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The Cult of Pleasure

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Edmund Daltonic, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Rating M by the ESRB.
    A "WHAT IF?" mystery thriller set in the XY series, filled with humour and awesomeness.

    "Fic approved by bobandbill"


    In this story, Serena kicked Aria's butt, and now she has been crowned as the new “Kalos Queen”. Filled with the excitement and joy of a teenage girl who just got a thousand likes on her profile, Serena is ready for the superficial and self-destructive world of a celebrity.

    But little she knows that her new life now belongs to a secret and depraved society leaded by Palermo, who has been following her path and friends for the recent time, waiting for the moment to finally taste this delicacy in the most twisted way that a sick mind could only conceive*.

    There is a also guy named Clint McTyranno Balls here.

    *She won’t… maybe.


    [spoil]A celebration of the lost and damned takes place. Something, something evil and twisted is about to be unleashed[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 1. Laugh, then fight.
    [spoil] What's better than recaps in order to understand the story a bit better? Berth & Ernie commenting them, of course. Serena's moment of reflection.[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 2. (Not so) Sexy Battle.
    [spoil] The battle between the queen and her oponent begins! Things gets hot as soon as Serena takes the lead. But a serious mistake could put everyone in danger. [/spoil]

    CHAPTER 3. The Queen is dead, long live the Queen!
    [spoil] Battle of fire vixens! (and it's not a porn movie!). As the battle reaches its climax, the girls' determination and skills will be tested in the fight for their lives (literally). But a moment of doubt could turn their dreams in ashes, along with the entire building. [/spoil]

    (NOT) CHAPTER 4. Awesome comes.
    [spoil]In the far town of Palm Beach in Johto region, a mysterious man has just finished with the last target in his quest. While contacting his allies, he has found a new clue that leads him to the Kalos region, hoping to meet those he has been looking for from a long time.[/spoil]

    (THIS IS) CHAPTER 4. Clemont holds my balls.
    [spoil] The Masterclass has finished, and Serena must take a decision that will change her life forever. Why is Palermo so interested in her while Aria shows concern of Serena's future? [/spoil]

    CHAPTER 5. A girl's dream about to get crushed.
    [spoil] The life of a queen seems to be nothing but huge castles and beautiful dresses. But is this the real life of a celebrity, or just the mask over the dark secrets of a depraved society?[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 6. Serena becomes a perv*
    [spoil] New faces, new worries. Serena's night initiation begins just as she had imagined in her wildest dreams. But soon she finds out the real nightmare that has been prepared for her.[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 7. The order of the maiden.
    [spoil] After the night's fiasco, new plans and targets must be located. Meanwhile, Serena's broken will and distrust have sown the first seeds of discord between allies.[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 8. With all our love for you
    [spoil]Deception has found Clint in his most vulnerable condition, and he must find the trio of fools who made him follow the wrong clue. Meanwhile, Ash will find out what the Order has planned for him.[/spoil]
    CHAPTER 9. Puberty, that heartless birch.
    [spoil]The famous trio of criminals has provoked the anger of the wrong person. Will Clint show mercy for their souls? And meanwhile, Ash and Serena seem to enjoy the abrupt outburst of new feelings before the parasite strikes back.[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 10. Clint McTyranno Balls.
    [spoil]Less than a minute to save Ash from a dreadful fate. Can Clint be trusted after his display of reckless methods to solve the problems?[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 11. Palermo explains it all.
    [spoil]After an uncomfortable travel, Clint and Serena have ventured into the lion's den looking for answers. Will they obtain their so desirable information from a mischievous woman?[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 12. Good bye showcases. Hello real life
    [spoil]With their minds filled with questions and doubts, it’s time for Clint and Serena to decide what to do know. It is also her moment to make the most important decision of her life until now.[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 13. Why can’t I hold all these girls?
    [spoil]The group finally gathers in order to keep up with the events that have happened until now. They are also surprised when the find out that Elesa, Clint’s ally and close friend, has joined their group.[/spoil]

    CHAPTER 14. The monster inside.
    [spoil]Ash discovers in the hard way what it means to live with the parasite of pleasure. Pokémon battles are over for him, unless he learns a new and totally different discipline.[/spoil]

    Prologue (don’t touch yourself, kid!).

    [spoil]The moment was getting closer and she could feel it. Like every time a new and promising adept was found, her subconscious fought for a total dominance of her mind, forcing its will and claiming for what she can only enjoy: the profanity and control of the purest and beautiful things this world has to offer.

    Although she loved to release her primal and depraved instincts once in a while and performs acts so unspeakable and horrendous for the human eye, she couldn’t let this side of her to win. Not yet, not when it was so close to a delicacy worthy of the gods.

    She was not the only one though. The overwhelming promise of their maiden’s return made the rest of the congregation feel impotence so strong that only a hedonist ceremony could please this emptiness. A celebration of self-gratification for the wealthy and influential that would be served with exotic meals from different regions, the most expensive wine of Kalos and of course, the hypnotic and irresistible song that invigorated the sensations, reaching the ultimate climax that the members looked for so badly.

    Tonight was special since their beloved “queen” was finally able to fade their despair. The ceremony took place in a huge, oval room whose architecture matched the twisted and exotic tastes of the members. The roof was supported by three long ornament pillars with scenes and strange glyphs sculpted on them and two sharp tips that circled each pillar like snakes until the roof in which they connected each other.

    The sectaries exquisite eye for fine arts decorated walls and rooms with paints and sculptures made by the most renowned artist of the world using top quality materials, some of them even considered illegal to deal with, requiring a powerful and well connected person in order to get some. These master pieces represented a vast range of scenes and characters mostly young, beautiful girls wearing cute dresses, happily smiling and even radiating a joy and innocence that was long gone. Such was the uber skills of the artist whose work could make these girls to live once more.

    However, even with the vast collection that put the Lumiose Museum into shame, nothing could compare with the hall’s center piece, the one the cult called “The Starway to Heaven”, a tower in the middle of the room whose intricate design was complemented with the pillars and the artistic world that surrounded it. The structure allowed fitting a golden throne in the base, embellished with beautiful stones of violet and red color and what resembled pokemon figures drawn in the arms.

    The pink light of the hall was fading while the notes rose in a strange, invigorating melody that came from the top of the Starway. The song was the product of the cult’s most sacred possession, a legendary creature that had the ability to enhance the member’s senses with a single verse and writhe a person’s body each time the cacophony rose. A small and robbed figure moved its slender arms, synchronized with each note of the mad tune.

    Suddenly, the song stopped as a gray-haired woman in a purple evening dress entered the room. The attendees’ attention turned when this person slowly headed to the throne place along a second girl right behind her. More than one cultist, no matter the gender, hold his breath before the outstanding beauty of the young woman’s attributes, even if that was not the first time they saw her. She was wearing a white ball gown with golden lace adorning the sleeves and neck, along a pink-silver bead crochet that highlighted her long, red hair.

    When both reached the Starway to Heaven, the music finally stopped and the members put on masks that resembled many pokemon with a more sinister look and red lines that covered the design. After five seconds of silence while the young woman sat on the golden throne, her older companion finally rose her voice and looked at the audience.

    “Good night my dear friends – she started – It’s been a long time since our dear queen joined us into this sacred place of beauty and freedom. A blissful moment for those who can’t overcome the unbearable feeling of self-restraint”

    “Our sacred cult does not restrict or suppress our inner instincts!” Interrupted another one. “Embrace them I say!”

    Some of them quietly agreed with the man statement and nodded while others turn their heads at him and then looked again at the woman, waiting for her response after such insolence. She however smiled and spoke again in a quiet mode.

    “Indeed my friend. But mindlessly rush after a piece of flesh now won’t give us but the slightest, miserable portion of what could be a memorable meal”

    Her words were enough to calm the crowd. The author of the impudence bowed and expressed his apologies.

    “Ma’am, you are right. My apologies for such an insult – he lifted his head and fixed his black eyes to the lady in the throne – And for you, our beloved maiden, I was reckless and impolite. I hope you can forgive me”

    “There’s no need to apologize – the lady suddenly interrupted – It’s me who should also ask for your pardon since my labor has distracted me of my responsibilities with all of you”.

    Her honest, kind words were like sweet notes for everyone gathered there. Instead of a stimulating tune like the mysterious song that was been played before she entered the room, the queen had the opposite effect by appeasing the crowd, fading their anxiety and prepare them for the main act.

    “So please, let me compensate all of you for the time I went with a night to be remembered.- she crossed her hands in her chest and then spread them wide in a welcomed manner - Don’t hold yourselves and enjoy the maximum expression of pleasure!”

    Her last words filled the congregation’s hearts with the joy and excitement that only unrestrained freedom could achieve. Cheers and applause echoed the hall when suddenly an orchestra started to play while the guests headed for the banquet that was already there.

    The young woman sat on her throne when one of the servants, a tall and masked elder served a coup of whine and offered to her. She accepted and thanked the man for his gesture while he returned to his other duties.

    “It’s only your fourth time and you act as what you really are” Said her older companion, proudly smiling a sipping her cup.

    “I’d never seen them so anxious. I owe them at least some words, don’t you think?” She answered and turned her head, looking for her mentor’s approval.


    Both looked at the dance that the cult had already taken part. Witnessing the bizarre parade of wealthy men and women wearing those strange masks was an act that made the queen chuckle a bit. The first time caused her to receive a lecture with no results, since it continued to amuse her and make her mentor to finally give up.

    “They love you, you know – She continued - Your presence not only fulfills their feelings but also invigorates their soul. We haven’t had someone like you for a long time, Aria”

    “Thank you. But this could change soon – she said while changing her mood – Don’t get me wrong, I have big expectations of her but… she is so young”

    “Not a big difference from when you were crowned – she declared – But times change and just like you, I see a brilliant future for us if she ever beats you”

    “I won’t give my crown so easily, Miss Palermo – She asserted with a firm voice – and not because I’m a capricious girl but because I respect her and it would be an offense to both of us if I don’t give my best”

    Palermo stared at her with cow eyes and then laughed, enjoying every word that escaped from her protégé’s mouth.

    “I didn’t expect less from the Kalos Queen, but you didn’t let me finish. Whether she beats you or don’t, adding her to our order will make us go one step further to the ultimate goal”

    “Or just a fresh, fragile novelty that would break in her first ceremony” Silence dominated the conversation for a few seconds. Teacher and student stared at each other when Palermo found a funny way to recover the conversation’s mood.

    “Am I noting a bit of concern… or perhaps is just jealous?” A naughty, defiant smile was drawn on her face. She knew how to tease her and every time she did it, a bit of enjoyment shocked her body.

    “It’s less effective every time you use it, you know… but yes, maybe is a bit of both”

    “Don’t worry my dear. She is stronger than any other girl that has had the misfortune of not having lived up to our expectations”

    “I’m sure of it” She answered.

    Suddenly, the dance and music stopped. The audience rose their heads and looked at the top of the tower where a familiar, robbed figure showed again and signaling the next step of the ceremony.

    “My friends – Palermo finally spoke – the time has come. Release your wildest desires and offer them to our queen for she is the embodiment of our pleasure!”

    The song started. First as the tune they were listening to but after the first verse, the rhythm changed. A single, deep note started to rise with each second of the song, and then abruptly changed in a wild, stimulating vibe that made the audience to shake and move as if a shockwave had stroke them.

    Many of them moaned and fell down to their knees, some others just laid on the floor, using their hands to explore their body with every note that exploited their senses. Aria, showing an incredible fortitude unlike the rest of her people, was only blushing, closing their eyes and biting their lips at first. But then, when the urgencies of her body could not endure any longer, she moaned and released her warm breath, losing the battle against her primal needs.

    Palermo held her arm in order to keep Aria’s composure and with a melodic voice strangely similar to the creature’s tone said “Amazing and it is only your fourth time. Now don’t restrain, dear”. She gently pushed her ahead and smiled.

    “Give in to my song”

    Three individuals, who apparently were not under the influence of the song, approached a still shaking Aria and one of them offered his hand as an invitation to become one with her congregation. She accepted the gesture and along her personal guard joined those who could not show any self-restraint anymore, those who looked for the ultimate sensation by defiling the same essence of purity; the lost and damned. At least for today, with their stimulated senses that blocked any rational thinking, everybody in the temple could only be sure of one thing: the Cult of Pleasure now ruled their acts.[/spoil]
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  2. Vernikova

    Vernikova Champion


    I may as well get it out of the way: you must read over your work and check for grammar issues.

    On a related note, I believe that you should focus on word choice. Choosing your words is an important part in writing and speaking, especially in creative writing. In one of your sentences, you wrote, in regards to collecting works of art, "requiring a powerful and well connected person in order to get some." In the context of the story you're trying to write, "get some" will just not do. It causes your sentence to fall flat, and, more importantly, it causes you to lose credibility. Selecting the correct words can cause a sentence to either reach heights that rocket you among the biggest names in fiction or can cause your work to lose any potential imagery and style.

    The second topic I want to bring up is your lack of quotation marks. Here's part of a sentence that illustrates my point: "... need to apologize – the lady suddenly interrupted – It’s me who should also as ..." I chopped off the beginning and end, but you can see my point. The two dashes are not appropriate. You either need to close off with quotation marks ("need to apologize," the lady suddenly interrupted./, "I/it’s me who should also as...") or place the action within parenthesis ["need to apologize" (the lady suddenly interrupted) It’s me who should also as"]. In this case, I would stick to the former.

    Your idea has some potential, though the actual writing can use some work. I will see how the next few chapters develop before posting again.

    Oh, I forgot.

    "Serena kicked her sweet a*s"

    Censorship of swearing takes away impact, and ridiculous methods of censorship such as this make you look amateurish in the worst sense. *** is censored on this forum, so I would either let the filter censor the word entirely or avoid using swears at all. Don't repeat something like "a*s" or "f*ck," for it looks silly.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  3. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    This is what I really need! Your feedback is an invaluable source in order to improve. Thanks! I tried to follow everything you pointed out, hopping that this first chapter is an improvement and signal of good things to come.

    On the other hand: 94 views in less than a week! That makes this story as popular as “Gods of Egypt”! Anyway, the prologue may have turned you on but it’s time to destroy it. So forget about the seriousness and make some space for the fun because is time to begin with…

    Chapter 1. Laugh then fight

    The day had finally come. Cheers from a frenetic crowd echoed the dome’s stadium and created the contagious atmosphere that signed the birth of a new showcase’s ruler or the prevalence of the highest estimated and popular queen the Kalos region could remember.

    Such an important event required only the best that broadcasting media could offer. None in the entire world could match their skills and personality that the public loved: the famous and irreverent duo Bert and Ernie.

    “B&E”, as they were widely known, started with their usual routine while the final preparations were taking place in the scenario and the public was still finding their seats. The main event was only minutes to start but, as everybody familiar with the dynamic duo knew, they would not waste precious time to begin.

    “Welcome Pokémon and lolicon fans to this totally amazing Master Class special event everyone and his dog’s been waiting for!”

    “That’s right, folks! Unless you were living under a rock or pretty much dead, there’s no excuse to not being informed of the madness that’s freaking everyone’s mind here in Glorio City!”

    “I’m Bert!”

    “And I’m Ernie!”

    Although both were around the same age and shared many of the personality traits that gave them the spark that made them famous, their physique could not be more different. Bert was a tall and robust blonde man while Ernie looked like his opposing mirror: a short and skinny bald man who looked a bit younger. But in reality, Ernie was two years older than Bert.

    “Now let’s make a recap for all those losers who have just tune in to our channel”, said Bert.

    A new screen appeared from the left corner of the announcers like the turning of a page. The image showed a girl wearing a red dress and focused on her innocent, yet determined face.

    “Her name’s Serena, a local girl from Vaniville Town whose story would be as forgettable as her living place except for one little thing…”, said Ernie.

    “Little?”, Bert interrupted, “my friend, you are underestimating someone who in less than a year achieved the skills and talent to defy the current Kalos queen Aria, the girl that anyone above 11 shakes that Barboach at least once a day!”

    “I’ll pretend I didn’t listen to that”, said Ernie. “Anyway! This cutie won not only the right to share Aria’s same stage, but also the hearts of those who fell in love with her adorable performance”

    “A performance so freaking good that divided public and judges by equal. The result? A historic DRAW between Serena and Aria that forced, for the first time, to allow two extra contests to decide once for all who will take the crown!”

    “And we still want to know that horny teenager who came out with the first contest: a swimsuit parade that made everybody loses their minds and thanked Arceus for being born at this age!” Said Bert raising his palms like a prayer to heaven.

    The screen changed again to show Aria in a provocative, crimson red bikini ornamented with rubies that sparked and stunned the public with her a bold and lascivious look. Serena on the other hand wore a pink, one-shoulder monokini with flowers stamp. Her shyness was more than evident even though she had tried to hide it with a forced smile that made her blush.

    “Tell me Bert; don’t you think that Serena’s embarrassed, red face is just adorable?”

    “Indeed, and many thought the same Ernie. But Aria showed us that a redhead in bikini is hard to take down, especially with an older audience whose majority tries to not being considered a child’s aggressor”

    “That includes you, Bert. And when everybody thought that “Cinderella´s night” was over, Serena made a surprising come back in the Intellect contest”

    “I doubt somebody will ever forget the hilarious moments that we witnessed that night. Let’s check them out again!”

    The screen reappeared showing Aria with Monsieur Pierre under the lights of the scenario. A total silence dominated the public while Pierre was holding a piece of paper and read in loud voice what was written.

    “Recent posts have shown a fifth of Kalorians can’t locate the Kalos region on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

    The young woman paralyzed and her smile suddenly transformed into a serious, worried expression. After five seconds of trying to link some ideas in the brain “dead” zones that had stopped working for a long time, she finally gave her answer.

    “I personally believe that… uh…”

    An uncontrollable blinking showed the difficult effort to put her ideas together. Accepting defeat, she let out the first, ridiculous thing that came to her head.

    “… Kalorians are unable to do so because… umh…some people in our region don’t have maps and… uh, our education like such as Hoenn and Orre and I believe that… uh… our education here in Kalos should help Kalos and Orre so we’ll be able to build our future…”

    A bell ringed to mark time limit she had for giving her answer. Se drawn a smile that was more helpful for her that for her followers, a mask that hid the embarrassment and defeat she felt at that moment.

    “I’ll tell you the truth, man”, said Bert, “if internet existed in this world, that video would have gone viral”

    “And now let’s check out the moment Serena beat her thanks to her still fresh intellect”

    The scenario changed again, this time with Serena in the center. She innocently smiled at the audience, an effective strategy that made her gain more adepts while strengthening her confidence despite her heart beating out of control.

    “Serena”, Pierre started. “According to experts, how does the Pokémon world economy work?”

    Serena took a huge breath and started.

    “Well, it consists of four steps: first, a new trainer starts his journey; second, he catches some pokémon and wins medals; third…”, she shut for five seconds “and fourth: profit!”

    She finished with a confident smile while clamorous applauses and ovations filled the stadium, filling her with the joy and conviction she desperately needed.

    The screen reversed to show Bert and Ernie once again, ready for their irreverent comments.

    “That’s our beloved Serena showing us that brains beats bre…”

    “That’s why you must not drop school at 10, kids!”, interrupted Ernie. “But now, this is the real deal! The decisive battle of the century!”

    “Kalos history tells us that when the kingdom’s rule was in dispute, everything had to be resolved with a bloody, merciless battle between nations!”

    “Fortunately those times are over, and now we only have to force innocent creatures to fight our battles in order to be dispatched later!”, said Ernie with an ironic tone.

    “A double battle that will not only show that the new queen possesses the talent, beauty and intelligence to rule the Pokémon showcases. But also the strength and fortitude to stand for it!” Said Bert, raising his arm to the air and return it in a sign of excitement.

    “Now let’s stop talking because I’m being told that the battle is about to start! Good luck, girls and to our dear audience, we’ll be back in a moment!”

    . . . .

    It didn’t matter how many times they have been in the dressing room. Before a showcase, fear and tension mixed with the excitement and courage needed to overcome them, creating a unique combination that made them focus their mind and being physically prepared to carry out their performance.

    However, this was different.

    Despite not being particularly a “noob” when it came to Pokémon battles, this was not a field that she and her companions had really stood out. At least not as the boy who, in these moments of anxiety and eagerness, gave her the confidence she needed, repeating the words that always came to mind when she need it.

    “Don't give up till it’s over!”

    That phrase alone invigorated her mind and uplifted her convictions. That energy felt like a heat wave that affected her trusting partners.

    “We’ve come too far”, she finally said. “And it’s all thanks to you”.
    Braixen, Sylveon and Pancham gave her a big hug that made her smile and cry a tear of happiness.

    “Great! We thought we wouldn’t be able to catch you before your battle, Serena!”

    She turned her head to the right, looking for the one who had called her name. There, she could see the boy with the cheerful Pikachu along the blonde brothers who had accompanied since the early steps of her journey.

    “What are you doing here?”, she asked with the surprise and joy of seeing her friends before the most important moment of her life so far.

    “We snuck here when we had the chance”, said Bonnie with her usual happiness and frankly choice of words. “Your security is terrible!”

    “Bonnie, that’s not very nice!”, Clemont scold her. “Imagine earning the minimum wage by doing what you hate the most. Nobody could blame the guy for evading his tedious responsibilities”

    Everyone stared oddly at Clemont because of his words. Realizing the negative comment it has just left his lips, he chuckled and tried to bounce back the tone with a joke.

    “Sorry, I didn’t take my pill!”, Clemont said but it was not enough. Fortunately, someone else came to his rescue.

    “Anyway, we don’t have much time so we only want to wish you the best!”

    “Ash… “, said Serena, making her blush as usual.

    “Yes, we know you can beat her!”, said Bonnie.

    “You’ve already defeated great rivals like Miette, Shauna, Jinx, the spoiled brat from episode 108!”, said Ash, followed by a silence just as Clemont had experience a minute ago.

    “Sorry... did you say Jinx?”, asked Serena confused.

    “Yeah, you know. Chubby, empty eyes and lips that would make Megan Fox pale in comparison”

    “That was not a Jinx, Ash”, Clemont corrected. “She was a human being and her features are not as exaggerated as you thought”.

    “Then why did I feel as if banning her from the episode was not as serious as it sounded?”, asked Ash confused with his stereotypes issues.

    “And you thought I was rude?”, said Bonnie with a grumpy expression.

    A giggle came from Serena´s mouth; it turned into a laugh and then burst into a loud guffaw of laughter that spread to the rest of the gang and the Pokémon.

    That moment alone made Serena remember all the times her friend had been there, helping her to overcome the many obstacles she had to face that also made her grow as a performer.

    Suddenly, a man’s voice entered the room. “Three minutes honey and then you…. “, he paused after seeing the intruders in the dressing room. “Who the hell are you? This place is off-limits for anyone not wearing a dress!”

    “Oh, come on!”, said Bonnie trying to persuade him. “You don’t want to be here after all”

    “I’m gonna be fired after this show anyway”, said the man. “Do as you please”. And he left.

    Another moment to laugh came after the man left the room but surprisingly, this time Ash was the first one to regain some of his composure.

    “Well, we have to go now”, said Ash and put her hands on Serena’s shoulders.

    Despite her heart still beating rapidly because of the laughing moment they shared, she felt an even more incontrollable, dizzying rate that made her difficult to stand still.

    Was this “the moment” that she, in her kid’s fantasies hoped to? The one her mother told once when they were talking about the first time she married her missing father? Was this too much to expect from a twelve year old whose main goal was to live among critters while the babes slipped through his fingers?

    “Good luck!”, Ash blinked and gave her a thump-up while Pikachu growled in a sign of approval.

    Of course not.

    “We’ll cheer you up from the stands!”, said Bonnie. “Good luck everyone”.

    Braixen, Sylveon and Pancham answered with a growl.

    After they left, Serena’s attitude and confidence reached a level she hadn’t felt before. The kind words and support she received from her friends made every feel of anguish and fear to fade away.

    “Thirty seconds to go!”, said the man once again.

    Serena turned back to give a last, confident look. Her blue eyes were blazing with passion that could melt the coldest heart, and her smile could even charm Simon Cowell.

    “This is it”, she said. “Let’s give them a spectacle they’ll never forget!”

    Her Pokémon nodded and adopted the same expression of her trainer.
    A voice from the center of the stadium called her name and they enter the scenario.

  4. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Good stories take time, folks! This chapter will be longer (double the length!) in order to compensate for the two weeks without an update.

    “Hey, Ernie”, said the robust commenter while looking at the front with a bit of concern in his expression. “Do you realize that if this story doesn’t match entirely with the new episode that just aired, we’ll be seen as idiots?”

    “We already stated that there’s a cult whose members enjoy the “company” of underage girls and plan to do the same with little Serena, my friend”, Ernie answered with his sarcastic tone. “This couldn’t be any more different and awesome than what already is”.

    CHAPTER 2. (Not so) Sexy Battle.

    The VIP balcony of Glorio City Stadium was considered one of the most expensive and luxurious seats only the very wealthy could ever afford or dream about. In fact, the service was so exclusive that even the organizers hid the option to anyone who did not possess at least a billion dollars in the bank or were minor celebrities. And those who found out about the service were simply put into a memory erasing program that, in many cases, drove them crazy.

    Such a luxury clouded in an excessive secrecy drew a smile to the only person in that room. A thin, middle age woman with short and gray hair was holding a coup of fine wine while she was looking at the scenario where two of her most precious jewels were about to decide the future of not only Pokémon showcases, but also the “Order” she deeply loved as much as herself.

    “Ma’am”, said a young waiter that suddenly interrupted at the entrance. “Did you call for a service?”

    The woman turned her face and for a moment, she was a bit stunned at the handsome face that was behind her. Green eyes and long, golden hair were some of her favorites features and she always valued them as precious possessions worth it to look.

    “I’m afraid you’ve received the wrong call, my dear”, she said after a moment of silence. “As you can see, I have more than I can take”.

    She spread her arms, showing him the huge banquet that was served in her room. Exquisite and exotic dishes imported from other regions were presented in shiny, silver plates that matched the balcony’s elegant structure.

    “My humble apologies”, the waiter said and bowed his head. “I’ll go now”.

    “Wait a moment, young man”, the woman interrupted just when he was about to leave the room. “As I said, there’s just too much for a single person, and sharing is one of the qualities I have that make me proud”. She ended with a gentle smile.

    The waiter didn’t change his serious expression, even with the obvious intentions that the woman had. He did some steps back into the balcony and made her a straight question.

    “Why are you alone, anyway?”

    The woman’s smile slowly turned into a more serious expression. In reality, she was highly offended by the young man’s impudence. A feeling that took all of her will to not burst into a show of anger she would later regret.

    “Once again, my apologies”, he said and bowed his head once more. “It just intrigues me that such a beautiful woman lacks the company of a fine gentleman this night, making her to look for the attention of this gloomy servant”

    The words spoken by the waiter refreshed the woman’s mind and made her anger to fade away like a mist wiped out by sun rays. Even more, she felt the satisfaction that only the compliment of a strange could achieve, even if it was a bit exaggerated and not totally sincere.

    “Also, they would fire me without doubt”, he bowed his head once more and left.

    The woman stood there, immobile and lost in through. Though strange, the meeting was one of those unexpected, yet enjoyable experiences she had not gone through for a long time. For her, it was an appetizer for what was coming.

    The queen’s battle culmination would decide the future of her order, and just like the recent meeting, her exciting and uncertainty future filled her with pleasure.

    . . . .

    Although it was not the first time Serena was standing on the scene, the light’s reflector blinded her like her very first showcase a while ago. Not only were the lights brighter and the scenario bigger but also the massive crowd made her lasts showcases pale in comparison. The difference was that of a local tournament against a League’s final battle.

    “Ladies and gentlemen!” said the short man using a loud voice no one expected he had. “The challenger, the girl who tries to make history as the youngest queen Pokémon showcases has ever had!”
    The crowd gave a cheer that was getting louder as the announcer finished his jolly speech.

    “Here coooooooomes Serena!” finished both men pointing their hands to Serena while she walked into the scenario and saluted the joyous crowd that cheered for her.

    “We love you Serena!” “You can win!” were some of the words of encouragement she could hear from the audience, a difficult task because of the many voices that cheered at the same time. She tried to find her friends among the public, but just as with the voices, she could not distinguish them from the masses.

    “And now!” began Bert with a more serious voice in order to create a suspense atmosphere that silenced every voice in the stadium. “The one whose kingdom is in dispute…”

    “The one they say is the most beautiful and popular queen of recent times!” continued his partner.

    “Words cannot make justice to what Kalos feels for its beloved queen”, he paused for a few seconds. “So please people, give your best shout to…. Queen Aria!”

    The multitude went crazy as the current Kalos queen entered the scene along her two known partners: Delphox and Aromatisse. Although she wore the same white dress she used in the first thematic part of the contest, no complains nor groans passed through people’s minds.

    Serena joined the crowd’s excitement when she clapped and gave Aria her characteristic and sincere smile that the queen deeply admired since the first time both girls met.

    “And what battle could be complete without Kalos favorite French smug, functioning as today’s referee?” said Ernie, making the entire place to laugh because of his rude, yet funny choice of words.

    “He has more money than any of us in this theater and yet, he looks like a pimp. Please welcome to Monsieur Pierre!”

    Laughs and applauses increased as the thin and handsome man appeared with his bizarre clothes and trademark staff with Klefki sitting on top of it. He bowed in respect of both the queen and her contender, and headed to where Bert and Ernie were.

    “You always take the spotlight from me, my friends”, said Pierre while he greeted both.

    “It is inevitable “monsieur”, joked Bernie. “But being the Captain Obvious of this battle is a hard task too”.

    The three men shared the moment with a laugh. Aria and Serena could catch a glimpse of what they were talking about and they chocked a bit when both eyes met.

    “Anyway, let’s start with this before they kick our butts out of here”, concluded Ernie and grabbed the microphone again.

    “It is time, ladies and gentleman! The battle you’ve been waiting for” Pierre shouted excitedly and the crowd went crazy once again. He gazed to both trainers and started with the indications

    “This will be a three on three match. The first one who defeats all of her opponent’s partners shall retain or claim the title of Kalos Queen!”

    Pierre stopped for a moment. Aria and Serena’s eyes met for a last time before the battle of their lives began. The fire that emanated from their eyes burned with passion and the confidence they showed in their smiles spread through the entire building like a heat wave.

    “Are you girls ready?” he said and both girls nodded. “Then let´s begin!”

    Fireworks of bright colors were shot to the roof, marking the beginning of the battle with a beautiful spectacle that the crowd did not expect.

    “Vivillon, I choose you!” Aria threw her pokéball and a bright light escaped after it landed and opened, first forming the silhouette of a butterfly and finally materializing into the wing’s pattern Pokémon.

    “Braixen, go!” answered Serena pointing out with her arm. Braixen growled and jumped gracefully into the battlefield, igniting its stick in a challenging way. “

    “Vivillon, rise and use stun spore!” commanded Aria.

    The delicate bug growled and rapidly flew to the middle of the battlefield. Once there, fine powder was spread through the field like a marquee being placed. The toxic nature of the attack was only beaten by the beauty of sparkling dots charming the crowd.

    “That’s it!” shouted Serena. “Unleash the twister with flamethrower!”

    Braixen stood without leaving her position and raised her flaming branch, pointing at where Vivillon was. Then, she rotated her arm in a clockwise while fire was coming from the branch’s tip, forming a vicious and pretty twister of wild fire that made the toxic powder to vanish, trapping the confused Vivillon into a searing atmosphere.

    “Vivillon, use hurricane!” shouted Aria, out of balance after the unexpected attack that could cost her the first round.

    ”Braixen, finish it with fire blast!”

    The butterfly, still trying to overcome from the previous attack, took precious seconds to follow her trainer’s orders. Time enough for Braixen to unleash a massive fire ball that exploded once it hit its target. A falling figure was noticed in the smoke cloud produced after the attack, hitting the ground and showing spiral eyes in its eyes.

    “Vivillon cannot continue. Serena won the first round!” Pierre shouted, followed by the contagious cheers of a thrilled crowd that couldn’t stay on their seats.

    “Dear Arceus, that was quick!” said Ernie.

    “Dear spectators, this is not the same girl we knew before” began Bert. “Her determination is as strong as her Brixen, and her confidence burns like the searing flames that roasted that bug!”

    Aria withdrew her Pokémon and thanked it with a kind word. As the announcer said, she could confirm that her opponent was not the same girl she had met before. The girl’s shyness and insecurities had gone away, replaced with a tenacious purpose to win at all cost.

    “Have to say I’m impressed, Serena”, she finally said with a smile. “But this is not over yet. Go, Aromatisse!”

    The pink fur-coated Pokémon that was standing behind her jumped into the battlefield growling and showing her will to fight.

    “And Aria’s chosen the creepy pink ball that resembles the fat lady whom we met in Undella town. Remember, Ernie?”

    “Yeah, it’s the same obvious alluring act that she does while showing her bare and fat leg”, said Bert with a disgusting look in his face. “It makes me sick”

    Serena looked at it while her mind was making quick thoughts about what to do next. Although her victory against Aria’s first Pokémon gave her the advantage, a mistake could cost her the incoming battle.

    A little panda wearing red glasses tugged off her clothes, trying to draw her attention. She glanced at her little partner who willingly offered itself for the next round. She smiled and nodded.

    “Braixen, good work”, she said and the vixen Pokémon returned at Serena’s side. “Pancham, go!”

    Many people from the audience gasped at the unexpected choice, all of them pretty concerned about the obvious flaw that dark types had against fairies.

    “A surprising choice if you ask me, Bert”

    “The little guy has a significant weakness against fairy types”, reassured Ernie. “But let’s not forget that strategy and skills can beat that disadvantage. Let’s see what happens!”

    Serena made the first move this time, ordering Pancham to use the only attack that would effectively hit the pink Pokémon. His palms slammed the ground, causing light blue pillars of rock to appear and rushed towards Aromatisse.

    “Aromatisse, jump and dodge!” ordered Aria, making the attack to miss the target. “Now use charge beam!”

    The pink Pokémon put its hands and face up, creating an orb of yellow electricity in front of its mouth. It then lowered its face and hands, firing a beam of yellow electricity from the orb at Pancham.

    “Pancham, use dark pulse”, shouted Serena just in time to intercept the upcoming attack.

    Pancham fired the black and purple circles at the yellow beam, provoking an explosive impact that was taken as a distractor by Aria, who quickly ordered a fairy wind attack.

    “Dodge!” commanded Serena, but it was too late. Aromatisse began to spin rapidly, creating a strong gust of sparkling wind that stroke her opponent and sent him to fly, hitting its face in the ground.

    “Ouch! I even felt that!” said Bert etching his face, trying to share the pain Pancham should have felt after a super effective attack.

    “Pancham, don’t give up!” Serena encouraged him, giving it the strength to stand up again despite of his injuries. “Use stone edge!”

    The little panda slammed the ground and threw the blue pillars once more. Aromatisse didn’t sweat when the stones got close to her, since Aria ordered her to dodge again.

    “That’s it!” said Serena, recovering her balance. “Get close to her as fast as you can and use arm thrust!”

    “Wha..?” Aria didn’t finish her sentence. She tried to order Aromatisse to dodge again but Pancham was already very close to it, and delivered a strong attack that pushed and damaged the pink Pokémon’s bare leg.

    “Thank Arceus for that! I was about to puke!” said Ernie with comic relief.

    “Pancham, finish it with stone edge!” ordered Serena, raising her left palm with the certainty of wining the second round.

    “Aromatisse, reflect!”

    A shiny, rainbow-colored barrier appeared in front of her once Aromatisse rose her hands, making Pancham’s attack to collide with the shield and lose momentum.

    “Now use fairy wind!” Aria shouted without wasting time. The pink Pokémon spun and the gust hit Pancham, this time with a close and critical hit that ensured her victory.

    “Pancham cannot continue!” shouted Pierre and pointed his arm to Aria´s direction. “Aromatisse is the winner!”

    Serena rushed to where her partner was laying down. “You did a good job, Pancham. Have a rest”, she said and returned him inside his pokéball.

    “Both performers have lost one Pokémon but Aria´s Aromatisse received great damage on her alluring leg”, said Bert. “That didn’t stop it of showing it to everyone, though”

    Serena didn’t lose her temper or her confident smile. She looked at Sylveon who was standing behind her and nodded, making it to understand that the battle was now at its pawns. Sylveon returned the gesture gently growling and assuming its position in the battlefield. Then, Serena quickly gave her first order.

    “Sylveon, use double team!”. Sylveon body glowed white, creating multiple copies of itself.

    “Bad idea!” yelled Aria. “Aromatisse, use fairy wind!”

    The pink gust hit like a heavy storm that blew Sylveon’s copies, leaving the original one still resisting the wind’s strength and open to direct hits.

    “Charge beam!”

    “Sylveon, use protect!” Serena reacted in just a matter of seconds. A blueish-green force field appeared around Sylveon´s body, receiving all the impact. “Use swift!” she ordered, taking advantage of Aromatisse´s break after making its attack.

    Multiple yellow stars with golden sparkles were released when Sylveon swished its feelers, surrounding the opponent and finally hitting it. Aria gasped with concern when she saw her weaken Pokémon barely standing on its feet.

    “The ugly one refuses to die!” yelled Ernie.

    “Sylveon, show it how a fairy wind really feels!” said Serena triumphant of Sylveon´s success.

    “We won’t go down without a last move!” answered Aria. “Aromatisse, use charge beam for the last time!”

    The trail of pink sparkling dust left by Sylveon´s attack merged with the yellow beam fired by Aromatisse´s orb, producing a wild storm that was impossible to control or being able to maneuver inside. With both Pokémon unable to react, their attacks found their targets at last, causing an explosion that hit with a tremendous power.

    “Pidgeot Chirst! Who will stand victorious after such powerful attack?” said Bernie since his astonished partner could not react after the amazing battle they were witnessing.

    The smoke cloud finally dissipated and both Pokémon were lying in the ground unconscious.

    “Sylveon and Aromatisse are both K.O.! It’s a draw!” shouted Pierre.

    The crowd’s excitement reached a level that was not believed to be possible. The unexpected twist meant sudden death and a fierce conclusion that would not tolerate mistakes or distractions.

    “Incredible!” Ernie finally reacted after being lost in through. “Only a Miltank’s stomp in my balls would make this battle even more awesome than what is already!”

    Serena and Aria thanked their partners and ordered them to return. The queen and her contender knew what this meant. With only a Pokémon each one, both were playing all out in a last battle between fire vixens.

    “Delphox, time to defend our title!” and Aria released her most trusting partner. She who shared the crown when they earnt the title and carried the trophy as a symbol of their greatness.

    “Braixen, I entrust this battle to you!”

    Braixen jumped into the battlefield and nodded while looking at Serena. She felt a closer bond as she never before, a link that symbolized their mission to give it all in the most important battle of their lives.

    For Aria, everything meant in this last stand. Her reign could not end so abruptly, and in a frenzied moment, she did not hesitated to order the first attack.

    “Delphox, flamethrower!”

    “Braixen, do the same!” ordered Serena at the same time.

    The fire vixens pointed their wand stick at each other and formed red-orange flames at its tip. Red-orange streams of fire were released from the tip of their wands and collided with a giant fire ball that exploded, scattering small flames throughout the field.

    “I’ll tell you guys. If I’d known that this battle was going to get THIS hot, I would have brought some aloe vera!” commented Bert, wiping the sweat of his head with a handkerchief.

    But the impact made Serena to realize one thing: Aria´s Delphox was a fully evolved Pokémon, far more experienced than her partner. Just in those moments of doubt, Aria took advantage of her opponent´s inactivity and ordered a second attack.

    “Delphox, mystic fire!”

    Delphox swung its wand stick around in a circle once again, forming a ring of red-orange fire in front of itself. It then released a red-orange stream of fire from its mouth at the opponent, scoring a direct hit at Braixen.

    “And Delphox finally hits its opponent with mystic fire!” yelled Ernie. “You do know what this mean, dear audience!”

    “Braixen! Are you alright?” said Serena, seriously agitated after the attack landed. She was relieved when Braixen´s condition was not serious. But then, she realized something: if the development difference between both Pokémon was not enough, a decrease in Braixen´s attack because Delphox´ move made this battle almost impossible to win.

    “Don´t let it rest!” shouted Aria, ready for her next attack. “Use flamethrower and end with this!”

    “Braixen, do the same!” ordered Serena without hesitating or realizing that it could have been a mistake.

    Both vicious fire streams collided again, one of them more powerful and repelling the other one, far weaker.

    The world stopped for an instant. Serena now realized that commanding another attack while her partner could not match its opponent´s power was useless and reckless. The confidence that made her reach this moment had gone. Defeat was the only thing she could think about now.

    Don’t give up till it´s over!

    Those words echoed her head every time that she needed them. But now, instead of just remember the boy´s image that she deeply admired since the beginning of her journey, the memories of all the people she met during all this time gave her the energy she needed to end this. She may not had enough experience or power to match Aria, but she would not let defeat to overcome herself.

    That´s it

    “Braixen, raise your branch and take control of that attack!” shouted Serena. A huge gasp echoed the entire stadium with excitement.

    Braixen followed the orders and raised its staff, still agitated and tired of using her vital energy to control the attack. The massive fire launched by Delphox proved to be difficult to control as Braixen´s pain expression could evidence.

    “But what’s this?” asked Bert. “Though heavily hurt and weakened, Braixen is trying to control the massive power with its staff!”

    “They are risking everything in that movement!” Ernie interrupted. “Tie me here and remove my eye lids because I don´t want to miss a thing!”

    Just when it appeared that Braixen´s efforts to control the attack were about to blow up on its face, she rose her staff, transforming the fire stream into a beautiful flame tornado that surrounded Braixen like a veil of orange light.

    Aria´s expression suddenly changed when she saw the incredible feat that Braixen just achieved. And for the first time since long ago, she felt weak. A sensation contrary to what she had been instructed tried to take control of her mind and body.

    She was not going to let her win so easily.

    “Now, Braixen!” shouted Serena. “Use flamethrower!”

    The fire vixen pointed its branch at the opponent, unleashing the massive tornado against its original user.

    “Delphox, now take control of that attack and redirect it!” ordered Aria with her final command.

    The fire stream was received by the fully evolved Pokémon, and unlike its opponent, Delphox did not take long to control the power it originally launched.

    A fight of fire users began. Serena commanded Braixen to keep control of the now dangerous fire river that was getting bigger and bigger as time passed, even reaching the place where both trainers were standing. Security staff had to evacuate the first row of the theater in order to avoid incidents.

    “This is amazing! I think we are going to die here!” said Ernie trying to cover his head of the massive heat wave that forced him and his partner to stay away of the scenario.

    What happened next marked the beginning of the end….

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  5. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Polls show that shorter episodes attract more readers and come more often. So from now on, no more than 2000 words per chapter! (yay!).

    CHAPTER 3. The Queen is dead, long live the Queen!

    Summer season was considered one of Glorio City’s main spots and experiences you could not skip if you visit it. Despite sunrays constantly showered the big city with the typical intensity of a sea side city, and not counting with a proper beach that could relieve visitors with fresh water coming from northern ocean currents, a natural phenomenon functioned as the alternative of refreshing in cold water.

    Strong breezes whose absence would otherwise turn the city into a wasteland blew with a supernatural force that, according to the myth, was caused by a legendary creature as it crossed ways with that land in its undying path.

    Whether the myth was true or not, even the creature’s intervention could not ease the intense fire burning wildly in the city’s stadium. The match between two passionate girls in the fight of their lives was reaching a spectacular, yet dangerous outcome.

    The fire river that was unleashed by the two fire vixens just moments before, turned into a fire dome that enclosed the battlefield and isolated the trainers with their Pokémon inside. What happened there was an enigma for the rest of the world.

    “Braixen, hang in there just a bit more!”

    The desperate situation that was getting worse because of the temperature increasing with each second, had already sown the first seeds of doubt in Serena, who did not know what to do or order next. In any moment her partner would not be able to resist anymore, and the chance of receiving all the massive impact was a risk she would not take.

    Without finding a victory path or scenario in which she could still get the crown, and worried of Braixen’s condition, Serena´s desires to win the title were put aside and instead she looked for a way to end the battle without anyone getting serious injuries.

    “Serena, can you hear me?” asked Aria whose words were difficult to understand because of the distortion and noise provoked by the air igniting without rest. “This is getting too dangerous not only for the four of us, but also for the audience”

    “What do you mean?” Serena asked exhausted and experimenting dizziness because of the heat.

    “It was fun, I admit it”, she said. “It’s also the most difficult battle I’ve ever had. But I’ve got to end it now before anyone gets hurt”

    Those last words meant something Serena had feared before standing against Aria with the confidence that reached her heart and cleared her mind until now. Aria was highly experienced and skillful not only in showcases but also in battles. The result of years of training under the strictest discipline and unbreakable will. A lesson she had finally understood but not completely accepted.

    Impotence and weakness filled her spirit and tried to extinguish the flame that moments before was still igniting with passion. Her greatest grudge was that she still had something to prove, but she could not find the way to do it, nor the time she required to perform it.

    “Braixen…” she finally said. “Down your staff”

    Braixen, who still tried to control the attack without flinching and almost refusing to follow her trainer’s orders, finally understood too and slowly downed its staff. This act of giving up was causing it more pain than the wounds of battle itself.

    At the same time and as the fire coming from Braixen’s attacks was fading, Aria ordered Delphox's to use psychic in order to help it gain control of the gigantic fire ball. Its eyes glowed light blue while the fire was slowly becoming outlined in blue so Delphox could control it with its mind. Then, disaster occurred.

    “Delphox, watch out!” shouted Aria when the fire stream broke out of the attempt of being controlled as if it was a conscious beast refusing to be tamed. Delphox growled in terror when the attack was coming towards to it and about to unleash its devastating power.

    “Braixen, regain your position now!” reacted Serena, holding the massive attack just barely before finding its target.

    Aria caught her breath with relieve for a moment but then, a new treat made her gasp in horror when she found out what her good intentions had caused. The fire dome did not fade and instead, the river of searing flame had split in two slopes, one bigger that the other, threating both Pokémon. Aria´s concern increased since Delphox was the target of the bigger one.

    “No…” The same despair and weakness that took control of Serena before, was now trying to invade its mind and force Aria to accept her fate. “Is… is this my fault?”

    In the other side of the battlefield Serena contemplated the same phenomenon. Afraid and placing her right hand on her chest she tried to not letting fear overcome her will now that they were all in danger.

    Calm down.

    Said a mysterious inner voice that echoed her mind.

    “Who is…” she tried to ask but was interrupted.

    This is your first lesson. Despair is not letting you see what lies beyond

    “But… what can I do?” she placed her hands on her head and closed her eyes trying to concentrate. “We are all in danger now and we are not strong enough to hold it!” She bowed her head, allowing despair to wrap her into a dark void.

    THINK! It shouted. There’s is a chance to save everyone and make you win.

    The despair that was filling her body suddenly stopped and Serena opened her eyes.

    Raise your head. The sky is the limit.

    Serena laid there, trying to figure out what the voice said. She looked at her left, then at her right and then, as if a beacon of light illuminated and restored her will with hope, she raised her head.

    “The dome...” And Serena finally found her answer. “Aria, can you hear me? There is a way!”

    Aria, who was lost in thought and still paralyzed, looked at the girl who was calling her name. “What?”

    “Listen! We may not be able to destroy it but we can lessen the damage!” Serena said with her conviction restored. “Use psychic once again, we’ll try to help you as much as we can!”

    Aria, puzzled at what Serena was saying, smiled again and lowered her head in a signal of approval. “Delphox, use psychic a last time!”

    Delphox eyes glowed blue once more, trying to bind the biggest fire ball with its power.

    “Braixen, take control of what you can and target the dome!”

    Braixen growled and nodded. It pointed its staff and targeted the small fire ball as it was getting bigger with the fire that the vixen was adding to the sphere. The dome that isolated them from the rest of the world was slowly disappearing before their eyes.

    “It’s working!” cried Aria with joy.

    “Just a bit more!” shouted Serena, aware and prepared to order Braixen to release the fire ball in the precise time.

    Finally, in a last and courageous effort from both Pokémon, the fire stream that threatened everyone in the stadium and blocked the battlefield’s view for minutes, was finally controlled and turned into two giant fire balls targeting the dome. The crowed admired the amazing and incredible act happening before their eyes. The work of two trainers. No, two friends working together for a common goal.

    “Serena”, interrupted Aria. Still smiling and letting out a tear of joy. “You are incredible”

    Serena answered with the same smile, ready to give her final command. “Braixen, shoot it to the dome!”

    “Delphox, do the same!”

    The fire vixens wildly growled when they released their attacks directly to the dome using the last energies they had in order to accomplish their tasks. The fire balls slowly elevated like two suns occupying their place in the cosmos. Then, moments before they reached the top, a hatch located in the dome opened in order to help with the releasing of both suns before they exploded.

    The death of both suns offered a spectacle of fire being extinguished in a last, beautiful conclusion of flames vividly finding their way like snakes on the wild. It was then followed by a massive heat wave that covered the entire stadium, causing the entire crowd to cover the eyes with their arms. And from the hole of the dome, a massive fire beam was formed like a geyser escaping because of the high pressure.

    Smoke clouds covered the battlefield, making it impossible to see the fight’s outcome. Then, from Serena´s side, an injured Braixen was still standing in one leg using its staff. Serena quickly reached to its help, hugging her for its excellent wok.

    On the other side, the smoke cloud finally cleared, revealing the fully evolved Pokémon still standing but breathing wearily. Delphox nodded for the last time, honorably accepting its defeat and fell to the ground. Silence reigned the entire place as everybody stared with shock this dramatic moment of collapse.

    “Delphox… it’s down…” said the robust announcer at last. His shocked face slowly changed into an ecstatic condition as the smoke dissipated, and he gave a final shout “Masterballs failing to catch caterpies, Pachirisu reaching top tiers…”

    “… Bidoofs wining Pokémon leagues, babies being kicked in the nuts with Wailords!” continued Ernie when Bert ran out of air.

    “A NEW DAWN HAS COME!” both announcers shouted, intoxicated with the audience´s delirium that made almost impossible to keep going with the announcement. “A NEW KALOS QUEEN HAS BORN!”

    Serena’s mind was completely in blank, her body immobile as if the feeling of victory was not reaching her spirit because of an obstacle that crossed its path. A familiar figure got closed to her and offered to help her to stand up.

    “Let me help you…”, she said “…my queen”

    Serena accepted the help, still shaking and without regaining control of her body. Once she was lifted up, Aria smiled at her, finally breaking the feeling of incredulity that Serena was experimenting with the battle´s conclusion. She was able to return the gesture with a full hug, taken Aria by surprise but responding quickly with the same energy the new queen was expressing in her hug.

    Bert started to cry, touched by the beautiful moment of friendship and sisterhood the girls had just showed to the audience. “My friend, I think this is the most touching moment in the history of Pokémon performances”

    “The perfect ending of an intense battle”, said Ernie while giving his friend a bro hug. “And you do know what this mean”

    “Hell, I do”

    Both announcer moved to the middle of the battlefield and stood there. They ripped off their clothes with their right hand, revealing bizarre gaudy jumpsuits decorated with sparkling sequins and ribbons hanging off the sleeves and legs. Pretty similar to the ones used by “The King”.



    *Originally, there was going to be a musical number with ABBA´s “Dancing Queen” but… I couldn’t afford the rights.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  6. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    My gawd, why did nobody tell me about the grammar mistakes and others of the last chapters? Blame Word 2010, not me.

    Anyway, I edited what I could find and decided to deliver this fragment that was supposed to be included in the next chapter, but I decided that if I publish it now, it would give me more time later. These events take place two days before the Masterclass Contest.

    NOT CHAPTER 4: Awesome comes.

    Midnight’s full moon in Palm Hills was particularly beautiful this time of the year, and one of the best spots that Johto’s most exclusive province could provide. This time, moonlight shone over a mysterious young man who walked into the dark forest, looking for a private and secret place to send an important message to the ones he only trusted.

    Despite the intense summer hot in that tropical place, he was wearing complete black attire. His head, covered with a helmet that he removed quickly because of the suffocating hot, revealed a tall, good looking young man around his twenties whose olive skin tone made it look lighter because of the moon illuminating him. His facial hair consisted of a light close-trimmed beard along an apparently recent shaved head. His dark eyes were medium sized and spaced evenly apart, sitting below rounded eyebrows that seemed to complement his greek type nose.

    The young man searched behind a specific large bush, picking up a black case whose boxy design made it look like a military item. He opened it and 25” screen set itself up in the case’s cover. The computer started to launch while green letters appeared, decoding the system. Once it concluded, an artificial voice coming from a microphone in the left corner of the screen asked for a request.

    Voice recognition activated

    “What a crappy day”, he said with a huge sigh after that.

    The screen showed a line moving up and down like that of an electrocardiography, recognizing patterns and turning on a green led once it finished. The screen image split in two, each one with the inscription “contacting” and a timer icon in the middle. After a few seconds, the words changed into “Online” and two person´s silhouettes appeared in each screen.

    The images only showed their heads and upper chests. One of them resembled a tall, muscular man with spiky hair; while the other was that of young and slim woman with large ornaments similar to wires gracing her hair and reaching beyond her shoulders.

    “So… how did it turn out?” asked the man with a strong tone in his voice.

    “The bastard’s in coma”, the young man said scratching his forehead. Few seconds of silence followed before the man asked another question.

    “What happened?”

    “Are you hurt?”, asked the woman with concern in his voice.

    “No, and it was not my fault this time”, he sighed again, trying to find the words for what he was going to said. “All I can tell you is that the bastard passed out once I was forced to beat him and started to do some questions”

    “Wait…”, interrupted the man, “did you reveal yourself?”

    “I had no other choice”, he said. “I’ll need a portable EGG device. It seems we were right about their brain waves”

    “Count with it, but… Clint… after having revealed yourself, this could become troublesome for your quest”, said the man with a serious tone.

    “That’s why I’m giving you my last message by this way”, Clint said.

    “And then what?” the woman angrily asked, “are you going to start over again?”

    “That’s the good news I wanted to tell you”. Clint searched inside his pockets and pulled out a pamphlet with a crown symbol printed in the middle. “This time at least he left a clue. It seems that these two years were not a complete waste”

    “What clue?” asked the man.

    “Well, I’ll need Ellie’s help with this one”, answered Clint and addressing the woman behind the screen. “What is this Masterclass Showcase thing?”

    “An event in Kalos region”, she answered. “Girls wearing cute clothes, dancing and doing all this stuff in performances along with their Pokémon”

    Clint stared at the screen with disgust in his expression. “In other words, is hell for me”

    “This guy was going to attend the event?” asked Ellie. “It’s just in two days. And since he was so wealthy, it’s possible that he had exclusive tickets for the event”

    “And as a matter of fact, he did. But I left them” Clint quickly assured. “Too bad this guy was so secretive. Otherwise, I would have personify him in that event”

    “Kalos was going to be your next stop anyway”, interrupted the strong man.

    “This Team Flare matches the profile”

    “Correct. I’ll investigate them as soon as I arrive”

    “We’ll prepare the plane. Unless you want to travel with Sevatar”

    “No, I won’t contact Bebe for that. Also, breaking in an event with a primal beast while is broadcasted through international media is not what we would consider subtle”. Clint chuckled. “I’ll infiltrate as usual and see what I can find there”

    “Very well, then. Good luck and I’ll wait for your next call”

    LT. OUT

    “Care to join me, Ellie?” asked Clint with a smile in his face. “I own you a visit to the “Light City” after all”

    The woman giggled and gave her sincere apologies. “Sorry, dear. I have a very important fashion parade. But let me help you with some info I just received from my contacts”

    “Clues?” asked Clint a bit intrigued.

    “Well, you’ll have to go deep and find out. There is a girl who may possess some knowledge”


    “Her name´s Valerie. She used to be a model but now she is more of a designer. She is very, very good”

    “Interesting”. Clint said while rubbing his chin. “I’ll give it a try, then. After all, I’ve had good luck with your kind”

    Ellie laughed again. “Oh, and there’s someone else. Let me see…” she paused for a moment. “This girl, Korrina. Both are gym leaders, by the way”

    “Yeah, I’ve heard that name” he said. “But she doesn’t match the profile. Why do you think she would know something?”

    “I meant as someone to recruit” Ellie assured. “Her family is bond to the secrets of Mega Evoluion”

    Clint’s attention focused on Ellie’s last words. Since the beginning of his quest, finding powerful allies was one of his main goals for the last battle he had foreseen and feared in his plans. “I’ll check. Thank you for everything, Ellie”

    “Well then”, she said, “It’s time”

    “Yeah. Good bye, Ellie”

    “Good luck, Clint. And please”, she paused for a moment “be very careful”.

    He reached his arm and touched the screen with his fingertips. “Don’t worry. I’ll see you soon”

    Ellie out.

    He stood there for a bit more time looking at the black screen. Loneliness found him again, the price of a quest that made little moments like these so rare and precious for a man committed to fight until he finds his answers. A remember that even in a relentless and long war he had declared against “them” long ago, there were still times of joy that help him to not fall into the dangerous path that threatened to turn him into a machine if he walks without caution.

    He wrote a codename in the screen, followed by some instructions that appeared and then he turned it off. He closed the case and put it back behind the bushes. He then got rid of his black attire and searched the bush again, finding a bag with his casual clothes and he immediately put them on.
    Clint left the place and was bathed once more with the silver moonlight that was shining with intensity that night. He gave his last look at the Palms Hills and headed to the nearest airport, where a plane was waiting for him. Hoping to find the answers he had been looking for since the day he made his oath.

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  7. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    It’s good to have friends who will hold you up whenever you need them. Ash makes a very good example in this chapter.

    THIS IS CHAPTER 4. Clemont holds my balls (A.k.a. Serena’s short departure)

    With her eyelids closing and body barely holding her up, Serena tried her best to overcome the physiological demands that her mind and body desperately needed after an intense day of victory and greatness. Besides her three partners who were still resting on marshy pillows that were given to her by one of the many sponsors she met that day, there was no other person or Pokémon in the entire world right now that deserved more a moment of rest than she was.

    And as if that battle that left her exhausted was not enough, the coronation ceremony, photography sessions, press interviews and so on, tested the fortitude against her new life as a world celebrity; the youngest girl who has ever worn the Kalos Queen crown in history.

    Unfortunately, every time she closed her eyes in order to get the sleep her body demanded, the crowd’s cheers and memories of the epic battle came to her head once again, haunting the sleepy promise of a quiet night with the shock and excitement of a victory she thought it would not be possible hours ago. She gave up on falling asleep and looked at the golden trophy standing proudly in the dresser that was located in the left side of her bed, symbol of their title and hard work.

    Hours before, and once the press and media were done fighting each other in order to obtain even the most insignificant life fact of the new queen, Serena finally caught her breath in relieve and sat in on one of the dressing room couches that were fitted just for her comfort. The young queen then remembered that she had had barely time to talk with those who were really important to her like her mom and friends.

    As Serena was still lost in her thoughts and tired of talking, someone familiar entered the room without warning.

    “So… how’s the life of a queen treating you so far?” asked the young woman who, hours before, she was the one carrying the title that now belonged to Serena.

    “Aria!” exclaimed Serena, surprised to meet her again since the coronation ceremony.

    “I remember the first time I had to deal with those journalists too”, Aria said. “Although, I think there are many more this time”. She finished with a smile.

    “Aria…” Serena paused for a moment with a serious expression. An uneasy feeling was bothering her since the battle conclusion and now was the time to confront it. “If it wasn’t for you, we would not be able to save the people. I think we both deserved the title”

    Aria changed her expression and gently calmed her with her kind words. “No, Serena. I was naive when I thought that I could handle all that power. It was your plan that saved us all and made you win”

    Serena recovered her confidence as if a heavy weight that crushed her soul had just vanished. She then returned the smile.

    “But now, there’s something I want to talk to you”, said Aria. “Serena, let me introduce to you the person who was mainly responsible of my success”, she looked at the gray-haired woman who was entering the room “My mentor and friend, Miss Palermo”.

    “Good night, young queen. It seems I was very wrong about you”, said the woman with a tender expression drawn in her face.

    “Wait? Have you already met?” asked Aria a bit perplexed with a fact that she did not know.

    “Yes. And I tell her the greatest lie I’ve ever said” she stood up from her seat and looked directly at Serena still smiling. “Go ahead, dear. I totally deserve it”

    “N-no, y-you were correct!” stuttered Serena, trying to not sound too scared nor too serious.

    “What did you tell her?” asked Aria again.

    “That she was not worthy of the title”, answered Palermo without changing her expression. “One of those rare times in which I ended up being completely wrong”

    Aria smiled with amusement. As she said, her mentor was rarely wrong with new talents, as she had proved it with her many years of experience in showcases. Still, the honesty in which Palermo had expressed was a bit too gentle unlike other times.

    “I won’t let you forget what you just said”, said Aria even more amused at her boldness. Palermo simply laughed and looked at Serena who had just regained her composure and joined the merry moment.

    “Miss Palermo is the most important and influential figure of not only Pokémon showcases, but also fashion, movies, media…”, she stopped for a moment touching her forehead with her index finger.

    “Well, it’s easier to enumerate what she can’t do”

    “Stop, dear. We don’t want to overwhelm the queen now with the now vast world she has just become part of”, Palermo sit on the couch with Serena. Her expression now more relaxed but without being too serious for what she was going to ask.

    “What do you want to do with your new life, Serena?” she asked. The straight question hit her like a sudden electroshock from certain yellow rodent she knew very well.

    “I-I…” she paused again trying to figure out what to say. “Well... I haven’t had time to reach a conclusion. I mean, before yesterday, winning the title was the farthest scenario I had imagined for my life”

    Palermo smiled again after hearing the sincerity of the girl’s answer. “Let me help you decide then”, she said. “You have a shiny future ahead. The sky is the limit”

    Serena’s eyes rounded and her head jerked back, puzzled with the last sentence that Palermo used. The same she had heard in her mind in that critical moment. Was just a coincidence or perhaps something else? She wondered.

    “So... What do you say?” asked Aria.

    “Ye-yes!”, answered Serena with excitement. “Oh, but not right now. Is there a problem if we start after the Kalos League?”

    “What?” asked Palermo with her wide eyes and jaw dropped a bit, surprised at what the girl just said.

    “Well, you see”, Serena started, worried of the woman’s sudden change of tone and trying to no upset the two female companions that were offering the chance of her life. “I made this promise with my friends. That we would go together and support Ash”

    “I see.”, said the woman, disappointed with Serena´s statement. “Is this promise more important than your future?”

    Serena was shocked again with this difficult question. Why delaying the work was such a big deal that made her think that Palermo was trying to force her to choose between her friends and her career?

    “We promised to take care of each other. And breaking my word is…”. But Serena made up her mind and gave Palermo her honest answer without hesitate, “No, I’m sorry. But this is more important for me”

    Aria looked at her mentor whose upset look could turn into either an enraged or understanding expression. She was relieved when Palermo accepted Serena’s word and bowed her head.

    “And I completely respect that choice”, she said with an understanding voice. “We can work it out once you fulfill your promise”

    “Miss Palermo…”. Serena’s smile returned with a blissful charm. “Thank you!”

    “But please, you have to accept my next invitation”

    “Invitation?” asked Serena intrigued.

    “Yes, the Great Celebration”, she said with a melodic tone that caught Serena’s attention. “It’s a traditional ceremony among us. Some of the wealthiest people in the world arrived to meet and pay their respects to the new queen”

    “The most elegant and beautiful celebration in the entire Pokémon world right in the outsides of Anistar city“, said Aria with the same excitement. “In other words; a party worthy of the Royalty”

    “It sounds amazing!” she answered. But she quickly remembered her other appointment. “But… We were going to Snowbelle City so Ash could win his last badge”

    “Oh, don’t worry, dear. I understand how important this promise is”, Palermo quickly assured. “Just two days and you will be back with your friends”

    “Really?!” exclaimed Serena with a shiny spark in her eyes.

    “I never break my promises”

    “Oh, thank you, thank you Miss Palermo!”

    Serena gave her an unexpected hug that caught her in surprise. Even Aria gasped at the reckless gesture that her mentor did rarely admitted, especially with new students.

    “It’s settled then”. She said and stood up. “I’m afraid time is not my ally in these moments. There is a celebration to prepare after all. Please, go and tell you friends. I have to go now but Aria will depart with you tomorrow”

    “I will!” said Serena leaving the couch and swiftly headed to the dressing room entrance. Not before giving a last good bye. “Aria! I’ll see you tomorrow morning!”

    And Serena left. The joyful atmosphere of a young girl living one the happiest moment of her short life was slowly changing into a less cheerful and darker vibe in which the now dethroned queen had to make difficult questions and face her mentor’s secret agenda.

    “So… tomorrow”

    “My dear Aria, you know how I work”. Palermo said, getting close to her and delicately stroking her red hair. “The sooner she is with us, the better we can guarantee her safety”

    “Safety?” she asked, disturbed at the woman’s statement. “Not even I was initiated at this age. What is it that you are hiding from me?” Aria ended with a straight question.

    “Lord Reginald is in coma”, she answered quietly without showing any emotion. The news made Aria’s skin to turn pale and her eyes very round, showing the anguish she experienced in just seconds.

    “Wha…” She tried to ask, but her mind could not finish the sentence.

    “Two days ago in his residence of Palms Hill in Johto. I didn’t want to pull out this tragedy in the middle of the showcase”

    “Who?” She finally asked after dealing with the terrible fact that still made shake with fear.

    “We don’t even know if it was someone’s work. But this is the second time in six years that a high member is found in coma”

    “Do you think that someone is tracking us?”

    “Or he simply abused of his enhanced senses as usual. That’s why I must find out as soon as I can”. Palermo reached the exit. But seconds before she left the room, Aria made her a last, straight question.

    “Then what is exactly Serena’s role in all of this?”

    Palermo turned her face and answered with the same inexpressive tone. “The same as she was foresighted to do since we met her… But in these times of caution, we need hope and a new embodiment of our desires”

    And Palermo finally left, leaving a still puzzled and petrified young woman with her own concerns.

    . . . .

    Next morning, and after Serena told her friends about the brief days she had to spend away from them because of Palermo’s unique invitation, they gathered in the residence’s parking lot for their short farewell. Promising that after Serena was done with her celebration, she would reunite with them in Snowbell City, where Ash would face the last gym leader and win his right to participate in the Kalos League.

    “So… “, Serena started, still concerned of leaving his friends even if it was for a short time. “Is it ok if I take a couple of days?”

    “Serena, we’ve already told you! This is important for you, you must go!” Ash said with the confidence and support he had always used when he encouraged her to pursue her dreams. She returned the gesture glancing him blushing and a pleased smile.

    “It’s a shame I can’t bring you up with me, guys. But…”

    “Just remember to bring us tons and tons of those fancy cakes and candy!” Grinned Bonnie, jumping with joy at the same time.

    “I will”

    Meanwhile, Aria watched the adorable scene, smiling after witness the true bonds of friendship they shared, right from the black limousine that was going to take her and Serena to their destination.

    “Wel… I think it’s time”, Serena said. “I’ll see you in two days.” She then looked at the boy, blushing more intensely with each moment. “And Ash…” But her mind tricked her once more, impeding to utter the words she had prepared in her head for a long time.

    Ash, feeling sympathy for the girl’s shyness, decided to help her with his usual, yet clueless display of friendship.

    “Don’t need to worry, Serena” said Ash shaking her hand.

    She stared at the gesture. At first she was puzzled with the unexpected and bit disappointing cheering that her dear friend had just shown. However, she appreciated the sincere feeling that was implicit in this act of kindness, knowing well enough that it was just the way he was.

    “Thank you, Ash”. She blushed with a smile and got inside the car.

    “Ash is so dense”, whispered Bonnie folding her arms and raising them up to her shoulders.

    Aria tried to hold her laughter at the cute but unromantic attitude of the kid. She then got close to them to bid farewell and decided to deliver a joke that he may not be able to get, but hoping to cause a reaction in him.

    “I’ll deliver her back safely. And you, boy”, she looked directly to Ash. “Don’t worry, maybe those balls will drop off someday”. And winked with a smile.

    “Ha! That’s impossible, Aria! I’m such a good trainer and my pokéballs so tightly attached to me that it’s almost impossible to just drop them off as you said!” He answered with an innocence that of a little child.

    “... uh?” Aria’s smile disappeared, surprised with the words she had just heard.

    “No, Ash. She meant…”, said Clemont trying to clarify the point.

    “No need to help me, Clemont! But only if I didn’t explain myself correctly, the probability of my pokéballs to fall is infinitesimal. And just in the very rare case it happens, I’ll grab them with all my will until my hand hurts and the pokéball form is forever marked in my palm!”

    “What is Ash talking about, Clemont?” Asked Bonnie, but his brother did not pay attention since he was trying to talk some sense into him with something that he even understood. But Ash did not listen and continued embarrassing himself.

    “Besides, I have friends like Clemont who will help me grab them!” He placed his arm in Clemont’s shoulder in a gesture of brotherhood, but the blonde guy just stayed static, placing his hand flat across his face in embarrassment. “Yeah, even if they were filled with filthy mud or soaked after an intense battle, he would gladly use his hands to clean them and put them in their place again! And maybe Bonnie…”

    “OH, NO! KEEP MY SISTER AWAY OF YOUR DUMBNESS!” yelled Clemont loudly, reaching the breaking point of exasperating and anger.

    Aria shook her head, incredulous of this boy’s complete unawareness. The same feeling was shared with everyone gathered there, including Pikachu who tried to hide its embarrassment behind its pointy ears.

    “Well… yeah… I guess”. She finally said after a moment of silence. “Thank you, now I have the best way to break the ice in my next reunion. Keep up with… whatever you are up to, ok?”. She then got inside the car and left to the opposite direction towards Anistar City, leaving the rest of the gang with their own way.

    “I didn’t get it. What happened?” Asked Bonnie again.

    “I’ll tell you when you are older”. Answered Clemont. “But believe me. Once you figure it out, it will be as hilarious as this was just painful to see”

    “What? Why?” asked Ash, intrigued and with a dumb and puzzled expression drown all on his face.


    The siblings walked through the road, trying to not make eye contact with him. Ash followed them still trying to find out what was so funny. Midday sunlight shone for everyone who was pursuing their dreams in this vast Pokémon world.

    In the case of a young queen who just departed off from her friends, it marked the last day before an endless nightmare.

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  8. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    You know… I regret of what I did to Ash in the last chapter. So much that I edited that part and replaced it with something that at least does not help with his bad reputation of being a loser who cannot win a league or get the girl. Go check it out.

    Anyway. Enjoy this chapter. It will be the last entirely “cute” of this story.

    CHAPTER 5. A girl’s dream about to get crushed.

    The irritating sound of brooms scratching the surface of a fancy balcony after a huge event was something that always annoyed the maintenance foreman who was in charge of cleaning the mess that a bunch of “fancy pretentious folks” - as he called them – had left. It was more than a simple disgust for the wealthy class he had to work for, but a hatred that had grown within each year of tiresome work.

    However, the overweight and bald man whose greasy earwax made him look as if he rarely took a shower, did had at least a consolation prize that made his job not as disagreeable as he considered. He may have been a man with poor hygiene and bad manners who did not seem to care of what others thought about his unpleasant personality, but if there was something that he valued more than anything else, and helped him to forget about his loathsome job at least for a moment, was fine food.

    Since he was a kid, the only thing he could ever think about was spending the rest of his life eating the most delicious and expensive meals the world had to offer. He found the perfect job as foreman of Glorio City stadium, which ensured him a constant availability of his precious food.

    “These folks sure know how to eat, don’t ya think?” He said while grabbing a silver plate and serving himself some of the exquisite dishes that had been left there without even being touched. “Sure you don’t wanna piece, pal?” He said, addressing to one of his workers, a young and tall blond man who was still sweeping the balcony without paying attention to his chief.

    “As you wish”. The man said and tasted the food. A pleased gesture erased his previous grumpy face with each bite of the dish. “Dear Arceus, this is fuging awesome!” And wiped out the rest without ease. After he finished, he punched his chest with his fist, letting out a huge belch that managed to draw a satisfied smile in his round face. “Look at this waste” He said, pointing out at the table that was still filled with food that someone left without a single bite. “What kind of fancy folks would’ve left this much?”

    “It was just an old woman”, the young man finally said, catching his chief interest.

    “Did ya’ serve her?” he asked.

    “Yeah, and she tried to flirt with me”.

    “Ha, ha, ha, ha!” The fat man loudly laughed, hysterical of his partner words. “Those old fancy ladies always trying to be all over with good looking young men as if their position and money could make them less unpleasant to the eye”. He laughed again.

    “What I wonder is why she would ask for all of this food if she’d never been able to finish it”, the young man said, rubbing his chin.

    “Who cares? More for me”. The man served himself once more and picked a cup that he filled with an almost complete bottle of wine that he found in the table. “At least this woman left something, unlike the other bastard”

    The last sentence caught the young man’s attention who stopped doing his duty and went directly to his chief. “What other bastard?” He asked.

    “Yeah, in the west balcony”, said the man slurping his cup. “A single skinny rich guy ate at least two times this banquet. Could you believe it?”

    The young man stood there as if he was analyzing the situation. The foreman looked at him, puzzled with his worker attitude.

    “You right, pal?”

    “Did you notice something more strange?”, he asked.

    “Well, a bunch of hot ladies were with him like… uh… fifteen minutes before the show started”, he said. “But I doubt those chicks had had touched the food. Unless they were bulimic or something”. The foreman turned his face, looking for more wine in the adjacent tables. “Why the interest…?”

    He turned to his left and right, looking for the young man who just seconds before was still talking with him and then vanished like a shadow without him noticing. He stood there for some seconds, still figuring out what just had happened and a bit puzzled at all the situation. Without finding an answer and deciding to ignore it, the foreman came back to his usual gluttony.

    . . . .

    “Welcome, Serena. To the “Maiden’s Palace”

    Serena´s eyes were blinded with the dazzling sparkle that emanated from the giant candelabra that hung from the oval roof in the giant entrance hall. Once she regained her vision, she left out a huge gasp at the gorgeous place that was nothing she had ever seen before. Even the elegant designs of Glorio City’s stadium paled in comparison with Palermo’s living place.

    Aria invited her to walk inside the palace. Serena felt even more captivated when she saw her reflection in the clear, marble tiles that resembled mirrors in the floor. She then looked at the walls, adorned with a vast collection of different paintings that matched the rich decoration of such master piece.

    “You like it, isn’t it?”

    “Like it?”, said Serena. “This is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen!” She raised her arms and spin around, feeling as if the artists’ aura was enveloping her like a warm blanket.

    “Four kitchens, thirty rooms each one with its own bathroom, two art galleries and a garden that you wouldn’t believe it’s possible to keep”. Asia assured.

    “Does Palermo lives her by her own?” Asked Serena, curious and incredulous that such a big place could be only occupied by few individuals.

    “Of course not, dear”. Interrupted a woman who was coming down from the stairs in the middle of the room. “In fact, this is not completely mine but a sharing agreement between many holders”.

    “And from now on, you can use it whenever you want”, said Aria.

    “R-really!?” she gasped again, her weepy eyes filled with excitement and incredulous at the sudden offering.

    “I can see you are really excited”. Palermo blinked and smiled. “Why don’t you let your Pokémon share this moment with you? They deserve it”

    Serena nodded and released her partners who joined her in such enthusiastic moment, dancing around her and admiring the beautiful artwork displayed there.

    “Well, I’m glad you are having such a delightful moment my dear”, Palermo interrupted, “but some arrangements have to be done for this night’s celebration”. She then addressed to Aria. “Could you please show her the Queen’s Room?”

    Aria nodded, grabbing Serena’s hand and rushing with her upstairs to the said place with Serena’s Pokémon following her closely. After walking through the corridors, they stopped at a giant, golden door with a crown symbol engraved on it.

    “Ready?” Aria asked as if she was preparing a surprise.

    “For what?”

    Aria opened the door. The first thing Serena saw that left her astonished was the golden railing that separated the bed from the rest of the room, and a golden canopy above the bed with the figure of a legendary bird she could not recognize. Exquisite curtains of intricate detail hung from this piece, a pattern that could be found in the entire room.

    “Is… is this?” Serena could not end her sentence.

    “The Queen’s Room is a relic of older times, Serena” Aria started. “The royalty did really live here in the most beautiful room of the entire palace”

    Serena walked into the room, admiring the rest of the furniture and features this room proudly exhibited. She came across a mahogany dressing table with golden ornaments and a large mirror that reflected the paintings of the room. These depicted national heroes and important battles that built the Kalos region in the beautiful land that was today.

    “Am I going to sleep here?” Asked Serena, overwhelmed with the excessive luxury she was not used to. Aria showed her sympathy and tried to soothe her.

    “I made the same question the first time I came here”, she said, “At least you don’t have to wash yourself in front of a regiment of maidens like they used to”.

    Serena burst in laughter, relieved of the lack of seriousness that she thought it was going to be mandatory from now on. Suddenly, a male and eldest servant holding a silver tray asked for their permission to enter the room and deliver some snacks and Pokémon food that everyone in the room welcomed with pleasure.

    Aria took her to the antechamber connected with the room that functioned as a leisure hall for receiving guests. There, they found a small table where both could enjoy their meals.

    “Palermo must have sent this”, said Aria, “I forgot to ask if you were hungry when we arrived”.

    “It’s ok”, said Serena, “My appetite vanished the moment I entered into this palace anyway”.

    “This will be enough in order to endure until this night”. Aria paused for a moment. “It will be glorious”.

    She drank her cup of tea and looked at the large window of her left, admiring the clear view this day had gifted to them. Serena shared her enthusiasm, smiling at her and starting the conversation.

    “Now that you mention it”, she said, “is there a procedure for this kind of events? I mean, the only gala I’ve ever been to was Monsieur Pierre’s Dance Party”

    “Oh, you don’t have to worry about that”, Aira said, “it’s basically the same. Except that you are the main attraction and guests will be looking after every single mistake you make”.

    Serena froze, scared and terrified of her friend’s words. “I-Is t-that t-t-true?” She asked, barely controlling her voice.

    Aria burst in laugher, enjoying the joke she just had played on her, and pointing at Serena’s terrified face.

    “Serena!”, she said without being able to control her laughter, “You are just as easy target of my jokes as that clueless boy you like!”

    “W-W-WHAT?!” Yelled Serena with an intense blush that made her face turn deep red because of the embarrassment.

    “Oh, come on!”, said Aria after finally taming her impulses, “it’s pretty obvious. Everybody could figure it out after seeing your face”.

    Serena crossed her hands and put them on her chest as if she was trying to appease the unstoppable beating of her heart. For the first time, she did not have an excuse to walk away or avoid the topic. However, she now felt that the bond she now shared with Aria was getting stronger as if she was starting to consider her as a sister, keeper of her most intimate secrets.

    “Aria… I…”

    “No”. She suddenly shut her, placing her index finger on her mouth. “Share them when you really feel like it”. Aria smiled at her for the last time before a sudden knock at the door interrupted the moment.

    “Excuse me. I was waiting for this”. Aria said, standing up and receiving a box from the same servant of before. She gave him her sincere thanks and placed the box on the bed. She called for Serena, who was eager to know what was all about.

    “What is… Oh, my”. Serena’s voice shut for a moment and placed her hands over her mouth in a mixed feeling of surprise and disbelief at the most beautiful tailored dress she had seen. “I-t’s that…” But Serena could not finish her sentence.

    The pale pink gown dress had a similar design to the one she had worn in the dance party some time ago, but this one had more intricate details and an embroidery job of such high precision that could only be the work of expert artisans.

    “Only a master piece can be worn by the new Kalos Queen on her night’s debut”

    Serena delicately grabbed the dress, still incredulous at the gift she had just received. In general, the day had been like a dream come true, a reward beyond her wildest dreams for she and her partners for all the hard work and obstacles they had faced throughout their journey. Serena wept with happiness, receiving a fraternal hug from her friend and trusting Pokémon.

    Deep bellow the palace where the innocence of a pure maiden was shining like a beacon of divine light, a coven of corruption and depravation was growing impatiently for her like a beast before his delicious prey.

  9. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Oh, yeah. The chapter you’ve all been waiting for.

    CHAPTER 6. Serena becomes a perv *

    The unmistakable sound of clinking wine glasses, the heavenly scent of expensive perfumes and the fashion parade of designer clothing were but single notes of the night’s symphony that commemorated a special and unique event the order was impatient to witness and participate.

    Murmurings and gossip spread throughout all the attendants about the new queen was the only way they found in order to soothe the anxious moment of meeting the vessel of their desires. Among the members of the order, these were the ones who could barely control their senses but were forced to. So was the order of their leader, and the fear of punishment for transgressing her law was stronger than their instincts.

    There were others, more moderate and calmed who had a particular passion for the beautiful things. They decided to admire the exquisite master piece in which the celebration was being held until the guest of honor was finally ready to made her entrance. A certain tall and handsome man wearing a top hat while grabbing his staff with Klefkii on top was one of this kind. He contemplated the details in the paints that may have skipped his eyes the first time he admired them.

    Then, the unmistaken voice of their leader brought the joyous announcement that the guests gathered there had been waiting for. A gray-haired woman wearing a black purple dress that matched her eyes, stood at the top of the stairs, ready to give her speech.

    “Ladies and gentlemen”, began the woman “It is a pleasure to introduce to you a new dawn of this order’s future. She who has earned her place in history as the youngest Kalos Queen… Serena”
    Some curious looks and nosy heads tried their best to catch a glimpse of the moment in which a young lady wearing a pale pink dress put in an appearance, accompanied by another female figure they recognized very well. The one who used to wear the crown that was now adorning her friend’s honey hair.

    The attendants were astonished with the beauty and innocence that Serena radiated with her presence. Along with Aria, the vision of loveliness was a spectacle the guests could have never dreamed even in their wildest and unexpected dreams. The entire crowd gave received her with a big applause and reverences as the girls went downstairs until they arrived to the hall.

    “Thank you”, said Serena as she bowed her head with gratitude. “It’s just delightful to see you all gathered her for me. I’ll do my best to honor the gesture”. She ended with a broad smile.

    The hypnotic and sincere smile the queen showed ignited the guests’ flames of excitement and passion, and immediately approached to her in order to give her a more personal greeting and kind words she gladly accepted. Once they were done, Aria grabbed her hand and leaded her to a man Serena knew very well since he was the announcer of every Pokémon contest she had participated.

    “My young Queen”, he said, bowing his head with a small reverence, “I’m glad to see that my gift fitted you perfectly”.

    Serena smiled and then opened her mouth with surprise. “That’s why Aria didn’t want to tell me who had given me this lovely dress!”

    Monsieur Pierre chuckled. “I wanted to give you the surprise by myself. Since that day in the dancing party I knew the type of dress that would enhance your beauty”
    “Thank you very much, Monsieur Pierre!”

    “No, the pleasure is all mine. Please, enjoy your party”. He left, giving her a last smile.

    “Come, there are more people you have to meet”, said Aria, leading her once again to the other side of the hall where a slim and long black-haired woman was standing along a younger man who shared many of the woman’s traits like his dark hair. Because of his characteristics, Serena suspected that he was about Aria’s same age.

    “Serena, let me introduce you a trusting member of our circle and Palermo’s childhood friend. Madam Adalie De Valois and her son, Philip”.

    Serena was left astonished with the seductive beauty of the black-haired woman. She was also very intrigued about the fact that this person was supposedly Palermo’s childhood friend, even when both did not seem to share the same age.

    “I must confess that at first, I thought you had just thrown away your crown for nothing”, said the woman with a smooth and sensual tone that manage to intimidate Serena, “but after witnessing this charming and beautiful girl, it is now clear that you were bested, my dear”.

    Aria chuckled as if she knew what to expect from the woman’s attitude.

    “Please, excuse my mother. Her manners are sometimes a flaw to our family’s reputation”, interrupted the young man who now set his dark eyes at the young queen. “But she’s right. Your beauty knows not equal”. He bowed his head in respect and politely extended his hand to grasp Serena’s one, touching her knuckles with his lips and causing her to blush intensely.

    “And you are as charming as usual, Philip”, said Aria amused of the excessive courtesy that was very unfamiliar for a novice like Serena, “And still you don’t know the boundaries of a young girl’s affection”.

    “Oh, my bad”, said Philip with regret on his voice, “I should have known that she has already given her heart to someone special”.

    Serena’s red face was already bowling with the teasing of both teenagers, and she asked herself how many people would discover her most intimate secret. Maybe by being less obvious anytime someone would bring up the topic would help.

    As Serena was lost in her thoughts and the rest of those gathered there were having fun with the young queen’s reaction, someone else came from nowhere in order to join the conversation.

    “A person’s heart is a secret and sacred place”, said a blonde man looking at Serena while grabbing a silver platter. “don’t open it up to anyone who tries to transgress it”.

    Madam Adelie, who had been silent, finally let out the smooth but direct words from her seductive mouth. “It was a joke, Siebuld. But since it is you we are talking about, will you also lecture us about high cuisine being art?”

    “Lecture?”, responded the man. “My dear, words can easily be crushed. But showing, in the other hand…” Siebud lowered the platter he was carrying, offering it to Serena who was shocked not only because the sudden appearance of the eccentric man but how the food was elegantly presented. “… can’t never be ignored”.

    “Way to go, chef”, chuckled Aria and proceeded to introduce him to Serena. “Serena, he is one of our dearest and most important friends. Elite four member and world renown chef, Siebud”

    “I’d be honored if you could taste the dish I’ve prepared especially for you, my queen”.

    Serena smiled and accepted the food. With a single bite of the gourmet sandwich, her eyes sparkle with delight as if an entire party was taking place in her mouth.

    “Oh, my! This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten!”

    “And it’s only the entrée”, Siebud assured with a smile. “I’m personally preparing all the banquet we all enjoy tonight. And that makes me remember I have duties in the kitchen. Please, enjoy the rest of the party”.

    Siebud placed the hand on his chest and bowed for the last time before he left.

    “We also have to meet other people. If you excuse us”.

    Madam Adelie and her son left the girls alone not before Philip winked at Serena. She was delightful with the new people she had just met and their unique personalities.

    “So many good friends”, whispered Serena, invoking those who were not with her today but still remember them.

    “Yes… but it’s too bad you could not meet him”, said Aria with melancholy on her words.


    “Uh? Did I just say it out loud?” Aria chuckled and decided to talk about the person she was deeply missing this day. “Lord Reginald. Our closest friend and the most amazing person you could ever meet”.

    “What happened to him?” Asked Serena interested in this person that Aria seemed to have great affection towards him.

    “He…”, but Aria remember that she could not reveal the mystery that surrounded her beloved friend. Not even Serena. “He was unavailable. Not even for us”.

    The words did not seem to convince Serena, but she understood that it may be something that was not of her concern and decided to stop with the questions.

    “Please, forget it. It’s almost time to the main act and I don’t want you to worry about me”.

    And as soon as she finished her sentence, the loud voice of a woman demanded the attention of every member in the room.

    “My friends! It’s time!” Announced Palermo, raising her arms and forming the letter v while she enchanted the scene with a joyful voice. “The moment to honor our young queen has finally come. The Starway to Heaven is ready!”

    The congregation nodded and headed to the big entrance in the right side of the main hall. A room that remained locked until their rituals and ceremonies were celebrated. And obviously, the entrance was strictly forbidden to everyone who was not part of the order.

    Aria insisted to walk behind Serena, convincing her to become more independent and learn to lead her people from now on. Aria waited for a moment and followed Serena closely until she decided to enter the room. Then, the happiness she felt for days was forever destroyed when she heard the frightening word in her head.


    That word echoed over Aria’s head like a phantasmagoric bringer of doom. Her body paralyzed and her hands trembled with fear.

    “B-but how? W-why?”, she asked.

    It was decided.

    “H-how could you?! I-It’s too early!”

    You’ll accompany her all the time. It’s my last word.

    “Wait! I won’t…” The voice shut down, cutting her off and leaving her with the most difficult and painful choice of her life.

    . . . .

    A mixed feeling of fear and intrigue managed to erase Serena’s smile after spending all day in a master piece of architecture and art, surrounded and enjoying some of the eccentricities of the wealthy people who had welcomed her with their open arms.

    The oval room, built with a bizarre and intimidating style and illuminated with a pink and purple light was so different to the classic and stylish architecture of the rest of the palace that Serena wondered if this place was designed and constructed by an entirely different architect. She explored the place with her look, following the three pillars that supported and circled the tower in the middle of the room like sevipers working together to strangle their victim.

    As she was being led to the tower, she could glimpse a golden throne that shared the same extravagant design of the room. And then, while she was looking for something that could remind her of the more familiar style of the palace, the paints adorning the walls and sculptures of the room caught her attention, since every one of them depicted young, beautiful girls happily smiling and radiating a joy and innocence that only the uber skills of a great artist could achieve.

    “Those are girls that have been embraced by our order”, whispered Aria.

    “Are you and Palermo depicted there?” Serena asked but did not receive an answer as if Aria pretended to not having listened.

    Once they reached the little chamber bellow the tower, Aria gently invited her to sit on the golden throne. Serena took her place, still puzzled with the strange place of the celebration. She tried to ask again but Aria placed her index finger on her closed mouth, requesting silence for what it was coming.

    The young queen’s uncomfortable feelings got even weirder when she saw the congregation putting on strange masks that resembled Pokémon with a more sinister look and red lines drawing patterns through the mask. She wondered what could this mean, but her curiosity would have to wait until this absurd was finally over.

    “My friends”, began Palermo standing in front of Serena while giving her speech and once that every member had taken his place on the oval room. “A queen’s initiation is always a glorious and delicious moment that we all share and honor… A moment of tradition and celebration that’s been done by centuries since our ancestors took roots in this beautiful land”.

    Palermo stopped and look at the girl sitting on the golden throne. “And now, Serena. It’s your turn to take your place as ruler of the order”

    Silence that ruled the entire place was suddenly interrupted by a sweet and invigorating melody that came from the top of the tower. The music relieved Serena’s mind and let her forget the uneasy feeling that increased with each second of being in such weird room.

    A masked servant holding a platter with a golden chalice on top, approached the throne. Aria hold the chalice with both hands and bent down, stretching her arms and offering the cup to the young queen.

    “Serena…”, said Aria with a very serious and firm voice, “will you defend the order of any threats that would harm it or even destroy it?”

    “I will”, Serena responded. Hours before, Aria had mentioned her that part of the ceremony was making an oath as Kalos royalty did in medieval times.

    “Will you accept to become the vessel of your people’s desires and wishes?”

    “I…” Serena hesitated, surprised with the strange statement that she could not understand entirely. Words could not leave her mouth and was force to nod.

    “May the order have mercy of those damned if you break your oath”.

    The last statement made her feel a shiver down her spine and almost broke her stability. In order to calm her, she kept saying to herself that those fearsome words and seriousness were just part of an old tradition and she did not have to take it serious. But the weird atmosphere made her difficult to support that idea.

    Aria, still offering the chalice whispered to her, trying to take her back to the moment. Even when her mind was filled with doubt and fear, Serena decided not to embarrass her friend in front of everyone and accepted the gesture, hoping that things would get better as soon as this ended. She then drank from the bitter but still delicious taste of the cup.

    Serena expected to hear a huge applause from the gathering after she took her oath. Instead, the mysterious cacophony raised again and she felt an abruptly spasm that shocked her entire body with a sensation she had never felt before. A mix of horror and… pleasure? Was increasing with each second, making her difficult to control her senses and thanking for still being set on the throne. Otherwise, she would have made an embarrassing scene.

    “My friends!” yelled Palermo, “Our queen has accepted our offering and now we can become one with her!”

    The congregation spread through the oval room and a dance took place. The pink light of the hall was fading while the notes rose in a strange, invigorating melody from the top of the Starway. Then, the rhythm changed and Serena’s most terrifying experience of her life began.

    The images started to blurry and gaudy colors replaced the purple illumination of the room. Her orientation began to fade so violently that she grabbed the throne with fear of falling down and never being able to stand up again. The mix of strange sensations slowly made her questioned if there was something bad with the wine she had barely tasted. That was her last sapient thinking before things got really weird.

    Someone grabbed her arm and forced her to abandon the throne. She tried to catch a glimpse of the person who dared to make her abandon the only support that kept her on the ground, believing to be Aria’s doing, but the image was so blurry that she could not recognize anything. The stranger drove her to the dancing place, taking advantage of her weakness and vulnerable will, but he did not try to make a move.

    Then, as her energies were fading and the music was slowly changing once more, a scream began to echo her mind. The macabre yelling slowly replaced the music, making her to regain some of her strength as if the mysterious loud voice tried to make contact with her. She paid attention to the scream and after a few seconds, it yelled something so clear and terrible that made her blood run cold.


    The blurry faded as if the distortion it caused was just a curtain that hid the macabre spectacle that now Serena could witness. The pillars were moving like snakes crawling through the tower while a strange writing in the walls ignited with purple color, following the rhythm of the mysterious song.

    The congregation was still there, dancing and moving as if a wild force had possessed them and forced them to dance until their death. Serena desperately tried to find Aria, but found herself unable to move. She turned her face to the stranger that had taken her away from the throne and tried to talk, but not a single sound escaped from her mouth.

    “It’s just a nightmare!”, she said to herself. “Wake up! Wake up!”. She tried to cry, but the macabre experience denied her to burst in tears as if the strange force was trying to take control of every emotion she had and replace it with something more sinister.

    Serena gave up. In those moments of agony, she saw her end at her short age and a feeling of regret filled her heart. All the places, food, new people and experiences she could never enjoy anymore, those dear and close to hear she would never see again, the confession of her feelings to that boy...

    But the horror would give her a last glimpse before it took control of her mind.

    Serena looked at the paints and sculptures for the last time, wondering if those girls had shared the same fate as her. The scenes confirmed her fears when the pictures, once depicting beautiful girls, now showed the profanity and defiling of those who had the misfortune of being embraced by the order. Serena could hear their screams and laments of the sculptures and wanted to join them, but the dark force prevented her to utter a single sound while it enveloped her with a suffocating and final move.

    He protects

    The darkness surrounding her was expelled when a beacon of light flashed from Serena’s unconscious body, giving her back her spirit and some of her strength.

    The song stopped and the stranger released Serena who managed to set free from him and walk a few steps before collapsing.

    The screams were still there, but just like the song, they were fading away. She could still hear them until sleep finally wrapped her up and gave her piece.


  10. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Seven chapters (technically eight) and now I have nothing else to say. Enjoy

    CHAPTER 7. The Order of the Maiden.

    With anger and deception that clouded his mind and made him to commit novice mistakes, Clint tried to run on the communication console more than once before the program finally run and allowed him to call his contacts.

    When he made it at last and the words On Line appeared in the black screen, he decided to not waste more time and let out the first thing that came to his frustrated mind.

    “I’m the stupidest human in all the god damn planet!”

    “Gee, it’s good to say hi too, Clint”, said the voice of a woman behind the console.

    “Would you like to explain yourself better?” Asked a male voice. “And omit what we already know, like your obvious stupidity”.

    Clint breathed heavily, pretending to vent the anger that hindered him to think clearly. A useless effort, he thought, since the mistake he made could cost him years of research, along the most important clue he had discovered through all this time.

    “This guy…” he began, trying to find the right words that would not make him look like a failure. “… he was a nobody. All his fortune is almost over”.

    “Brain waves?”

    “Everything normal. He was not under the influence of the parasite”.

    “The information that the foreman gave you was fake, then?” Asked the male voice again.

    “What about the act of gluttony that our supposed suspect committed?” Asked the young woman, more consternated than inquisitive to know what had happened.

    “Oh, that’s the best part. You’ll love it”, responded Clint sarcastically. “According to our now discarded suspect, two guys with extravagant hair style along a talking Meowth devoured his banquet while he was all tied up”.

    “I wish I said that I’ve head worse… but this is undoubtedly the worst of all”. Said the woman, infected with her friend’s discouragement.

    “And I wish to say that dressing up as an androgynous in that event was the worst part…”, sighed Clint again. “Three years thrown in the trash because of a hunch… is the only thing you need to screw up the work of a lifetime”.

    “Come on, Clint”, said the supportive voice of his friend, trying to cheer him up. “What about that woman you met in the event?”

    “¿Meryl Streep?”

    “Very funny, Clint. Bebe’s report says she is a producer and former Kalos queen. She matches the profile”.

    “Yeah, even if the idea of contacting her again is just unpleasant to me “, Clint said. “However…”

    “You hate to leave things unfinished”. Interrupted the woman.

    “You know me, Ellie”. Clint looked for the case where he kept his equipment in order to keep the EEG mobile device. “I doubt that those guys could be relevant for the research, but if I don’t find anything of value, at least we can make the world a huge favor by getting rid of them once and for all”.

    “Wait. Do we know them?” Asked the man, surprised with Clint’s statement.

    “We’ve ignored it for a long time, Surge”, answered Clint. “We hear reports about their hot-air balloon all the time”.

    “Understood…”, Ellie interrupted. “The last report according to Bebe places them towards Snowbelle City”, she assured.

    “It won’t take me too long to find them. Subtleness and stealth are a joke for them”. Clint pulled out a strange tool for that age. A memento from more violent times in which human beings settled up conflicts not with Pokemon, but with powder weapons that could decimate anyone if they were handled appropriately. “And once that I find them, they’ll wish to have chosen a less absurd conveyance”.

    . . . .

    The knuckles of a delicate and feminine hand knocked the oak door that allowed the entrance to Palermo’s private office. A place even more restricted to visitors than the Stairway to Heaven, a site where the leader of the Order carried out her management responsibilities under the strictest silence and peace that demanded busy schedule of a busy woman.

    “Come in”. Said the voice of a mature woman from inside the room.

    Aria turned the knob of the door, and she immediately felt the atmosphere of anger and disappointment that radiated from her teacher.

    “Writing apology letters or you just wanted to be able to distract yourself for a moment?” Asked the red-haired girl without ease.

    “It’s not the best moment to provoke me, my girl”, responded Palermo with a serious tone and a fake smile that concealed a deep anger.

    “I told you that she was not ready yet”, she said. “No wonder that everything turned out to be so bad”.

    “Bad, you said…”, Palermo said again, raising her voice volume. “If the wine had been stolen, that would have been bad. If an earthquake had shaken the tower until it collapsed and smashed us all, that would have been a tragedy…”

    “Here we go…”, interrupted Aria, infuriated of her teacher’s attitude. She did a sign with her hand in order to shut her off and continued with her speech.

    “If a Slaking had just appeared out of nowhere and knocked me out with its fist while he danced a conga over my bloody head, that would have been hilarious. But what happened…”, Palermo stopped in order to take a huge breath, “… was a god damn disaster”.

    The woman concluded and threw her pen to her desk with fury. Aria, used to see her teacher always in control of her emotions, was surprised to witness the spectacle of frustration that now possessed Palermo.

    “She is okay, by the way. Thanks for asking”. Replied Aria, reprimanding her and ignoring the woman’s frame of mind.

    “Is she still sleeping?” She asked, pretending to show interest on that girl who, according to her, had ruined the night and put in danger the future of the order.

    “She hasn’t come out of her room. And I don’t blame her”.

    Palermo, tired of the reprimands and attitude of her student, abandoned her seat in order to face her with cold words. “That sympathy of yours towards her is starting me to irritate me”.

    “And your inquisitive attitude against her is just disgusting to me”.


    Silence ruled again the room. Aria was left engrossed after hearing her teacher’s confession, especially that last part. With a shaken voice, she interrogated the choleric woman.

    “Giving her the crown? What do you mean?”

    “Please, my child. People in those exhibitions are stupid, but they’ve got their limits”. Palermo replied and headed to the small table in the left of her desk where a crystal jar with liquor was standing.
    Sometimes, this friend helped her to focusing after a long time of work. “I fixed the results of her performance in a way that she could tie with you and both were forced to battle each other”.

    “… And in that way you would convince the members to accept her”, said Aria with a sick feeling and a lump in the throat after realizing that she was now accomplice of her lie, “just to throw her to them as if she was a piece of meat.

    “Your battle was real, if that helps you”. Plaermo filled her glass and emptied it in less than a second. “I’ve always made sure to give the order the most beautiful objects I could find…”.

    Palermo rested her arms in her chair’s back, exhausted of her speech that had left from her mouth. “And this girl didn’t even reach the song’s climax before passing out”.

    Aria opened her weepy eyes and repeated Palermo’s last statement, intrigued of the simple explanation that her teacher used to describe the strange white shining that was expelled from Serena’s body just before she collapsed.

    “Pass out? Is that all?”

    “Excuse me?” Palermo asked, who then looked at her protégé.

    “You didn’t see it?”

    “See what? Explain yourself, girl”.

    Aria did not know what to say. Apparently, she was the only witness of the light that dispelled the darkness in the initiation ceremony. Such secret had been told to her teacher immediately until very recently, but her betrayal and manipulation of an event that Aria respected very deeply, motivated her to keep her words until they could prove to be useful in another time. After all, if Palermo seemed to dishonor the principles of the Order whenever she wished to, there was no reason for Aria to not do the same”.

    “The despair of a girl terrified of dying”. Aria finally said without managing to wake up even the slightest sympathy in her teacher towards Serena, who laid on her room disturbed because of last night’s macabre experience.

    “Fortunately, we can still benefit from her”, she said, ignoring Aria’s words and using a quieter voice after letting go her anger. She headed to her desk in order to pull out a file that was given to her protégé. “More specifically, to those who accompany her”.

    Aria opened the file folder and gave a quick look before being left in shock after discovering her teacher’s next move that followed the order’s mysterious agenda.

    “Why him?” She asked, unsettled.

    “Frequent encounters with legendary creatures, a vigor that seemed unbreakable even in desperate situations and a passion that burns like just a few can stand”. Concluded Palermo, suggesting a broad smile filled with satisfaction after seeing her student’s expression. “It was only a matter of time before we set our eyes on him”.

    “Where is Madam de Valois?” Asked Aria, fearing Palermo’s answer before her curiosity to find the whereabouts of she who, as the order well knew, was the bearer of the parasite of pleasure. Breaker of wills and destroyer of minds.

    Palermo gave her a sinister smile full of satisfaction before focusing again on her business. “She was so anxious of giving our gift to that boy that right now is almost impossible to stop her”.

    Aria was paralyzed for few seconds before she turned around and left the place. A conflict was being held in her mind where her friend’s loyalty and the order that she now dedicated her life were fighting without struggle. She shook her head from side to side in order to clarify her ideas and headed to Serena’s room where she expected to find the answers of what she had to do now.

    She remembered the boy and his yellow partner’s picture that was included in the file, and pity shook her body. “Sorry, kid. It’s too late for you”, she said to herself and went back on track towards the Queen’s Room.

    . . . .

    The fancy bedroom worthy of the royalty, little could do in order to give back the happiness and security to its only occupant who, in an effort to feel the warm and comfort of a familiar bed, she allowed to share her space with the only creatures that she could count with in the entire palace in that moment of melancholy.

    Sylveon tried to cheer her up by caressing her face with its long feelers, but the only thing she could achieve was a week smile that quickly vanished like a little fire in the middle of a blizzard. Braixen, meanwhile, remained embraced to her and Pancham pretended to sleep at her trainer’s feet. In the moments of glory as those of sadness, the three Pokémon were the only loyal guardians of the queen, ready to defend her from any harm.

    “Serena, are you awake?” Asked a familiar voice from behind the giant door.

    “… Come in”, answered Serena without feeling the slightest relieve after hearing the voice of she who used to consider her best friend in the entire palace.

    Aria entered to the room, holding a silver tray with the breakfast on it while she smiled in such a daily and radiant way that, instead of comfort her, made the sadness that she felt to isolated her from the rest of the world.

    “We are a bit depressing this morning, huh?” She assured with a more sympathetic tone after witnessing the young queen’s sadness. “Don’t worry, honey. It was not your fault”.

    “My fault?” She asked intrigued. ¿Why?”

    “You know…” responded Aria, trying to find the correct words to explain herself in the friendliest way. “After passing out in the middle of the ceremony”.

    Serena’s fragile psyche suffered another rupture after listening to those words. Perhaps was everything an illusion created by her premature mind? She wished to believe in that with all her might, but those were not enough to explain the terrible experience that was forced to by those she considered friends or trusty ones.

    “Aria…”, began Serena seriously. Using the little serenity that still remained with her, she decided to give Aria a chance to be honest with her. “What really happened?

    The smile suggested by the red-haired girl vanished, adapting to the seriousness of the situation. El sighed as if tension had defeated her and decided to tell the tale of her people.

    “Have you ever heard about the Order of the Maiden?” She asked her. Serena denied by shaking her head. “In certain region that had been under conflict by decades, a new era of peace motivated nobles, vassals and artists to commemorate a new golden age with the purest and most radiant symbol they could make. The kings summoned a contest between the most talented artists, musicians and poets that could give life to that ideal that gave many sleepless nights to those who resolved to create it in their works…”

    The smooth tone of her friend made Serena’s mind to feel the relief that she had not experienced since the last night. Her imagination took her to a simpler and picturesque age, portraying every detail with her previous experience while Aria continued her tale.

    “… But even with the most exclusive and precious materials in the entire region, none artist seemed to be satisfied with their work. The quest to find that ghost caused them so sink in misfortune or even death after realizing that they could nor create a symbol that could represent the beauty, hope, purity, goodness and justice that they pretended to build as the cornerstone of a new age…”

    “What happened?” She asked impatiently not because of the tale’s ending but the meaning of all this with the horror she had experienced”.

    “… One day, the beautiful daughter of a little county’ monarch got seriously ill. Note even the most renowned doctors of the age could find a cure or explanation of such disease. The monarch, who loved her daughter with the purest fervor and accepting her fate, decided to say good bay not with tears of sadness but with the greatest celebration of art that had been carried out in his little kingdom. Commemorating the joy and innocence of her little one who used to fill him happiness…”

    The three Pokemon gathered there approached to hear Aria’s story that at least had taken Serena out of her lethargy.

    “… Touched by the monarch’s act of love, many artists traveled to his kingdom in order to pay their respect and cheer up a bit the last moments of the little maiden. At first there were just a few, but as soon as the news spread, dozens arrived in order to join to the symphony of tenderness that had reached the nearest kingdoms. Painters, musicians, poets, sculptors… all of them now joined to create a single work that comprehended the effort and values that many years ago they had committed themselves to capture and commemorate the new golden age, but that now served to a sincerer and pure purpose”.

    Aria concluded her tale with a smile that Serena found very difficult to return, still skeptic of what she pretended to tell with her story.

    “That’s how the Order of the Maiden was born. Small circles of intellectuals and artists pay tribute to that story and what it represents in the modern world”.

    “I doubt that applied to yours, Aria”, interrupted Serena with a defiant look. Aria did not seem to be offended, and instead she showed herself more sympathetic towards the disturbed girl who was still looking for answers.

    “Our Order is a variant that has adopted many traditions throughout the years. And Serena…”. She made a pause. “I’m so sorry that what happened had been so unpleasant for you, but I swear we meant no harm”.

    Serena tried to be more comprehensive with her friend’s apologies, but the fact that she still seemed reluctant to tell her what really happened just seemed to confirm even more that Aria was not trustworthy. For the las time, she decided to give her a chance to be completely sincere with her.

    “Yesterday at the ceremony…”, she began, swallowing saliva in order to regain some strength for what she was going to ask. “Did I just pass out?”

    Aria made a pause, but did not show any gesture that could mean doubt or nervousness. Using her smooth voice, she repeated what she had already said. “I’m truly sorry that you had been scared. If I could just tell you before the ceremony, but our traditions prohibit it”.

    Serena felt sympathy, but no sincerity. Reaching the conclusion that she was no longer safe in that place, she finished with those last words. “I… think that it’s time to go back with my friends”.

    “Of course. That was our deal”. Responded Are without flustering. “The limo is waiting for you. Just finish your breakfast and arrange your thing, ok?” She said with a smile that was not answered.
    Aria reached the rooms entrance, but before she retired, she asked her a last request.

    “I’ll be in Snowbelle City in a couple of days. Could we see each other again and talk a bit more?” Serena took a moment to answer, but at the end, nodding her head was the only thing she came out with to accept the invitation. Perhaps, she thought, that would help her to clear her mind and discover the truth behind all of this.

    Once she was out, Aria took a break in one of the elegant walls of the palace. Exhausted and about to cry because of her almost flawless act by trying to hide the truth to the girl she felt the most appreciation in the entire world.

    Just as I taught you.

    “Shut up”, she responded in her head. “There is no honor in this”.

    She will come back to us. I’ll handle it myself.

    “If Madam de Valois dares to lay a single finger on her…”

    With any method.

    Aria let herself to collapse because of the frustration she felt. After years of being a devote member of the order, the first seeds of betrayal had been sown in her mind.

  11. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    I really wish to know how much I'm improving or getting worse with each chapter. I guess I'll have to ask for a review in "The author's coffee".

    CHAPTER 8. With all our love for you.

    James slowly opened his eyes, still blinded and confused of a strange event that he could not remember. He shook his head from side to side, trying to rebuild the series of events that had put him in that situation. Exhausted, he tried to rub his forehead to help him clarify his ideas, but once he tried to raised his arm, he realized that a rope prevented him to move.

    “Jesse! Meowth! Where are you?!” He screamed, scared of the strange situation in which he got himself to.

    “Behind you, you fool!” A female voice responded.

    “About time to wake up!” Said his furry companion.

    James tried to separate from his partners, but he quickly realized that they were tied up with the same rope. He then had a look at his environment with hope of finding any tool that would bail them out of that predicament. But as soon as he paid attention to the twilight hours, a fast thought crossed his mind. Isn’t the sky supposed to be upside? He asked himself before his perspective returned him to the world as it should be. They were not only tied up, but they had been hung from a tree branch as if they were pieces of meat in a butchery.

    “What happened? Why are we all like this?” James asked again.

    “I only remember that something blew our balloon down”, responded Jesse. “As far as I meet the one who did this, I…!”

    “You are not in a position to threat anybody, sweetie”, interrupted a mysterious male voice.

    Team Rocket fixed their eyes on the owner of that voice who, because of the position in which they were hung, seemed taller and more threatening of what he was. His eyes were covered by some kind of sophisticated black visor, but what they could distinguish was a young man of about twenty years wearing military clothes that looked casual at the same time. His shaved head and beard somewhat grown gave him a more mature look, and his olive tone skin indicated that he was not of this region.

    “Who are you and how dare you to…”

    Meowth’s complain was interrupted by a threatening and primal roar that came from the background. Such was the force that it even swang them like a weak leaf against a harsh blizzard. The three members tried to discover that Pokémon that produced such terrifying roar, but because of their difficult position and that the creature remained hidden behind the trees, they could only distinguish some enormous jaws that emitted yellow lightings.

    “Damn, that guy was right”, said their captor, paying attention to the bizarre Pokémon with the ability to speak. He got close, examining them in detail as if he was trying to find something that could have escaped from his sight in the first inspection. “I’ve seen those uniforms before”, he finally said. “Sneaky bastards and masters of deceiving. In those times I’ve crossed paths with them, I’ve only been able to take down the novices or fools”.

    Team Rocket did not lose sight of its captor, bewildered of his words and the fate that was waiting for them with someone who did not seem to accept stupid crap of others.

    “But… I don’t know what to think about you”. The young man bent over, supporting his weight on the right leg and turning on a holo caster device he had pulled out from his pocket. He then got close to his captives and showed them the image of certain boy wearing a red cap along his yellow companion resting on his shoulder. “Now…”, he said. “Finding your track was as easy as discover the door in an empty room, and curiously every movement you’ve made in this region is identical to this boy and his group”.

    “What, are you a cop? Why do you care about what we do?” Asked Jesse with a defiant look, but her boldness did not last long as soon as that awful roar swang them violently once more.

    “His Pikachu! We are in an endless quest to catch him and make a step closer to conquering the world!”

    “James, you idiot!” Meowth reprimanded him.

    “Wait…”, the young man interrupted. “Are you for real?” He asked incredulous. “Ok, that’s your main goal. But I’m sure you’ve committed other criminal acts, isn’t it?”

    The trio was speechless before their captor’ question that revealed their incompetence. James tried to stuttered some excuse about their up to now failed plan, but he was interrupted by the young man and his common sense.

    “All right. Let’s suppose that this Pikachu is super powerful”, he began. “And in all the time you’ve invested to catch him, didn’t ever occur to you that by then, you would have trained any other Pokémon until it reached its full potential? Una that would take them to the glory of organized crime?”

    Team Rocket kept silent, defeated by the practical strategy that never before had crossed their minds. This act was enough to make their captor to place his hand flat across his forehead, outraged and ashamed of the stupidity of those who had frustrated his long quest.

    After he sighed heavily, the young man made another question. “How long have you been doing this?”

    None of them dared to answer the question, but James, scared of that terrible creature, said ten single words that saved them of a fateful destiny.

    “I don’t know. How long has it been since 1997?”

    A short silence ruled in that forest. At first, the young man smirked but then it transformed into a smile and after that a sonorous laughter that he could not hold. Their captor, now bursting in laughter was forced to embraced his stomach using his right arm in order to hold the air.

    “I really screwed it this time!” He exclaimed, still under control of the laughter. “Woo!”

    Team Rocket faked a giggle in order to relieve the tension while their captor was still writhing with an incontrollable laugh.

    “A last question!” He said after finally breathing again. “The idiot you tied up in Glorio City. What do you want with him?”

    Jesse, a bit more in control, decided to answer the question, and hoping that once he was done with them, he would let them go. “We only took what he could have never finished”.

    The cheerful man placed the hand over his hips and raised his look to the sky with the smile still drawn on his face. The words of the red-haired woman confirmed what he had discovered with that guy who turned out to have no relation with the group of strange individuals he had been looking for years. Normally, this mistake would have played havoc with his moral, but in that moment of laughter had helped him to overcome it almost immediately.

    “You know. As much as I try, I can’t get mad at you”, he said, finally in control of his emotions. “I mean, in one way or the other, we are all losers at least once”.

    The young man pulled out a pokéball from his belt and ordered the return of that giant hidden behind the trees. The trio breathed again with relieve after they found out that they were not going to end up as that creature’s dinner.

    “A last warning”, he said. Then he pulled another tool that made their blood run cold. An object that they had only seen in their boss’ private collection. “I’ll keep an eye on that boy and his group for a while...”. He aimed the weapon at his prey, making them to swallow saliva because of the fear they felt after being threatened with an unusual tool. “So in that time I don’t want to see any of you sneaking around. GOT IT?!” Team rocket nodded over and over.

    “Go and catch a Pokémon or steal a bank, I don’t know”. The young man downed the weapon and went back to keep it in the case. He was about to leave before something else made him said some last words. “By the way…”, he said addressing to Jesse. “Your performance deserved more”.

    “R-Really?” She asked with surprise by the fact that this guy, who just moments before was threatening them, had witnessed and appreciated her performance.

    “That’s what I think. A pity that it’s the public and not certified judges who decide”. He concluded before entering the forest until he vanished.

    “What a nice guy”, said Jesse with a smile all drawn on her face.

    “Are you kidding me? That bastard left us all tied up here!” Yelled Meowth with anger.

    James and Meowth struggled with the rope in a desperate effort to escape while the last sunrays bid farewell to another day.

    . . . .

    The cold wind in Snowbelle City blew in a chilling way during the freezing night that invited the villagers to find shelter in their warm houses surrounded by their beloved ones. An adorable and effective way to keep the heat in the face of the often difficult weather of the city. However, in the middle of that hostile scenario, a young trainer of brown skin wearing a red cap knew another method to fight the extreme cold and practice at the same time for his next gym battle. One that would secure him his place in the Kalos League if he emerged victorious.

    “Don’t stop, Greninja!” Exclaimed Ash, encouraging his partner. Greninja executed amazing jumps between the white and tall trees, exposing its skinny body to the weather that they would likely face in its future battle with the gym leader.

    Many would have considered that training under those conditions was as exhausting and dangerous for the trainer as for its partner. But the stubborn will of the boy and Greninja’s decision could even overcome those obstacles. Ignoring his friend’s suggestions who were resting in the Pokémon center’s bedrooms, Ash argued about not being ready for what would be the biggest challenge he had faced in that region until now.

    “Now use water shuriken!” He commanded once more.

    Greninja gathered its hands to form multiple and sharped shurikens of water that were tossed at some ice stalactites that had been formed under the roof of the Pokémon center. The low temperatures and the speed with which it had executed the attack had solidified the shurikens’ tips, making them stronger but sacrificing speed and aim at the same time. Even when the attack’s trajectory was frustrated by the incontrollable weather conditions, the sharp stars found their target, raising a cloud of white snow.

    “Great, Geninja!” Ash congratulated his partner. But his mood was suddenly erased when a cold wind whisper had forced him to embrace himself in order to keep his body temperature. And also remembering that human or Pokémon bodies had their limits, and it was time to rest before they took the risk of catching something worse than a cold.

    “Well, I think it’s enough for today”, the boy said. “We’ve had a losing streak in the last days, but I’m sure that we will achieve the victory tomorrow”. Greninja nodded and both headed to the place they were staying tonight.

    That was admirable, darling.

    Both turned their faces, trying to find the owner of that smooth and seductive voice that stood out of the chilling shriek of the blizzard, without success.

    “Who’s there?” Ash asked. Greninja adopted a combat position, ready to face any threat that would come.

    Winning the badge against Wulfric won’t be easy. Do you allow me to practice a bit more?

    Ash tried to decline the invitation, arguing that the conditions were not ideal for remaining outside, but something in that stranger voice seemed to enchant him with a spell that managed to awake a sensation he had never felt before, giving up to that woman’s request. “Yes… I accept”. He responded without protest.

    So be it.

    The cold wind that blew strong enough to force anyone to look for a shelter, suddenly turned into a wild whirlwind that isolated the battle field with the rest of the word. A déjà vu crossed Ash’s mind. Making him remember his friend’s difficult combat in which she had won the Kalos crown.

    All of the sudden, a robust creature’s silhouette slowly emerged from that snow curtain. The night’s darkness, along the dim light made things difficult to Ash when he tried to recognize that Pokémon. But because of its constitution, he deduced that it may be a fighting type.

    Go ahead. I concede you the first move.

    Ash was perplexed before the strange situation, but that voice motivated him to begin the combat. “Greninja, use cut!”

    The amphibian creature run fastly in order to face its opponent with two white and sharp needles that emerged from its hand and hit directly against that figure still hidden behind the wurtain.

    “Excellent!” yelled Ash with excitement, but his joy did not last after he saw that the creature remained standing on its position without suffering the slightest damage.

    My turn. You can go out, my dear.

    The creature abandoned the white veil and slowly walked into the middle of the battlefield. Ash paid attention to the traits that little by little could identify his adversary’s Pokémon. The shape of its body, its walking, a big red nose and powerful arms with which he held a concrete pillar on each hand. The ogre Pokémon Conkeldurr was his opponent, and it did not seem to accept defeat.

    “Greninja, use cut again!”

    Greninja wielded its shite sabers one more, and with his impeccable skills, he managed to bash two new hits on its rival’s torso, forcing it to go back some inches. This time, Ash waited more time to celebrate, since he had realized that Conkeldurr possessed an incredible resistance and it would not be easy to take down.

    His concerns were confirmed when that Pokémon move forward to its position while it released a muffled roar in a sign of anger. Greninjia, also furious of the ineffective outcome of its moves, made a powerful jump that raised it above the highest pine trees in the city. Once it reached the limit of its act of bravery, its arms and legs glowed blue light and created an “x” shaped energy slash while it fell rapidly with a super effective attack towards its opponent.

    “Release your aerial ace!” Commanded Ash before Greninja’s attack found its target, but what happened next left him perplexed and horrified when he closely looked at that Pokémon.
    Just when Greninja thought that it had dealt the final blow, Conkeldurr dodged the attack with a supernatural speed that forced the frog Pokémon to release all that energy directly against the ground. The snow accumulated was expelled like a smoke cloud when Greninja performed a quick maneuver that saved it from being knocked out by its own attack, but that had forced it to use most of its energy.

    “Greninja! Are you ok?” Asked Ash, ignoring the Pokémon that was now free to take revenge of the one that had provoked it.

    Pain is beautiful.

    Greninja was still trying to recover its breath when all of the sudden, Conkeldurr grabbed one of its big pillars and used it to deliver a powerful hit on its opponent’s back. Such was the magnitude of that move that hurled Greninja to the other side of the battlefield as if it was a simple doll, knocking it down and in a condition that could be fatal.

    Ash, mortified of his partner’s condition, did not doubt to abandon his position to go and try to help Greninja. But while on his way, Conkeldurr blocked his path with a defiant attitude that unleashed the boy’s anger.

    “Out of my… Uh?” Ash could not finish his demand when that Pokémon’s look, now easier to recognize because of the close distance, caused him to gasp that made his throat to freeze.

    Conkeldurr’s body was almost completely damaged and filled with scars. Some were still open, but most of them seemed to be older. Ash fixed his look on the Pokémon’s hands and startled when he realized that those pillars were not made of concrete but were cast iron mazes adorned with sharp spikes that pierced the skin and caused a constant blood trickle that stained the white snow with crimson red. Thinking that the Pokémon look could not be more horrifying, Ash raised his look and found out that its eyes had been removed and being replaced with eyelids joined with a botched stitch. The mystery in Conkeldurr’s silence had been solved when Ash discovered that the same surgical process had been performed to seal the Pokemon’s wretched mouth.

    In all his years as a trainer, Ash had never seen or felt sorry for a Pokémon. He tried to talk to it, but Conkeldurr forced him to retreat with a muffled roar.

    All of the sudden, a new sensation had taken control of him violently and paralyzing him with fear. At the beginning he felt as if an Arbok or a similar species began to embraced his body with a suffocating hug, but whose strength diminished as soon as a human warmth took control of his body. More and more frequent spasms seemed to stimulate some parts of his brain whose age to develop and express was accelerated to welcome the parasite that from now on, it would guide him to a new world of sensations and unknown pleasures.

    This is our gift for you. Embrace it with love.

    The wet and warmth sensation of a bifid tongue that began with a gentle touch of lust on his cheek, unleashed the most intense feeling of pleasure and pain in his young body. He tried to ask for help, but the rest of his senses were atrophied by a mix of shocks that overloaded his mind until they finally stopped and left him alone as soon as the parasite had found its niche.

    Bring her back to us.

    The boy’s unconscious body collapsed in the middle on the frozen battlefield where he had not only lost a Pokémon match, but the battle for the control of his emotions.

    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  12. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    CHAPTER 9. Puberty, that heartless birch.

    An irritating buzzing that echoed like a Zubat in his mind was the first thing he could hear after an exhausting night training session. With his still weak perception of reality, Ash tried to leave the bed from which he did not remember to have ended up there. But regaining the control of his body muscles turned out to be an impossible task to carry out because of his condition. He decided to take it easy, starting with restore the connections that allowed the use of his eyes. Little by little, the eyelids opened and his vision was welcomed by a blinding light, typical of a recovery room.

    The images were still blurred, but his mind could identify two blond persons talking at the foot of his bed. The little one held in her arms his loyal yellow companion, while the other one rubbed his chin as if he was analyzing the situation. The buzzing faded with each second until it vanished and finally allowed him to listen to the siblings’ chat.

    “Are you sure, Clemont?” Asked a kid’s troubled voice towards her older brother.

    “The notice was official for every gym leader”, responded Clemont. “They haven’t told us the reason yet, but we cannot perform our duties until further notice”.

    “Poor Ash. If only he could have faced the gym leader yesterday”. Bonnie said pityingly while Pikachu glanced with sadness.

    “He would have never wanted to do it until we were all together to support him”, sighed Clemont. “I don’t know how we are going to tell him”.

    “Tell me what?” Asked Ash at last and still stunned, but having regained the ability to speak. The sudden recovery of their friend was not the only thing that took the siblings by surprise. Something in Ash’s voice sounded very different to the one they were used to.

    “A-Ash! You´re finally awake!” Exclaimed Clemont with surprise.

    “Are you ok?” Asked Bonnie, and Pikachu jumped forwards to meet its friend. “What happened last night?”

    “What time is it?” He asked, ignoring both questions.

    “It’s almost three o´clock. You did scare us a bit, Ash”.

    Ash pet his partner while robbing his chin, trying to make the memories to come back to his head. “I was training with Greninja and all of the sudden… where is it?” Asked the boy, worried of the uncertain fate of his partner.

    “We took him to the Pokémon center after que had found you in the middle of the blizzard”, Clemont responded. “It wasn’t serious. We’ll go for him as soon as you are recovered”.

    “It’s not necessary, I’m already well”. Ash vigorously jumped out of bed, happy of having regained control of his body. But as soon as he left his resting place, the first differences of a sudden change were more than evident and disturbing at his short age.

    “Clemont…”, he said haltingly. “Did you shrink a bit?”

    His blond partner was not the only one to get shocked at Ash’s new look. Previously, both used to share the same height, but now the brown skin kid was about 10 centimeters higher than Clemont. Pikachu dropped its jaw before that significant change and the short time it took to manifest.

    “B-B-But what the hell did just happen?” Ash stuttered. But the next change was as perceptible as to him as it was funny for the rest. He choked his throat as if he was trying to hold the strange sound that came from it.

    His childish voice had been replaced with a deep voice but that it still alternated between sharp noises in just a matter of seconds. Because of those traits, that voice seemed to resemble a Ducklett’s squawk, and had managed to take a giggle from his little companion, but Ash was not amused and let out his frustration and confusion with another question.

    “What is wrong with me?!”

    Clemont stared at him, rising his right eyebrow with incredulity in his face. “Didn’t your father tell you about this?”

    “I don’t even know where he is!” He angrily responded and placed his hands on Clemont’s shoulders. “What is this?!”

    Bonnie and Pikachu could not hold their laughter anymore and burst out laughing because of the hilarious squawk provoked by Ash’s windpipe.

    “My friend, it’s the puberty”, Clemont responded, using his index finger to adjust his glasses. “And it’s a heartless birch”.

    Ash let Clemont go, shocked and stunned with the news. Despite of his scarce knowledge and against what others thought about him, he was aware of the changes that every male had to experience in certain age. The strange and funny thing was that he had never expected it to arrive all of the sudden. And precisely after the last night he could not remember well.

    “Wow...”, he said after a moment of silence. In that instant, hundreds of memories about his journey came to his mind. Some of them were situations that he could not understand until this very moment, but they were now so clear and shameful that made him blushed with embarrassment. Then, it followed a vision of those female companions with which he had shared all those moments and now shocked them with rejoice after thinking in all those features that made every one of them so special, specially their physical look and clothes he found so attractive. Not to mention the hot gym leaders, champions and so many trainers he had met during his journey. In certain way, he now seemed to sympathize with his old pal Brock. “Damn, why didn’t you arrived before?”, he said to himself.

    “Ash… about your question when you woke up…”, interrupted Clemont after a moment in which his friend seemed to be lost in his thoughts. It would be difficult to tell him, especially in those moments, but he had decided to do the task before deception would break him. “… the Kalos league and all gym battles have been suspended”.

    The little temperance that kept Ash in his senses seemed to break with that fatidic new. At first, he thought it was just a joke, but after seeing that Clemont kept a serious look and Bonnie had stopped laughing, he realized that the last challenge to secure his place in the league had been frustrated.

    “BUT WHY?!” He asked with an indomitable rage, typical of the hormonal changes of a pre-teenager. He violently held Clemont’s overalls and raised him two centimeters from the ground.

    “T-They haven’t told us why!” Clemont responded, trying to calm down the situation that even managed to scare Bonnie with the rage expelled by Ash. “Ash, the league hasn’t been canceled! As soon as the situation has been fixed, you will be able to face the last gym!”

    Ash’s breathing was getting slower as if a moment of reflection extinguished the flames of anger that consumed his serenity. Ash lifted his friend down and offered his sincere apologies for what happened to both siblings, ashamed of the act of anger and the mistreatment he had showed with the one who had the brave to tell him before his deception would have consumed him later.

    All of the sudden, and through the door that divided the room from the rest of the Pokémon center, a familiar face they had not seen for two days cheered them up with a broad smile and a sigh of relieve from her after reuniting with her friends.

    “I’m here!”, she exclaimed and headed towards Ash. “Nurse joy told me that something happened to you last night, are you ok?”

    Bonnie went to her almost immediately, followed by her brother who also wanted to welcomed her and inquire a bit about her quick return. For Ash, it was more than the simple joy of meeting with his friend again. He was shocked before those traits he had been used to after months of traveling, but they now enhance him with a spell that provoked a whirlwind of new sensations in his mind. Her blue eyes, clear and smooth skin and her angelical face. Every feature fueled the fire of passion that had lighted as soon as she had entered the room and addressing a sincere smile that make his heart to beat uncontrollably.

    “I… I… I…”, he tried to say, but his brain seemed to have atrophied for an instant and avoiding him to articulate even the simplest greeting.

    Serena got close to him carefully, and with her broad, opened eyes she examined with curiosity the sudden changes that her beloved friend had experienced in a short time. It was well known by the group that she was barely taller than Ash by a matter of a couple of centimeters, but the grown spurt he must have passed through, now forced her to raise her look, and for him to look down in order to meet her eyes.

    “Ash… what happened?” She finally asked, still hypnotized by the changes that, to be honest, she considered very attractive. His broaden shoulders, musculature, prominent cheekbones and slightly pronounced chin were those of someone who had given his first steps to adolescence, and started to erase the childish image she idealized.

    “Well… you know”, he responded with his still relaxed attitude. The squawk that escaped from his throat made Serena to hold her chuckle using both hands. Far from being angry, Ash shared the funny moment with a smile. “Puberty… it hits everyone in any moment”.

    “Well… think it suited you perfect”, Serena said with her also usual blush.

    Bonnie was just captivated with the adorable scene that, until this moment, she did not think to be able to witness at least for a couple more years when the dark-haired boy finally let go his almost cluelessness. But the cute moment was abruptly interrupted with the inappropriate knock of the door.

    Clemont offered to open it, but as soon as his hand had touched the door knob, an avalanche of people tried to burst in the room, pushing and pulling one other in a violent spectacle of tactlessness.

    “Serena! Is it true that you are maintaining a premarital relationship with these two young men?” Asked one of the many people who tried to enter, holding a microphone on his hand and a notebook in the other.

    “Do you think that marriage will damage your career as Kalos queen?” Asked another one who leaped on the first person.

    “Is it possible that you are NOT pregnant?” Asjed a third one, but his head, like his voice, disappeared among the sea of nosy people.

    The four friends countered the mass using all their strength to pull them back, until they finally were able to close the door, at least for only a moment.

    “What are they?! Paparazzi?!” Asked Serena with a huge sigh after this abrupt invation of her privacy.

    “Worse…”, Bonnie responded with a serious look. “… Amourshippers. And they will not leave us alone until we fulfill their ridiculous demands”.

    “And now, how are we going to get out?” Ash asked.

    “You are a celebrity now, Serena. I doubt they ever leave us alone”. Clemont assured while he carefully inspected the room, looking for a way out. “Let’s use the window before they surround the Pokémon center”.

    “But as soon as they see me, they will follow us until the end. Unless…”. Serena remembered the day she met Aria, and the fact that at the beginning she was not able to recognize her because of the casual clothes that hid her identity from prying eyes. Maybe she could find something to achieve the same effect among her stuff.

    She searched in her bag and was surprised to find a pair of dark sunglasses, a pink cashmere pashmina and a cute beanie, along a signed note.

    In case you need them.

    Love. Aria

    Serena thanked such an opportune gift and proceeded to put it on as soon as possible. Ash tried to get dressed quickly, but he realized that his regular clothes were now tight and small. Still, he had no other option so he tried to force himself into them until he managed to fit after a difficult battle. Clemont opened the whole window, helping her sister first and then the rest until they were all ready.

    After a lot of struggle, the door gave up before the stampede of fanatics and obtrusive, who filled the room as soon as they managed to get in. But they only found an empty bed and the disappointment of not having witness that impossible spectacle that could only happen in their disturbed minds.

    . . . .

    “Your Greninja is as good as new. I hope to never see your face again”, said the gentle nurse to Ash while she handed the pokéball of the loyal partner. The boy thanked the attentions and care given and he kept it inside his pocket.

    “Now we can go and see your last gym battle!” Exclaimed Serena. But the single word was like a hook to the liver for Ash, who could only respond with a weak smile of sympathy towards the complete ignorance of that fact that almost broke his will.

    “The league is suspended since today, Serena. There are not gym battles until further notice”, he responded disconsolately.

    “They haven’t told us why, but it’s true”, interrupted Clemont.

    Serena could not help to feel guilty, even thought if traveling together wouldn’t influence in the result. But then she remembered that it was the Master Class exhibition the one that delayed them for so long.

    “Hey, it’s ok”, said Ash, trying to cheer her up. “It’s not as if they were going to cancel the whole thing, aren’t they?”

    “That’s what I told you just when you tried to throw me out of the window”, Clemont frowned. “And I have to do some search, because that maturity of yours is too weird for your age”.

    Serena had already felt her friend’ tolerance and sympathy before. It was precisely the detour in their journey that allowed her to perform in the event in which she won the crown. But circumstances were different, and did not seem to be so critical like in this occasion. The unexpected show of maturity that he showed before deception, made her face to turn red when she returned the gesture with a broad smile.

    “And what are we going to do until then?” Interrupted Bonnie with a very good question that made the rest to reflect for a moment, but the Ash’ noisy stomach rumble was the one that proposed the next thing to do.

    “Now that I remember…”, he said while rubbing his stomach. “I haven’t had a single bite since last dinner. What about if we go to get something to eat?”

    “I think it’s a perfect idea”, Clemont responded, but then he looked at his friend’s tight attire and suggested a different idea. “But… what about if you go and look for some clothes that fit you well?”

    Ash had almost forgotten the uncomfortable sensation of wearing tight clothes that were neither enough to bear the cold of Snowbelle city. He nodded, and in an event as unexpected as charming, Ash made another request that made Serena to blush even more intensely.

    “Serena, will you accompany me to buy new clothes?”

    If someone had told her a few days ago that Ash would ask her to go out, she would have just remained silent and flustered before the childish idea of spending a day with her childhood friend. But sometimes reality is so fantastic, that our perception of it changes almost completely.

    “S-Sure! I’d love it!” She responded with her grinning mouth open in excitement.

    “Clemont and I will go and buy dinner and then we’ll meet you”, said bonnie with a naughty and plotter smile towards Serena.

    “There’s a viewpoint at the foot of the mountain”, Serena said while winking at Bonnie. She pulled out her pink device and marked the place where they would meet later.

    “Ok, see you later!” Bonnie took her brother while holding his arm and both left the Pokémon center, not before giving a thump up. As if she wished Serena the best of luck.

    . . . .

    “Ok. What do you think about this?” Ash asked as soon as he put on a blue navy jacket with many pockets that made him look more adventurous and mature. Perfectly appropriate for his new personality.

    “You look very good!” Serena praised him with a smile. Pikachu, who was standing on her lap seemed to agree with Serena’s opinion, and growling with its characteristic squeak.

    “I think that’s enough”, he said after admiring the entire outfit he was now wearing, thanks to the tall mirrors available in the store. Besides the jacket, little had changed for the rest of his clothes. He still opted for a pair of dark-gray cargo pants with extra pockets in the calf, but his red snickers had been replaced with comfortable dark-brown traveling boots.

    “Just one more thing”. He stretched his arm in order to reach a new hat big enough for his head. He adjusted it and gave a hint of that defiant look, typical of an adamant trainer willing to break his limits.

    Serena clapped a little and reaffirmed her praising towards Ash’s new style. The boy smiled while rubbing his noise with a bit of shame and proud.

    Once they were out of the store, both headed to that place where they had agreed to join with the rest and enjoy some of the traditional gastronomy in Snowbelle city. Fortunately, the forecast indicated that it would be a quiet night and relatively less cold than last night. Taking advantage of the trip, Serena decided to start a conversation and make good use of the last moments of privacy she had.

    “So… you don’t remember what happened last night?”

    The question took Ash by surprise, who denied with his head. “Clemont said they had found me outside and unconscious. It was my fault for training so late”.

    “And when you woke up, were you already like this?” Serena inquired again.

    “Strange, isn’t it?” Ash responded. “But it’s enough of me. I know you will tell us everything in the dinner, but what about those two days surrounded of fancy people?”

    The question hit Serena with such a powerful force that managed to erase her smile, and made those moments of joy after returning with her friends to be eclipsed with the horrible experience she had. Serena did not want to talk about that, but she had already thought that, sooner or later, she would not be able to hide the truth when the conversation finally breached in a lunch time. Dozens of explanations, excuses and lies already fluttered through her mind without being able to build a coherent and credible story. But she did not want to lie over that boy who had acted so gentle and comprehensive with her the entire day.

    “It was… different”, she responded without finding a better word to tell the awful experience.

    “Really?” Ash asked, surprised of the weak vigor with which she had answered his question. “I even thought that you would ask for a bit more of time”.

    “N-No! I was desperate to go back to you!” She objected immediately without realizing the power of the words that had left her mouth. “I-I mean… all of you! I… I already missed all of you!” She stuttered, trying to reformulate what she really wanted to mean while an incontrollable blush turned her face red.

    Ash and Pikachu laughed in a sympathetic way with his friend’s poor effort to ignore what she just said. “To be honest, I missed you too”

    Serena was shocked. The effect of those sincere words unleashed an unbearable mix of sensations that made her heart to beat uncontrollably. It was a so powerful effect that it even managed to make her forget about her terrible experience.

    Without noticing, both had arrived to the place where their picnic would take place before the moon wrapped them up with its silver light. A quick look around the place indicated that Clemont and Bonnie had not arrived yet. Without nothing else to do, both took a seat in the bench they found there, and that it offered a wonderful natural spectacle of mountain chains and frosty forests.

    “It’s beautiful, don’t you think?” Serena said after admiring the view.

    “Yeah… it’s as if it makes you forget about the bad moments at least for a while”, Ash responded with another display of maturity that Serena was getting used to and enjoying greatly.

    “Ash…”, she said, taking all the courage she had to mutter the words she was going to say. “In that place, I… well, I realized that life offers so many opportunities, and no one knows when it could be too late to enjoy them”.

    Ash gazed at his friend a bit concerned of the strange way to describe her experience among the wealthy and elegant. Many hypotheses crossed his mind in that moment, but none of them seemed to answer that mystery.

    “What I want to mean is…”. It was now or never. In that horrible moment two days ago in which she believed that her life was coming to an end, her greatest regret was not having been sincere with her feelings throughout all the time they had shared since the beginning of her journey. Many opportunities had been introduced to her, bur fear and embarrassment had beaten and made her believe that there would be another chance when, in reality, uncertainty is ironically the only thing one could count with.

    Ash hold her hand still covered by the wool gauntlet that protected her from the cold and he slowly removed it until their fingers met each other and a passionate warm went all over their bodies. Serena’s hand seemed to react with her friend’s tact, holding him strongly as if it had its own conscious. She blushed intensely, reaching levels she had never felt so intoxicating, and the hot she felt suffocated her also due the winter clothes she was wearing.

    Serena was not the only one. Ash also seemed to be illuminated with his own blush that made him look like a red balloon with each second in which his hand played with hers. Both were focusing in that single moment without looking at each other, until the bond of fondness was united forever almost at the same time when their eyes finally met. Ash could feel the agitated and warm breath of Serena while he was experiencing an explosion of sensations he had never felt before with another human being, with the single exception of….

    Bring her back.

    The sincere feelings of a young romantic couple stopped for a second, and the horror that Ash had experienced last night had come back with a terrifying force like the one that it had dominated him so easily.

    The structures became blurred with gaudy colors. From the trees that seemed to wither and die in a matter of seconds, awful screams and distressing howling joined in an insufferable cacophony of pleasure and fear that echoed in his mind.

    Bring her back!

    The voice enhanced his senses again until reaching a climax of pain that his subconscious thought it would only be beaten until he obeyed. Refusing to be dominated by that voice, Ash released his friend’s hand and he staggered until he could leave the bench.

    “Ash!” Shouted Serena horrified, and headed where his friend remained, writhing violently in a relentless struggle against an unknown force that tried to take control of his body. “What’s happening?!” She shrieked, and tears filled her eyes with fear and horror.

    “NO! LEAVE ME ALONE!” He yelled desperately while holding his head as if he was trying to avoid it to explode.


    Ash let himself to drop to the ground, weakened and without writhing with pain. Pikachu went to his aid, but the little help it could offer would be useless against the parasite that was destroying his mind.

    . . . .

    The lectures produced by the EGG portable device wildly fluctuated with each second in which the strange phenomena threatened the boy with the wretched condition he had already witnessed before.

    “Damn… It’s the boy…”, he whispered.

    Time was precious. Clint took his weapon, and through its sight, he tried to aim as close as possible of the boy’s head, but the way in which his female companion surrounded him with her arms made the shot almost impossible to hit its target without hurting her.

    In just seconds he calculated another angles, scenarios or alternatives in order to avoid the shot, but he could not find any. There was no other option.

    “Two minutes…”, he whispered once more. Clint abandoned his position and made a sign towards the Pokémon that was hiding behind the trees, and quickly headed to the couple’s place.

    “Missy, stay away from him!” Clint yelled so noisy that the echo could be heard in the entire forest.

    Serena turned her face after hearing the unknown’s voice command, while a crimson blur headed towards her like a vehicle at full speed.

  13. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Who needs a review anyway? (sob, sob)

    Oh, and check the new index in the first post if you need a brief sypnosis of the last chapters.

    CHAPTER 10. Clint McTyranno Balls

    Five seconds.

    Serena stared with shock the crimson blur that headed towards her at full speed and then taking a bipedal form in front of her eyes. Almost instantly, her self-preservation instinct was eclipsed by a stubborn feeling of safeguarding the boy suffering in her arms against any threat. Lucky for her, the yellow rodent’s acute senses had foresighted the intruder’s arrival, unleashing an adrenaline rush that exacerbated the capabilities and strengths of the little Pokémon, just in time to perform an iron tail attack against the invader and force it to not getting close to any of them.

    The crimson Pokémon showed its enviable agility and power by receiving Pikachu’s mighty attack with one of its pincers, but the clash impact forced both Pokémon to fall back and take new battle positions. It was then that the mysterious crimson blur had finally exposed itself, showing its unmistaken red exoskeleton made from steel with retractable wings, a thin body by which a large abdomen and thorax stood out, and two enormous serrated pincers that emerged from each arm with which it pointed at its opponent in a defiant way.

    “A Scizor…”, Serena whispered ater identifying the Pokémon. Immediately, she searched through her pockets to find the pokéball that contained her partner who had the type advantage against that enemy. She threw it with conviction and commanded a flame thrower attack as soon as Braixen’s figure had manifested in the battle field.

    Fifteen seconds.

    Fortunately for Clint, that girl had not noticed him yet. The bad news was that he still did not possess a precision shot and time was short. In his mind, there was no other priority than reaching the boy before he suffered the same luck of those he had faced in his long quest. But if there was something that everyone who had ever confronted his tactics should know, it was that he always had an ace up his sleeve.

    Twenty seconds.

    The fire stream released by Braixen was easily dodge by the crimson Pokémon in an incredible display of speed and technical skill while it headed swiftly to its new opponent’s position. Braixen was left astonished after realizing that Scizor had reached the left side of the vixen’s position, and as soon as it had arrived, a powerful strike from the mighty pincer had hit Brixen’s ribs, throwing it in the air and leaving it out of combat when it finally hit the ground.

    “Braixen!” Shrieked Serena, wanting to go and help her partner. But she refused to leave Ash, whose breath had increased considerably.

    “Damn It! I don’t even have a minute!” Clint whispered while he was getting close to the boy’s position with caution and discretion.

    Pikachu could not help but feel a sense of admiration and resentment to that powerful Pokémon who had left out of combat someone with a huge advantage against it. In that moment, it was very clear to Pikachu that this was one of those many battles in which something was more at stake than a friendly combat between trainers. It got into position to attack while emitting little thunder shocks from its red cheeks in a threatening way without looking away from the crimson Pokémon. But it was a foul prank from destiny the one that put it out of balance and made it fail as a loyal guardian.

    Out of nowhere, a pair of penetrating diamond eyes blocked the view to its objective, and surprising it with the image of a little dark and hunched Pokémon who delivered a punch strong enough to throw Pikachu in the air. The attack was not particularly powerful, and the yellow rodent would only take a second to recover its position, but Pikachu would realize that the dark Pokémon’s objective had never been defeating its opponent.

    Forty seconds.

    The dark Pokemon’s attack gave the signal that Scizor needed to achieve its initial objective, which it had to carry out in just a matter of seconds before the yellow rodent was ready to strike back. It rapidly strode into position and jumped towards Serena, who met each other in less than a second partly because of the push it obtained after leaving the ground.

    Serena was face to face with that Pokémon once again, but this time she had already prepared another resource she could use against Scizor at least until Clemont or any other would arrive to help them out. However, Scizor would not accept any more distractions. As soon as Serena had thrown the pokéball, the crimson Pokémon embraced her with its arms and jumped through the air with her in its arms. The maneuver was as unexpected as it was powerful, since in that instant Serena’s disbelief had snatched the strengths from her, forcing her to let go her beloved friend, and leaving him with the strange phenomena that was consuming him.

    Forty-two seconds.

    Clint was ready since before his Sableye had put Pikachu out of balance. He firmly held the rifle with his arms while the objective was now in sight. Now that he had a free shot, Clint pulled the trigger without thinking it twice.

    The dart was expelled from the barrel gun, probably the first shot made with a tool of that kind in Snowbelle city in decades, and hit the boy’s chest. Serena remained in Scizor’s arms while she could witness with horror how that mysterious and merciless guy had shot against a defenseless kid. Once they landed on the ground, the crimson Pokémon let her go and she rushed towards Ash’s help with tears in her eyes.

    Clint sighed with slight relief after accomplishing his mission. But as soon as his eyes had abandoned the gun sight, a prodigal force emerged from the forest and knocked him down in a so unexpected way than it even revived a sensation of uncertainty and fear he had not experimented in a long time.

    The best of black mane and raging yellow eyes roared in a threatening way right in the aggressor’s face while it pressed his chest with its right paw and used the other one to get the possible murder weapon as far away from the user.

    “Luxray! Do not let him to stand up!” Clemont ordered while using his limited speed to reach his friends, along Bonnie right behind him and heading to the place were Serena and Pikachu were already attending the dark-haired boy.

    “Who are you?” Clemont asked the guy with shaven head, who slowly held his arms slightly above his head in an open-handed posture.

    Scizor and Sableye adopted new combats positions, but their will to fight was immediately suppressed when that young man gave a strong and strict order that could be heard in the entire forest. "Red Queen! Kor Phaeron! That’s enought!”

    The three Friends were surprised after seeing those Pokémon, who had shown a relentless will to fight a second before, were now relaxed and resolute. The idea of that guy being a simple thug had vanished from Serena’s mind not only because of the display of discipline by those Pokémon, but also because Ash’s beat and breathing returning to normal.

    “The boy…”, interrupted the young man, “is he already ok?” Luxray increased the pressure it applied on his chest as a warning, limiting his breathing. But Clemont ordered a cease of hostilities and the black lion left its prey in order to return with its trainer.

    The guy of dark-eyes and olive tone skin gradually stood up, he pulled out two pokéballs from his belt and commanded the return of his partners. Then he headed to the group’s circle they had made to help Ash, but was received with animosity by Luxray’s warning, whose flaring nostrils and flashing eyes quivered with anger.

    Serena removed the dart from Ash’s chest and she grinned with relief after seeing that he was much better. She then turned her gaze towards the stranger savior and, willing to know what had happened, asked again. “Who are you?”

    The guy sighed, and in a sarcastic tone, he answered the question that was already getting his nerves. “Clint…”, he finally said. “Clint McTyranno Balls”.

    The kids could not help but winced in disbelief and confusion after hearing such a strange name that every one of them could swear it was all made up by the mysterious young man.

    “Is that your real name?” Asked Serena once again.

    “It’s the best name in the entire universe, don’t spend it”, he firmly responded. “And making fun of it is already the second show of thanklessness you’ve already made after saving your boyfriend”.

    Serena blushed immediately after seeing both Clemont and Bonnie giving her an inquiring look. She stuttered with her tongue, trying to explain the situation, but Clemont turned out to be of help when he changed the topic with a more important question.

    “Save him? What do you mean?”

    “Save him from that parasite your friend was infected with”, Clint responded. “A couple of seconds and that thing would have fried his brain. You should be grateful that I was keeping an eye on you”.

    “Wait…”, Serena interrupted. “Were you watching us?”

    “Since you left the Pokémon center”, respond Clint without minding Serena’s fixed and angry stare. He did not have time for a childish anger.

    “Couldn’t you do it in a less… violent approach?” She asked again.

    Clint looked at her with a mix of disbelief and sympathy towards the girl’s total naivety. “Yeah. Good night, sweetie. I see that your friend is under an unbearable agony before the danger of being left as a tomato for the rest of eternity. Would you let me inject him with this anticonvulsant that may be lethal for him, but there’s no other option?” Clint shook his head as if he was trying to bring some sense to Serena’s lack of knowledge. “No, I don’t think so”.

    Ash recovered a bit of his strength and tried to get up with Serena’s help, who hold his arm until he managed to finally stand up. It was then that the dark memories of last night had returned to his head, along with his speech skills. “I… remember now…”, he said, “…last night, I felt as if…”

    “They suffocate you and then implanted something in your brain while you were feeling an intoxicating pleasure and your senses were exploited at their limits”, interrupted Clint. Ash was shocked after listening the perfect description of what he experienced. “Yes, I’ve seen it before. But you were lucky, kid”.

    “Do you know who did this to me?” Ash asked with a mix feeling of anger and curiosity. Clint sighed again and denied with his head as if a heavy weight was getting even more unbearable for him.

    “That’s what I’ve been trying to find out for eight years”, he said. Biting his lip to release some frustration. “But trails are scarce and they vanish as soon as I start searching”.

    “At least…”, interrupted Clemont, more curious of this strange disease than Ash’s precarious condition. “do you know why they did this to Ash?”

    Clint denied with his head once more, dispirited and angry because of the little information he possessed that could not be of more help for these kids. “Whoever they are, they have a vast variety of possible targets that makes it almost impossible to reduce the list of possible candidates. But…”, he took a look at Ash, “…you were a very probable target, kid”.

    Ash gasped in astonishment and concern, wondering what could be so special in him to be the target of a group nobody had ever heard of. “Me?”

    Clint turned on the holo caster he pulled out of his pocket and showed many pictures of the many feats Ash had accomplished since the beginning of his journey. Hundreds of memories came to his mind after looking recent moments like the one where he fought Hoopa’s anger, his countless battles that had been broadcasted through the world, the time he had defeated team Plasma with his friend’s help, and even the glorious moment where he had defeated his childhood rival. “You are a curious case, Ash”, Clint said. “You are always in the right place whether it’s about a legendary creature or in the battle climax against a crime organization”. Clint turned off the holo caster. “Maybe that’s why the chose you”.

    Serena had remained silent since the moment that Clint described the frightening experience that resembled much of the one she had been subjected in her initiation night. She did not even notice that Clint was trying to start a conversation with her until he snapped his fingers to make her come back to the real world.


    “I said that I also believed that you could have been under the influence of the parasite”.

    Serena put her fist on the chest, fearful of the idea that she could have been infected before and now she faced the same risk of being corrupted like Ash with an invisible monster.

    “But it seems it was not the case”, Clint said, suggesting a sympathetic smile towards her and showing them the EGG device. “What we know is that the parasite manifests when the host enters into a state of great excitement and stimulation. With this device, I can measure the brain waves and determine if a subject can or not be under the influence of the parasite”.

    “Mmm… I wonder what were you both doing”, smiled bonnie with a naughty glance at Serena.

    “Can it be removed?” Clemont inquired while rubbing his chin.

    “The parasite is lodged in the limbic system and clings in a way that it would be lethal for the host”. Clint gave an adamant and compassionate look towards the boy that from now on, he would have to live with a dangerous being. ”I’m sorry”.

    Serena watched her friend’s concerned look with melancholy and fear of his fate. If in this case it was only a light touch of hands that it could have turned into an innocent kiss, she wondered what would happen if displays of affection were taken to a more intimate degree.

    “You…”, Serena said addressing to Clint, “you said that you were suspicious about me. Why?”

    Clint rotated his shoulders in order to release a bit of frustration and answer the question. “As I said, these guys have many and varied tastes. But the constant they have shown is a particular appreciation by the esthetic and inusual”. Clint turned on the holo caster once again in order to show the crowning ceremony picture in Glorio city. “And the new Kalos queen fits the descrption perfectly. But it seems… that I was wrong again”.

    Clint closed his eyes, raised his head towards the dark sky and inhaled a deep breath of cold air before blowing out slowly, pretending to release as much frustration as he could. Before the events that had happened in a matter of minutes, he felt exhausted and disappointed to found himself in a closed alley without any important clues that would help him not to start from scratch like the last time. He could keep an eye on Ash’s movements if the aggressor were to come back, something that never had happened before. But he still felt that having come to Kalos region had been the epitome of his failure, and he wanted to finish there as possible.

    “Look… you haven’t eaten yet, it’s already dark and you... we have a lot to think about”. Clint turned around and headed to the cold forest. “I want to make you more questions tomorrow, if you don’t mind”.

    Serena did not remove the fist that was pressing her chest with an almost suffocating strength, as if she was preventing truth’s liberation that would force her to face her deepest fear. But now, she was not the only victim, but also her friends and the young man whom she felt certain sympathy and pity of his failure. Maybe if she could gather more courage, she could help to get to the bottom of the mystery and finally free herself from the chains of anguish that had constrained her since the last morning.

    “Is it…”, she finally said, but running out of air before such big effort. She inhaled a deep breath and she finally could release some of her anguish. “Is it the Order of the Maiden?”

    Clint stopped his walk just before entering into the forest and turned around to glance at the owner of those words that had taken his attention. “So you also have one here”, he said with the same sarcastic tone he previously used. “Is that what you did while with the fancy folks?”

    Serena gathered a bit more of courage and nodded with the head, but she was left uncertain before the little interest he had shown with the piece of information that had been very difficult for her to reveal.

    “Did you enjoy the loftiness, opulence and frivolity of the event?” He said with a ruder attitude that was on the verge of satire. “But of course. You are the maximum expression of that banality”.

    Clint did not even bother to look at the displeased faces that Serena’s friends had given to him after expressing with such cruelty. Far from sharing the same emotions, Serena was the only one who felt a cold, but complete sincerity in the words of that young man. She could not even explain why, but for some reason it seemed to her that Clint could be the only one who could aid her to confront her greatest fear. She took all the energy she had left, and while gathering the last remains of courage and trust that had been broken previously, she started to narrate the horrid experience of being the central piece of a macabre ritual.

    “The… the images are distorted and… and the colors seem to burst in your face”.

    Clint stopped again, this time without turning around. Serena’s friends were now focusing all their attention to her tale.

    “A song… that stimulates your senses… and unleash those that remained sleep”. She said, with a bit more control of her words.

    “Until it reverberates in your mind and goes through your mind… making you twist with pain”. Clint interrupted with a serious and sorrowful tone. He slowly turned around to fix his look at the girl whom Clint could deduce, it was taking her the last drop of energy and will to confess the nightmare she had been exposed to.

    “… it unveils the real face of horror… paralyzing you with its look and howling disconsolately…”-

    “…And you only pray the death to have mercy on you… that it could release you from the suffering”.

    Serena’s and Clint’s eyes met and remained in contact for a brief moment of absolute silence, as if they were the only witnesses of a crime scene exchanging the hideous visions that only they could understand and share.

    Serena got close to him and took his hand in order to lead him where the rest of the group was. Clint remained wrapped up before the greatest discovery of his entire life since that fatidic day eight years ago. He pulled out of his jacket and without looking at the screen, he pressed a button of his most trusted contact in the entire world.

    “Hello? Clint?”, asked a female voice that he could only hear. “What’s wrong? You have never called me by this line”.

    “Ellie… I found them…”, she whispered and hung up immediately. His energies seemed to abandon him and a feeling of nausea made him difficult to hold his breath. In all his years of training, no exercise or emotional submission had prepared him for a moment like this. He tried to hold of some invisible support that made him lose his balance, but his fall had been prevented by the boy he had rescued before, and now was returning the favor by firmly holding his arm.

    “I also heard that voice a moment ago”, said Ash. “It was telling me: ‘bring her’. Over and over again”.

    Clint inhaled a deep breath to help oxygen reach his brain and help him to recover his senses. The unexpected series of events that had guided him to this moment of revelation had renovated his will and cleared his mind to figure out what to do from now on and find his real target. But as soon as Clint wanted to talk and share more information with the kids, a familiar figure showed itself in a gentle display of sympathy towards the girl who was still holding the young man’s hand.

    “Serena! I’m here!”, Aria exclaimed while heading towards the group. The young woman placed her phone in the left ear and with a whisper she sent a message to the person on the other end of the line. “Found her”.

    Serena received the gesture with bewilderment and without returning the smile. “Uh… it’s true”, she finally said with the same indifference that she used before leaving the palace, and remembering that she had accepted to meet her in Snowbelle city.

    Aria greeted the rest of her companions and did a special mention to the dark-haired boy who now looked almost unrecognizable and handsome. “Wow!”, she dropped her jaw. “I’m normally not very good with predictions, but you really surprised me”. Ash smirked while her extrovert personality had been put aside when she looked at the strange young man who was staring at her with a serious and analytic expression. “Who is him?”, she asked, a bit intimidated.

    “I speak English perfectly, sweetie”, Clint responded with a sarcastic tone. “You can talk to me directly”.

    Aria frowned, slightly offended of his rude attitude, but she decided to ignore it and deal directly with Serena about the important business she had to talk with the Kalos queen. “Whatever…”, she said, and then grabbed her hand, focusing all her attention to her friend. “Serena, I hate what I’m going to ask you a favor just when you had returned, but there is an extreme important matter that we must attend”.

    Serena could not entirely predict what Aria was about to ask her, but she knew that it would involve returning to that palace. She gathered all her strength once more to securely reply the request of the girl she had once admired and considered her best friend.


    “Oh, ¡come on!” Aria said, ignoring the cold sincerity of Serena. “It’s not about the Order’s issue. Palermo has scheduled many appointments with important editors of some of the most renown magazines of media. They are avid to know you better!”

    Serena declined the request while turning her hand left and right twice in quick succession and released her hand form Aria’s control immediately. She did not get upset or show any sign of being offended before Serena’s reluctance to go with her, but she could not take a dominant position. Aria needed to get her out of there as soon as possible before Palermo found out her real intentions. She stepped forwards when all of the sudden, the young man who had stared at her with suspicion had gotten in her way.

    “Sound perfect to me. When do we leave?” Clint said with a mischievous look.

    Aria was stunned at that guy’s daring as he accepted the request of something he had not been invited. “Who are you?” She asked again.

    “Serena’s guardian… at least for the moment”, he said with a dominant air without changing his annoying smirk.

    Ara was even more perplexed after hearing those words, as if the stranger was trying to put her in a witness stand. “Serena, what does this mean?”

    Serena wanted to talk in order to clarify the misunderstanding that was being carried out without her permission. Although she felt a great sympathy and trust in Clint, even if it has been less than half an hour before she had met him, it did not seem to right for her that he was taking all these decisions without consulting her before.

    “It means, my dear…”, Clint interrupted. “That wherever she goes, I’ll be with her”.

    Aria grinned her teeth with frustration after she had found herself in a predicament she did not expected. That guy did not seem to have bad intentions, but in that moment he only proved to be another obstacle in her elaborated plan.

    “Why?” She asked with an inquiring tone.

    Clint fold his arms and approached his face to the young woman who did not show any gesture of being provoked. “There are… many scary things there, isn’t it?” he said with an inquisitive smile. “Your charade is over, sweetie”.

    A complete silence ruled the recreation site during the first hours of the night. Aria had even forgotten that her phone was still on-line with the person on the other end of the line and was now trying to make contact with her. As soon as she had placed the device on her hear to attend the call, she gave a deep gasp while her eyes were petrified with the request of the woman she was maintaining the communication.

    “You two…”, she said, addressing to Serena and Clint. “Come with me”.

    The group descended from the foot of the mountain until they arrived to the freeway that would take them to the main highway. A black limousine, along its driver were waiting for them with the doors open. Aria was the first to enter, but Serena remained reluctant to do the same when it was her turn.

    “As long as I’m here…”, Clint whispered in her hear, “… nobody will hurt you”.

    The words of the young man seemed to relieve her, but she had reached the conclusion that taking the role of maiden in distress was starting to annoy her. She gave a last gaze towards her friend, who were still confused and worried about all this situation. The smile for her face had little effect to relieve them from their uncertainty.

    Clint also gave turned his optimistic gaze at them and nodded as if he was trying to tell them that everything would be ok. “You, blondie”, Clint addressed Clemont, who used his index finger to point himself and confirm that he was the one who had been called. “Yes, you. Under any circumstance you can let him pick a battle until we return, got it?”. Clemont nodded a bit intrigued of that strange and some kind extreme order.

    Clint entered the vehicle and firmly closed the door and the car started to move in order to take them to their destiny. Meanwhile, hundreds of plans, tactics and possible scenarios were already through the young man’s mind, who would take advantage of the long journey to get ready for what it would be the culmination of the most difficult battle in his entire life.

    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  14. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    Remember to check the index in the first post for a brief synopsis of each chapter.

    CHAPTER 11. Palermo explains it all.

    Her first Pokémon contest, the brief moment of reflection before the battle for the Kalos queen title, all those moments in which she had been alone with Ash that could have been turned into sweet memories of a childish romance, but were ultimately frustrated because of her shyness… all of those could not be compared with the uncomfortable and tense suffocating situation that occurred in the passengers’ section of the luxurious limousine.

    Clint and Aria, two characters who had sown discord as soon as they had met, were exchanging unpleasant glances in an atmosphere of distrust that was only making this travel more difficult and uncomfortable to their destination in which, as if it was not enough with the enmity of those two people, caused a chill of fear running down her spine with the single idea of returning to the place of her nightmares.

    However, and having no many options to adjust herself even inside such big car, Serena had opted to share the seat with Clint, more by security than by pleasure, who occasionally she turned her gaze towards him without getting any response. At first she believed that he was just ignoring her, but after inspecting the penetrating and inquisitive eyes of Aria, she realized that both were very aware of each other actions, as if they were getting ready for any act of betrayal that could happen in their journey.

    “So… are you a trainer?” Aria finally asked. Maybe tired of the heavy silence that was driving her mad.

    Clint did not show any change in his attitude, as if that question was just a distraction tactic that he should not give any attention. “There’ll be a time for questions”, he responded with scorn.
    Aria looked down on him. “I just wanted to talk”, she said accusingly. “You don’t need to be so coarse”.

    “Ok, let’s talk. You can start by telling me all those secrets of your frivolous organization and we can spare ourselves of this worthless travel”, Clint responded without showing any sign of burden or sympathy towards her.

    She gritted her teeth, crossed her arms over her chest and ignored his look by looking at the nightscape through the car mirror, giving up at trying to make the travel less tedious for everyone there.

    Meanwhile, Serena was already suffering the first signs of an exhausting day filled with revelations and suspicions from which she expected their soon resolution. She placed her palm on her mouth while giving a big yawn with few tears protruded from her tired eyes. However, giving up by the sleepy feeling in such unforeseeable situation along two people she did not entirely trust, was an idea that that quickly made her quit such desirable rest.

    “Sleep”, Clint said in an unexpected display of kindness that was also noted in his voice tone. He took off his jacket and offered it to Serena, so she could use it as a blanket. “You must be exhausted and tomorrow we need to be at our best”.

    At first, Serena did not know what to think about Clint’s spontaneous empathy towards her comfort, especially after having showing himself so indifferent and aggressive towards Aria. Serena accepted after meditating it for a moment, storing that query in her trunk of questions that was already swamped at the moment.

    “Aren’t you cold?” She asked, trying to return with the same empathy towards him.

    Clint smile with a gentle tender that did not seem to belong to the same severe and aggressive young man of before. “I’ve experienced the blizzard unleashed by an Articuno. This Little cold? It’s nothing”.

    Serena smiled and accepted the jacket, covering up with it while looking for a comfortable position to sleep and curling up in the seat. Clint, who was sitting in the middle of the seat, opted for moving to the end side so she could cover as much space as possible and get to sleep in the most comfortable way that the vehicle could offer.

    “Thank you”, Serena said with a slight blush in her cheeks. “But… will you be able to sleep too?”

    “Don’t worry”, Clint reassured. “A Hypno almost made me sleep for a week”.

    That adorable scene that seemed to be carried out by a little girl and her older brother unleashed a mix of incredulity and endearment in Aria, who had already embraced the idea that this guy was just a prying brute with no feelings. It was such a powerful scene that, without realizing, had managed to snatch a smile from her face.

    “Well, then…”, Serena whispered, distributing the jacket in order to cover as much of her body as possible, “… good night”. And almost as soon as she had closed her eyes, Serena was already in a place were no conflict, suspicion or hostility could drain her vitality and happiness.

    . . . .

    A small, but sudden knock in the nearest window of the seat where Aria had spent the night, had woken her up of that heavy and uncomfortable sleep that made her remember other times where she was not used yet to the rigorous and exhausting training of Palermo. That feeling was aggravated after realizing that the one who had knocked the window was none other than the main responsible of making her spend a terrible night. He who, unlike her, did not show any sign of exhaustion. “Did this guy even get some sleep?” She asked herself. “If so, was he watching me sleep the entire night?”

    But her inner thoughts were interrupted when she realized that they had arrived to the enormous artwork that functioned as headquarters and sacred place to perform the many ceremonies and rituals of the Order. And whose leader was waiting for them in the palace’s front door.

    An emotion of shame and frustration ran through Clint’s mind after confirming that this woman was the same he had met in Glorio City, she who he had discarded as possible suspect by following his instinct towards another clue. Fortunately for him, years of tough training to control his emotions were paying off in that moment of revelation. Nonetheless, he still counted with the slightest, yet possible scenario in which that woman could recognize him without his disguise. Without losing more time, he headed towards that gray-haired woman, closely followed by Serena, still reluctant to get close; and Aria, who tried to reach them.

    Palermo spread her arms wide in a welcome manner, and as soon as the rest had reached the main gate, she addressed some words towards the young man who was looking at her with a cold expression.

    “I’m deeply grateful that you brought our queen safe”. She bowed her head in a gesture of gratitude. Aria was shocked after seeing the way in which this possible threat was being received, even when she knew very well that manipulation was one of her mentor’s main weapons.

    “Could we know the name of our guardian?” She asked once more.

    “Clint”, he responded without giving more details or reacting after receiving the woman’s flattery. “Funny. I also have many questions about you”.

    Palermo nodded again, showing a complete collaboration that made her student to wonder why of her unusual reaction. “I’m pretty sure of it”, she answered with an accessible tone of voice. She glanced at Serena, who startled with fear, and made a signal with her extended arm to invite them to enter the palace. “Please, follow me”.

    The first time Serena had been in the palace, she felt as if all her childish dreams had become true. But now, not even the reflecting marble floor or the art works hung in the walls could make her return to more innocent and happier moments. She followed-up closely to Clint, who inspected the entire place with rapid movements of his eyes, ignoring the artistic beauty of the palace and searching instead battle positions, hideouts, escape routes, and especially any suspicious item that could unmask that possible ruse.

    After reaching the entrance of the “nightmare’s hall”, Serena decided to step back while her breathing was accelerating and hundreds of cursed memories clouded her mind. Palermo opened the giant door of that hall and she newly invited her guests to enter.

    Clint did not put a step forward, and instead crossed his arms over his chest while adopting the same serious and severe expression of before. “Any reason to not talk right here?” He asked with disdain.

    “My dear. If we had tried to make an ambush, don’t you think that we had made it since the first time you had entered in our home?” Palermo responded with a mischievous smile.

    “I still count with it, ma’am”, he responded with a defiant look. “And I’ll warn you. That would not be a good idea”.

    Palermo said nothing more and entered the hall, followed by Aria who addressed some words to Clint before entering. “Never before a non-member of the order had entered this hall”, she proudly said. “It’s a great honor”.

    Clint turned his gaze in order to look at Serena, who was still reluctant to visit that place for a second time. Normally, he would have ignored that girl and followed his path, but for some reason, Clint felt certain responsibility that went further his promise to keep her safe. He knew very well what was to live consumed by his greatest fears, and he would not let that someone this young lived traumatized forever.

    “If you don’t face it now, there won’t be another chance later”, he said with a soothing tone. Clint smiled slightly, radiating confidence and courage while stretching his hand. “No fear”.

    Serena stared for a couple of seconds at the gesture that evinced a sincere deed of aid and sympathy. She then thought that despite showing himself adamant and temerarious before a possible trap, Clint should keep certain fear right in the deepest corner of his soul, but that he could control without apparent difficulty. Serena stretched her hand and made a deep breath, ready to face anything that the Stairway to Heaven prepared for both.

    . . . .

    Exquisite paints, perfect sculptures and an architecture that defied the conventional. Even the analytic look of Clint had troubles by ignoring such strange place that, possibly for him according to his perception, was found in the heart of the palace and whose design had nothing to do with the one in front of his eyes.

    Serena made a huge effort to not closing her eyes and permit the memories of what had happened right there could change her mind, forcing her to return to the vehicle and dominate her with deep fears. Clint squeezed her hand as if he was trying to transmit a bit of his will, and she returned the gesture by using all of her strength to continue.
    Palermo stood in front of the queen’s golden throne with Aria besides her, waiting for her guests to reach the feet of the tower and star with the exchange questions and information.

    “Interesting decoration”, Clint said with a sarcastic tone. “Who’s your designer? PedoUrsaring?”

    Palermo ignored the comment. “Clint…”, she began. “I have understood that our Serena’s story made you to escort her. Isn’t it?”

    Clint took a few seconds to answer. “Something like that”.

    “Correct me if I’m wrong. But all that you are doing is not because of a display of gallantry or simple sympathy towards Serena”. Clint did not react as if his silence answered affirmatively the statement that, indeed, had more motives behind his actions. “Can you tell us exactly what you are looking for?”

    Clint kept silence for another moment before responding one of the so many questions he had prepared in innumerable scenarios for so long. He licked his lips and took a slight breath before the words emanated from his mouth. “Eight years ago in Kanto I found the same bastards she met…”, he said while glancing at Serena, who listened carefully and for the first time the mysterious intentions of that young man. “They did… horrible things to us… And I’ve been looking for them without fatigue since then”. He concluded, not wishing to reveal anything else of his past.

    Palermo closed her eyes and winced with a look that surprised everyone gathered there. Even Aria hold her arm as if her energies were abandoning her. “Then it’s more recent of what I thought”, she said, wiping away her tears.

    “You know something”, interrupted Clint. Without realizing, he pressed Serena’s hand to the point that was hurting her, but he released it as soon as he realized about his ungracious gesture.

    Palermo opened her eyes again and took a deep breath as if she was preparing to reveal a dark secret that had been kept for a long time. “Our Order… possess traditions and rituals that many would find them strange and macabre. But they are always under an honor code that commemorates those past events that gave rise to it”. Palermo took another deep breath, trying to gather the necessary strength to continue. “But there was a time in which it wasn’t like that…”.

    The gray-haired woman headed to one of the walls adorned with the paints of those beautiful girls that captivated the spectators as if they came to life and spread them with their innocence and joy. Palermo contemplated them for a while and then she turned around to face her guests. “A century ago, some of them pretended to take the traditions and rituals to a new level that many considered sick and twisted. With the intention that the Order could take them to new experiences that could be portrayed not only in art works and songs, but that subsequently would turn into a real cult much more powerful and influential that would spread out in the entire world…”

    Palermo got close to Clint and Serena while they were listening to her story without missing any detail. Clint finally found out the extremely complicated task of not being controlled by his emotions and guard down before the information he was looking for years, which now was being revealed without any setback.

    “And in the shadows of our world, they almost did it until they were expelled”, she whispered with an expression of pain. “They took another name, one that would overthrow that for which it had been built through generations. A joke of the sincerest and noble traditions by which so much blood had been shed in order to protect it”. Palermo fixed her look at Serena, who pressed her chest using all her strength while her legs were shaking without control. “They called themselves… ‘The Cult of Pleasure’”.

    A name. Ignoring if this woman was telling the truth or not, Clint repeated that name over and over again in his head while he remembered every moment of the last eight years in which he could have killed in order to get that piece of information.

    “You already met them, Serena… they attacked in your initiation’s ceremony”. Palermo confessed, placing her palm hand in her chest as if she tried to avoid her beating heart to explode after saying those words.

    Serena was paralyzed with horror and skepticism before that revelation. “W-What?” She exclaimed without really understanding what Palermo meant. “I-I don’t get it”.

    “They still exist in this era?” Clint asked without troubling himself while he was trying to make sense with that story and Serena’s experience she had told before.

    “There were only rumors about their presence, but we could never confirm them”, the woman responded. “Your story, my dear, probes that they have been active for years… maybe even decades”. The defeated woman sighed. “And I could never figure it out”.

    Aria had to use all of her will and strengths to not burst in anger before the story that her mentor had managed to unleash the greatest doubts and fears of an already perturbed girl. However, she could not help but feel certain wonder before the unmatched skills of her to put verisimilitude in one story that could well convince even the most skeptical person… but if she learnt something after meeting Clint, is that Palermo had to do more in order to gain his trust.

    “That night…”, Palermo continued, addressing Serena once more, “… just when you finish your oath, dozens of those we considered our friends revealed their true intentions and tried to kidnap you”.

    “W-What?” Serena exclaimed with a weak shout due the little oxygen that was left. Clint placed his hand on her shoulder in order to relieve some tension from her, and giving her some instructions so she could avoid to hyperventilate. “But…. Then why did they do to me? What were all those horrendous images? And that song…”

    Palermo stared at her with a deep sympathy and pity that could do nothing to pull Serena off her shock and recover her comfort. She addressed her student who had been quiet for so long and decided that it was time for another revelation.

    “Meloetta, dear. It’s ok, you can come here”, said Aria with a soft and melodic voice.

    A thin and delicate anthropomorphic female figure put her head out of the small room in the top of the tower, and graciously descended until it landed on Aria’s open arms, who greeted her with affection.

    “Meloetta is a symbol of purity in our Order”, Palermo said, getting closer of the melody Pokémon and stroking her long hear with musical bar-style streaks in it. “And just like you, Serena. She was a target of those criminals”.

    Meloetta, who had descended with a contagious joy, now showed a deep sadness in her big, blue eyes that managed to touch even the coldest heart. Except for Clint.

    “I still don’t know how they did it, but they changed the frequency of Meloetta’s song and turned it into a macabre and stimulating weapon that was almost impossible to stop for us”.

    Clint discovered certain incongruence in that anecdote. Unless those were two totally different songs but with the same painful effect, it was unlikely that the author of the song he had been submitted was also the work of the same Pokémon that was in front of him. So many mysteries and new questions now clouded his mind that was still fighting to control his emotions.

    “Then…”, Serena said after not being able of mutter any other word. “Why didn’t you tell me that before?”.

    Aria’s smile vanished and she closed her eyes as if she was being controlled by a deep shame and regret that warped her up.

    “We thought that silence and discretion would be the best for you until we could solve all this thing…”, she said while wiping her tears. “But… I’m so sorry”.

    “I beg you to apologize her, Serena. Aria was only following my orders and, as she said, I thought it was the best for you”. Palermo placed her hand over her student’s shoulder and gently rubbed it in order to appease her crying. “And after realizing that the ‘Cult of Pleasure’ was not going to be easy to defeat, I sent Aria to bring you back and protect you”.

    “Protect me?!” Serena exploded with an anger that provoked fear in the shy and little Pokémon, who hid its face in the young woman’s chest who was carrying her. “What about my friends?! Did you know that Ash was infected by a parasite that is threatening his life?!”

    Aria and Palermo exchanged a look of surprise before a fact they had not mentioned before. Serena shut herself by placing her palm hand on her mouth after considering that reveal that information could have been a mistake and Clint had planned to do something with it. But she was surprised after seeing that he was smiling proudly, as if facing those who had hidden the truth, finally revealed a spark of inner potential that could be exploded, and turn this “queen of showcases” into a beautiful force of nature.

    “Is it possible that…”, Aria said with concern.

    “Lord Reginald”. Palermo concluded. “It’s highly probable”.

    “Excuse me?” Interrupted Clint. The name was very well known for him, and hearing it again from those women made him react in a very suspicious way that could throw away his almost perfect mask of judgement and discretion.

    “A couple of days before the Master Class showcase, one of our greatest friends, Lord Reginald, was found unconscious in his mansion in Palm Beach, Johto”, Palermo responded with another show of anguish before another terrible news she did not see it coming. “After a clinical analysis, they found a strange creature living in his brain”.

    “Why this guy?” Clint asked.

    “He’s an important member of the Order”, Aria responded without being able to retain another couple of tears that were wiped after rubbing her eyes. “They must have wanted to take him down before facing him”.

    Palermo raised his hand up to her chest and slightly lowered in order to soothe her student from her sadness.

    “Clint. As you can see, we are facing an extremely dangerous organization. And for now, our objectives seem to be the same”, she said while staring at him with a very serious expression that was not of auspicious of a liar woman. “Maybe we could exchange our information and pooling our resources”.

    Clint remained silent, trying to digest all the information that had been revealed in a short lapse of time that he considered too short. Considering that his last significant clue had costed him three years to get lost with that man who seemed to be very precious for that young woman. Would have had something else he could not discern while he found him in Johto? He decided to shelve the thought for a moment and considered the offer for some instants. Not for accepting it, but for choosing the right words to reveal his intentions without arouse more suspicion.

    “Ok… let’s suppose I believe you and this… Cult of Pleasure is everything you said…”, he said as if he was trying to make some sense of that convincing, but filled with plot holes that would crumble that story. “But, do you know what bothers me? That this Cult… not only attacked one of your best members, but it also infiltrated the heart of your organization and escaped without any difficulty. I mean, did you catch one of those members? Did you follow any clue? Is there something that at least you can use?”

    Palermo and Aria were shut after listening the series of questions that made evident their complete incompetence as protectors of the Kalos Queen. Palermo slowly nodded as if she admitted her lack of responsibility and leadership by dealing a matter of utmost importance not only for the Order, but for the rest of those who could be under the gaze of the aforementioned cult.

    “Your words are brave and true, my friend”, Palermo responded. “And I’m afraid we are all stagnant with the same problem”.

    “Then…”, Clint said. “I don’t see how the information and resources can be secured with you”.

    “I perfectly understand…”, Palermo sighed for the last time and turned her gaze at Serena. “My dear, this house is available to you whenever you need. If it’s necessary to be protected…”

    But Serena interrupted with another display of independence and distrust. “As Clint said, there is no warranty that you can protect even this palace”.

    Palermo nodded again. “I understand. But if there’s anything you need, I…”

    “Serena, can I talk to you in private?” Clint interrupted.

    “We’ll leave you alone”, Palermo said without showing any annoyance of being put aside.

    “Outside. I’d like to visit your garden”.

    Serena nodded a bit impatient for listening what her “guardian” had to tell her, and both headed towards the exit of that hall that little by little was losing its terrifying spell on her. But before abandoning the place, Clint turned around and raised his index finger as if he was pointing out an invisible matter he still had to deal with before leaving.

    “One last thing, ma’am…”, he said with a relaxing tone that turned into a severe speech with each word that came from his mouth. “If by any reason I find that this… How can I call it? Ah, yeah. A very well built charade that hides the truth of us, well…”, Clint changed his expression into one of complete intimidation like that of a lurking Salamence. “I’ll turn this palace into ashes and demolish this monument of vanity to its foundations”.

    Palermo, who had shown a complete flexible and cooperative look during all the talk, felt her blood to boil before the obvious threat of a stranger who seemed to be immune of her tricks and schemes.

    “Is that…?”

    “It is what it is, ma’am”, Interrupted Clint without giving more explanations or even the chance to reply. “Good bye”.

    Both left the hall and the gigantic doors were slowly closed automatically. Aria fixed her gaze towards her mentor and discovered un expression that only in very few times she let it exhibit.
    It was the look of defeat.

    “I did not expect this”. A voice said in Aria’s mind.

    “Why are you…?”

    “From now on, we’ll have to communicate in this way, my dear”.

    “…Al right”, Aria said, focusing her words in the chat that was being carried out in her mind. “You could have brought Siebud and many others to eliminate this possible threat”.

    “True…”, Palermo responded while she looked at her in a conspiratorial way. “But I won’t underestimate the one who defeated Lord Reginald”.

    Aria gasped in shock. “How do you…”?

    “I'm not completely sure, but something in this young man tell me that he hides many more secrets… and I want them”.

    “What are you going to do now?” Aria asked while she embraced the melody Pokémon in her arms with such strength that made it abandon her chest.

    “It seems that our influence to postpone the Kalos league has only made us gain a new enemy”.

    “A new one?” Aria thought about it for a moment, trying to find out who she was referring to, until she remembered those who fit the situation. “You screw them again, isn’t it?”

    “We took their chance of obtaining the necessary energy for their little science project and now we are risked of being crushed on two fronts”. Palermo meditated for a moment and proceeded to leave the facility. “I’ll contact the rest of the members. Until further notice, we all go underground while we prepare ourselves”.

    Aria was a bit absorbed by that order. “Prepare for what?”

    Palermo stopped her walking and turned her gaze to send Aria her well known conspiratorial and Machiavellian smirk.

    “For war, my dear”.

  15. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    CHAPTER 12. Good bye showcases. Hello real life.

    “Did you believe them?”

    Serena asked as soon as both had entered into the beautiful Maiden Palace’s garden that, as they expected, it represented a master piece of landscape architecture with its intricate design in the green turf maze and almost perfect symmetry in each tree that grew vigorously alongside the main road.

    “I admit that she’s an excellent actress”, Clint responded with certain apprehension in his voice. “I need to investigate even further before reaching any conclusion”, he explained before turning to their left of the road that offered them a serene, though not entirely discrete place to discuss their conclusions.

    “What are you going to do now?” Serena asked once more, eager to inquire even more into Clint’s future plans that probably would include her. And it was precisely this uncertainty, combined with her still fear of confronting her aggressors, the one that make her particularly precocious in the business that were now of her concern.

    “Our deal almost expires, sweetie”. Clint said with a slight smile in his face, leaving Serena a bit skeptic before her guardian’s attempt of eluding the question. “I promised to get you back with your friends safely. And that’s what I’m going to do”. Clint firmly asserted.

    “Then… you will restart from where you were?” Serena asked, a bit disappointed after believing that Clint planned to leave her alone and deal with the melancholy and conjectures typical of a confused girl.

    “That’s right”. He asserted with the same determination of before. “And it’s time to consider yours”.


    Both stopped in front of the garden’s main entrance that led them to the turf maze whose green living walls would make impossible for anyone to find the exit in their first try. Clint outran her for a bit, turning around in order to stare at her eyes and let out the serious words he had set up in his mind since he had offered her to accompany in that short journey of revelations.

    “I’m not a bodyguard, Serena”. He said vacillation. “This is a full-time task and I can’t take care of you at the same time. And…”, Clint bit his lip, “sincerely, I don’t think it would beneficial for you”.

    Serena slightly leaped with surprise and concern after questioning herself if her so called “guardian” had just used her as a tool in order to access the information he had been searching desperately. The picture of a severe, though noble young man, seemed to vanish before the serious and cold look of someone with an unbreakable conviction who could not allow to be surrounded of weak links or further distractions in his difficult quest.

    “However, neither can I leave you in the lurch. So, these are your options…”, Clint said while Serena let out a weak whisper of relieve after seeing that, after all, maybe he did not plan to abandon her.

    “Disappear until I manage to solve this mystery. If you need it, I have the means so neither you or your parent could be found”.

    Another hit on her proud. Every word that emanated from Clint’s mouth seemed to sink her into a sea of impotence and mediocrity that shattered her self-esteem. “That… doesn’t sound too brave”. She said, crestfallen as if she was feeling the weight of her own incompetence.

    “Maybe… but it is effective”. Clint assured without paying attention at the frustrated lood of her protégé. “In fact, it is my responsibility as an adult to force you to accept it”.

    It was the straw that broke the camel.

    “I refuse to hide away while my friends are in danger!” Serena yelled and protested immediately, facing Clint with a glance filled with anger and passion that could intimidate anyone who would dare to question the determination of this fierce girl.

    Clint observed her for some instants, and his arrogant look of before was replaced by a proud smile he rarely expressed in those times in which he found a rough diamond that he could make it shine with a new and totally different philosophy of life. The same the way as it had happened to him.

    “Then face them…”, Clint said.


    An excellent question. Especially for her, who considered herself an unskillful “trainer” in Pokémon battles at least. Even though her battle against Aria had made her won the crown, it was a totally unconscious attack the one that almost caused a serious incident. Outside that, Pokémon battles belonged in a strange and unknown field for her.

    “You watch my back and I watch yours”. Clint said, interrupting her moment of reflection.

    Protect him? Yeah, sure. She could not even protect herself.

    “In exchange, I’ll teach you not only combat strategy in Pokémon battles, but also self-defense, survival skills, military equipment handling and a new discipline that will exploit talents that I’m pretty sure you did not about”. Clint crossed his arms over his chest and said the last words of his offering with a seriousness that he pretended to use in order to make her take it as serious as he was. “In short… the exact opposite of what you’ve been doing until now”.

    Serena remained silent for some time that seemed to last longer than what actually was, digesting the offering that had just been presented to her on a silver platter. Basically, Clint was giving her the necessary tools so she could not only perform her duty as her partner, but also she would be able to protect those people she deeply cared of. Still, she could not help but ask herself if Clint was really giving her that offer because he really needed her help, or he simply felt sorry for her precarious situation.


    “But I have to warn you, sweetie”, Clint interrupted, raising his index finger in order to point out something very important, “It will be brutal”.

    Well, at least Serena could count with the seriousness of this matter. Still, it did not clarify her doubts about why he would train someone as inexperienced as she. “Why would you do something like this?” She finally asked to him.

    Clint dropped his arms and fixed his eyes at her, transmitting sympathy and trust that managed to make him remember himself and…

    Just as it had happened to him years ago when he started with this quest, Clint used the same words of he who had helped him to emerge from the dark sea of confusion, and showed him the way for a new life in which, after eight years, he could finally glance a small ray of hope that would close this chapter.

    “Because I know what it is to live with fear”. He said while placing his palm hand on her head, and gently caressing her with sympathy. “Also… I want you to kick those poor bastards butts the next time they dare to attack you”.

    Serena let out a small laugh before the way in which Clint had broken that atmosphere of seriousness using his crude sense of humor. And now that she thought about it, it seemed to be a characteristic of him: use an emotionless stand that turned him into an effective and dangerous force of nature, but that he could surprise and charm anyone after showing his gentle and amusing side that many found irresistible.

    She expected to see more of this in the near future as his apprentice.

    “Very well”, Serena said while smiling with a determined look after thinking it for a moment. “I accept your offer, Clint”.

    Her now new partner lifted his arm over his chest, closing his hand and forming a fist bump that he offered it at her, taking a couple of seconds before responding the gesture with a delicate clash of fists, and closing the deal in a not so conventional or serious way for someone who, in less than an hour, had threatened a strong woman like Palermo.

    “We are survivors, Serena”, he said. “It’s time for you to start acting like one”.

    Serena was deeply proud after hearing that word, as if she now belonged to a select group of people whose qualities were far more special than those of the normal folks, who could never comprehend. But then she remembered something very important that almost eluded her mind after accepting Clint’s proposal. “What about my friends?”

    “Just like you, they’ll have to take their own decision”. Clint responded, soothing Serena’s concern. “Though… I already know what the boy you deeply like is going to answer”. He said with a derisive laugh.

    Apparently, Serena had gotten used to everyone finding out about her most intimate secret, so this time her usual blush that turned her red did not seem to drive her crazy or make her stutter like a dumb girl.

    “You too, isn’t it?”, She sighed with an expression that denoted her resignation.

    “Too obvious”, he responded with a smile. “In fact, I have great expectations for him”.

    Serena sighed with relieve after confirming that Clint also had intentions to help the person she admired the most in the entire world.

    “Ash is incredible”.

    “We’ll see”. Clint said with a bit of skepticism. “Shall we go now?”

    Serena nodded, impatient for leaving this place and returning with her friends. “Do you think they’ll lend us their vehicle again after all of this?” She asked with concern.

    “Too slow”. Clint shook his head in one succession, rejecting the idea that had occurred to her. “Sevatar will take us there in less than an hour”.

    “Sevatar?” Serena repeated while she wondered who was he talking about.

    Clint searched in his jacket and pulled out a Pokéball that he opened in order the release another one of his loyal companions. A silhouette made of red light materialized while a winged and enormous figure was getting more evident in the same spot in which it had been released. At first, Serena distinguished two membranous wings that came out of a bipedal light violet-gray body with a long, powerful tail that ended with an arrow-tipped tail. Its fierce expression was complemented with a ridged snout with a gaping mouth and strong lower jaw full of serrated fangs.

    Once it was totally materialized, the creature emitted a powerful and primitive roar that could be heard in the entire palace.

    Serena had never seen one before, save that time in which she was younger and admired the fossil of the extinct Aerodactyl while she was visiting the nature history museum. She also remembered that the fierce expression of that Pokémon had scared her in that moment, and seeing it now produced her a mix feeling of intimidation and surprise after meeting an old acquaintance for the first time.

    Clint got close of his partner and petted its snout in order to appease and greet it after having kept it inside its pokéball for more than two days. Sevatar’s fierce expression disappeared as soon as it received its master care, spreading its wings and getting ready to depart whenever Clint commanded to.

    Another curious detail that caught Serena’s interest was that this Pokémon had some kind of saddle tied to its body, along a couple of leather reins that were attached to a bridle via a bit inside its jaw. Clint searched inside one of the compartments in the left side of the saddle and pulled out a couple of visors, some thick scarves and a thermic jacket for her.

    “Put this on”, Clint said, handing her the equipment he just pulled out. “We are traveling a bit more than six hundred miles per hour and I don’t want you to freeze. Especially when we arrive at Snowbelle City”.

    Serena took the equipment and proceeded to wear it as soon as possible. All of the sudden, a gentle and familiar interrupted the moment just before their departure.

    “So… are you leaving now?” Aria asked when she met them.

    Serena kept silence for some moments and nodded. “We have much to do”, she said without abandoning her serious expression.

    Aria returned the gesture with a weak smile and got close to the young man she had mistrust since the first time she saw him. Both exchanged an inquisitive gaze as if any of them was getting ready once more for an act of betrayal.

    “Here”, Aria said, stretching her arm in order to hand to him what it seemed to be a memory card.

    Clint took that object without looking away of the penetrating eyes of the young woman, and analyzed it for some seconds before Aria interrupted his moment of reflection.

    “It’s the information of any single person who had visited our facility since the order’s foundation”, Aria clarified. Perhaps was just her imagination, but she swore that a park of surprise had shone in the young man’s eyes after she revealed the information. “Palermo appreciates you for taking care of Serena, and wants you to remember that the offer stands until you consider it”.

    Clint kept the memory card in one of his pockets and, in such an unexpected as it was strange event, he stretched his palm hand as a show of gratitude. Now it was Aria the one who stared before the gesture of that intruder, still doubting of Clint’s intentions and sincerity. Nonetheless, and considering the bad feelings between both, she accepted the hand shake without stop seeing him with his usual mistrust.

    Then it was Serena’s turn, who still clenched her fist and pressed it against her chest. Deeply inside, she wished with all her might to forgive and embraced her once dear friend, but the recent events had smashed the sympathy and trust she had towards Aria. However, it did not matter how much Aria could pretend or the admirable act she gave every time they met. Serena was almost sure that her friend used a bit of her vital force every time they deal with the topic.

    And only a gesture of true sympathy could relieve some of her pain.

    Serena got close to her and gave her a sincere and strong hug that was received by a girl tormented with her own lies. For the first time since Serena’s tragic night, which felt like an eternity for her, Aria felt how her warmth managed to melt the glaciers created with the sadness and tension she could not contain any more without letting herself being dominated by the pain and affliction of betraying the most daring person to her.

    After some seconds like this, Serena abandoned her arms and got back to Clint’s side without saying anything else. She climbed the saddle, supported by a leather strap hung from it, and with her mentor’s help, she managed to take her place on the saddle. Clint placed himself behind her and took the reins, ready to depart in any moment.

    “Put on the googles now”, Clint ordered while doing the same.

    Once they were ready, Sevatar turned itself in order to find the perfect spot to take off without damaging the garden. It squatted down while extending its long wings, and with a powerful leap that provoked a gale of wind, it abandoned that palace of doubts and mysteries.

    Aria covered her eyes using her right arm until the gale had faded. She then watched the sky and could recognize a spot that was slowly getting lost in the horizon until she could not see it anymore.

    A war…

    She repeated while thinking in the completely altruistic gesture of Serena towards a person who did not deserve it.

    “I won’t let her harm you again, Serena”, Aria whispered. She breathed deeply and strongly pressed her chest while she returned to the palace, where she could finally sketch the first steps for a plan that would save them all

    . . . .

    It was unusual for a person in a profession like hers. But for Ellie, there were a few things she could not avoid but enjoy entirely; either eating a single yoghurt ice cream, participating in a fashion parade worthy of her tastes and skills as a professional model, or even her “double work” as an info collector for that special person for her. Even inside a world in which it was easy to be dominated by excesses and vices.

    Finding the balance between her personal life, a celebrity, as a gym leader and double agent was an exhausting job. However, she did not seem to show the signs of tiredness of a busy life in her beautiful face, or even her enviable figure. In fact, she enjoyed it.

    And that sexy motorized beast, adorned with lightning yellow details in the front fairings and side panels, was ready to be released from its prison in the dark warehouse where they had just arrived some minutes ago. It was one of the so many tastes that her job allowed her to have, besides one of the hobbies she had developed a great interest after meeting him. The one who, from now on, would need all the help she could offer.

    “Are you sure that you want to part from here?” Asked a male voice from the microphone located inside her helmet.

    “I just received a message to find him in Snowbelle city”, Ellie responded after pressing the button in her left wrist’s device.

    “At least we know that Clint is safe”.

    “For now…”, Ellie said with bad temper.

    The male voice chuckled. “Hit him for me, Ellie”.

    “That fool is the only one who can call me by that name, Surge”, Ellie corrected. “Though… that could change when I see him”.

    The male voice laughed even louder.

    “Well, good luck. Both will need it”

    Ellie pulled in the clutch lever with her left hand, and twisted the throttle using her right hand, allowing the motorized beast to roar with the typical metallic sound of a powerful engine about to be released.

    “Holy Arceus!”. Surge exclaimed from the other side of the line. “I can even hear the sexy sound of 1300 horse power from here!”

    “Wash your hands after hanging up, dear”, Ellie mocked.

    The warehouse door was slowly opened while the first sun rays highlighted the obsidian tones and yellow ornaments of the motorcycle, along the sexy and svelte female figure wearing black leather who drove that beast.

    In less than five seconds, Ellie abandoned that place at full speed like a beautiful and dangerous Valkyrie riding her steed to the battlefield.

  16. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    CHAPTER 13. Why can’t I hold all these girls?

    For such a passionate and dedicated trainer like Ash, a single day without a battle or training exercise with his Pokémon provoked in him an anxiety that went through his body and disconnected him from reality, keeping him troubled and almost completely irrational before any event that could stir up in the least expected moment. But almost two days were fulfilled, and the unbearable idea of not being able to fight side by side of his partners because of the instruction of an unknown guy who, additionally had taken his friend without explaining his real intentions, was becoming a powerful explosive that forced Ash to try and focus his thought in any other possible way.

    At first he considered going with Bonnie and explore the forest, looking for wild Pokémon to play with. An idea that a couple of days before had seemed gratifying for him, but now he just considered it too childish. Another possible distraction had been helping Clemont in one of his new inventions, but then he found out that, despite his “incident” with whatever was invading his mind, his friend’s endless technical chat seemed extremely boring. Instead, Ash wished to talk about some matters that now he could call mature or according to their age, but then he realized that he did not have an idea of what really meant having those chats with his pal.

    Feeling defeated and lost between the world of childhood that his friends represented, and the pre-adolescence one that he thought he belonged now, Ash let himself drop in the cold floor of the Pokémon center’s battlefield in order to think over the one thing that seemed to fill the void left by Pokémon battles and his dream of becoming a master: girls.

    “We’ve met many cuties... don’t you agree, Pikachu?”. Ash said while sighing with relieve. Pikachu bent its pointy ear, puzzled at its trainer’s weird attitude that he had shown since the puberty changes had molded this boy in a matter of days. “I hadn’t thought about until now, my friend. But had I known it before, maybe now I’d have a brides streak that would impress even Brock”. He laughed with a cunning face that showed some proud of his appeal, along with a mock toward his old travelling partner who seemed to fail in the romance he was looking for with passion.

    Besides, Ash was the only one, as far as he could discern among most of the trainers of his age who he had faced in his journey, in receiving at least two chick kisses by two pretty girls. Well, one of them technically had been a Pokémon with the ability of taking human shape, but… can Paul from Sinnoh brag about of the same thing? How many girls had left with their broken heart that cocky boy named Trip? Zero, possibly. And that without taking into account his current friend who seemed to suffer from a complete aversion toward the constant compromises in which his little sister was trying to engage him with.

    “I think I should send some messages to our friends, don’t you think, pal?” He asked while staring at Pikachu. “Who knows. I may even get more than one girl”. Ash burst in laughter while his yellow partner scratched its head and growled with certain modesty before the conceited attitude of its trainer.

    But he then quickly remembered that person who was now occupying the main spot of his thoughts, at least in the girl’s department of his head. Little after the beginning of his journey, she had introduced herself as a person without clear goals, save the one of meeting with the one she remembered from her childhood, and who had made a strong impression in her memories.
    Having been infected with the parasite could have been a traumatic event for him, along with an annoying burden that forced him to abandon Pokémon battles until that guy showed again. But despite this, Ash could not help but thank those new sensations and feelings that were guiding him into a new world of… pleasures, from which he was now aware of, and he was ready to take full advantage of.

    “All right, Pikachu!” He exclaimed at the same time he abandoned the frozen ground in a single, powerful jump. “Serena has shown so many hints that I should kick myself for not noticing before”. Pikachu crossed its arms over its body without leaving its gaze filled with skepticism and confusion before the words of its training.

    Ash smiled, entertained with his partner’s expression, and considering it as obtuse as he was before. "You’ll see! I was with Brock for so much time that I exactly know what I must NOT do!”

    Suddenly, a strange sound that resembled that of an object falling down from the sky interrupted that moment of litany with its powerful presence. Ash looked up at the sky, covering his front head using his palm hand so the sunrays could not impede his view, and looking for the responsible who produced that sound. But as soon as he had identified the Pokémen that was heading towards them at full speed, a tremendous force cleared up most of the snow covering the battle field that was used as an airstrip, unleashing an air bubble that even managed to push the nearby trees and vibrate the Pokémon center’s windows.

    Bonnie sheltered Dedenne and the strange green colored Pokémon inside her bag, while Clemont rushed toward his sister in order to protect her. Ash covered his face from the snow lifting his left arm, and commanded Pikachu to take on a battle position, jumping forwards and starting to emanate little yellow lightings from its red cheeks.

    The veil of snow cleared up, and a prehistoric winged creature revealed itself little by little in the landing spot. Pikachu’s lightning bolts intensified after responding with its instinct a probable threat that vanished as soon as a girl’s familiar voice greeted everyone gathered there with a cheer tone.

    “I’m back!”

    A smile illuminated Ash’s face after seeing her, who immediately went after her, along the rest of the traveling gang.

    “Are you ok?” Ash asked.

    Serena nodded and received the gesture with a smile, pleased of having reunited with her friends.

    “Everything went well thanks to Clint”, Serena responded while gazing at her mentor, who descended from his mount with skillful technique, and approaching the group of friends who were eager to receive them”.

    “Safely returned as I promised”, Clint said while removing the googles from his head and exchanged a slight, gentle smile with the rest of the kids who were still looking at him with distrust. However, it was Ash the first one to stretch his arms toward that guy as a token of appreciation for protecting one of the most important persons for him.

    “Thanks”. He said, smiling with the same style Clint had used before.

    Clint accepted the gesture and firmly shook And’s hand, thus marking the first step to a mutual trust and respect between both of them.

    “We have a lot to talk”, Clint assured and then he turned his gaze at the blonde boy with big, rounded glasses. “Sorry, I forgot your name”.

    “Uh… It’s Clemont”, he responded a bit discouraged after realizing that he did not seem to remember the name of the one who had knocked him down two days ago. Not to mention that since Clint and Serena had departed to wherever they went, he had dedicated most of his time to examine the weapon he had left in the forest.

    “Can I ask you a favor?”

    “Uh?” He exclaimed with surprise, but he immediately was interrupted with the cheering and childish voice of his little sister.

    “Look, brother! It’s an Aerodactyl!” Bonnie yelled while her sparkling eyes admired that prehistoric creature that made her remember certain ancient Pokémon who had mistaken her with its mother some weeks ago.

    “His name’s Sevatar”, Clint said while approaching to her.

    “It’s such a cool name!” She exclaimed.

    “Would you like to pet him?”

    “Really?!” She cheered with her little girl’s charm.

    Clint affectionately nodded. “Yeah, let me help you”.

    Ash and Clint stared with astonishment how that guy, the same one who just two days before seemed to possess nerves of steel and a cold personality in order to achieve his mysterious objectives, now fraternized so well with Bonnie; expression a care that only a close relative could show as he carried her and placed her on his shoulders so she could pet the fierce looking Pokémon’s head.

    “Surprised, guys?” Serena asked both of her partners, getting them out of their stagnation. “Appearances are deceptive. Don’t you think?”

    “In fact… yeah”, Ash finally responded. He got even more surprised after witnessing the same docile and friendly attitude shown by Aerodactyl, completely contrasting its intimidating look.

    “Well, it’s time to give a well-deserved rest to the loyal Sevatar”, Clint said while pulling out the pokéball from his chest and returning his partner inside it. Bonnie bid farewell to that Pokémon while gesturing with her palm hand, and then descending from Clint’s shoulders. Delighted of meeting with someone so tolerant and friendly towards her.

    “Thank you very much!” She exclaimed again with a broad smile and a slight blush in her cheeks.

    For Clemont, that fact was what he needed to place some of his trust in that strange guy. However, a person like him with a somewhat skeptical attitude could not draw conclusions hastily. For the time being, he assumed the hypothesis that, if his sister seemed to sympathize with him in such a short time, it was an indication that Clint did not possess bad intentions and could be trusted. He even seemed to have forgiven the fact that Clint had not remembered his name some minutes ago.

    “About that favor…”, Clemont said, drawing Clint’s attention. “What do you need?”

    Clint searched inside his pocket until he pulled out a piece of fold paper, which he delivered to the blond kid. He rapidly proceeded to unfold it in order to examine the content in detail. Once that he concluded with his analysis, a confused and not so satisfactory look ruled all his face, as if that petition represented more of a mystery than a true challenge for someone of his intellect.

    “You’ll see why”, Clint assured with a firm stare that Clemont could not ignore, nodding and accepting his strange petition.

    “What’s that, Clemon?” Ash asked filled with curiosity.

    “Patience, Ash”, Clint answered with a calm tone. “We still must wait a bit more for someone who will be vital in this operation”.

    A mild mechanical sound could be overheard from the place they were standing. Of the entire group, Clemont was the only one to pay special attention to guess correctly with the unmistakable roar of a powerful motorcycle approaching the Pokémon center at full speed. His eyes sparkled with excitement while speculations and predictions were carried out in his mind about the specifications that a machine like that one could possess, using as a reference the sound of the engine and calculating the approximate travelling speed of the motorcycle.

    All of the sudden, the rest of the group could finally envisage the vehicle breaking through the frozen road without giving itself towards the midday’s tranquility of a peaceful town. It then slightly turned left in order to take an intersection that lead it directly to the training field, and in just a matter of seconds, that obsidian motorbike adorned with yellow-lightning panels was a couple of meters away from the group and the young man who was waiting for her.

    “Who is it?” Serena asked filled with curiosity.

    “You will like Ellie”, Clint answered. “In fact, Ash already met her in one of his gym battles in Unova”.

    “Uh?” Ash exclaimed as confused as his yellow partner on his shoulder.

    The thin and clear snow cover caused by the sudden stop of the motorcycle slowly dissipated in order to reveal the slender feminine figure totally dressed up with black leather, still mounted over her motorized beast and turning her gaze, hidden with the yellow helmet, towards the group. She turned off the engine in order to give her mount a well-deserved rest, lowed the side stand and descended from the vehicle.

    Clint approached to her with a smile of relief in his face, expressing certain joy after seeing her again after weeks of harsh work and research. But all of the sudden, a little white Pokémon similar to a flying rodent posed in its trainer’s arm, jumped towards Clint with the cute and unmistakable squeak of an angry Pokémon.

    “Say hi, Emolga”, commanded that woman.

    Multiple sparks of yellow electricity appeared at the end of Emolga's tail while an orange-yellow orb of electrical energy emanated yellow electricity forms from the sparks. Emolga then jumped into the air and flipping forward, fired the orb from its tail at Clint, who let out a comical – and well deserved – scream of pain while the power of hundreds of volts ran through his body until he fell backwards to the ground.

    The gang witnessed such weird scene with certain bewilderment. However, Ash was already familiarized with this kind of incidents after having travelled for a long time along his yellow partner. And he knew very well when an electric attack denoted a sign of slight resentment and happiness towards another person.

    The woman of enviable figure proceeded to slowly remove her helmet while her hair softly fell over her shoulders, revealing a pretty familiar face of clear skin and seductive blue eyes that matched the dark tone of her hair. For someone who, according to Clint, Ash had already met before, he still found it difficult to recognize that woman from among the others he had met in his journey.

    “Auch…”, Clint whispered, trying to regain the control of his muscles, “… don’t you think that this was a bit excessive?””

    Elie crossed her arms over her chest and turned an accusative gaze at him while Emolga returned to its pokébal. “First you leave me without telling you a single word after discovering revealing news…”, she began. “Then you head into the lion’s den with little time to prepare a backup plan… and now you welcome me with that dumb, condescending face you know that I love…”. Ellie abandoned her serious look and mockingly smiled with an energy that illuminated her face. “Yes, I think you totally deserved it, dear”.

    “I-IT’S ELESA!” Serena exclaimed after some conjectures and diggings in her memory had finally the image of that famous model and gym leader of Univa who had inspired many of her designs while she prepared her performances. “The radiant beauty!” She yelled with the shriek of a fangirl who had just met one of her idols.

    Elesa laughed a bit and made a gesture of touching her delicate lips with her index finger towards Serena in order to indicate to hold her excitement. “You don’t want to cause a commotion of fans and paparazzi right here, do you?”

    “Ah, ¡it’s true!” Ash finally exclaimed. However, there was still something that did not coincide with the look of that gym leader he had met before. “I’m sorry, Elesa. I could not recognize you because of your haircut”.

    “Well, in my job it’s common to constantly change my style”, she responded with a gentle smile. “But look at you! You are now taller and mature than the last time!”

    Ash laughed, a bit embarrassed and pleasant of being noticed by an older and pretty woman-

    “Wow, you are so cute!” Bonnie pointed out while she approached to her in order to admire the traits of a professional model.

    “Thank you! So you are!” She responded with a warm gesture that made the youngest member of the group to blush.

    For Clemont, this moment represented one of the biggest and most intimate secrets she had kept with suspicion throughout all this time: Elesa had been one of the reasons he had decided to become a gym leader since the first time he saw her picture in a specialized magazine, engraving her face forever in his mind.

    Keeping in touch with the rest of gym leaders of different regions was something usual that was performed at least once a year in order to share experiences and new methods to encourage new challengers to improve their battle techniques. Nonetheless, and because of the tight schedule of a girl who also worked as a professional model, he had never been able to strike up with his crush. Something ironic and unusual for someone extremely shy with the so many girls his sister constantly tried to engage him into impossible marriage ties. However, using all his might to keep his composure was now vital in order to not act like a fool in front of her.

    “Hey! I know you!” Elesa said while approaching to him. “You are the electric gym leader of this region, aren’t you?”

    Clemont paralyzed after trying to engage in conversation with her. The single words that responded the gesture seemed to vanish in a weak whisper that came from his mind like a whiffle. To make things worse, the muscles of his face seemed to have atrophied, so the air that emanated from his lungs blew up his cheeks like two, big red balloons about to explode.

    Fortunately, Clint came to rescue, totally recovered of the shock he previously received, and anxious to carry on with the plan he had in mind.

    “Nice! We are now all an affectionate group!” He said with a sarcastic tone, “But we have to keep up with many things. Shall we enter now?”

    . . . .

    They sit around one of the many tables located in the farthest corners of the Pokémon center while an atmosphere of suspense was taking over the scene where some terrifying truths were about to be revealed.

    “Very well…”, Clint began while turning his gaze at Ash. “I think that the best way to start would be telling you exactly what I’m doing”. He deeply breathed and settled into his seat while the first words coming from his mouth caught the attention of the one gathered there. “I’m Clint, and a terrible event happened to me eight years ago in Kanto… the same thing that Serena experienced a couple of days ago…”

    Clint turned to the girl sitting next to him as if he indicated that it was her time to speak and be honest with the ones she appreciated the most, just as he had recommended to her while both were heading to Snowbelle city. Serena deeply breathed and, for the first time, the words flew without apparent difficulty or stammer that would have instead worried her friends with the traumatic event she had experienced.

    Actually, revealing the truth consumed every single drop of energy she possessed in order to not letting her be dominated by the memories and fear of becoming the victim of a sinister cult that pretended to kidnap her for a purpose that she ignored, but because of the members’ weird features, she could get a sick idea of what they had prepared for them.

    From the strange clothes used by the cultists, going through the initiation ritual that made her hallucinate with walls moving like gigantic Sevipers, along the chilling shrieks that seemed to proceed by the paints adorning the hall; and concluding with the cacophony of stimulating pain that exacerbated her senses. Serena concluded her story by giving a deep breath while the moving but wrathful eyes of her friends illuminated their faces. Specially for Ash, who clenched his fists with all his might after knowing that some unknown folks had almost broke the will of someone dear for him.

    “And you took her back with them?” Ash asked while staring at Clint with a look of resentment so unusual for someone like him, even managing to scare his loyal partner.

    Clint crossed his arms over his chest and with a severity unsuitable for someone who moments before seemed to be so fraternal, he responded with another question. “Would you rather let her be dominated by her fears?”

    There was some true behind that question. Despite his long record against criminal organizations, this group seemed to defy all the conventional methods he expected from a usual team “something”, with goals of world control using the power of a legendary Pokémon or any other massive destruction device. With this in mind, Ash was not entirely sure if returning to the same place where Serena had been almost kidnapped was the most appropriate method in order to overcome the fears for someone so young like her.

    “And what did you find there, Clint?” Elesa interrupted with the question that grieved her since his last phone call.

    It was then that Clint resumed the narration by telling them every single detail that had happened in the maiden’s palace. From the anecdote of the Order of the Maiden, whose ceremonies and rituals were carried out in the tower known as the Stairway to Heaven - trademark -, the alleged attack of an unknown and old cult in Serena’s initiation, the mythic Pokémon used as symbol of the Order, and the possible complicity of Palermo, supreme leader of this group who seemed to hide many more secrets than the ones she pretended to know.

    “In a nutshell… just half-truths and an interesting story we have to get to the bottom”, Clint concluded with a deep sigh. “Bu… we have a name, Ellie”. A weak spark in his eyes managed to catch the attention of Elesa while he coordinated his words with the true and fearful meaning of that name. “The Cult of Pleasure”.

    A shiver went down the spine of the group after discovering the name of the Cult that now turned into the biggest threat to defeat in that moment. Now that the league had been suspended indefinitely, Ash had resolved almost immediately to face and take the ones who dared to attack his friend down.

    “I think it’s enough for your little sister”, Clint said towards Clemont, who had not realized that Bonnie was tugging his overalls. “I wanted her to listen in order to have a notion of what’s going on, but I think I went a bit overboard”.

    “N-No! I-I’m brave!” Stuttered Bonnie while looking at her brother.

    “Clint’s right”, Clemont assured. “This is not appropriate for you, Bonnie”.

    “I can fight!”, Bonnie protested with a childish pout. “Besides, Dedenne and Squishy can help!”

    That weird and green-colored Pokémon caught Clint’s attention, who immediately gave a closer look at him in order to carefully observe that creature that he had already seen a while ago in some articles and ancient texts which described the nature and qualities of that legendary creature, but now forced him to ask himself what the hell it was alongside such little girl. Maybe… just maybe, he had found another rough diamond that could be useful for the cause.

    “All right then”, Clint said, surprising the people there with his approval. “She can be with us until we can figure out what to do now”.

    “Are you sure of this?” Clemont asked with incredulity.

    “Well, you are the big brother here, so… you have the last word”.

    Clemont thought about it for a while rubbing his chin in order to make it easier the flux of his ideas. On the one hand, exposing his sister to a danger that he could not entirely comprehend yet would mean a totally reproachable act as the one in charge of her security. On the other one, Clint seemed to not have any problem with Bonnie staying. Besides having shown his qualities as protector after taking care of Serena.

    “All right”, he sighed with defeat. “But at the first sign of danger, I’ll put you in the first flight to dad. Ok?”

    “Yay!” Bonnie yelled triumphant.

    With that brief pause finally resolved, Ash broke with the moment of happiness of the youngest member of their group with another query that had kept him awake and anxious since yesterday, costing him so much to be able to clear his mind of that dilemma.

    “This cleares many doubts I had, but you haven’t explained to me what this exactly relates with what happened to me”.

    Elesa turned her baffling gaze towards Clint, who suddenly remembered that there was still an unfortunate incident to be told, and whose consequences and effects had lead him to unveil a bit of the mystery that surrounded this Cult of Pleasure.

    “He was infected”. He said with a severe tone.

    The blue eyes that expressed Elesa’s complete serenity and self-control, all of the sudden were filled with the remorse and pity that only a person familiarized with the effects of that condition could prove. For Ash, he found that expression uncomfortable and annoying, as if all of the sudden he had caught a contagious and incurable disease that would change his life from now on.
    It was ironic how close he was to the truth.

    “Serena and I made a deal while before leaving that place”, Clint said without changing his severe tone. “And now it’s time for you to take….”

    “I’m in”, Ash responded without waiting for Clint to finish his offer.

    “Don’t be reckless, Ash”, Clint reprehended.

    “Help you find these guys, isn’t it?”

    “Not entirely”, he assured with annoyance. “Do you want to know why asked Clemont to keep you away from battles”

    Ash’s hasty expression was suddenly tamed with an enormous interest that cleared the bothers and frustration of his complete uncertainty about what was happening to him.

    “By the way…”, Serena interrupted trying to appease the strain of the moment, “… I don’t want to sound petulant, but why is Elesa helping you?”

    “Ah, yeah…”, Clint exclaimed with a sudden change of heart when broaching the subject he was eager to explain. “In my quest, I’ve found valuable allies who had helped me in countless of times…”

    “And I’m one of them…”, Elesa continued, happy that Serena had brought the subject. “Thanks to my many contacts in the media, I’ve managed to get large quantities of information that can be useful in Clint’s quest”.

    “And now that you mention it, Ellie”, Clint said while pulling out a memory card from his jacket. “The witch… I mean, Palermo gave us the profiles of everyone who had participated in one of her mad ceremonies”.

    Elesa contemplated that Little memory card with a glance of hope that she quickly erased from her face, due that what it would contain inside could very well a trap or erroneous information that would take them in other directions. They had to act with caution and keep themselves skeptical before anything that this information revealed to them.

    Clint took out his laptop, turning it on immediately and inserting the memory card in one of the device’s slots. He waited for some seconds so the antivirus program analyzed the vast quantity of files contained inside the memory, and once it concluded with zero risks of infection, he selected the main file found in the root.

    After fighting to control his emotions since the beginning of this talk, an intense shiver finally went down his spine while his left hand was gently held by Elesa, who shared his excitement before what could very well become the highest reference towards a new research that would finally put an end with the dark and twisted intentions of the Cult of Pleasure.

    However, what they saw in the screen was a bit disappointing.

    “What the heck is that?” Ash ascked after seeing hundreds of disorganized files with icons he could not discern.

    Clint slowly sighed with a smile that everyone gathered there found rather strange.

    “They are a just a bit messy, that’s all”, Clint claimed. “Time to use some of Bebe’s magic”.

    “Bebe?” Clemont asked while inquiring into his mind in order to find the memory of that person who seemed familiar to him, but he could not remember very well.

    “She’s in charge of the Pokémon storage system in Sinnoh”, Elesa explained. “A great hacker and friend”.

    Clint selected a program located in the computer’s main screen, in which he introduced some commands that gave as a result the appearance of a bar that was being slowly filled along a percentage number that specified the remaining time to finish.

    “Well, this will take a while”, Clint said while abandoning his seat and addressed to Clemont. “How long will you take to make what I asked?”

    “I’ll have it in a flash”, He claimed with a cocky smile.

    Clint nodded and then he approached to an impatient Ash who still asked himself about the moment when he was going to answer the question he asked before.

    “I’m sorry to make you wait, but there’s only one way to make you completely understand how your life is going to be from now on”.

    Clint’s severity had left him more anguished about his condition, as if the seriousness of the issue required a special approach that would take more time than what he was willing to accept.

    Ash was about to protest when, all of the sudden, Elesa left her spot and approached to Clint with a disapproving look that demonstrated a great dominance over the “pseudo-military” young man.

    “When was the list time you slept?” She asked with the same dominant and severe attitude Clint had previously used with the kids.

    Clint’s imperious attitude disappeared.

    “Oh, come on Ellie…”, he reacted as if he was a kid trying to get away with it, using absurd excuses. “My record is five days”.

    “And do I have to remind you that in THAT occasion you ended up acting as if you were a Spritzee?”

    This last revelation managed to steal a guffaw to every one of the boys gathered there, after imagine that the sever and manly Clint gracefully walked on tiptoes with serenity as if he were in a flower field.

    “Ok, ok, ok!” He protested with his face red with shame. “Geez!”

    “I’ll take care of explaining him”.

    “Very well…”, Clint said with a more approachable tone after considering that after three days without rest, a quick nap would renew him. “I think I’ll also need to take a shower for a change”.

    “Take your time”, Elesa said with a tender smile.

    “And pass that pillow to me, because…”, he whispered so the rest could not listen, “… you know that if you’re not there, I need to cuddle with something soft”.

    Once Elesa accomplished his absurd - though affectionate – demand, Clint gazed at the group before taking a well-deserved rest in one of the Pokémon center rooms.

    “See you later”. He said while raising his palm hand to say good bay and climb the stairs.

    Silence ruled the Pokémon center’s lobby once again, and Ash was eager to… whatever was going to happen with him.

    “Well…”, he said while playing with his hands impatiently as if he was trying to unravel the mystery Clint had referred. “Now what?”

    Elesa looked at him with a defiant smile that made his heart galloping after contemplating the beauty of her face.

    “As Clint would say… it’s time to learn in the most painful way possible”.

  17. Edmund Daltonic

    Edmund Daltonic Active Member

    CHAPTER 14. The monster inside me.

    Regardless the severity of the situation and the true intention of the exercise, Ash’s mind rambled in a verge of sensations and thoughts without paying the slightest attention to the specific instructions that Clemont recited to his friend while putting a device similar to an armband in his left wrist. The insatiable excitement of stepping on a battlefield again in order to face a trainer was like a panacea that invigorated his spirit, and managed to rescue him from the uncertainty that surrounded the new and precarious condition that his new allies pretended to explain to him.

    “Did you get it?” Clemont asked once he was done putting the device.

    “Eh… yeah, yeah”. Ash answered, condescending the instructions he had only heard like faltering words due his poor notice and wandering thoughts.

    “All right…”, Elesa said from the other side of the battlefield. “I hope you’re ready, Ash”.

    “I’m always ready!” He gave an energetic yell with a defiant look in his face.

    Elesa could not help but feel certain admiration for that kid who did not seem to be perturbed in the face of danger. However, and almost at the same time, a feeling of pity blocked the lovely smile she pretended to give to that boy.

    “Before that…”, she said while sliding the zipper of her black-leather jacket in order to reveal the seductive attributes that even managed to make Ash to forget the battle about to star for a short time.

    Besides the garment’s quality that a beautiful woman like her managed to exalt, along with her black top-tank that left uncover her long, slim neck and naked shoulders; the almost perfection distribution of flesh in her chest revealed the enviable constitution of a professional model committed to her work and care of her body.

    Not so far from there, certain honey-haired girl found herself dominated by a mix of admiration, along a bit of envy and jealousy that provoked a slight blush in her cheeks while holding hard the yellow rodent that was committed to her.

    “Do you know what’s dopamine?” Elesa asked, managing to pull Ash out from his lethargy before he drooled like a hungry Growlite.

    “Uh… excuse me?” He responded without the slightest aware of her question.

    Elesa smiled with certain satisfaction after provoking the kid. “Basically it’s a hormone in charge of all the sensations that produced pleasure and joy in us”, she explained while the rest of the group was also paying attentionto the gym leader’s words. “And that’s precisely what we are going to experiment in this battle”.

    Ash did not entirely understand the meaning of reason of that short introduction. But again, he considered unlikely that he could be able to understand anything else of what it is thought besides the end of primary school.

    “Did you already choose your Pokémon?” She asked again.

    “Of course!” He exclaimed with excitement.

    “Very well…”, she said while she pulled out a Pokéball from her belt. “Go, Ampharos!”

    The pokéball was thrown with vigor to the battlefield until it landed on the ground, releasing with a red-light flash spectacle, a cheerful but determined biped Pokémon who emitted lightning bolts from the tip of its tail.

    “Ampharos, uh?”, Ash reflected for a bit. “Then I choose you, Talonflame!”

    The gale bird was flown off from its pokéball with an impetus that spread all over the field, as a result of many days without having participated in a battle that would test its skills and loyalty to its trainer.

    “You are giving me the type advantage?” Elesa smiled with the bravery of her opponent. “I give you the first move, then”.

    “You’ll see!” Ash yelled with his characteristic passion. “Talonflame, use flame charge!”

    Orange-red flames outlined the falcon’s feathered body while it flew at full speed towards its adversary, who remained there without doing the slightest effort to prevent the attack to hit directly in his body, and pushing him some inches back.

    “Excellent!” Ash congratulated his partner. Now that Talonflame had performed a flame charge, the speed it had gained would help him to overcome the type disadvantage.

    “Do you think so?” Elesa smiled with a cocky face that perplexed Ash.

    Talonflame winced while yellow static electricity appeared around its body. It was then that Ash quickly realized that he had committed a mistake after commanding a physical attack against a Pokémon with the static ability, risking Talonflame to not be able to move throughout the battle.

    “Geez!” He blamed himself while he was trying to figure out how to get out of this situation.

    “My turn” Elesa said. “Ampharos, use thunder punch!”

    A yellow orb surrounded Ampharos's paw with electricity until it reached enough size to unleash all that power against the opponent, doing and amazing leap until he managed to arrive in scarce inches from his opponent.

    “Dodge with a freefall!” Ash commanded as humanly possible. Talonflame turned backwards until its head found itself right to the ground’s direction. Then, it gathered its wings and let itself fall in order to dodge the attack. Few inches before hitting the ground, Talonflame resumed its battle position, ready for whatever its opponent would throw at it.

    The maneuver was such prodigal that even managed to put Ampharos completely out of balance, totally confused with its adversary skills and as an easy target for direct attacks.
    Time seemed to run slower while a sensation shook Ash up with the greatest excitement he could remember in his career as a trainer, as if it was an igniting flame whose warmth could be perceived even in the hidden corners of his body, enhanced even more by two days without a single battle or training session with his Pokémon…

    A feast for the monster inside him.

    “Flame charge once more!” Ash commanded, expelling all his energy and excitement in the attack that, almost in synchrony with his Pokémon, would find a total failure and the beginning of what really meant to be infected.

    A small but sharp electric shock impacted inside his brain as if his yellow partner was living in his mind, attacking him all of the sudden in order to get him out of balance and divert his attention in the battle with that pain. The sequel of that sensation provoked him certain anguish and bother from which he tried to appease by scratching his nape, while Talonflame suffered with the same luck after finding itself paralyzed and unable to take the advantage of attacking its vulnerable opponent.

    Now Ampharos had already returned his position, waiting for its trainer’s orders.

    “Ampharos! Use power gem!”

    The jewel on Ampharos’ forehead glowed crimson red and it fired a pale pink beam of energy with a bright white energy around it from the jewel that hit directly at its opponent, taking it down from the air with a single attack.

    “Talonflame!” Ash yelled, shocked while anger was slowly taking him over.

    The fire hawk tried to get up, fighting against the paralysis that keep him from battling with his full capacity and the effects of a super effective attack.

    From the bench, Serena contemplated the battle climaz with concern while she asked herself why Elesa had not taken advantage of the moment in order to execute another attack that would end the combat with her victory. But then, she remembered that the main purpose of this battle was more important that a simple joust between trainers.

    “Come on, Talonflame! Return to the sky!”

    Ash’s encouragement made his partner to regain its balance and battle position little by little. Hurt and tired, but still with the will to conclude with a victory. Such was the display of fighting spirit, that it even managed to use the happiness and joy to fight as replacement of the boy’s anger.

    “Well done, Talonflame!” He shouted again. “Let’s show them!”

    Talonflame gave a thunderous and infectious cry that fueled the viewers’ spirits, retaking the flight and awaiting further orders from its trainer. Due his partner’s condition, Ash quickly came up with another of his efficient maneuvers with which he pretended to take control of the battle. And he had just found the perfect plan to do so.

    “Use double team!”

    Multiple copies of the winged Pokémon appeared until they covered the entire battlefield’s sky as if they were a flock of raptor birds watching their prey. And admirable feat, Elesa thought, but little effective.

    Ash would prove her wrong soon.

    “Now fly in circles!” Ash commanded while he stretched his arms and raised them to the air as if he orchestrated the movement of his “flock”. Suddenly, Ampharos found itself surrounded of its opponent copies, making it hard for the lamb Pokémon to hit the real Talonflame, and completely open to any attack.

    Elsa stared in shock after witnessing how Ash managed to overcome the obstacles using his creativity and will to fight. She could not help but smiling with astonishment at the kid’s maturity and skills he had gained since their match, both as in Pokémon battles as in his attitude facing these difficulties. She now could see why Clint had so many expectations in him.

    Ash, meanwhile, felt again that supernatural and indescribable excitement that overran him every time he was about to achieve victory. A pleasure he felt growing more and more as the seconds went by in slow motion. He just needed another move and he could conclude this harsh battle with his victory… but out of nowhere, another electric shock, more intense than the one before, had prevented him to command the last attack order.

    Precious seconds wasted while being in pain caused Talonflame to suffer once more the beatings that its condition demanded, completely paralyzing in the whirlwind unlike its copies, and becoming an easy target to hit.

    “Ampharos! Use thunder!” Elesa commanded while stretching her arm to indicate her Pokémon’s target.

    Her partner’s body glowed with the yellow shining of thousands of volts unleashed directly towards the real Talonflame, who could do nothing to prevent the powerful and super effective attack that took it down of the sky for the last time.

    Ash, still stunned, hurried in order to catch his downed Pokémon by using his arms as a rescue net. Once he thanked his partner’s enormous effort, he made him back inside its pokéball so he could rest a well deserve rest.

    “What the heck was that?!” He shouted angrily, allowing the anger to take the best of him while he glimpsed at the bracelet he blamed for his defeat. “This thing made me lost!”

    Elesa congratulated her Pokémon’s effort and retreated it in its pokéball while she approached towards the incensed and confused kid, giving him a sever look that expressed the seriousness of what she was going to say.

    “That thing just saved your life, Ash”.

    Ash remained silent and confused with the words Elesa had pronounced. Then, he was surrounded by his friend, who had gathered in order to listen carefully what Elsa pretended to explain.

    “What?” Ash exclaimed without understanding what she meant.

    Elesa took a deep breath and crossed her arms over her chest in order to finally reveal to him the real condition of what meant living with the parasite.

    “Do you know what is the limbic system?” She said while Ash shook his head. “It’s one part of the brain in charge of emotions, along other functions of the nervous system”.

    “It’s where the parasite lives, isn’t it?” Serena complemented, remembering what Clint had told them the day they met him.

    Elesa nodded and carried on her narration. “What this monster does is stimulate the limbic system, exacerbating your emotions until… well, you already know, don’t you?”

    Ash perfectly understood what Elesa was talking about. And of course, he did not want to experience that horrid sensation that tormented him for a matter of seconds that seemed to be hours of agony in that time. It was then that he could finally discern the main purpose of that bracelet he still blamed for his defeat.

    “This stops it, isn’t it?” He asked.

    Elesa closed her eyes as if she shared his pain and shook her head from side to side. “Not exactly”, she answered. “What we did was to divert your attention using pain. That prevents the parasite to still stimulating that part of your brain”.

    “Wait…”, he said, trying to digest what he had heard. “Do I have to live with this thing chocking me every time I feel joy or happiness?”

    Elesa changed her serious expression with a pitying look towards the boy she now admired, pretty conscious that the bad news had just began for him. “Not for now, Ash… But as time passes, that thing will not be enough”.

    A stare filled with horror seized him and his friend after seeing that the hopes of getting better were fading like a fire candle against the gale of despair.


    “The parasite is an organism that grows up with time, Ash”, Elesa responded with an even more serious tone. “It grows in size as its hunger, making stimuli more regular and abrupt”.

    “I… I don’t understand”, he whispered as he felt the nausea getting stronger with every second.

    “At first it will happen in intimate moments as it happened with you…”, she made a brief pause in order to take another breath and continue. “But then it will come in more simple expressions of affection like a kiss on the cheek, a Pokémon battle, and even the slightest touch with a person you care about”.

    Serena squeezed her fist against her chest while she saw how her beloved friend was dominated little by little with the complete discouragement that threatened to break his fighting spirit and optimistic personality she deeply admired.

    “And… but…”, Ash stuttered, trying to untangle the lump in his throat that had already formed because of the anguish against his greatest fear, and whose image was now manifesting in his mind. “How am I going to enjoy Pokémon battles?”

    Before the beginning of the battle, Elesa had already formed many scenarios in which she answered the question that, as she knew, would torment the kid for the rest of his life with the sad true. However, nothing had prepared her when she saw those eyes filled with uncertainty and fear, feeling a compassion she had never felt for another being since she met Clint.

    Without the possibility of answering the question of a tormented boy, another voice came from the backdoor of the Pokémon center with his usual severity and crude attitude.

    “You can’t, Ash”.

    Curious heads turned towards Clint, who had used some cold words not really subtle for a situation like this.

    “Ellie already told you what it means to live with that monster”, he said. “But you haven’t heard when things get really creepy”.

    “Clint…”, Elesa tried to interrupt, conscious that despite this was necessary for Ash to listen, another warning would end up completely vanquishing him.

    Clint made a gesture in order to calm her, and then stared directly to Ash’s eyes. “During my quest, I’ve seen both ways in which the parasite ends with you”.

    Clint pulled out the holocaster from his pocket in order to display a tridimensional image of a human brain that he pretended to use in order to illustrate his narration.

    “If you’re lucky, the parasite will unleash an intense discharge of dopamine that will end up frying your brain”, he said while the image showed how a sphere located in the hypothalamus grew up and emanated electric shocks all over the brain until it turned it off. “I’m not really sure, but if we have to believe in what modern neurology says, these last moments in which the brain receives so many stimuli at the same time will be extremely painful and strange…”, he said with a sarcastic smile in his face, “… until it leaves nothing but the shadow of what you used to be”.

    “Clint!” Elesa reprehended, snatching the holocaster from his hand and turning it off instantly. “What’s wrong with you?”

    “It’s ok…”, Ash responded, using the last drops of energies remaining in his body. “And the other one?”

    Clint nodded and resumed with his narration. “If that doesn’t put you in a coma… or kill you”, he made a brief pause. “…you will experience it over and over again until it does”.

    Clemont had already took Bonnie away from the group since Clint had met them, considering that this was enough for her… and for him too. However, it was his duty as Ash’s friend and group’s scientist to listen all the story in order to think what could be done.

    “Imagine living in a perpetual horror while your mind makes the best in order to exacerbate the same emotions that haunt you, feeding the parasite…” Clint hold his breath for a moment and shook his head as if that anecdote made him remember a dark fragment from his past, and he was trying to forget it in order to continue. “You will live sedate in an asylum… if you can call that living”.

    The nausea that Ash had bear for so long now were fighting back, almost provoking him to collapse that was prevented thanks to the fast intervention of Clint and Serena.

    “How...?” He tried to regain his strengths again, thanking the gently gesture of his friend for not letting him fall. “How am I going to help you then?”

    Clint stared after witnessing a reaction he did not expect.

    Even in the face of a deadly fate, Ash showed a complete compromise for the loyalty and security of his friends that beat any obstacle, regardless the severity and dangerous it was. This was the attitude and spirit that only a handful of people in the entire planet could count, capable of deciding the fate of uncountable lives and leading the world towards a real golden age.
    If Clint had doubts about him, these had extinguished almost completely, replaced by the duty of helping this kid to become the man and protector that he and everyone needed.

    “There’s a way”.

    A weak, but meaningful sparkle illuminated Ash and Serena’s eyes with the implicit hope in Clint’s words.

    “It’s a Pokémon battle style extremely difficult to master, especially for someone with your personality”, he said while smiling optimistically. “But if you do it…”

    “Will I be able to fight again?!” He exclaimed with his renewed energies and a happiness that illuminated his face.

    Some spittle had found their target in Clint’s face, who handed his palm hand over his face in order to clean it. Normally, this would have make Ash the proudly winner of Clint’s famous numbing blow, but after seeing the hope in the boy’s face, he decided to forget the rude gesture and go on.

    “Exactly”, he responded without leaving his smile. “And when we fix you, you can go back to your old self”.


    Ash yelled by jumping to the sky along his yellow partner, raising his right fist to the air as a sign of premature victory.

    But his joy did not long when another electric shock in his mind made him wince with pain, remembering that it was still early to celebrate. And meanwhile he had to learn to live with the parasite inside him, avoiding as possible those exaggerated displays of happiness.

    “The program has already loaded the files and they are ready for us to check”, Clint said while the group gathered.

    “Let’s see them, then”, Serena said, anxious to see the information given to them by the Order.

    The kids went ahead, leaving behind the adult couple in order to exchange some words before reaching them.

    “So… fix him, huh?” Elesa said with a sincere but skeptic smile.

    “We need a bit of hope; don’t you think?” Clint responded with an optimistic tone that did not denote sarcasm. Something strange in him.

    “Who would say that Ash’d manage to open you up a bit?”

    Clint chuckled before a fact he could not deny.

    “He’s naïve…”, he began while both headed inside the Pokémon center. “… but his will is admirable”.

    “The great Clint praising someone?” Elesa mocked.

    “He and Serena have an incredible potential”, Clint answered the irony that Elesa expressed. “Let’s see how the blondies can surprise us”.

    They entered and closed the door that accessed the battle field, anxious too of examine the data base with which they could plan the first steps in their quest against their greatest foe.



    Due my tight Schedule and future projects, the English version of this fic will take a well-deserved rest until further notice.

    This could change early if I find someone interested in translating the Spanish one (my native language). PM if you could lend me a hand!

    Until now, I hope you forgive me for this decision. But sometimes it’s just too much.

    SEE YOU!

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