Hey guys! Sorry for a very long delay, but Kris vs Gold is back, and there are only a few chapters left, so I hope you enjoy the series while it lasts :D A quick reminder to have a flick through Left Behind to get a better understanding of two of the characters that will feature in this story. Also, I've had to cut the mysterious trainer out from the storyline, as I have fixed up the GalacticVerse's timeline and realised the character,, can't have logically appeared. Sorry if you were looking forward to that, but there is more focus on Kris and Gold now instead :D So enjoy!
Kris Soul was learning, very quickly, that when you’re in a rush, you don’t get a chance to admire the view.
Kris was sprinting through the dusty streets of Blackthorn City. The city was located around mountains, similar to Mahogany Town, giving it the feeling over being towered over by giants. However, only the back of the town was enclosed by the rocky cliffs and peaks. At the front of the town, a magnificent view was provided to anyone who looked in that direction. A magnificent blue river, starting its life in the mountains, crept between two different paths of grassy fields and sky-reaching trees. Route 45 went downhill, so it allowed distant views of New Bark Town and the surrounding oceans, which would sparkle with a golden hue at either sunrise or sunset.
The rest of the town was very beautiful as well. White and brown cottages seemed to rise out of the light brown ground, scattered around the mountaintop city in a more randomized way that modern cities. A Pokemon Center and PokeMart were the most modern looking buildings around, as the city didn’t have the burden of roads, skyscrapers or overcrowding that many other Johto cities had. All the necessities in life were happy, and it was the perfect way of life for the residents, and perfect for tourists who wanted to escape the hustle and bustle.
And today, Kris was the fastest thing moving.
It had been a week since her dramatic battle in the middle of Mahogany Town. Kris was still rather shaken up by how horribly Gold had treated his Pokemon, and how terribly he had lost the plot, and for a few days it had dwelled on her mind during lull periods. She had known him to be violent, but the way Gold had acted then was terrifying, and Kris worried for the next time they battled.
But something more pressing had happened to take up all her thoughts.
Latias had not awoken since using Mist Ball during the battle. The Eon Pokemon wouldn’t even leave her PokeBall at times, and when Kris did send her out, Latias simply lay weakly on the ground, eyes shut and her breathing slow and unsteady. It hadn’t helped that for the last few days Kris had been venturing through the Ice Cave, the coldest, most frozen place in Johto. The maze of ice-covered tunnels had been difficult to navigate, and only Magcargo had been able to withstand the cold, providing Kris with warmth, light and a strong battling partner.
But now she was in Blackthorn, and was desperate to find a solution to Latias’ issues. Kris was relieved to be in the city, thought she completely bypassed the Pokemon Center. People stared at Kris as she ran by, her calm and sensible state of mind completely gone. But Kris didn’t care what people thought as her legs began to ache after ten minutes of running on hard ground, her arms swinging wildly and her bag whacking into her back as she sprinted. I must be close now, Kris thought, beginning to wheeze slightly. There was a stitch in her side, but she had to keep going… for Latias… she just had to – Finally!
There, on top of a small hill, was the Blackthorn City Gym.
“YES!” Kris puffed, so relieved to be here she didn’t even get frightened by the gym’s appearance. It was a gigantic structure, clearly the largest building in the city, and nearly stretched from one mountain to the other. It was made from carved stone that had been painted jet black, with heavy wooden doors providing the only visible entrance in. A weathered sculpture of a shiny Charizard covered the entire roof, with eternal orange flames burning on its stone tail and in its eyes. Too many people it was a frightening, hideous and unnecessary, but for Kris, at this moment, it was the most beautiful thing in the world.
“We’re here now Latias!” Kris whispered, still out of breath, to the Ultra Ball clasped firmly in her hands. With a sigh of relief, Kris walked up the mild slope and towards the gym. She didn’t care about having a gym battle yet: she just wanted to see Clair and find the solution to Latias’ issues. As Kris got closer to the doors, she realised someone was standing there: a young man, dressed in black leather robes with matching leathery black hair, was next to the doors, grasping a wooden staff in his hands.
“Hello,” Kris said warmly, figuring it would’ve been rude to ignore him, and approached the door ready to enter. But her hand had barely touched the surface when the staff appeared right in her face.
“No entry,” the young boy said. Kris paused, surprised, and stared at him: the leather clad boy looked around fifteen, and had rather handsome features underneath his jet black hair. His eyes were a blue not unlike the river flowing behind them, contrasting strangely but in a rather entrancing way against his pale skin and dark hair. All thoughts of Latias disappeared as Kris found herself taken aback by the handsome doorman, and stood staring for a few minutes, the boy giving her a quizzical look.
“Why can’t I enter?” Kris said after a while, coughing in a nervous manner.
“Clair is not in the gym, therefore it is currently closed,” the boy explained, ignoring Kris’ blank state. Kris let out a soft gasp of shock and disappointment. She needed to see Clair urgently, why wasn’t she here? She clutched Latias’ Ultra Ball even harder in her disappointment, which quickly turned to anger.
“Where is she? When will she be back?” Kris huffed, in what she would reflect back later as being a rather Gold thing to say. But Kris had been travelling for days to get help, and didn’t want to pause now. The boy’s thin eyebrows narrowed, and he clutched the staff tighter in his hands.
“Madam Clair is in the Dragon’s Den,” he explained. “She will be back in a few hours. A special contest is being held, and it will take some –” but than the boy froze, his eyes wide with shock, and Kris released her excitement must have shown on her face. The boy clearly didn’t want Kris to know there was a contest going on, but she didn’t care: if Clair was nearby, than she could possibly still get the help she needed.
“Is the contest still open?” Kris asked excitedly. “Where’s this Dragon Den?” The boy’s angry scowl softened suddenly, turning into a smirk: handsome, Kris thought, but rather arrogant at the same time.
“Obviously not local,” he chuckled, and lowered the staff. Kris frowned at him, annoyed at this remark, but was surprised as the boy tapped thrice on the door before walking past her. He moved several metres before pausing and turning, realising Kris wasn’t following him. “You want to enter the contest, don’t you?”
“Oh, yes yes, of course!” Kris gasped, and quickly followed after him. A creaking sound behind her, and she turned to see another black robed worker had replaced him at the door. Kris was impressed by the efficiency, and happily followed the boy through a grassy passage between the gym and one of the mountains.
“What is your name?” The boy asked, his staff clunking against the hard ground.
“Krystal Soul, but I go by Kris,” Kris explained, and the boy nodded.
“The name’s Spike,” he said, and Kris couldn’t help but let out a laugh, though she quickly stifled it. Spike turned and glared at her before continuing walking: they emerged on the edge of rectangular lake the same size as the gym, and Kris guessed from two platforms on opposite ends that battles occasionally took place here.
“Sorry for laughing,” she said as they walked along the lake’s edges. Spike merely shrugged.
“I’m used to it. I use to be called ‘Pointy’, ‘Sharpie’ and ‘Vampire’, so a few laughs won’t hurt.” Kris smiled, and the two continued their journey around the lake in silence. Kris was reflecting on how beautiful the near-glowing blue lake was when Spike gave a little cough: he had turned into a stone archway set into the mountain. Kris quickly followed him in, noticing some text was carved into the arch, but it had long been weathered away and only the word DRAGON remained. She wanted to dwell on it, but after walking only a few feet in, other thoughts crossed Kris’ mind. Sunlight had almost instantly been cut off, replaced with darkness that threatened to crush her. Only dim blue flames set in brackets against the stone wall provided light, but it only highlighted the rough stone floor that Kris unsteadily waddled across. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant place, and Kris hoped she’d be back in light soon.
“Mind your step,” Spike’s voice sounded distant but near due to the ghostly echo, and Kris tried to see where he had gone. Suddenly, she felt a sensation of airiness in her stomach, followed by a falling feeling, and Kris put her hand out just in time to stop herself from falling down a staircase that had appeared from nowhere. As her hand wrapped around a mossy stone banister, Spike’s handsome face was illuminated in a ghostly manner beneath her by more blue-flamed brackets. He laughed, half his face shadowed, before moving further down and leaving Kris scowling.
“You could have warned me!” She fumed as she regained herself, following him down a spiralling staircase.
“I did… just not in time,” Spike called back up. Kris let out a furious growl and she marched down after him. The blue flames barely lit up the space, and Kris was afraid of stumbling down, especially as Spike’s footsteps got fainter.
“How much longer does this spiral for?” Kris shouted, unaware that she was rounding the last bend as she spoke and stepping onto flat land, instantly freezing.
Kris had entered an underground wonderland. It was quite clear that it was a cave area: huge sections of rock rose out of the ground, whilst hundreds of stalactites hanging like stone daggers above her head. Small bridges and rough stone steps connected the different rock sections to each other, many of which had small, different coloured houses and shacks scattered across them. People in robes similar to Spike’s, though they came in blue, red and purple as well as black, were walking between these buildings, exchanging items and small talk. A gigantic lake, about three times the size of the one she had walked past moments before, yet it still was able to glow despite being metres underground. The brilliant blue light easily outshone the varying colours of flame, and Kris spun around, marvelling what was being illuminated, when she saw the main attraction.
A building, about the size of a football field, was situated at the far end of the cavern, half in the lake and half on land. The walls and surrounding deck were made entirely of wood, with no windows and no obvious metal additions, and was painted a brilliant blood red. The tiled roof was high and pointed, with an undistinguishable dragon head rising out, and was painted a blue that looked grey next to the dazzling water.
Kris couldn’t believe what she was seeing, and simply stood there for nearly two minutes, marvelling at the spectacular community she had just entered.
“Pretty impressive, isn’t it?” Spike’s voice sounded next to her, and Kris turned towards him, beaming broadly. She nearly dropped the Ultra Ball to the ground in the new found excitement rushing through her.
“This is the Dragon Den?” She asked, and Spike nodded.
“This cave has been around for centuries, and has been owned by the Dragon Elder’s for centuries. We created this community in order for dragon trainers to live and train together in harmony: the townsfolk don’t like it when we accidentally destroy their houses,” Spike explained, and Kris smirked. “Clair lives down here when she isn’t at the gym, and about fifty other workers and trainers live down here as well. Lance grew up here as well,” Spike added, and Kris let out a gasp that echoed around them: she absolutely adored Lance, the Dragon Master and Johto League Champion. “The current Dragon Elder is his and Clair’s grandfather, and their father was gym leader before Lance, who ran the gym for years before Clair took over.”
“That’s amazing!” Kris gasped, her eyes darting around the cave as several Dratini splashed around in the lake. She absolutely loved this place, and was practically shaking with excitement about simply being here.
“Glad you like it,” a feminine voice smirked behind her, and Kris spun around, jaw dropping.
Clair the Blackthorn Gym Leader was standing behind her.
Kris was left speechless as Clair smiled warmly at her, her turquoise blue hair hanging perfectly around her face. Her face was rather pale, though Kris guessed that if she lived underground that was a given. The rest of her body was currently covered in a large black cape, wrapped tightly around her body with gold trimming along the edges. Kris had no idea what to say, though Clair filled the silence for her, her purple lips moving in an elegant manner.
“Are you here for our Orienteering Contest?” Clair asked sweetly. Kris noticed a Dragonite was bobbing around the air behind her, staring rather seriously into the water. She had always admired the beautiful dragon type, and remembered having a squishy plush doll of it as a child. “Kris, are you going to join?”
“What?’ Kris said stupidly, thoughts of going to see if Dragonite was as squishy as her doll leaving her mind. Spike rolled his eyes as he moved around to stand next to Clair. “Orienteering...? Wait! How do you know my name?” Clair chuckled softly, her lips twisting into a cute little smile.
“I knew both of your parents through the Elite Four,” the gym leader explained, wrapping an arm around Kris and leading her forwards, Spike quickly following alongside. Kris felt a pang around her heart at mention of her parents, and looked around to try and block out thoughts of her father. All of the robed people were congregating nearby, with three normally dressed people standing in a huddle next to a wooden desk. “Great people, sorry to hear about your mother’s cancer. I think I sent her a card…” Clair came to a stop as she tried to remember, and Kris stared as the Dragonite fluttered over, his eyes still focused on the lake behind them.
“Is everyone here for the orienteering contest?” Kris asked.
“Ah, yes!” Clair said happily. “Yes, it is quite a big deal here, so I hope that you do sign up Kris. We don’t have that many people for this round…” Kris was getting annoyed about being pressured into this, and was about to ask what the contest actually was when one of the three people turned around at the sound of her name. In an instant, Kris seized up. She felt the Ultra Ball pulse in her hand as if Latias’ heart was beginning to beat furiously as well. But Kris wasn’t thinking about getting Latias fixed anymore: a sense of nervousness and anger was rising up and mixing together inside her head and heart, and Kris had no idea what to think. But as Gold Hartley smirked arrogantly at her, all Kris knew was that it seemed her decision had been made for her.