Midsummer Knights: DREAM
Prelude: Author's Note
Because I'm a sucker for comments, I've decided to publish my latest fic here to see what sort of feedback I'd get. Concrit is deeply appreciated. Specific concrit is applauded.
I will say, though, that if you see something that seems to be randomly brought up, chances are, it'll serve a purpose later.
This post: Prelude: Backstory
Chapter One: Open
Chapter Two: Key
Chapter Three: Duel
"Ladies and gentlemen, today marks the beginning of a new and brilliant future for Verona City and…!" There was a pause for emphasis that could have slain thousands in suspense. "…The beginning of a fantastic journey for those who will soon call themselves Midsummer Knights!"
With those words, my home – my dear Verona City – was changed forever.
My name is Ariel, and I am the History Keeper. It is my duty to record and retell the story of the place where I was born. Because of that, I know all there is to know about Verona City, and I would be happy to pass my knowledge unto you.
The day the Game (the Game, as it must be set apart from all the others) began was a dreary, snowy day in late December, between the glimmer of Christmas and the freshness of the new year. Weariness of the dismal gray between those wonderful days hung over the citizens like a heavy shroud. But this negative aura was punctured by a ray of excitement, the brainchild of a wealthy business tycoon: the great Midsummer Game.
But perhaps I am getting far too ahead of myself. Allow me to weave for you the very root of the story.
The year is far from what you know. The great Ash Ketchum – Pokémon master and league champion for many years, as you probably already know from your own basic history lessons – died many years before now and is nothing but a skeleton, if he should still be as blessed as many thought he was.
Time is good to the people now. Fantastic inventions of which the people of Ash's time only dreamed now exist in every home. The governments of the world now own computers and computer operators such as myself to record every last detail of the society under it. But we do not obey tyrants. We obey leaders who reach out to us with hands and gifts.
On the other hand, that bliss is not enjoyed everywhere. Here in Verona City – a spot between Saffron City and Lavender City which the government has forgotten – there has been for many, many years a tense ripple among the people. Whether or not the regular citizens and the indifferent city council have felt it too, I do not know.
Once, Verona City had flourished in the hands of two prosperous families of equal standing. Both were peaceful, generous families that shared the throne of control over all of us. Wealth spread throughout the city limits, and soon after their rise, the citizens experienced a golden age that made their fair city comparable to its majestic neighbors.
Unfortunately, like all beautiful times, even Verona City's had to come to an end. Disputes between the two families shattered the quiet of the city. Soon, everyone became polarized in business and politics, and the city became weak. Eventually, like in all dying empires, kings rose from either side in the fight for power.
The greed of humankind is a fascinating thing, as the creator of the Game observed in the midst of Verona City's self-destruction. Men and women would slaughter thousands if the right incentive was presented to them. So that solitary genius decided to see what would happen to Verona City if such an incentive was presented.
Thus came the Game. 386 keys were hidden within the walls of Verona City. One of them – any one of them – unlocked not only the sacred gate but also the vault hidden behind it. Within the vault lay the holy grail of the Game: the legendary Midsummer Treasure, an object whose value meant the possessor's wildest dreams would come true.
So to secure a key ensured one's position among the Midsummer Knights, a group whose purpose was to find the Midsummer Treasure. One person had a one in 386 chance of getting to the vault (theoretically, anyway), but even then, the number of Knights could decrease at any time for any reason – including murder. If a Knight played by the rules (which were only determined by other Knights), that lucky individual would find him or herself with favorable odds. Everyone knew that by the time the mayor gave his speech.
The Game was the reason why the mayor himself stood upon that platform on that snowy day in late December. Across his lips came the death sentence of thousands and the destinies of few. His speech curled eloquently from his lips as he revealed the game as it was. In the bitter-cold, snowy air, throngs of listened motionlessly to his every word as if it was a gospel from the Messiah Himself.
Verona City, not a day after the mayor himself made the announcement for the start of the Game, erupted into yet another bloody battle. This time, however, it was of the likes of which no one in Kanto has ever seen – all for the entertainment of one mysterious sadist.
That, unfortunately, became the stage for the story I want to share. It's a simple story that begins not with the mayor's speech but instead many weeks later, when the winter snow shrank in fear of the spring sun. It is a tragedy and a comedy. A drama and an adventure. Surreal, yet very real.
This is the story of the Knight of the Puzzle Box.