26th April 2013, 10:28 PM #16
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Seven
I have been doing this a lot lately with my stories, so why not keep the theme going: it has been a while since the last update, but I promise it will not be as long for the next! I hope the readers out there have been looking forward to this one though. It may not be the best one to come back to, but the plot is building up now and the story will go in a new direction as made clear from the end of the chapter, so enjoy!
Chapter Eight: All Play and No Work
July 8th 1985
For the first time all summer, dark clouds lingered above SunyshoreCity. Humidity hung in the air, keeping the temperature right up as the threat of rain that had built up over the past few weeks prepared to lash the city. As a result, all of Sunyshore seemed to have retreated indoors: it was lunchtime, yet the beaches, streets and the City Square were empty, the holiday-goers and residents deciding to keep away from the impending storm.
To Viktor and Cynthia, Sunyshore seemed to have been abandoned, a ghost town with only a few souls remaining. Their daily meet-up at the library had been the most peaceful one yet as they were the only ones there asides from the library staff. The duo spotted less than a dozen other people spread out around the City Square, mostly those braving the weather to get necessities, with all the cafes and stores targeting tourists still and silent.
Despite having quieter conditions to work in, Viktor and Cynthia left the library in frustration. They had been searching endlessly for the books that Cynthia wanted over the past week, yet still nothing had shown up. Viktor could tell that Cynthia was getting more and more annoyed and disappointed as the days dragged on with nothing coming from them: she did not have long left to her holiday, and she needed to find that book before she left. He wanted to do more to help her, but there was little Viktor could do without spending his entire holiday shut up inside the library.
They walked in silence into Fisherman's Square. They could hear the violent sea below, the waves crashing against the rocks, and a strong wind tugged at their clothing. Viktor was wearing a navy raincoat that resembled a garbage bag, and he felt uncomfortable and unattractive in it, especially as it was not yet raining. Cynthia looked more relaxed in a black coat and jeans to combat the cold sea winds, and Viktor could not help but think how pretty she looked, even with the wind tossing her hair madly around: she was lost in thought, staring up at the slate coloured clouds with a blank face …
"It was a pity we didn't find anything today," Viktor said quickly in order to distract himself, and looked away so Cynthia would not see the flushing of his face. The blonde haired girl sighed, and absently kicked a few loose stones and sent them rolling across the open lane.
"I am starting to doubt that I will ever find anything!" Cynthia grumbled. "It is beginning to look pointless! Every day we go to the library, every day we search through a different section, and every day we leave angry and disappointed. I have begun to wonder if I heard my grandmother properly; I swear she said something about Mr Adiem hiding the book with all the answers here, but maybe it was a different library…"
"We haven't tried all the areas yet!" Viktor replied briskly. "There may be some books they have out back, why don't you try asking someone at the help desk?" Cynthia nodded at the idea, and Viktor's heart skipped a beat in relief. For a moment, he had thought Cynthia had decided to leave, to take her family away to Hearthome or Jubilife and try to find her information there. Viktor knew her departure was imminent, as she was only on holiday after all, but she had fast become his closest human friend and he was not sure what he would do without her.
Their friendship had been tense for a few days after Viktor had run away to the graveyard. He had refused to speak to anyone about what he had seen, or what the supposed ghost Charlotte had told him. He was still not convinced it had really happened, and he checked his head every day for any bruises or injuries that could have led to severe hallucination. Even when his grandparents had warmly scolded him for running away, Viktor had refused to say anything about his incident, only that he felt lonely and wanted to see his parents.
However, for days Viktor had been unable to think of nothing else but Charlotte's scornful words about Cynthia; Cynthia Carter is lying to you, and she will keep on lying to you as long as it pleases her. Viktor did not want to believe it, but it was something that at the time he could not help but think was true, Charlotte's words confirming, for a moment, the suspicions he had had. He had worried about if he was simply a library card to Cynthia in order for her to get the books she needed, and Viktor's jealousy had picked up on her quick bonding with Volkner…
Viktor threw himself into extra training with his Pokemon and work on his science project that he was fast falling behind in, trying to shake away these dark thoughts. Cynthia did not seem to notice anything wrong, and after a few days of wearing himself out so that Charlotte's words would not haunt him, Viktor was able to relax and allow their friendship to return to normal. Every so often, in a quiet moment, Viktor will see the laughing transparent face, feel the grasp of dead hand upon his ankle and hear Charlotte's malicious words, but he refused to let them ruin the only friendship he had had in years.
The Fischer household was getting battered by the foul weather: rubbish and rocks were being blown all over the place, and it was likely there would be a few cracked windows before it was over. Viktor did not want to stay outside any longer, and he could see his grandparents milling about in the kitchen, causing his stomach to grumble for its lunch. Viktor led a quiet Cynthia to the door, desperate to get inside before the storm struck, but he noticed something orange moving in the corner of the living room, and his heart sank as he realised that Flint was staying over as well.
"Hey, I just had an idea!" Viktor said as he turned and side stepping in front of Cynthia before she could reach the front door. "Why don't we try Castform battling in this weather? He has only been in sunny weather so far, it might be good to put him into a bit of rain." Cynthia dwelled over this thought for a moment, staring back up at the storm clouds as if they would give her an answer.
"You know, I really am in the mood for a battle, and I think trying a rainy Castform is the perfect excuse!" She replied with a wide smile, and Viktor beamed back, quickly moving towards the side of the house away from his family's prying eyes. Things with him and Flint were still tense despite all the mediation from his grandparents, and Viktor really did not want Cynthia and Volkner to spend any more time together than was necessary. Everyone was still going on about their battle from the other night, and both Cynthia and Volkner kept discussing rematches and Pokemon strategies whenever they were in the same room. Viktor did not want Cynthia to realise his training was a lost cause and to have her bond with Volkner instead, and would gladly battle in a storm if it meant preventing them getting closer.
Viktor threw his PokeBall into the air, and felt more relaxed once Castform had formed before him. For a moment the Pokemon looked a normal grey, but within seconds his body began to shine blue as it reacted with the stormy weather. Viktor shielded his eyes as the light got brighter, but it faded quickly, leaving behind Castform in his Rainy Form: his head was now shaped like a blue water drop, while his bottom half had morphed to resemble a cloud.
"Caaaas!" He cried, happily flying around Viktor's head. He laughed as he positioned himself a field's length away from Cynthia, the young girl briefly watching and smiling at Castform before sending out her own Pokemon. Viktor was not surprised when the tiny blue Horsea landed on the field, and smirked across at his friend.
"Your hoping it the rain will boost your attacks, aren't you?" Viktor asked, and Cynthia could not help but look impressed.
"Yes actually! I am rather stunned that you worked that out – you really are improving with all this training!" Viktor tried not to blush, but the way Cynthia smiled as she paid him the compliment was a bit too much to handle…
"Viktor, I thought that was you!" A voice cried out above the wind, and his brief moment of happiness was shattered. Viktor glanced around, thinking it was Flint for a moment, but was surprised to see Minerva making her way across her backyard, her Eevee following quickly behind. She was wearing a pink skirt that was being blown up by the wind, and Minerva was trying to keep it under control while maintaining a casual appearance, but Viktor could not help but notice that something was up. He not spoken to his neighbour except for the occasional 'Hello' for several days now, and was suspicious that she would come out in this weather purely for a chat.
"Hey Minerva, what are you doing out here?" He asked, struggling not to sound annoyed. The two used to chat quite regularly near the start of the holidays, but Viktor had a friend his own age now and did not have time for his neighbour, especially not when he had the chance to prove himself to Cynthia.
"Oh, I just heard your voice and thought I'd say Hello, it has been a while since we last spoke," Minerva explained with a slight laugh before quickly turning towards Cynthia. "So, you must be Cynthia then?" She asked pointedly, clearly already knowing the answer, and Viktor had a feeling what might be going on.
"Yes, that's right," Cynthia replied, glancing awkwardly at Viktor as wondered who this person was. Minerva quickly looked her up and down before giving her another smile, and it was quite obvious how fake this was.
"I have seen you out and about with Viktor these past few weeks," Minerva explained, "though I am afraid I don't know too much about you, though I am sure Viktor has told you everything about me!" Cynthia did not reply, merely moving closer to her Horsea and looking at Viktor to do something, but he had no idea what, knowing if he did anything his grandparents would quickly find out. Minerva caught the awkward tension in the air and turned to Viktor, ignoring her Eevee as it circled around her legs.
"I had no idea that you wanted to train your Pokemon Viktor!" She continued. "Why didn't you tell me? Eevee and I would have been more than willing to help you out, and it would have been so easy for you to have just come to my house than to go wandering the streets and asking the first random for help!" She laughed, the sound carrying on the wind, but no one else cracked a smile.
"Are you implying something with that?" Cynthia asked coldly, and Minerva made herself look shocked.
"I don't know what you mean by that? I think you have read the situation incorrectly," she replied, but Cynthia simply tutted.
"The situation is that we were about to battle, and you just interrupted us for no reason, so I think you should go back to your dolls and dresses and leave us to our battle!" Minerva looked as though she had been slapped, and Viktor could not help but smirk slightly as Cynthia turned away from his neighbour and pointed towards Castform. "Now Horsea, let's begin with a –"
"Eevee, use Tackle!" Minerva suddenly cried. Viktor was shocked, but he simply stood and watched as Eevee sprinted forwards across the rocks, headed towards an equally surprised Cynthia and Horsea.
"Twister!" Cynthia yelled, snapping out of her shock in the nick of time. Horsea turned towards the charging Eevee and took a deep breath in, purple light emitting from her long snout. Before Eevee could even get close, Horsea exhaled, firing a whirling purple tornado towards the Evolution Pokemon.
"Veeee!" Eevee cried as the Twister struck her, blasting her backwards past Minerva. The young girl was stunned by the power of the attack, and an impressed Viktor smiled at Cynthia, but she did not return it, instead glaring at Minerva.
"I think you really need to go now, before my Horsea does serious damage to your Pokemon!" She hissed. "Or I could send my Gabite out and give you a real battle, if that's what you'd prefer?" Minerva's confidence was quickly shattered, and she bent down and scooped a ruffled Eevee off from the ground. She looked at Viktor, pleading for him to help, but he looked away, refusing to betray his new friend for an old neighbour he rarely spoke to. Minerva let out a loud sniff and turned and scuttled back towards her house, nearly stumbling over her dress as it was blown about.
"That was pretty impressive; I have never been able to shake Minerva away that quickly!" Viktor said with a broad beam. He felt a bit guilty that he had not handled the situation better, as Minerva could be just as lonely as he was, but getting rid of the young girl was like trying to push a Snorlax up a steep hill. "Now, shall we continue with our battle?" He asked, eager to pit Castform against that powerful Twister. Cynthia turned back towards him, looking rather absent, and Viktor's heart fell even more, having a feeling about what she was about to say.
"I am sorry Viktor, but I am really not in the mood anymore," she said with a slight sigh. "Your little friend has taken away the enthusiasm I had. I think I will just go home and think about what I should do next with the whole book finding mission. And, judging by how dark those clouds are, the storm is about to strike and I really need to get home."
You could stay here overnight if you wanted to! Viktor thought, and he nearly uttered the words, a brief fantasy crossing his mind. However, Cynthia clearly had made her mind up as she withdrew Horsea and quietly waved before turning his back on him. It was clear that her failure with finding the book was getting to her, and Viktor wanted to go something to make her feel better, but words failed him and he simply watched her long blonde hair disappear around the side of his house.
"This is her fault," Viktor whispered, looking at Minerva's house. Castform looked at him curiously but Viktor did not pay him any attention. He watched as some wrappers fluttered around in the air and an idea quickly came to him.
"Form Cast Form!" Castform exclaimed as Viktor bent down and picked up the largest rock he could actually hold. Viktor knew that his Pokemon was aware of what he was going to do and was upset by it, but he pushed away the thoughts as he ran towards Minerva's house. He could see no one through the windows, but did not want to risk being caught and did not pause: Viktor heaved the rock up and tossed it towards the window. It smashed through the glass at the same time as thunder roared overhead, the entire pane shattering.
"Move!" Viktor hissed at Castform, and he turned and sprinted back towards the house, moving before anyone had the chance to spot him. Flecks of rain splattered his face as Viktor ran, and more thunder roared overhead, signalling the start of the storm. Viktor paused by the door, glancing back to make sure no one in Minerva's family was coming after him. Now that he stopped, could feel his heart pumping, exhilaration going through his body as he thought of that simple act of vandalism, that small act of revenge. He would never admit it aloud, but Viktor could not help but feel glorious, rebellious, free… alive…
He flung the front door open and stepped inside, instantly feeling the warmth spreading out from the kitchen where his grandmother was slaving over a late lunch, steam wafting up from a pot and circling around the ceiling. Viktor stripped his raincoat off and flung it past Castform as the Forecast Pokemon turned back into his normal form, savouring being away from the weather and but now wondering what to do as his time with Cynthia had been cut short.
"Hello Viktor!" His grandfather boomed, placing his newspaper down and giving his grandson a broad grin. Viktor knew that he was only doing it because the grandparents were still concerned over him run away, but he still appreciated the gesture and smiled back, lapping up the attention while it lasted.
"Where's Cynthia, I thought you were out with her?" Joan asked as she stirred a giant pot boiling over the stove.
"Oh, she… had to go home, the storm and that…," Viktor mumbled, too distracted to think of a better lie. Peter and Joan accepted it and went back to what they were doing, leaving Viktor to continue to his bedroom. The wind was seeping through cracks in the hallway, so there was a chill in the air that made Viktor shiver, and he dreaded to think what it would be like trying to sleep with the storm pounding down atop their creaking old house.
"Come on Volkner, we need to think of battle strategy!" Viktor paused by his cousin's doorway as he heard voices stirring through it, and peered curiously through a gap made by the half closed door: Flint was sitting on the floor with his Eevee crawling on top of him, trying to get its trainer's attention, but Flint was staring up at Volkner as he paced around the room, Pikachu clinging to his shoulder.
"I know, I am trying!" The blonde haired boy grumbled back, a notepad in his hands. "We need to combine Fire and Electric attacks together but I am not sure if that would really work!"
"What about some of Eevee's Normal type moves, and doesn't Pikachu know Surf?" Flint suggested. "We are sure to get attention if he uses that move!"
"It's not about getting attention, it's about winning the prize, and we won't win if Pikachu knocks out Chimchar or Houndour and has to face the competition alone!" Volkner replied, Pikachu nodding on his shoulder.
"He can use Surf while I have my Eevee out, it won't be that effective as long as he has full health!" Flint retorted, holding his Eevee up to help prove his point. As Volkner thought over this, Viktor decided to move on before he was noticed by Flint, spurred upon by something his cousin had said.
"I wonder what the prize is," Viktor mumbled to Castform as he moved into his room. He remembered Flint giving him a flyer several weeks ago, right before the incident with the curtains, and he now wondered where it was. Viktor began moving sheets aside on his desk, knowing it would have ended up somewhere near here. His entry for the science competition was sitting untouched in the middle of the desk, a thin layer of dust on it from several days of being ignored and Viktor paused as his eyes glanced over it, wondering when he would get the time to carry it on…
My training is more important, I only have a few weeks with Cynthia! He reminded himself, and quickly went back to searching, trying to ignore a feeling of guilt over ignoring the project he had been so invested in only a few weeks prior. He found the crumpled flyer a few moments later with its image of a Starly and Mantyke, and Viktor remembered being engrossed when Flint had first given it to him, but the fight clouded over these memories and it was a fresh read for him as he sunk onto his bed.
"Wow, the prize for this is actually pretty awesome!" Viktor exclaimed, causing Castform to fly across and peer over his shoulder. "The grand prize for the two winners is a trip to the Island of Champions where you get to battle Bertha from the Elite Four and her sister Agatha from Kanto!" Viktor had seen the two sisters on television and in magazines and was amazed at the idea of being able to face them, sending Castform out alongside Cynthia's Gabite, entering into a glorious battle that would be remembered for years to come. Viktor looked through the rest of the details, wondering what else the prize entailed.
"You get to have dinner with all of the Elite Four as well, and the Champion Winston Diamond!" He informed Castform, in awe at the star power being hosted at this event. "And you get an interview that will air on the Sinnoh Broadcasting Company with…. Arnold Adiem…." Viktor paused, silence quickly falling in his room, the only sounds being the rain as it began to hammer the roof. The flyer fell to the cluttered, dirty floor, but Viktor did not realise it had left his fingers. It landed atop hand drawn diagrams and series of notes about his machine, flyers advertising the science competition and the different forms he had to fill out to enter, pieces of paper that had been ignored for weeks, but Viktor was oblivious to them being there…
"Cas Cas?" Castform asked as Viktor got to his feet, his cry went ignored. Viktor moved out of his bedroom, down the hallway and into the living room without a thought crossing his mind, moving forwards like some kind of zombie too caught up on a single idea to consider anything else.
"Viktor, what are you doing?" Joan exclaimed. "I am about to serve lunch!"
"Where do you think your going?" Peter boomed. "You can't go out there, you'll get blown into the ocean! Viktor! VIKTOR!" But Viktor stepped outside, closing the door behind him just after Castform had slipped through the gap. The wind and rain hit him like a bomb, and the young boy felt the weather tugging at his raincoat, but he could not remember putting it back on. There was a blinding flash of lightning as Castform changed forms, followed by the loud crackling of thunder, yet it did not perturb Viktor in the slightest. There was only one thing on his mind at the moment, and he used it to give himself courage against the storm that was only just beginning.
I must find Cynthia though, I need to tell her this news, and then she won't need to bother with finding the book anymore! Viktor told himself as he set off. All we have to do is get to Mr Adiem, and then she can find the answers she needs, and we can spend the rest of the summer together without anything to get in our way… And with that thought giving him strength, Viktor led Castform away from the house and into the rain, wind and lightning, a smile creeping onto his face as the young boy imagined how happy Cynthia would be with him.
7th June 2013, 06:11 PM #17
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine: Summer Storms
After building up and teasing the residents of Sunyshore all day, it took only a matter of seconds for the storm to kick off, and within minutes the city was soaked.
Winds rose from the ocean and tore through Sunyshore, slamming against walls and windows, whipping up tornadoes of rubbish in the middle of streets, threatening to tear the roofs off buildings. Thick, heavy raindrops lashed the pavements, saturating everything and turning the few grassy areas into brown patches of mud. The few people that had been out had retreated firmly indoors, and anyone gazing out their windows found it difficult to imagine someone staying out in this weather.
That is, unless, you were someone with no home to go to.
Bastard bloody rain! Cynthia thought angrily to herself. She hid in the shadows around the corner from the library, watching through the constant grey stream of rain as the last librarian hurriedly locked the door. They were all going home now that the storm had started and it appeared no one would be making the trip to the library today: it looked completely dark inside, exactly like it had been the first night Cynthia had arrived. She remembered those few short weeks ago, arriving in Sunyshore after weeks of travelling, expecting her task to be simple from there on only to have her hopes crushed straight away.
She had found a way inside and planned on locating and taking the book and disappearing before morning, but Cynthia had quickly realised that there were too many books to search through, that she could spend all night looking and still have nothing by sunrise. Quickly, Cynthia had been forced to change her plan. She had known all alone she would not be able to ask the front desk about it, as she did not have the full title, knowing it was simply an encyclopaedia. She also did not have the time to go searching through on her own every day, and, if Cynthia wanted her mission to go undetected, checking it out under a real library account would be the best way to disappear. Encountering Viktor and earning his trust had been the thing Cynthia needed to locate this book, and she had become certain that the book would be in her possession by the end of her first week.
However, that was when she had thought that this mission would be simpler. Cynthia was running out of time to legitimately hang around Sunyshore, as Viktor would return to school at the end of August and her holiday would be expected to end then as well, yet they were no closer to finding the book. Cynthia was not going to ruin everything, and when she had seen the library emptying of all its staff, she had decided that now was not the time to play by the rules: she did not care if she had to steal the book anymore, if someone realised it had been taken and her grandmother and Mr Adiem somehow found out. She had come too far and sacrificed too much to give up now, and with Viktor's advice in mind and an empty library to utilize, Cynthia would not pass up the opportunity to finally end her quest.
The librarian finally moved away, running down the Luxray flanked stairs with an umbrella over her head, sprinting off into the storm in the other direction. The veil of rain and the darkness of the storm made for perfect, natural camouflage, so Cynthia simply stepped out from the shadows and made her way towards the three storey building. As she did not want to be too noticeable, Cynthia had chosen to go through a window, and though she was tempted to throw a rock through it to vent her frustration, both at the lack of success and Minerva's insults, there were much easier methods.
"Hello Gabite," the blonde said grimly as her Dragon-Ground type formed before her. The Cave Pokemon appeared displeased with being summoned in such horrible weather, but Cynthia needed an extra pair of hands. "This window only has a catch holding it in place, no locks or anything like that. Would you mind using your fins please?" She asked.
"Gabite Ga," Gabite mumbled, annoyed but willing to do anything for his trainer, and he moved to the window, pushing his right fin through the gap and raising it up. The catch was easily released, and Cynthia and Gabite heaved the two windows open.
"Thank you!" Cynthia said with a beam, and Gabite mumbled as he easily heaved her up so she could crawl through the window. She landed on the carpet with a slight thud, and quickly found it was no warmer inside than it was outside. However, her coat was damp from the rain, and Cynthia took it off and tossed it over a chair. As Gabite heaved himself inside, Cynthia found one of the librarian desks and grabbed onto a torch.
A ghostly yellow glow emerged when flicked it on, casting its light across the empty, still library floor, sending shadows crawling up the library walls. Living on the streets and travelling on her own had made Cynthia resilient to things like this, but it was still an unsettling feeling being alone in such a massive yet confined space like this, and the chill of her damp clothes did not make things better.
"Come on Gabite, we are going to the back room," she said, moving forwards through the small collection of desks and chairs gathered near the wall. They past the photocopier and children's area that had a different, much more unpleasant aroma to it than the rest of the library, and soon came across a tall, thick wooden door next to a series of encyclopaedias that Cynthia had checked out earlier that day. It seemed silly that she had not considered looking through the back rooms earlier, but she had never had the chance before either.
"Damnit, locked!" She cursed as she tried for the door handle, irritated to think the book could be right behind this piece of wood.
"Bite!" Gabite cried, and he lashed out with his left leg. Cynthia gasped as the blue blur kicked the door right off its hinges, sending it clattering back against the wall opposite and tearing out a chunk of the frame as well. She turned and looked at her Pokemon, remembering the little Gible that use to get beaten up by her sister's Vulpix, and Gabite, and smirked as Gabite merely shrugged off his actions.
"Looks like we better find the book then," Cynthia said with a smile, and chortled to herself as she led Gabite into the back room.
It smelt old and musty, an aroma as if something unpleasant had died here and then gotten wet. Cynthia turned on the light switch near the door and the ancient bulbs flickered to life above her, casting amber light that made it appear as though the room was on fire. Several wooden shelves lined the corridor-like room, jammed with books that were either damaged, out dated or simply not popular enough to keep in the main section, leading towards cabinets and cluttered tables at the end.
"This book was published in 1930," Cynthia informed Gabite as she lifted up the nearest book, a hardback that was barely hanging together. "Seems to have never been opened since then though," she added as a cloud of dust rose up in the beam of her lamp. She gazed around at the piles of books, wondering how many of them had gone untouched for decades, and if one of those was hers, simply hidden in plain sight beneath a coating of dust."Come on then, let's get to work!" She exclaimed, and turned to face the shelves on her left. Cynthia felt optimistic now that they had found this room, and she was reassured that she would find her book as she began flicking through the piles before.
There was a pile of adventure novels from the fifties, outdated fact books on Pokemon with hand drawn images, a broken copy of a popular fantasy book and several encyclopaedias, but not the one she was looking for.
"Any luck for you?" Cynthia asked Gabite, but he shrugged back and she sighed, turning back to her piles. She had not expected the book to simply be laying there with a note on it saying 'Here you go!', but as she moved further along the row of shelves, searching through a never ending pile of dirty, dusty books, her task began to look more daunting by the minute.
Why did I have to go chasing after a book on the side of the country?, Cynthia thought as she moved to the next shelf. Ever since she had arrived in Sunyshore and discovered the library, Cynthia had been replaying that conversation all those weeks ago in the dark moments when she wondered if this had been worthwhile: she had gone to complain about her sister and her boyfriend hogging the television, but walked into her grandmother's study to find her ranting to a Mr Adiem.
"What do you mean you don't have the book? Where is it? … A library?! A LIBRARY!? Which one, Sunyshore? … My god Adiem, you are a foolish man! Are you aware what would happen if some random member of the public finds this encyclopaedia? This book has information that could alter history, change the very world we live in, it would bring down strategies and plans that have been in the works for four decades! … God, just shut your whining up for five minutes, alright? Now, what is the book called? World Encyclopaedia… P? As in the letter…"
Cynthia had slipped away before her grandmother had noticed, disappearing to her room and packing a bag before anyone had the chance to notice. She had spent years living a lonely life in Celestic Town with only her Pokemon and an unbearable and loveless family for company. There was nothing to do, nothing to aim for, nothing to set her sights upon… but going to Sunyshore, finding a book that could alter the world, it would be the adventure of a lifetime, and Cynthia had always yearned for an adventure… something that could change her life forever…
She paused in her thoughts as came across a dated Sinnoh map book and smirked at the irony as she tossed it aside to the pile of useless books. She had left in such a rush, so intrigued and desperate to get away, that she had taken off without a map herself. Cynthia had lived rough these past weeks, quickly running out of the food she had stolen and struggling to sleep in the wild in the unbearable humidity of the forests. It had been the adventure she had wanted all her life, and for a while it had been fun, but as time ticked on, she could only wonder how well thought out this plan really was…
The shelves suddenly disappeared, being replaced by a filing cabinet and a table before the small room ended. Cynthia had become so lost in thought that she had not noticed the shelves had run out, though she was well aware she had not yet found the book. Optimistically, she opened the cabinet, the metal box squealing as it rolled on rusted wheels, but there was nothing inside. Getting concerned now, Cynthia flung the next two open, desperate to find something, but they were both bare except for rubbish and discarded sheets of paper.
"Have you found anything yet?" She snapped at Gabite, and the Dragon shook his head, nearing the end of his rows as well. "GAAAAAH, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!" Cynthia screamed, and she angrily waved her arm across a shelf, sending piles of books soaring through the air, broken pages falling out and damaged covers coming loose. Yet Cynthia did not care for the mess she had made, and she turned and slumped against the cabinet, as a million doubts began to rush through her mind. Had this all been pointless? There was no sign of the book anywhere… What if Mr Adiem or her grandmother had had it moved right after that conversation? Had she thrown away her life, travelled roughly for weeks across Sinnoh, simply to live in a children's playhouse, manipulate the only person that had been kind to her for years and vandalise a public building? Cynthia had wanted an adventure, but this was rapidly turning into a life-ruining waste of time.
"What am I doing Gabite?" Cynthia muttered, twisting her hair angrily and nervously around her fingers. "The book probably isn't here and never was in the first place! God, why did I even leave Celestic? Did I really think finding a book was going to change anything? We… we should just go home, there is nothing for us in Sunyshore…" she mumbled, but paused as a single thought crossed her: nothing except Viktor…
"Bite Ga Ga Bite," Gabite suddenly said, and Cynthia looked up, feeling defeated and confused, wishing she had stayed in the rain rather than come here and have her dreams shattered. However, she lit up when Gabite pointed at the middle section of a second filing cabinet, which groaned but did not open when he tried to pull at it. Cynthia realised that it had been locked, and her heart began to beat rapidly with excitement.
"Pull it!" She commanded, overcome with excitement, and Gabite smirked and easily tore the cabinet away. Cynthia eagerly approached it as the Cave Pokemon placed it on the ground and stared inside: hidden away at the back, barely disguised by piles of old paper, was a single, thick, leather bound book that had no place being there. Cynthia reached out, hand shaking, mind racing, and grasped the book, knowing that this was it… this was the book she had travelled the country to find.
"Ga?" Gabite asked, leaning in to see. Cynthia raised it up towards the light, trying to make it what it said in the dim light. The cover was simple, with just brown leather and gold writing, identical to half the encyclopaedia's she had looked through. The book was titled The World Encyclopaedia 1938, the text taking up the entire cover. Cynthia brushed her hands down the spine and knew there was more, and she slowly turned it to find the same words across the spine, right above a big, gold 'P' at the bottom…
"This is it…" Cynthia whispered, struggling with the shock, but a smile quickly spread across her face. "THIS IS IT!" She yelled, and leapt up with a scream of delight, throwing her arms around Gabite and pulling him into a hug. The Cave Pokemon hugged her tightly back and Cynthia laughed, feeling the happiest she had felt in years; she had accomplished her goal, and now she stood the chance of finally changing her life… but then a clap of thunder sounded so loudly it seemed like the roof might cave in, and Cynthia jumped, snapping out of her happy thoughts as the lights began to flicker on and off.
"We need to go before the storm gets worse," she mumbled, to which Gabite simply nodded. Cynthia picked up the books and placed them back onto the shelf while Gabite put the cabinet back in its spot in a feeble attempt to disguise their actions, though anyone that knew the room would work out what had happened quickly. The two left as another blast of thunder roared overheard, putting the door in its spot before making for an exit.
The storm had gotten worse while they were inside. The front doors had not been locked properly and were now flapping about, crashing and banging into the walls as they let the elements in. Wind roared through the library, sending bits of rubbish and loose paper soaring around and blowing the nearest curtains off their racks. Cynthia looked up at the giant stained window as she went for her coat, and hoped it did not get damaged; the mixture of colours was still beautiful even with the charcoal clouds looming in mass outside, and it was the only good thing about this library.
"We will just go out there!" Cynthia yelled, the wind so loud that she had to shout to be heard. She and Gabite sprinted towards the doors, their feet squelching over sodden carpet, and rushed out into the roaring storm.
The wind howled and thunder roared as they stepped onto the Square, which looked as though it may flood from the amount of puddles already forming across the concrete, though the veil of rain was so thick that Cynthia could barely see a few feet ahead let alone the shops opposite. Her clothes, which had barely dried while they were inside, were quickly saturated once more, becoming heavy and cold as they clung to her body.
I should have stayed with Viktor, Cynthia thought as she was struck by a blast of freezing wind. She tucked the encyclopaedia into an inside pocket of her coat before racing down the staircase. Lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the Square, which only went to prove how dark it had become, and Cynthia only remember it should be lunch by the grumble of her stomach.
"The playground will be too wet, I think, but I am sure there's a cave near the playground, we can go there!" Cynthia yelled to Gabite as she began to move across the Square. "We will need to hurry, but be careful, I don't want you getting –"
"GAAAA!" Gabite suddenly roared, the sound a mixture of surprise and anger that sounded above the roaring wind. Cynthia froze and turned in concern, reaching instinctively for a PokeBall; she knew something was wrong, that this was not just some simple shocked cry at falling over. Through the grey mist of rain, she could see Gabite struggling against two figures that were grappling for his arms, and Cynthia was stunned to think someone would just attack them in the middle of a storm like this.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" She yelled and ran forwards, pulling out her PokeBalls for Swablu and Horsea, ready to use them if necessary. However, when Cynthia got close enough, she was stunned to recognise the figures standing on either side of Gabite….
"Hello there, you little bitch!" A tall, muscular teenaged male sneered at her, though Cynthia was not sure which one was Tom and which was Jack. They stood there smirking, dripping wet with see through, saturated clothing, but neither of them seemed to notice or care though as they focussed on holding onto Gabite's arms. Cynthia wondered why the Dragon had not broken free, but then she realised that the wannabe surfer on her right had placed a knife right up against his throat.
"Let him go," she hissed, trying to think of a way to end this without Gabite getting harmed. It seemed so odd that only a minute ago she had been revelling in the joy of getting her book, but now stood in the middle of a storm, so close to having her oldest friend taken away.
"Don't think we can't see what you've got in your hands!" The one with the hairier chest, which Cynthia thought was Jack, sneered. "If you send a single Pokemon out I will split his throat open and send Machoke out to deal with you!" Cynthia knew that some Pokemon could be harmed with weapons such as knives, but was not sure if Gabite was included in this category, and this was not something she wanted to find out. Reluctantly, Cynthia dropped her PokeBalls back into her pocket, and the two boys beamed.
"Good girl!" Tom said with a scoff-like laugh. "If you just listen to what we have to say, no one will get hurt!"
"Well, maybe just a little," Jack added, and the two began to laugh, making Cynthia feel sick. She wished now that she had considered taking a bonus weapon with her when she had taken off, thinking she would only ever need her Pokemon should trouble arise. The laughter quickly died down, barely audible anyway above the roaring wind and pounding rain, and the two began to advance towards Cynthia with Gabite wedged between.
"Now listen here you little cow! You embarrassed us quite a bit when you defeated us the other week!" Tom growled. "We both lost dates, and people are still mocking us over it. Do you know how annoying that is to have everyone you know laughing about the fact some little bitch beat you in a battle?"
"Is that what this is about; I embarrassed you?" Cynthia scoffed, taking a cautious step backwards. "What are you going to do; throw some pie in my face in public, get me to slip on a banana, make things even?" The two boys exchanged furious looks, and before Cynthia had even blinked again, Jack swung out and slapped her across the face. The blow was enough to send her stumbling, nearly slipping on the wet concrete. Cynthia was shocked, but she could only clutch her stinging face as the two teenagers advanced aggressively towards her.
"Actually, we thought you needed to be taught a proper lesson!" Tom snarled. "We can't have little bratty tourists like you coming in and acting like your better than us now, can we?" He pulled the knife away from Gabite's throat and pointed it towards Cynthia. Fear ran through her body; Cynthia wanted to scream and run, but she could only stare at the knife in shock, unable to do anything. She had no idea what they were going to do, but she was on the verge of tears, cold and terrified, and Cynthia wished now more than ever that she had never left home in the first place…
"TACKLE!" A voice screamed, and Tom suddenly yelled out as something smashed into his right leg. He stumbled forwards, dropping the knife, and Cynthia snapped out of her fearful state. She swooped down and grabbed the weapon before Jack could, but when she straightened back up Cynthia found Tom was wildly swinging his arms about, trying to get at a red blur that was thrashing against his face and chest.
"What the hell," Cynthia mumbled, unable to comprehend the bizarre scene occurring before her. Something blue shone out of the corner of her eyes, and Cynthia turned to find Jack screaming as a light blue beam was blasted into his chest. She gasped as his wet shirt began to freeze, attaching itself to his body. Jack gasped for breath and flailed madly at his shirt as he tried to pull it free, but it was rapidly becoming solid.
Hang on, Cynthia thought suddenly. She looked between her two attackers in shock as they struggled to fight back, and she could not help but notice there was something very familiar about this…
"RUN CYNTHIA!" The same voice from before screamed, and she looked through the rain to see Viktor standing a few metres away, clutching Feebas in his hands as the Fish Pokemon finished unleashing his Ice Beam. Without a second thought, Cynthia slipped the knife into her pocket and ran forwards, leaving Gabite to pick up the speedily flailing Magikarp who had slapped Tom into submission. Viktor began running as well, and within seconds they left the Square behind and were sprinting down the storm darkened back streets, the drains already overflowing but shielded from the wind by the mountain of rock. Cynthia was so stunned by the fact Viktor had saved her that she was not sure what to say or think and simply looked at him in shock. Viktor saw her expression and smiled, even though he was completely saturated as well.
"If you are shocked by that, you won't believe what I just found out!" Viktor shouted gleefully. Cynthia raised an eyebrow before beginning to laugh, unable to think of anything else she could do, merely stunned and relieved by the events of the past half hour.
"Oh, I think I can top that, don't you worry…"
12th July 2013, 02:49 AM #18
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Nine
Another break, but I hope to get another two chapters up before the end of the month!
Chapter Ten: By Candlelight
July 9th 1985
As the clock ticked over to a new day, Sunyshore's summer storm showed no signs of stopping. Wind screamed past the Fischer household as rain lashed the windows so heavily you would think they'd crack. The storm was occasionally punctured by the crack and thud as a section of roof was sent flying somewhere nearby, but thankfully their house remained upright and undamaged. Lightning flashed every so often, illuminating every room with a harsh blue-white glow, joined seconds later by booming thunder, a constant reminder that this foul weather was here to stay.
Cynthia smiled blissfully as she watched the rain go past, unable to sleep but still pleased to be out of the elements tonight. She was lying on an old, lumpy sofa in the Fischer's living room, but it was the most comfortable thing she had slept on for over two months. She had not noticed how sore her body was getting from sleeping on the ground for such a long time, but she had practically moaned with relief the second she had lain down, all wrapped up in several warm blankets kindly leant to her by Joan.
Of course, Cynthia could not admit these feelings to anyone. She had been so delighted about finding the book and getting away from Tom and Jake that Cynthia had forgotten her lies as she followed Viktor back to his house. They both got completely drenched rushing through the flooded, muddy streets, and Joan and Peter had been shocked to see the state they were in. Cynthia was quickly forced into having a hot bath and to change into dry clothes before getting the offer to join Flint in staying the night. She had accepted instantly, but it was only then she remembered her cover story, and she proceeded to fake a call to the hotel and explain the situation to her parents.
Lying there, watching the raging storm, Cynthia felt guilty for leading them on like this. Viktor and his grandparents had been exceedingly kind to her, and Volkner and Flint had been just as open and friendly. She felt terrible for having made them believe such an elaborate lie like this, and she hoped that one day she could explain everything and that they would understand.
At least it is beginning to pay off… Cynthia thought excitedly. Her guilt and the loud storm were not helping her sleep, but Cynthia's mind was focussed mostly on the book she had retrieved a few hours ago. Things had gotten hectic after she had arrived at the Fischer house and been forced into a bath that she had had no time to look at it, but Cynthia had nothing holding her back now. She reached into her bag and found it was still damp, which was why she had not put it in there amongst her wrecked belongings earlier, but it had been the only safe place to store it when she arrived without attracting anyone's attention. Thankfully, the encyclopaedia appeared undamaged, and it looked just as magnificent as it had earlier. Tentatively, Cynthia held it up and went to open it, her mind beginning to race – what exactly would she find inside, these secrets that would change the entire world?
"Cynthia, are you awake?" Someone whispered, and Cynthia jumped, dropping the book in her surprise. She looked frantically around but was relieved to see it was just Viktor and no one else that might wonder about her book.
"What are you doing here?" Cynthia said as quietly as possible.
"This is my house," Viktor retorted, his smirk illuminated by the next lightning flash. "I couldn't sleep anyway; this storm is so bloody loud!"
"I know it is your house, but I got the impression your grandparents insisted I sleep out here for a reason," Cynthia replied. Viktor had originally asked if Cynthia could sleep on a spare mattress in his room, but Peter had quickly said that their old mattress was very holey and the couch would be much more comfortable. Cynthia, however, had clicked that the fussy members of an older generation did not like the idea of the two sharing a room. They were both too young for that sort of thing, but Cynthia preferred sleeping on her own and having time to deal with her thoughts anyway.
"What is that book?" Viktor asked as he stepped into the living room. Cynthia had not had a chance to talk to him in private and realised he still had no idea about her discovery. Grinning madly, she picked up the encyclopaedia and passed it across. The only light in the room was a flickering candle Joan had lit in case the power went out, so Viktor took the book towards the pale yellow stick of wax in order to see it properly. His eyes bulged as he read the tile, and he turned with a wide, excited beam on his face.
"Is this… is this the book you were looking for?" Viktor asked, and Cynthia nodded with an eager grin. She rushed forwards with a blanket wrapped around her for warmth, and Viktor moved the candle and book onto the dining table. "How did you find it? Was it out back?" Cynthia quickly recalled her miraculous unearthing of it in the locked drawers, leaving out the doubts that had arisen during the frantic search. Cynthia had pushed her negative thoughts away after finding the book and achieving her mission, but they had slowly come creeping back over the past few hours, and the young girl could not help but wonder if finding this book would really make everything worthwhile.
"Wow… I can't believe that you finally found it! I mean, we have spent so much time searching for this, I was starting to doubt that we would ever find it."
"Trust me, I was getting very worried," Cynthia smirked, and she slid the book around so the title was right side up for her. "I haven't even opened it yet… and, to be honest, I am kind of scared. I have spent so long looking for this book that I have never really considered what would be so life-changing about it. Just look at it; does this look earth-shattering to you?"
"You won't know until you open the book," Viktor said, trying to sound encouraging, but he was just as nervous as she was. Cynthia sighed, and she slowly reached out and opened the encyclopaedia. The spine creaked as if it had not moved for years, and a cloud of dust arose as Cynthia turned to the first page.
"It's been rather damaged," she announced, examining the dirty fingerprints, slight tears and what looked like scorch marks all around the edges. Cynthia was not reassured by this, but she carried on, flicking through the pages and ignoring the spurts of dust that made her want to sneeze. Several pages annoyingly stuck together, but Cynthia quickly came to the brunt of the encyclopaedia; a series of articles, facts and information about various related topics that began with the letter 'P'. She did not have time to read every article, and the room was too dark to read such fine print, but nothing out of the ordinary leapt out at her: peace, pears, poetry, planes, postscript, nothing world changing there. Cynthia saw some words she did not recognise, like pacific and persia, but nothing that got her worried or excited.
"There doesn't seem to be anything in here!" She snapped, a wave of feelings rushing through her mid. Viktor looked confused and he grabbed the book so he could look himself and rapidly flicked through.
"There is not any mention of Pokemon in here," he said after a minute. "No Pikachu, no Ponyta, no Piplup, not even any facts on Pokemon in general!" They looked at each other, both rather confused about that, but neither was sure what exactly it meant.
"Maybe there is a separate encyclopaedia on them?" Cynthia suggested, struggling to think of a reason why; could this omission of Pokemon be a hint at a wider conspiracy or some big secret that her grandmother was trying to hide? However, this did not seem as life changing as it had been made out to be, and Cynthia angrily dug her nails into the table, struggling to control her emotions…
"My god, did I travel all this way just to learn this?" She snapped suddenly, and before Viktor could say anything she angrily swatted the book aside. It slid off the end and crashed into a chair, but Cynthia cursed as she had whacked her hand, a red mark already appearing. She rubbed it vigorously as if it would help and looked across at Viktor who was taken aback by her outburst. Cynthia smirked, and then she laughed, and within moments she fell back into her chair, giggling so loudly that Viktor barely heard the next rumble of thunder.
"What is it? Are you alright?" He asked nervously, but it was another minute before Cynthia had regained control and managed to catch her breathe in order to respond.
"I always do this, don't I? Making some big, rash decision without thinking it through and it ends up backfiring on me in the end!" She replied breathlessly and began laughing once more. Viktor was even more befuddled by that, but was getting concerned that her laughter might attract the attention of the rest of his family.
"Calm down Cynthia!" He hissed, his eyes flickering to the hallway. "What are you even talking about? What 'big rash decisions' have you made?" Something clicked at the back of her mind, and Cynthia suddenly remembered that Viktor had no idea about the reasons why she had come to Sunyshore or that she had ventured here alone.
"It's nothing Viktor, just forget I said anything – I am just annoyed, that's all!" She answered quickly, forcing herself to stop laughing, and she stood in order to pick up the book. However, Viktor was not convinced, and doubt was quickly settling on his mind.
"What do you mean though when you said you travelled all this way? I thought you were on holiday," he asked quietly.
"I am on holiday!" Cynthia replied. "It's just … it was a long journey, and I heard about this book, so I thought there was meant to be more to that book, that's all!"
"For your plan, right?" Viktor said cautiously.
"What plan?" Cynthia asked, but her mind quickly went back to the afternoon in the library, the day they had first meant.
"Your plan that was going to change the world, remove it of all the injustice," Viktor answered before Cynthia could speak, and he got to his feet. For the past weeks he had refused to give much thought to those niggling doubts in the back of his mind, forcing them away as he let his first friendship in years flourish. However, all his worries that Cynthia had been withholding things from him came rushing back, joined with Charlotte's cackles as she had soared around the graveyard; Cynthia Carter is lying to you, and she will keep on lying to you as long as it pleases her…
"I want the truth Cynthia!" Viktor growled, his voice quavering slightly as his rage quickly filled him, making him want to scream. "You told me you had a plan to stop the 'circle of injustice', to put an end to people like Tom and Jake from abusing me, to avenge my parent's deaths! You told me that's why you needed the book, but you have some other agenda, don't you? Tell me the real reason!" Viktor snapped viciously, and he moved around the table. Cynthia nervously stepped back behind the coffee table, startled the aggressive snarl on Viktor's face, and she kept her bag in sight in case she would need protection.
"Viktor, I am not lying to you! I just wanted to find the book because I am trying to prove a theory, and –"
"What theory? There is something you aren't telling me! You kept getting books out on Dialga and Palkia and the time space continuum, what are you hiding from me?" Viktor snapped, grabbing the back of a chair as if he would throw it, and Cynthia tensed up, her anger and confusion rising to the surface. "TELL ME!"
"I CAN'T!" Cynthia screamed, and at the same time the entire room lit up so bright that they had to shield their eyes, and a clap of thunder roared all around them. It sounded as though something had just exploded, and both Viktor and Cynthia looked around in fear. The noise lasted only a few seconds, but it was enough to shake them both up, and when it stopped it left a tense awkwardness behind.
"I think lightning must have struck nearby," Cynthia mumbled, and she looked out into the stormy night, but there was no sign of any damage amongst the dark veil of rain. Breathing deeply, she turned back around and her eyes met Viktor's; the thunder had calmed them both down, but there was no ignoring the questions that were still ringing in her ears, and Cynthia knew she had reached a limit on her lies. She collapsed onto the sofa, wishing the broken springs would part and let her sink through into an abyss, but she knew that it had been long enough… and Viktor deserved the truth.
"About two months ago, I overheard my grandmother on the phone to a Mr Adiem, talking about a book, an encyclopaedia, that could be in Sunyshore Library. She made it sound that if some member of the public found it, then the world would change," Cynthia began, her voice breaking slightly. "I am not here on holiday with my parents, I have not been staying at a hotel; I came here alone, and I have been living in a plastic house in the park."
"What about your parents?" Viktor snapped, and Cynthia felt a lump form in her throat; it dawned on her that she had never actually told anyone this, as it had simply been a fact in Celestic Town, the one thing everyone knew about her the second she entered a room…
"My parents… they died when I was only two years old. I have never been told the whole details, but it has something to do with an expedition they took to Mt Coronet, that is all I know. Ever since then, I have been living with my grandmother in her house and laboratory." She fell silent, unable to continue. Viktor, whose rage had been boiling up inside, was taken aback by the revelation, and he could not help but feel a pang of sympathy.
"As soon as I heard that phone conversation, I instantly began packing. I hated living in CelesticTown; my sister is a bitch, and my grandmother's affection wavers depending on the project she is working on. I had no friends except for Wilma, my Pokemon tutor, but she was a middle aged women with a face worse than her Garchomp, and that didn't help me get any friends my own age. I was never going to prosper living in that joke of a village, living underneath the shadow of the mountain that killed my parents, a constant reminder that I am orphan who never got to know my parents…" Cynthia finally forced herself to look at Viktor, and she raised her head with her eyes watering, and he could not hold on to his anger anymore. He crossed the room and sat down next to her, wondering if he should put an arm around her or something like that for comfort, but Cynthia turned her body so she fully faced him, taking away the opportunity.
"I think you understand the need to make something of yourself," she continued, struggling not to cry. "If I stayed in Celestic, I would just grow old, raise my Pokemon and become the next Wilma; an outcast living in the middle of a misty route, hoping someone comes to me for help training their Gible. When I heard that this book would change the world, I had to find it… I had to give myself the opportunity to turn my lonely, miserable existence into something! If this book can change the world, I want to be the one to change it. I may have lied and used you at the start, and for that I am so, so sorry Viktor, but you have to know I had my reasons! What I told you is true anyway… the world is full of injustice; both our parents died and we got cast aside as a result. If whatever life-changing thing in that book could stop something like that happening to anyone else, then I think my betrayal would be worthwhile…"
There was another crack of thunder, loud but not as house-shaking as the one before, and the two fell silent. Cynthia wiped her tears away, feeling silly for getting worked up, but she hoped Viktor would see things from her point of view. His face gave nothing away, and Viktor was unsure how to feel; he had been betrayed, his long brewing suspicions and Charlotte's nasty words getting confirmed… but Cynthia clearly had her reasons, and Viktor could not say that he had never felt the same way…
"What about all your books on Dialga and Palkia?" He asked, trying to stall for time as he thought of what to say next. "You've gotten so many out!"
"Oh, that… Well, my grandmother has been researching the legends around those two for years, so I figured that maybe they would have something to do with it," Cynthia replied. "I thought 'P' would involve Palkia, but as there aren't any Pokemon references in there, that theory is worthless! The only way I can find out what the secret is would be if I confronted Mr Adiem or my grandmother about, but I don't know how to locate him and I can pretty much guess how my grandmother would react the next time she sees me." The mention of Mr Adiem rang a bell in the back of Viktor's mind, and his face lit up as he remembered the flyer.
"I didn't tell you what I found out!" He gasped, turning excitedly to Cynthia. "One of the prizes for winning the Tag Battle Tournament is that you get interviewed by Arnold Adiem live on air!" Cynthia snapped out of her depression and looked eagerly at Viktor, taken aback but delighted by this information.
"So whoever wins the tournament gets to meet him?" She asked, and Viktor nodded enthusiastically, certain Cynthia had reached the same conclusion as him. "If we enter the tournament, and we win…" Cynthia continued, but trailed off, grinning broadly at Viktor as she soaked in the news, knowing her long journey was not over yet; this was her opportunity to make this into the life altering event it was meant to be
"What about Volkner and Flint, aren't they entering?" She asked, and Viktor's face sunk.
"Who cares about them? This is more important!" He replied, trying not to feel bitter about the fact Cynthia was thinking of them. "Besides, they won't be able to last against any of your Pokemon, and you saw how strong mine are getting thanks to our training! We can win this Cynthia, and then everything would have been worthwhile!" Cynthia smiled warmly at this, as she could read between the lines and knew he had forgiven her, and keeping Viktor as a friend was enough to brighten this dreary night.
"I thought you were entering a science competition though," she asked. "Will you still have time to work on that? I don't want you to throw it away for me!"
"Please, it is nearly finished!" Viktor answered with a casual shrug of his shoulders, though he had completely forgotten about it until that moment. It wouldn't take long to finish though, as he could spend his nights doing that while battling and training during the day. Viktor knew it was risky, but there was always next year; Cynthia would only have this chance to make her dreams come true.
"Well then… I guess we better start training even more intensely!" Cynthia said with a broad grin, and Viktor nearly leapt up in delight, but he froze as a cough suddenly sounded down the hallway. He and Cynthia tensed up as a door creaked open, and Peter waddled into the hallway, wrapped up in his thick tartan dressing gown, and he made his way towards the bathroom. He did not notice that the two were awake, but there was a chance he would when he came back out, and his reaction was uncertain.
"Go back to bed now; we will discuss this in the morning!" Cynthia whispered, and Viktor nodded, not wanting to risk being caught and having his plans shattered now. He did not say another word in case his grandfather heard, and merely smiled before fleeing down the hallway, skipping across the floorboards he knew would not creak. Viktor's mind was buzzing with delight, and all thoughts of Cynthia's betrayal faded; now, he could think only of the fact that he had a partner – no, a friend – to enter the tournament with him. In only a few short weeks, Viktor had gone from being lonely to gaining a true friend, from a measly trainer to being taking down two thugs all on his own! Viktor crept into his room and snuck under the covers, smiling to himself as he knew things would only get stronger from here on, and he drifted off to sleep knowing Cynthia's lies did not matter; only their friendship did…
Cynthia settled back under her blankets with a yawn; she wanted make good use of having something soft to sleep on, but all the noises of the storm seemed louder now, and her mind was positively racing from the last ten minutes.
A meet and greet with Mr Adiem… what would he say if I showed him the book and I demanded answers live on air? She thought, relishing the idea. Even if he denied it, the entire region would demand answers, and then the entire world would change…
However, a small bit of doubt lingered in the back of her mind, and Cynthia knew that there was one thing that could ruin this whole plan – Viktor. There was no denying he was committed, and Cynthia had definitely seen a vast improvement in his Pokemon that could prove a significant supporting asset in the battles to come. But she could not get the image of how angry Viktor had looked out of her head – his wide, furious eyes, his teeth bared, his lips curled almost sadistically. She had seen hints of his temper before when they had briefly fought on the pavement a few weeks back, how he had reacted to Minerva before, and the methods he had used to subdue Tom and Jake. His rage had been most apparent just now though, and Cynthia was unsure what to really think of it.
I don't want to see how would act if we lost… but it is Viktor; he is a kind soul at heart, and I doubt he would do anything too severe, and I need a partner… Feeling uneasy and awful about the whole situation, Cynthia rolled over and shut her eyes, trying to block out the storm and get some sleep, just hoping she was making the right decision…
The plot will pick up from here now as we have reached the middle of the series, and the next few chapters will follow the tournament. Only time will tell if our heroes win though...
20th July 2013, 06:36 AM #19
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Ten
Review: Dawn of Darkness - Chapters from the Awards
Very interesting story line, and again from dipping in and out with this, reading the essential and a few extra around it, I can really follow what's going on. It's an interesting premise to a story and it's nice to see a different take on a Pokemon styled fiction as well. Great incorporation of another of themes and novel types all in one!
Great, great, great, great, great use of language to portray where we are and what everything looks, feels, smells, seems like etc. Loved the language style here and how it's used in a way that enhances the story too! It always seems like the setting and then the description is used for a purpose rather than just being thrown in there. Elements of it all becomes essential or part of a character's personality somehow.
Something I really loved about this story was the varying characters! The main cast (as such) all have very different personalities and are thus portrayed in very different ways which aids to an interesting and great read. There's always new things to come across and read through, and new interactions to witness etc. I like that each character seems to have their flaws too and are not perfect! It's refreshing and helps make the whole flow seem more realistic too!!!
Good, but there were some times when a phrasing was used that didn't quite make sense. You could tell what the author meant to say but a slight word confusion/mistake made the initial read hard.
Same as above. Good but some grammar or spelling errors meant that the flow was occasionally interrupted. On the whole things were really great here, but there was more than one occasion where it seemed like an error had been made.
A great read overall, the flow was good (contributed to by a number of factors such as plot, characters, language etc.) and this meant that everything kept becoming more enhanced as the story progressed and more intriguing and interesting.
Credits to Sweet May and DanChimchar from Serebii
For the Banner
22nd July 2013, 06:40 PM #20
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Ten
Thanks @harryheart, I am glad you enjoy it and I appreciate the feedback :) I do try and make my sentences make sense, and at times when I read over I can see something was oddly worded, so I will do my best to work on that :)
Chapter Eleven: The Tournament Begins
July 15th 1985
Arnold Adiem watched grimly as the sun began to rise of JubilifeCity. It was meant to be a beautiful day, golden beams already shining in between houses and towers, while small lakes and fountains were illuminated with an amber glow that made them sparkle. Dawn was the only time of day where Jubilife seemed still. It was when the Pokemon nestled in trees and between alleyways awoke as the first rays of morning hit their faces, while the night wanderers retreated to their nests for another day, resting before another long night of hunting. There was no hustle or bustle yet, the streets empty except for the first buses of the day and a few odd cars belonging to those needing to get to work early or hoping to beat the traffic before it got worse, while the pavements and parks were practically empty. At this time, Jubilife seemed like any ordinary town in Sinnoh, the sun illuminating the otherwise neon dependent city with a warm, welcoming yellow glow, and you could easily think Jubilife was the most peaceful place on earth.
However, Arnold could not enjoy the view this morning, not when he knew what the city would become in a few hours time. Once the sun gets above the rooftops, the streets will be packed, and another sweltering, stifling day will begin. Come nightfall, nothing will have been accomplished in this noisy, heat stricken city, the media mogul thought bitterly, staring almost disgustedly at the city.
However, Arnold's anger was not aimed at Jubilife. He sighed at himself as he turned away from the view; the businessman was tired and annoyed, and everything would bother him today. He collapsed into his office chair and looked past the contracts, memos and letters that littered his mahogany desk top, his attention firmly settling on a list he had received last night. It had come with a letter from the Tag Battle Tournament Organisers, the usual waffle thanking them all for their donations, a piece of literary dribble Arnold had quickly cast aside. His main focus, and the reason he was so angry, was the accompanying list of participants, something the organisers thought their sponsors would love to know to get them 'involved'. This year had been the first time Arnold actually read the list, and he had been dismayed to find within the 480 names the only one he knew, and the one had been dreading to see.
Arnold had wanted to shout the second he had seen it, years of planning about to come crashing down around him. Instead, he had repressed his rage for twelve hours and had quickly arranged a meeting instead. Trying not to get worked up, he checked his clock and saw it was only a few seconds away from six thirty. It was very early for a meeting, but Arnold could not risk his staff meeting his secret client, not after he had kept her quiet for so many years now…
Suddenly, when all hands touched six, a puff of smoke erupted in the middle of the room. Arnold stood up immediately, list in hand, and by the time he made it around his desk, Charlotte was floating before him, the beams of sunlight shining right through her.
"Morning, boss man!" The ghost exclaimed gleefully. "I have a feeling it is going to be a beautiful day, don't you? Such a pity, I would prefer if it rained…"
"I don't care about the bloody weather, that's not why I summoned you" Arnold snapped, and he dangled the list before her. "Viktor has teamed up with Cynthia Carter and they have entered that blasted tag battle tournament!" Charlotte was taken aback and she waved her hand, causing the list to float before her so she could examine it herself.
"Stupid, stupid, attractive boy," the ghost sighed after a minute, and she let the paper fall to the lush carpet. "I warned him the best I could, but unless you want me to throw him into the ocean, there is nothing else I can do to stop him. Besides, doesn't it start today? It would be tricky killing him in such a short space of time, but I could do it… I have done it before, with this one General I was given five minutes to top before –"
"Not now!" Arnold snapped, and he picked up the list, tempted to tear it into shreds and throw it out the window. He gazed down at the photocopied sheet of paper, Viktor's unique name sticking out amongst a list fill of Jack's and Jill's. He was only thirteen years old, a first time entrant, only just confident enough with his Pokemon to try it out…
If Charlotte's prophecy is true, than this boy will destroy us all, Arnold thought. Am I ignoring the only viable option we have left… maybe murder is our only choice…
"Yes, yes it is," Charlotte said matter-of-factly behind him, and Arnold turned huffily, annoyed that the ghost had read his thoughts, though Charlotte simply giggled and winked back at him.
"There are other ways to prevent this!" The mogul said, trying to convince himself more than her. "The orbs are ready to be moved, they will be at the Island of Champions next weekend –"
"– when you go to do your big interview and meet the winner of the tournament, who could very well be Viktor, which would mean my prophecy comes true," Charlotte said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "Do you not remember what I told you? The second the child touches the orbs –"
"I know, Charlotte," Arnold groaned, "but considering you have never given me an exact location of where this takes place, there is no reason for the orbs not to be moved to the place where they will be safest. If your prophecy comes true, than we have reached a point where we have no moral options left, so it will just have to happen! I vowed from the start Charlotte, I want no blood on my hands!" Charlotte looked shocked for a second, but than anger flashed across her translucent face, and Arnold stepped backwards, unsure what she would do next.
"You know what… fuck you!" She hissed. "I have tried my best to stop this based on your moral code, but the world is going to get destroyed unless I do it my way! I will stop Viktor and Cynthia from getting near the orbs if it is the last thing I do and I don't give a damn what you think nor want anymore!" And with that, the ghost began to glow.
"CHARLOTTE, DON'T YOU DARE!" Arnold roared, but a second later the ghost disappeared, leaving the room dark despite the rising sun behind him. He wanted to scream, but Arnold knew that the night guards would still be around and he did not want to raise any alarms. Tired and defeated, Arnold wearily walked back to his chair and collapsed onto the leather. He lay the list down and examined the names once more, thinking about Charlotte and her prophecy.
I never should have gotten involved in any of this, Arnold told himself. For forty years I have let those orbs and that bloody ghost ruin my life… and now I either have to do the right thing or let a child become a monster and bring our world to its knees. Why couldn't someone else be given this burden?
Arnold felt the heat of the sun on his neck, but it did nothing to take away the cold feeling he had inside. He leaned back in his chair, thinking of the tournament that would be starting in a few hours, and had to force himself not to cry.
"This city really needs a PokeMart."
"I think one is opening next year. But what's wrong with this place? Is our little market not good enough for you?" Viktor teased.
"Oh, I am not bagging this place, it is nice and… vintage, I guess, but they need better supplies. I would rather give my team officially tested potions than some homemade remedy probably concocted in a bath." The stall proprietor glared at Cynthia as he heard this, and Viktor quickly pulled her away before they were shouted out of the Sunyshore Marketplace, but it was difficult to move when every inch of the floor was covered by shop, seller or customer.
Sunyshore Marketplace resided inside a grey, twenty metre high building that had stood for centuries, originally the home of a wealthy merchant but now a public, free-for-all bazaar. It was a massive open space, all the previous walls and floors being removed to make way for the stalls; above them was empty space right up to the cracked, clay tile roof, but the dirt floor was crowded with every kind of stall you could think of. There were fruits, vegetables, butchers, furniture, clothing, fabrics, and, most importantly for Viktor and Cynthia, dozens of stores selling everything Pokemon from PokeBalls to medicine.
There was only an hour left until the Tag Battle Tournament began, and in order to keep their minds occupied, Cynthia had insisted they gather more supplies in case they were needed. The Marketplace was located down a side street very near to The Square, the hub of the Tournament, so it was an easy walk for the two. Viktor always enjoyed watching the street performers outside in between the extra stalls that could not fit inside, but he was not a big fan of the crowded space where you could barely breathe from all the dust hanging in the air and the crowds swelling around you. Today was worse than normal, as every free space was filled by a tourist blowing their money on overpriced knick knacks and un-necessaries. It took over a minute for Viktor to drag Cynthia two metres, in which time they were nearly tripped or hit in the face with oversized shopping bags several times. Viktor remembered having several tantrums here as a child after suffering the same treatment, and he was close to screaming right now.
At least I have Cynthia with me, he thought. She had never been before, and Viktor was happy to take her, and Cynthia's joy and continuing friendship made the experience more bearable, even though he could barely breathe or hear himself think.
"Finally, some real Potions!" Cynthia yelled with relief as they passed one store, and she quickly grabbed as many as she could carry: their fellow trainers had seemingly bled the Marketplace dry of all the magical Potions that healed Pokemon with a simple spray, and Cynthia was not going to miss out on the few left in the city.
"Good luck with the tournament!" The elderly female owner called as Cynthia paid, though both trainers knew she only cared about their cash.
"She must make a killing!" Cynthia sighed as she rejoined Viktor. "That was almost double the price of what I would pay in a PokeMart!"
"How can you afford any of this?" Viktor asked as they stopped briefly to examine another stall that had barrels of berries.
"Well…" Cynthia paused, looking uneasy, and Viktor became nervous at what she would say. "I took money from my grandma before I left. You see, she wins lots of prizes and stuff for her research, and she keeps a fair amount stashed away in her room - who knows why - anyway, I pocketed a bit of it, not enough to bankrupt her or anything, just to spruce up my savings. I've nearly run out though, and I would prefer to save the rest for emergencies, so we should probably go before I spend the rest," she said quickly, stuffing the Potions into her bag to join the other supplies, mostly all medicinal, and they headed for the massive archway that formed the sole entrance and exit.
Viktor pursed his lips as he followed her out, unsure what to say. He did not feel comfortable that Cynthia was carrying on her charade that she was on holiday, and he had been shocked when she had left their home after the storm had stopped, essentially going back to live on the street. It was making it difficult to accept and ignore her deceit, and Viktor had to keep changing the topic when he talked to his family members.
She is my friend, I need to accept her decision, that's what friends do, Viktor told himself, but he did not make feel any easier. He did not want his grandparents to bar him from seeing her, and he was certain the longer Cynthia lied, the more trouble it would cause when the secret came out.
The two finally made their way through the tourists and trainers and stepped back onto Market Road. Both sides of the street were lined with houses owned by those working inside the Marketplace, their houses dwarfed by the massive cliffs above. Market Road was a dirty street without any proper tarmac, and many of the houses were said to be below recommended government levels, but it was still a joyful place; there were plenty of stalls selling all kinds of fresh food, while street performers added colour, noise and laughter to the street. Viktor used his pocket money to buy them both cones of chocolate ice cream from one stall that had its generator running full blast, and they made their way through the crowded road, passing dozens of performers trying to be as bright and as loud as possible to ensure they got the most money from the enthusiastic tourists.
"If the day was a bit cooler, I think I could handle these people," Cynthia grumbled. The sun had come back stronger than ever after the storm, the ball of fire deciding Sunyshore needed an extra reminder that it was still summer. The air was hot and humid, everyone felt groggy and sweaty and neither Viktor nor Cynthia was looking forward to battling in this heat. Viktor liked the performers as he found them funny and entertaining, but he didn't want to upset Cynthia by making her stay.
"Let's go find somewhere quieter and shadier than shall we?" He suggested, and Cynthia nodded at the idea. The two moved through the crowds towards the street back to the Square, which was just as crowded with possibly a hundred plus tourists heading for an afternoon trip to the beach.
"When do these people leave?" Cynthia huffed. In CelesticTown, what they referred to as a crowd would be a light gathering here; she had never been anywhere before where every street and every public building or shop was so crowded you could barely breathe.
"Not until the end of August, unfortunately," Viktor mumbled. "Though really, you are part of 'these people'," he added with a smirk, and Cynthia sniggered as they moved closer to the cliffs to get away from the brunt of the foot traffic. The two laughed joyfully as they finished off their ice creams, and Viktor would have gladly continued, but as he licked melted drops off his cone, he noticed someone familiar approaching him and his face and heart sunk.
"Hello Viktor, hello Cynthia," Minerva said chirpily as she came to a stop, forcing them to halt as well, and Viktor and Cynthia grimaced. They had not spoken nor seen Minerva since the day the storm had started, and neither particularly wanted to see her today. Her sister Diana was standing beside her, a carbon copy of Minerva a few years back, with the same smile, same bright yellow hair, and today they were even wearing matching blue, floral print dresses.
"Hello," Viktor said through clenched teeth as he remembered throwing a rock through their window. It had been a gleeful rush at the time, but Viktor wondered if Minerva knew he had done it and was here to get back at him.
"Heading to the tournament?" Minerva asked, innocently enough. "Oh, it looks like so much fun! I wish I was taking part. I hope you guys do well!"
"Well, I am sure we will, but we better register first," Cynthia said, and she gave Viktor a push forwards. "We'll see you around!"
"Bye you two! Have a smashing time!" Minerva called as they walked off, and Diana began to giggle hysterically before the crowd swelled around them.
"God, that girl is so weird!" Cynthia groaned. "Back in Celestic, the only problem we had with our neighbours was the fact eighty year old Mrs Jones was half blind, half deaf and had a Donphan she let roam around her backyard. Still, it was easier to predict than that girl though!" Cynthia added with a scoff, and Viktor smirked, but his mind was reeling; was Minerva implying something with her use of 'smashing', or was her choice of words a simple coincidence? Viktor doubted that, and he could not help but feel unsettled as they walked into The Square.
It was not long until the tournament began, and both trainers could see that there were already well over a hundred people had already filled up The Square. The trainers ranged from beginners to experts, young and old, mostly male but plenty of girls as well. Few people were speaking to their potential rivals, staying in their pairs and checking out the competition whilst making sure they were all ready. Viktor could see tables and podiums being arranged outside the library, and he knew soon final registrations would take place, name tags would be handed out and the first battles would begin.
"Do you think we should move closer? I don't want to be stuck in line for hours," Cynthia mumbled.
"I would rather not get sunburnt and die from a lack of oxygen in the middle of a mass of shoving, sweating bodies," Viktor replied, and Cynthia laughed before nodding in agreement. The two instead moved to the cooler shadow created by a small tourist shop that was currently closed: due to drainage issues, The Square had flooded during the storm and many shops had been damaged as a result. There had been worries it would affect the tournament going ahead, but the organisers had insisted it carry on regardless, and now all the contestants were swelling the Square exactly like the floodwaters.
"I can't wait for this to begin!" Cynthia said excitedly as they finished their ice cream. "Not just because of getting to Mr Adiem, but I have never been in a proper battling competition before. All I have ever done is train and occasionally battle my sister or the odd wild Pokemon, nothing on this scale. It is going to be pretty fun to actually fight competitively for the first time!"
"I feel the exact same way," Viktor replied with a broad grin. He had never done anything with his Pokemon before, and he had had the time of his life training Castform, Magikarp and Feebas these past few weeks. Viktor could not wait to put his skills to the test, and battling alongside Cynthia was going to make it an even greater experience.
"Hey guys!" Someone yelled from the crowd, and the two turned to find Volkner and Flint pushing through a group who yelled out in annoyance. Viktor had barely seen the duo this past week, as they had gone off to train their Pokemon in secret, coming back to the house only for food and sleep. He would have thought them to be more on edge, but both seemed more laid back and relaxed than he was.
"Hey!" Cynthia responded with a smile, and it took all of Viktor's willpower not to feel jealous over this. "Are you ready for your first battle?"
"Hell yes!" Flint yelled, jumping about on the spot. "Our Pokemon are ready, we're ready, so its time to kick some ass, win some battles and be home by sundown!" Cynthia and Volkner laughed, and Viktor forced a smile to seem friendly, but he really did not care how his cousin and his enemy did – they were a threat to him and Cynthia winning, and they needed to get to Mr Adiem more than they needed an interview.
"I am pretty sure we will be fine," Cynthia said less confidently. "Viktor's Pokemon have been training strongly, and Horsea and Swablu have improved a lot for me, but you never know what will happen in a battle!"
"You guys will be fine! Considering how strong Gabite is, I don't think you will be losing any time soon – in fact, I bet we will be seeing each other in the final!" Volkner said with a wink, and Cynthia giggled. Viktor turned red with rage, and he wanted to snap at his cousin to leave his friend alone, but suddenly a burst of static echoed throughout The Square, and all eyes turned to find the source. A stout, bald man was standing at a raised podium so he looked above them all, wearing an orange vest over casual clothes to show that he was a tournament official.
"Hello everyone, and welcome to the Sunyshore City Annual Tag Battle Tournament!" The man boomed, speaking into an electric megaphone; his voice was loud but crackly, yet everyone still whooped and cheered. "I will not keep you long as we have a lot of first round battles to get through, but just some basics for you all.
"As you know, there are six battle areas: three fields here in The Square, and one each at The Lighthouse, The Beach, Sunyshore Gym, The Great Cliff and SunyshoreHarbour. Once you have registered to confirm you are present, you will be assigned your field for today. You will go to that area, and battles will be arranged on a first in, first served basis; once all four competitors for an assigned battle are there, they will begin. The rest will wait in line in order of when all four members arrived. All battles will last until both Pokemon on one side have fainted, or for a total of thirty minutes maximum, by which time the winners will be which side has the most Pokemon standing, or the referee shall make a call on which team dealt the most damage. We hope for a fast turn around as there are 240 teams registered, so I will not hold you any longer! Just remember to be fair, follow all the rules, and have fun!" He stepped down and the crowd cheered once again, a noise loud enough to be heard around the city, but than they all surged forwards, desperate to get their assignments first.
"This will be fun," Flint mumbled, and Viktor had to agree: there were over four hundred people signing up if the organiser was to be believed, and he did not particularly want to wait in a line for hours with that many people.
However, things moved faster than they expected as the organisers hurried through the process to ensure people registered as fast as possible. They had massive piles of paper arranged alphabetically by team member, and each team signed one copy before receiving a list of rules with their competitors and the location for the day at the top. Within ten minutes the crowd had halved, and Viktor and Cynthia were getting closer to the front.
"There's an opening!" Cynthia yelled, pointing between two muscular women that almost resembled Machoke. She grabbed Viktor's hand and dragged him forwards, waving cheekily back at Volkner and Flint as they left them to fight on. The two slipped past several bickering contestants, and they only had to wait another minute before someone was free to register them.
"Cynthia Carter and Volkner Fischer," Cynthia yelled as she leapt at the table, and the middle aged woman serving them grabbed the A-C pile and quickly found their sheet.
"Both of you just sign here please," she said in a clipped voice, and Viktor scribbled his name next to Cynthia's. "Thank you. If your competitors do not register than you will automatically move onto to the next round. Enjoy your battle – NEXT!" She roared, and Viktor raced back through the crowd, nearly getting bowled over by the Machoke women as they rushed to register.
"Where are we battling?" He shouted back to Cynthia once they had broken through the crowd, beginning to feel pumped and exhilarated as the time to battle was upon them.
"The Lighthouse," she replied in a mumble, and Viktor turned, stunned by the disappointment in her voice. He went to ask what was wrong, as Cynthia had been so excited a moment ago, but she passed the sheet across before he could speak, her finger pointing at their competition, and Viktor's heart sank as well:
Diana Dieter and Minerva Dieter
30th July 2013, 10:14 PM #21
Mystery Zone Shenanigans!
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Eleven
Interesting... why do I get the feeling Viktor is Cyrus?(SPOILER!lol)
10th September 2013, 07:42 PM #22
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Eleven
@MistyPrism, you'll have to wait to find out ;)
Another long delay, and I apologise once more! Hopefully I can get things moving along more smoothly, as I hope to have this story concluded by the end of the year.
Chapter Twelve: The Heat of Battle
For something that provided so much light, Sunyshore Lighthouse seemed a fairly grim place. A red and white structure towering in the corner of the city, it tossed a glum amber light across the ocean whilst casting a black shadow on everything that surrounded it. From a far it looked like a symbol of hope, a glistening beauty perched atop the rocks, ready to protect the lives of those working the waters, but up close you saw it needed saving of its own; cracked concrete, rusted outer stairs, broken windows, littered with rubbish and cigarette stubs. There were constantly forums and debates about what to do with it, but for the time being there simply was not enough money to repair it.
Cynthia did not think it was the cheeriest place to be having a battle, and it did little to lighten her mood about having to face off with the catty Minerva and her doppelganger sister. The blonde Dieter's stood opposite her and Viktor, smirking and whispering to the other as a battle played out between them. Cynthia was reminded of a trio of awful girls she had gone to school with, and she forced herself to look away before old feelings rose up and the battle turned personal.
Unfortunately, the battle playing out before them was hardly that exciting; two giggling girls were laughing uncontrollably for some inane reason, allowing their Staravia's to be beaten helplessly by the might of a Mantine and Tentacool their teenage boy opponents had sent out. It was simply irritating to see people treat battles this stupidly, and Cynthia got no joy out of watching the Staravia getting slaughtered.
"Not long now," Viktor whispered beside her, and Cynthia glanced at him; she could see he was staring straight through the battle directly across at Minerva and Diana, a livid glare across his face. Cynthia was annoyed about having to battle someone they knew and disliked, but she was not sure why Viktor was reacting so coldly to it. It was unsettling, and Cynthia struggled to think what the reasons may be.
"STAAAAAAAR!" One Staravia screamed as the Mantine blasted it with an Ice Beam, coating the Starling Pokemon in a thin blue sheen. It fell to the field, frozen solid and completely unconscious. The two girls stopped giggling, looking at the petrified bird in shock, and did not notice as the Tentacool lashed out, its right tentacle glowing a harsh purple as it struck the second Staravia directly in the chest. The Flying type was too weak to even make a sound, instead pathetically flopping onto the cracked earth, landing within the lighthouse's shadow as it joined its companion in failure.
"Both Staravia are unable to battle, so I hereby declare the winners of this battle Declan and Marcel!" The referee, a pale, moustachioed man announced. The crowd politely applauded as the male trainers smiled and congratulated their Pokemon, but there was very little excitement in the air; the battle had been decided from the start, and the audience was not getting excited over such an expected loss.
"Time to shine," Cynthia said, flashing a smile at Viktor. She looked across at the fallen Staravia, watching as their suddenly solemn trainers withdrew their still bodies from the field. The battle had been a disappointment, and it seemed to have worn out the crowd. Many didn't even seem interested about this next match, and Cynthia herself felt unenthusiastic after that performance. However, while she did not share Viktor's level of coldness, Cynthia wanted to wipe that smile off Minerva's face after her comments the other week, and she was confident their battle would grab some attention.
"Up next we have Cynthia Carter and Viktor Fischer to my left, facing Diana and Minerva Dieter on my right," the referee announced, gazing down at the list. Cynthia estimated about three people clapped as the four took their positions, occupying the spots vacated by the previous victors and losers. Cynthia could see a competition official scribbling something on Declan and Marcel's sheet before turning and sadly facing the two girls, who looked almost close to tears as they passed theirs across.
Which we will be; the delighted winners or the dejected losers? Cynthia thought, but quickly shook those thoughts away. Of course we are going to win, there is no way we can't! Viktor's Pokemon may still be a bit under par, but there is no way a blasted Eevee will take down Horsea!
"You ready?" Cynthia whispered to Viktor, hoping for some encouragement to boost her own nervous feelings, but her partner simply nodded as he gazed fixatedly on Minerva, who smirked at them as she and Diana got out their PokeBalls. Viktor seemed more angry than determined, and Cynthia hoped he would focus on the match rather than simply winning, but there was little she could do now.
"May the competitors please release their Pokemon!" The referee announced.
"Horsea, I choose you!" Cynthia exclaimed, and she threw her PokeBall forwards. Red light spilled out as the capsule opened, and a second later the turquoise blue Horsea was resting on her tail in the centre of the field. The little Dragon Pokemon gazed around at all the bodies enclosing the field, looking a tad overwhelmed, but Cynthia knew her Pokemon was ready for the fight.
"Eevee, let's do this!" Minerva yelled.
"Come on out Buneary!" Diana chirped, her voice high and squeaky. Cynthia frowned as the two Pokemon formed; there were no Fighting moves on their team, so dealing with two Normal types would be tricky. Viktor had not even known Diana had any Pokemon, which may be a reason why he was so annoyed – facing someone he knew yet was unable to predict anything about their strategy.
Cynthia looked at the two brown Pokemon as they formed opposite Horsea. Eevee, her coat shining in the Sinnoh sunlight, was poised and ready to fight, knees bent, focussed on Horsea, prepared to pounce. Buneary stood alongside, looking less enthused; the Rabbit Pokemon, with her brown, cotton like fur and yellow patches around its waist and ears, seemed almost confused about what it was doing, looking curiously around at the people surrounding it. Cynthia smirked almost deviously to herself, knowing an inexperienced opponent could help make things more even handed.
Unfortunately, the same went for them as well.
"Feebas, go!" Viktor exclaimed, startling Cynthia as it was the first thing he had said for a while. The PokeBall spun forwards and landed to Horsea's left, releasing red energy that spiralled around before forming into the Fish Pokemon. The other Pokemon and the sisters exchanged looks as Feebas began flopping atop the battlefield, his spotted, custard coloured scales sending up a cloud of dust.
Sniggers ran through the crowd, and Cynthia caught several people smirking to each other, whispering with ignorant smiles as they stared pointedly at the pathetic fish lying before them. They wanted a show, and what a show we have given them,Cynthia thought with a sigh. She could see Minerva smiling wickedly, a win clearly secured in her mind, and Cynthia felt a new burst of determination not to let the younger girl win.
"All right teams," the referee called. "Please remember there is a maximum length of thirty minutes for this battle, but if both Pokemon on one side faint before this time than the battle will be over. Let's make this a fair but fun battle!" The crowd applauded at this, people probably more interested now to see how the Feebas would withstand the fight. Cynthia looked at Viktor, the gritty determined still plastered on his face, his eyes flickering only slightly between his opponents and Feebas, unfazed by the whispers.
We have a plan on how to start things, we can get the advantage, we can win this,I can win this…Cynthia told herself, staring tensely at Horsea, a nervous feeling settling in her stomach; her first real battle, her first chance to prove herself, and the start of the end for her month long journey…
"Three…. two… one… GO!" The referee shouted.
"Helping Hand!" Diana squealed.
"Quick Attack on Horsea!" Minerva yelled simultaneously.
"BubbleBeam!" Cynthia ordered, startled by the speed of the sister's orders.
"Ice Beam on Horsea's attack!" Viktor said, issuing the command with slight coldness. Cynthia was surprised by how fast the sister's had reacted, and she could see Minerva was still mischievously smiling, but she would not let that get in the way of the combination move she and Viktor had spent several days perfecting.
"Bun Bun!" Buneary called as she quickly jumped across to Eevee, her soft brown paws glowing with a white sheen. She placed both hands on Eevee and light spread across the Evolution Pokemon's fur, gaining an angelic white glow that shone brilliantly in the sun.
"Veee!" The brown Pokemon exclaimed gleefully, and suddenly she was rocketing across the field, a speeding brown blur encased in a white glow. Cynthia blinked and suddenly Eevee was just under a metre away, heading straight for a frightened Horsea.
"Hooooor!" Horsea cried as Eevee slammed into her, and the Dragon Pokémon flew backwards, crashing heavily into the ground near her trainers feet. Cynthia was stunned; the Helping Hand had incredibly boosted the normally average attack, and Horsea was clearly suffering as a result.
"Are you alright?" Cynthia asked, feeling a pang of guilt for putting her Pokemon in this position, but also a surge of determination to defeat the smirking Minerva.
"See Horsea," Horsea mumbled, pushing herself upright with her tail and turning to face Eevee, who was slowly moving back towards her side.
"Okay then, let's get this battle started!" Cynthia shouted.
"HORSEA!" Horsea yelled, and she fired a rapid stream of bubbles from her snout. They began to fly across the field towards the opposing duo, but before they could strike, Feebas, who had been flopping uselessly for the past minute, suddenly unleashed his Ice Beam; the thin, sky blue stream struck the speeding bubbles as they soared past, covering them in a hard, frozen layer. Cynthia could barely contain herself as the now solid bubbles fell from the sky, slamming like hail into Eevee and Buneary. The Normal types winced in pain, and Cynthia smiled at Viktor, satisfied to see that their plan had worked.
However, Viktor did not show any signs of joy over this small victory. He stared forwards with his stony face, maintaining the same, nearly blank expression he had had for the past hour. Cynthia felt her own happiness deflate a little as she surveyed the cold, emotionless boy standing next to her…
"Ice Beam on Buneary," Viktor commanded suddenly.
"Helping Hand!" Minerva yelled in retaliation.
"Oh," Diana said, seemingly thrown by the fact she had to give another command. "Pound!" She said finally, and turned with a beam to her sister.
"Agility, let's go!" Cynthia ordered, looking away from Viktor and putting her focus back onto the fight. This round, it was Eevee's turn for her paws to glow, and she rushed back to Buneary and pressed them against her back, letting the boost spread across. However, there was not the added bonus of speed on the Dieter's side now, and Horsea was able to move first: she poised her body so she rested on the tip of her tail, then the Water type rapidly twirled herself around on that point, flapping her back wings and converting the energy generated around her body in order to move faster. It would be a slight advantage, but oene all the same.
"Bun Bun!" Buneary yelled, her entire body now glowing from the Helping Hand boost, and she bounced forwards on her big, fluffy feet. Feebas was back to flopping, gasping desperately for air whilst gazing almost stupidly at the amused crowd, and Cynthia was worried that the attack would not work.
"BUUUN!" Buneary cried when she got near, and she lashed out with her ears, using them to whack Feebas into the air. Cynthia had not expected Pound to be used that way, and the boosted force of the attack was sending Feebas spinning rapidly. The crowd gasped and Minerva emitted a loud 'yes' in celebration, but Feebas was not defeated yet; when the Water type stopped spinning and instead began to descend back to earth, the powerful cobalt coloured beam was fired. Minerva's face sunk, clearly having hoped for an easy victory, and it was clear Buneary was not expecting an attack either. The Ice Beam smashed into her face, pushing the Rabbit Pokemon backwards as she was blasted with cold. Feebas kept it going until he thudded back to earth, the jolt shaking his scales and forcing him to cut off the beam. Cynthia looked eagerly over at Buneary, fingers crossed that she may have been frozen, but the chocolate coloured Pokemon was still standing, albeit shivering more so than she had before. It was disappointing, but Cynthia could see Minerva and Diana did not look as confident as they had at the start; the battle was really on now.
"Signal Beam on Eevee!" Cynthia ordered, smiling widely.
"Dig!" Minerva retorted quickly before looking at her sister and muttering something.
"Defense Curl!" Diana chimed in, looking more and more unfazed as the battle went on. Cynthia was getting the impression Diana had been roped into this by her sister, and was not a strong battler in any shape or form.
"Double Team," Viktor said, a wise move to help increase the weakened Pokemon's chances. Agility appeared to have worked, and Cynthia smiled as Horsea fired the powerful rainbow coloured, green tinged beam forwards. Back in Celestic Town, Wilma had suggested Horsea learn a powerful move like this as a way to ward off Grass types while she was still a pure Water type, but today, it would help weaken a Pokemon who had very few weak points.
"VEEE!" Eevee wailed as the beam hit her in the side, knocking her off balance and sending her rolling towards Minerva.
"You can do this Eevee!" Minerva shouted, sounding more angry than encouraging. The Evolution Pokemon leapt to her feet, shooting Horsea a glare, before smashing the ground with her paws and pushing her way into the dirt. The field rumbled slightly as the quadruped Pokemon disappeared beneath their feet, and Cynthia cursed, having hoped to have knocked her out before the attack could be used.
Buneary ignored her partner's disappearance and instead tucked herself into a ball, pulling her knees in and wrapping her ears round her body. Her brown and yellow fur than glowed as she built up her strength, though Cynthia knew it would not do much; there were no Physical moves anywhere on their team, making the defensive move useless.
"Bas Bas Bas," Feebas mumbled next to her, and he began to flop again as his eyes flashed white. Even after his impressive use of Ice Beam the crowd was still smirking, pointing and muttering at the feeble Pokemon. His yellow body briefly flashed, and suddenly there were three Feebas bouncing simultaneously on the ground. There was a collective snigger from the audience, and Viktor turned and glared at them, but it did nothing to quell their amusement.
Don't get angry Viktor, we can still win this, just stay focussed, Cynthia thought, hoping her friend would somehow hear. This was supposed to be fun, a chance for them to start battling and train their Pokemon as well as help find Mr Adiem and solve their mystery. Cynthia could understand him being annoyed about battling someone he knew, but his annoyance with Minerva seemed much more than that and it was starting to get worrying.
"Use Dig on Horsea!" Minerva shouted, dragging Cynthia from her thoughts. The blonde haired girl whispered to her sister once more, and Cynthia almost recoiled as the two smiled at each other.
"THUNDERPUNCH!" Diana yelled, and there was an interested 'ooooh' from the crowd, many of them beginning to pay attention at this revelation. For the first time during the battle, Viktor and Cynthia exchanged a look, and something finally registered on Viktor's face; shock. Buneary had a move that could easily defeat their Pokemon, and with the aid of Helping Hand from Eevee, it would be unstoppable. Cynthia gulped nervously, trying to avoid the Dieter's triumphant smiles.
"BubbleBeam on Buneary!" She shouted. It would not do much, but they had to throw everything they had at the Normal types now if they wanted to win.
"Double Team!" Viktor ordered, his voice shaking slightly. Horsea rapidly unleashed her barrage of bubbles, this time popping rather than shattering as they slammed into Buneary. The Rabbit Pokemon protected her eyes with her ears and shook her fur clean, seemingly unharmed by the weak Water attack. Cynthia was dismayed, but then she felt the ground shake, and she stepped back as it began to crack…
"EEVEEEE!" Eevee shouted as she pushed through the earth, her brown fur covered with dust, but she was still managed to smile as Horsea went flying from her touch. Cynthia turned to follow her, but something glowed yellow from the corner of her eye and she could not help but look and watch as Buneary hopped across the field, her right fist shining a dazzling yellow that was as bright as the sun above. Feebas and his copies flopped as they awaited their fate, and Cynthia cringed as Buneary leapt towards the one closest to her, fist raised.
"BUUUUN!" She yelled, and drove her fist into the Feebas. The crowd tensed, waiting to see what would happen, but there was no victory here; Buneary's attack phased right through and hit the ground, making the copy shimmer from the disturbance. Viktor laughed bitterly as the real Feebas, who was still in the middle, glowed once more, adding another two copies to make a pentagon of flopping fish. Cynthia breathed a sigh of relief at this near miss, but there were not out of the woods yet; Eevee was moving away from the hole in the ground, leaving a weakened Horsea to get back up on her own, and it was obvious what strategy they would use next.
"Keep using Double Team, it's the best chance we have of protecting Feebas," Cynthia whispered to Viktor. She refused to lose, not after all the training they had done, not after everything she had been through to reach this point. If she lost to the smirking sisters than there would be no other way of getting to Adiem and finding out the mysteries of the encyclopaedia, and Cynthia was not going to fail this easily.
"Twister!" She cried, wishing she had not saved this move until now. Minerva frowned at this, knowing that it would affect both of their Pokemon, but they still had the advantage.
"ThunderPunch!" The sisters yelled in unison. "Use it on Horsea!" Diana added as an afterthought. Eevee was not even waiting for Feebas' order, rushing across with glowing paws, ready to pass on her energy to Buneary. Viktor did not say a word, but the crowd was starting to make more noise, everyone getting interested into how this fight between Normal and Water would play out in this potentially penultimate round.
"Horsea Hor!" Horsea cried, sounding tired but determined. She breathed in, her snout puffing out as she readied herself, and then she unleashed a powerful, swirling blast of draconic energy; purple wind spun around before beginning to spiral around Eevee and Buneary. Within seconds, a violet tornado engulfed the two Pokemon, whipping up dust and rubbish that battered the crowd. Cynthia could see the Normal types were getting caught up in the vortex, the power of the attack lifting them from the ground and sending them spinning. The struggled cries of the entrapped Pokemon were tossed aside in the ferocious wind, and Cynthia was confident that this might be the attack to end things…
"BUNEARY, LAUNCH YOURSELF FORWARDS!" Diana squealed. Cynthia gasped, and she watched as a yellow blur appeared behind the endless Twister. She thought Horsea's attack would surely be too strong for the Buneary to break free from, but suddenly the bipedal Pokemon was flung from the Twister's grasp, right fist crackling with electricity, wrapped within a white glow from Helping Hand. Buneary was like a glowing, fluffy rocket flying towards Horsea, ThunderPunch outstretched and ready to strike. There was nothing Cynthia could now but watch as Horsea waited helplessly to be hit, too tired and slow to escape in time. She tensed and waited for this final move, already imagining the sister's being declared the winner's…
"SURF!" Viktor shouted, his voice stretching out and covering everyone like the lighthouse's shadow. There was a shocked gasp from the audience, but it took a stunned Cynthia longer to register what her partner had said. When it clicked, aqua blue water was already rising up beneath the five Feebas, lifting them up as their eyes all flashed a brilliant navy sheen. Cynthia watched in shock, her mouth falling open, her mind disengaging except for one thought; since when…
"FEEEEEBAAAAAS!" Feebas cried as the wave rose up to become at least four metres high. Twister dissipated, revealing the Dieter's stunned faces, not even watching as Eevee fell back to earth. Horsea ignored the Pokemon coming for her and instead looked at her battle partner, and Buneary was so distracted her attack barely grazed the Dragon Pokemon.
Without warning, Surf fell heavily back to earth, and it was at that moment that Cynthia finally reacted, snapping away as Feebas and its bodyguard of copies swirled around atop the powerful attack.
"HORSEA, RIDE THE WAVE!" She shouted, and her befuddled Water type acted fast; Horsea used her tail to launch herself upwards, leaping above the crashing wave before it could drown her. She landed on the top of its surface as the Surf swept up Buneary, trapping her in its swirling grip and dragging her down to meet Eevee. The Evolution Pokemon eyed the hole it had made with Dig earlier, and she tried desperately to run towards it for protection, but Twister had left her dizzy and disorientated, and the Normal type could not run straight. Cynthia almost winced herself as Surf slammed into her, a high pitched squeal drowned out by the weight of the water, and Eevee was pushed back to her trainer. The crowd moved away as water washed against their feet, sweeping up discarded cans and burnt cigarette butts and nearly soaking the front row.
As quickly as the surprise attack had started, it began to fade away; Feebas was not strong enough to maintain it for long, and the Surf fell apart, water fading into the earth or disappearing into the scars of Eevee's Dig, leaving all four Pokemon saturated as they landed on the cracked field.
Silence fell throughout the crowd, everyone stepping forwards again to see the result of the battle. The sister's were both soaked, but they seem unfazed as they moved towards their Pokemon, their anticipation higher than anyone else's. Cynthia looked from Horsea floating in a slight puddle to Feebas, his four shadows bouncing about with him, before finally turning to Viktor. She could not bear to look at their drowned opponents, but Viktor was watching them almost savagely, his lips curled in a slight smile, an eagerness in his eyes that Cynthia had never seen before.
Why is he so excited? Cynthia thought, unable to look away even though she was worried by his expression. I want to win as well, but I am not this… eager. Where has this move even come from? Why didn't he tell me?
"Buneary and Eevee are unable to battle, so I hereby declare the winners are Cynthia and Viktor!" The referee announced, and there was a much louder, enthusiastic applause this time, a cheer erupting that echoed across the area. Cynthia looked around and could see the crowd beaming as they applauded, though their eyes still flickered to the Feebas that had pulled off the surprising Surf, back to flopping as his copies faded away.
"Since when did Feebas now Surf?" Cynthia whispered, trying to smile as she waved to the crowd and walked towards Horsea.
"He's always known it, but he never has been able to use it until you started training with him," Viktor replied in a hushed but excited voice. "I wanted to surprise you and show you how much we've all grown because of you! And look, we have won because of it!" He turned away and scooped up Feebas, lifting him above his head; the sun shone gloriously onto his slick, glossy scales, and the crowd roared in appreciation at this spectacle of a Pokemon.
"You did good Horsea, thank you," Cynthia said as she picked up her own Pokemon, though no one cheered for them; Viktor was the star of the show. There was a flash of red, and Cynthia turned to see Buneary and Eevee had disappeared, leaving their trainers on their own. Minerva looked up and their eyes met; the younger girl looked angry for a second, but it quickly faded away into child-like sadness, and Minerva grabbed her sister and moved along the edge of the crowd, her every movement seeming dejected.
I'm sorry, Cynthia felt like saying, but she had no idea why she felt so down. She stood there in the shadow of the lighthouse, watching as Viktor soaked up the attention, wondering why this victory was not appeasing her as much as it should have. Cynthia looked into Viktor's eyes as he spun around to face everyone, wearing a wide, happy smile that did not meet his eyes, and she walked reluctantly away into the sunlight, the warmth doing little to stop the chill coursing through her body.
Apologises for the considerably dull battle; I am saving the more epic ones for later one ;) I realised halfway through writing this that four inexperienced Pokemon battling really isn't that great for writing :P
23rd September 2013, 05:06 PM #23
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen: Hot Headed
It quickly became clear that this would be the most successful Tag Battle Tournament Sunyshore had ever hosted. Every battle of the first round was squeezed into just two days, allowing for the tournament to get off to a blazing start. By simply standing in the middle of The Square, you could see the effect it had on local businesses; cafes were so busy they were running out of food before lunch time, shop were forced to bring on temporary staff to control the crowds, and so many people swelled inside the Marketplace that they were renewed talks of a second floor being built to provide more space.
For the Fischer family, there was a personal interest in the events of the tournament. Not only did Viktor's surprise Surf make them the talk of the town, but Volkner and Flint attracted attention for their fantastic combination moves that brought down a Girafarig and a Beautifly within ten minutes. None of them were the best competitors there (Cynthia had seen a stellar twenty minute battle where an Empoleon and Infernape triumphed over a Staraptor and Drapion, nearly shattering the Cliff field in half), but it was clear that they would not have as much difficulty as they had first thought.
For Round Two, Cynthia decided to play it safe and used Gabite, which proved a wise choice when their opponents, a pair of twenty year old men from Kanto, sent out a Dratini each. Viktor's Magikarp did not prove as stellar or useful as Feebas, only managing to use Bounce to slow down the Dratini, and it came down to Gabite's Sandstorm evasion tactics and DragonBreath to win the match.
Meanwhile, Volkner and Flint swept to victory once more, taking a leaf from Minerva's book and using their Eevee as a double team to bring down a Murkrow and Hoothoot team. The four of them had now moved into the third round, the top 64 teams out of the original 256, one step closer towards the grand finale. Any doubts Cynthia had had prior to the competition had vanished, and she knew that they had a real chance of winning this now, and nothing would get in their way…
July 19th 1985
"Ice Beam on Hippopotas, finish this!"
"Come on Swablu, Fury Attack on Sneasel!"
Cynthia looked up, shielding her eyes from the scorching sun with her hand, and watched as her Swablu descended rapidly like a cloud falling from the heavens. Her cotton-like wings were shone a violent red, and Cynthia crossed her fingers, hoping the attack would work, willing the battle would end so she could get back under shade.
The weather had become nightmarish over the past few days. It seemed as though the sun's only goal was to melt everyone on earth, and Cynthia was stunned that she could still stand when she felt so hot and dehydrated. She'd been forced to change out of her black clothes, swapping the multiple layers for the sole dress she owned, a charcoal-grey piece that was the sole item of clothing her grandmother had ever made for her after Cynthia refused to go shopping for a formal. It was the only dress the young girl owned, and Cynthia had brought it along in case it was needed, and the airy fabric and sleeveless shape was much cooler than tight shirts and jeans, even if her pale skin was exposed to the fiery judgement of the sun above.
Even so, Cynthia and Viktor were both sweating, no lighthouse to protect them today. Their third round battle was taking place on the Beach field, a designated section shoved away at the end of the city's largest beach. A concrete walkway called The Promenade was to Cynthia's right, jagged rocks a few metres to her left, and a massive cliff loomed behind, yet the sun did not have the courtesy to move behind it, instead blasting them all like a flaming spotlight. The only good thing about it was that their opponents were even more bothered by it; the teenaged couple of Amy and Matt were as red as a Magikarp, sweat pouring down their faces like a waterfall. Cynthia had been worried the heat would prove too much for them, yet it was clear she and Viktor were coping much better.
"Hippopotas… use Thunder Fang… on Feebas!" Matt commanded breathlessly, so hot and dehydrated he could barely speak.
"Blizzard again on Swablu!" Amy yelled. Cynthia wondered what had inspired her to send out a Sneasel in these conditions, as the Ice type looked like it would sooner melt than attack. Feebas was hardly better, barely flopping as the sun slowly roasted him from above. However, the Fish Pokemon still managed to unleash the frosty beam, which successfully hit Hippopotas squarely in his oversized head. It proved one too many for the Hippo Pokemon, who stumbled backwards and keeled over, his brown and yellow body blending in with the sand as it sank slightly into the soft ground.
"BLUUUUU!" Swablu cried as she neared, the sun reflecting off her brilliant red wings. Sneasel looked up and prepared to fire, but the Ice type was yet to land a successful attack and Cynthia knew the Pokemon was too hot and too tired to make the attack truly effective. Swablu dived down fearlessly, slamming her wings into Sneasel's face before she could even unleash a snowflake, and the Sharp Claw Pokemon accepted it in relief, toppling over and ending the boiling pain of this battle.
"Both Hippopotas and Sneasel are unable to battle, meaning Cynthia and Viktor are the winners!" The referee, a stout woman with a stony face, yelled. There was a polite round of applause from the crowd a few metres away, but there were few people there and everyone was far too hot to get terribly worked up about anything.
"Great job Swablu!" Cynthia said as the Cotton Bird flew over and she pulled her into a hug. "Wow, you really need to cool off!" She added with a gasp as felt how hot her Flying Pokemon was.
"Swab!" Swablu agreed wearily. Cynthia placed her on her shoulder to rest, and shook her opponent's sweaty palms before moving to the official's table, the next teams already rushing forwards, ready to get out of this heat.
"I think we'd better head somewhere and get these two some water," Cynthia told Viktor when they reached a table, the officials faded umbrella giving them momentary release from the heat.
"Sounds like a plan," Viktor said smiling. "I felt Feebas just then and you would think he's just been through an oven!"
"I bet," Cynthia replied as she smiled at the official, their third round battle officially complete. "Let's go cool down then!"
They had seen The Square earlier when they received their battle orders, and both knew they were more likely to find Moltres resting in the library than a free seat at any of those cafes. They instead walked down The Promenade, a small shopping area located only metres away from the beach, a long concrete path with businesses either side. These stores and eateries were seen as less fancy than those in The Square so there were more free tables and cheaper food at their disposal.
Viktor led Cynthia to a place called Kyogre's Kabin, a nautical themed family restaurant with a cartoon Kyogre beside the door boasting about the crispy golden fries. As there were only several stores back in Celestic Town, Cynthia loved visiting all the different places in Sunyshore, and the Kabin's bright blue paint, cheesy seaside decorations and colourful plastic chairs were just the things that helped brighten her day, even if she would never admit it to anyone.
They had barely sat down when a squat waiter appeared beside them, his large stomach nearly knocking Swablu off Cynthia's shoulder as it swelled inside his sailor's uniform.
"Can we have a bowl of fries and two burgers please?" Viktor asked. "Oh, and some lemonade for us and water for our Pokemon!"
"Certainly!" The waiter boomed, his multiple chins wobbling as he spoke. "We always keep some spare bowls around for the days like this!" And he bobbed away, leaving Cynthia trying not to smirk out of both amusement and joy.
"Three rounds already done, only three more till we win this thing!" Viktor boomed, clutching their sheet firmly in his hands. He looked across at Cynthia and the two beamed at each other, laughing slightly over the strangeness of it; a few weeks ago neither of them had thought they would be in the tournament, and with Viktor's Pokemon it had been doubtful they would even make it past the first round. Yet here they were, only a few rounds and thirty one other teams separating them from heading to the Island of Champions. It seemed unreal, and Cynthia could not believe their luck.
"I want to be happy about it, but I am so bloody tired!" She groaned, leaning back in her chair and fanning herself with her hand. Being indoors protected them from the sun but there was humidity in the air that almost made it hard to breathe.
"Does it never get hot in Celestic during summer?" Viktor asked.
"It does, but never as bad as this," Cynthia explained. "There's always fog there due to how high up we are, even in summer, so even on the hottest day it can be a bit chilly."
"It's the opposite here! Sometimes in winter it can get boiling," Viktor explained. "We don't get a lot of snow here. We went to Pastoria City once during winter, and all the marshes had frozen solid and there was snow piled high on top. It was so incredible, I just wish the same would happen here!" Cynthia smiled and nodded, simply pleased to see her friend with a grin spread across his face. The fat waiter suddenly reappeared, placing down two long glasses of lemonade and a small plastic bowl of water, which Swablu enthusiastically leapt towards.
"I wonder how Flint and Volkner are going on with their battle," Cynthia said aloud, willing the swirling air from a ceiling fan to make its way towards her. "Do you know where they were battling today? They've fought in The Square the past two times, right?"
"I am not sure," Viktor replied quietly, his voice shaking slightly, though Cynthia was too tired to notice.
"Wherever they end up I bet they'll do well, their both very good" she murmured back. Silence fell as Viktor busied himself sending out Feebas and trying to help him drink, leaving Cynthia to mull over her lemonade, swirling her straw around as she faded away into her thoughts. Viktor had definitely been in a better mood since they had won the battle against Minerva, and for the past few days their training had gone fantastically. Everything was going to according to plan, and Cynthia was feeling more and more confident that they stood a chance of winning the entire tournament. However, she could not shake the concerns that had dogged her since the moment they had received their first round battle orders. Cynthia had tried to push them away and focus on battling, but her worries simply refused to leave her, engulfing her like this never ending heat, and she knew that they only way to clear the air was to voice her feelings.
"They are really quick here, even when it's a bit busy like today," Viktor said, beaming without a reason as he had a long gulp of his fizzing drink. Cynthia smiled awkwardly back, and it instantly became clear something was on her mind. "Is something wrong?" Viktor asked, dropping his straw back into his glass and raising an eyebrow. Cynthia considered changing the topic, but she would not get another opportunity as perfect as this, and after glancing around to ensure no one paid them any attention she leaned forwards.
"I have to ask Viktor… why did you get so cold when we battled Minerva? It was really unsettling to see you get so angry and distant like that. And why didn't you tell me Feebas knew Surf? We could have built a bigger strategy around it!" Cynthia felt more free the second she had opened her mouth, and she leaned backwards in relief, waiting for Viktor to respond. The blonde haired boy froze, taken aback by the questions, and Cynthia could see his mind racing, prepares wondering why it mattered, perhaps thinking up a lie or excuse, Cynthia was not sure, but now that she had spoken she wanted him to respond and quench all her worries.
"Sorry, I did not think it was that big of a deal," Viktor said finally after several moments of Swablu's greedy drinking being the only noise around their table. "Minerva… she has just been so different these holidays! She used to be so nice and caring, and I would enjoy talking to her, but recently she has just been really nosey about everything and keeps bothering me. After she was rude to you the other week that was the last straw and I decided I didn't want to talk to her again. Then she ended up being our first opponent, and I thought she was going to insult us again in front of all those people, and I just got worked up at the thought of it. I apologize if I frightened you, but I really didn't notice I got so distant – was it really that noticeable?"
"Very," Cynthia replied, pursing her lips as she dwelled over his words. "And Feebas' Surf?"
"I thought I had told you?" Viktor replied curiously. "I wanted to surprise everyone with it, make it into a big final move that would wipe out the competition and make sure everyone knew who we were!"
"I don't think having an audience really helps us at all," Cynthia replied, and Viktor's face sunk.
"Sorry if I wanted to get our name out there and make people more afraid when they hear they have to face us!" He snapped. "Look at my team; two fish that barely do anything and a cloud whose biggest trick is changing form! We need some sort of advantage against people, and what's going to intimidate other people; the guy with the pathetic Feebas, or the trainer with a Feebas that can pull off Surf, and who probably has other tricks up his sleeve!"
"Alright, fine, I understand that!" Cynthia said, raising her hands in defence. "But why couldn't you have told me about it?"
"I wanted to show you that your training had worked! I wanted to prove that all those hours had actually been worthwhile, and that I was now capable of training my Pokemon on my own without holding your hand. Is that such a bad thing?" Viktor said, looking at Cynthia pleadingly. The blonde sat silent for a moment, not sure how to reply, but after a few moments she sighed and smiled.
"I guess not," she replied meekly, and Viktor grinned back. "It was fairly impressive, I must say," Cynthia added, looking down at the overheated Feebas lying against the bowl, gaping up at her with wide, emotionless eyes. Their waiter suddenly reappeared, booming joyfully to other customers as he brought their plates. Viktor changed topics as he began to tuck into his meal, and Cynthia followed along, unaware of how hungry she had been and quickly began stuffing her mouth with the juicy burger before her, preventing any further interrogation.
Half an hour later the pair had cooled down enough to venture back outside, their stomachs now swirling with golden fries, rich, chunky burgers and the deliciously sweet ice cream the waiter insisted on them having. Swablu and Feebas had been withdrawn in order to escape the heat, which hit Viktor and Cynthia like a wall the second they stepped outside.
"I really need a swim or something," Cynthia groaned. "Do you want to head to the beach?"
"I can't," Viktor said mournfully. "My grandfather wants to help with my project today; he thinks it will be fun. I am certain they are just checking up on me so I actually do it."
"The competition is coming up soon, you do want to be ready," Cynthia said, smiling sincerely, and Viktor reluctantly agreed. "I guess I will see you later then!"
"Oh… yeah, see you," Viktor replied quietly, and the two parted ways; Cynthia turning left and heading down to a smaller beach area down The Promenade, while Viktor went to the right, the faster way back to The Square and his house atop the cliff.
Cynthia had not spent much time in this part of Sunyshore, and she smiled to herself as she strolled down the sand-dusted concrete, peering through the windows of tacky tourist shops and cheap clothing stores not fancy enough for The Square. It was a pleasant little street, with more families and young couples in the area having a more peaceful shopping experience than what they'd find in the heart of the city. Cynthia felt cooler strolling along here, giggling at the silly items the shop owners thought tourists were longing to have, but as she neared the beach she remembered even if she wanted anything she had no money to use. Viktor had paid for lunch, and Cynthia could not help but feel guilty about him doing that after she had grill him, and the fact she still didn't believe him.
I want to believe what he said was true, and I am sure those are part of the reasons why he did what he did, but I just know there is something he is holding back from me. I told him my entire bloody life story the other week; he has no right to keep anymore secrets from me!
Cynthia had reached the last shop by now, and she found herself standing on the edge of the beach. She paused and gazed out at this small sandy section; the golden brown sand sizzled in the sun, playing host to dozens of people sprawled out on brightly coloured towels, while dozens more splashed about in the water. The ocean looked so calm and peaceful, the blue waves gently crashing against the small stretch of beach, yachts bobbing across the surface in the distance. Cynthia was certain for a second she saw the top of a Wailord briefly breaching the surface, and she smiled at the magic of it, but her brief spell of happiness had disappeared. Despite her best wishes, she knew Viktor was still hiding something from her, and she could not enjoy herself until she knew what it was. They would be battling again in two days time, facing one of the top teams in the tournament, and Cynthia had to sort this out before they battled again.
"And I was so looking forward to a swim," she mumbled to herself, and reluctantly turned to head back to her plastic house. Suddenly, a burst of wind came out of nowhere, and Cynthia turned in surprise; sand was swirling around in the middle of the beach, almost as if caught up in a tornado. People were moving away, muttering loudly to their companions about the strangeness of it. Cynthia stared at the twister of particles, something niggling away at the back of her mind. The more she looked into it, the more she thought she could see a young girl standing in the middle, watching her intently between the twirling sand.
"What the…," Cynthia muttered, blinking to make sure she was seeing things right. One second, the ghostly figure smiled and winked at her, the next the sand stopped spinning and fell softly back to the beach, revealing nothing in the centre of it.
"I guess that's what heatstroke and brain freeze combined does to you," Cynthia said to no one in particular, and she cautiously set off back the way she had come, certain the girl had been some mirage or something in the back of her imagination. However, Cynthia could not shake the feeling as she headed down the Promenade that someone was following her, yet when she turned it was only happy families trundling behind, wondering why this young girl was staring so frightfully at them…
The Fischer house offered little relief from the heat. Viktor felt like he was going to melt; he had been tired enough walking from the beach to The Square on flat land, but then he had had to climb all the way up to his house a couple of hundred metres above sea level, leaving his clothes soaked with sweat and his face bright red with exhaustion. Joan Fischer had forced him into a chair and given him plenty of glasses of water, but an hour later Viktor still felt like he was on fire.
"Oh well, at least you won your match, that should cheer you up!" Peter Fischer boomed. He sat opposite Viktor at the dining table, dressed only in a stained singlet and dirty brown shorts, hoping the lack of clothing would allow him to stay cool as he examined Viktor's competition entry so far.
"It certainly looks like it could work," the elderly man said. Viktor had encased the pipes of an old heater inside a larger plastic base than what he'd used earlier, and was currently in the process of installing batteries as a potential power source. "Are you sure it will be water proof though?" Peter added, as the device was meant to go underwater to heat the ocean.
"There is waterproof paint at the hardware store, I thought I would coat the finished product in that," Viktor explained, too wary to focus. He knew what he was doing with the project, and he was certain it would be ready and working by the time of the competition next week, but Viktor was too hot and tired to care at the moment.
"I can get that for you tomorrow if you want, I need to get some wood to repair that cracked wall outside," Peter said with a hearty smile.
"Sure, if you want," Viktor replied, not paying attention.
"Viktor, your grandfather's offering to do something nice for you; the least you could say is thank you!" His grandmother snapped from the kitchen as she scrubbed away at the plates from lunch.
"Oh, sorry, I am just still so hot," Viktor said quickly in response, and he leaned forwards again, pretending to be interested even though his mind was elsewhere.
"He's just tired Joanie, bring him some more water!" Peter boomed, and then launched back into an explanation about something he could do with the wiring. Viktor heard the first few words, but he quickly fazed out once again, his mind drifting back to the Promenade and the awkward goodbye with Cynthia…
He felt guilty about lying to her, but Viktor knew Cynthia would not be fond of the real reasons behind his icy silence during the battle. He had not told anyone about throwing the rock through the window, and he did not think Cynthia would react positively to his act of vandalism. Viktor had been certain that if Minerva was defeated, she would have announced to everyone about what he had done, as there was little denying after her earlier comments that she knew what he had done. It had been a difficult line to balance; the need to win the battle for his and Cynthia's sakes, or lose and protect his own hide from Minerva's wrath. Viktor had only calmed once it became clear Minerva was too taken aback by Feebas' comeback to lash out, allowing things to work out brilliantly in his favour in the end.
Nor was Viktor telling the whole truth about his use of Surf either. He had been serious about trying to make an impact on the other competitors, but he also did not want it to look like Cynthia was holding all the glory. For years a part of him had always wanted to battle, and this was his first real opportunity to do it, but Viktor was not just going to ride Cynthia's coat tails while she fought off their competition. Their second round battle had proven his fears; Magikarp had lain there pathetically while Gabite swept their opponents, securing a win that Viktor played no part in. Using Surf had allowed Viktor to gain at least one victory he could call his own, and there was no way anyone, meaning Volkner or Flint, could say he was just there as Cynthia's support, and had hopefully proven to her just how good a battler he was and keep her focus on him rather than anyone else…
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted as a shout sounded through the open front door, and everyone jumped as two figures ran inside. However, they all realised quickly it was simply Volkner and Flint, their shirts tied around their heads, cheering and yelling as they clutched Shinx and Houndour above their heads respectively, coming as if Viktor's thoughts had summoned them.
"I take it you won then," Peter laughed, winking at Viktor.
"You bet we won!" Flint shouted from the centre of the room. "And in only FIVE MINUTES!" He added with a roar that shook the room and startled Viktor into paying attention; even their battle today had lasted nearly ten minutes despite Amy and Matt barely landing a single move.
"Oh my, that's very impressive boys!" Joan gasped.
"How did you manage it in five minutes?" Viktor asked, trying to sound calm.
"Easily!" Flint yelled, and the two grandparents chuckled.
"The other team were these two older girls who had only used the same Pokemon, a Drifblim and a Wormadam, the last two battles," Volkner explained more calmly. "We just based our strategy on that and it worked out exactly as we predicted!" He then turned and gave Flint a high five, the slapping sound echoing in the room, and then hugged his Shinx, who cheered and fired sparks in delight.
"Well it looks like we all deserve a treat!" Joan called. "You boys cool off and I will whip us all up some chocolate milk!" Volkner and Flint continued to shout about their battle, their Pokemon joining in with their own cries, and Peter turned and asked for a recount. In a second Viktor and his project were abandoned, and the older boy sank back in his chair, skulking across at the others, a dark thought settling in his mind.
There were only thirty two teams left in the tournament; Viktor and Cynthia and Volkner and Flint were amongst them, leaving only thirty more between them all and the final round. All the powerful trainers had ended up knocking each other out, leaving only a few truly strong teams out there. There was a chance Viktor would face one of them next time, but there was also a chance he would face his own cousin in battle before the tournament was over. It would be interesting, their Pokemon all facing each other for the first time, their grandparents possibly coming down to see it all play out. How would they react to their grandchildren battling one another for the opportunity of a lifetime? And how would Cynthia feel, fighting beside Viktor but going against Volkner…
Now, wouldn't that be interesting, Viktor thought to himself, a smile creeping across his face as it dawned on him how to solve all his problems.
14th December 2013, 11:09 PM #24
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen: Blood Match
The weather had reined itself in by the start of the fourth round, but heat and humidity still hung in the air and both Viktor and Cynthia felt close to fainting by the time they made it down to The Square from the Fischer house, drenched in sweat with throbbing headaches. The level of noise that greeted them did nothing to improve the situation. Though there were less competitors waiting for battle orders, a significant crowd still filled The Square; defeated trainers coming to see how the tournament went, friends, families and general supporters coming to watch for fun, as well as the general mob of tourists heading for their daily shopping trips or to sample a new café.
"You would think they could have chosen a less public place as headquarters for this tournament," Cynthia huffed as the two found a shady spot on the edge of the crowd, not wanting to get caught up within the swell of people.
"Everything in Sunyshore becomes about business during the summer," Viktor replied wearily. "They want us to come here so we might get something to eat or drink while we wait, or maybe go shopping during a lull period." He paused to wipe sweat from his brow, and did not notice Cynthia suddenly watching him strangely. When he finally looked around, a smirk had crept onto her face. "What?" Viktor asked, nearly smiling himself.
"Nothing…," Cynthia answered quickly, looking away, but her smirk quickly turned into a laugh. "It's just... you are so wise for your age! I don't know anyone else that has your level of intellect or insight, except for me maybe," she added with a giggle.
"Looks like it was fate that brought us together then!" Viktor chuckled. "If I'm being honest, my grandfather is always complaining about the 'commercialization of the city', that's where I got that from. He thinks we are ruining the city by focussing on all the tourists and not on the people."
"Sounds like I should be talking to him then, not you!" Cynthia laughed. Their laughter continued for a few seconds, but it soon died in the heavy heat of the day, an awkward silence taking over, made more awkward and obvious by the amount of cheery people that surrounded them.
"I need to go ask a question at the counter," Viktor mumbled. Cynthia nodded to show she heard and watched as he stepped into the crowd, disappearing between two trainers in matching yellow shorts. His departure felt like a weight lifted from Cynthia's shoulders, and she sighed, annoyed that she had let the situation get so tense.
What the hell was I thinking – 'you're so wise', gah! I must have sounded like an idiot, she thought, mentally kicking herself. Cynthia had been trying to move on from her suspicions the other day, not wanting to stay annoyed with him when they still have a competition to win, but it seemed that her bitterness was seeping through in this weirdly awkward, judgemental persona. I'll apologise when he gets back, that should make things better, she thought, and smiled at the idea.
She felt suddenly alone now that Viktor had gone, enclosed on all sides by strangers. Cynthia looked back along the road they had come; there were plenty of people entering The Square, but no sign of Flint or Volkner yet. Peter and Joan were coming to watch the tournament today, now that their grandchildren had made it so far, and Volkner was leading them down, the elderly couple slowing him down.
Them coming to watch their grandchildren, Volkner helping… that must be what a true relationship between grand parents and child is, Cynthia thought coldly. She imagined briefly what it would be like if Carolina had come to watch her battle; would she scream and cheer with the rest of the crowd, or would she watch coldly from the sidelines, analyzing the battle and telling Cynthia later what she had done wrong. Carolina had never been interested in the traditional roles of being a grandmother, never attending school activities, never helping with homework, never fussing over birthdays and holidays; to her, her grandchildren had simply been further specimens for her to study, to watch grow like the Pokemon in her labs, their report cards being the data she craved to collect to tell how her to improve them. There had been little affection between them, and Cynthia was sure that right now, while Peter and Joan fussed over watching their grandson's battle, Carolina was sitting in her laboratory, busy working on some new bit of research without any worry for her missing granddaughter.
Cold, heartless bitch, Cynthia thought bitterly. She angrily eyed the road as her resentment boiled up inside, remembering it was the same way she had entered the city all those weeks ago. I have been gone all this time and you have never come looking for me. You would think someone with your brain capacity could work out where I had gone, or at least find some way of tracking me down. I bet you don't even care if I die out here, alone in a fucking plastic playhouse, you robotic bitch!
Cynthia sighed, wiping away the angry tears that were about to stream down her cheek. It was ridiculous, getting so emotional about such an emotionless woman. She turned to the crowd, wondering what was taking Viktor so long as it was nearly time for the battles to begin, and she did not want to be alone in the surging crowd when it was time to get their papers. Cynthia forced herself to think about him, and not about the situation she had put herself into or the one she had run away from. However, thinking of Viktor only stirred up her grievances with him, and Cynthia felt like screaming.
Is there no one you know that you don't secretly despise? She thought furiously. Maybe there is nothing wrong with any of them; it's just me and my own damn issues…
"Five minutes until the battle sheets will be released! Take note, five minutes!" The stout announcer boomed into a megaphone, his voice echoing above the mumbled roar of the crowd. Cynthia became tense, but managed to smile to herself, wondering if she and Viktor would battle in a new area today. She looked around the crowd, letting her mind wander away from her dark thoughts, and wondered which of these people would be her next opponents. Cynthia could see the owners of the Empoleon and Infernape she had seen fight in the first round, two muscular women possibly in their twenties that scowled at the trainers around them. There were two middle aged, pot bellied men with matching mullets who Cynthia believed owned a Sudowoodo and Sharpedo, a teenage couple in fluorescent outfits, an elderly couple she believed fought with Dragon types, two teenage boys bordering on manhood…
It was with a gasp that Cynthia realised she recognised those two, and that they were turning towards her. She tried to move away, but too late, Tom and Jake saw her hovering on the edge of the crowd. Awkwardly, their eyes met, and Cynthia froze, not sure what to say or do. It had been weeks now since she had last seen them, forced to the ground by Magikarp and Feebas less than a minute after they had advanced on her with a knife. Cynthia had not discussed the incident with anyone but Viktor and she wondered if the two had told anyone about the stormy encounter.
Cynthia waited for them to say something, whether it be a threat or apology, unable to think of anything to say. However, when she looked at them more closely, she was stunned to see what looked like fear in their previously steely eyes. What have they got to be afraid about? I never threatened them or their Pokemon, Cynthia thought, curious and annoyed by their strange reaction.
"Where's your friend?" Tom suddenly called out, his voice lacking its usual bravado.
"He's around, but I don't have his specific coordinates," Cynthia replied icily, several insults suddenly coming to mind. However, before she could utter them, her two opponents exchanged tense looks.
"Let's go," Jake hissed, and Cynthia was startled by how fearful he sounded. Tom nodded, and they turned and moved quickly back the way they had come, occasionally glancing over their shoulders as if a monster was chasing them. Cynthia watched them flee, unable to comprehend what had startled them so much. Why were they suddenly terrified of her and Viktor? They had been the ones to attack her the other week, not the other way around.
But wait… Feebas used Ice Beam on Jake, covered him in ice in the middle of a storm. Had that been enough to frighten them? Cynthia knew it sounded ridiculous, but something had happened to make them afraid…
"Cynthia!" A voice cried out, snapping her out of her thoughts. Cynthia looked away from the empty space where Tom and Jake had just stood and saw Volkner and Flint rushing towards her, the former's grandparents hobbling behind. It was reassuring to see some friendly faces after the older boy's strange looks, and Cynthia began to relax, shoving her queries to the back of her head and letting Volkner's enthusiasm engulf her.
"Has it started yet?" The blonde haired boy yelled out as he neared, his face red from exhaustion. Flint looked tired too, his skin and hair seeming to blend together.
"Not yet, but it is about to," she replied. "Viktor went off to do something, but I don't know where he is –"
"Right here!" Someone yelled exuberantly in her ear, and Cynthia nearly jumped. Viktor appeared right beside her, a broad grin plastered across his face. Cynthia was taken aback, partially because she had not seen Viktor smile like that for days. She wanted to know where he had been for the past several minutes, and she wanted to discuss what she had seen of Tom and Jake, thoughts of apologizing fading from her mind, but before she could, Peter and Joan were calling out to their grandsons, finally catching up.
"Good god, I really aren't as fit as I use to be," Peter wheezed, fanning himself with a meaty hand, his clothes drenched in sweat. He and his wife had dressed up for the occasion, Peter in a nice white shirt and black pants, while Joan had slipped into a blue dress with floral prints that exposed her wrinkled arms and legs, but she did not seem to mind. Her hands were full with a big wicker basket so they could picnic afterwards.
Caroline wouldn't do that, Cynthia thought bitterly, before getting annoyed at herself for not keeping her emotions in check.
"This is exciting; I haven't watched a Pokemon battle in so long!" Joan said, grinning as widely as Viktor. "You better put on a great show for us! I can't wait to see you all win!"
"You never know though Grandma, this day could be full of surprises!" Viktor replied, his smile still broad. Cynthia turned to him, stunned; she was not sure if it was her judgmental imagination overreacting, or if Viktor's tone had been as crude as she thought, but it suddenly seemed like he was being mischevious.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for Round Four to begin!" The stout man suddenly boomed, and everyone turned to him. Cynthia looked around her little group, but no one else seemed fazed by Viktor's remarks. She tried to ignore her friend and control her thoughts, but she could not help but see something sinister behind Viktor's smile…
The little man blabbered on about rules and reminding everyone how the tournament worked, but after several days none of the competitors paid attention, only thinking about how the battles would go. The man finally finished and allowed everyone to move up, and the few trainers that remained surged up towards the table. Cynthia and Viktor were split from Flint and Volkner by the pot bellied men, and Cynthia felt strangely isolated, alone with Viktor once again.
"Where did you go?" She asked, unable to contain herself.
"I was just scoping out the competition, trying to see who we might be up against," Viktor replied simply. "I can't see the people with the Infernape and Empoleon; do you think they got knocked out?"
"I saw them before, they are still in this," Cynthia answered as one of the fluorescent teenagers bumped into her. She nearly fell but Viktor grabbed her shoulders and steadied her, his smile now calmer and quieter.
You are imagining things, he is not keeping anything from you, she angrily told herself. Are you so distrustful that you can't accept your only friend for who he really is? Cynthia got back to her own feet, smiling back at Viktor, and she tried to calm herself; there were bigger things to deal with at the moment, being paranoid was not going to help anyone.
"Hello sweeties," an elderly volunteer said as the two approached. "Here for the battles, are you? Well then, give me your names and I'll get your forms!"
"Cynthia Carter and Viktor Fischer," Cynthia said, rolling her eyes at Viktor; this was the second time they had had this woman, and she clearly had no memory of them. It took the old woman longer than necessary to find her forms, by which time Volkner and Flint appeared alongside.
"Here we go, Carter and Viktor! I knew I'd just moved those papers about!" The woman announced, passing the forms over with a big, toothy grin. Cynthia forced a smile back as Flint snorted with laughter next to her, and she jokingly jabbed him in the side.
"Who are we up against now?" She asked Viktor, trying to move away from the table but the Dragon trainers were blocking their way, trying to pick up the contents from a split bag. Viktor did not reply, his face sunk slightly, and he passed over the sheets. Cynthia curiously looked down, wondering what he could be so dismayed to see, but than the two names were before her, and she felt her heart and stomach sink in surprise. She should have known it would happen eventually, but it had not occurred to her that it actually would occur.
Why today of all days, WHY? Cynthia yelled in her head, but it would not change who they were going to battle:
Volkner Fischer and Flint Inferson
Viktor could not be happier.
He knew he had to disguise his delight, but there was a party happening inside the head of the thirteen year old. His cousin and his enemy stood opposite him, looking uneasy and uncomfortable as they muttered about their battle plan.
Of course they are nervous; they have to go against us! Viktor thought devilishly. This was the moment he had been waiting for, the moment he realised now was why he had really entered the tournament; to defeat Volkner and Flint, to triumph over them and ensure they never forgot it. It would end all of Flint's mocking over the years, should Viktor win in such a public and grand way, and Volkner would soften towards him as well once he saw his older cousin was truly superior.
Then there was Cynthia. Viktor had avoided eye contact with her on their way up to the Cliff battlefield, knowing his eyes would give his excitement away, while Cynthia was not entirely thrilled by their opponents today. She is becoming friends with them, foolish little girl; she thinks they could defeat us. But once we win, and she will see that I am better than them, there will be no question of it.
The only people Viktor felt a touch sorry for were his grandparents, who stood awkwardly on the sidelines, clearly not sure which grandchild to support. It had meant to be a nice day out for them, one they had been talking about for the past twenty four hours. Viktor did not feel right about ruining it for them, but it would be worth it in the end; they were bound to pay him more attention once he won in the final round, knowing that he was better for something other than science, that he was the better grandson.
The only thing Viktor was really worried about was getting caught. He had discarded his fluorescent jacket behind the library, something he would retrieve in a few days so Cynthia would not put two and two together. Yet it had been so easy moving behind the desk that Viktor probably could have done it without the jacket; the elderly volunteers were so clueless and forgetful in their busy state and the dreadful heat that it had been simple to get them to swap names around. All he needed was a pretend deep voice, one Viktor had hoped sounded like the stout man, and the sheets had been changed.
Somewhere in the back of Viktor's, he knew what he was doing was wrong. He looked away when Volkner turned towards him, the cousin that he had lived and played with for so long now that sometimes it felt more like they were brothers. Viktor hadn't wanted to misbehave and sneak around messing with the competition, but what else could he do? Cynthia was his only friend in the world and already she was pulling away from him; if they lost the competition and the trail to Mr Adiem went dry, their friendship would disintegrate and he would be alone once more.
"Okay everyone! For this next battle, we have Cynthia Carter and Viktor Fischer to my right, and Volkner Fischer and Flint Inferson to my left," the referee said suddenly, drawing Viktor out of his thoughts. The referee, a woman with shaggy, bleached blonde hair, signalled for them to step forwards.
I can't let that happen, I am not losing Cynthia, not to Volkner, not to Flint, not for any reason! We are going to win, and we are going to stay friends, Viktor thought firmly, taking several steps so he was fully in position. He looked at Cynthia and managed a smile, but her lips barely twitched in response, her face sullen and stony.
She'll come around, she'll be happy once we win, Viktor told himself. He turned to his opponents, and could see Volkner was just as perturbed as Cynthia, while Flint had a slight grimace on his face, hands tightly holding a PokeBall.
This is it… this is it… Viktor thought. He could hear his heart pounding against his ribs, could feel the heat of the sun shining down on his exposed neck. He refused to look at his grandparents, now surrounded on all sides by the eager crowd, and he thought purely of the battle ahead, and what victory would mean for him and his future…
I am going to win… I am going to win… I will not lose to them… I will not lose Cynthia...
"Release your Pokemon, and begin!"
23rd December 2013, 11:56 PM #25
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Fourteen
An early Christmas treat for you all!
Chapter Fifteen: Fire and Earth
"Shinx, I choose you!"
"Chimchar, let's set them on fire!"
"Come on out Gabite!"
A wide, obvious smirk crossed Flint's face as Viktor threw his PokeBall, and it was obvious what he was thinking about his opponent's choice of Pokemon. Viktor forced himself not to ignore it, despite the fact the faces of several spectators seemed to agree; it was just another way of Flint trying to manipulate and undermine him, and Viktor would not let his red headed nemesis get one over him so early in the match. Instead, he thought of the four Pokemon beginning to form on the dirt field before him. While Flint may be unfazed by Castform, Viktor did not see Shinx or Chimchar as a serious threat; he had watched his cousin and his friend train with them for months now, and Viktor knew all their moves and all the strategies they would attempt. With Gabite's Ground type advantage, Viktor knew they already had an advantage that would linger throughout the battle.
This is going to work; there is nothing they can do to win! He thought triumphantly, trying not to smile. The flashes of light from the various PokeBalls faded, and the four Pokemon appeared. Gabite towered above the others, glaring at his opponents with a definite sneer. Shinx and Chimchar looked more like toys that threats in comparison, the two barely coming up to their trainer's knees, and Viktor was pleased to see them stare at the … Pokemon with adorable expressions of fear. He was aware Castform was hardly frightening either, but at least the Weather Pokemon had the opportunity to change the conditions of the battle at a moment's notice, something his opponents could not.
Silence and tension greeted the start of the battle. The referee had signalled that they could begin the second their Pokemon were out, but no one was giving any commands yet. Viktor could see members of the crowd exchanging looks, unaware of the connections between the four battlers. He saw his grandparents, their faces grave, his grandmother looking close to tears already; for the first time, Viktor wondered if his victory would make them proud or push them further towards their other grandson.
"Are you ready?" He whispered to Cynthia, unable to look at the elderly couple any longer. Cynthia barely turned her head to stare at him, and Viktor could see that she was still not happy about the battle he had arranged. Part of him was annoyed, so frustrated to see she did not want to fight two people she hardly knew, that she might be willing to give this all up for Volkner, but the other part felt guilty, wondering if this had been the right decision after all.
"It'll be alright, they won't hold it against us if we win. Let's just fight as if they were anyone else, okay?" Viktor said, trying to sound encouraging. Cynthia nodded unenthusiastically, and Viktor forced himself to control his rage. She will understand, she will be happy when we win, she will, she will!
"If no one else is going first, than Chimchar, use Vacuum Wave on Castform!" Flint yelled. His words seemed to spur Volkner out of his own awkward silence, and Viktor stared across at his cousin, wondering what he would use.
"Shinx, begin with Spark on Castform!" Volkner yelled childishly. Rage flashed across Viktor's face, but he stopped himself from getting angry, even though his cousin had already betrayed him within the first move. He will pay for that, in time!
"Weather Ball on Chimchar!" He shouted.
"Sandstorm, let's go!" Cynthia cried more calmly, and with that, the battle began.
Chimchar sprung forwards, spinning his tiny arms around rapidly before punching the air; a spiral of energy shot out, speeding across the pitch and whipping up dirt and stones before striking Castform squarely in the face. Viktor winced on behalf of his Pokemon, feeling his pain, but only a second later a ball of glistening yellow electricity was shooting towards them, and he was forced to watch the second attack explode against Castform. The Weather Pokemon did not cry out, but he sank several feet towards the earth, and Viktor tensed up, unsure how long his Pokemon would last if they continued to gang up on him.
"GAAAA!" Gabite yelled suddenly; he opened his mouth wide, looking fairly monstrous in doing so, and a glowing brown ball rose up from his throat. The Dragon fired it into the heart of the battle, a perfect sphere constructed entirely of sand. It exploded the second it reached a point between all four Pokemon, and Viktor had to shield his eyes as a spinning torrent of sand was unleashed, quickly engulfing the Pokemon and their trainers. It was blinding, and the sand felt sharp as it rapidly battered his skin, but Viktor still managed to smile, the storm allowing for greater protection for Gabite.
"Cast Cast!" Castform chimed from the middle of the swirling sand, and Viktor could just make out the Weather Ball as it was fired off in the direction of Chimchar. A faint cry soon followed, and Viktor's smile widened. Who's laughing now Flint?
"Weather Ball on Chimchar again!" He yelled exuberantly.
"DragonBreath on Shinx!" Cynthia commanded. She and Viktor had discussed several ideas for strategies, and Viktor was pleased that she had remembered their plan for dealing with Fire types; Gabite's Sandstorm provided protection for him as well as making Weather Ball an effective Rock type, allowing Castform to tackle the Fire Pokemon while Gabite dealt with the other Pokemon with Sand Veil protecting him. Viktor had kept it in mind when devising his plan, and it was satisfying to see Cynthia was not going to let her feelings get in the way of winning after all.
"Flame Wheel on Castform!" Flint yelled from the other side of the storm. The sand was too thick for Viktor to see them clearly, only their blonde and orange hair making it through the swirling brown cloud, but he could just imagine his rival smirking as he gave his command.
"Ice Fang on Gabite!" Volkner yelled. Viktor's eyes bulged, his jaw fell open, and he turned in disbelief to Cynthia. Her expression was no longer sombre, the shock of Volkner's command snapping her right out of her worry.
But… but Shinx is an Electric type… He didn't know this move the other week! We were meant to have the advantage! WE WERE MEANT TO HAVE THE ADVANTAGE! Viktor clenched his fists and turned back to the battle, watching as a circle of flames shot forwards, burning clearly enough within the storm.
"Duck it!" He hissed, briefly thankful he had a slight advantage here; Castform quickly floated upwards, regaining the height he had previously lost and causing Chimchar to fall short, crashing to the earth instead of the Weather Pokemon. However, the same strategy could not work for Gabite, and Viktor watched as ice blue fangs shone out through the sand before disappearing into the Pokemon's skin.
"GA!" Gabite snapped, almost in annoyance, before unleashing golden purple flames that illuminated the field; Shinx was thrown backwards by the roaring attack, and Viktor could clearly see Castform as he unleashed the second Weather Ball. However, his attack was less successful this time, as Chimchar used the momentum from the Flame Wheel to roll out of the way in time, the ball disintegrating against the field. Viktor was starting to feel tense; the battle was not going how he would have liked, and they could no longer afford to let Shinx stay in the battle, not now that Volkner had pulled this underhanded move on them. His eyes briefly flickered towards his grandparents, standing tensely amongst the captivated crowd, and he wondered who they were currently rooting for…
"Use Brick Break," Viktor hissed to Cynthia. "It is a stronger move that DragonBreath!"
"No! DragonBreath can paralyze and Gabite has type advantage on his side," Cynthia whispered back quickly, though she did not look at her team mate, eyes focussed on the battle. Viktor turned and glared at her, not entirely aware he was doing it, but he was not happy to have his sound battle idea squashed. They were meant to be a team, and Cynthia should have listened to him, especially as Viktor knew he was right.
"DragonBreath, go for Shinx again and make this one hurt!" Cynthia yelled, and for a second Viktor thought he saw a smirk cross her lips, her eyes briefly turn and look down at him. He was taken aback, and he could not help but watch his supposed friend, wondering why she was ignoring him and mocking him; was she sabotaging their battle so Volkner could win? Was she willing to throw everything away for him? He did not snap out of his thoughts until he heard Chimchar yell and saw spinning fire out of the corner of his eye; he had completely missed his opponent's commands.
"Water Pulse!" Viktor shouted quickly, but not before a flaming Chimchar smashed into Castform once more, forcing the Weather Pokemon to crash onto the field. Viktor watched in horror as everything turned to chaos; Gabite was struggling with Shinx, who seemed to have sunk his teeth into the Dragon's thick blue skin and was not letting go, and Flint had managed to nearly defeat Viktor's strongest Pokemon with only a few attacks.
This wasn't how this was meant to go, Viktor thought, nails digging into his own skin, watching the battle like an army commander viewing a losing war. We were meant to win, we had the advantage, I had the advantage! I cannot let them win, if I do it will be my fault… and Cynthia's, she should have listened to me… Viktor's eyes darted around the field, taking in all four Pokemon, watching as Castform fired the rings of water to no great effect. The sand, the sand is causing all the trouble. Gabite was meant to get the advantage from it, but Sand Veil is not working, Shinx keeps hitting. We need to change the weather, then I can see things clearly, Castform will be able to hit…
"DragonBreath on Shinx!"
"Flamethrower on Castform!"
"Ice Fang, one more time on Gabite!"
"Rain Dance!" Viktor yelled. People in the crowd gasped and ooohed at the unexpected command, and Viktor felt satisfied, certain their reactions were a sign of good things to come. However, a hand had suddenly grabbed his shoulder, and Viktor turned to find Cynthia right in his face, her mouth hanging open, looking stunned.
"Are you insane?" She hissed. "I need Sandstorm for Gabite's Sand Veil! Shinx will only keep hitting without it, and the move is not always accurate so Sandstorm works in our advantage!"
"Well, it hasn't worked yet, and I am not waiting about for that to happen!" Viktor snapped back, and he angrily pushed her arm aside. Cynthia looked shocked and angry, and Viktor knew upsetting her would have made all of this pointless, but she would understand when Castform's Water Pulse began effective, she would understand when they won.
"This is going to backfire," she said grimly, but backed away without another word, simply looking mournful before turning back to the battle. Viktor ignored her looks, knowing he had made the right call for both of them, and he watched gleefully as Castform dodged the stream of fire coming from Chimchar, rose above the sparring Gabite and Shinx, and reached the cusp of the sandstorm. This is it; this is how we will win the battle!
"FOOOORRRRRRRM!" Castform yelled as his entire body shone blue, radiating energy and causing a bright circle of water to form around him. The Rain Dance glistened brightly, the hot Sunyshore sun shining off the top, before it suddenly shot upwards. Viktor watched in awe as the ball reached the clouds and began to expand and flatten out, covering the sky above the pitch like a rectangular umbrella. The colour quickly disappeared once this happened, and glorious rain began to fall; as soon as the first drops fell, the sand instantly dissipated, the roaring storm falling back to the dirt before the rain itself. For the first time in several minutes the battle was revealed in full; neither Gabite nor Shinx looked well, both Pokemon weakened from their continued fighting, but Viktor could see Chimchar still seemed in decent health, not moving as sluggishly as his team mate. However, the rain clearly didn't impress the small Pokemon, who whimpered and tried to back away as the water touched his fiery tail. Viktor smirked to himself, pleased to see that things would work out after all.
"Vacuum Wave on Gabite, aim for his middle!" Flint yelled. Viktor paused in his celebratory thoughts, taken aback by the change in targets. He looked at his constant sparring partner cautiously, and his heart sunk the second he saw Flint's lips curl into a smile as his eyes flickered towards Volkner. Viktor turned his gaze to his cousin, his heart pounding his ribs as he wondered what was going on; his cousin looked across at him, his eyes sad and apologetic, a face that screamed uncertainty and unwillingness, but Viktor knew his cousin would do anything to win, even defeating his own blood… "Thunder on Castform!"
Viktor's world froze. The stunned audience fell silent, raindrops became still in midair, everything around him turned to nothingness. The only thing he could hear was his own heart, beating and beating against his chest like a drum. Viktor blinked rapidly and shook his head, wondering if he had perhaps misheard, trying to delay the inevitable realisation. He barely noticed as Gabite collapsed to the ground from the force of the Vacuum Wave, he did not look Castform in the eye as his Pokemon turned to him in horror, he could see Cynthia yelling at their Pokemon but her words did not reach him; Viktor simply stared into space, unable to process or accept the fundamental errors he had made.
"SHHHHINNNNNNNX!" A high pitched wail cut through Viktor's thoughts, and he looked up in time to be blinded by a sharp, piercing white-yellow light shining from across the field. He shut his eyes but the light was imprinted inside his eyelids, but Viktor could not block out the echoing rumble of Thunder, nor Castform's scream as the attack struck.
We have lost… I have lost… it was all for nothing…
"Castform is unable to battle," the referee announced. The words hit Viktor with the force of a truck, and when he opened his eyes he stared defiantly forwards between his two opponents, not daring to look down at the unconscious Pokemon by his feet. There were shouts from both sides, the next orders being given, but Viktor saw no point in paying attention now, not when Gabite was weakened, disadvantaged and alone… everything was pointless now.
Time suddenly seemed rushed, so Viktor was not sure how many moves it took for Gabite to be brought down; only vague snippets of the battle reached his attention, mostly the bright flash of DragonBreath as Gabite tried to fend off the smaller, weaker opponents, somehow failing to defeat either before falling himself. When the referee finally declared the battle over, Viktor saw that it had stopped raining, and he briefly took note of Shinx and Chimchar, close to unconsciousness themselves but still standing.
We should have won… we had the advantage… we deserved to win more…
"Viktor…. Viktor… Viktor! You need to withdraw Castform, now!" Viktor could not bring himself to look at Cynthia, but acknowledged her words with a simple nod. He fumbled in his pockets for the metal capsule; it felt cold in his hands, and Viktor shook as he raised his arm. He could just make out the dull grey colour of Castform's skin below him, but Viktor did not look down as he pressed the button, and only knew it was done when Cynthia gave him a gentle shove to move on. New competitors were making their way onto the pitch, their battle already forgotten in their minds. Viktor watched them with contempt, knowing that the tournament should be over now, it should end for everyone else if he and Cynthia could not carry on; what were any of them fighting for? Money? Prestige? Glory? Nothing was as important as the information the two were searching for…
"Oh dear, I am so sorry!" His grandmother appeared before him, eyes teary, pulling him quickly into an inescapable hug. Viktor reluctantly hugged back at first, but then he quickly embraced it, needing the comfort. Part of him wanted to cry, but Flint and Volkner were still near, and he would not shed a single tear in front of them. "Don't worry my dear boy, there is always next year – who knows what Pokemon you might have by then?" Viktor was not at all reassured by that, and suddenly the hug felt forced and cold. He broke away and looked around for his grandfather, wondering why he was not consoling him as well. He could guess where he was though, and sure enough, Viktor spotted Peter Fischer standing only a few metres away, smiling as he patted Volkner on the shoulder.
Of course… Volkner comes first, no matter what. If it had been the over way, he would be getting comforted before I got congratulated… Viktor watched in contempt as Flint said something and laughed, Volkner and Peter following quickly. Viktor wanted to scream at them, to throw something, to kick, to punch, to hurt them in whatever way possible. How dare they laugh, how dare they when it has been moments since I lost? Do they think I cannot see them standing barely a metre from me? I hate them all…
He caught Volkner's eyes flicker towards him, and Viktor felt satisfaction in seeing the humour fade from his cousin's face, his joy quickly turn to shock. You should feel guilty, you have ruined everything! However, Viktor realised his cousin's eyes weren't staring directly at him, and he turned to see Cynthia standing just behind him, her head hanging down but her eyes glancing towards Volkner…
"Viktor, wait!" His grandmother cried, but Viktor did not stop, striding quickly away before the rage he was struggling to keep inside was unleashed. He felt Cynthia's grip on his arm, but he shook her free and kept walking, hatred in every step. I entered this for you; I did all this for us! I embarrassed myself, I cheated, I sacrificed everything, for what! Gabite should have been stronger; we would have won if your Pokemon had actually been strong. I trusted you; I thought you were a good trainer… I thought you were my friend…
Without a single word, Viktor left the field behind and descended the slope back to The Square, hands clenched into fists, eyes fixated on the path ahead. The world became just him and his footsteps, and Viktor marched solemnly onwards, thoughts of failure echoing so loudly inside his head he did not notice a single tear as it streaked down his face.
13th January 2014, 07:23 PM #26
Re: Dawn of Darkness: Chapter Fifteen
Happy New Year! This will most likely be the last year of this story, so enjoy the remaining chapters!
Chapter Sixteen: The Confessions of Arnold Adiem
"Viktor Fischer lost his battle today; he is out of the competition."
"Hmmm, I see."
"Well now, that's just rude! I came all this way to pass on this delightful news, and that's the only response I get for my troubles? You could at least pretend to be happy about it."
"I am, truly," Mr Adiem replied, his voice quiet and tiresome, and he sighed as he looked up from his notes and faced Charlotte; she hovered in the middle of the room, wearing a pout as she waited for a better response. Arnold had not heard or noticed her arrive, having been deep in thought as he waited for another long day to come to a close, but he was not entirely surprised to by her appearance. "It has been several days since we last spoke, I was wondering when I would be hearing from you again. Though, true be told, I was expecting to read that the boy had been found dead at the bottom of some cliff before you reappeared."
"Oh please, if I had killed the child you would never have heard anything about it," Charlotte replied icily, her frown turning to a smirk. "But you are quite right, I have not yet killed Viktor Fischer. I have been doing some thinking, actually, and –"
"You've been thinking? I am shocked!" Arnold gasped sarcastically, his tiredness putting him into a mood. "I never realised you actually thought things through, I figured you simply showed up, read the room and did some magic tricks before buggering off again!" Arnold huffed, and Charlotte stared impressively at the media mogul, her smirk widening as she gazed down at him.
"Look at you acting all feisty!" She purred. "I never knew you had it in you; it is nice to see you have finally become a man after all these years." Arnold rolled his eyes, but he still managed a brief smile, one that only Charlotte could possibly draw out of him.
"Tell me, what exactly were you thinking about?" He asked. His eyes briefly gazed down at the notes lying on his desk, and he knew he should really be focussed on them instead of Charlotte. Arnold was falling rapidly behind in his work, his mind rather distracted these past weeks, and advisors and colleagues had warned him he needed to pick up the pace if he wanted to remain in charge of his own company. However, Arnold placed them to one side and looked up at Charlotte; as much as it was a nuisance, he knew Charlotte wouldn't have come simply to alert him to Viktor Fischer's place in the tournament, and he had to hear what she needed to say whether he wanted to or not.
"I'll be honest with you here boss man; I still intend to kill the boy, but I need to do so in a way that will not upset the balance of society," Charlotte explained as she floated towards Arnold's drinks cabinet. "Mind if I have a brandy?"
"Suit yourself," he grumbled, his mood quickly sinking. "I do not understand why killing the boy is necessary; if he is out of the competition, there is no way for him to get to the Island of Champion's now, is there?" Charlotte turned back around, somehow able to clutch a glass tumbler swimming with amber liquid, and she smiled.
"Dear Arnold, I think your fixation on this tournament has corrupted your memory," she said sweetly. "The prophecy was never exclusively linked to some tag battling trainers. It merely stated that a boy would touch those lovely orbs of yours and would grow up to bring about the end of the world. You have just put the pieces together and figured that someone winning the tournament and therefore getting to the Island while you're having your special meeting would lead to said orb-fondling."
"But you worked out that Viktor Fischer was the boy, didn't you?" Arnold snapped, his tired mind beginning to hurt. "Surely there is no other way for him to get to them, not once they have been properly moved and secured!"
"You never know, this prophecy is several centuries old now," Charlotte replied, shrugging her shoulders. "I was able to deduce that Viktor was most likely our devil child and I do intend to kill him to prevent him and the orbs ever being within a twenty mile radius of each other. However, I have realised over the past few days while watching him and that Cynthia girl that that doing so in an obvious manner could have further repercussions. Prophecies are a tricky beast to control, and I have been very wrong in the past when it comes to solving them. Killing Viktor could push his cousin or the girl towards the orbs, therefore replacing them as our future conqueror; also, as this incident has been foretold, outright killing Viktor, if he is the said child, could have dramatic consequences in the future." Arnold seized up as the words washed over him, and he stared blankly at Charlotte, trying to process the game changing information. His body began to shake, his brain throbbing painfully against his skull. As he tried to word his emotions, Arnold stared at the ghost's glass, tempted to grab the entire bottle and down it all at once, needing something to put him out of this nightmare.
"Are you telling me, now, after all this time, that you aren't certain we even have the right child, let alone whether his death will do anything?" The mogul whispered darkly. Charlotte nodded, her smile fading instantly, and for a moment the two simply stared at each other, silence swelling inside the expansive, empty room. Then, with an angry roar, Arnold swept his hands across his desk; papers, folders, pens, his phone, everything was sent crashing to the floor. Charlotte was stunned by the outburst, but Arnold ignored her, blinded and fuelled by his rage. With barely a thought, he lunged down and grabbed a paper weight from the floor, and he turned and threw it at the window. The thick glass merely cracked, the weight falling with a thud back to the carpet, but Arnold relished the feeling, savoured the blood and anger coursing through his body. He stared at the web-shaped lines in the window for a minute, tempted to throw something else and watch the entire window break away. However, before he could, a sudden chill crawled up his spine, and Arnold turned to find Charlotte floating a centimetre behind him.
"What the hell was that?" She cried, her ghostly face seeming solid for a moment as it twisted with anger. "Has something finally snapped in that money hungry little mind of yours?"
"You told me that Viktor was the boy, you told me to trust you!" Arnold shouted, and he realised this was what he really wanted; to confront Charlotte, the one who was responsible for all this chaos and worry in the first place, the one who had interfered and intruded in his life for so many years now, a second shadow that never left him. She had to know the cost of her meddling and lies. "I asked you to prevent him from getting near the orbs, and now here we are week's later, mere days from one of the most important meetings of my life, the threat of this boy still hanging over us, and NOW you tell me that killing him might not even prevent this horrible future you've predicted! For once in your pointless, unnecessarily elongated waste of a life, can you just do something helpful instead of being a useless pest?!" Charlotte looked stunned, and Arnold stared defiantly at her, chest heaving as he rapidly breathed in and out, briefly savouring the release of those thoughts, but quickly wondering how the powerful ghost would react. Charlotte remained still for a few moments, staring at Arnold as if he was a new man, but then her shock turned to rage, and she threw her tumbler aside; it shattered against the wall, but hit with such force that the plaster cracked, a huge chunk falling away and exposing the wires behind.
"How dare you, HOW DARE YOU!" She screamed. "Nothing that has happened these past few weeks is my fault! I never wanted any of this! I merely saw it right to warn you before your meeting goes tits up and the rest of us get screwed as a result; you are the one that asked me to find the boy, you are the one that then asked me to get rid of him, YOU are the one responsible for all this, so don't think for a second you can dump the blame on me! I have done the best that I can in this situation, juggling the fact you won't order someone's execution for some fear of guilt, to the fact that the entire bloody universe is against me if I kill him and change the future of the world! What the hell am I supposed to do in a situation like this, huh?" She finished, looking both infuriated but sad at the same time, and Arnold realised for the first time that Charlotte was as tired of this situation as he was; it must be difficult, having these powers and being relied upon to use them, especially when you have been doing so for hundreds and hundreds of years.
With a weary, irritable sigh, Mr Adiem collapsed back into his seat. Charlotte continued to stare at him like an enraged beast for a few more moments, but she collapsed under her own annoyance and sunk onto the desk. She clicked her fingers, and suddenly they each had a glass in hand, filled to the brim with fine wine. Arnold smirked and raised it in jest before taking a long draught. Charlotte mirrored his motions, and for a time there was no noise, silence filling the room as the two drank and reflected.
"I should have gotten rid of those orbs years ago, long before I ever heard of this stupid prophecy," Arnold whispered finally after several minutes, his glass already half empty. His eyes flickered across to the chest that sat in the corner, hidden by a silk cloth that made it oblivious to anyone else, but did little to stop it from drawing his attention day after day. "Since the day I found them, they have been a blessing and a curse; the greatest and worst thing to have ever happened to me. I should have known all those years ago they would come back to ruin my life."
"That's what happens when you get involved in the divine plans of our lord and battler," Charlotte replied with a smirk, though it did not reach her eyes. "Why did you hold onto them then, if you have always had doubts about their purpose?" Arnold dwelled on the question for a moment, trying to think of the right way to word things, and was dismayed at how difficult it was to answer; a sign, he figured, that it was one that shouldn't have need to be asked in the first place.
"I think," he said finally, after another long drink, "it was because of the power they possess. I always knew how dangerous the orbs where and what they would do if they remained in my possession. However, I also know what would happen if someone else got hold of them. I feel… I have always felt that they need to be protected… that I need to make up for what I did and the mistake I made in moving them." Arnold paused for a moment, shutting his aching eyes, and for a few seconds he thought back to those memorable few days when his life had changed; a snow covered wall collapsing away, blue and pink light burning against his eyes, arguments, fighting, and a flash of white light as Charlotte entered his life…
"If the wrong person ever got hold of them and used them for evil, I knew it would all come back to me," Arnold continued, slowly opening his eyes, leaving the past in his mind and staring back at the world he had created. "I never wanted to move them away from me in case something terrible happened, but after all these years, it has simply become too much. That's why they must be moved to the Island of Champions; five of the greatest trainers in our region, on an island that is one of the most secure facilities in the world. No one will be able to get them there, not even your prophecy child."
"That would have been true, had the tournament that is most likely going to bring the child to the orbs gone ahead," Charlotte pointed out. Mr Adiem wanted to snap at the ghost, but he was far too tired for that and he knew she was right.
"If I had cancelled the tournament, then it would have become an opportunity for my business rivals to slam me in the press," he replied bitterly. "'Adiem cancels tournament, ruins holidays for all!', some pathetic gibberish like that. I have a reputation and a successful company to maintain; these orbs have already taken away a great deal of my life, I cannot let them damage the career I have struggled so much to maintain."
"Alright, alright, I see your point!" Charlotte retorted, raising her hands defensively. "I still think the fate of the universe is a slightly bigger deal then you and your newspapers, but what do I know, I'm simply a two thousand year old magical ghost assigned to watch over you and tell you when you're being a ninny." Arnold stared blankly at Charlotte, not sure whether to be annoyed or angry by her statement. However, after a few moments, a giggle burst from his lips. Charlotte looked stunned, and she watched in surprise as Mr Adiem fell into a fit of laughter, rolling about in his chair, loud, forced joy echoing inside the room. Arnold had had so little to laugh about lately that he could not help himself, now that he was faced with the simple absurdity of his current situation. After a few moments he was unsure what was even funny, but Arnold simply let the joy out; it had been so long since he had laughed in such a way that he did not want to stop it now.
After nearly five minutes of continuous, roaring laughter, Arnold began to control himself. He could see Charlotte staring at him in utter confusion and shock, and Arnold managed one final smirk before straightening himself up and placing his glass aside. It felt good to have done that, to relieve himself of weeks, years even, of stress and confusion; for the first time in days, Arnold felt as though his mind was truly clear, and now that he had realised the mess he had made, the truth was finally obvious.
"I know what we have to do," Mr Adiem said, refusing to meet Charlotte's eye and instead holding onto the last of his joy to prevent what he was about to say from truly sinking in. "I think that is why I have been so distracted and moody these past few weeks; I have known since the second you told me the prophecy what would have to happen, but I refused to believe it, hoping there was some other option, but I realise now that was wrong of me. I have to face the facts, don't I? Killing Viktor Fischer is the best option we have of stopping your prophecy coming, isn't it?'
"It is the best option that I can see," Charlotte said, and Arnold noted the grimness in her tone. He stared at the papers littering the floor, the dent in the wall, the crack in the window; this has gone on too long, my worry, I am at my breaking point – it is time to end this.
"Do what must be done, for the sake of our world," he whispered quietly. There was a clink of glass on wood, and Arnold forced himself to look up. However, Charlotte was ignoring him, instead floating towards the wall, waving her hands as dull green light shone through her body. When she turned around, the wall has returned to its regular condition, and Arnold glanced at the window, expecting her to go there, but instead Charlotte moved back into the middle of the room.
"I am leaving the window… think of it as a reminder and a warning, from yourself," she purred, though it was colder than usual. "I must warn you, I realise now how little control I have over this situation; whatever we do to stop Viktor could have serious implications on the future. I will, however, do my best to prevent him from getting anywhere near the orbs, and will kill him if necessary. It's just that for once in my life, I will have to act subtle…" she said with a sigh. "What a pain that will be, I do enjoy my theatrics." Arnold managed another smirk, but it was with a heavier heart this time, and when he finally looked up, Charlotte had gone.
The office was suddenly much emptier. As the years had gone by, Arnold had come to realise designating himself such a grand work space had been foolish, a moronic idea that his younger self had thought necessary. Now he could see that all this empty space was pointless; he had never made use of over half of it, and it simply reminded him of how lonely he truly was. Arnold looked down at the mess he had created, the sole picture of his wife and daughter lying shattered on the floor, broken glass there amongst endless memos, contracts and reports scattered by his reckless rage. Arnold reached down and picked up the mess in one big sweep, and tossed it just as messily onto the desk.
For a brief moment, Arnold was tempted to reorganize the papers for the days ahead. However, as his hands hovered over loose stationary and stray sheets, his eyes fell, as they usually did, on the crate sitting in the corner; Arnold paused, and he began to hear his heart beating, his hands digging into the wooden surface as he felt the power radiating from within the leather and metal only a few metres away. Then his attention turned to the cracked window behind him, the fallen paperweight resting on the carpet underneath. Arnold stared at the web-like wound in the window, distorting his view of Jubilife City and splintering the last of the day's sun as it shone against his building.
With a broad smile, Arnold stood up from, leaving his desk as it was, and walked towards the door. He grabbed his coat from a hook, briefly looking from his desk to the crate, before finally settling on the window. People would ask how it had become broken and why he had not fixed it, but as Arnold swung open the door, he knew it would stay there, for a while… as a reminder …
Tomorrow was a brand new day, and for the first time in many years, Arnold Adiem was looking forward to what it had to offer. He gave the crate the last, briefest of glances before walking out of the office, closing the door on the great empty room he had built for himself all those years ago.
Just a brief change of scenery, thought it would be good to lay out why Arnold has acted the way he has as we gear towards the finale.