19th January 2006, 04:29 AM #1
The Sylvan Saber
Hokay. About time I wrote something more than just a one-shot. Before you ask - yes, this IS a trainer fic. Yes, it IS set in Hoenn. No, it ISN'T conventional. This story may develop a PG-13 rating as time goes.
The sounds of battle were all too loud to ignore. Earth and Sea clashed in a spectacular storm of the elements. People, panicked by the appearance of the beasts near their coasts, tried to flee before the rushing tide. Some managed to escape before the storm claimed them, while others were lost to it, the stories of their lives sealed forver by a conflict which was too ancient for any of them to understand.
And then the sky has opened, and the dragon, surrounded by an aura of emerald-green light, descended from the heavens. Thunder and wind fled before it - Wherever the dragon went, the skies were as clear and blue as in midday.
The dragon's eyes, yellow as a cat's, oriented upon the avatars of Earth and Sea, slit pupils narrowing when it observed the clash of these two great beasts - ancient runic line patterns flowing across their streamlined bodies. The Dragon turned its eyes to the Avatar of the Sea, The ancient, oceanborn creature's massive, winglike pectoral fins flapping in powerful strokes, forming great vortexes within the water, preventing its opponent from getting close enough to use its bulk for the battle. It breathed, and a great waterspout blasted to the sky from its back - the water falling down again in massive, torrential rainfalls around it. The Avatar of Earth - droplets of water fizzling and evaporating when they came in contact with its burning-hot red armor - roared to the heavens, the blue lines upon its armor burning with fierce earthpower. The sun's rays intensified, cutting sharply through the veil of rainclouds. The Avatar of Earth basked in their radiance, gathering the power of the sun into an orb between its huge, claw-tipped hands. The light flowed across the lines in its armor, brilliant white taking the place of blue...
The Avatar of Earth opened its mouth and a searing ray of sunlight burst forth, cleaving through the rain and hitting the Avatar of the Sea. The creature roared, revealing rows of sharp teeth, as the power of Solar Beam burned through its smooth skin. The Avatar of the Sea retreated into the depths, red lines shining upon its body as the creature entered a meditative state - clearing its ancient mind, focusing its energies for the battle. Then, as its wounds became a trivial matter and cold determination filled its mind, it burst from the ocean with a freezing ray aimed directly at the Avatar of the Earth.
And the battle continued, ancient and unending. Deep within its mind, the Dragon knew that something had to happen to break the stalemate - the balance must be restored, lest the entire region, if not the entire world, shall be destroyed by the skirmish of these titans.
The Dragon's eyes closed as it drew the residual energy of the elemental storms towards itself, forging them into a new equilibrium, attuning them to the cold, dark depths of the ocean and the radiant, burning depths of the earth. Weaving them between his claws into twin orbs of pure crystal, mysterious energies swirling within their red and blue depths.
And lo, the orbs' power blazed to life, shining out and touching the avatars of earth and sea - harmonizing with the melody of their souls and quelling their rage.
And thus the world has been balanced yet again. The avatars vanished into the unknown, their tale carried out in history - which became legend and then mythology. The Orbs have been entrusted to the care of humans - to keep them safe should they be needed again, and to keep the equilibrium in place. And as for the dragon - its mission accomplished, it has returned to the sky from whence it came. For a moment it seemed to flicker like a bright green star in the sky, before it vanished into heights that the human eye cannot percieve.
The image faded into the sound of birdsong. The constant chirping of Taillows or Swablus, perhaps both, was a common thing in the lives of those who chose to make their living in Fortree City, sharing their treetop homes with the many birds that nested in the area. Attempting to disturb nature as little as possible, the original settlers of Fortree constructed their wooden homes upon large platforms upon the branches of the great ancient trees, connected to each other by a series of rope bridges. Only a few buildings were located at ground level and constructed in a more traditional style - namely the PokeMon Center and the local PokeMart, located at the outskirts of the woodland area the city resided in, and the Gym, which was located at a large clearing roughly at the center of the town - and was home to Winona, whose Flying-types' graceful aerial ballet in battle became a major spectacle for many of Fortree's dwellers.
Though the sun has barely begun to rise, the girl awakened, the cool morning air sending a slight chill up her spine as she slid out of the covers and slipped a forest-green robe around her slender form, obscuring its exposed, lightly freckled curves from any prying eyes. Her feet slid into a pair of matching fuzzy slippers. She stretched thoroughly, like a hunting cat, and then stepped out of the treehouse onto the platform it stood on. She sat down on a small bench, gently brushing a few strands of her red hair away from her midnight-blue eyes and turned her gaze to the heavens, sighing to herself for no apparant reason.
"That dream again." she thought "The avatars of Earth and Sea, and the Guardian of the Heavens... I've been reading WAY too much mythology lately, I guess... The only mention of the avatars recently were those unexplainable weather patterns in the Sootopolis region two years ago, and the theory they had something to do with the awakening of one of the Avatars. And that was just a theory..."
With a sigh, she muttered to herself "Riley Andrea Archer, you DEFINITELY need to stop reading so much Mythology before you go to sleep."
Her train of thought came to a screeching halt when she caught a sudden movement in the trees just out of the corner of her eye. Quickly turning her head to its point of origin, she barely managed to notice a small, grey-ish humanshaped outline zip into the lower branches in a rustle of leaves. And then there was silence.
"What the shadows was that?" she thought, narrowing her eyes "Well, whatever it was, it wasn't human.... Or a bird... Strange..."
Still wondering about the creature's identity, the girl turned her head to the sky yet again, watching the slowly rising sun as a small pack of Taillows flew over her head, headed for route 120 in the distance. It seemed to be just another ordinary day.
Or was it?
The light of morning sun, filtering through the leaves, cast a green shade on the Fortree City Gym. It was still rather early, but the Gym was already open for challenges, and a rather confident looking trainer walking through the forest below heading towards the gym was definitely about to give Winona one.
"Well, looks like I get to watch the first fight of the morning." She grinned. Her house was located not too far from the large clearing where the Gym was, which gave her an excellent view of the battles. She wondered what kind of PokeMon would she get to see in action today. The gym seemed to have surprises for her every day.
"It starts." she thought when she heard the low hum of the Gym's roof sliding open, opening the sandy and rocky arena underneath to the skies. On one corner of the arena stood Winona, cool and confident looking as she always did, the long, violet strands of her hair billowing in the morning breeze. Her right hand was gripping a PokeBall, ready to release whatever it held with a quick flick of her wrist. On the other corner stood her challenger - A tall, red-haired boy who seemed about her age. He was wearing a dark blue jacket and seemed to have a light smirk on his face.
The two threw their PokeBalls into the sky. Cracking open in a flash of red, the PokeBalls released the PokeMon captured within them. A Lairon roared towards its opponent, a Skarmory that had already taken position in the sky above, gazing at the mineral-armored beast with its eerie yellow eyes.
The Lairon met the Skarmory's yellow gaze with his piercing blue one... and then, it began.
With a powerful screech, the Skarmory made a sharp-angled dive in the Lairon's direction, the razor-sharp edges of its wings glistening in the morning sun, becoming almost chrome-like as the steel-type attack kicked in. The Lairon quickly curled itself into a ball, as if to take the attack. A sudden metallic sheen flashed on the Iron Armor PokeMon's metallic back plates, causing them to reflect light into the Skarmory's eyes. The bird screeched as it swiftly corrected its dive and returned to a safe vantage point in the sky. The Steel Wing attack failed, and now the Skarmory was going to have a lot tougher time landing a hit on the Lairon's now-toughened hide - even the rocky sections of its mineral shell-encased body glimmering with the sheen of metal.
The long-necked armored bird seemed to move in for a second pass - but its swoop was quicker this time, and right before impact, it twisted in a graceful arc, its new flight path bringing it straight up into the sky. The wind formed by its sudden pass over the Lairon kicked up a cloud of sand which seemed to swirl around the Lairon. The Lairon growled in frustration, attempting to keep the sand out of its unarmored blue eyes. In its current state, its accuracy was indubitably affected, which gave the the Skarmory a perfect window to attack...
Or so it thought. The Skarmory dive-bombed the sand cloud with rage, not noticing the electric sparks dancing between the Lairon's back plates until it was too late.
With a thundering roar, the Lairon released the Shock Wave attack, spreading out around it in a sphere of cackling lightning energy. The armored avian, caught up in the accelaration of its dive, could not avoid the attack.
One hit was all it took - the Skarmory crashed into the sandy arena, sparks flying between the points of its wings, and with one final screech, it relented to unconsciousness.
Wordlessly, the Gym leader returned her fallen Skarmory and quickly produced a new PokeBall - A Pelipper emerged from the sphere, orienting its bizzarely shaped eyes on the Lairon. The Lairon grimaced as sparks danced between its Iron Plates yet again - Pelipper's dual type, Water/Flying, would spell certain doom for it against an Electric attack. The Ball of Lightning expanded, and it seemed like the battle would be over before it even had a chance to begin.
... And then, there was a flash of green as the ball of lightning simply vanished when it hit the Pelipper. The Water Bird PokeMon was unphased by the attack, much to the surprise - and dismay - of the Iron Armor PokeMon. It was a protect attack, and it worked.
And it frustrated the Lairon to no end.
Charging forward, the Lairon launched itself off the ground and tackled the bird with all its might, pinning it to the ground and furiously slamming its armored head against the Pelipper's surprised face, giving a new meaning to 'Take Down' attack. The normally slow creature was like a storm of fury, clawing and biting the surprised Pelipper, and it wasn't until the injured bird barely unleashed a weak Water Gun attack that the Lairon rolled off its battered, brutally beaten form in order to evade it. It was no avail, though, as the furious and sudden attack left the Water Bird in a sorry state indeed. It could barely move, let alone attack. It wasn't long before it blacked out entirely.
With a triumphant roar, the Lairon stood over the fainted body of its opponent, which was engulfed by the red energies of the PokeBall it was returned to.
This was the final round of the battle, and Winona knew it. It didn't take too many guesses to know what was inside the PokeBall she produced. She was bringing out the big guns.
With a melodious call, the graceful form of an Altaria appeared on the battlefield, seemingly not flying but floating on its cloudlike wings. The challenging trainer stiffened, and within a second, the Lairon vanished in a swirl of red. The trainer produced a new PokeBall - a net ball. The ball burst open, revealing the menacing, crustacean form of a large Crawdaunt. The Rogue PokeMon approached the Altaria menacingly, pincers open, as if it were sizing the large bird up. Eventually, it snapped its pincers determinedly.
The two PokeMon circled around each other slowly, the Crawdaunt occasionally snapping its pincers, and the Altaria occasionally lashing forward with its long neck, staying out of the crawfish-like PokeMon's pincer range. Then, the Altaria shot up to the heavens in a breathtaking display of aerial ballet. With every swoop, the Altaria moved faster and more powerfully. It flew high, oblivious to the Crawdaunt below, which stood, pincers open, attempting to lock onto the Altaria's flight path. The claws seemed to glow as something was building up between them...
Something in the form of an Ice Beam.
The Altaria was caught by surprise as the path of its Dragon Dance led it directly into the Ice Beam's trajectory. Diving down with all the power it could muster, its cloudlike wings flattening against its sides, it narrowly evaded the beam of searing cold. It made an agitated chirp as it noticed what would be the Crawdaunt equivalent of a snicker. The Rogue PokeMon walked up to the bird in arrogant strides, and then leapt into the air, slapping it across the face with one of its pincers (leaving the Humming PokeMon in quite a dumbfounded state), then walked off snickering.
Fire ignited in the Altaria's eyes. The Taunt attack did its work - the Altaria was so angry now, that it had to attack, and had to attack NOW. Taking to the air, It unleashed a stream of dark turquoise flames - Dragonbreath. The Crawdaunt seemed to catch the full fury of the attack...
Which was suddenly interrupted by a furious stream of bubbles. The Crawdaunt was still standing - its shell lightly scorched, but the fury in its eyes indicated that it was still determined to defeat the Altaria. The Bubbles impacted, popping against the Altaria's wings, weighing them down. The Altaria wasn't gravely damaged by the attack, but its speed advantage was now gone, which gave Crawdaunt a perfect opportunity...
The wind picked up.
The Crawdaunt's eyes began to glow in more than just determination as it crossed its pincers. Small rocks, followed by larger ones, slowly ripped themselves from the arena's surface, floating in the air ominously. The Crawdaunt made a gesture in the air, bringing its pincer slamming onto the ground.
The rocks slammed against the Altaria one by one. Surprised by the onslaught, the Altaria did not manage to unleash another attack before the Ancientpower attack took its toll. The bird collapsed, breathing heavily. It was clear that this round belonged to the challenger.
Winona returned the Altaria, seemingly somewhat upset, as the Trainer slapped his hand against the Crawdaunt's pincer in a high-five of sorts. He then returned it and approached Winona to recieve his badge. The battle was over.
Riley followed the challenging trainer with her eyes as he made his way to route 120, running the battle through her mind. Living in a town where PokeMon were all around her, she was quite content learning about PokeMon from observing them in their natural habitat and from reading books. As her 16th birthday ticked by, she's been growing more and more fascinated with PokeMon battles, and often wondered what would it be like to stand in the battlefield with a PokeMon of her own... Of course, that was, perhaps, a foolish notion. There was no way that she could find her way to Littleroot Town and register herself as a PokeMon trainer. The town - and within it, the region's only large scale PokeMon Research Facility - was virtually on the other side of Hoenn - too much to walk without a PokeMon by your side to protect you. Without a Trainer Card, she could not purchase PokeBalls - and though her theoretical knowledge of PokeMon has been rather impressive by now, she couldn't put it into use.
And there was also another matter. She practically lived alone. Her parents, a strange couple of travelling researcher and travelling nurse, have very rarely returned home, and quite often there was no way to contact them as they wandered through areas not covered by the PokeNav grids. She didn't mind all that much - being somewhat of a loner, she liked having the house for herself. Her parents made sure to leave her enough money for her to take care of any arrangements she had to make. To leave the house would be a difficult issue, for her.
Standing up, she stretched again and walked into the house. It was time for a nice hot shower, a cup of coffee and some actual clothes. And then, she'd go and take another trip to Route 120 and get herself some berries to make herself something interesting enough for lunch. That morning, she never believed that anything unusual would happen that day. But, the most interesting of things often happen to those who least expect them...
27th January 2006, 04:08 AM #2
The Sylvan Saber
Okay... Since no one commented on the prologue and since I've seen it done in other threads, I'll post the other eps I've written so far... Pardon the triple-post. :P
Chapter 1: And So It Begins...
The day came and went as days usually do. Summer was drawing to an end and fall was gradually approaching, and so a pleasant chill was in the air. The random PokeMon, skittering to and fro in the forest that Fortree was built in were carrying on with their lives. Most of them avoided the human settlement - but the birds were, as usual, everywhere.
Sunset is a time of transformation in Fortree. The rays of the dying sun paint the forest in a brilliant myriad of golden tones, and the sounds of day are replaced with the sounds of night. The constant birdsong was softly fading into silence, while in the distance, in Route 120, Poochyenas began to howl - as the creatures of a nocturnal life cycle were awakening to emerge from their hiding places. And of course, there was the inexplicable, but omnipresent feeling of magic in the air.
Riley loved sunsets. She'd often sit on the bench in front of her house and gaze at the sky at sunset, basking in its last drops of warmth. However, this particular sunset, Riley was inside, with a half-empty glass of ice-cold mint tea, and was frantically flipping through the pages of an old book. The creature she has seen while she was out picking berries could not have been anything else than what she was particularly looking for. It didn't take a PokeDex to recognize.
Sure enough, after a few minutes she finally found the page. There she stared at the art that adorned it. The creature wasn't caught in exact accuracy at the artistic interpretation, but the general lines were there. Red eyes, lined with gold. Dark grey fur - so dark it seemed black, covering its face, standing out in particular against the background of somewhat longer, snowy white fur covering the rest of its form. Its body and face were a strange mixture of feline and lupine features - like a cross of a wolf and a mountain lion, so to speak - with strange, draconic legs, each adorned with three wicked-looking claws. Out of one side of its head protruded a long, obsidian scythe-like horn, and at the tip of a short stub of a tail there was a similar scythe-like obsidian blade.
It was an Absol, a PokeMon which in mythology has always played the role of a harbinger of disaster. Absols were extremely rare to come by - on occasion a report would be heard of a traveler stumbling upon one of the creatures on Route 120, but these dark-types generally preferred to remain on the nearby mountain ranges. Spotting an Absol has been traditionally a warning that something was coming, because the stories rooted Absols coming down from their mountain homes when natural disasters were about to strike. Their fascinating attunement to nature has been under heavy research, but no conclusive results have ever been reached.
Riley closed the book, replaced it in whatever bookcase she picked it from with a sigh, and drank the rest of her tea. She was never the superstitious type - but the memory of the morning, with the movement that caught her eyes, left her edgy.
She would sleep lightly that night.
A sound of clattering woke Riley up. She didn't need to check the clock to know it was the middle of the night, and that there was something - or someone - in her house that shouldn't have been there.
She silently climbed out of bed, quickly draping her robe around herself - and reached under her bed, fumbling a bit until she found it - It was a somewhat heavy stick of wood that she kept hidden there for just such an occasion. It wasn't much for a deterrent, but if she had the element of surprise, she could stun the intruder faster than you could say 'Breaking and Entering'.
Riley sneaked nervously through the shadows. It was dark, but some light from the small lamps that adorned the platforms still filtered through the windows from outside. She did not want to risk being caught by the invader. She looked around, noticing much to her dismay that some things have been knocked over. So far nothing seemed to have been taken, but Riley was determined to find the intruder before it managed to take anything.
She caught another movement in the corner of her eye. She peered around a corner to one of the barely illuminated walls. There was a shadow on that wall - tall and human-shaped. Something seemed a bit off about it, but she couldn't tell what. Its hair, maybe – didn’t seem quite right on the silhouette. The shadow vanished as whatever being that cast it started moving again.
She started hearing footsteps. Whatever it was was on its way there. Rapidly.
She slipped into the nearest room, hiding by the doorframe, and swung the stick, ready to land it on whatever would have entered. Adrenaline rushed through her body. She closed her eyes, focusing, and took a deep breath...
And before she could even open her eyes, she felt something rush by. Without thinking - or aiming - she swung the stick and hit something. The attack met its mark as whatever it was made a small sound - more of surprise than of pain, and landed on the floor with a rolling THUMP. So, whoever it was jumped through the door.
Jumped. Something was wrong here, as Riley knew when she opened her eyes. Surely enough, there was an unconscious humanoid figure lying face-down on the floor - but it was not human. Something about the proportions wasn't right, and the figure was small, roughly the size of a child. And in the faint light, its skin had a light glisten to it that skin did not have...
But scales had.
Riley's eyes widened in shock when she realized what she just hit. She rushed to the figure's side and picked it up, carrying it into the living room and setting it gently on one of the sofa. Turning on the light, she opened one of the cabinets and pulled out a Potion spray bottle and a book. Then, she returned to the sofa to have a better look.
The creature's body was thin but muscled, and covered head-to-toe with smooth, greenish-gray scaly skin. Its hands and feet seemed to be tipped with small claws, and its face had a strange, reptillian quality to it. A row of three small crests - obviously a youngster - adorned the top of its head, and it had a short, lizardlike tail. On closer inspection, she could see the small fangs of a young predator - or omnivore - and slight hints of plumes growing around the creature's elbows and the back of its head. She also couldn't help but notice the fact that the creature's ribs seemed to somewhat stick out of its sides. "It must have been foraging for food..." she thought "Poor thing..."
She then turned the creature's still body over, looking for the bruise on the back of its head - sure enough, it was there. There was a slight lump in a rather fetching shade of purple on its head. With a sigh, Riley pointed the spray bottle's nuzzle towards the bruise and sprayed its contents on the bruise. The sophisticated combination of pain-killers and tissue-regeneration boosters began doing its work almost immediately. The creature's limp body tensed - it was a natural response - before sinking into oblivion of the senses again, as the bruise started fading away and the swelling in the back of its head seemed to cool down and begin a gradual fadeout. Riley smiled. It was going to be all right.
"Alright, my friend, let's just see what you are..."
A single pair of red eyes opened, blurrily winking as their owner was busy getting his bearings. The first thought he had was that he was lying on something soft. There was a soft pounding in the back of his head, but oddly enough, he felt as if he should have had an even greater headache. He surveyed his form, checking his body for injuries. And then the smell of food registered in his mind.
And another scent which he didn't know.
He turned his head to observe the strange surroundings. How did he come to be here? All thoughts suddenly perished when he saw the platter left behind on the table. It was full of berries of various sorts - they looked really appetizing, and he was hungry. Part of his mind screamed to him that it might be a trap - too many unfamiliar scents in the air. But hunger eventually overtook common sense, and he began eating at a frivolous pace. Then, suddenly, he froze and turned his head to the door. Standing at it was a human female - whose eyes seemed to sparkle when she saw him, and began a gradual approach towards him.
"Good morning, Machop... Are you feeling any better? I see you already found the food I left for you."
Curses! He knew that he was in trouble now. Looking around, everything clicked into place. This was a human's lair - and that particular human's territory. Memories of last night began creeping quietly into its mind - a few days after leaving the colony, driven half-crazed by hunger, the Machop made its way into a human settlement. Seeking food it entered the only place that seemed abandoned at that hour. It found nothing, and then was the pain and it fell unconscious. He recalled the faint smell of the human before the pain came - The human, he realized, must have defended its territory from an intruder - and the intruder was him. The human was probably going to finish him off now for not leaving immediately. However, the human's approach seemed more friendly than intimidating.
"It's okay... I'm not going to hurt you..." He heard the human say. The Machop did not understand a word she said, of course, but something in her tone of voice made it let its guard down, just a bit. She meant him no harm - and he let her come near him. In her hands, he suddenly realized, were a few more berries.
"I've got you some more, if you'd like..." She said, putting them on the platter. The Machop sniffed one out suspiciously, then ate. The human gave the Machop its space as it at, seeming to realize it was stressed. Humans - what strange creatures they were, welcoming one into their territory right before defending it against one. Or at least, so was this human. The Machop didn’t know much about humans, and did his best not to generalize.
She seemed to be aware of his hurts, and was tending for them – much like a more grown member of the colony would have done for one of the youngsters or the elderly when they were in need. The Machop allowed itself to relax a bit. He felt that he could trust this human. He smiled experimentally at the human, and she returned a wide smile. "You should rest a bit, then, you're welcome to stay - or go - as you wish. Just be careful not to break and enter any more houses." she added with a gentle laugh, to make the Machop know she had no hard feelings.
The Machop felt safe. It edged closer to the human and tentatively reached out its hand and looked into the human's eyes. The human's eyes seemed to widen, then her smile became brighter as she took his hand in hers and gently shook it.
And the Fortree sun shone over a new, if unlikely, friendship.
Author's Note: First chapter! I know the ending’s kinda corny. But what the heck ever. The handshake wasn't the intended gesture by the machop, but it happened, and it passed the meaning along, so... He's happy with it.
Also, a small note for those who wonder WHY I keep capitalizing ‘M’ in PokeMon and those who are annoyed by it: The reason for that is, quite simply, because PokeMon is a short for ‘Pocket Monster’ or ‘Pocket Monsters’ (depending on singular or plural form). Kinda like Wi-Fi, or Hi-Tech. I know the word has become practically canon, but still. ^^
Now, if ANYONE reads this, I WOULD appreciate some feedback. Thank you in advance. :P
27th January 2006, 04:09 AM #3
The Sylvan Saber
For all of you people waiting - and for most of you that weren't, here's another ep of Resonance! I intended it to have more content, but as it was nearing 6 pages in size about halfway through, I decided to split what I wrote up to that point - and the events that follow it into two smaller episodes. Here goes...
Chapter 2: A Chase Through the Night
Near the end of autumn, Fortree becomes a mosaic of green, red and gold, as the trees whose leaves turn golden at autumn stand out impressively against the evergreen trees around them. The winds become stronger and chillier, and the leaves seem to rustle in anticipation for the coming rainier days. It is a time of preparation for the PokeMon as well – a time in which Linoones and Poochyenas dig themselves new dens in which to find shelter from the rain, and in the nearby Route 119, herds of wild Tropius would stand and spread their large wing-like leaves, taking in as much sunlight as they could before winter would come. As for the humans, they would check the stability of their houses and platforms and reinforce them. It was an extremely rare occurrence that a storm would strike powerfully enough to disrupt their stability, of course, but it was better to be safe than sorry.
That is what Riley was doing that particular afternoon – she was taught how to do it back when her parents were around more often. It wasn’t a complicated matter – simply making sure the platforms were securely bolted and tied to the tree trunks. The devices that made this possible were a bizarre mix of metal bolts, suspension cables and organic growth boosted by Grass-type PokeMon. In some of the older houses of Fortree, the trees have grown so thickly around the metal that one could barely tell them apart anymore.
Riley finished her examinations to find her house still in rather perfect shape. She smiled in satisfaction, when suddenly her eyes caught sight of a trainer walking into the city – a trainer that she had most certainly seen before – long, red hair and all. He passed right under her house, not paying her any mind, tightly clutching a worn-looking PokeBall – one that seemed older than the rest of the ones hanging on his belt – in his right hand. Something about the way he moved suggested that he was quite edgy – like he was ready to bolt at any second. He paused, sending quick sideway glances as if to make sure that he wasn’t being followed, and then vanished from her line of sight behind one of the nearby trees.
Something wasn’t right, she thought, but she didn’t know quite what it was.
That evening, the Machop came back. Riley learned not to anticipate his comings and goings – he was a wild thing, and was (from what she managed to figure out) on some kind of a soul-searching-training-quest. At times, he’d visit her house multiple times a day, and at times he’d vanish for weeks. With every return trip, the Machop seemed to be stronger and more confident – and more knowledgeable of fighting techniques. He seemed to have developed himself a focused, silent and quick style for movement and battle. He’s grown a bit taller, and his head-crests were larger and more fully-formed than they were when she first encountered him. The plumes on his neck and elbows were growing thicker and more plentiful. He had a few thin scratches on his scaly skin, but nothing too major. The few scars it had were rather faded by now – many thanks to the natural regeneration rate of PokeMon – one which was significantly faster than that of humans.
During the few months that have passed, Riley and he have formed some kind of a bond. To the Machop, Riley’s house was a safe place to be in for him – a place where he could find healing when he was injured in a way that a few berries and a good night’s sleep couldn’t cure with ease. She was rather surprised when he began those occasional visits, but she helped him as much as she could – and in time, she found that she rather enjoyed it. She liked the Machop’s company and was rather impressed at having a chance to watch it grow and progress in its training from a more personal angle. There were times in which she even wondered if she would ever get to see it in an actual battle.
That time was closer than she had ever believed.
The trainer left Fortree at night, as quickly as he came in. The news he received has left him greatly distraught. How in the world have they chased him here? How could have they found out who he really was? Those were but two of the many questions that troubled his mind as he lightly treaded through the grassy Route 120, occasionally taking a quick look around, as if danger could leap out of any shade.
Silently pacing by his side was a large, ivory-colored equine with a long, silvery horn and hooves that were as black as coal but as hard as diamond. The Rapidash snorted softly and shook her head, her flaming mane and tail casting a gentle light on the path ahead.
“I know, I know…” the trainer said silently, but in reassuring tones “I just hope that there’s no reason to…”
And then, a Hyper Beam zoomed by – a golden blast of pure kinetic energy, brightly illuminating the path in its glow, narrowly missing his head and impacting a large rock, breaking it to chunks that flew in random directions, as if the rock was shattered by the fist of an angry giant.
“I didn’t have to miss, you know… I could have hit if I wanted. I just wanted to give you a fair warning… Silver.”
The trainer froze. He hadn’t been called that ever since he left Johto. He left that name behind him. He left that life behind him. And he had known that voice.
He turned around slowly to meet the eyes of his attacker – and his eyes widened.
“Oh come on, don’t act all surprised about it. Did you really think that he wouldn’t find out where you went? Hiding behind an assumed identity won’t help you, Silver. It would be better for everyone if you had just surrendered and came peacefully.”
“I’ve already told you, I don’t know where my father is – no one knows where he is. I’ve never even met the man. He might be dead for all I know. I don’t know why that person thinks that if he’ll catch me, he’ll manage to flush my father out of hiding – but let me tell you here and now – it won’t work. I’m not sure he even knows that he has a son. And I am quite definitely not going to let myself be captured by some self-righteous weakling who cowers behind lackeys who would do his every bidding like some kind of trained puppies…”
Another Hyper Beam shot by his head – so close that his hair was ruffled by the shrieking wind that was pushed to make way for the blast.
“Say anything to that sort again, Silver, and my little friend here wouldn’t be so… inaccurate.”
This ‘little friend’ was, as the matter of fact, not so little – or friendly, for that matter. Pearly-white fangs bared in a vicious snarl, a canine creature stepped out of the shadows to take position behind its master, towering over the human. With every movement, heavy muscles rippled under its thick coat of deep orange fur, black strips running through it like the fur of a tiger. Patches of light golden fur adorned its chest, legs and muzzle, and its mane and bushy tail were in the same shade of light gold. The beast walked in a regal, intimidating manner, never taking its dark, piercing eyes off its prospective opponents and growling in a sinister way. The Rapidash snorted again, scratching against the ground nervously with her hooves. Silver gently patted the fire horse’s neck, calming her down. He reassuringly smiled at her – deep within him, seeds of fear were gradually sprouting, but he knew that he couldn’t afford to let his enemy see that.
“Proving my point?” he finally half-smirked “I didn’t know that he was hiding behind an actual puppy nowadays.”
“You have crossed me and my employer for the last time, Silver. You will come with us, by hook or by crook. Resistance is useless. I know what PokeMon you carry with you. I guarantee that none of them have a chance against Garm. He’s far too fast or powerful for any of your medley of oddities to tackle.”
“Oh, so it’s speed you’re interested in?” Silver grinned, then, in a fluid motion, he mounted the Rapidash and glared defiantly “Well then… Catch me if you can! Onwards, Akari!”
The fire horse reared up and neighed powerfully into the night. Her front hooves struck the ground, sending sparks of fire and dust into the air – and then she bolted forward in a fast gallop, jumping over the snarling, growling Arcanine and his trainer and dashing up the nearby path towards the mountains.
“Garm,” Said the trainer “Both of them must be caught alive. Don’t use fire attacks – that horse would only absorb them into itself. If you’re going for ranged attacks, use Hyper Beams. Now, GO!”
The Arcanine barked fiercely into the night and charged, following the Rapidash’s trail.
The trainer turned and left without a word. Garm would know where to find him when the job was done. He wasn’t the finest tracker PokeMon he had ever known for no reason.
A Hyper Beam seared through the night, impacting the cliff’s wall, breaking chunks of it off and sending them hurtling towards the rider and his mount. The Rapidash neighed, jumping out of the path of the rocks as they impacted, her rider hanging on for dear life, guiding her movements as much as he could. “That one was close! He’s gaining on us!” he cried out, and the fire horse snorted, quickening her pace as much as she could. The flames on her body were burning at twice their usual intensity, casting orange and red reflections upon her silvery horn. The wind was fierce around them, but even through the whistling of the wind, Silver could hear the huge canine creature’s padded feet crunching through the gravel and dust of the mountain path just around the corner. He could hear its heavy breathing as it gave chase, and its occasional loud and menacing bark. Cold sweat was running down his forehead as all thoughts seemed to perish in his mind, except for the primal urge to survive – to escape the huge predator that was chasing him – thought that appeared to have been mirrored by his mount. Turning his head backwards for a second, his eyes widened as he noticed the Arcanine was indeed gaining on them, its body surrounded by a faint blue nimbus, its form blurring behind it as it ran – it has invoked its ExtremeSpeed technique and was making quite a good use of it. The Arcanine barked, opening its mouth and gathering energy into it. Then, another Hyper Beam blasted out. The Rapidash jumped, narrowly dodging the attack, and quickened her pace again.
She ran like the wind, leaping over obstacles as if she felt them before she saw them. She tackled the curves of the path as if they weren’t there, not slowing down for an instant. And every once in a while, another Hyper Beam zoomed by followed by even more rock-dodging. Rider and mount, adrenaline coursing madly through their body, charged on through the mountain path. And the Arcanine followed their trail like a bloodhound, barking angrily as it gave chase and firing more and more Hyper Beams.
Silver felt his Rapidash beginning to tire – her breathing was hoarse and her flames were gradually losing their strength. “Hold on, Akari, we’re almost… LOOK OUT!”
The Rapidash neighed in panic as she noticed the fact that she was, in fact, charging directly towards the end of the path. There was nothing ahead but a huge gap between one mountain path and another, and a long, painful fall. Silver’s knees tightened instantaneously around the Rapidash’s body as he spurred her onwards. He knew that it was a fall they weren’t likely to survive if they didn’t manage to do it. But all logic perished as he flattened his body against the fire horse’s back and yelled out two simple words.
The Arcanine’s footfall was light and he was barking triumphantly. Oh, he could sense their panic. He could sense the scent of sweat and adrenaline in the air. He could sense that his prey was soon to be tired out and captured. His master would be so pleased… Opening his mouth, he began charging another Hyper Beam… One hit would be enough to knock them down. Maybe even take a tumble to a lower level of the path. Yes, the master wanted them alive. But he never said anything about unharmed now, did he?
The Rapidash neighed wildly, and in a moment, the flames of her mane and tail burned with renewed intensity, their orange coloration shifting to blue as oxygen surged through them. The flames around her legs burst into an aura of blue fire, surrounding her hooves. She snorted in determination as her trainer wrapped his arms tightly around her body. Blue sparks were flying in her wake as her hooves left the ground.
The Rapidash seemed to fly, every source of flame that was in her body pointing the fire backwards, propelling her body forwards like a jet engine. For a while, all Silver could see was flames rushing around him – parting harmlessly around him to prevent him from being burnt – and an occasional spot of darkness. The winds whistled, and the Rapidash took in all the air she could, intensifying the blue oxygen flame.
Time seemed to stand still in those few moments of suspension between heaven and earth.
And then, her front hooves impacted rocky ground in a burst of sparks, flame and tiny rock fragments that echoed through the mountains. The oxygen flame went out in seconds, giving way to a weak, but still burning orange flames as the Rapidash galloped on.
They were safe. That was all Silver could think of when he opened his eyes.
“C’mon, Akari… Let’s find ourselves somewhere to crash… You’ve really earned some rest today…” Silver smiled affectionately at the Rapidash. She snorted in response, seemingly too busy galloping to safety – but he could see that she was, as much as a horse can, smiling.
The Arcanine charged forward, taking aim. The sphere of energy that gathered in his mouth was really large by now, and he was ready to fire it at any moment. Then he yelped, skidding to a halt, its eyes widening in surprise as it witnessed something that could not have been possible. The Rapidash was all but flying over the gap. It simply didn’t make sense! Horses aren’t supposed to fly, especially not exhausted ones!
The Arcanine sat down on the middle of the path and howled in frustration. It did not occur to the Arcanine for a single second that it had a Hyper Beam in formation inside its mouth, and that firing an un-aimed Hyper Beam in a mountainous region may, say, have a disastrous effect such as, say, knocking certain arrays of rocks out of an extremely delicate balance and triggering a massive rock slide that would be no small feat to clear out.
Of course, when the rocks started rolling from above and smashing violently into the path, and he was hard-pressed to use all of his agility to escape the avalanche, the thought HAD occurred to him, but at that time, he was too busy avoiding being crushed by aforementioned falling rocks to give it much pondering.
Such is, as they say, a dog’s life.