraying them again would almost certainly take their lives.

* * *

If there was any place in Orre that Eldes could take his frustration out on, Mt. Battle was the place.

Eldes mind as well been in chains and shackles; Ardos was dragging him around everywhere whether Eldes liked it or not. The one day Greevil gave Eldes and Ardos the day off and it was being spent doing what Ardos wanted to do; never mind what Eldes wanted. As much as Eldes enjoyed a good battle, he was sure his killjoy brother would mess it up somehow.

The facility built into a dormant volcano was home to one-hundred Pokemon Trainers that lived for challengers to take them on. Trainers of all sorts traveled from across the Orre region to train at the world-famous Mt. Battle. Even with the sheer number of people raring for battles, no one was foolhardy enough to take on all one-hundred battles in a row. Only once in Mt. Battle's history had a trainer made it through one-hundred consecutive battles.

In the reception room of Mt. Battle, a large portrait hung from one of the walls with the words "1st Trainer to complete the One-Hundred Battle Challenge" engraved on the golden frame. The picture portrayed a sandy-haired boy in his late teens with a strange white streak across his face.

Just as Eldes began to observe the six Pokemon that surrounded the boy in the picture, a hand suddenly grabbed his shoulder and spun him around. Ardos looked at Eldes sternly in the eyes like a parent scolding a child and whispered, "You had better stay put while I'm on the Battle Mountian. The last thing you want is for me to catch you wandering off somewhere else. Understand?"

"Yes..." Eldes groaned, deeply wanting to have his head acquaint itself with the nearest wall. Ardos was acting like the annoying little brother that went out of his way to torment his older sibling to Eldes. Even though Ardos was younger than Eldes by only half an hour, Eldes felt as if Ardos was at least three decades younger.

As Eldes watched Ardos walk away and go through the mountain's entrance, the more he wished he could have a few battles himself. But Eldes overheard the receptionist saying to Ardos earlier that a training session would be taking place soon and they would only let one more trainer through. And of course, Ardos just so "happened" to be that one more trainer. He gets to have all the fun while I'm stuck here counting the floor tiles.

With a sigh, Eldes plopped himself on the nearest bench and laid down. As the seconds grew into minutes and the minutes became an hour, Eldes’ eyelids became heavy and he found himself drifting off. As the afternoon hours were slowly being transformed into the evening hours, the more he lost touch with the real world and entered the world that came to him only in sleep.

Eventually, Eldes completely dozed off and became fully unaware of his surroundings. While he was deep in his slumber, Eldes did not notice the presence beside him.

"Um... Excuse me?"

Startled by the sudden voice, Eldes abruptly awoke. With a shout, Eldes tumbled over the bench and slammed down to the ground on his back.

"Aw, geez! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to jump you!" the voice quickly apologized.

"No, no. It's alright." moaned Eldes, his yawns indicating that he was still half-asleep.

"Are you okay?" the voice asked Eldes as he lifted himself up off the ground.

"Yes, I'm fi-" Eldes was suddenly cut off when he realized that the voice was familiar somehow. Now fully awake, Eldes raised his head and saw Michael staring at him.

"I... uh, was gonna ask you if I know you from somewhere. 'Cause you look awfully familiar." Michael explained, rubbing the back of his head with his hand. His voice had become deeper and less childlike from what it was five years in the past.

Eldes was left speechless at Michael's sudden appearance. The only things that he could manage to speak were a few "umm's" and "uhh's". Eldes' failure to get full words out of his mouth had earned him a raised eyebrow from Michael.

"Oh! I know who you are now!" Michael snapped his fingers as soon as he was reminded, causing Eldes' face to brighten, "You were one of those guys that was with Mr. Verich the other day, right?"

"Right..." Eldes sighed monotonously, his face darkening back up as he stood up from the floor.

"Hey, listen. Thanks for helping me and my little sister out back there." Michael muttered rather modestly while he stared at the ground, his feet pawing the floor.

“No, you don’t need to thank me for that,” Eldes said with a slightly lighter tone at first, but then returned to low and glum mumbles, “Besides, it was my brother that did all the work...”

“Oh. Well... tell him I said thanks if you see him.” Michael said with his voice in a much more audible tone and his stare lifted from the ground.

“I’ll be sure to do that.” Eldes replied with his attention more on the Battle Mountain’s entrance rather than on Michael. What if Ardos suddenly walked back into the lobby and saw Eldes talking to Michael? What would he tell Greevil? Then what would Greevil do to Eldes? Worse yet, what would Greevil do to Michael?

For the next few seconds, there was nothing but silence between Eldes and Michael. Awkward silence. Eldes was usually never the one to be talkative and rarely ever started conversations. But when Michael was silent and looked at Eldes expectantly, he assumed that Michael wasn’t much of a conversation starter himself.

Even though there was so much that Eldes wanted to tell Michael, Cipher’s restrictions muzzled him. It was then that Eldes truly started to despise the situation he was in. Nearly every emotion that Eldes felt for five years was locked away so no one could see. His positive emotions stirred up suspicions among Cipher and negative ones aside from anger were seen as weak. Eldes was then left with nothing but anger and a cold, heartless mask. As much as Eldes wanted to take that mask and smash it to pieces, he felt as if it had a permanent grip on him.

“Sssooo... I... don’t think I got your name back there...” Michael prompted Eldes to say something after obviously being tired of the silence.

“It’s Eldes.” he responded without the smallest bit of time passing after Michael finished his sentence. Although Eldes was ecstatic on the inside that he was finally getting the chance to talk to Michael again, he wanted to get the conversation over with before Ardos came back.

“Mine’s Michael.” Michael introduced himself to Eldes with a little enthusiasm, but not as much as he used to have five years prior. Eldes quickly noticed Michael’s new serious personality that replaced his cheerful one. Eldes began to wonder if this was because of his absence and if it took a bigger toll on Michael than he expected.

“So are you here for the battles?” Michael asked while Eldes was still in thought.

“Hmm? Oh. Uh, no. I’m waiting for my brother to finish with his.” Eldes quickly said, his thoughts abruptly interrupted.

"Well I came to talk to this guy named Vander. But I was thinking about trying out a few battles myself afterwards." Michael explained as he put his hand on his chin and gazed at the reception counter.

"It's a wonderful place for training. I used to train here when I was younger." Eldes told Michael, reminiscing about memories of his Flygon and Ninjask pulling through hot battles and earning miraculous victories. Despite the battles that Eldes and his two Pokemon unexpectedly won through eight areas; the exhaustion finally caught up to them after a Charizard brought them down single-handedly. The Charizard's explosive blasts of fire and the draconic slashes dealt by its dagger-sharp claws were no match for Eldes' tired Pokemon and brought a swift end to the failed challenge. However, nearly ten years had passed since Eldes had attempted the one-hundred battle challenge. The Charizard's trainer had since retired and Eldes' Pokemon had grown much stronger. As much as Eldes loved the intensity of tough battles, especially consecutive ones, he couldn't find it in himself to put his Pokemon through such a feat again, even if Cipher didn’t contol him like a puppet.

"Back then, my main reasons for battling was to become stronger. I may have loved the thrill of Pokemon battles, but power was what I truly desired," Eldes continued, musing about his thirst for power and the painstaking battles his Pokemon fought to achieve it. Eldes lowered his head in both shame and regret, "I eventually achieved the power I sought for so long. But even though I got what I wished for, I now wonder why I worked so hard and put my Pokemon under such stress, just to reach my own selfish goals. Why was I willing to give blood, sweat and tears just to obtain this power?"

When Eldes lifted his head, Michael seemed reflective and contemplative, as if he soaked in Eldes' words with deep thought. Eldes had often heard Michael say as a young child that he wanted to be exactly like his father when he grew up; Michael viewed Eldes as his idol. But the lust for power that Eldes formerly held was the one thing he did not want Michael to inherit, and it seemed like his fears became a reality. With Michael looking like he was identifying such greed with himself, Eldes hoped that it was just in his twisted imagination.

"When you have a goal in mind that you want to reach, ask yourself why you want to reach it first. I strongly advise it." Eldes said solemnly, finishing his speech.

Another moment of silence developed with regret filling the air around Eldes and Michael. Michael's eyes lowered to the floor again as Eldes also did.

"I... uh, think I should be going right around now. Um, it was nice talking to you." Michael spoke up dully. Eldes' half-expected Michael to add "I guess" to the end of his sentence.

"Likewise." Eldes replied with a weak smile.

After giving a slight nod, Michael walked away from Eldes. Before Michael reached the reception counter, Eldes sat back down on the bench with more thoughts and memories than he could handle. Despite the fact that Eldes had finally got the chance to speak to Michael after five years, he did not feel as happy as he knew he should have been. He began to fear if he had put Michael's life in danger by talking to him. As much as he hated such images, Eldes could imagine gruesome thoughts of Cipher peons hunting Michael down and hurting him. Or even worse, killing him. All because of a five-minute conversation.

A few seconds passed before Eldes heard Michael say "Hey" to somebody across the room. At first, Eldes thought that Michael was greeting an acquaintance of his. But when Eldes glanced over in Michael's direction, Ardos was standing near the reception counter, watching the boy walk into the Battle Mountain, much to Eldes' horror. Eldes immediately took his eyes off Ardos and Michael and acted as casual as possible, as if he had never seen Michael. But even so, Eldes could almost feel Ardos' deadly stare boring into his back.

"Eldes!" Ardos sharply called him as he began to head for the door.

Although Eldes was still nervous, he calmed down when Ardos said nothing more inside the building. Eldes followed Ardos outside even though he would have rather stay behind.

When Ardos and Eldes got outside and stood in the courtyard in front of the building, the sky had turned into a vibrant pink as the sun began to set. The clouds closet to the sunset were a deeper pink than the others, resembling huge balls of cotton candy.

The courtyard itself had shown signs of obvious care by those that worked at Mt. Battle. The bright green lawn was perfectly manicured and the round hedges were neatly trimmed. Strips of raised pavement separated that dirt paths that began at the facility's entrance and the lawn. Aside form Eldes and Ardos, not a soul stirred in the courtyard.

Gazing at the serene scenery for even the slightest moment caused Eldes to lose himself in the calmness. But while Eldes had his guard down, Ardos seized the chance and shoved Eldes into the wall. Ardos' hands firmly pressed against Eldes' shoulders kept him from moving and getting away, no matter how much he struggled.

"You were talking to that boy, weren't you?!" Ardos angrily hissed in Eldes' face.

"What boy?" Eldes nonchalantly asked like Ardos had not had him pinned against a stone wall.

"Don't play stupid! You know who I'm talking about! I turn my back on you for one hour and then you go and talk to somebody you are clearly forbidden to!" Ardos raised his voice, hugely understating the time he spent on Mt. Battle, "I have every right to report this to the Grand Master!"

As Ardos paused, Eldes could feel his angry breaths against his face and then traveling down his neck. Ardos loosened his grip on Eldes slightly, enough that Eldes could push him away. But he was obviously in enough trouble as he was and breaking himself free of Ardos would just make matters worse. Anything that Eldes did or said at that moment could cause problems, so Eldes stood still and refused to open his mouth.

Growling like a frustrated Mightyena trying to catch a Grovyle in a forest, Ardos threw Eldes off the wall and onto the dirt ground. Small bits of rock embedded into the path scratched against the skin on Eldes' face. After he pushed himself off the ground, Eldes wiped off the brown dirt with a slight hint of crimson red off his cheek.

"Don't. Let it. Happen. Again." Ardos slowly snarled at Eldes and stormed down the path, kicking up clouds of dust on his way.

As the two brothers walked silently down the path for the rest of the time they were together that day, Eldes stayed a considerable distance away from Ardos. But as the time passed, Eldes gradually moved closer to where Ardos was walking, the imaginary chain that Ardos held around Eldes growing tighter.

* * *

Months passed. Each one becoming closer to the shadows that awaited the world.

Maybe there is hope... Maybe... Maybe I'm... just... a dreamer...

It was a bittersweet day for Eldes. But it was more bitter than it was sweet. After Eldes had talked to Michael at Mt. Battle, the boy had quickly annihilated the forces of Cipher in Orre. The day had finally came when he stepped foot on Citadark Isle to stop Cipher once and for all. But as Eldes, Ardos and Greevil watched the battles taped on the monitor cameras stationed all over the island, it did not take long for Eldes to notice that with each victory Michael earned, the more the rage inside the boy became visible.

And now with Eldes being the only person keeping Michael from confronting Greevil, he got to witness the rage near its full capacity.

The battle between Eldes and Michael was coming down to the wire. A single Lapras stood on Eldes' side of the battlefield that used to be the main control room. Lapras by nature were gentle creatures unsuitable for violent battles. But this one was different. No amount of gentleness could be detected in the blue, plesiosaur whose back was protected by a thick, spiked shell. Instead, its brown eyes were filled with bloodlust and an almost hypnotized viciousness. This was nothing new to Eldes. He had seen many Shadow Pokemon before and the Lapras fighting on his side was no different.

The looks on Michael's Pokemon were completely different, however. The Vaporeon and the Breloom that stood opposite of Eldes' Lapras -as well as the other three Pokemon of Michael's that had battled- exhibited an excitement for the battle. But unlike the Shadow Pokemon that Eldes' had, they had shown signs of actual emotions during the long battle. Happiness, anger, sadness, fear; Michael's Pokemon had souls as opposed to the fighting machines that Eldes regrettably controlled.

Both the Breloom and the Vaporeon may have been physically tired, but neither looked like they were about to give up. The Breloom's legs were like they had springs in them; each step the Breloom took was a bouncing one. He kept his red clawed fists in front of his tan and green spore-covered body, ready for delivering swift and almost invisible punches. The mushroom cap on the Breloom's head shaded most of his roughly triangular face. With each swish of his tail, the seeds attached to the Breloom's tail rattled.

The Vaporeon, Autumn, was not as riled up as the Breloom, but she was still excited. She stood on all four of her thin blue legs and her mermaid-like tail straightened out when she attacked. As seemingly clear raindrops fell to the ground, Autumn's gill-like collar vibrated.

However, the naked eye could not tell that the rain was tainted with darkness. As each drop from the invisible dark clouds looming above them hit both the Breloom and Autumn, their posture and energy weakened. Even Eldes could feel the sharp, stinging pain of the rain. His Lapras, on the other hand, was not harmed in the least bit.

"Lapras! Shadow Storm!" Eldes ordered his Shadow Pokemon in a stern tone he rarely and hated to use.

The Lapras arched its neck and stood on its large flippers. All of its focus was on channeling the invisible dark power around it; the Lapras allowed no outside distractions.

As the Lapras energized itself for attack, Eldes spotted Michael whispering commands to his two Pokemon. Autumn's posture became firm and solid as he stood her ground. The Breloom, however, hastily sprang into action and sped towards the Lapras.

The moment the Breloom moved his feet, the Lapras released the pent-up energy. The layer of tainted water grew rough and violent like the sea outside. The energy created a twister that slashed furiously against everything that it came in contact with. The Breloom was caught in the middle of the artificial storm and struggled to move forward and keep himself from being blown away at the same time.

"C'mon Pogo! Keep trying to break through the storm!" Michael urged his struggling Breloom as he tried to reach his opponent.

The claws on Pogo feet scratched against the metal floor as the Lapras' storm fought against him. Pogo inched through the water everytime the storm lowered its strength by even the smallest amount. Eventually, Pogo became motionless and abandoned his goal of reaching the Lapras. The full power of the tempest was upon him and the only thing the Breloom could do was resist being blown away.

Eventually, Pogo lost his stamina and finally gave into the storm. The wind swept the Breloom off his feet and threw him into the middle of the twister. The dark energy sapped away Pogo’s health and induced painful cries that stabbed at Eldes’ ears.

Upon hearing the cries, Autumn gave out ones of her own and ran towards the Breloom in excruciating pain. But as she came close to the twister that was throwing Pogo around like a toy, the dark energy that blew with the wind stopped the Vaporeon in her tracks. Yelping as the storm slashed at her sleek hide, Autumn was forced to accept there was nothing she could do and was forced to step back.

When the storm subsided, Pogo fell to the ground with a slam. Although his body was limp and nearly motionless, Pogo was still clearly alive. The Breloom’s crying moans tore at Michael and pangs of guilt came over his face, Autumn feeling the same way. The Vaporeon looking upon her fellow Pokemon seemed almost as painful to her as if she was in Pogo’s place.

Standing aside, watching someone she cared about go through so much pain without being able to do a thing…

…Eldes understood the feeling.

Sighing, Michael held up a Poke Ball to his Breloom. A ray of red light shot from the ball’s center at Pogo. Pogo’s body glowed a bright red before it transformed into a scarlet silhouette. The energy that used to be the Breloom withdrew back in the Poke Ball.

Michael latched Pogo’s Poke Ball back on his belt and grabbed the last one he hadn’t used during the battle, “Go! Zaprong!”

The Poke Ball opened and released Zaprong, an Electabuzz. Vaguely human-like in structure, the yellow and black lightening patterned Pokemon stood on his two clawed feet with his fists balled up.

The Electabuzz seemed to be a bit of an oddity to Eldes. Electabuzz were naturally energetic Pokemon, but Zaprong displayed a fiery attitude in his presumptuous stares at the Lapras and the flicks of his black-ringed tail. The oddest characteristic that this Electabuzz showed was that instead of sparks of electricity flying out of his body, Zaprong instead taunted the Lapras with a show of hot embers shooting from his fists. The Lapras, however, did not seem to be swayed by Zaprong’s bold attitude.

Being a Shadow Pokemon, Eldes’ Lapras would take any order, no matter how cruel. If a Shadow Pokemon was told to rip its enemy to shreds, it would do so without hesitation. But even though Eldes could simply tell his Lapras to mercilessly let loose another Shadow Storm at Zaprong and Autumn and win the battle, Eldes never uttered another word to the Lapras. The Lapras stood motionlessly, watching its enemies while they watched back.

For once, this was a battle that Eldes did not want to win. Besides, he had already lost long before the battle began. But Michael still had a chance to win. This was Eldes’ only chance to be rid of Cipher and finally live without fear.

But ironically, it was all relying on fear itself.

Almost like he could see Eldes’ reluctance to attack, Michael confidently seized the chance. “Autumn! Hydro Pump! Give it all you got!”

Autumn leapt forward and closed her big, black eyes and fell into a state of deep concentration. Her collar vibrated at an even faster rate as she manipulated the water in the room. All the water on the floor pulled away from its original spot and into a towering mass of liquid beside the Vaporeon. Even the raindrops from above all directed themselves to the watery tower.

When the tower was taller than even the Lapras, Autumn opened her eyes and threw back her head. The tower stretched itself almost to the point where it reached the ceiling. The top of the watery column bent downwards in the Lapras’ direction like an Arbok’s head staring down at its foe.

Autumn swiftly brought her head back down to its original position. With the force of a fire at full blast, the tower rushed at the Lapras. The Lapras moved its head away from the whitewater torrent slamming at its hide.

But the water seemed to do more good than harm to the Lapras. Its posture strengthened and the water gave it the energy and stamina to face the torrent head on instead of turning away. After the last drop of water from the jet hit the Lapras, raised its head and bared its small, yet sharp teeth at Autumn. Stronger and refreshed from the water, the Lapras eagerly waited for an order to attack.

At first, Eldes was confused at Michael’s strategy. He expected him to know by now that water only strengthens water-types, especially when Michael had a water Pokemon like Vaporeon. But Eldes soon realized that Michael was using one of the oldest -yet, effective- strategies in the book.

“Alright, Zaprong! Let’s finish it with Thunderpunch!” the nervous anticipation present in Michael’s orders, but was overpowered by the rather arrogant confidence. He raised his arm and swiftly lowered it with his finger pointed at the Lapras.

Eeeelec! Eeeeeelllec buzz!” Zaprong barked sharply, stomping his foot on the ground and his fists igniting into flames.

“Zaprong, please… don’t be like this… not now…” Michael’s confidence disappeared and his tone became softer. Barely looking at his trainer, Eldes was not sure if Zaprong noticed the pleading look in Michael’s eyes.

Vaa! Poreeeon!” a high-pitched call directed at Zaprong came from Autumn. She stared at Zaprong expectantly with her scornful look driving into Zaprong’s eyes, “Vaapooor! Va poooor eon!”

Lec! Eeelec buzz!” Zaprong snapped back at Autumn with his teeth clenched.

The Electabuzz and Vaporeon exchanged hisses and looks of anger between each other. All through the argument that Zaprong and Autumn had, Zaprong looked like he was ready to lash out on his own teammate. Autumn, however, was hardly threatened and continued trying to put Zaprong in his place.

With a frustrated scowl and a defeated moan, the flames that Zaprong held in his fists faded and was replaced with crackling electricity running through his fingers. After a moment of hesitation, Zaprong dashed towards the Lapras, who was a still target in front of him. Up until the second Zaprong came close enough to strike his enemy, his arm held his electric fist stretched out to his side. Only feet away from the Lapras, Zaprong flung his arm back even further and then swung it at the Lapras.

His fist may have only grazed the skin of the Lapras, but the electricity that that it held traveled from Zaprong’s fist and into the Lapras’ body. Zaprong jumped backwards and watched the Lapras become completely immobilized by the electricity flowing through it’s veins. After the electric onslaught was over, the Lapras fell over to its side, paralyzed and unable to lift itself up.

With the Lapras unable to attack any further, Michael reached into his pocket and grabbed the Ultra Ball that would end the long battle. Neither Eldes nor Michael had any anxious feelings as the Ultra Ball sucked the Lapras into its interior and locked it inside. Both knew the battle was over and there was the rest of the war to be worried about.

Within seconds, Lapras’ Ultra Ball became a white silhouette and suddenly vanished into thin air. When Eldes was a small child, the process of a Poke Ball teleporting to some far-off place had always fascinated him. But his fascination for such a thing faded, especially after seeing the Ultra Balls of his three other Shadow Pokemon go through the same process.

“Good job, guys.” Michael congratulated Autumn and Zaprong, giving a weak smile at Zaprong and nodded. But the only way Zaprong even acknowledged that Michael was speaking to him was by snorting rudely and turning away.

Groaning under his breath, Michael returned his two Pokemon to their Poke Balls, Zaprong first and then Autumn. He then looked back at Eldes for a moment and then looked away like Zaprong just did to him.

“Impressive,” Eldes commented, talking to Michael for the first time since their battle began, “I did not expect this to be an easy battle, but you are much stronger than I expected. If there is anybody that is capable of defeating the Grand Master, then it’s you. By all means, you have the power to put an end to Cipher once and for all.”

A short laugh that would resemble a laugh that Zaprong would make forced its way out of Michael’s mouth, “If you’re trying to make yourself look better by pretending to be on my side, then you’re doing an awfully bad job of it.”

Sighing low enough that Michael couldn’t hear him, Eldes solemnly lowered his head and walked past Michael to a glass wall. With a press of a button on the wall beside Eldes, the tall transparent barrier disappeared into a slot in the floor. The glass wall gone, the hallway connecting the control room and the outside was now accessible. Greevil originally had it installed as his way of saying “Leave me alone” when he didn’t want anyone bothering him. He never expected it to stop an intruder like Michael in his tracks for a few hours, although the boy did find a way around it eventually.

In the hallway on Eldes’ right was a healing machine for Pokemon. Everyday in the arena above Eldes’ head, every employee of Cipher fought harsh battles for training. The ability to heal Pokemon quickly was invaluable, especially when the matches were fought with short intervals of each other.

Eldes stood in the hallway’s entrance, unsure whether Michael was looking at him or not. He did know that Michael was still in the control room; the silence between them was almost deathly unnerving. The ongoing grudge from Michael and the unbearable fear from Eldes mixed and twisted into a cold feeling that made Eldes’ heart race.

Despite the fear that had a tight hold on Eldes, he broke free long enough to spin around and abruptly shout, “Michael! Wait!”

When Michael turned to Eldes, Eldes found that he was looking into the eyes of the boy he betrayed and made into the grudge-filled person before him. Fear’s icy arms wrapped itself around Eldes and immobilized him again. There were words that Eldes wanted to say, but fear took them away from him. Like the small weak child facing others that were much stronger and bigger than him, Eldes thought over and over to himself, I can’t do this… I can’t do this…

“Good luck.” Eldes forced himself to say, turning his head away in self shame.

Eldes turned around and left the dome without even looking to see Michael’s reaction. His head was still low and his sight on the ground. Eldes never looked back on the dome as he crossed the bridge over the crater. Once across the bridge, Eldes lost his will to stand and fell to the rocky ground on his knees.

“I shouldn’t have let him go forward. He wasn’t ready…” Eldes said out loud, though there was no one around. No one to comfort him in his time of doubt or lift him off his feet. Alone and ashamed, Eldes struggled to hold back the oncoming tears, “I don’t deserve to be his father… Not after this…”

Eldes convinced himself at that time that the only reason Michael won their battle was because of his reluctance to attack. Eldes threw the entire battle, just so he could see Cipher’s downfall. If he had ordered Lapras to attack while Zaprong gave his show of blatant disrespect for Michael, Eldes would have won, Michael would leave Citadark Isle and go home where it was safe. But Eldes began to think that he had just put Michael in more danger he could handle when he wasn’t ready.

Eldes knew that Michael would need every bit of luck Eldes wished upon him back in the dome…

…For Eldes’ sake…

…For Michael’s sake…

…And for the world’s sake…

* * *

Michael did need every bit of luck he could afford, and he got it.

Perhaps Greevil was right. Maybe Michael only did win the final battle by sheer luck. But he did win after all. And Cipher was nothing but a memory.

Especially for Eldes. The haunting memories of Cipher still lingered in his head as he stared at the concrete ceiling inside his cell. Reminders of the terrible organization was all around him, whether they came from the glares people gave him or his own mind going mad.

Eldes knew that even though he kept a small, invisible glimmer of hope alive for five years, only part of what he wished for came true. Cipher may have been gone and his family may have been safe, but Eldes still wasn’t happy. He still couldn’t reveal himself to his family nor return to life he once knew. Eldes expected that it would be impossible anyways for the next ten years he would spend in prison, still locked up. And even if iron bars did not hold him in his cell, Eldes still could never go home as long as Michael still hated him.

Eldes reached under the old mattress he lied on and pulled out the folded picture he kept for half a decade, the only reminder of the good in his life. The picture had become flimsy over the years, but wasn’t any less heartwarming for Eldes’ to see. Seeing a scene frozen in time of him and Michael… A time where Eldes was always around and Michael loved him.

After the looking at the picture caused his hopes to be lifted back up and put a weak smile on his face, Eldes slipped the picture back under the mattress. Pulling the light sheet over his shivering body, Eldes concentrated on sleep, avoiding nightmares at every turn his mind took.

Pogo... *snort* The names I give my own Pokemon are even weirder, though. XD

And yeah, this is the last chapter for a while that focuses solely on flashbacks. We will see some more chapters like this eventually, just not for quite a while.

Hmm, I think I might have chosen a bad time to post this, as I'm sure a lot of people are "OMFG SUPER BOWL!!11" right now. XD *shot*

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down

You've fleshed out the characters perfectly---annoying, evil little brother Ardos (I always saw him as the older one because of the wrinkles on his face o_O), merciless crime master who actually still has a heart Greevil, and so on. One scene I liked in particular was the part where Gateon Port's citizens were fangirling over the three and Ardos smiled at them. The description of Shadow Storm was spot-on too.


Master Procratinator
TGB: IT'S YOU! :eek:

(I always saw him as the older one because of the wrinkles on his face o_O),

Heheh. From what I've seen, I'm probably the only one that does think Eldes is older. :p But y'know, I figured he was the older one since his name is one letter away from being "Eldest".

One scene I liked in particular was the part where Gateon Port's citizens were fangirling over the three and Ardos smiled at them.

Sounded like something I would do, didn't it? :) Heh. Although if I was there in Gateon Port at that moment, there would have been an extra scene in the chapter where a crazy, insane fangirl glomps them and squeals, "ZOMG I LUV U! MARRY ME!!!11" And then Eldes and Ardos files a restraining order on her. XD

...0_o I need to cut back on the sugar...

Glad you really like my fic. Thanks~ :D


Master Procratinator
All your Eldes are belong to me. D:

Yes, I procrastinated again. I really need to stop doing that… XD

So anyways, here’s Chapter Three. You can put down that pitchfork now.

Chapter Three: Second Chances

The Orre desert was a place of transformations. Whether they took place over a matter of hours, or a matter of years, cycles were forever embedded into the ways of the land. Searing hot days to frigid cold nights. Blazing sun to icy moon. Love to hatred. Light to darkness…

…then back to light. Darkness again. Light once more. Then the darkness returns.

Somewhere in the sandy desert of cycles, life existed where there was desolation all around it. Even from beyond the surrounding sand dunes, the soft, serene sound of water running gently echoed. Water pumped from an underground oasis flowed around the calm city in man-made streams and waterfalls. The entire city was made to adapt itself to the flow of the life-giving liquid. The streets and houses were all made from white, non-porous rock. Water could run on the roofs of houses day and night without a single drop seeping through.

Phenac City was the city of oasis waters. It was the city of the sun fiery sun watching overhead. It was the city of never-ending cycles.

In the center of Phenac City was a large building that resembled a wide cylinder. The outside of the building looked simple and plain; it did not look like anything truly promising. But the building’s looks deceived it. Inside was the main attraction inside Phenac City. The Pre-Gym was the closest Pokemon battling facility to Phenac’s citizens. The old water-filled stadium behind the gym had been abandoned for years, and the newer Realgam Tower was miles away.

A sole figure appeared near the Pre-Gym. Although the purple-haired man was young, his fame within the city stretched outside Phenac. Known for being the owner of the gym and one of Phenac’s finest trainers, Justy had become a household name around the city.

Justy took a deep breath as he reached for the gym keys inside his white coat pocket. It was another day that Justy had to live through of what he believed was the stressing part of the year. The summer sky was upon him and school had let out, which meant that Justy had to handle even more children at the Pre-Gym than before. Many of the kids were beginning trainers and were still struggling to comprehend the most basic rules of Pokemon battles.

The door clicked open when Justy found the key and turned it inside the keyhole. Justy stepped inside the wide room and was greeted by the battling arena on a raised platform. At the edge of the arena facing the Pre-Gym door was a cylinder elevator leading to the lush training field below. On opposite sides of the buildings was Justy’s control room and a small classroom. The insides of both rooms could be seen from the arena through transparent plastic walls.

Justy flipped the lights on, illuminating the entire building. He walked up a few steps into his control room, past the crescent-shaped control panel, and to the wide, tall closet at the end of the room.

As Justy heard the faint sound of a truck approaching and then coming to a stop outside, he searched through his ring of keys and opened the closet doors. Inside the closet was seventeen metal cells, each holding a couple small boxes. Justy grabbed a nearby stool, stood on it, and began scanning each of the boxes. When he found what he wanted, he reached for a box with the words, “Normal: Beginners” written across it and carefully pulled it out. He stepped off the stool and placed the box on the carpeted ground.

Justy reached for the closet doors to shut them, but was suddenly grabbed and pulled away from them. Before Justy’s mind could even process the thought of what just happened, the edge of sharp, cold metal was touching the skin on Justy’s throat. A hand that was dressed with a black leather glove slammed itself against Justy’s mouth, muffling his confused cries. Justy’s entire body locked up out of fear and his racing heartbeat made his ears deaf to the sounds around him.

A tall man dressed completely in black, leaving only his eyes exposed, dashed to the open closet and quickly began throwing each of the boxes inside a brown sack. Justy watched helplessly as each box fell into the sack until the closet cells were bare.

The anger inside Justy’s immobilized body boiled up to the point where it overwhelmed the fear and broke him free of its hold. Justy instinctively stomped the foot of the man that held him with his own. The man dropped the knife that he held at Justy’s neck and his grip on Justy loosed enough that he could break away. Justy quickly grabbed the knife off the ground and slashed at the mans’ legs, ripping the fine black clothing opening and creating thin red gashes on his skin.

Before the other thief could even know what was going on, Justy tackled him against the wall and cut open the brown sack he was holding. The boxes spilled out of the sack and created a disorganized pile of boxes on the floor.

The thief pushed Justy off him and threw him into a corner. He began to gather the boxes on the floor, but his partner motioned his hand to the door as he headed out of the control room. The two thieves dashed out the Pre-Gym, carrying only one box with them. Within seconds after they left, a truck engine hastily started up and roared out of the city.

Justy remained in the corner he was thrown in, gasping as he tried to catch his breath. Everything happened so fast, Justy almost didn’t know what to think of it. As he gathered his thoughts, Justy looked upon the scattered boxes on the floor and the drops of blood in the carpet.

Once Justy had gathered himself, he ran over to the nearest telephone and tried to shut out the many confused voices outside as he reached the police.

* * *

“This just in! We are getting reports that the Pre-Gym in Phenac City was robbed early this morning,” the anchorwoman of ONBS’s news program announced as she held her hand to the microphone in her ear, “We have Marcia live in the field. Marcia?”

The television screen switched from the black-haired anchorwoman to a spirited young girl in her early twenties. She held the microphone steadily to her mouth as she focused on the camera in front of her.

“Ancha, Phenac City has been in an uproar ever since the robbery this morning,” Marcia reported with a large group of citizens behind her, “Thankfully, no one was severely injured. However, six Pokemon were stolen.”

The camera shifted to Marcia’s left and showed the tense purple-haired man next to her. Marcia held the microphone to him and asked, “Justy, you were the only witness to the robbery. Can you describe for us the culprits?”

Justy leaned his head slightly forward and spoke into the microphone with his voice shaken, “Well… they were covered in black clothes from head to toe…”

“So there were no distinguishing features?”


“What about the Pokemon that were stolen? Do you know which ones were taken?” Marcia asked with a concerned tone.

Justy stood silent for a moment. He held his hand to his forehead and closed his eyes. When Justy opened his eyes back up, he seemed to be unsure with his thoughts, “Uh… I think they were all Rock-types, ones that I were saving for my more experienced students. I’m not really sure though.”

“Thank you for the information, Justy,” Marcia thanked Justy and turned back the camera, “Police are still trying to uncover details. So far, they do not believe that there are any links to the Cipher syndicate that was destroyed last year.”

“Idiots.” Greevil muttered to himself as he watched the news report on the prison wall across from him.

He was lucky to even see or make out what was going on the television in the first place. The reception was horribly bad. Every few words that were spoken were distorted by the static and the images could barely been seen behind the gray fuzz. But of course, the prison officials were well aware of that. That’s why they didn’t bother to fix it.

But Greevil rolled his golden eyes at what he did hear. Sometimes he would wonder why he even tried to take over Orre in the first place. But after hearing about Pokemon being stolen on the news for the third time in a week and hearing “No apparent connection to Cipher” over and over like a broken record, Greevil remembered why. Orre is a wasteland of stupid, oblivious nitwits.

Greevil thought that the residents of Orre would’ve grown half a mind to be more suspicious of frequent criminal behavior after Cipher nearly took control of the dry wasteland twice. Of course, the smart ones were not as oblivious and naïve. Unfortunately, to Greevil, morons made up at least two-thirds of the population.

The short, elderly man tapped his wooden cane against the steel walls, watching every move that anyone that came near him made. Greevil didn’t need the cane for walking, he could walk perfectly fine without it. The prison officials didn’t need to know that, though. When there was so many people around him that were eager to break every bone in his body, Greevil needed something for protection. And besides, the expression on a man’s face when they underestimate him and then find out he had a vicious swinging arm was just priceless to Greevil. Simply priceless.

Greevil’s thoughts were interrupted when his pale skinned son leaned against the wall next to him, almost falling into it. Eldes looked like he was sleepwalking at the moment. His eyelids were half-closed and his gaze was straight and dull. The black circles under his eyes could easily be seen against his ghostly white skin.

“You slept well.” Greevil remarked and earned himself a dull glare from Eldes.

“Father…” Eldes sighed, taking his glare off Greevil, “You know I’ve had insomnia for the longest time now.”

“You never used to. You used to sleep like Slakoth. And then it was up to either me or your mother to drag you out of bed.” Greevil chuckled under his breath before growing somberly silent for a moment.

“I was a child.”

“You were twenty.” As Greevil shot down Eldes’ defense and smirked, he received a groan and another dull glare from his son.

“It’s been getting worse, though,” Eldes changed the subject as his eyelids fell and raised, “Lately, I haven’t been able to get much sleep at all.”

“Count Mareep.” Greevil simply and bluntly told Eldes.

Eldes held his hand to his mouth and yawned, “I have. All two-thousand of them.”

“Well…” Greevil rubbed his hand against his forehead as he thought, “Try not to think about sleep so much. Just let yourself drift off and…”

Greevil was suddenly cut off when he heard a snore coming from Eldes’ direction. He turned his head and saw that Eldes’ head was lowered and his eyes closed shut.

“Eldes!” Greevil raised his voice and lightly smacked his hand at Eldes’ arm.

“SIR!” Eldes abruptly awoke, pulled his arms to his side and straightened his posture. When Eldes looked around and remembered where he was, his posture loosened.

“…Or I can just talk to you all night. How about that? It seems to work quite nicely.” Greevil moaned and sighed as he crossed his arms.

“I’m sorry! I…I can’t help it…” Eldes apologized quickly and timidly like he was a child in trouble.

Suddenly, one of the prison guards strode past Eldes and Greevil. The guard’s pace slowed down as he walked near Eldes and Greevil and eyed them suspiciously. Greevil remained silent and returned the guard’s distrusting glare. Once the guard was past them and sped his pace back up, Greevil scanned the room. In the midst of the numerous inmates in the room, there were several other prison guards with their heads turned in Greevil’s direction. But what Greevil noticed most of all was that most of them were looking at him specifically.

“Damn it… I hate it when they keep their eyes on us like that,” Greevil under his breath as the guards kept on staring at him suspiciously, “Thinking that were going to commit murder or something like that every time they turn their backs.”

“You’ll get used to it.”

Greevil paused before taking his eyes off the prison guards and looked into his son’s face. Eldes refused him eye contact; his musing gaze was straight and focused on no one in particular. For years, a pair of black shades concealed Eldes’ eyes. But now that they were absent, Greevil had the chance to view the emotions stirring in the golden orbs. At first, they seemed nonexistent. But after a few moments into Eldes’ pensive state, Greevil noticed that Eldes’ lower eyelids twitched and his eyebrows furrowed. The movements were slight and subtle. To anyone else, they would’ve gone unnoticed. To Greevil, however, they were like thick black ink on white paper.

Once Greevil had picked up the negative emotions on Eldes’ face, he began to repeat Eldes’ words in his head. Normally, Eldes’ voice was monotonous and was not a good indicator of what he was feeling. But when emotions were present in his voice, they were glaringly obvious and his tone drastically changed. It did not take long for Greevil to recognize the two emotions he heard. Anger and bitterness.

These were emotions that Greevil did not usually see in Eldes, prior to and even during the time of Cipher. But now that those foolish times were over and the shadowy cloud was lifted, Greevil finally realized the full extent of what he did to his son. He had turned the once happy and content Eldes into a cold, hollow shell of his former self.

Greevil took his eyes off of Eldes and hung his head shamefully. Looking back on himself, Greevil began to wonder what compelled him to do such a thing in the first place. Was he so desperate to hold on to power that he was willing to destroy the life of his own flesh and blood? Worse yet, why was he just realizing this now?

Neither Greevil nor Eldes said anything to each other for the rest of that day. Greevil knew that Eldes had already said everything he wanted to say anyways. And all it took to speak to his mind was to say five words.

* * *

Patience was never one of Ardos’ strong points. He had always hated waiting for anything that was even the smallest bit late. As a child, Ardos would often display his temper by kicking, screaming, and going on about how much he wanted it and how much he wanted it now. But now, as an adult, Ardos tapped his fingers on his marble desk and stared at the blank, plasma screen with irritation showing in his scowls.

Ardos glanced over to the digital clock next to him. As the green neon fourteen changed into a fifteen, Ardos took a deep breath to hold in his temper.

His eyes wandered away from the digital clock and looked at his Alakazam standing next to him. Unlike Ardos, the Alakazam didn’t seem impatient, just bored. The Alakazam’s undisturbed gaze was fixed on the screen, looking like he was about to nod off at any moment.

Finally, after what seemed like forever to Ardos, the plasma screen flicked on. Looking directly into the camera was a young man that looked like someone that Ardos would find on an interstate, speeding on a motorcycle. The light from the light bulb above shone off his black leather coat and his slick brown hair styled into a mullet. Despite the tough image that he attempted to show, the fear that Ardos saw in him couldn’t have made itself more obvious.

“You certainly took your time, Terran.” Ardos snarled, just waiting for what kind of excuse Terran would run by him this time.

“I… I’m sorry, Master Ardos, sir. I… uh, didn’t know you were expecting a progress report.” Terran’s nerves got the best of him and forced him to give an excuse that made Ardos laugh under his breath.

“Don’t even try that with me! I told you five days in advance that I’d be expecting you to call in at precisely six o’ clock P.M.,” Ardos, although still angry, couldn’t help but laugh at Terran’s stupidity, “But enough of that. Let’s just cut to the chase. How many Shadow Pokemon?”

Even though Ardos’ impatience couldn’t be made clearer, Terran insisted on delaying his response. Terran lowered his head and avoided eye contact with Ardos. When he finally did speak, his voice was barely audible, “Three.”

“Three,” Ardos repeated Terran’s answer while his wrinkles highlighted his annoyed frown, “I give you two months to increase the numbers, and the best you can come up with is three Pokemon?!”

“Sir, let me explain!” Terran quickly lifted his head up and tried to cover himself. Despite the fact that Ardos was starting to get fed up with Terran’s excuses, he sat back and listened to what he had to say, “We have enough Shadow Energy to make at least twenty Shadow Pokemon. It’s just that we don’t have enough Pokemon to use it on.”

“And what do you suppose you should do about that?” Ardos questioned Terran, crossing his arms.

“Um… Get more Pokemon?” Terran guessed timidly like he had predicted what Ardos’ reaction was going to be.

“Exactly!” Ardos let loose his frustration and let the anger raise the volume of his voice, “I don’t care how you obtain more Pokemon, just do it! Use your own if you have to! Next time I check in, those numbers had better be higher!”

Ardos reached for the control panel on his desk and nearly slammed his finger on one of the buttons. Before Terran even got a chance to respond, the screen flicked off on him.

With a groan, Ardos leaned back in his chair and slid his hand up his forehead. He never expected Cipher to rise back up to its former glory in such a short period of time. But he had at the very least hoped that progress would be going faster than it was. Three Pokemon in two months? Damn it… The Lair would’ve made the same amount in a week!

"If you deem Terran such a failure, why do you bother keeping him around?" a telepathic voice echoed in Ardos’ mind.

Ardos glanced at his Alakazam, who was gazing back at him and sighed, “What other choice to do I have? Even Terran is more competent than half of my peons. And the ones that are half-way intelligent can’t battle for the life of them.”

Perhaps the problem does not lie within Terran’s intelligence, but rather that you may be overworking him. Two projects at one may be providing him with more stress than he can handle.

“Maybe,” Ardos sat back up in his seat and folded his arms on his desk. After a pause, Ardos sighed again and lowered his head, “I don’t know… Sometimes, I think I might be expecting too much, Magek.”

Not entirely,” Magek said rather positively, as opposed to his usual indifferent tone, “As far as expecting Terran to juggle two projects, you are quite possibly aiming too high. But even without the Lair to mass produce Shadow Pokemon, we should have more Shadow Pokemon than we do. While no one can expect for us to have as many Shadow Pokemon as Cipher used to after only a year, everyone expects that we have at least a decent amount.

Ardos looked back at Magek and chuckled under his breath. Even though the smile that suddenly appeared on his face was weak, it made the wrinkles around his mouth even more obvious, “You do know how to criticize me and motivate me at the same time.”

Magek returned the smile and nodded back to Ardos. As Ardos had to live through each stressful day, dealing with every problem that arose with Cipher, perhaps Magek’s reassurance was just what he needed.

But as Ardos tried to keep his mind on relaxing thoughts, he couldn’t help but dwell on more troubling ones. When was the last time he heard any positive reinforcement from anyone but Magek? When Ardos had to think for a few minutes just to try to remember when others would reassure him, he knew something wasn’t right. For over half a decade, Ardos put his all into his work to the point where the stress nearly exhausted him. And hardly did he ever hear a “Thank you, Ardos” or a “Good job, Ardos”. Not even from those he’d expect a compliment from.

Ardos wasn’t going to let all those years of hard work go to waste, however. Even if he hardly ever received acknowledgement for his efforts, Ardos wasn’t about to throw everything he did for Cipher away. He kept telling himself that he will rebuild Cipher from the ashes, even if it takes him another six years.

And he wasn’t about to let anything, or anyone, get in his way.

Not this time.

* * *

If only he could just get his hands free…

The handcuffs locking Greevil’s hands behind his back was more irritating than anything he could think of at that moment. Struggling to get his hands free wasn’t going to do much good, though. The handcuffs were made of iron, and even as much as he wished he could, Greevil knew there was no way he could break them.

Even if he could get his hands free, what on earth was he going to do against four prison guards surrounding him? Greevil figured they would make him leave his cane behind. Though Greevil stood firmly by his belief that the guards had skulls as hard as rock, they weren’t as stupid as he previously thought.

Paranoid? Yes.

Completely brain-dead? Unfortunately for Greevil, no.

Greevil smiled wickedly as his imagination toyed with the thought of what would happen if he did have his cane with him. Smashing the cane into guard’s thick skulls and getting away from that damned prison once and for all… Greevil absorbed himself in the vivid images in his head to the point where time flew by him quicker than he could realize.

By the time Greevil’s mind snapped back to reality, he found himself in a familiar section of the facility. The guard behind him led him, or more appropriately, pushed him down the long hall with his hands firmly gripped on his shoulders. Within seconds, Greevil stood before the door that led to the room he hated most in the entire building. Greevil could picture himself running to the electric chair much easier than he could ever imagine wanting to go into the warden’s office.

Two of the guards stationed themselves on opposite sides of the doorway while the other two walked into the room with Greevil. Once inside, the two guards shut the door behind them and blocked Greevil’s only exit out of the office.

The first thing that Greevil noticed when he entered the room was Eldes standing next to him. Eldes quickly noticed Greevil too, acknowledging his presence with a slight nod in his direction. Greevil saw that Eldes was apparently in a much better mood. There wasn’t as much anger present in his face, and any that was present was probably due to the fact that Eldes hated the office as much as Greevil did.

The second thing that met Greevil’s eyes was a much less pleasing sight. The warden, who couldn’t be much older than Eldes, stared at Eldes and Greevil from across his cedar desk. His dark, jet black hair matched everything he thought about the two inmates to the very core. The warden wore a smile on his face, but it wasn’t the welcoming kind of smile. On the contrary, his smile was arrogant and looked like he was about to take the power he had over Eldes and Greevil and rub it in their faces.

“Haven’t seen you two in a while,” the warden spoke in false joy through a mock smile, “What has it been now? Two? Three weeks? That’s a new record for you!”

Greevil narrowed his eyes at the warden and realized the real reason he hated the office so much. It wasn’t the office itself he hated, just the person, whom by some miracle, got the right to work in it.

“I’ve heard from the guards that you two have been talking quite a bit to each other lately. A lot more than you used around here, they’ve said.” the warden changed his tone slightly to a more serious and suspicious one, but was still mocking.

So now I can’t even talk to my own son without you having a panic attack over it?!, Greevil first said in his head and then repeated it in an angry, hissing manner, to the warden. The warden scowled at him and stood up from his chair and all of the taunting looks he had on his face disappeared.

“I don’t know who the hell you think you’re talking to. If you’ve got any notion in that big head of yours that makes you think you’re better than me and gives you the right to talk to me like that, then I would get rid of it. Quickly.” the warden growled, suddenly completely serious.

Think I’m better?!” Greevil laughed and blurted out without even thinking. It took a few seconds and Eldes’ eyes widening before Greevil realized what he said and that he might have just made a huge mistake on his part.

Greevil looked back at the warden and no doubt, did his expression grow furious. He took deep breaths and stared back at Greevil with eyes that looked like they were about to burst into flames, “Care to repeat that?”

After living in a prison for over a year and making several trips to the office over that span of time, Greevil got to know to the warden quite well. Even if it wasn’t in the way he would’ve preferred. After spending hour after hour putting up with him, Greevil knew that if the warden ever got angry, chances are he wasn’t going to cheer up anytime soon. So trying to cover himself and apologize wasn’t going to do Greevil any good, not that he would’ve apologized to the warden anyways. Nothing Greevil was going to say was going to calm the warden down. But there was so many things that Greevil could say that would anger the warden further, but would be so relieving to get off his chest.

“You’re so full of talk!” Greevil laughed and shook his head at the warden. The warden was obviously growing even more furious with Greevil, as his fists started to clench and his scowl tightened. Greevil’s eyes wandered slightly in Eldes’ direction and saw that Eldes was looking at him like he was a complete madman, “You’re always bragging about how much power you have to throw around. Power over what? The miniscule, not to mention pathetic, police force this wasteland has? Sure, there’s the guards around here, but I haven’t seen them do a damn thing except wave their guns and nightsticks around, saying how much they uphold the law!”

“And yet, this seems to be coming from Cipher’s Grand Master in handcuffs.” the warden struggled to calm himself down. But when he failed to do so, his words came out as growls.

“You have me, Eldes, and a few peons while the other big names of Cipher are running around scot-free! And the only reason me and Eldes are standing here putting up with you is because we turned ourselves in!” Greevil let the words that he wanted to say for so long flow out of his mouth without even processing them through his mind first, “Your police force is unable to arrest a couple of delinquent teenagers! How the hell do you expect to capture the real criminals waltzing around Orre?! As far as having a large amount of subordinates and making use of them, I don’t think I’ve done better than you. I know I’ve done better than you!”

When Greevil finally stopped talking, he saw Eldes cringe and step back slightly. Greevil wasn’t worried like Eldes, though. He knew that the chances that the warden was going to have a hissy fit and kill him was rather high. But if it meant not having to put up with the warden anymore, then Greevil really didn’t care.

The warden remained silent much longer than Greevil expected. Although the warden looked like he wanted to jam a knife into Greevil’s head, he didn’t move a muscle. Then, much to Greevil’s surprise, the warden laughed and sat back down in his chair, “Funny how something as simple as wondering what you two were talking about turns into this.”

The anger seemed to slowly drip out of the warden’s face. His usual taunting smile reappeared, but slightly different. The warden’s smile looked like something that Greevil would see in his own reflection, “You seem to be so confident that you can do better than me or my police force… Well tell you what. I’ll make a deal with you.”

Both Greevil and Eldes were surprised and shocked at what he just said. The warden? Making deals? With Greevil? Greevil could barely believe it and Eldes didn’t seem to believe it at all. But of course, when was the warden going to make a deal ever again? Despite being a bit suspicious and wary, Greevil quickly became interested, “I’m listening.”

“I’ll let you go free for a month. If you can capture anybody was a significant part of Cipher when it disbanded a year ago and bring them back here,” the warden paused and then gave a foxy grin, “you get to stay free.”

At merely hearing the warden say “free” and “stay free”, Greevil felt like he was immediately about to yell “Deal!”. The very thought of leaving the hellhole that was the prison and never going back excited Greevil more than he’s ever been before. And all he needed to do was grab anyone that worked for him and throw them at the warden? At that point in time, how could anyone give him a better offer?

But just as Greevil was about to take the offer without so much as mulling it over, he looked in Eldes’ direction and then was forced to think about it. Not even two feet away from was the man he forcibly separated from his family, and Greevil was thinking about taking the offer for himself? He didn’t expect Eldes to completely forgive him anytime soon, but at the very least, Greevil could make up for what he did, “Let Eldes go. Make the deal with him.”

Any color that was left in Eldes’ pale face was suddenly drained at Greevil’s words. His widened eyes seemed to show more shock than it did anything else, even gratefulness, “Wha… What?!”

The warden also looked surprised, but in a displeasing way. At first, he began groaning in annoyance, like he always would when he didn’t get his way. But after a few moments, he sighed and put back on his crafty smile again.

“Fine then. You,” the warden turned to Eldes before he could have a chance to speak and smirked, “You’ll leave here first thing tomorrow morning. So I’d get plenty of sleep, if I were you.”

After Eldes glared at him with narrowed eyes, the warden signaled to the two guards listening to the entire thing, “You can take them out now. I’m done with them.”

The two guards bowed their heads at the warden and motioned towards Eldes and Greevil. They took their hands locked behind their backs and led them out of the warden’s office, for what Greevil hoped, would be the last time for Eldes. After they met back up with the other guards waiting outside of the room, they proceeded to lead Greevil and Eldes back to their cells.

Greevil looked over at Eldes and failed to see a trace of pleasure in his worried eyes. Greevil would’ve imagined that Eldes would have been ecstatic that he had the chance to redeem himself, but he seemed more fearful than anything, “What on earth is that look for? Don’t you want to get out of here?”

“W…Well yes! But…” Eldes stuttered anxiously as if he had no clue what to say. Eldes moaned and hung his head, his voice matching the expression he wore on his face, “I don’t know about this… Father… You really shouldn’t have…”

“You’ll be fine,” Greevil interrupted Eldes before he could doubt himself even further. He then gave a reassuring smile to Eldes, a kind that he hasn’t given in a long time, “Besides, I’m not the one that has bonds to rebuild.”

Eldes opened his mouth to say something more, but he closed it and smiled back. The expression on his face became more positive, although it was still obvious by the somber look he showed that he was somehow worried.

The more Greevil saw the anxiety in Eldes, the more he began to blame himself for it more than anything. He couldn’t deny it any longer. Eldes would’ve been a much happier person if Greevil had just let go of the power he was obsessed over. Even Greevil was beginning to become sick to his stomach just thinking about it.

He wasn’t sure if anything he did for Eldes in the future would ever rekindle the bond they once had. Trust was hard to regain when someone shattered it before another’s very eyes. And Greevil knew extremely well himself that some things in life are just too hard to forget. But even if Greevil couldn’t build back up the trust that was destroyed between him and his son…

…perhaps Eldes at least had a chance rebuilding the trust between him and Michael.

Somehow… I get the feeling I screwed up royally on Greevil’s personality… But heh. Can you tell that Greevil’s not exactly all there in the head? XD

And if anyone can tell me what the warden was really trying to do to Greevil, and now Eldes, I’ll give you an uber-cookie. Because he certainly isn’t trying to help them out. :)

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
Was wondering where this was. Very, very good once again, and I think I know the answer to the riddle of the warden's intent.

He's going to let Eldes nab Ardos, then go back on the deal so he has them both.


...Call me Loffyglu.
Good job here, Bluey-chan! ^_^

I'm not quite sure what the warden's trying to do. No, I haven't the slightest clue, and that was NOT sarcasm. Go me.

As good as this is, I do have a small crit: In the prologue, you said Eldes' eyes were green. Now you say they're yellow. So now I'm not quite sure and I'm imagining one of his eyes green and the other yellow.

This is still pretty good, though. Can't wait for the next chapter!