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  1. #31
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game (Chapter 7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Flame Haze View Post
    Dang it I missed two chapters but I managed to catch up.

    Honestly if I can ask exactly what language does yehtki and yehtkira come from and the names for the nightmares too for that matter *can't remember their real names*
    Don't worry, even I have to go back and check what they're called sometimes. As for your question . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Me, earlier
    Actually, I broke from form here (I usually take any opportunity to use Gratuitous Foreign Languages in my fics) and simply, ah . . . well, I invented the first word, yehkti, or 'spirit/soul' from nowhere in particular. I believe there might have been some South/West Asian influence in there, but it's hard to say. The rest of the words built up from there. Yehktira was formed by giving it the -ra suffix, meaning 'bearer', and the 'na suffix formed a negative (hence Iehkti'na etc). So there are rules to this weird little language, but it's not something I plan on giving too much screentime to. I'm no Tolkien when it comes to making up languages.
    Other than that i liked the last chapters, kind reminds me of an idea I had a couple of months ago except mine didn't even have Pokemon. Anyway I wouldn't have expected for Elly to be the leader of the elders meaning that she's probably the oldest of the old or just more capable.
    Defying and denying expectations is just one of my favourite things to do.

    I kind of feel sorry for Ren because Elly's really violent towards him, especially considering he doesn't even wanna be there to begin with.
    I guess that's fair, though I think Ren's capable of handling the situation, to be honest.

    And yet another question Ren's the person with the most yehtki in Hoenn so what about the other champions.
    HA. HERE IT COMES AGAIN.

    You'll have to wait and see. :P It is somewhat crucial to the plot, so you'll have to forgive me for being unable to tell you now.
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  2. #32
    The Dimension Wizard Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Champion Game (Chapter 7)

    Actually I'm just glad that's going to be a plot point because I was wondering what the other Regions played in this.

    Next question....when are we seeing that Zangoose? xD

  3. #33
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game (Chapter 7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Flame Haze View Post
    Next question....when are we seeing that Zangoose? xD
    Chapter Ten. :3

    (See, this is the good thing about being eight chapters ahead :P)
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  4. #34
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 8 - Approval

    A/N: Warning - this chapter contains mild sexual references.

    Fillerrrrrr. Short chapterrrrrr. Sorrrry!



    Approval


    First, introductions,” Elly said calmly, ignoring Ren's flabbergasted expression. “Shall we start with the boys?” For a terrifying split second, Ren was reminded of his first teacher at school.

    Lucius Balthazar,” said the bald man cordially, nodding in Ren's direction with a smile. “It's a pleasure to meet you, yehktira.” He had a noticeable accent that rounded his vowels slightly and rolled his r's. Unsure whether he was allowed to speak yet, Ren nodded back respectfully.

    Bartholomew Elsin,” said the bearded man, his eyes seeming to pierce Ren's own. “Vice-head of the elders' council.”

    Ren expected Elly to skip her introduction, but she spoke up nonetheless. “Felicia Darkstorm, head of the council,” she said.

    My name is Salinthia Silverwood,” indicated the tall woman next to Elly. “And this is my sister-”

    I can introduce myself!” the girl with the green-gold hair snapped. “I'm Cecilia Silverwood,” she said to Ren, inclining her head gently. “As you heard, I am Salinthia's younger sister. It's truly a pleasure to meet you, new yehktira. Steven has told us all about you.”

    Introduce yourself to the council, yehktira.” Elly's voice rang out coolly.

    Ren fumbled awkwardly. Suddenly he was expected to speak? Oh well, he thought, resigning himself to the fact. Might as well make the best of it. “My name is Ren Goodwin,” he said, his voice ringing from the walls as he made his best effort to project it throughout the temple. “I am most honoured to make the acquaintance of the council of elders, and I hope to serve you well as your new yehktira.” He didn't know where the words came from – they sounded false, even to him – but the council seemed pleased. Bartholomew Elsin nodded appreciatively, and Salinthia Silverwood leaned over to whisper in Elly's ear.

    Elly bit her lip before speaking. “The council desires your pledge, Ren Goodwin. Will you, until such time as one arises who is stronger than you are, serve as our yehktira to the best of your ability?”

    Ren sensed that he was being given his last chance to turn away – as if he could at this point. Trembling slightly, he nonetheless stood upright and firmly declared, “I will.”

    And do the members of the council approve of the appointment of Ren Goodwin as the new yehktira?” Elly asked formally. “Let it be witnessed that he has been legitimately found to possess yehkti of a higher level than his predecessor, and as such he is qualified for the position.”

    Lucian Balthazar spoke up first. “I see he is ready to take on the position, and so I give my approval.”

    Ren couldn't help but shiver. This was all happening very fast, and he was almost asleep standing up to begin with. If he let himself relax, he sensed, he would collapse onto the cold marble floor.

    Ren Goodwin,” rumbled Elsin. “First I must know. Do you take on this position of your own free will, asserting you have not been coerced or in any other way influenced towards your decision?”

    Ren fought the urge to glance at Elly – Felicia, he corrected himself – keeping his eyes fixed on the big man. To be honest, once Elly had presented him with his choices, there was no real way he could have refused. He didn't like it, especially as it had been sprung on him so suddenly, but that was just how things were sometimes. Sometimes you have to make choices that determine the future at the drop of a hat, his father had once told him. Sometimes it's your own life, sometimes it's someone else's. But whatever the case, you have to take the choice that's best in the long term. Just because you don't think about it for as long doesn't make it any less important or more foolish.

    I made my choice of my own free will, sir,” Ren agreed. “I couldn't have refused in good conscience, anyway.” That much was true. As much as Ren wanted nothing to do with the whole affair, Elly had made it abundantly clear that the world was doomed if he refused. How could he have refused after that?

    In that case, I also submit my approval,” Elsin said, apparently satisfied. As Ren's eyes flicked over to Elly, he noticed that her cheeks were a little flushed, although none of the other elders seemed to have noticed.

    I, also, have no objections,” said the older of the two sisters after a few seconds' pause. “Felicia, what is your opinion?”

    I brought him here, so I have had ample time to consider his suitability for the position. I deem him capable, and so I also approve.”

    I noticed you were gone for quite a while,” Cecilia said slyly. “Surely it shouldn't take you too long to pick up one human? What took you so long?”

    I don't like your tone, Silverwood,” Elly said coldly, fixing the other girl with a glare that could have split rock.

    Alright, alright!” Cecilia said, raising her hands in a gesture of surrender that was quite at odds with the michievous grin on her face. “It's none of my business what you get up to with our yehktira while nobody's looking. If you want to sneak off and b-”

    While I do not share my sister's suspicions as such,” Salinthia cut in smoothly, “it is true that we were expecting your return earlier. Did something happen?”

    Ah . . . yes,” said Elly, blinking as if suddenly remembering. “The Iehkti'na found us. Three of them, and quite strong, too.”

    They shouldn't have been able to sense your presence,” Elsin rumbled, “provided you took the usual precautions.”

    Of course I did, Elsin,” Elly said. “But that means that it must have been Ren that they sensed, and that means-”

    We all know what it means, Felicia,” Balthazar interrupted her calmly. “We can discuss it later, however. For now, I believe all that remains is for one more person to give her approval. Miss Cecilia?”

    Ren had been watching with some confusion as the strange assortment of spirits in front of him rallied back and forth. Despite being hundreds of years old, there were a couple of them who certainly didn't act it.

    I don't have any problems with him,” Cecilia shrugged, eyeing Ren thoughtfully. He shivered involuntarily and looked back to Elly.

    Then it is done,” the black-haired girl said. “Ren Goodwin, you are officially our new yehktira.”

    I don't feel any different,” Ren commented.

    There's no physical change, moron,” Elly said, stepping down from her throne and approaching Ren. On either side, the other elders followed suit.

    So . . . now what?” he asked.

    Now, I think, you wake up,” Salinthia said gently. “That's probably quite enough excitement for one night.

    It can't be morning already!” Ren exclaimed.

    Time works differently here, boy,” Elsin said patiently. “There is no concurrent flow, no correspondence. The hour or so you have spent here took place in less than five minutes of your time.”

    What? That's impossible!” Ren protested.

    You should know better than to call anything impossible by now, yehktira,” Elsin said.

    That's right,” Elly said. “Nothing is impossible. Still . . . I'm sure you have many questions. For now, though, we shall return you to the first ring. From there, you'll wake up normally. Think about everything that's happened, and tomorrow we can discuss it further.”

    What, now? But I-”

    You're going,” said Elly firmly. “I know it's probably a lot for you to deal with, so take a day to have a break. Talk to Steven about if you like, or just, you know . . . think about it.”

    I'll take him back!” Cecilia offered brightly, suddenly appearing at his side. She had somehow managed to change into a short red dress that wouldn't have looked amiss on one a Nimbasa City catwalk. She had tied her voluminous hair back as well, and if it hadn't been for its unusual colour, she would have looked quite normal, albeit extremely pretty. “Elly's got some work to catch up on, I'm sure, seeing as she's been busy having fun with our little yehktira here.”

    Are you looking for a black eye?” Elly scowled.

    Ooh, I'm scared!” Cecilia giggled, hiding behind Ren and peeping over his shoulder. “Protect me from the crazy girl, Ren!”

    Ren sighed. “Are they usually like this?” he asked Elsin, who was watching with some amusement as the two girls continued hurling taunts at each other.

    Oh, whenever they're not on the job,” Elsin said. “I have no idea why, but as soon as they get off the thrones . . .”

    It's just a way to relieve stress,” Salinthia said with a benevolent smile. “Wouldn't you get a bit restless after seven hundred years on the council?”

    S-seven hundred years?” Ren's jaw dropped as he took another look around at the members of the council. None of them looked seven hundred years old – least of all Elly and Cecilia, who had both by now degenerated into helpless laughter. “You're kidding, right?”

    What, did you expect a bunch of creaky, wrinkled old folks?” Balthazar laughed. “Our appearance has not changed in centuries. There would be no reason for us to age like humans if we are not. Our existence permits us to live forever unless we are killed, yet what would be the point in that if we slowly became too decrepit to move? So we sit up on our thrones and speak of heavy things in heavy voices, but once we step down, we must enjoy life as much as we are able. The Iehkti'na cannot find us here, so our life is one of peace. Our only real concern is holding the worlds together, and that, of course, is why we need you.”

    You make it sound so simple,” Ren said quietly.

    Oh, it is,” Balthazar said genially. “You are like the glue that holds both worlds together. If we do not reapply the glue every night, then both worlds fall apart. It's as easy as that, yet it causes us so much strife. But you should leave now. This is a lot for you to take in, I'm sure, so you should return to your own world for now.”

    He's right!” Cecilia chimed in suddenly, breaking off her increasingly heated argument with Elly and slipping her arm casually through Ren's. “Shall we go?” Without waiting for a response, she lifted her hand and drew a circle in the air. Ren, realising what was about to happen, tried to step back but failed to escape the sonic shock that rippled through the air. He swore under his breath as Cecilia pulled him into the portal, but his words were snatched away from him by the sudden acceleration.

    With a thud and much creaking of springs, Ren landed back on the bed in his room. Cecilia was already standing by the window, seemingly engrossed by the view. “The human world is so pretty,” she said wistfully.

    Ren got to his feet and joined her, watching the waves sparkling at the bottom of the cliff and beyond. “I don't know about that,” he said. “Your world's pretty nice too.”

    Perhaps,” she admitted, “but you get a little tired of it before long. It's hardly changed in seven hundred years. You can't leave the city, because the Iehkti'na are out there. The barrier . . . the blue wall you would have seen as you came in? It keeps them out, prevents them from sensing us, but at the same time . . .”

    It keeps you in,” Ren said softly, completing her sentence.

    Cecilia smiled. “Yes . . . I'm glad you understand. Humans are so lucky. Even if their lives aren't as privileged as ours, they have freedom we don't. I'd rather spend eighty years in your world than a thousand in mine. You can go anywhere you want, do whatever you like. You can see a thousand places, meet a million people, each one individual and unique.”

    And in exchange, we get old and die,” Ren reminded her.

    Sounds like a fair trade to me,” Cecilia said. “What's the point of living for hundreds of years if you can't enjoy them? I've spent seven centuries on the council, and all I've done in that time is continue to protect the yehktira. Is there even any meaning in that? No offense, of course!”

    None taken,” Ren said charitably. “Well, I mean . . . man, I don't know, Cecilia.”

    I wouldn't expect you to know the answer to something I've been asking myself for hundreds of years,” she said, laughing, but there was a touch of bitterness in her voice. “I'm sorry. I'm being silly. I didn't come with you to complain. I came to mess with Elly's new boy-toy.”

    B-boy-toy?” Ren spluttered. “What are you talking about?”

    Aha, you're getting all red,” Cecilia said knowingly, prodding him in the chest with her index finger. “You two took sooo long to arrive before. Now 'fess up. What were the pair of you up to?”

    What do you mean, what were we 'up to'? We weren't 'up to' anything!”

    Uh-huh,” she said, clearly unconvinced. “You know what? I'm not buying Elly's story about the Iehkti'na appearing. They shouldn't have been able to find you, especially as it was your first time in the second ring. It usually takes them at least a few nights to get used to a new yehktira and start attacking in force. It was a pretty poor cover story, to be honest. So . . . ?” She left the question hanging in the air.

    Ren shifted uncomfortably. “So what?” he asked.

    How was she?” Cecilia asked with a mischievous smile.

    I don't know what you're talking about,” Ren said firmly, “and I really think I should be going back now.” Cecilia was beginning to make him uncomfortable.

    Oh, no . . . not until you give me the details! I'm not letting you go that easy.”

    You just want to tease her, don't you?” Ren sighed.

    So what if I do?” Cecilia pouted. “Come on, spill!”

    Nothing happened!” he insisted. “She brought me into the second ring and started to explain what was going on, but we were interrupted by three of those Iehkti'na things. After we killed them, she brought me into the third ring and essentially made me repeat everything she'd told me so far, just because she didn't think I was smart enough to remember it,” he recalled, somewhat miffed. “It wasn't until after that that she brought me to the council.”

    Hmm,” Cecilia droned flatly, not sounding terribly convinced. Abruptly, she danced back and sat down on Ren's bed, exhaling lightly through a thoughtfully twisted mouth. “At least your stories match . . . and that does sound like something she would do, but come on. I've never known Elly to be one to hold back. I mean, sure, you're a little younger than she normally goes for, but age doesn't really mean anything when you're seven hundred years old.” She kicked her legs absently, gazing at the ceiling as if it held some special interest for her.

    A sudden, disturbing thought struck Ren. “Hang on . . . she didn't . . . with Steven?” He found himself unable to complete the sentence, but Cecilia seemed to follow him well enough.

    Oh . . . are we jealous?” she cooed.

    Ren frowned, feeling his face heat up slightly. “Don't be absurd. I was just curious . . . no, you know what, forget it. I don't care anyway.”

    Steven was too stuffy for her. For me too, for that matter,” Cecilia sulked. Then she brightened considerably, a slightly predatory grin starting to form on her face. “You look fun, though,” she mused.

    Ren sighed and rolled his eyes. “Just send me back to the first ring, will you?” he asked hastily.

    Aw, am I making you uncomfortable, sweetie?” Cecilia teased. “Well, all right. If you don't want to talk about it.”

    There's nothing to talk about!” Ren reaffirmed. I'd rather take my chances spending the rest of my night with Afro Glameow, he decided in exasperation.

    Cecilia grinned. “All right, then. But if you ever do need to talk about it, you know where to find me. Or . . . I know where to find you,” she corrected herself as she drew another portal on Ren's bedroom wall – a silent one this time.

    That's reassuring and not at all creepy,” Ren said with a straight face, crossing the room to enter the portal.

    Of course. Now, look. Tomorrow night, when you go to sleep . . . one of us will be along. It'll most likely be one of the elders, but it might equally be someone you don't recognise. You'll be able to tell them from an Iehkti'na if that's the case, though, so don't worry. The horrible things can't talk.”

    Good to know,” said Ren.

    In all seriousness, Ren,” Cecilia said, “go back to your world and just take a day to get used to the idea. I know this seems huge right now, but it's your job whether you like it or not. Trust me, it's easier if you learn to like it.”

    You sound exactly like Steven,” Ren said, pausing with his hand an inch from the portal.

    If he said that, he probably stole it from me,” Cecilia said. “Say hello to him from me, by the way. He was a good yehktira, and I liked him, even if he was a bit . . .”

    Stuffy?” Ren suggested with a smile.

    Don't tell him I said that!” Cecilia warned him, grabbing his arm to prevent him from leaving. “Alright? Not a word.”

    Got it,” Ren said with a smile. “I'll see you tomorrow, then.”

    Maybe,” she said. “I might not get to the second ring tomorrow. We'll see. Have fun.” Swiftly, she leant forward and planted a kiss on his cheek before nudging him in the back so that he fell forwards. The instant he touched the portal, he was sucked into it, once again falling, out of control, down, ever downwards . . .

    Fwump. He's back in the candy maze. Afro Glameow hisses at him from the other side of an enormous lollipop before stalking round it to glare at him with sharp yellow eyes. “Ah,” Ren says awkwardly, the spot where Cecilia's lips touched him still tingling strangely. “Hello.”
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  5. #35
    Yeezy taught me The Booty Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game (Chapter 8)

    D'awww, brah, there's no need for you to feel bad about it being filler! It's still good!

    So, I see we're being introduced to the council. Quite a lively bunch, which makes me like them even more. I definitely feel sorry for them, since their lives are constantly occupied by keeping both worlds together securely, but at least they aren't stiffy about it and try to make the most of their situation.

    “In that case, I also submit my approval,” Elsin said, apparently satisfied. As Ren's eyes flicked over to Elly, he noticed that her cheeks were a little flushed, although none of the other elders seemed to have noticed.
    D'aaaaawwwww, quite adorable. ALL SHIPPERS ON DECK!

    Man, it's amazing just how different the view Cecilia has is compared to Ren. And given their circumstances, it makes perfect sense. Nice job on capturing that.

    All in all, still a good job. Don't feel too ashamed that it's filler. Although, I probably shouldn't be one to talk, seeing as how I tend to eat up whatever someone presents me with, I still think you're doing fine. Two chapters of filler isn't going to kill anyone, and considering how long you insinuate this fic is going to be, what with "Thirteen chapters is hardly the beginning" and all, I don't think it'll be too bad.
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

  6. #36
    The Dimension Wizard Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Champion Game (Chapter 8)

    We touched some mature content in this chapter didn't we xD and damn it I'm imagining it get out bad thoughts get out!

    Anyway even if you consider it filler I thought it was good, we got to hear the council talk a little more and I really like Cecelia's personality, which counters Elly's when you think a bout it well. Also what word was she gonna use before she was interrupted by the council the one that started with a B

    With this now I think Ren has more problems than just the Nightmares *still calling them that if you don't mind* and that's Cecilia's approaches to see if he's better than Steven in...you know...that xD

  7. #37
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game (Chapter 8)

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Gaddar View Post
    D'awww, brah, there's no need for you to feel bad about it being filler! It's still good!
    Phew. *wipes brow*

    So, I see we're being introduced to the council. Quite a lively bunch, which makes me like them even more. I definitely feel sorry for them, since their lives are constantly occupied by keeping both worlds together securely, but at least they aren't stiffy about it and try to make the most of their situation.
    haha, you said 'stiffy'Er-hem. Anyway, I'm glad you like them. The best part of writing non-human characters, for me, is how they act so differently to anyone from the 'real world'. They don't carry the same sensibilities as us. :)

    D'aaaaawwwww, quite adorable. ALL SHIPPERS ON DECK!
    Oh, heavens. Shippers at this stage? I think I've introduced, like, four possible love interests already XD

    Man, it's amazing just how different the view Cecilia has is compared to Ren. And given their circumstances, it makes perfect sense. Nice job on capturing that.
    Thank you very much. This is something that I really wanted to get across in this fic - the differences between two cultures and how they think of things.

    All in all, still a good job. Don't feel too ashamed that it's filler. Although, I probably shouldn't be one to talk, seeing as how I tend to eat up whatever someone presents me with, I still think you're doing fine. Two chapters of filler isn't going to kill anyone, and considering how long you insinuate this fic is going to be, what with "Thirteen chapters is hardly the beginning" and all, I don't think it'll be too bad.
    Speaking of such things, a quick update - chapter fifteen is done. I do hope to have this fic become a long-runner, and, well, signs point to yes. :) Thank you once again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Flame Haze View Post
    We touched some mature content in this chapter didn't we xD and damn it I'm imagining it get out bad thoughts get out!
    Ooh yes, you like imagining what Ren and Elly might have been doing in the long grass while nobody was watching, don't you? Mature content? I'm sure I have no idea what you mean!

    Anyway even if you consider it filler I thought it was good, we got to hear the council talk a little more and I really like Cecelia's personality, which counters Elly's when you think a bout it well. Also what word was she gonna use before she was interrupted by the council the one that started with a B
    Yeah, Cecilia is pretty much the Anti-Elly, which is kind of a necessary dynamic to have. If I let Elly run free, she'll take the story where she wants it to go, regardless of what I want. She needs a foil, and a better one than Ren. As for what the rest of that sentence was going to be, well . . . if I intended you to find out, I would have put it in the chapter in full. In other words . . . guess!

    With this now I think Ren has more problems than just the Nightmares *still calling them that if you don't mind* and that's Cecilia's approaches to see if he's better than Steven in...you know...that xD
    Well, we'll see if he ends up better than Steven in wait what the hell am I saying.

    Bleh, shippers! All the same, the lot of you! just kidding I love you all
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  8. #38
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Chapter Nine - I Think This Cat Has a Problem

    A/N: Welp, time for Chapter Nine. Ten will be out on Saturday. Not much to say here . . . looking over this again, it conflicts a little bit with things that happen later on in the story, but I suppose I shouldn't tell you that. >_> This one's not quite as filler-y as the last two, but there's still not too much going on. Still in the exposition stage, I'm afraid. This looks to be largely the end of it, though! :D


    I Think This Cat Has a Problem


    Advancing on him slowly, Afro Glameow yowls indignantly, seemingly furious at having its prey snatched away earlier.

    All right,” Ren sighs. “What's your problem? You want to eat me again? Come and try it.” He suddenly feels a lot braver than he did before.

    Afro Glameow hisses uncertainly, slowing its advance and eyeing Ren warily.

    Yeah, that's right. Sod off. I haven't got time to deal with you,” Ren tells it, stepping forward threateningly. His furry nemesis skitters backwards, but then rallies, slinking back and forth in front of him as it tries to judge whether or not he was a threat . . .

    Ah!” Ren sat up with a start. He was back in the hotel room, he realised momentarily. Struck by a sudden thought, he glanced over to the other bed, where Natasha's sleeping form was clearly visible. He breathed a sigh of relief and lay back down.

    The room was suffused with early-morning light that was doing its level best to fight its way past the heavy curtains. Ren allowed his head to sink back into the luxuriously puffy pillow with a sort of relief. It was nice to be back. He took a deep breath and let it out all at once, allowing his heart rate to return to normal.

    That was officially the strangest, most screwed up dream I have ever had, he decided. For a brief moment, he toyed with the notion that it had been just that – a dream. But it had been too real, too vivid to deny. He had to accept that it had actually happened, and as a result he had to accept the legacy that Steven had handed to him.

    It won't stop me from giving Steven an earful when I see him next, Ren thought wryly. He felt a little cheated that he had had such a responsibility thrust upon him without being told about it. While he understood that Steven could hardly have announced the existence of the world of dreams to every Trainer who challenged him, he couldn't help but feel a little resentful at not having been given any choice in the matter.

    As if reacting to his very thoughts, his Pokenav buzzed on the bedside table. Ren snatched it up and pressed the talk button. “Hello?” he said quietly, glancing across at his still-sleeping cousin.

    Good morning, Ren.”

    Arceus, Steven! Are you watching me?”

    No.” Steven sounded puzzled. “What are you talking about?”

    I literally woke up thirty seconds ago!” Ren hissed. “In any case, you still have a lot of explaining to do.”

    I see,” Steven said. “You had better come over here right away. Talk to the concierge, and he'll have a car brought round.”

    Fine,” Ren said, rolling his eyes. “See you when I ge-” The line went dead. Ren stared at it for a minute, but then simply shook his head in disgust and rolled out of bed to wake Natasha.

    Half an hour later, Ren found himself in Steven's 'conference room' again, Natasha once more left in the care of Katrina Stone. Ren yawned and looked at his watch again – still only quarter to seven in the morning. It was ridiculously early, and even though Ren had fallen asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow the previous evening, he was still somewhat tired. One part of his mind wondered if it was a side effect of the strenuous activity within the dream, but that shouldn't have had any bearing on his life in this world . . .

    Ren snorted as he listened to his subconscious ramble on. Here he was, less than eighteen hours after Steven had first hinted at the existence of the other world, and already he was taking it for granted, factoring it into his musings as if it was some kind of constant.

    Cecilia says hi,” he said at length, once he had realised that Steven was unwilling to break the silence between them.

    You didn't have any problems with her, did you?” Steven asked.

    Not particularly,” Ren said. “Why?”

    Oh, nothing really. She's a wise elder, and I've never seen anyone treat a wound like she can, but she's a terrible flirt.”

    Oh, that,” said Ren, waving it off uncomfortably. “I noticed.”

    Not bothering you, then?”

    Nope.”

    Good.”

    The two of them lapsed back into silence for a minute. Ren chewed his lip and stared absently at the ceiling as Steven fiddled with his cufflinks. He had lined up so many things he wanted to say to Steven before coming, but now, none of them seemed worth saying. Most of them appeared childish, even to the mind that had spawned them. Why didn't you tell me? It's not fair! I don't want to do this! You can't make me do it! In the privacy of his own head, he raged against Steven and everything he stood for, but he couldn't bring himself to say them. Most of them, he realised with a shock, were exactly the same as his protests against appearing on Hoenn Buzz the previous evening.

    Ugh, how could I have been so immature? he chastised himself. I must have sounded like a little kid!

    About the television appearance last night-” Steven said suddenly, but Ren cut him off.

    No. Don't even – no. I'm sorry about that fuss I raised. In hindsight, it was probably the worst way I could have reacted. I was immature and stupid, and I apologise. I wasn't thinking properly.”

    Steven smiled knowingly. “Funny how a night travelling between worlds affects one's world view, isn't it?”

    Huh? What do you mean?”

    Steven didn't reply immediately. Instead, he leaned back in his chair and focused on a spot on the wall. Ren followed his gaze, but there was nothing there except a stretch of plaster, much the same as the rest of the room. “Do you know why people like me, Ren?” he said at length.

    What?”

    I don't mean to be egotistical, but I've noticed it. So have you, I'm sure. I seem to get along with people a lot more easily than others.”

    I . . . guess you could say that,” Ren said. While Steven Stone was hardly a poster boy for friendliness and sociability, he had noticed a certain magnetism about the former Champion that was difficult to explain.

    I wasn't always that way,” Steven admitted. “Six years ago, before I became Champion, I was quite the opposite. It's not like I was a horrible person, but . . . I shut people out. I was polite where I needed to be, but I saw no reason to actively engage with other people. That changed the first time I put on the Dreamlight.” He fell silent once more, staring off into the middle distance with a look on his face that Ren would have called wistful if he didn't know better.

    It changed? How did it change?”

    It made me think,” Steven said simply, returning his attention to Ren. “I realised that there was something bigger than me, and that in turn brought me to the realisation that I was being petty. I said to myself: Steven, there's another world out there, full of people who would dearly love to have the freedom you do-”

    Cecilia gave you that speech too, huh?” Ren said. Somehow he was unsurprised. “But yeah, I follow you. She's right.”

    That was when I decided I was going to make the most of my life,” Steven says. “Call it corny, or cheesy, or whatever food-related idiom you desire, but I figured I was going to live every day to the fullest. That, Ren, is what I was talking about when I said the Champion had to be accessible. It's a bit of a jump, but it's essentially the same thing. The way I see it, there's no reason for you not to go along with the whole publicity deal.”

    Ren frowned. “You don't need to convince me. I've resigned myself to that. Hell, I've resigned myself to everything. At first, I was a bit put out, understandably, but . . . after thinking it all over for a while . . . I haven't got a choice. But anyway, I'm pretty content to go with the flow for a while.” Being back in the real world was refreshing, Ren realised, and Salinthia had probably been right to suggest he return to think about it. His mind worked more clearly, and it wasn't such a terrifying prospect any more.

    Are you sure?” Steven said worriedly. “It's a dangerous job, being the yehktira. Every night you get pulled into the second ring, and you can't leave until all of the nightmares have been destroyed. If you leave just one alive, it'll follow you back to the first ring and out into our world, so you can't take the chance. It's not like you can just put in an appearance and then leave. You know that, right?”

    Well, I'd kind of figured as much,” Ren said, shrugging. “But that's fine. The spirits will protect me, after all. And I certainly handled that one last night pretty well, if I do say so myse-”

    What? The nightmares came last night?” Steven said sharply. “They shouldn't have been-”

    -able to sense my yehkti, I know. I heard,” Ren finished. “Whatever the case, they were there and they were nasty. Elly and I dealt with them, though.”

    Elly?” Steven said, apparently not recognising the name.

    Um . . . Elly? Felicia 'Elly' Darkstorm, head of the council of elders?”

    Felicia . . . I never heard her refer to herself as Elly. Nor did anyone else, for that matter. How strange.”

    Perhaps it's just a phase,” Ren suggested. “For all we know, she changes it every time there's a new yehktira.”

    They're . . . strange beings,” Steven said. “I want you to be careful, Ren. They're very old, and very wise, but living for so long has driven them slightly mad, I fear. They will not harm you – of course, you are the only thing holding their world together, as well as our own – but you cannot rely on them. They will protect you with their lives, of course, but . . . they work in strange ways. They are fickle, and while their dedication to keeping you alive may never waver, they are certainly more than capable of making your life hell if you offend them.”

    Speaking from experience, are you?” Ren asked, smiling amusedly as Steven averted his eyes.

    Yes, I am,” he admitted quietly. “To this day, I don't know what I did, but there was a period of a month or two where they were as cold as ice with me. It didn't make for pleasant dreams.”

    Do you know what happens if the yehktira does die?” Ren asked suddenly, voicing something that had been on his mind ever since he woke up. “Surely it's happened at least once.”

    Steven shook his head. “No. In fact, until relatively recently, being the yehktira was not much of a risk at all. About twenty years ago, I hear, the nightmares were little more than an annoyance. The purpose of the yehktira was only to step into the second ring every night and refresh the bonds holding the world together. The nightmares, when they did appear, were easily dealt with; they were small, weak creatures.”

    So why the change?”

    I don't know. I don't even know if the elders know, but if they do, they never told me. From what I heard, there are massively powerful nightmares in the third ring, but they can't get through into the second ring for some reason. It's these things which the spirits are hiding from in their little forest glade, by the way. But only the little ones, apparently, could get through and plague the second ring. Even in the six years that I've been yehktira, I've seen the average size of the nightmares grow and grow. If it keeps up, they're going to be impossible to deal with.”

    Ren sat and absorbed this information for a minute. It certainly didn't bode well for his future as yehktira, that was for sure. He was just starting to reconsider his acceptance of the role when his Pokenav chimed loudly from his pocket. “Ah – is it alright if I answer this?” he asked guiltily.

    Steven nodded. “Go ahead. It's probably important.”

    Ren couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not, but answered the call anyway. “Hello?”

    Good morning, Ren.”

    Ah, Uncle Roger. How are you? How's the holiday going? You can't be done already.”

    Well, actually . . . about that, ah, I kind of made a mistake with the bookings,” Roger admitted bashfully.

    I see,” Ren said, rolling his eyes.

    So, um, we had to check into a motel with a very early check-out time. We're about to get on a train back to Slateport. Where are you at?”

    I'm still in Rustboro,” Ren said. “Natasha's doing fine, by the way. She's a little quieter than usual, but she seems to be having fun. But never mind that – what sort of motel makes you check out at-” - he glanced at his watch - “seven o'clock in the morning?”

    A very, very cheap one,” Roger said. “Listen, what are your plans for the rest of the day? Are you able to meet us back in Slateport, or will we have to come and pick Natasha up from there?”

    I'm not sure,” Ren said. “Let me check.” He covered the mouthpiece and addressed Steven. “Can I go home after this?”

    I don't see why not,” Steven shrugged. “I don't have much more to tell you that you can't hear from Felicia or the others.”

    Yeah, I can be there,” Ren said. “Natasha and I'll catch the midday express, so we should be in at about one thirty, I think.”

    All right, Ren. Thank you again for taking care of our little girl.”

    It's not a problem, Uncle Roger,” Ren said. “She's been good. All right, I'll see you this afternoon.”

    Tally ho!” his uncle chuckled with slightly more enthusiasm than was strictly necessary before hanging up.

    What sort of secret conference room gets Pokenav reception?” Ren asked directly, raising an eyebrow at Steven. “I could have set this thing to record and broadcast our conversation live to anyone I wanted to.”

    Good point,” said Steven, frowning worriedly. “I really don't know what my father was thinking . . . but considering his company invented the things, I imagine he'd have some sort of coverage against them. Still, that doesn't matter. Do you have anything else you wanted to ask? I imagine you do.”

    Actually . . . no,” Ren decided. “I think the best thing to do would be to let the rest of it come as it comes. Besides, I don't have anything to ask you that I couldn't just bug Elly with later.”

    You almost make it sound like you enjoy annoying her.”

    I could get used to it,” Ren said. “She reacts interestingly when you piss her off – which is remarkably easy to do.”

    A slight smirk twitched at the corner of Steven's mouth. “You're a canny one, Ren.”

    I do my best. But I really should be going – I want to go and visit Roxanne at the Gym before we catch the train. Maybe we'll even have time for a battle.”

    I suppose that's fair enough. Are you feeling restless from the lack of battling? It's only been three days.”

    Yeah, but I've spent the last five years of my life battling several times a day. It feels weird to go for even a day or two without a good battle. I've hardly even let my Pokemon out, let alone used them.”

    All right,” Steven nodded. “Here's what we'll do. Go over to the Gym now – you might be able to catch Roxanne before the first challenger of the day appears. Then catch that express back to Slateport, and do whatever you like for a few days. You'll be going to the world of dreams every night, of course, so take it easy. On Thursday, there's a Pokemon Contest on in Mauville City that I think you might be interested in.”

    A Contest?” Ren asked, frowning dismissively. “I don't really like Contests, so I'd rather not go. Unless . . .” he said slowly, catching the look in Steven's eye, “this is one of those publicity things you were talking about?”

    You're learning,” Steven said, nodding. “The Champion is not just a representative of Pokemon battling – he needs to be an ambassador for all those who work with Pokemon. Showing up at a Contest or two will aid that image. And besides, it won't be all bad. Bella's going to be there, if I remember rightly.”

    What, competing? I didn't know she was a Coordinator.”

    No, she's not. She'll just be watching. I was going to go along with her, but I've got business to take care of. Think you can stand in for me?”

    Sure, I guess. So, Thursday in Mauville, huh? I can be there.” Inwardly, Ren sighed. It didn't look like he was going to be able to spend that month at home with his mother after all. He'd just have to settle for being there as much as he could. He was determined to at least spend his birthday at home the following week.

    Thanks. I think Bella's quite fond of you, Ren.”

    Wh-what?”

    Oh, don't look so frazzled,” Steven chuckled. “You know what I mean. In any case, this works just fine. I suddenly have somewhere I need to be.”

    Ren hadn't even noticed that the ex-Champion had been checking his phone under the table. “What, at seven in the morning?”

    Yes,” Steven said somewhat ruefully. “It seems that since I stepped down, I've suddenly become the most popular man alive. Strange how that works. Yet still, I must leave. Apparently, it's urgent.” He stood and pushed his chair back, reaching out to shake Ren's hand.

    Ren took it, slightly confused. “Um . . .”

    Best of luck, Champion,” Steven said sombrely. “I know you have inherited a heavy burden, but I think you can handle it. We may not have the opportunity to meet like this for a while – I get the feeling both of us are about to be even busier than we ever thought was possible. I'll put my old PR team at the League in touch with you, and they'll help you organise the Champion side of things. But of course, the yehktira side . . . must be revealed to nobody, regardless of how much you trust them. All right?”

    I got it,” Ren said. He did, strangely. He knew he should, by all rights, still be freaking out. It was entirely possible that he was just in shock, but he didn't think so. He saw things with a strange clarity that he had not experienced before. “I got it,” he repeated, almost as much for his own benefit as it was for Steven's.

    It had been true what he said, Ren reflected as he retrieved Natasha from Katrina Stone again. He did want to go and battle someone all of a sudden. The main reason, though, was that he wanted something else to take his mind off what had happened over just the last twenty-four hours.

    Are we going home now, Ren?” Natasha asked as they stepped out of the Devon Corporation building.

    Ren shook his head. “Not yet, 'Tash. We're going to see Roxanne first.”

    You mean your girlfriend?”

    Ren sighed. There was no real point in arguing – he knew Natasha wouldn't listen – but at the same time he didn't really want to leave it open. “No, she's not my girlfriend,” he said, hoping he could leave it at that. “Now, Steven said he'd call a car around . . . oh.”

    A large, now-familiar black car was parked right in front of them, the driver standing to attention beside the open door. “To the Rustboro Gym, Master Ren?” he asked with an indulgent smile.

    Ah . . . yes,” Ren said, ushering Natasha into the car and putting one leg in after her. “Thank you.”

    Of course, sir,” the driver said, closing the door behind Ren. A few moments later, the engine purred into life and they pulled out into traffic.

    So, how did you get a Gym Leader to be your girlfriend?” Natasha asked. Ren sighed. This was going to be a long trip.
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  9. #39
    Yeezy taught me The Booty Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game {Chapter 9}

    Well, now, things seem to have gone back to the more serious side of things.

    I will have to concede at this point that not a whole lot of meaningful stuff is happening, except for maybe foreshadowing that I'm missing and set-up. Still, everything's spot on.

    I love seeing Ren face off against Afro Glameow with all that confidence he got from just one battle against those creatures. Maybe he won't be bothered by it anymore.

    And wow, looks like the "old" folks weren't kidding. Everything seems so much simpler for Ren to digest now that he's awake. Funny how easily they can figure out the best remedy for his head despite contrasting views on life. Impressive.

    All in all, it's a lull, but hey, if you say you're near the end of it, then I'm pretty sure you are. Looking forward to how the rest of Ren's day plays out.
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

  10. #40
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Chapter Ten - Stone War

    A/N: THINGS AND STUFF, THINGS AND STUFF. Back to the action here, although ironically, this is my shortest chapter to date, including all those up to fifteen. Also, this appears to be where I run out of chapter headers. Whoops. I'll do some more when I have time. When I'm properly awake, that is. Enjoy! Because this is so short, I actually think I'll post Chapter Eleven when I get up in about eight hours. Otherwise I feel like I'm cheating you a bit.

    Chapter Ten
    War of Stone


    Thankfully, the car arrived at the Rustboro Gym in record time, sliding into the carpark barely ten minutes after it had left Devon. Of course, this meant that Ren still had to endure ten minutes of teasing and awkward questions from his younger cousin. He was quite glad to step out of the car.

    The driver offered to wait for them, but Ren demurred; the train station was only a block or two away. Once the car had left, Ren turned to face the Rustboro Gym and the memories came flooding back.

    The building was fashioned after a large chunk of brown rock, with broken spires and chunks of stone pointing off in strange directions. It looked to be about two stories tall, though Ren knew that inside it was just one huge space. It sat on its own section, somewhat dwarfed by the heavy commercial buildings on either side but still managing to stand out and look quite imposing.

    It had looked far scarier when he had first turned up three years ago. He had only had two badges then, and his Pokemon team had been much less experienced. The building had seemed to grow larger as he had walked towards it; so much so, in fact, that he had gotten dizzy looking up at it from in front of the door and needed to sit down.

    He felt no such compulsion now as he strode towards the red double doors, feet crunching on the gravel. At his approach, the doors groaned open automatically, making him pause for a moment. They hadn't done that before. Nevertheless, Ren stepped inside, making sure that Natasha was with him before the doors closed.

    Inside, Ren found himself in a familiar foyer. Surprisingly modern and chic compared to the rough outside of the Gym, it was spacious and comfortable, lit with soft uplights placed around the walls. A young man sat behind a desk at the back of the room, next to the door that led to the battlefield. He looked up as the doors closed behind Ren, and his eyes went wide. “Master Goodwin, sir! The new Champion!” he exclaimed, hurrying out from behind his deck to approach Ren. “Is that you?”

    I'm pretty sure it is,” Ren said. “Is Roxanne around?”

    Not yet, but she's due any minute to do the standard daily checks before she goes off to teach her class.”

    Ren frowned. “Isn't it Sunday?”

    Yes, but she is handling a weekend class of older students. The class doesn't begin until nine thirty, though, so you should have time for . . . er. What is it you're here for, anyway?”

    I'd like a battle,” Ren grinned. “Is that allowed?”

    I . . . think so. There's nothing in the rules about it,” Roxanne's secretary muttered anxiously, shuffling quickly over to his desk and digging through a stack of important-looking papers with all the care one would have afforded a pile of dead leaves. “I guess you'd have to ask Miss Roxanne when she arrives,” he said. “It is, after all, ultimately up to her whether she wants to battle.”

    Of course,” Ren agreed. “I'll wait. But in the meantime, do you have some water? I'm parched.”

    Ah, of course, sir,” the secretary said awkwardly. “I'll just, uh, go and find some.” He backed out of the room through a side door, nodding his head in Ren's direction.

    Ren sighed and flopped down onto one of a row of red plastic chairs that had been lined up against the wall, patting the one next to him. “C'mon, 'Tash. Sit down for a few minutes.”

    This is fun, Ren! Are you gonna battle your girlfriend now?”

    Ren sighed again. “I already told you, she's not my girlfriend.”

    Won't she get mad and break up with you if you beat her?” Natasha asked, ignoring what Ren had said.

    That's not an issue because she's not my girlfriend,” Ren said through gritted teeth.

    Sure,” Natasha smirked.

    Ren felt she was going to say something else, but he was spared by the front door of the Gym grinding open again. He stood up quickly. “Roxanne?”

    The Gym Leader blinked in confusion. “R-Ren?”

    Hey,” he said, suddenly devoid of words for some reason.

    What are you doing here?”

    Why else does a Trainer come to a Gym?” he asked. “Got time for a battle?”

    I – yes. Yes, of course.” Roxanne smiled. “Just, um . . . give me five minutes, would you? I have to check on my Pokemon.”

    Of course,” Ren said, sitting down again as Roxanne hurried towards the door her secretary had gone through just moments before.

    She's totally into you,” Natasha advised him, nodding sagely.

    Oh, give it a rest. She's, like, two years older than me or something anyway.”

    That doesn't mean anything these days,” Natasha said dismissively.

    What sort of TV programs have you been watching?” Ren asked in disgust, poking her in the ribs. “You haven't been watching the gossip channel again, have you?”

    Natasha squeaked and wriggled away from his finger. “No, I haven't! But come on, you big dummy. I can tell she likes you.”

    That's not true,” Ren said. “Could you please not talk about it, anyway? Especially in front of her?”

    Ooh, what's that? Ren doesn't want to be embarrassed in front of his girlfriend?” Natasha giggled.

    Ren stared at her for a moment. “You know, you're a lot different to how you used to be,” he said. “You're still completely mad, but you've grown up a bit.”

    I try,” she said. “You've can't call me mad, though, Mr. Run-away-from-home-to-be-a-Trainer!”

    I didn't run away from home!” Ren protested.

    You might as well have,” Natasha sulked. “You just left all of a sudden. I thought you were coming back!”

    I did! I'm back now, aren't I?”

    Sort of. But it took you five years. I was lonely.”

    Ren didn't really know quite what to say to that, so he fell silent and watched a clock on the opposite wall, listening to its soft ticking while he thought about what his cousin had said.

    It was true, of course, that he had left very suddenly. It had been less than a week after his tenth birthday when he had packed up his things and set out. He hadn't wasted any time, that was for sure. He hadn't wanted to. Sometimes, he had decided, things just had to be done, and for him, that was . . . of course. Champion.

    And now he'd done it. He imagined that he would be able to spend some more time at home, of course, but . . . it wouldn't be nearly as much as he would like. It was strange, really. He had set out just short of five years ago, full of the desire for adventure, but now . . . now, somehow, all he really wanted was to stay at home.

    No. That wasn't what he'd come here for today, he reminded himself. He was here to battle. Hopefully it would clear his head a little, but even if it didn't, it would be good to stretch his battling muscles again. The last battle he had participated in had been the deciding battle at the Pokemon League. It had only been three days ago, but he hadn't gone so long without a battle for years.

    At length, Roxanne reappeared. “All right, I'm done. Come through to the battlefield.”

    Ren rose silently, following her through the large door and down a spacious hallway. As he walked, the walls turned to stone, growing rougher and rougher as they did so. Ren smiled slightly. When he had first arrived here to challenge Roxanne for the Stone Badge, this hallway had been almost as intimidating as the facade of the building itself. Now, it was . . . just another hallway.

    Another set of double doors opened at the end of the passage, letting light spill through into the dimly-lit corridor. Roxanne paused in the doorway and turned slightly towards him, a half-smile visible on her face. “Welcome to the Rustboro Gym, challenger,” she said, before turning back and stepping onto the battlefield.

    A grin starting to form on his own face, Ren followed her through, automatically making a beeline for the challenger's box at the near end of the battlefield. The field itself looked much the same as he remembered. A white rectangle, painted on the ground, filled with rocks and coarse dirt. Another line bisected it neatly, with a large circle sitting right in the middle. To either side, empty stands rose over a full storey high, row after row of yellow seats stretching towards the ceiling. Out of the corner of his eyes, Ren noticed Natasha tiptoeing into the battlefield behind them and securing herself a front-row seat.

    Roxanne took up her position at the opposite end of the battlefield. “This takes me back,” she said. “Ever since that day, I've been looking forward to having you in my Gym again. It took you three years, but you made it back eventually.”

    I came as quickly as I could,” Ren said, drawing a smile from Roxanne.

    We don't have much time now, though,” she said. “It'll have to be a one on one match. Does that sound all right?”

    Sure,” Ren said, digging through his backpack for a Poke Ball.

    Blind choice,” Roxanne said, drawing a Poke Ball from her pocket and showing it to him. “Both Trainers must choose their Pokemon before either is released. All right?”

    That sounds fair,” Ren agreed, making his choice and dropping the bag behind him. “Just out of interest . . . what happens if I lose? Not that I plan to, or anything.”

    It's not an official challenge,” Roxanne reassured him. “Nothing happens. But to be perfectly honest, I only expect this battle to go one way. It was three whole years ago when we last battled, and you did very well even then. I can tell your team has gone from strength to strength since.”

    Fair enough,” Ren said, thumbing the release switch. In a flash of red light, his oldest partner materialised before him. “I choose Zangoose, then.” The bipedal Pokemon flexed its lethal black claws experimentally, clearly glad to have been released. Its fur was a glossy white, save for a diagonal slash of orange across its belly and a matching one across its face that gave it a somewhat demonic appearance. Its hands were a deep orange colour up to the wrists, and its fierce red eyes glared down the battlefield at Roxanne, awaiting the appearance of her Pokemon.

    Hm! A poor choice, Ren,” Roxanne chastised him. “You didn't forget that my Gym specialises in Rock-types, did you?”

    You didn't think I was that stupid, did you?” Ren countered with a smile. His heartbeat was already starting to speed up again. This was it. This was what he lived for. “Zangoose might have the type disadvantage, but I think we'll manage.”

    All right, suit yourself. Then I'll choose Golem!” With a crack, Roxanne's Poke Ball exploded into a shower of red light that quickly coalesced into a huge, ball-shaped Pokemon with short, stubby limbs and skin made of large, thick plates of rock. A small, lizard-like head glowered out from a gap in the armour as it growled loudly in its guttural voice.

    Zangoose's ears pricked up at the appearance of its opponent, and it hissed its challenge, fur bristling.

    Easy,” Ren murmured. Even after such a long time, the Pokemon still retained its volatile personality.

    Would you rather we had a referee?” Roxanne asked. “Jeremy usually does it, but he's disappeared somewhere this morning.”

    Oh, the guy at the front desk? Yeah, he went off to get a glass of water, but I haven't seen him since. He's probably busy, though. No, that's fine. We don't need a referee.”

    All right, then,” Roxanne nodded. “Then as the challenger, you should take the first move.”

    No,” Ren said. “Ladies first, I insist. And besides . . . even though I'm the challenger, I'm the higher-ranked Trainer. You take the first move.”

    I don't think that's-” Roxanne began to protest, but Ren cut her off with a raised eyebrow. “All right,” she sighed. “You're so stubborn.”

    And you're not?”

    No, I'm- oh, forget it,” she harrumphed. “Golem, go! Get started with an Earthquake.”

    Taken by surprise, Ren watched as the bulky Pokemon leapt into the air to come crashing down on the ground, sending shockwaves rippling through the battlefield, tearing up chunks of rock and earth that danced up and down like mad demons. “Jump!” Ren shouted.

    Zangoose's powerful leg muscles tensed, and the Pokemon went flying upwards, a streak of white lightning. By the time it landed back on the ground, the shockwaves had ceased.

    One more!” Roxanne commanded. Golem roared and leapt again, its bulky limbs smashing down onto the ground and shaking the arena.

    Ren hissed a quick breath in through his teeth. “Jump one more time, and forwards! We can't win this from a distance!”

    With a determined yowl, Zangoose threw itself forwards, leaping over the shockwaves that rushed across the ground. It landed right in front of Golem, taking the other Pokemon aback and causing it to step backwards. “Crush Claw!” Ren yelled. Zangoose drew back its massive claws and then swung them forwards towards the Rock-type's head, the air whistling as they flew.

    Defense Curl!” Roxanne countered. Golem's head withdrew into its protective shell, and it braced its stubby legs against the ground. Zangoose's claws skated ineffectually off its rough, rocky shell, and Ren's Pokemon hissed in anger as it backed up slightly, eyeing Golem warily.

    Keep your distance,” Ren warned as he watched for Roxanne's next move. “We don't know what they're up to.” Zangoose ignored him, circling Golem closely, swiping and feinting at chinks in its armour.

    Perhaps you ought to train your Pokemon to follow orders a bit better, Ren?” Roxanne suggested with a razor-edged smile. “Golem! Bulldoze!”

    Shi- Zangoose! Get out of there!” Ren shouted. Zangoose started to dodge backwards, but it was too late. Golem roared and rolled forward at frightening speed, drawing its arms and legs back into its shell and disappearing into a blur of brown that rocketed towards Zangoose, smashing into it at high speed and threatening to crush it into the ground.

    With a furious yowl, Zangoose threw itself out of the way. It had still borne the brunt of the attack, but it managed to avoid being steamrollered by the immense weight of the Rock-type Pokemon. Zangoose dragged itself back to its feet as Golem made a turn and came back for another pass.

    Golem! Make it a Rollout!” Roxanne commanded.

    Ren gritted his teeth as the massive Pokemon's rotation speed increased, causing it to dig a furrow in the ground as it tore around the arena at a blistering speed before banking sharply and barrelling straight at Zangoose.

    Jump!” Ren cried. Zangoose bent its knees to leap again, but it hesitated, fumbling to find its balance, and in the split second it took to find it again, Golem struck, a massive brown blur that sent Zangoose flying. “What?” Ren exclaimed. “Zangoose, what's wrong with you? You're faster than that, aren't you?”

    Zangoose hissed irritably as it pulled itself to its feet again, glaring warily at the still-rolling Golem with unbridled hatred in its eyes.

    I thought you'd have done your homework, Ren!” Roxanne called from the other end of the battlefield. “Bulldoze is a marvellous move, really. Not only does it steamroll your opponent, but it hits them so hard that it rattles their perception, making them less agile and slowing their reactions.”

    What? I've never heard of that move before!”

    Well, a fine Champion you'll make,” Roxanne remarked wryly. “You're going to have to think fast if you want to keep your pride intact. Now, Golem! One more Rollout, and make it count!”

    Ren coughed as Golem's thunderous rolling, seeming to grow more powerful with every passing second, threw up a cloud of dust. “Zangoose!” he choked out. “Don't dodge it! Meet it head on with Brick Break!”

    What?” Roxanne exclaimed. “Golem, watch out!”

    Ren grinned as he felt the floor shake from the collision of the two Pokemon. “Too late.”

    The dust slowly settled to the ground, revealing the battlefield. Golem had stopped dead in its tracks – or more accurately, it had been stopped. Zangoose stood proud against it, massive claws held to the other Pokemon's head.

    Golem!” Roxanne cried.

    Oh, don't worry,” Ren said. “He won't fall from just that. I'm sure of it. But still . . . I hardly think you're one to be talking about not doing your homework, Roxanne.” He laughed triumphantly, feeling the thrill of battle rush through him.

    What? I . . . I knew Zangoose could learn Brick Break. I just didn't think . . .”

    You didn't consider it a possibility, did you?” Ren arched an eyebrow. “That's the problem. When you go into a battle, you need to make sure to consider every possibility. That's the only way I managed to win my way through the League. Every option, no matter how remote the possibility, needs to be assessed. I'll admit I was taken aback by that new move, but that ends now!” He slashed his hand through the air to emphasise his point, feeling his confidence building once more. “Come on, Roxanne. The real battle begins here!”
    Last edited by Seizon Senryaku; 15th November 2011 at 05:01 AM.
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  11. #41
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Chapter Eleven - The Fires Of Battle

    A/N: As promised, Chapter Eleven as well. Here it is: the end of my first arc, the Parodos.

    . . . Guess I should explain that, huh. In classical Greek drama, the
    parodos is the part of the play following the prologue, where the Chorus comes forth and 'sets the scene' for the play, so to speak. The parodoi (plural) are also the passages on either side of the traditional stage, from which the Chorus would enter during this part. So the second arc will be called Episode the First - again, loosely derived from Greek drama.


    Chapter Eleven
    The Fires of Battle


    Roxanne remained silent for several seconds, the remainder of Golem's dust cloud still settling around her as the two Pokemon remained frozen in the centre of the battlefield. “Good . . .” she said at last.

    Good? What's good?” Ren asked.

    It's good to see that you've still got that fire,” Roxanne said with a smile. “Three years ago, you came to my Gym aflame with passion. You battled with unstoppable energy and drive, and that was how you won. When I saw you recently . . . you seemed to have lost some of that. I was hoping you'd come here to battle me so that I could make sure you hadn't.”

    And had I?”

    No,” Roxanne said with a shake of her head. “Not at all. If anything, you have more of it now. It's like you become a different person when you battle, but I can see . . . I can see that that's because you're doing what you love. Yesterday, you were a little quiet. Polite and cheerful, but you weren't showing that spark. You didn't show it until now, and I can understand why. I am, after all, a Pokemon Trainer like you. Even a couple of days without a battle can seem like forever, right?”

    Right,” Ren agreed. “So, now that you've reassured yourself that I am actually me and not a doppelganger left by aliens, shall we finish this battle?”

    All right. Don't think I plan to go easy on you, though.”

    I wouldn't ask for anything less.”

    Golem! Seismic Toss!” Roxanne commanded. Golem moved faster than Ren would have thought possible, grasping Zangoose by the upper arms with a vice-like grip and leaping high into the air.

    Damn it,” Ren muttered. He hadn't counted on Zangoose remaining at close quarters long enough for Golem to take a hold of it if Seismic Toss did come out of the bag, but he had allowed himself to be distracted. There was only one way out. “Aerial Ace! Go high!”

    Roxanne's eyes widened. “What?”

    Ren chuckled at the look on her face as Zangoose slipped free of Golem's grip in midair, darting upwards in a flash to leave its opponent tumbling towards the ground, its balance lost. “Now strike!” Ren yelled, feeling Zangoose's rage as it flipped agilely in midair and slashed down towards Golem at lightning speed.

    The Pokemon collided at ground level with an impact that rocked the arena, trapping Golem between Zangoose and the unforgiving rock floor. “Good job, Zangoose! Now move out and keep an eye on that thing,” Ren ordered.

    B-but how?” Roxanne stammered. “Why did Zangoose know a Flying-type move?”

    It's useful for dealing with Fighting-types, mostly,” Ren said. “I got Zangoose to learn it in order to cover his biggest weakness. Still, it comes in handy in other situations, too.”

    No matter,” Roxanne said, though Ren could tell she was struggling to retain her composure. “It won't do much against my Rock-type, that's for sure.”

    You're wrong there,” Ren countered. “In more than one way, actually.”

    What? But Flying moves are ineffective against Rock Pokemon! They always have been!” Roxanne protested.

    Ren held up two fingers. “One, due to the timing of the attack, Aerial Ace carried all the power of your Golem's Seismic Toss as well as its own. Not to mention that it had gravity on its side, which is uncommon for such a move. And secondly . . . the true power of any attack lies not in the move itself, but in how you use it. You were not expecting Zangoose to know Aerial Ace, so it took you by surprise, and that was the truly damaging part. If you hadn't been thrown off balance so much, you would have had time to counter. But as my mom always used to say, time's a-wasting! Zangoose! Brick Break, one more time! And make it good!”

    Zangoose sprang towards Golem again, its claws glowing white. Before Roxanne or Golem could make a move, Ren's Pokemon brought down its claws on the top of Golem's shell in a fearsome blow, driving the Rock-type back a pace.

    Bulldoze!” Roxanne cried.

    Don't give it time to do that again, Zangoose! Press your advantage with a Crush Claw attack!”

    Hissing rabidly, Zangoose grasped one of Golem's arms with its powerful claws. Driving its left shoulder into its opponent's body, it heaved the massive Rock-type over its right shoulder, sending it crashing into the ground behind it.

    Golem!” Roxanne cried. “Are you all right? Can you get up?”

    Golem rumbled faintly, bracing itself on one arm as it tried to stand, but its limb gave out and it collapsed back to the ground with a final, creaking groan.

    I think we're done,” Ren said, stepping forward out of his box and hunkering down to scratch Zangoose's head. “Good job, my little brawler.”

    Yes . . . well done. You fought valiantly, Golem,” Roxanne congratulated her Pokemon, returning it to its Poke Ball. “I believe you win, Ren,” she said. “Congratulations. I'd award you the Stone Badge, but I think you may already have one.”

    If I win five times, do I get a free one?” Ren asked cheekily, pulling a potion from his bag to spray on Zangoose's wounds.

    No frequent flyer miles here, Ren,” the Gym Leader smiled. “But still, that was a fantastic battle. It always makes me happy to have a battle like that, regardless of whether I win or lose.”

    That's not what you said three years ago,” Ren teased. “At the time, you were quite reluctant to give up the badge.”

    I . . . that's not true, I – oh, never mind that now,” Roxanne said irritably. “Anyway, I'm glad to have been able to battle you again. Though I must say . . . you seemed different this time. It's not just that fire I was talking about earlier – you still have that in spades. What I mean is that you seem more . . . sure of yourself.”

    Well, I guess that's natural, isn't it?” Ren shrugged as he returned Zangoose to its Poke Ball. “I'm the Champion now, after all. Sure, I wouldn't be up myself enough to walk into an arena and expect to win, but I guess I do feel a certain confidence.”

    And all that stuff you were saying . . .” Roxanne said slowly as she made her way over to sit next to Natasha in the stands.

    Puzzled, Ren followed her and sat down on Natasha's other side. “What stuff? I didn't say anything weird, did I?”

    Well, I don't know.” Roxanne looked uncharacteristically unsure of herself. “It was almost as if your personality changed once the battle got started. I mean, not only were you suddenly completely confident, but you knew exactly what you were doing. It was just a short battle, but that was the impression I got. It's almost like you were . . . calculating everything.”

    I was,” said Ren simply. “It's something I discovered about a year ago or so. If you force yourself to think through every single possibility, your chances of winning practically skyrocket. If you can plan for every eventuality, you can beat anybody. The weird thing is, I can't apply that to anything but battling. Once I start a battle, I suddenly go into 'logic mode'. Everything sort of slows down, almost, and I start going through all the likely possibilities in my head. I've tried it with other things – maths, video games, and so on; all kinds of stuff – but I can't seem to make it work.”

    That's . . . fascinating,” Roxanne said, staring at him intently. Ren had a sudden, sinking feeling that she was about to- “Say, do you think you could come into my class this morning? Just, you know, to talk to the students about battling.”

    Dammit. Ren winced inwardly. For a moment, he considered refusing, but what excuse could he have made? His train didn't leave until noon, so he had plenty of time. No, he told himself firmly. You shouldn't be trying to think of excuses anyway. It's like Steven said – you just have to suck it up. And besides, this could be good for you. Even if you don't want to do it, it'll help you get used to it. It's just a small group! You did Hoenn Buzz yesterday – this should be nothing!

    Ah . . . Ren? Earth to Ren?” Roxanne was peering at him worriedly.

    What? Oh! Right, of course. No, that'd be fine.”

    More things we have to do?” Natasha complained half-heartedly.

    Nah, this should be fun,” Ren said decisively, trying to convince himself almost as much as his cousin. He stood up and took a couple of steps towards the door before turning back towards the two girls. “Coming?”

    Stop trying to act cool,” Natasha warned as she hopped down off her seat and walked past him. “It's not going to impress her.”

    Ren spun and followed her briskly, avoiding Roxanne's amused eyes as they left the arena. Natasha was being a little too frank for his liking. And besides, it's ridiculous. She's wrong.

    As it turned out, Roxanne's 'class' consisted of just two people, both of whom were waiting outside the Pokemon Academy when Ren, Roxanne and Natasha arrived. One was a tall, balding man in his late forties or early fifties, looking much like every corporate suit Ren had ever seen. He wore a shirt and tie and carried a briefcase, neither of which were particularly contradictory to that impression.

    The other 'student' was a woman of about thirty, with straight, silvery-white hair that fell just past her shoulders, and a narrow, brown-skinned face with cool hazel eyes.

    Oh, are you two all that showed up?” Roxanne asked worriedly. “Where are the others?”

    The woman shrugged, and the older man said, “I heard from Roger. His sister's getting married this weekend, so he couldn't make it and sends his apologies. I can't speak for the others, though.”

    Well, all right!” Roxanne spoke with a cheerfulness that Ren sensed was a little forced. “They miss out on the treat I brought for you all today, then!”

    What am I, a chocolate brownie?” Ren grumbled.

    Roxanne ignored his comment. “Ren, this is Marcus Price. He's one of the most influential businessmen in Rustboro City and a good friend of Mr. Stone.”

    Nice to meet you,” Ren said, hesitating slightly before offering his hand to Price.

    Likewise,” Price said, clasping his hand with a curious look on his face. “Say, aren't you . . .”

    Ren Goodwin,” Ren supplied. “Yes, that's me.”

    Price's face broke into a smile. “Good heavens, she's brought us the Champion.”

    Ren nodded awkwardly. “Yeah, I guess so.”

    Of course, Ren is here as a personal favour to me,” Roxanne put in quickly, “so we must do our best to make him feel welcome. Oh, Ren – this over here is Vila Kashyenka. She came from overseas to study at the Academy.”

    Vila bowed stiffly, her expression unreadable. “It is good to meet you,” she said, her voice layered with a musical accent that Ren couldn't place. “You are the one whom they call Champion, are you not?”

    Um, yes. I am,” Ren said, bowing back a little uncomfortably. It felt strange and foreign. He hadn't had to give such a formal greeting to anyone before, but he felt somewhat obligated in the face of the oddly polite Vila.

    Then you are the one whom I must defeat,” she said flatly.

    Uh . . .”

    I came to the Hoenn region because I was told that there are many strong Trainers here. In my country, there are few who train Pokemon. To learn to do so, I knew I must travel to a place other than my home. If I am to become a strong Trainer, I must defeat you. Is that right?”

    Well, not exactly . . .” Ren said, scratching his head awkwardly. “There are lots of strong Trainers who aren't Champions, you see. You don't have to be a Champion to prove you're good.”

    Perhaps not, yet still I feel I must defeat you,” she said frankly. “Will you promise to battle me some day?”

    O-of course,” Ren said shakily, not quite following her strange logic.

    Anyway, now that we're here, let's go inside!” Roxanne said brightly, clearly trying to regain control of the situation. Ren shivered slightly at the blank, emotionless look Vila was giving him. The woman was more than a little disturbing, but he supposed he shouldn't be judgemental.

    Inside. Right,” Marcus Price agreed. “It's cold out here.”

    As Roxanne stepped past to open the door, Price sidled closer to Ren and muttered in his ear, “Don't let Vila get to you. She's like that with everyone.”

    You know her?” Ren asked, equally quietly, watching Roxanne struggle with the key out of the corner of his eye.

    Not as such. She's actually a member of the Qirfan diplomatic corps. They're based in Saffron over in the Kanto region, of course, but I hear she's on leave specifically to attend the Academy here. She's taken it upon herself to be as standoffish as possible to everyone, without actually giving anybody reason to take offense.”

    Sounds like an interesting woman,” Ren whispered drily.

    Oh, certainly,” Price chuckled. “But like I say, don't mind her. I have to say, though,” he continued at a normal volume, “it's quite an honour to meet you.”

    Is that so?” Ren said blankly, for want of something more intelligent to say. “So are you planning to be a Pokemon Trainer yourself, Mr Price?”

    Oh, it's Marcus. I insist. But in any case, you see, I plan on retiring soon. I'm not all that old, but I'm getting tired of the corporate world. And with my family all overseas, I figure I'm going to need something to do in order to pass the time. Trouble is, I'd never had time to train Pokemon when I was a youngster, so I have to start from scratch. It's a little embarrassing to go back to school and learn it from the most basic level, but there are a lot of people in my position. There are about eight people in the class most weekends, but I don't know where they all are today.”

    That's all right. To be honest, I don't think I could have managed any larger of a group,” Ren said weakly.

    Ah! Got it!” Roxanne exclaimed as the door swung open at last. “Come on in, all . . . three of you.”

    Obediently, Ren, Natasha and Marcus trooped in behind Vila and Roxanne, the latter of which was already in full schoolteacher mode.

    We'll have to adjust the lesson plan for today to accommodate our guest,” she said as she led them down a long hallway, shoes clacking on the brown tiles. “As we're the only ones here today, the quad will be free, so we should use that. If Ren's all right with it, we'll have him assist me in the lesson.”

    Ah . . . I'm not sure if I'm just behind or something, Roxanne, but . . . what exactly am I supposed to be doing here?” Ren asked, suddenly realising that the topic hadn't actually come up.

    I'm sure we'll think of something,” Roxanne said airily as Ren caught up to her.

    You mean you hadn't already?” Ren asked in disbelief. “I was kind of under the impression you had something planned.”

    Well, we can't all plan for every eventuality. My lesson plan for today didn't account for the remote possibility of the Champion appearing in class.”

    You're gonna make fun of me for that forever, aren't you?” Ren asked with a sigh.

    I don't know what you're talking about,” Roxanne said simply. “Here we are.”

    She had stopped before a door that looked little different to any other – painted that ubiquitous, sickly shade of beige that Ren had seen in every school he'd ever passed through, set with a pane of frosted glass that prevented anybody from seeing in or out. Ren had no idea why schools insisted on doing that. It wasn't as if they had anything in particular to hide.

    This door, however, did not open onto a classroom. Instead, when Roxanne turned the doorknob, it revealed something quite unexpected. Ren had heard Roxanne say 'quad', so he had of course expected something outdoors, but what he saw was a little more than he had been expecting.

    After passing through a short brick corridor, Ren found himself standing in an open area the size of a football field, a roughly rectangular quadrangle surrounded on all sides by the two-storey, brown-brick wall of the Pokemon Trainers' Academy. Trees lined the area, forming a miniature wall of forestry almost five metres thick. A neat cobbled path led through the layer of trees to the central part of the courtyard, a large, sunny expanse dotted with benches and tables. Spread between the assorted picnic paraphernalia lay three regulation Gym-sized Pokemon battlefields not unlike the one Ren and Roxanne had recently faced off across.

    Ren noticed immediately that the battlefields had seen some use recently; there were furrows in the ground where the grass had not grown back yet and some of the vegetation had been wantonly trampled. Other than the battlefields, though, the courtyard could have been any park in Hoenn. The grass was perfectly manicured, and soft sounds of birdsong filtered through from the lush border of trees that hid much of the building's inelegant façade.

    Welcome to the Academy's outdoor training ground, Ren,” Roxanne said as she led them towards the nearest battlefield. “The Academy, of course, possesses multiple battlefields of many different kinds, but these ones are favourites for many of the students.”

    So how are we going to do this, then?” Ren asked, surveying the area critically. “Another battle as a demonstration?”

    Yes, I think that sounds like a good idea. But,” Roxanne said archly, “I can think of a better opponent for you than me.”

    Oh, really?” Ren glanced around. The five of them seemed to be the only ones present. “Who's that, then?”

    With a slightly mischievous smile, Roxanne pointed. “Vila.”

    For the first time since Ren had met the woman, Vila's face showed emotion. Her eyes widened and her lips parted slightly. “Are you sure?” she asked.

    Yeah, are you?” Ren added, frowning. “That's kind of a mismatch, isn't it?”

    You're right, of course,” Roxanne agreed. “That's why, rather than a straight-up battle, you'll participate in a contest.”

    What . . . kind of contest?” Ren asked suspiciously.

    Oh, nothing out of the ordinary for you,” Roxanne said casually. “You'll just be fighting a battle like normal. As Vila doesn't have her Pokemon Trainer's license yet, she can borrow one of the Pokemon owned by the Academy.” Roxanne produced a Poke Ball from somewhere and tossed it to the still flummoxed-looking Vila.

    So what is the catch?” Vila asked as she caught it, her eyes narrowed.

    There must be one,” Ren agreed. “Otherwise there's nothing out of the ordinary about the battle.”

    Of course,” Roxanne said. “The victory conditions will differ for each Trainer. Ren, as the more experienced party, will have to knock out his opponent's Pokemon entirely to win. Vila, on the other hand, has only to land a hit on Ren's Pokemon in order to be declared the winner.”

    What?” Ren exclaimed. Surprising even him, his mind began to tick into gear. Defeating an inexperienced opponent in a one-on-one battle would not be difficult, but if he had to do it without his Pokemon taking a single hit . . . The best bet would be to finish the match in a single blow. Given that Vila would be using a Pokemon owned by the Academy, it should be doable. Academy Pokemon were docile so as to be easier for rookie Trainers to handle, and were not overly powerful for the same reason. Of course, it would all come down to the type matchup . . .

    Ren?”

    Huh?” He blinked in sudden surprise. “What is it?”

    Roxanne sighed. “I said, I'll be choosing your Pokemon too, just to ensure it's fair.”

    Ren winced slightly. “Err . . . do you have to?” That would remove any possible advantageous type matchup he might be able to create.

    I do.” Roxanne seemed to be enjoying herself far too much, he noted with some irritation. “In any case, you'll be using your Manectric. I think that will level the playing field a little.”

    In other words, you're setting me up against a Ground-type Pokemon. Am I right?”

    Maybe. In any case, you need to hurry up and get to the battlefield, Ren! Vila's waiting for you!”

    It was true, Ren noticed with a start; Vila had already moved to take up her position at the far end of the nearest battlefield.

    Will you come, Champion?” she called, her face once again unreadable. “This promises to be . . . interesting.”

    Hmph,” Ren chuckled. “You sure know how to mess with a guy, don't you? Roxanne.” Moving swiftly, he stepped into his box on the battlefield and dug Manectric's Poke Ball out from his backpack.

    Undoubtedly,” Roxanne smiled. “But still, I'd like to see if you can do this. And because it's not technically a Pokemon battle, as such, it won't matter if you lose.”

    What makes you think I might lose?” Ren asked, tapping the release switch on his Poke Ball with a practiced movement. With a familiar crackling noise and the unmistakeable smell of ozone, Manectric burst onto the field, its crested yellow head held proudly high.

    Its lithe blue body stretching powerfully, Manectric gave an eager howl overlaid with a tumultuous rumble of thunder. Ren smiled. “You're ready to go, I see.”

    He is not the only one!”

    Hm?” Ren glanced up to see Vila releasing a flash of red light from her own Poke Ball. With a squeak, it coalesced into a small, yellow, rat-like Pokemon with shiny black eyes that rolled up into a ball at the sight of its opponent.

    Sandshrew . . .” Vila said, with the air of somebody trying to figure out how to break down a wall with a toothpick.

    A Ground-type, just like I thought,” Ren noted. “Still, it's not going to do you any good.”

    Aren't we confident all of a sudden?” Natasha prodded.

    I can't afford not to be,” Ren said. “A Champion can't be afraid of anything."
    Last edited by Seizon Senryaku; 15th November 2011 at 05:04 AM.
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  12. #42
    Yeezy taught me The Booty Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game {Chapter 11}

    Nyuk, nyuk, looks like you were right about finally being out of the filler. And a great way to do it, too!

    I can imagine Ren must be wound up already from not getting to battle, just like every other Trainer out there. Only difference between them and us, though, is that we can find tough challengers wherever we want, whenever we want.

    So, there's more of the Champ being a public access figure. I like how you did a more minor thing this time with the class. It's not just TV that a Champ has to use for interaction with the nation.

    Looks like you were also correct when you said that Ren and Ed battle in similar fashion. Incredibly analytical and with an amazing grasp of physics. I wonder just how prepared he is for a battle. It's only the first battle, but I'm sure you'll be able to keep this up with any other matches he has. And speaking of the battle, I don't know if you said you feel you don't write them well, but this was well-done. It was properly described, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, even if it was the first Pokemon battle so far.

    Nice to see Natasha back to her bubly self. And it was interesting to hear some details of how Ren began his journey. I'm starting to wonder if he really is relatable, since I'm not sure how many of us would just up and leave like that.

    Good work! I'm wondering how this next battle is going to play out. Looks like Ren's getting to experience how a Champ needs to be a teacher as well.

    EDIT: And I do have a question. Not sure if this is the right place, but has there ever been a time in your version of Hoenn where a person with a low yehkti who, through sheer effort, managed to defeat the Champion? If so, what happened? Did they become the new yehktira, or did they just have the title of Champion until the current yehktira won back the title?
    Last edited by The Booty Warrior; 31st July 2011 at 08:44 AM.
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

  13. #43
    The Dimension Wizard Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Champion Game {Chapter 11}

    So I'll start off with chapter 9

    I literally laughed at Steven's and Ren's quiet conversation, it's like neither of them were able to get anything out on the open. Also I'm glad Natasha started teasing Ren again, though I didn't expect him to get back to Slateport so soon...oh wait it's already been 9 chapters, yeah I guess it's time to go xD

    For chapter 10.

    I was really glad to finally get a chance to see Ren battle. And you were right at saying that he and Edward fought in the same way, though I doubt Ren's a sore loser like Edward is and he has less chances of losing too. I liked how he used Zangoose's attacks to surprise Roxanne especially with that long jump...oh and I'm finally glad to see that Zangoose.

    Chapter 11 seems to be the start of a new arc from what I gathered, new characters that Ren is gonna have to face. I really like Vila and I wonder how her past is and why she wants to defeat Ren so much. Also it's good that Ren is quickly accepting the changes of becoming a champion.

    Also I hope to see Natasha in latter parts of the story too I really like her.

  14. #44
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Chapter Twelve - My House Is . . .

    A/N: Well, this chapter is the start of the second arc. Thanks for sticking with me so far. With this, we're only four chapters behind. I'll post those over the next week and a bit, and then we'll be back to a roughly weekly update schedule, which is what I try to keep up elsewhere. That will give people a bit more time to sit down and read, I think. Anyway, this chapter is pretty long, but it doesn't really look it because much of the weight is condensed in a few large blocks down the end. Also, I let Inception influence me far too much while I was writing this chapter, and it is Christopher Nolan whom you can thank for the upside-down hallways and stuff. >_> I'll stop rambling now, and just say once more how nice it is to have you reading.


    Arc 2 – Episode the First



    Chapter Twelve
    My House Is . . .


    First move goes to Vila,” Roxanne said. “Battle begin!”

    For a few seconds, Vila remained silent. Just as Ren was about to say something, however, she took a deep breath and spoke one word. “Dig.”

    With a sudden flurry of dirt and powerful digging paws, Sandshrew disappeared through the grass and into the earth below, leaving only a small mound of soil to show it had ever been there.

    Rens' eyes flickered around the battlefield as he tried to work out what to do. Manectric was completely vulnerable when facing a Dig-using Pokemon like Sandshrew, but then again, the two of them had faced similar opponents together in the past. “Run!” he commanded.

    Manectric leapt into action immediately, knowing through long experience what was required. Accelerating sharply, it soon became nothing more than a blue and yellow blur, circling rapidly around the arena.

    Ren waited patiently. At that speed, Manectric shouldn't be vulnerable to Sandshrew's attack. But all it would take would be one glancing blow . . .

    Manectric continued to circle for a full ten seconds before anything happened. Suddenly, the ground erupted and Sandshrew shot upwards, narrowly missing Manectric, who had been forced to bank sharply to avoid the attack.

    Take advantage of the opening, Ren said to himself as he saw Sandshrew flailing in midair, its missed attack having taken it far further from the ground than it had expected. “Ice Fang!” he said sharply.

    Manectric turned on a dime and leapt to intercept the still-helpless Sandshrew. Spontaneous clouds of frost issuing from between its fangs, it clamped its teeth down on the small Pokemon and shook it furiously. “Easy!” Ren cautioned. He didn't want the other Pokemon to get too seriously hurt.

    With a reproachful glance at its master, Manectric tossed the limp form of the Ground-type Pokemon aside. It tumbled across the grass and slid to a halt. It didn't get up.

    Sandshrew is . . . unable to battle,” Roxanne said, sounding slightly more subdued than she had earlier. “Ren wins . . .” She seemed a little taken aback by the swift, ferocious battle.

    Return, Manectric,” Ren said quietly, holding out its Poke Ball. With a final, slightly put-out growl, the Electric Pokemon dissolved into red light. “I hope that was educational?” Ren said mildly, glancing down the field at Vila.

    His eyes widened as he saw the venomous glare with which the normally emotionless woman had fixed him. Fists clenched at her sides, Vila's face displayed such pure, unadulterated hatred that Ren almost took a step back.

    You . . .” she hissed, her voice wavering. “You bastard . . .”

    Ren blinked, trying to work out where her rage was coming from. Sure, she had lost, but she couldn't seriously have been expecting to win, could she? “I'm . . . sorry?” he ventured, at a total loss for words.

    Do not give me 'sorry', you sad excuse for a man!” she spat as she stalked across the battlefield towards him, stepping over her unconscious Pokemon as if it wasn't even there. Ignoring the protesting Roxanne and the cowering Marcus, she jabbed Ren hard in the chest with her finger. “Do you hear me? I will defeat you!”

    With that, she marched out of the courtyard, not looking back once.

    Did I . . . do something wrong?” Ren asked blankly, his head spinning.

    Well, ah . . .” Roxanne started, but tailed off uncomfortably, staring worriedly at the door through which Vila had just departed. “Class dismissed!” she snapped suddenly.

    The class, by now consisting only of Marcus Price, headed uncertainly towards the door in Roxanne's wake. The Gym Leader slipped quickly through the door and disappeared from sight, leaving Ren and Natasha alone in the suddenly silent courtyard.

    That was . . . unusual . . .” Ren said quietly, the wind suddenly taken out of his sails. He had been all fired up just a minute earlier, yet after Vila's unexpected outburst, he found he had suddenly lost his will to battle.

    You're telling me!” Natasha snorted. “That woman's bad news, Ren.”

    Ren didn't say anything. Instead, he crossed to the nearest bench and sat down, resting his head in his hands and massaging his temples with his thumbs. He had won, followed the rules of the battle exactly as they had been set out . . . so why had Vila exploded like that? It doesn't feel like I won that battle, he realised. Or at the very least . . . that the battle isn't over.

    'I will defeat you',” he murmured. Somehow, the words sent a shiver down his spine. Taking a deep breath to clear his mind, he stood up and stretched. With the issue of the world of dreams still weighing heavily on the back of his mind, he could not afford any extra distractions.

    Let's go home, 'Tash,” he said with a sigh. “I've had just about enough excitement for one trip.”

    There was no sign of Roxanne, Vila or Marcus outside the Academy, but the car he had arrived in was still there. After being dropped off at the railway station, Ren left a message with the driver for Roxanne to apologise both for his sudden departure and for what had happened at the Academy.

    Ren realised soon after entering the station that they were far too early for the midday express, so he found a small newsstand – at Natasha's request – and bought two books. Natasha happily withdrew into hers for a couple of hours, but Ren found himself unable to concentrate; letters kept floating off the page and rearranging themselves in front of his eyes, spelling out 'Vila' and 'Elly' and 'yekhtira', among other things. Perhaps the most disturbing of these was 'doom'. Whenever that particular jumble of letters appeared, Ren rubbed his eyes furiously and tried to banish the image, but it kept returning, unbidden, to dance tauntingly in front of him with what seemed to be a kind of malicious glee.

    In the end, Ren stashed the book away in his backpack and kept himself occupied by counting columns on the far wall of the station. Every couple of minutes or so, a train would pass in front of him, causing him to lose count and start again. The cycle continued for almost an hour and a half before Ren realised how ridiculous he was being.

    Come on, Natasha,” he said tiredly. “The express should be here any minute.” With a sigh, he levered himself off the bench and headed for the platform. Anything, he decided, to distract himself from the multitude of complicated things running around his tired mind.

    Sure enough, the express arrived at midday on the dot. After making sure that they both had tickets this time around, Ren ushered Natasha onto the train, feeling his inexplicable tiredness gradually intensifying. By the time he found his way to a seat, he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. Why . . .

    With a final disgusted puff of air at his own apparent feebleness, Ren let his head rest on the uncomfortable back of the seat.

    I'll wake you up when we get there,” he vaguely heard Natasha saying before he drifted out of consciousness.

    Afro Glameow looks kind of pissed. Ren raises his hands apologetically, but the furious feline does not seem to be at all mollified. Rather, it stalks towards him once again, tiny yet threatening fangs bared in a frustrated grimace. It's as if it knows that Ren's going to get away again.

    But he's not sure that he is. He looks around hopefully for any sign of a portal to the second ring, but there's no sign of anyone except him and the prowling Glameow, its ridiculous hairdo wobbling slightly as it tilts its head to regard him suspiciously.

    It's only now that Ren realises they're not in the candy maze anymore. Instead, they appear to be standing between two massive concrete columns. It's dark. Ren looks up, suddenly noticing a constant rumbling noise that may or may not have been there the whole time. The sky isn't visible – not directly above him, at least. Above him, all that's there is more concrete . . . or something. It's a bit hard to see. He's standing in a veritable forest of concrete columns, he realises, all reaching up towards the dark mass blotting out the sky. Some light leaks in from far to his left, and more from far to his right, but it's not enough to clearly see where he is. And the rumbling goes on.

    Taking the initiative, Ren turns and runs. It's a little cold. Afro Glameow is following, but at no great speed. Ren senses it could easily catch him if it wanted to. He ducks past another concrete pillar and just about trips over a massive roll of wire. Reacting at the last moment, he jumps over it, but catches his shin on a protruding spike of some sort. There's blood, but not much. No pain either, so he keeps running and decides to worry about it later. Afro Glameow is close, he can tell – even without looking back, it's apparent he is being toyed with.

    His only chance is the light, he decides. If there's no rescue forthcoming from Elly or the others, he'd rather be able to see properly when Afro Glameow catches up to him. What could be taking them so long?

    His leg still doesn't hurt, but it feels like lead. It's slowing down his running. His chest feels tight. He glances down and just about trips over in shock. His leg is soaked with blood, and he's leaving a trail of red on the ground. Running is useless, he decides. There's nobody coming for him. Well, nobody save Afro Glameow, that is.

    A gust of cold wind moans through the area as he turns to sit on the ground, his injured yet painless leg dragging awkwardly. A scrap of yellowed newspaper skitters across the ground in front of him, and he automatically reaches for it.

    'CITY CEO RUNS FOR MAYOR' says the headline. The article itself is barely legible. Ren squints at it curiously.



    Ren frowns, his befuddled, sleepy mind having trouble reading the message in front of him. Spread throughout the text are a handful of words in capitals.

    'Ren' . . .” he reads aloud. “'Find the door . . . automatic message. Do not' . . . do not what?” he wonders aloud, but before he can scour the article again, Afro Glameow appears from behind a pillar, slowing as it sights its unmoving target. It pads lightly across the concrete towards Ren, weaving slightly as it comes. It looks a little tipsy.

    Door . . . what door?” Ren wonders aloud. Oh, of course. The door to the second ring – if you could even call it a door. But how is he supposed to find that? Last time, Elly reached out and pulled him through it, but judging by the 'automatic message' part of the dispatch, there will be no help forthcoming this time.

    Afro Glameow hisses in annoyance as Ren pulls himself to his feet again. Just as soon as he regains his footing, however, his injured leg buckles beneath him, sending him tumbling back down to the ground again. Yet in that split second, Ren has seen his way out – or at least, what he hopes is his way out. A small patch of blackness, ever so slightly darker than the shadowy expanse of concrete. It's only about ten metres away, but by now Ren doesn't trust his leg to get him there.

    All he can do is crawl, so it's what he tries. Afro Glameow, strangely enough, doesn't move to attack him. It simply slinks along beside him like a bad smell that just won't go away. Perhaps, he reasons, it doesn't think he can go anywhere.

    He's moving even more slowly now. His leg is so much dead weight. One leg of his jeans is sodden with blood, and he can hear the horrible, wet dragging sound it makes as he tugs it onwards through force of will. Although he still can't feel any pain, his head is beginning to spin. Probably with loss of blood, he supposes. Not really a good thing.

    As he draws closer, Afro Glameow following him tauntingly, it becomes apparent that the patch of darkness is in fact a square hole of the kind he had passed through the last time. It's still too far away, though. Ren swears loudly and pushes himself up onto his knees, almost blacking out with the sudden rush of blood from his head. Unable to move, he sways on the spot for a few seconds before practically throwing himself towards the hole.

    He hits the concrete hard, and this time it does hurt. Pain lances through his face and upper body where it has become scratched and grazed. He lands awkwardly just a foot or so from the hole. All he has to do is reach out to it . . .

    Too late, Afro Glameow realises that its prey is about to escape, and leaps forward with a yowl. Ren's fingertip brushes the dark square, and with a fwip, Afro Glameow and everything else vanish, all colour and light drawn out of the world and spiralling into a single point above his head that vanishes instantly.

    The first thing Ren realised was that he was no longer bleeding. He was sore, for sure, but it soon became apparent that that was only because he was lying spread-eagled on the floor of the Devon Corporation's reception area. It only took him a few seconds to stand up and dust himself off, and a couple more to ensure that he had not sustained any grievous bodily harm.

    Well, I guess I made it,” he said aloud, his voice echoing oddly in the open, empty space. The last time he had come through here, it had been awash with life and noise, but now it was as silent as a tomb. Ren shuddered involuntarily, remembering his narrow escape from Afro Glameow. Why did nobody come for me? he wondered, not for the first time, as he scanned the room. He was obviously in the second ring now – the environment had been created from his recent memories, and there was no sign of life other than himself. The council had promised that somebody would come to meet him the next time he crossed over, but there wasn't a spirit to be seen.

    Slightly nervous, Ren wondered what he was supposed to do next. The square hole that he had just passed through was still there, floating innocently about a metre off the ground, but he wasn't sure he could go back just yet. If there were any Iehkti'na hanging around – and it was quite possible there were, he imagined – they would follow him back through the first ring into his own world, and Arceus only knew what they'd get up to there.

    Swallowing forcefully, he decided to at least find some means of defending himself in case he was attacked. Casting his eye around the reception area, nothing particularly jumped out at him, so he pushed through the immobile spinning door into Rustboro City.

    Which promptly disappeared. Ren blinked, realising that the revolving door had in fact taken him to the battlefield of the Rustboro Gym. He was standing in Roxanne's place at the far end of the field, facing the door he had walked through just hours ago . . . or so it seemed. He had no sooner started to wonder what was going on, however, than the doors banged open and two dark shapes slipped out.

    Ren swore as he recognised them. While smaller than the three that had confronted him and Elly the previous night, the Iehkti'na were still bigger than he was. They were also less humanoid-looking than those he had seen, with hunched backs and elongated heads that probed towards him curiously, seeming to sniff the rapidly cooling air. He cast around for a weapon, but there was nothing in the arena that he could possibly use. With no time to do anything else, he made a dash for a door he had glimpsed on the wall to his left. His hand grasped the handle and the Gym disappeared. Struggling against a sudden, overbearing pressure, Ren forced the door open and fell through, into . . . what? A storage cupboard? A passageway?

    His bedroom. That was odd. Ren blinked. The air was warm again, and a cloud of dust motes, stirred up by his sudden entry, swirled in the air. Somewhere, a Wingull squawked irately. Am I . . . safe? Ren wondered, shutting his bedroom door behind him and looking around. There was no sign of pursuit. Perhaps they had been lost with the Gym. Ren pressed his ear to the door and listened, but there was no sound. Suddenly realising how heavily he was breathing, he sat down on the bed with a fwump, startling further dust motes into flight. They drifted in and out of the rays of sunlight slashing through the window, muted, dancing explosions of golden light.

    Letting his breathing slow, Ren slumped back onto his bed, legs dangling across the floor. Fantastic. Hadn't Elly said there would be someone here to meet him? He had managed to find his way from the first ring into the second safely enough, but he didn't suppose he would have the same luck getting into the third ring. And simply returning to the first ring wasn't an option any more now that he knew there were Iehkti'na on the prowl. Of course, to do that, he'd have to know where the portal back to the first ring was. His only option, as much as he disliked to admit it, was to wait around until one of the spirits appeared. Fighting was a possibility, but not an attractive one. Ren didn't fancy his chances, especially unarmed.

    Praying to every obscure deity he had ever heard of that he would be safe where he was for the time being, Ren crossed to the window. Outside, the ocean glistened serenely, stretching all the way across to the barely visible southwestern peninsula of the Hoenn region, which was nothing more than a greenish smudge on the horizon. Somewhere over there was Rustboro, where Steven was probably mired in paperwork associated with his newfound responsibility; where Roxanne might be teaching a class. That was where it had all started, and now he was back at home as if nothing had happened. He cracked open the window absently, feeling a cool breath of salty air brush his face like a feather.

    A Wingull swooped past the window, something small and wriggling held in its beak. That in itself was not especially abnormal, but something struck Ren as strange nonetheless. He watched with some interest as the Wingull corkscrewed upwards, banking and twitching its wings to ride an updraft. It was not until it was out of sight completely that Ren realised it had been flying upside down.

    The sea was a light shade of lilac. Why had he not noticed that before? It hadn't changed while he was looking at it, but he could have sworn that just seconds before it had been its usual greenish blue. Ren blinked, half-expecting to see the sea return to its normal colour.

    Instead, it was a deep, impenetrable black, and rising up to meet him. Ren stepped back involuntarily as the tide reared up, up, far higher than it should have been able to reach. It climbed level with his window and kept going, a massive, solid wall of blackness. It intercepted the rays of the morning sun, and the room was plunged into shadow. Ren shivered uncontrollably as the temperature dropped, despite the sweat breaking out on his forehead.

    Then the wave dropped. Watching the enormous mass sink towards his house at frightening speed, Ren was paralysed. He wanted to move, to run, but some kind of morbid fascination kept him rooted to the spot, watching the blackness rush straight for his bedroom window. As it neared, it seemed to condense and shrink, becoming more and more solid and opaque – a transformation difficult to pin down with the eye, but somehow clear enough to be noticed regardless.

    The sound of the window shattering was ridiculously loud after the heat-draining silence of the last few seconds, spurring Ren into action. Desperately, he threw himself backwards as the deep clot of darkness flowed into the room in amidst a shower of glass shards. He felt small spikes of pain erupt all over his body as glass flew everywhere, but tried to concentrate on getting away.

    By now a gelatinous blob about the size of a large beanbag, the mass of blackness fell to the floor and split into two smaller pieces. As Ren backed towards the door, trying not to step on any more glass, each of the two seemed to shift and elongate, rising over Ren's head and solidifying into vaguely humanoid shapes – the two Iehkti'na that had appeared in Roxanne's Gym. Their appearance spurred Ren into action, and he made a leap for the door, expecting it to take him somewhere else – hopefully, somewhere that he would be safe for a little longer.

    There was no such luck. As soon as Ren's hand closed on the doorknob, there was a lurching sensation in the pit of his stomach and the world seemed to dissolve slightly, becoming blurry and indistinct, before abruptly sharpening again. Without the liberty to wonder what the sudden nausea bubbling in his stomach signified, Ren yanked the door open and charged through, hearing the susurrous hissing of the Iehkti'na rapidly approaching behind him.

    What Ren saw almost made him stop dead, which would certainly have been fatal. As it was, he collapsed forward out of his door and fell onto the ceiling; the rest of his house, it seemed, had turned entirely upside-down. Tripping over a light fitting that normally lit the way to his bedroom, Ren made his way along the hallway, stumbling along the ceiling rather than the floor.

    When he reached the stairs, however, a new problem presented itself: the stair vault in Ren's house had been designed to be big and airy, and as a result, the ceiling did not slope down with the staircase. With the carpeted stairs climbing above him upside-down to the ground floor, Ren glanced behind him. The Iehkti'na had followed him out of his bedroom, and were closing on him quickly.

    Hoping he wouldn't regret it, Ren reached up – or was it down? – to the banister that ran alongside the stairs. Somehow, he managed to pull himself up onto the railing, half-crouching with his feet between the bars that now stretched upwards from the handrail to the stair-shaped ceiling. The handrail, when right side up, didn't quite come up to Ren's chest. As a result, he found he couldn't straighten up fully on his makeshift, sideways ladder.

    Awkwardly, Ren loosed his right foot from its perch and swung it further up, hooking it into the banister and pulling himself upwards. The distance he had gained seemed minimal, and the Iehkti'na almost caught him. Ren, galvanised into action, started to climb in earnest as a shadowy, claw-like appendage slashed through the banister millimetres from his feet, shearing through the ancient polished oak as if it were paper.

    Once out of the beasts' reach, Ren secured himself a foothold and risked a glance back down. The two nightmares – was it easier just to call them that? – were glaring at him without eyes, pacing back and forward on the ceiling. They seemed flummoxed as to how to reach him, and he took some small comfort from that. Still, he knew he was in danger as long as he remained near them, so he kept climbing, making sure not to slip.

    The top – or rather, the bottom; Ren was beginning to get dizzy – of the stairs came fairly quickly, it seemed. Ren carefully hoisted himself off the banister and edged himself around a corner, which placed him safely on the kitchen ceiling, but still within arm's reach of a terrifying drop. He hadn't realised quite how much of a death trap his own house was.

    Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, Ren looked around. There, seemingly glued to the floor a metre or so above his head, was the kitchen table where he had briefly spoken with his mother just the previous day. That warm, sluggish Saturday morning suddenly felt like it had been years ago.

    Standing up, Ren cautiously took hold of the edges of the heavy wooden table and pulled downwards. It lifted slightly towards him, and his arms protested at the strain, as if he was lifting it up instead of down. Ren swore and dropped it, and it fell back up with a clatter. It seemed that gravity was working normally for everything except him and – thankfully – the nightmares that were, he hoped, still prowling around on the first floor.

    Wondering what to do next, Ren stood and crossed to the front door, absently looking through the glass pane set into it, which had remained at roughly his eye level. Outside, the world looked much the same as it usually did, save for the fact that it was upside-down. A little scared of what might happen, Ren stretched a hand up towards the handle, which was well within his reach.

    Sometimes you have to make choices that determine the future at the drop of a hat. Ren swallowed and grasped the handle, and the world disappeared.
    Last edited by Seizon Senryaku; 3rd August 2011 at 10:29 PM.
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  15. #45
    Yeezy taught me The Booty Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Champion Game {Chapter 12}

    Holy shit, man, this was probably the most surreal (probably misusing that word) chapter thus far.

    First thing I want to mention, and it's probably the only thing that concerns me when it comes to your writing thus far:

    Manectric was completely vulnerable when facing a Dig-using Pokemon like Sandshrew, but then again, he had faced similar opponents with Manectric before.
    Maybe it's just me, but the way you said Manectric twice in that sentence feels...off. If you don't want to change it, you don't have to, but if I may, I'd recommend replacing that second mention of Manectric after that second comma with "the two of them" or something along those lines. Just a suggestion, though.

    As for everything else, well, I like it. It is rather odd that Vila got confrontational. Like Ren mentioned, he was the Champ, played by the rules, and won. Then again, I have a feeling Vila's much better than she seems, so she might be indignated because she was using a school Pokemon. Of course, I'm likely to be wrong.

    Damn, more of this Afro Glameow? Ain't he/she gonna learn yet?

    BTW, did part of the reason for its afro come from its name sounding so nice rolling off the tongue? I keep saying "Afro Glameow", and it sounds so good.

    Something is definitely off. Perhaps the Dreamlight is able to instinctively induce sleep in its owner if it feels it needs them in the World of Dreams at that moment? The way Ren got drowsy was definitely unusual, hardly natural.

    Perhaps that's the reason why everything seemed so chaotic when he ended up falling asleep and why no one came to get him this time?

    And hoo, boy, nice chase scene. Damn creepy, this particular Iehkti'na is. Now I'm certain that the status quo seems to be coming back to normal for the appearances of these beasts. This particular breed seems to be of a lower class. It also reminds me of Arakune from BlazBlue.

    And, ah, hehehe, if you have an answer to the question I had last post?

    Nice work. We rollin' now, and I'm gonna enjoy what comes up next!
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

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