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    Default Freedom Price (subuwrimo)



    this is a story i will try to post in one go. i will post all the chapters at once.

    Table of contents
    -----------------
    Chapter 1: Capture
    Chapter 2: and again
    Chapter 3: High class
    Chapter 4: Reunited yet divided
    Chapter 5: Lilycove
    Chapter 6: Calm before the storm
    Chapter 7: Patterns
    Chapter 8: A predicant
    Chapter 9: Mossdeep gym
    Chapter 10: Calling
    Chapter 11: Captured
    Chapter 12: A short interlude
    Chapter 13: Family
    Chapter 14: interrogations
    Chapter 15: Illauna
    Chapter 16: Kuvai
    Chapter 17: Sister
    Chapter 18: Anubo
    Chapter 19: Prophocey Fulfilled
    Chapter 20: Moving on
    Chapter 21: Victory Road
    Chapter 22: Rescue
    Chapter 23: Acceptance
    Chapter 24: Recollections
    Chapter 25: Opening Ceremony
    Chapter 26: The first match
    Chapter 27: Disobedience
    Chapter 28: Motives revealed
    Chapter 29: Fury
    Chapter 30: An almost confession
    Chapter 31: Alleviated Fears
    Chapter 32: A little training
    -------------------------


    I hope you guys will like this!

    Chapter one: Capture

    The sun was setting, its glorious oranges, reds, and yellows streaming over my forest in the sky. Pidgey and Butterfree soared into the sky, their shapes becoming dots to my eyes as they flew further and further away. The forest was coming alive and winding down at the same time; nocturnal and day-loving pokemon waking up and falling asleep simultaneously.

    Needless to say, it was boring as hell.

    I licked my chops in irritation. Why was dusk always the most boring part of the day? I guessed my boredom was because of the fact that I probably had A.D.D. as my old trainer used to say… but…

    I growled at the memory of my old trainer. Stupid little punk-ass jerk. He trained me until I was going to collapse, and when he finally likes me enough to where he'd use me in trainer-battles, he dumps me for a Pidgeot! A PIDGEOT! Damn him…

    Great. Now I was pissed off. I rolled onto my back, liking the feel of the cool stone boulder beneath me. It was an old habit, rolling over when I was pissed. Somehow, the feeling of my feet dangling in the air soothed me. I sighed and let the memories roll past me. Besides, I had things to do tonight. Like scare some trainers, beat some trainees up (pokemon that have been captured) and…eat breakfast.

    I picked myself off of the boulder and stretched out my black and white body. Hunting time was about to come. I gave one last glance to the setting sun and looked for a good place to start. As soon as I spotted a favorite trail, I hopped off of my boulder.

    I shook myself and looked out upon the rich, green forest. My kind, Absol, were not usually found in forests, but I preferred the safety of trees rather than tall grass. Grass was just too… exposing, I guess.

    Anyway, I bounded off into the depths of the sweet-smelling forest. My claws made little sound as I trotted through the trees and my ears paying close attention to anything my acute senses picked up. A rattata breathing, a pidgey singing its nightly song, a tauros stamping its foot about to charge…

    Wait a minute…

    I looked to where the sound was coming from, and sure enough, a big, bad tauros was about to skewer me. I sighed, and recognized this particular tauros as one that I had liked to "torment" (as he likes to put it) when I first got to the forest. He doesn't like me much...

    "Not you again…," I mumbled. He didn't take too kindly to that.

    "STUPID DARKLING!" the tauros shouted over his own stampeding, "GO BACK TO THE FIELDS WHERE YOU BELONG! BETTER YET, YOUR STUPID TRAINER!"

    A vein popped in my head. Muscles tensed. Hackles raised. I growled.

    Now, if I had been in my right mind, I wouldn't have stopped dead in my tracks. Neither would I have turned around and started to charge at the tauros who weighed 82 pounds more than I did, or began to attack him with all my vigor while simultaneously insulting him.

    I jumped and landed directly on the tauros's back, surprising him quite well.

    "You stupid bull!" I roared as my dug my fangs deep into his ears and neck, "You think that just because you're a friggen' NORMIE that you can go and insult me like that? KEEP IN MIND THAT I AM FAR STRONGER THAN YOU, HOOFER!" At that, I pushed off with my clawed feet and landed neatly a few feet away, while the tauros was sent sprawling.

    "Yeah, yeah, you like that?" I yelled as the tauros struggled to its feet. He looked up at me fearfully and said apologetically, "I-I'm s-s-sorry… I…"

    "Yeah, just get out of here," I growled, turning back to the way I had come from. I was now even more tense and pissed off, so every creature made it their goal for the night to stay out of my way. I found a berry bush and began to munch angrily on it when a familiar canine laugh sounded to my right.

    "Man, you are really ticked off tonight aren't you?" the mighyena chortled as he made his way to my bush. "That time of the month?"

    I snarled at him. "NO, it isn't Hicha. Why is it, whenever a girl is pissed off, you men always assume that it's THAT time of the month?"

    He laughed, which didn't do much to lighten my mood. "Because we have no other option to consider." I shrugged, seeing as how he had made a good point and had no snide remark to go after it. He laid down beside me and asked, "So why are you so mad?"

    I picked another pecha berry from its branch with my teeth. "That stupid tauros told me to go back to my stupid trainer who stupid abandoned me."

    Hicha's eyes went wide. He knew of my wrath when "the-trainer-that-shall-not-be-named" was mentioned, though he had never been subject to it. "What did you do…?" he asked softly.

    I rolled my eyes as if the answer was obvious. "I beat the shit out of him! What do you expect?" I picked another berry from its vine and chewed on it while I let the mightyena think that one over. He knew that my level was extremely high, and I had a few… unorthodox attacks in my brain. But, after a few minutes he just shook his head.

    "You should just get over that, you know," he said sagely, crossing his sleek black paws in the process. Great. Now he was being my mother? …Er… Father? "All that'll happen is you getting hurt more and more if you hang onto those memories. One of these days, when you go trainer-scaring, you're going to run into one that'll capture you, and you won't be able to do anything about it."

    I scoffed. "I'll get over it when you quit sniffing other people's butts."

    He looked offended, and defended himself with, "That is merely my way of saying hello!"

    "To all of the women but never any men? Seems sexist to me."

    He put his muzzle in the air. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

    "Uh-huh." Under my breath I added, "Stupid perverted canine…"

    "What was that?"

    "Nothing!" I replied all too cheerfully not to be suspicious of. "Now, come on. I want to go scarin' tonight." With all 42 of my pearly teeth exposed in an evil grin, I began to trot over to the trail.

    Hicha eyed me warily at first, but then he shrugged it off and followed. Besides, what darkling doesn't like to have fun once in a while?

    "My butt hurts."

    "I'm sure it does."

    "My legs are cramping."

    I rolled my eyes. "Then stretch!"

    "And risk being seen? I think not," Hicha answered haughtily.

    "Then quit whimpering!" I whispered harshly, having to look over my shoulder in order to look at him full in the face.

    "I am not whimpering!"

    I cocked an eyebrow.

    He shuffled uncomfortably behind me. "I'm just… making sure that you have a distraction from your own pain. I'm sure you're very uncomfortable, would you like to find some berries with me?"

    I didn't really feel like dignifying his stupid question with an oral response, so I merely slapped my tail against his furry cheek. Suddenly, a rustle in the bushes alerted my attention back to the trail, and Hicha followed my gaze. I smiled at the sight.

    There was a trainer, looking rather lost and a little scared. Her long brown, almost black hair was shining in the moonlight, the hair cascading over her shoulders. She was about 5'9" and had a slightly pale complection, as if she had been in the sun for quite a while. A rather large, strong jolteon was walking beside her, his energy sparking as though he had too much to control. But I knew it was battle lust.

    This jolteon wanted to fight.

    I shifted out of my crouch and prepared myself to jump when Hicha grabbed my tail via his jaws.

    "Shiz… what're you doing, Hicha?" I asked perturbed; I had finally found a pokemon worthy of me!

    Hicha growled through his teeth and my tail. "I don't like it, girl. That jolteon down there is giving me the creeps. I'm not sure you can beat him…"

    Letting my ego get the better of me, I furiously slapped his jaws away from my tail and jumped down onto the trail, growling. The girl stopped short, and smiled.

    "Aww, snap, Tai! We got ourselves an Absol! A strong one too!" the trainer proclaimed. She shifted into what looked like a practiced battle stance, and the jolteon called Tai ran out in front of her, looking as eager as she did. I scoffed, but my eyes widened as they fell to look on her jacket, which was proudly displaying her won badges.

    The first eight were from Kanto. The next set of eight was from Johto. And… shit… there were six more from my own region of Hoenn. Tai apparently knew what I was staring at and said, "You see all them badges? I helped win every one of them." His snarl/smirk widened, revealing his white teeth. "You're mine, wench."

    I tore my gaze away from the unsettling sight of the 22 badges to my sneering opponent. "You have it wrong," I replied, and rushed forward with an extremespeed attack.

    The girl somehow must have seen that coming, because right at that moment, she called, "Tai! Dodge it! Thunder!"

    The jolteon moved out of my way so fast, I almost ran into the trainer herself. I whirled around only to see the jolteon's body light up with his electricity, and then I felt nothing but extreme pain.

    I screamed without realizing it. How could this guy's voltage be so high? When the thunder stopped, I fell to the ground, my blackened body not being able to hold me up. I heard the girl's voice from behind me.

    "Ultra ball! Go!"

    NO! I jumped up out of the way of the capturing device, and turned back to the jolteon, who was quite surprised to see me up after his ultimate attack. The trainer behind me gave a confused "huh" and settled into her battle stance again.

    "Okay, Tai. Looks like she still has a bit of spunk left in her! Use pin missile! Not too much, though!"

    I growled. I refuse to be captured again. Not again. I will NOT be another slave to another human! I REFUSE! With my declaration clear in my mind, I jumped high into the air, and performed an attack that would render dear Tai quite useless.

    "EARTHQUAKE!" I screamed, a giant fissure forming from underneath my feet.

    "The hell?" Tai screamed, and was then silenced by my attack. After the earth righted itself, he tried to get up, but ended up falling back down.

    Despite my labored panting, I smiled. "That's what you get, trainer's pet," I said in disdain. Tai merely glared at me, and then allowed himself to be withdrawn into his poke ball. I turned back to the girl, listening to her talk to herself.

    "Damn," she said in a low voice, "That thing's strong… Hmm.. Then I'll need…"

    "Girl!" I heard from my side, coming from the bushes. I turned and saw Hicha, the most panicked I had ever seen him, frantically shifting from one foot to the other. His level was way below these pokemon, and he knew that if he jumped in to save my hide, I would only shove him back. "Hurry! While the trainer's distracted!"

    I hardly had time to say "hell no" before the trainer yelled out, "Amburna! GO!"

    I looked up and before me materialized a sparkling, beautiful dragonair. Where was this trainer-girl getting all of these pokemon? The dragonair looked at me with something a kin to pity as the trainer girl exclaimed, "Amburna! Dragon rage!"

    I hardly had time to blink before a giant, swirling mass of power was thrown at me. I skidded against the road, unable to do much else. I groaned softly in pain. Poke gods, were these guys tough! I was vaguely aware of the trainer girl calling out the ultra ball, when she abruptly stopped in mid sentence and said nothing else. Had she internally combusted?

    In hope, I strained a weary eye open to see Hicha standing in front of me, growling. He was shaking like a leaf caught in a gale, but he was defending me nonetheless. The dragonair was not phased, she still had that look of pity upon her, and readied herself for an attack to get rid of my friend.

    "Amburna!" the trainer-girl called, "This mightyena isn't a part of this! Lure him away!"

    I saw the glistening dragonair nod her head once and then flew over Hicha's head, cupping her blue tail against Hicha's stomach, flinging him about twenty feet away from me. I turned my already fading vision to the trainer girl, who had another ultra ball in her hand.

    No…

    "ULTRA BALL!"

    Not again…

    "GO!"

    I heard Hicha screaming my nickname behind me as the ball gently collided against my sore side. I saw a flash of red, and then felt nothing.
    Last edited by LightArrows.exe; 6th July 2011 at 11:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter Two

    And Again

    I woke up to the smell of medicine. I could already tell I was in a Pokemon center by the stink of anti-biotics, the feel of the hard, metal table underneath me, and by the sound of Nurse Joy's voice.

    "Oh! She's waking up! Shayla! Come here!" Nurse Joy called.

    Shayla? Was that the name of my… new trainer? With the repulsive thought in my head, I opened my eyes to see the trainer-girl and the nurse hovering over me, staring. Startled, I let a frightened yelp out of my mouth, and then somehow landed on the floor. I scooted away from the trainer-girl, who was trying to console me.

    "Hey, girl, it's okay…" she cooed, holding her gloved hand out for me. I growled and snapped at the offered hand. The girl took back her hand and then looked up at Nurse joy, apparently at a loss.

    Nurse Joy looked sympathetic. "You picked a stubborn Absol to capture, Shayla," she said softly. " That Absol's been here a few years, but when she first got here, she was abandoned by her trainer."

    Shayla's eyes widened. "What?" she asked in a soft voice. At this, I rolled my eyes. This girl's probably let some pokemon go in a place where they don't know what's what as well. That's what trainers do, I thought callously. They train and keep the strong ones and torture and release the useless ones. There's no escaping it…

    But Nurse Joy nodded. "I remember the trainer. He was a stocky boy, with brown hair and blue eyes… and he was always training that Absol. Then, I guess he got fed up with her stubborn attitude and left her out here. He destroyed her poke ball."

    Shayla's eyes softened as they turned on me. I expected her to say, "So that's how you could use earthquake," but she didn't. She merely looked at me with such sympathy and pity that it made me want to retch. Her expression almost matched the dragonair's.

    Shayla stood up slowly and held out my ultra ball. Then, I was summoned into the red light until my trainer wished me to come back out.

    The ride in the ultra ball really wasn't all that bad. It wasn't as cramped as I thought it would be, especially compared to a poke ball. By the time the trainer-girl let me back out, it was nighttime again, and the rest of the team was out as well. As soon as I materialized, the trainer-girl put down a bowl of food for me, and then began to talk to me.

    "I'm sorry about your trainer, babe," she said softly, while squeezing a few mixed berries onto my food. "I might know how you feel, but I guess that's for later." She smiled at me and then gestured to the rest of her pokemon and said, "I hope you get along with the rest of us. Hope you like the food too." With that, she left me to the other five pokemon and went to the campfire, going to her book and leaving the acquaintances to us.

    That surprised me. She was actually considering my feelings? Huh. Strange. I perked my nose to my food, which was wafting soft, mouth-watering fragrances into my face. I could almost taste the pecha berries…

    "Are you just going to stare at your food or what?"

    I looked up to see Tai the jolteon staring at me with an incredulous look as if I had never seen food before. "Because if you don't want it, I'll take it."

    I glared, and turned my attention to the rest of the group. There was the dragonair from earlier, an espeon, a scizor and a charizard. They were all eating their food hungrily, and I looked back down to my own food. Still not sure about it, I called out to the most amiable-looking one, the dragonair named Amburna.

    "Oi… Amburna. How's it taste?"

    The shimmering dragonair looked up from her bowl and smiled. "Different from yours. She puts different seasonings according to the pokemon. I have cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in mine. From what I can tell, she put berries in yours."

    Tai finished munching on his food, and commented, "Yeah, like she put in mine. So, are you going to eat yours or not? 'Cause if you ain't, I'd gladly like to-"

    SMACK!

    Tai's plea was abruptly cut off by the charizard's tail pounding him into the ground. "Be kind to the lady!" the fire dragon proclaimed, glowering at the pummeled thunder dog. "You stupid gluttonous pig!"

    I chuckled. I was already beginning to like this charizard. The espeon was shaking his head slowly and the dragonair threw a rock at Tai. "Tai," Amburna scolded, "this is no time for that. She's new, and you don't need to make her feel more uncomfortable."

    Tai grumbled something incoherent and probably insulting to me in the dirt. I let it roll, and finally decided to eat my food. After my first taste, my mouth watered for more. Damn, this stuff was GOOD!

    Since I was stuffing my face full of the food, I didn't notice the espeon come up to me and sit down. Actually, I think he was there for a few minutes before I realized he was sitting beside me. Had he not cleared his throat, I would have never noticed him.

    When I lifted my head, he smiled. "I'm sure Tai or Shayla haven't told you our names yet," he offered. Embarrassed, I shook my white head and wiped some crumbs off of my face with my clawed paw. He nodded to the dragonair and said, "From what she tells me, you've already met Amburna." At my nod, he smiled. "She said you fight well… Have you been trained before?"

    I was really surprised at how amiable this espeon was being. Usually, psychic types tend to keep away from darklings. Also, it surprised me that even though he was talking about my old trainer, I didn't want to beat him up. He was just… too damn nice. All I did to reply was simply nod.

    He smiled again, and nodded to the charizard. "That's Shoko, Shayla's second pokemon. He's helped her win all of her badges, and he -with the exception of Tai- is the only one that came from Kanto with Shayla. All the rest of us came to her in Johto. I myself was a gift to her from her parents when she was traveling around in Johto, and have been with her ever since."

    I was amazed at how open he was being with me. I knew that I was the new teammate and all, but even back when I was with my old trainer, none of the pokemon talked to me much, and I had to figure everything out on my own. Why was he…?

    Before I had acknowledged that information had sunk in, he was already telling me about Saji, the scizor. Apparently, Saji had been caught as a syther, but Shayla wanted him to be stronger, and after consulting it with him, (to this, my eyes bulged) they decided to get him to evolve. Saji had been with the team for 3 years now, one of the older patrons of the team.

    "And I'm Kazu," the espeon said, turning to me. "I've been with the team for two and a half years, and helped win fourteen badges." At this, he beamed and I felt myself smiling. "I'm also Tai's little brother."

    "I'm sorry," I replied, looking at Tai, who was now trying to beg some food off of Saji. Apparently, Tai was a little glutton. Kazu merely laughed.

    "I am too sometimes," he commented. "Oh, and just so you know, Shayla's probably going to give you a nickname as well. Don't worry," he said at my disgusted expression, "She's good with names. She won't give you a cliché name like 'Midnight' or something. Heck, my nickname means 'number'." He smiled again and went over to his brother, who had just gotten beaten down by the scizor. Again, all I could do was smile…

    For the day and a half that I had been with Shayla and the others, I had learned that Shayla was quite the confident one.

    "AMBURNA! ICE BEAM THAT BIOTCH!"

    I sat on the sidelines with the other five pokemon as Amburna executed one of the strongest ice beams I had ever seen. The golem didn't stand a chance as the ice beam hit it and he went down for the count. The trainer tsked and returned the defeated golem, trying to figure out what to do next. Suddenly, a smile came to his lips and he sent out his next pokemon.

    "This dude doesn't stand a chance," Tai whispered to Saji. "Look at him. He's a shmuck. A good for nothing shmuck! No way he can beat our Amburna."

    Saji's face grew grim as a jynx appeared out of the red light from the poke ball. "Really?"

    Amburna's eyes widened as the jynx performed an ice beam, hitting the dragonair directly in the abdomen. Shayla yelled something, but my ears didn't catch it. I was just shocked as hell to see Amburna go down like that. Sure, she wasn't fainted, but she was damn close. Apparently, Shayla thought this as well.

    "Amburna! Good work! Return!" she called. My comrade went obediently into her poke ball, and Shayla winked at me.

    "You up to it, girl?" she asked. It took a while for my brain to process that she was speaking to me. Tai nudged me with his spiny elbow.

    "You going or do I have to cover your white ass?" he asked, to which I slapped my tail in response. It was a jynx. I could take a jynx…

    I hope…

    I trotted out to the battlefield and took up my battle stance. The other trainer, a nerdy-looking boy with bright blonde hair and large, oblong glasses snorted when he took a look at me.

    "An absol?" he cried, laughing in an obnoxious way. "That's a pussy's pokemon! I thought you would send out the scizor, being good against both ice and psychic, but not this wimp's pokemon!" He kept laughing, and I heard Tai cheering for me to kick the little guy's ass. The jynx laughed as well.

    "Well dearie," she said, beginning to sway her hips hypnotically, "Have a nice nap…"

    "Jynx! Sweet kiss!"

    "Absol! Dodge it!"

    The jynx came at me, but way slower than what I'd thought. I got out of the way by running to the left of the pokemon and got to where I faced her back. Automatically, I jumped for the neck and bit.

    The jynx screamed, and I think Shayla was taken back. After all, she hadn't told me to use "bite". But all the same, the punk jynx went down and I strode triumphantly over her fainted body back over to my side of the battle field. Unfortunately, the jynx was the last pokemon the punk had.

    "Damn… you win…" he said, and reached into his poket for the prize money. Shayla took it and then whispered, "And don't you make fun of my pokemon again, you hear me? Or else, I might be forced to clobber you again."

    She walked away from the creep towards us and knelt down in front of me with a slight scowl on her face. She looked me in the eye and said, "Now, babe, I know you're an experienced fighter, and you've been owned before, but you must not act until I tell you. Otherwise, you and the others could get hurt." I couldn't tell if she could read my "whatever" expression but then, her face changed to a bright smile.

    "On the bright side, I've found you a nickname!" she exclaimed. At this, the other pokemon gathered toward us and listened closely. Tai asked if it was something befitting to my nature like "super bitch" or "xena: warrior princess," but thankfully, Shoko the charizard took care of him for me. :) Shayla was oblivious to this and brought out a greek mythology book and turned to a certain page.

    " 'Demi-cerberus: a two-headed dog that wanders the world in search of victims. It stalks innocents in the shadows, not caring who becomes their prey. They are characterized most as "sadistic, evil and mischevious." They love to pull tricks on others and lead people to their doom by bounding into the woods and leading their victims off of cliffs.' " She looked up from the book and smiled.

    "And since you've proven yourself to be a mischevious little thing, I've decided to nickname you 'Demi'. Do you like it?"

    I cocked my head to the side. She was asking my opinion? Well…

    I gave a shrug of my shoulders, to which she took it as a 'yes'. "Good!" she said happily and put everyone back into their poke balls. "Now that you've got a nickname, we can go to the pokemon center and get Amburna healed."

    I went into my ultra ball with no fuss, seeing as how I was still pondering on my nickname. "Demi"… Hmm… Sadistic… evil… mischevious…

    Maybe going around with this bunch of psychos wasn't going to be so bad after all.

  3. #3
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 3

    High Class

    "I don't like boats…" Tai said as he stared down at the ferry about fifty yards away from his perch on the cliff he and I and the rest of the team were sitting on. "I don't like them at all."

    I sighed and began to follow Shayla down to the dock, Shoko, Saji and Amburna (who was now healed) in front of me. Kazu the espeon was on the other side of Tai, looking as grim as his older brother. Apparently, the loathing of water-faring vehicles ran in the family. Kazu furrowed his brow.

    "Maybe I could just teleport myself and Tai over to the other coast?" he asked, looking up to me like I had the answer. I shrugged and replied, "Kazu, you don't know where we're going. You don't know what it looks like. You're in a place you don't know and the dangers are unfamiliar. There's no way that could happen. Besides, you two are men, aren't you? Suck it up!" With that, I turned and left, knowing the two eevee-loutions would follow.

    I heard Tai grumbling again, something about someone being a big bitch. (Hmm… I wonder who he could be talking about…) I sighed again and went further down the cliff, wincing as the hot sand of the beach came in contact with my soft paws. Amburna smiled at my attempt to keep my paws from scalding.

    "The sand a little hot for you?" she asked while hovering above the aforementioned sand. My only response was my continuing attempt to cool my feet while on hot sand. I saw her smile out of the corner of my eye, and that was when the sky darkened and Amburna began to glow.

    I heard Tai say, "What the hell?" from behind me. Not caring about my feet anymore, I watched in amazement as Amburna glowed a beautiful blue, and, surprisingly, rain began to drizzle from the sky, cooling the sand beneath my feet.

    "There you go," she said, smiling at me, simultaneously making the clouds disappear. She continued to hover after our trainer Shayla over to where the ferry was. Tai and Kazu groaned at the same time, and I smiled to myself. This boat ride was going to be very interesting…

    :)

    I never knew so many pokemon could be snobs.

    We had already boarded the boat, and were now venturing around the common living room, where most of the trainers and their pokemon were already situated, be they on chairs, sofas or just standing. All five of my comrades and I were gazing in amazement at the tastefully furnished common room, where a gorgeous chandelier was hanging above us on the ceiling.

    Actually, for a ferry, it was very well decorated, and many of the trainers and their pokemon looked as if the were pokemon contest competitors. I even spotted a milotic not too far away, her body radiating beauty. Saji let out a low whistle, and I turned to where he was looking at -the buffet.

    Food was EVERYWHERE. Steaming beef, pork, wheat breads, white breads, noodles, chicken, stew, pastas that I couldn't identify, lasagna, and many different kinds of casserole were sitting on the 30-foot stretch of tables, glistening in this holy light. I could swear I could hear angels singing right about then. As for the layout of desserts, THAT is what caught my attention.

    Alas, poor Tai was so moved by the table of delicious foods, he began to stagger over to it, his mouth agape and drool oozing out of it. Once he got to the table itself, he jumped up onto his hind legs and stared at the food, not hearing the people scream in disgust behind him. Apparently, he made them lose their appetites…

    "I… am in heaven," the jolteon proclaimed, still staring at the food. Saji chuckled and picked Tai up and set him down, facing away from the glorious table of food. Tai whimpered and tried to go back to the table, but Saji wouldn't allow that.

    "You have to let go, Tai. You can't hold onto it forever," Saji said sadly, putting himself between the table and the disgruntled jolteon. Tai was now shedding tears, wanting his food back. I shook my head and left the two to settle it out, wanting to go and look at the other pretty things that were in the ferry.

    I remembered the chandelier and decided to stare at it more before I found something else to look at. Since I was staring up at the ceiling as I walked, I didn't notice a plump wigglytuff standing in my walking path. I bumped into her, causing her to fall on her pink posterior. She gave a shocked "oh!" when she hit the floor, and I directed my attention to her.

    "Oh.. Sorry, didn't see ya there." Tai began to snicker behind me, and I was about to shut his mouth when the wigglytuff pulled a doubleslap on me.

    WHAP

    WHAP

    WHAP

    WHAP

    WHAP

    She stood there, huffing and puffing (maybe trying to blow my house down… but not on the hairs of my chiny-chin-chin… sorry, bad joke) while I stood there, shocked and somewhat appalled. The little bitch had just slapped me!

    I turned to her and she roared -in the most horrible British accent I had ever heard, "You grimy dog! How DARE you run into me and make me embarrass myself! And what's worse, you are filthy as a diglett in mud, and now you have put your dirty germs on me! HOW RUDE!"

    She began to walk off, but I had other thoughts. I lunged at her, and performed a rather effective slash attack on her pompous derrière. Tai and Saji cheered for me, the table of food forgotten, while Amburna, Shoko and Kazu were silent, but I could see the smiles. Shayla was off talking to some trainer, so she had no idea what was going on.

    Meanwhile, the wigglytuff turned, her face one of pure rage. I smirked, and said, "You started it, wigglytuff-hime. I may not be a high-class girl myself, but I'm not about to let fat-assed push-overs like yourself to tell me what I can and can't do. So…" I went into my battle-stance as did the wigglytuff. The pokemon surrounding us saw what was going on, and began to crowd around us, wanting to watch the fight.

    The wigglytuff went first, trying to knock me out by using "sing". The melody rang in my ears, comforting and soothing. I shook it out of my head and lunged at the normal-type, using thunderbolt once I got in contact with her. It hurts more that way.

    She squealed and fell to the ground, almost to the fainting point. I frowned. "You talk like a warrior queen, but you have nothing to back it up," I said to her. She was already down, and yet I hadn't even broken a sweat. What a bummer…

    I shrugged and went back over to my team, where Tai and Saji the scizor were congratulating me for my victory. The other three pokemon looked uneasily at me and then to the wigglytuff, who had just been summoned back into her poke ball by her trainer. I looked questioningly to them, when Kazu used telepathy to tell me what was going on.

    [[Demi,]] he spoke worriedly in my head, [[The trainer's super-pissed! He's going to drag you back out into battle! He might have really good pokemon…]]

    I scoffed and went over to where Kazu was sitting, seeing as how my telepathy skills were… somewhat lacking… "Then find out, Kazu," I replied, sitting down beside the worried espeon. "Look inside the dude's poke balls and see what's there."

    He grimaced, and then sighed in acquiescence. A moment later, his eyes glowed red, and his voice when he began to speak was a tad… out there…

    "He has the wigglytuff, a hitmonchan, a banette, a grandevoir, a mightyena, and a ninetails. They are within the thirty to forty levels… not too incredibly strong…"

    I smiled as his eyes dimmed to their regular color, an ebony black. "See?" I said, my smile growing. "I'm stronger than them. In fact, I could beat those punks down in my sleep! Nothing'll go wrong, Kazu-kun."

    He was startled about the suffix, but he didn't pay too much mind to it. "Maybe," he responded uneasily. "But we should get Shayla just in case."

    I sighed and trotted over to the trainer with the pompous wigglytuff and he frowned. "So you're the absol that hurt my precious wigglytuff! You'll pay, you third-rater!" he exclaimed. I blinked and scratched my ruff in response. Maybe being delusional ran in this dude's team…

    Shayla came up from behind me and sighed. "Demi, I can see you're living up to your name…" she grumbled from behind me. I smiled inwardly.

    "So you're the trainer of that THING?" the dude exclaimed, pointing at me as if I were a disgusting dunsparse or something. "You need to train your pokemon better, peasant!"

    I looked behind me and saw the furious scowl on Shayla's face, making somewhat afraid of her. She had never looked so incredibly pissed in the time that I knew her… I looked over to Tai, who was grimacing. He whispered to Saji that the guy (I'm presuming the trainer) was going to get his insensitive ass kicked hard. I turned my attention back to Shayla, who replied in a scarily controlled voice, "Do not insult my pokemon like that, sir. Or else I may have to show you what they can do."

    The boy snarled. "Then come at me, peasant!"

    She snarled and said, "Come on, Demi! Let's get rid of this annoying bugger!"

    I grinned even more and jumped out further into the battlefield, wagging my tail anxiously. I mentally dared him to send out the hitmonchan, to which he obliged.

    "Trophy! Go!"

    The hitmonchan appeared in front of me, a triumphant smirk on his face. "You're going down, wench."

    I snickered. Funny how everyone who says that to me, loses within two turns.

    "Demi! Earthquake!"

    The hitmonchan looked up to me as I jumped and made the floor crack and split right under the fighting-type, and down he went. I landed coolly on my feet when the floor righted itself and the trainer-boy returned his only chance of defeating me.

    "Koka! Go!"

    The ninetails. She was really pretty, her nine tails swishing here and there. She looked at me with her deep, crimson eyes, and then sighed. "I already know I'm going to lose, so go ahead, dear. Make it quick."

    I nodded sympathetically, not really liking to fight pokemon that had no will to fight themselves. Shayla ordered a water pulse attack, and I gave it my all so that the ninetails wouldn't have to suffer for long.

    She fainted, and went back into her luxury ball. The boy snarled some more, and then sent out his next pokemon.

    "Ribbons! Go!"

    The banette appeared, and as his nickname suggests, was covered in gaudy ribbons. I actually pitied the ghost, for it was a man. He looked at me with such a hilarious expression, I giggled.

    "So, Ribbons, your master have any idea what he's doing?"

    The banette sighed. "Apparently not, since he sent me out against you."

    Shayla also laughed. "You do realize, ghost-types are WEAK against darks?"

    He gasped. "I thought it was the other way around!"

    "Demi! Crunch!"

    I lunged and bit the ghost with all my might, hoping that the attack would get through all of the ribbons adorning the ghost's body. He fainted, and was withdrawn back into his poke ball.

    The boy snarled some more. "Well, then I'll need to fight fire with fire! Cho! GO!"

    I smiled and waited for the mightyena to materialize. But when he did, my heart stopped. The mightyena stopped in his tracks, staring straight back at me. My mouth fumbled over his name, and finally, my vocal chords worked.

    "H… Hicha…"

  4. #4
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 4

    Reunited Yet Divided

    I lunged and bit the ghost with all my might, hoping that the attack would get through all of the ribbons adorning the ghost's body. He fainted, and was withdrawn back into his poke ball.

    The boy snarled some more. "Well, then I'll need to fight fire with fire! Cho! GO!"

    I smiled and waited for the mightyena to materialize. But when he did, my heart stopped. The mightyena stopped in his tracks, staring straight back at me. My mouth fumbled over his name, and finally, my vocal chords worked.

    "H… Hicha…"

    :)

    I stood there for an unknown period of time, staring at my friend. He was staring as well… but not with the expression that I figured. Instead of shocked and exhilarated, I saw shocked, yes, but also suspicion, and a forming... hostility in his eyes? What the heck?

    "Hicha! It's me!" I practically shouted, slowly making my way to his side of the "field". As I approached, his lips drew back in an even bigger snarl.

    "Stay back, filthy absol! I'm warning you!" he shouted, his teeth and gums now in full view. I stopped in my tracks, blinking in confusion. This was Hicha… wasn't it?

    "Hicha, don't you remember me?" I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I heard Tai shout something from behind me, but I didn't register the meaning. All of my attention was focused on the mightyena in front of me.

    His response startled me. "Keh. Of course I do. You're the stinking absol that abandoned me and left me in the forest to die!" With that, he lunged at me, sinking his sharp fangs into my flesh at the base of my neck. For one moment, I was blinded by pain, his bite attack having an unusual affect on me. In fact, I couldn't move afterwards. My stunned, bleeding body crumpled to the polished floor, apparently alarming my comrades.

    "DEMI!" Tai shouted as he raced back and forth on the sidelines. "Demi, GET UP! Come on, you can beat this shmuck! He's a no-good shmuck! Beat him down into the ground! Go Xena on his ass! DO SOMETHING!"

    Hicha began to laugh humorlessly as I shakily got back to my feet. "A jolteon, huh? Is that the same one that you defeated? And the dragonair… is she the some one that used slam on me in order to get to you?" He looked at me, his black eyes full of bane and snarled. "Well are they?"

    Tai spoke before I did. "What the hell is going on? Demi, kick his ASS!"

    Again Hicha laughed. " 'Demi'? Is that your nickname? It figures, letting your new human name you. I always thought you were stronger than that, Ayako." (A/N: Doesn't Hicha have a nickname too?)

    I flinched. My name…

    Shayla growled from behind me. "Demi, get back to the others! Tai! Go and fry that mightyena's butt!"

    Tai raced out in front of me, his fur bristling and blue sparks of electricity cackling in the air around him. Hicha snarled at Tai and growled, "So you have come to defend your comrade? Let me give you a word of advice: She'll turn on you."

    Tai's snarl grew louder and more menacing. "Bastard! NO ONE INSULTS MY TEAM AND GETS AWAY WITH IT!" At that moment, Shayla and Tai shouted the attack name simultaneously. "THUNDER!"

    Tai's body lit up with electrical power and his eyes turned darker, as did the rest of the room. I backed away from his in a stunned manner so I wouldn't be hit with any stray bolts. I looked to Hicha, who in turn looked at me. I silently asked what had I done, why was he so vengeful, but he gave me nothing but cold hatred and began to move towards me.

    "I AM YOUR OPPONENT, SCUM!" Tai screamed in a slightly lower voice. He shot his powerful bolt of lightning at Hicha, and almost immediately the mightyena fainted. He had no hope against Tai. My heart stuttered as Hicha went down in a charged veil of smoke, his burnt flesh and fur alerting my senses and searing the inside of my nose and throat, making me frantic. It was then that Hicha was returned to his poke ball, the other trainer not very happy about losing.

    I stood numbly as Tai came towards me, panting ever so slightly. He poked me with his paw and asked, "Hey, Demi, did you suddenly become catatonic? I can't believe I had to save your butt back there…" Then in a lower, softer voice he asked, "Are you okay…?"

    I didn't look at him. My gaze was on the polished mahogany wooden floor in front of me, and I intended to keep it there. My mouth began to form words, but they were lost before I could say them. I knew I must have looked like a magikarp out of water, but at the moment, I didn't really care. My only thoughts were of Hicha and why he had reacted to me like that. What did I do?

    Tai poked me again and jerked me out of my chaotic reverie. "I asked you if you wanted to go outside," he said, a little perturbed at my daydreaming. I stumbled over words again and then resorted to nodding, following him as he walked to the outer decks. I didn't notice the looks that the eevee brothers gave each other, nor the worried expressions that the other pokemon gave me as I walked past. Shayla seemed to know what was going on, since she didn't hinder Tai or me in any way. When the trek to the outer decks was finished, Tai turned to me with an outraged, yet concerned expression.

    "What was that back there?" he shouted. "You could've gotten really hurt! And you know Shayla's short on supplies! Why did you freeze up! Who was that mightyena anyway?"

    I walked past him to the white metal railing and looked out over the sea, the water dull and dark from the fading sun. Dusk was coming again, and I felt nostalgic for a moment. Then, Tai's question brought me out of my thoughts and I responded with, "Hicha… was a friend. I had met him in the forest when I first came…"

    Tai scoffed. "Some friend you have -look at your fur! You have blood all over you! And what's worse is that it's YOURS! Made by his teeth! And you, standing there in a wonderful stupor, didn't even-"

    "SHUT UP," I commanded, cutting Tai off. I still wasn't looking at him, for I kept my gaze averted. Right now, it was residing on my right forearm, where, as Tai indicated so tactfully, was a stream of dried blood trailing down the limb. I flexed my paws in vexation, and scowled when Tai sat down beside me, my grim mood reflecting on his face. For a moment, neither of us spoke for the tense silence would make any slightly stupid comment inappropriate. So, for the moment, we both watched dusk fall into night.

    "…Ayako…Is that what he called you?" he asked softly. I nodded and he asked why.

    "That's my real name," I responded dully, to which he didn't respond at first.

    "…Well, I really think that you should be named something more appropriate." At this, he righted himself into a dignified position, sitting on his haunches and looking down at me haughtily. At his comment, my eyebrow raised and he smirked.

    "Oh?" I asked, sitting up myself to look him straight in the eye. "And what would that be?"

    He cocked his head and said, "I was thinking of something along the lines of Xena or Super Bitch, or even Amazonian Warrior Queen. Those other names suck."

    I scoffed. "You seem pretty confident in the name department, Tai. What a strange name, 'Tai'… I wonder why Shayla wanted to name you Sea Bream, Thailand or Party? Maybe that's telling me something." To this, he frowned.

    "That's not my full nickname, Amazonian Warrior Queen," he responded, a playful scowl on his yellow face. "My full nickname is 'Taioukami', 'Great Wolf'. Take that."

    I chuckled. "Okay, so Thailand is you nick-nickname? Now I get it." I got up and began to walk away, towards the cabin where the others were awaiting our return. Apparently, Tai seemed against to this.

    "Wait, where are you going?" he asked, trotting after me. "I need to raid the food table!"

    I looked over my good shoulder and made a face. "Well, then go alone. Unless you're afraid of the dark, oh mighty Great Wolf."

    Tai frowned and raced up to me, his scowl disappearing suddenly and was replaced with a smirk. "No… I was just looking out for you, Xena. After all, even a savage like you can be afraid of the-"

    Tai didn't get to finish his sentence, for I, the savage, threw him over board right then.

    When Tai crashed into the water, I looked over the railing and with the moonlight's help, I saw Tai come back up to the surface of the water with a gasp. He wasn't too far away from the decks, but just enough to where he'd have to work to get back up. When he saw me, he frowned. "What was that for?"

    I chuckled. "This savage can take care of herself, thank you. Now, if you don't mind, I'll raid the leftovers. I'm pretty sure they still have some apple cobbler…" With that, I turned and left Tai to struggle with the slippery body of the ferry, when I smelled a scent akin to wet dog. I turned, and a very wet Tai was struggling to get over the railing, a deep scowl on his face. "You shall not have the apple cobbler, Savage!" he screamed.

    I laughed and said, "Even if you somehow stopped me, the cooks would smell you a mile away."

    Tai glared. "You saying I smell bad?"

    "Only as bad as a wet dog in the summertime," I responded.

    The jolteon rolled his eyes as he battled with the slick railing. "Oh, and you always smell like daisies when you're wet."

    My head went up. "Yes, as a matter of fact I do."

    Tai finally got over the railing and landed with a hard thump on the wooden deck. He shook, his fur becoming missheveled and giving him the appearance of a drowned dog, and walked over to me. "Well, let's find out, shall we?" He then took the scruff of my neck and, with a mighty heave, launched me overboard and into the water. I crashed into the water with only one thought.

    "COLD!" I shouted as I resurfaced, the chilly night air not making the lack of warmth any better. From on deck, Tai smiled and jumped back into the water, spraying me with the freezing liquid. When he came back up, a smirk was on his triumphant face.

    "Don't smell so good now, huh?" he asked, spraying me with more water via his paw. I glared at him, and then launched at him, tackling him into the water. And so, our water war began.

    Of course, I didn't notice Shayla standing by the railing in the shadows with a smile on her face, and then turned to leave, letting us fight by ourselves.

  5. #5
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Well, Wolfie has now left us. He didn't die, I just gave him back to his original owner. Wonder why? He was terrorizing the poor beta I put in with him. Sheik. With Wolfie now gone, Sheik is having the time of his life. He loves his new tank. - In about a week, we're going to put another fish in there with him, and my mother and I are arguing on whether it should be two guppies or a dojo. I want the dojo.

    I also got another beta. This one's so pretty, he's kind of peachish on the face and purple and white on his body. His fins are gorgeous- light blue mixelonger had to obey anyone, and at the fact that rare candies were spouting from the ground. I was in total bliss.

    Alas, this did not go on for very long. Suddenly, a pink and yellow machamp came above me, hovering over my head with his little faery wings. "You shall not have the lobotomy! IT IS MINE!" he shouted, his four arms in a threatening pose. I glared up to him and snarled.

    "Pah! The lobotomy is mine to have! You shall never get it!" That was when I lunged at him, and tore him apart, his limbs becoming butterflies as soon as they were dismembered. Then, Tai came up and began to dance his own version of the macarena, and I joined.

    Of course, that was when he tackled me and said, "Dor very long. Suddenly, a pink and yellow machamp came above me, hovering over my head with his little faery wings. "You shall not have the lobotomy! IT IS MINE!" he shouted, his four arms in a threatening pose. I glared up to him and snarled.

    "Pah! The lobotomy is mine to have! You shall never get it!" That was when I lunged at him, and tore him apart, his limbs becoming butterflies as soon as they were dismembered. Then, Tai came up and began to dance his own version of the macarena, and I joined.

    Of course, that was when he tackled me and said, "Demi, I'm a moron and breakfast is ready."

    I blinked, completely astounded at the fact that he could talk and asked, "What?"

    Tai began to shout. "BREAKFAST IS READY! HURRY UP OR ALL OF THE DOUGHNUTS WILL BE GONE! I WANT MY JELLY!"

    That was when I sat upright, knocked my head against Saji's and realized that the stuff that had just now happened had been a dream. I shook my wounded head and got the strange dream out of my memory when Saji stood up. "Well, now that you're up, let's go. Tai's been harping over it for at least fifteen minutes and if we don't leave soon, he'll eat through the door and go by himself."

    As if to prove Saji's point, I heard Tai begin to shout from the front of the cabin. "I WANT MY JELLY! GIVE ME FOOD! FOOD, I SAY! FOOOOOOOD!"I rolled my eyes and got to my feet, which protested and threatened to return me to the floor. I wasn't supposed to be up yet…

    I yawned and followed the sound of Tai's voice to the front door, where everyone else (besides Saji -he was behind me) was waiting. Shayla looked about as tired as I was, and she yawned before she spoke.

    "Alright. Now that everyone's here, let's go. Tai, no gorging…" It was then that she opened the door and let Tai the Consumer out into the hallway. Kazu snickered and then used teleport on us all to lead us right to the buffet table. I was rather surprised to see Tai already eating. Shouldn't we have gotten there first?

    "Simply amazing…" Shoko the charizard began to say as he went to a roasted animal of some sort. "Kazu didn't use the teleport on Tai. He got here by himself… I just want to know how he does it."

    I snickered and let myself go to where the berry pancakes were. I eased my way around Tai, trying not to make any sudden movements lest he try to eat me too. (Even though his food doesn't make sudden movements…) I picked out a nice plate of pecha berry pancakes and stuffed one hurriedly into my face before any humans saw me. (It was the human food table after all…)

    Then, I heard a soft, melodious voice beside me. "Is it good?" I turned and saw the ninetails from yesterday. I nodded cautiously, but amiably and scooted over to let her have some room. She smiled back and took her place and picked a chesto berry from a plate and began to eat.

    It would be lying to say that I wasn't nervous. She was Hicha's team member after all. He had to have given her some insight on why he seems to hate me so feverently. She must have felt my nervousness because she lifted her head and told me, "You have nothing to fear. I won't judge you on how Cho talks about you."

    So he does talk about me… And nastily from the sound of it…Wonderful. I thought grimly. "What… What does he tell you…?"

    She smiled sadly. "It seems to him that you abandoned him… I beg your pardon, but what are you called?"

    For a moment, I couldn't decide. Use Demi or my real name, Ayako? "Demi," I found myself saying. "Call me Demi."

    She smiled and then kept on going. "As I was saying, it seems to him that you abandoned him when you were captured. You always abhorred trainers and their pokemon, so he couldn't understand why you would allow yourself to be captured. I guess he thinks that you wanted to get away from him, or to try and hurt him." With that, she gave a shrug and lowered her bright, crimson eyes. "From what I can tell, he might still hold on to those feelings that he had before you were captured."

    I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Hicha thought that by getting captured, I was ABANDONING him? What the heck? I wanted to burst out into an all-out rage, but in front of this ninetails, I couldn't. All I could force out was a quiet, "I… I don't understand… Why would he…"

    The ninetails put her glistening golden paw upon mine and smiled comfortingly. "I don't know, I really don't. Men's minds are… quite different from ours… Some are complex, and others are… well…" she looked up to the ceiling as if trying to find the right word. "Simpler… then others… Like your friend jolteon over there." She pointed me in the direction where Tai was gorging himself. He was on the table, head completely submerged in a banana pudding. I couldn't suppress a snicker, for Tai's mind was truly a simple, sad one.

    "Although, Demi, I would advise not to stray too near Cho," she said in a more hushed, serious tone. "He might attack you again, even if not by our trainer's orders. I also must tell you that not only does he loathe you for your being captured, he somehow thinks that it is your fault for him being captured."

    My eyes nearly came out of their sockets. "WHAT? He can't possibly… THAT'S JUST RETARDED!" By this time, my white fur was standing on end. How in the world could he blame me for THAT? I wasn't even… His capture and me are TOTALLY UNRELATED! For a moment, I was speechless. "How…?"

    The ninetails shrugged sadly. "I don't know… He always talks about you being a bad person… But now that I've gotten a chance to talk to you personally, I don't find you disagreeable at all…" She looked back at me and smiled a genuine smile, not something you see from a ninetails very often.

    In that moment, I was touched. I really was. We darklings are never looked lightly upon, especially because we're rather… anti-social. Another reason is because we have no poke-god to pray to and the fact that we're nocturnal. Fire and ice types sometimes venture near, but others tend to stay away. But… this ninetails must truly be a good person… I smiled and asked, "I never heard your name. What is it?"

    She seemed to have been surprised at that, but after a moment, she smiled again. "Call me Koka, Demi. I shall try and tell Cho some sense… I hope he will listen." She gave a bow, to which I hastily returned, and left. I watched her rejoin her companion, the pompous wigglytuff, (we exchanged glares) but my view was soon obstructed by Tai's wide yellow posterior.

    "Watcha ya' doin'?" he asked in a sing song voice, watching Koka and the wigglytuff go off. "Hey, were you talking to that ninetails?" he asked while turning back to face me. I was relieved that I didn't have the oh-so-flattering and attracting Tai butt staring at me. I scooted myself further away from the Tai butt, but the jolteon didn't seem to notice.

    "Well?" he asked, a little impatient. "Did you talk to her or not?"

    I half-snarled. People that prodded into my personal affairs so tactlessly got on my nerves. "What's it to you? Why do you care if I talk to other pokemon outside of the team? Is it wrong?"

    For a moment, Tai looked struck. He said his next few sentences in a confused, soft voice, an anti-Tai voice. "No… I was just wondering… to see if you got any info about that Hippo guy. You know… to see why he went all psycho on you."

    I felt like crap right then. I sighed and then shook my head slowly, and replied, "Tai, it's 'Hicha'…"

    He rolled his chocolate-brown eyes. "Hippo, Hicha, same difference. Anyway, did you get any insight on the dude?"

    I sighed again letting the subtle insult to my mightyena friend roll. Tai was really trying to find out about Hicha… but why? Why did he care so much? I looked up to him with a suspicious expression and asked as gingerly as I could, "Why do you want to know? It's not like we're going to be battling him again… Or anytime soon for that matter… Why do you care?" I looked at him straight in the eye and waited for his answer.

    For a moment he blinked and stared straight back at me. When I thought that he had forgotten the question, he answered, "Well, it seemed important to you. And the guy was going all psycho on you… I just want to make sure the Amazon Warrior Queen doesn't get hurt." He smiled again and then, just when I was about to show gratitude, he asked, "Hey, are you going to eat that?" He pointed to the last pecha berry pancake, and then my rating of him lowered.

    "No…" I then scooted the plate to him, and he devoured it swiftly. I sighed and began to walk away while shaking my head.

    Men's minds were truly simple ones…

    At long last, the ferry ride was over. I ran down the pier at top speed, right after Kazu and Tai. I think they were the most relieved. They were kissing the ground beneath them when I came over. Actually, Tai was eating the grass.

    "Tai, are you sick?" I asked, to which he lifted his head. "Did your stomach finally find its bottom?"

    Tai rolled his eyes and, as blades of grass were sputtering out of his mouth, said, "As if. I just love land so much I have to eat it!"

    I narrowed my eyes. "You sound like you're selling something."

    Tai smiled, revealing pearly white fangs with blades of grass stuck in between them and went right back to eating said grass. I then heard Shoko come up behind me.

    "Well, we've finally arrived in Lilycove," the charizard said, making a sweep with his arm. "What do you think?"

    I looked at the bustling city. People were going about their own businesses, with smiles on their faces. The forest beyond the city was also bright, welcoming even. I saw a few trainers in the gaps between the trees. The city was well kept, good-looking. I liked it.

    I scoffed to hide my true feelings. "I think we shouldn't have taken so long to get here. Besides, it's a city. They all look the same."

    Shoko gave me a knowing smile and then went to Shayla, who was saying goodbye to the captain. Shayla patted Shoko's shoulder and waved to the captain once more. "Well, come on, you guys. Let's get going."

    I stood where I was for a moment, utterly confused. Why wasn't she putting us in our poke balls? After a moment, a rock bouncing against my head brought me out of my reverie. Tai was lingering, watching me with an amused expression. "You just going to stand there like a catatonic moron or what?"

    I frowned and followed the rest. As I caught up with the rest of the team, I went over to the charizard again. "Why are we here?" I asked. "There aren't any gyms here."

    Shoko looked down at me. "Shayla has a few friends here that she likes to keep in touch with. Besides, there's a sale at the mall today. She says that she wants to go and get nutrients for us."

    I blinked. "Nutrients…?"

    Shoko nodded. "You know, like protein, iron, zinc, stuff like that." To that statement, Tai jumped up, proclaiming that he couldn't wait until he got some carbos. Those, apparently, were his favorite.

    It was then that I heard a disturbing sound. It sounded like a pokemon's scream, and when I turned, there was a manectric running away from a group of red-robed people. Behind the red-robed people, a green-garbed, blonde young lady was running after them screaming for them to stop. I blinked a couple of times, and was about to go and see what was going on when Amburna flew past me, Shayla right after her.

    Shoko came up beside me, flying. I had to run to keep up with him. "What's going on?" I shouted over the wind. Shoko didn't respond right away.

    "No time to explain!" he shouted back, and then flew ahead. Completely befuddled, I looked behind me for my other teammates to see if they would answer my questions. Tai, Kazu and Saji were behind me, also running with all their might. Tai was the only one gaining.

    I slowed slightly, letting Tai catch up with me. "What's going on?" I shouted again.

    "That girl ahead of us? She's one of Shayla's best friends, and those people in the red clothes are going after HER manectric!" He then speeded up and then left me to eat his dust. When he wanted to, Tai could sure move…

    Saji then appeared beside me, and offered a ride. I graciously accepted, and hopped onto his back where Kazu was also sitting. I could now see Shoko, Amburna, Shayla and Tai in the distance, where they were surrounding the red-clad people. There were four, and they didn't look too happy. The manectric in question was in the middle of the four with something around its mouth. I guessed it stopped all electrical attacks from working, since the manectric wasn't using any electrical attacks.

    Saji landed and Kazu and I dismounted. Then the fun began.

    "Give me back my manectric!" the green-clothed girl shouted as she balled her hands into fists. She didn't look too threatening, more like a little girl with a temper tantrum, so that may have been why one of the red-clad people snickered.

    "Right, girl. I'll give this dog back to you once we're through with it," one person in the middle said. He was buff, his bulking muscles showing through the sweatshirt-like shirt. He looked in his mid thirties, and his chin had stubble on it. He had in his hand a rubber leash that was attached to the manectric's muzzle, rendering it helpless.

    Shayla beckoned Amburna forth. "Either give my friend back her manectric or I send my dragonair on you!" she threatened. Amburna moved out in front of her trainer and summoned rain clouds. Thunder began to rumble, rain began to pour, and Amburna had completed her intimidation act. If I didn't know her, I would be scared out of my wits. An angry dragonair isn't a good one.

    The leader of the group began to laugh. "Fine then! A battle it shall be! Then I can shove your weasly little faces in the ground and take your pokemon too!" He looked among my comrades and his eyes fell on Shoko and Tai. "I wouldn't mind taking those two…"

    The charizard and jolteon snarled in response, showing of their pearly fangs. Unfortunately, the man in the red sweatshirt laughed it off and called forth his first pokemon against Amburna.

    It was a mightyena. It was tough looking, scarred across its cheek and eyes, and it was snarling even as it came out. It tossed its head and growled at Amburna. She didn't flinch.

    Niether did Shayla. "Amburna! Surf!"

    Amburna twisted her body and then her body glowed a bright blue. The mightyena was too distracted by the light coming from Amburna's body to see the massive tidal wave rising from the sea next to us. It rose up in the air, and then plummeted down on the mightyena. Water rushed past my ankles, and I looked to see if the mightyena had survived such an attack.

    Amazingly, it did. It rose up from the small pond with wet and shaking legs, still glaring at Amburna. Amburna rose her head slightly, as if to silently dare the mightyena to attack her.

    Finally, the dark dog spoke. "Kyogre-lover …" he whispered. "You think a little water's going to make me faint?" He took a staggering step forward, proving he could still battle. "I'll never fall to a Kyogre-lover like you…"

    "Mightyena!" the man roared. "Crunch!"

    The mightyena lunged at Amburna with tremendous energy. However, Amburna easily dodged it by simply moving a part of her body out of the way. The mightyena crashed into the muddy ground, face first. He was to my left, and I watched him get up. He was struggling again, and before he could stand, Shayla ordered out another attack.

    "Amburna!" She roared furiously, "SLAM!"

    Amburna glared at the struggling darkling and charged through the air straight towards him. He had turned and faced Amburna, and when she performed her slam attack, he opened his mouth and clamped down hard on her lithe body. She screamed.

    "Amburna!" Shayla yelled, alarmed. "Throw him, Amburna! Throw him off of you!"

    Amburna glared down at her opponent with a ferocity I never thought possible and then flung then mightyena into a nearby building. He landed against the wall with a crash, and then fell to the ground with a sloppy-sounding thump. He did not get back up.

    The man glared through the rain and then returned the mightyena back to his poke ball. Amburna returned to her place on the field, now with blood oozing from a spot on her side where the mightyena had bitten her. I moved up beside Shoko and continued to watch.

    He sent out an arbok, also scarred and intimidating. I was surprised someone had an arbok in this region, but some of my own comrades had come from the Kanto and Johto regions as well. Amburna flinched at the sight of the arbok, to which she smiled.

    "Come now, dearie," the arbok hissed. "Don't be afraid of little me…" She got low to the ground and coiled herself up.

    "Arbok!" the man shouted, "Poison sting attack!"

    The arbok reared up and, with incredible speed, shot poison darts from her mouth right into Amburna's wound. She screamed again and fell to the ground, unable to keep floating.

    Shayla flinched. "Amburna! Come back!" She turned to her left, where Kazu and Saji were standing. "Kazu! Go! Psychic!"

    The espeon ran out in front of Shayla and quickly attacked. His eyes glowed an angry red, and then the arbok was lifted off of the ground high into the sky. With quick movements of his head, Kazu rammed the arbok into walls, trees, and eventually the ground. The arbok did not move.

    "Dammit!" the man cursed, and then pulled a red-clad woman from beside him forward. "Help me!"

    The woman nodded, and she pulled out her own pokemon, which happened to be an umbreon. The man sent out a torcoal. Shayla glared and then called Kazu back to the sidelines.

    "Shoko! Tai! Get in there!" Shayla roared, to which they obliged. In a matter of minutes, the torcoal and umbreon were fainted at the hands of my comrades. Niether of them were panting, and Shoko was at his peak power, even in the rainstorm Amburna had summoned. It was then that I heard the helicopter.

    I looked up and saw the black helicopter hovering above us. There were people looking down upon us -people in red robes. Shayla apparently saw them too, because she ordered Tai to bring them down.

    "Alright you bastards!" Tai shouted to the sky, "It's time for you to come down and play with us!" He sent a bolt of lightning to the helicopter and, in flames of glory, it began to crash. Kazu was then ordered to use psychic to grab all of the passengers. I merely watched all of this with an air of distant awe.

    When the helicopter crashed, Shayla turned to the group of four -now turning into seven- and shouted over the howling winds, "Alright! I've had enough of this! You're beaten, Team Magma! Now give my friend back her manectric! It doesn't even KNOW any electric attacks! So keep this stupid fight between yourselves and Team Aqua!"

    I blinked and looked at the wet, defeated men and women before me. This is the "mighty" Team Magma I've heard so much about? I thought, perplexed. I had heard that they were great warriors, wanting to awaken the great poke god Groudon and widen the landmass. I of course thought it was bogus, that it was just a publicity stunt to get land pokemon into the hands of more trainers. Apparently, I was wrong.

    The leader of the Magma guffawed, even though all of his pokemon were spent. "I'm afraid I can't, little lady. Because you see, we need your friend's pokemon. And if it can't use any electric attacks, then we'll just take your jolteon as well. Hell, I'd gladly take all of your pokemon off your hands…"

    He then locked eyes with me, and when his gaze turned to hungry, my instincts went nuts. I HAD to get away from this guy.

    Shayla scoffed, and tossed a pecha and sitrus berry to Amburna. "There is no way I'd let you lay one of your grimy hands on my pokemon, you filth."

    The man smiled and replied, "Guess I'll just have to take them."

    A sound alerted my ears. The familiar sound of helicopter blades slicing through the air. But this time, it was different. It was a murky sound, like more than one. I looked up and saw at least thirty helicopters swirling above us, and then that was when the tranquilizers rained down upon us.

    Shoko was hit first, in the lower neck. He let out a roar, and fell to the ground, unconscious. Shayla ran to him, but a Magma woman came up behind her and hit her in the back of the head with a metal rod. Kazu and Saji went nuts, but the espeon was quickly done in by a tranquilizer. Tai didn't see this because he was too busy dodging darts and shocking the shooters of said darts. Amburna was out as well, a dart had hit her when she had tried to use dragon rage.

    I myself was trying to avoid the darts when I saw a dewgong appear. At first I was wondering why they would send out a dewgong, but then it hit me. Saji's steel body rendered the tranqs useless. So… they were trying to…

    "Saji!" I heard myself yell. "WATCH OUT! THERE'S A DEWGONG-"

    Saji turned and saw the dewgong but not fast enough to get away from the ice beam. It hit him full in the abdomen, and ice began to form on his body. After a few seconds, Saji was completely encased in a pillar of ice.

    Tai did, however, see this. "BASTARD!" he screamed at the dewgong, and used thunderbolt on the water-type. However, since he was no longer shooting electricity, the Magma members saw an opening and shot Tai in the upper back, in between his shoulder blades.

    When I saw Tai go down, something snapped. I looked up to the helicopters flying above me and began to shoot my own electricity out at them. They were lower now -probably trying to get close enough to pick up my teammates. I was not going to let that happen.

    The leader of the Magma came to my side, and before I could react, shot a dart into my neck. I fell onto the ground on my good side, feeling limp and numb. My muscles twitched and tried to fight the serum that was now flowing through my veins. The man stood over me, a triumphant look on his face.

    "An absol that can use thunderbolt… The boss will love to see you again…"

    He raised his foot above me and brought it down upon my skull, to which I felt pain, and then nothing at all.

  6. #6
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 6

    Calm Before the Storm

    "'C'mon you lousy excuse for a pokemon!" I heard Master shout. "Hit that alakazam with your bite!"

    I panted and rushed forward, my legs almost giving out each step I took. I never knew a psychic pokemon that could defeat a dark type, but I was at least twenty levels below this one. And he knew attacks that weren't psychic type attacks. Strong ones. But I had to defeat him, because Master told me to. I had to accomplish this for Master.

    With desperation and adrenaline on my side, I lunged at the powerful psychic and bit his shoulder, to which he screamed and fainted. And when he fell to the ground before me, something dawned.

    I had defeated a pokemon almost twice my level!

    I began to jump for joy when Master called me back over. I did, and looked up to perhaps finally see pride and happiness in those perfect blue eyes of his, to finally see that I had done something right for Master, for that was my sole purpose in life. But my smile faded when all I saw was his usual frown.

    "You barely won that battle, Absol," he muttered in a condescending tone. "Why do I even spend time trying to get you stronger?" My hopes and five-second dreams shattered spontaneously, and my black webbed tail stopped furiously wagging. Unfortunately, he continued. "You are the biggest waste of my time. Nidoking never gave me this much trouble, and niether did venusaur. In fact, all of my pokemon have been competent enough to be able to defeat another pokemon with such a large type disadvantage." He then pulled out something I dreaded -his whip. He wasn't a tamer, but he was close.

    The trainer with the alakazam came up to Master with a large wad of cash in his hands. "Man, that was a fight to remember! I'll be sure to steer clear of absols from now on…" The other trainer noticed Master's whip. "Dude, what's that for?"

    Master scoffed and ran a perfect hand through his perfect hair. "I'm going to train this absol some more, it still sucks. It could have been defeated easily if you hadn't gone easy on me."

    My eyes went to the ground. I had disappointed Master again. I deserved to be whipped. Even though red wounds littered my white fur, I did not pay heed to them. Master would want me to sustain them until we came across a Poke Center, or maybe after that. Master said that it built character.

    The trainer talking to Master shook his head. "Well… My alakazam was almost twenty levels above your absol… I'd say it's plenty strong. If you don't want it, I'll take it."

    The mere thought that Master might get rid of me was terrifying in itself. I jerked my head suddenly to look at Master, see what he would do. He contemplated it for what seemed like forever, and then, to my relief, shook his perfect head.

    "Naw… I'll keep it for a little while longer, see if it actually becomes strong. A guy in the Elite Four has an absol, so it must be worth while." He then looked at me with his perfect blue eyes, and smiled. I smiled back, completely oblivious.

    Time went in fast forward, and suddenly, I was outside, and it was raining relentlessly. Master held the whip in his hands, and he called out my comrade, his nidoking. My mind screamed. I knew what was about to happen. My feet wouldn't move, and I stood there dumbly while Master ordered nidoking to hold me down, with my stomach facing upward. Master was mad at me for ruining his trade. He had almost gotten a pidgeot, an acceptionally strong one, in exchange for me, but I popped out of my poke ball and wouldn't leave Master. I couldn't leave Master. And now I was being punished.

    Master scowled angrily at me through the rain. "Now you get your punishment, you fucking bitch." He raised his whip, and brought it down upon me.

    I don't know how long he did it. All that remains in my memory is nidoking whispering his apologies to me as lash after lash came down upon my exposed stomach. After his whip had gone through enough skin, he crouched down and began to peel my furry skin off of my muscles. He laughed while I tried to writhe in pain.

    And I could not defend myself, for this was Master, and Master was doing what was right. Master wasn't wrong for punishing me. I had been bad and I had to take my punishment, or else I'd be bad and Master would hate me more. Master was never wrong…

    And he peeled off little strands of my muscles, laughing at my pain. And I loved him for it.

    I was glad.

    I sat up abruptly, and my head clashed with something metal. The black scythe on my head began to throb, and the rest of my body began to twitch. I had no idea why -a knock to the head shouldn't have done that to me. Then, a flash of the Magma man popped into my head and I realized what was going on. So the tranquilizer they stuck in me was wearing off…

    I stared down at my black, clawed feet and processed the fact that they were in shackles. Strong ones, from the look of them. I gave a grim sigh and began to chew at the chains when the sound of human footsteps and voices. I immediately lay back down to appear that I was sleeping, lest they think I was listening.

    At first, I couldn't really hear them. There were two voices, one a burlesque male and the other a furtive female. The male spoke first, although I didn't quite understand what he was saying in the beginning. "…Grou… get… ov… world. Kyog… T… Aq… r…. …est..y… fa… Kai… …ken, then… …ld."

    The two then passed my cage and then paused. The woman spoke. "Of course. Kaiyou is a major step for us. Team Rocket may have had their slip with Mewtwo, but they were ignorant and stupid. And since we have their database, we can learn from their mistakes. WE will control Kaiyou and then WE WILL awaken Groudon. If Kaiyou fails, then Team Aqua wins. Kaiyou is essential to our plans."

    …Kaiyou…? my mind wondered. What the heck was a Kaiyou? I had heard about the attempt to make a Mew clone, but I thought that was urban myth. Then there really WAS a mad, psycho Mew-thing out to kill everything? Or had he really been appeased? Oh, Lugia, don't let this Kaiyou thing be very powerful…

    I heard the woman's high heels begin to clop towards me, meaning she was coming towards the man. "Kaiyou can NOT get out of hand, do you hear me, Ton?" she asked firmly. "I do NOT want another Mewtwo project. We need to assemble as many well-trained fighting pokemon as we can so that if Kaiyou does go wild, we can stop it. If this fails, then it's MY head, and then yours. Understand?"

    The man named Ton gulped and then responded, "Yes, ma'am."

    I opened my eyes slightly, to see these two. Why had the woman ordered for fighting pokemon? Was this Kaiyou thing ice? More than likely. Or maybe it was a rock type? Apparently, I had opened my eye to where it was noticeable because the man leaned down and stared at me.

    "This absol's strong," he commented, his black eyes boring through me. "She's a good fighter, I can tell. Might even be able to beat the crap out of my own primeape."

    The woman scoffed. "The only reason pokemon are strong and good fighters are because of their trainers. The absol itself probably can't fight worth a crap without a trainer behind her." My fur bristled. The bitch was saying that I was a complete simpleton! That I wasn't even sentient! I began to growl at her and then man began to laugh good-naturedly.

    "I doubt that. She's a fighter, that's for sure. I owned an absol once. And even though he was always sickly and eventually died from a disease that he caught, he was one of my best pokemon. He was still such a good pokemon, so friendly and so powerful. Almost makes me wish I were a dark trainer. But I love fighting too much."

    The woman scoffed. "I didn't want your teary story, Ton. Now get back to work on Kaiyou or else I'll be feeding YOU to that absol." After that, she clopped away like the cow that she was.

    Apparently, my loathing for the cow woman was showing, because the man reached in my cage and smoothed my ruffled fur down. "Don't let her get to you," he said softly. "She's a bitch, but she's alright. Doesn't care much for pokemon, though. Just power. Just keep cool and you'll be alright, Little Miss." He patted my head once, scratched the spot behind my scythe and then left.

    I was confused. I had thought that Team Magma was the equivalent to Team Rocket; but apparently, Team Magma actually gets along with pokemon. It was probably because I was a land-dweller, but still.

    My mind went back to this Kaiyou thing they were talking about. From what they said earlier, it was essential to their plan of raising Groudon. Now, it was no real secret that awakening Groudon was their plan, it was that no one knew how they were going to do it. Something clicked.

    If they were using the data that they got from the Mewtwo project back on Kanto, then they were cloning something to get Kaiyou…

    Was it the legendary dogs? None of them had a weakness to fighting. The birds? No… The cow woman said they needed fighting type. No trainer in their right mind would put even an army of fighting types against a cloned, flying legendary. So… what then?

    A moan to my right brought me out of my frenzy reverie and I looked through the bars to see Saji. My heart leapt with joy at the sight of the scizor. How could I not see him there? I shook off the question and went to the side of my cage and gently nudged him through the bars. "Saji! Saji!"

    He stirred to my proddings, but did not wake up. Slightly frustrated, I sent a small flamethrower at his insect bum, to which he properly responded.

    "GYAA!" he cried, frantically trying to get away from the flame. Of course, he was chained, so he didn't get far. He slammed back to the ground with a mighty thud, and I had to suppress a large urge to burst out laughing. He groggily looked at me, and then stared for a while.

    I rolled my eyes. Apparently, he forgot who I was. "It's me, Demi, you retard," I whispered. "Can you break out of these shackles?"

    He regarded me like I was crazy, then looked down, and to his surprise, found the shackles I had mentioned. He gave a goofy grin and then turned back to me and said in a low, giggling whisper, "He hee… I have shackles on my claws…!" He began to giggle again, and I stood beside him, mouth agape.

    "I can get them off," said a voice beside me. I looked to see a glowing umbreon staring at me with his large, red eyes through the bars of the cages. To tell the truth, it was a little creepy.

    I watched in amazement as he retreated into shadows, then came back out on my side of the cage. I had seen darklings do this before, so I wasn't all that surprised, but I figured he had to be insanely strong. Only experienced darks can melt into shadow.

    "Can you do it?" he asked me. I didn't really know -I had never tried. So, to make things faster, I shook my head. He merely stared back at me, and then softly said, "Use flamethrower on your chains, and then use slash. They will break off. While you do that, I will go free the others. When you are free, do not attempt to break free of your cage, lest you want to be put into a higher security cage."

    I watched him as he melted back into the wall, and then came up in Saji's cage, and instructed him on how to break free of his shackles. I shrugged and then began to work on my shackles.

    The only pokemon that were awake were now free of their shackles but now restricted to their cages. I had seen Shoko and Tai pacing in their cages, but Amburna was still asleep and badly wounded. I had no idea where Kazu was.

    I had found out that there were at least 700 pokemon in the cages around us, in a line against the wall, and stacked on top of other cages. And, from what I heard, all 700 pokemon were at least level 50. I wanted to know how they contained so many.

    I began to pace. The Kaiyou thing was still lurking in my mind. What was it? What type was it? How big was it? So many questions ran through my head, and my feet responded to the speed of my thoughts. Soon, the umbreon from before appeared right in front of me, only upside-down.

    "Gah!" I yelped, stopping dead in my tracks. After I gathered my scattered wits, I looked up to his upside-down head. "What is it…?"

    He dropped off of the ceiling on to his feet, and looked at me with that piercing stare of his. "Since you are the only other competent dark here, I wish for you to accompany me."

    I was speechless. "Um… Okay… Sure, I'll help," I replied in a dumbfound manner. I inwardly berated myself for acting so stupid. He smiled at me and then bowed slightly.

    "Others call me Eclipse, Lady Ayako," he said as he came up from his bow. He shook his head when I was about to demand how he got my name. My REAL name.

    "I asked your friend over there," he explained nonchalantly, tossing his head slightly towards the direction of Tai, who seemed to be glaring at something in our direction. I assumed he was glaring at me, so I made a face at him. Eclipse saw this, and shook his head.

    "He is not glaring at you, Lady Ayako," he said softly. "He is glaring at me."

    I was confused by that. "But why is he glaring at you?"

    Eclipse looked at me, his dark, ringed face slightly bemused. "Can you not see it?"

    I blinked, and he took that for a no. He shook his glowing head and then said, "No time for explanations. It's almost here. We must act fast. I will get certain pokemon that would be helpful to the plan, including a flygon. You may retrieve whom you like. I suggest leaving your espeon friend behind."

    He melted into the ground, and I stared at the place where he last stood. Now why didn't he want Kazu coming along? And how did he know that I knew an espeon to begin with…? I shook my head and then collected the names and faces of those that I would gather. Tai, Shoko, Saji, a salamence that I saw, a milotic, and a gyarados would do nicely. But when I was about to spring from my cell, a voice echoed inside my head.

    Don't use a door. Use the shadows. Doors will betray you to unfriendly eyes. Shadows are true. Do not fear the Void, Ayako. Your Dark element will guide you.

    I blinked and then thought against breaking out. I turned to the shadowy wall behind me, and a wave of mixed feelings rushed through me. I glared at the wall, and then plunged into the shadows.

    The Void was creepy. No ground, no sky, no anything. Just dark. I turned my body ina certain direction, and then felt pulled towards it. I went ahead and followed it, and then sprung into the space beside Tai.

    "WAH!" he cried, sending stray sparks of electricity flying every where. He was on his feet, leaning on the far side of his cage, the place furthest away from me. After he realized who I was, he settled down a little bit.

    "Man, I thought you were that umbreon guy again," he muttered lowly. At his tone, my brow cocked.

    "Do I detect a tone of loathing towards the umbreon in question?" I asked, getting closer to him. He snarled and walked away from me again.

    "No," he replied in the same manner, and then plopped back down on the steel floor. I frowned and then came up behind him.

    "Why are you like this?" I asked, seriously perturbed. "He's only trying to get us out and you treat him like this behind his back? What's wrong with you?"

    He turned slightly, just to the point where I could make out a glare on his face. "I just… don't like him. Is there anything wrong with that?"

    The way he said the last sentence ticked me off. "Yeah, there is," I replied tersely, earning a weird look from the jolteon. "I'm not liking the way your treating an allay like this! It's wrong! Would you ever treat Shoko or Amburna like this?"

    Tai scoffed. "You don't even know what an umbreon is capable of. He could pull you into that Void and then make you get stuck there. You'd die, and I wouldn't be able to help you." After a moment of tense silence, (which included me trying to find all of the hidden meanings in his speech) he stood up, turned around and then said, "So what does that bastard want you to do?"

    We had made our way throughout the whole complex, my team including Shoko, Tai, Saji, Kazu, (to which Eclipse strongly disapproved of, but Tai told him to "shove it"), the gyarados, (named Tempest), the milotic, (named Shiro), and the salamence (named Thor). Eclipse had brought only a flygon, Skye, and a golduck, Kappa. We had silenced all of the Magma members that we had run across, and disabled all of the security cameras. Now Eclipse was leading us to the center of the building, where I could fee a great aura begin to surround us.

    The aura made me jittery, nervous. Tai noticed it, and then began to take more caution of our surroundings. Other than that, no one seemed to notice, save for Kazu, and he seemed to be becoming tired. How could no one sense this huge presence?

    Eclipse flashed his golden rings in a signal to stop. We obliged, and waited for a command. He gave an undefined look to me, and then began to walk very slowly. I then heard his voice in my head again.

    Tell the others to wait here. They might not feel anything now, but they will when he awakens. Especially the espeon, he could die. They need to stay somewhere at a safe distance away from the large tube -you see it, right?

    I didn't know if I could send telepathic thoughts -that was left to the psychics. But I went ahead and tried. Amazingly, it worked.

    Yeah… Yeah, I see it. But why? What's in that test tube?

    I felt a slight shudder in Eclipse's response. Kaiyou.

    I scoffed. Well, yeah. But what IS Kaiyou? Is he emitting the aura?

    Yes. It proves how powerful he is. Come now, it's happening. Although, don't reveal yourself when you see him.

    Who? Kaiyou?

    No… Another. You will see. Just come closer.

    I began to crawl closer to where Eclipse was positioned, when Tai stopped me.

    "What do you think you're DOING?" he whispered harshly. He stepped on my paw in order to stop me. I pulled my clawed paw away and frowned.

    "I'm going to get a better look. Now, you and the others keep over here, Eclipse says that it'll be bad if you all get too close. Especially Kazu, he could get killed."

    Tai didn't take heed to my warning. "Of course he would tell you that! He's trying to get you secluded where you'll be alone and vulnerable! He's trying to-"

    I pushed him away and went back on my way. I heard Tai grunt with frustration and he began to corral everyone back. I smiled. It seemed that the jolteon was useful after all.

    I joined Eclipse's side to his right and he nodded his head towards the tube. I almost lost my jaw to the floor.

    Kaiyou was magnificent. The length of his body was at least twenty feet nose to tail. His body was jet black, with deep golden stripes adorning his fur. His face was the same, except there were two stripes coming from the front corner of his eye and then swept back almost to his ears. The ears themselves were about a third the length of his body. They were black, except for the last quarter, and that part was the same golden hue as the stripes. He was positioned almost standing on his haunches in order to fit in the tube.

    I was about to comment on Kaiyou when a deep, familiar, masculine voice interrupted me. I turned to my left, where the sound emanated from. I couldn't see who it was at first, but I dreaded that the feeling from the pit of my stomach was right.

    "At last, my comrades, we have finished it. The key to awakening -and controlling Groudon. Let Team Rocket fiddle with their Tinker Toys, let Team Aqua daydream about Kyogre. For today, we have accomplished the one thing people claimed we could not. We have created the most powerful pokemon -it could bring the greatest Legendaries to their knees, even the great Mewtwo himself." He then came into my line of sight, and I almost retched.

    My former trainer surveyed the room, soaking all of the approving faces in like a dry sponge. His quaint smile grew to ambitious, and he turned his back on me to face Kaiyou in the tube. "My friends, we have created the first Dark Legendary, Kaiyou."

    I didn't want to hear the rest of his words. I had heard enough. Eclipse's warning was thrown out the window when he turned and looked straight at me. And then, he sneered.

    I lunged.

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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 7

    Patterns

    I never knew how much I truly hated his face -the one I had admired for years- until I saw that sneer on his older face.

    I lunged.

    I jumped through the air, claws outstretched, teeth bared. I wanted to taste his hot blood on my tongue, the same way he had felt mine on his hands. I wanted to tear his skin from his muscles like he had done to me so many times before. I wanted to sink my teeth and claws into his body and rip him apart.

    He was surprised. I guessed he didn't quite expect me to grow a brain for my own and learn that what he did to me was wrong. So he didn't have much defense against my attack once he realized I wasn't jumping into his arms to become his lap dog again.

    My claws dug into the flesh beneath his neck, and above his collarbone. He screamed in pain, and then glared up at me. His hand reached for his side, where my former comrades waited, but I stopped that movement with a thunderbolt.

    I heard a gun cocking to my left, but I didn't want to move. I had been dreaming about this day for the whole time I had been left behind -seven years. I didn't want to leave this spot. Not until I saw Death take his life.

    I then felt something furry and spiky ram into my right side, pushing me off of my former trainer. I skidded across the slick tile floor, and lifted my own head to see Tai's. "Get off of me!" I roared, to which he looked up to me and snarled.

    "The hell do you think you're DOING?" he shouted while raising his fur to become actual spikes. "That dude was about to shoot you!"

    BAM!

    A bullet flew over my head, and sunk into the wall behind me. Tai pushed me up, and ran over to a nearby overhang, which would shelter him from the bullets. I saw him run to the overhang, but I looked back to my former trainer. He was getting up! NO!

    I began to run back to finish my job -to kill the man that stood before me. But the jolteon had other plans. He grabbed my black, webbed tail and began pulling me towards the overhang. He could see the guns being cocked.

    Unfortunately for him, Tai's little paws didn't have the traction on the slick floor like my claws did. I began to run forwards, despite the jolteon weighing me down, when something black and gold rushed up from the ground and hit me, sending Tai and me into the Void.

    I looked around to see the same blackness that was the Void. I cursed and began to go back to the real world when Eclipse stopped me.

    "I told you not to reveal yourself once you saw him," he scolded, glaring at me with his red eyes. "How could you lose your control like that?"

    I noticed I was panting. I closed my mouth and swallowed in an effort to regain control of my breathing. I glared back at the umbreon. "You don't understand. You've never been in that kind of situation. Where you've been tortured and mutilated by your Master, and then, after so many years of mental abuse, you see him and-"

    "Oh, be quiet," Eclipse interrupted in a cynical tone I had never heard from him. "Of course I know. I've had five trainers. Each one was worst than the last. I ran away from my last one. Of course I despise them all. They were horrible humans, and they deserve to die, according to my accounts. But I have never, upon meeting, have tried to kill them."

    He shook his head. "You don't act like a Dark, Ayako. Otherwise, you would have seen that there was another choice you could have made."

    I glared. "What do you mean?"

    He looked at me. "So many pokemon believe that their trainers are their best friends. Some have the fortune of being correct. Others are living in a lie. And those pokemon who do get abandoned or traded believe that, upon meeting their former trainer, the human must either be killed or worshipped.

    "But no one ever sees the other choice. Just walk away. That's what I've done with all of my other trainers, even the one that set me on fire four times. It is not my choice to decide their fate, only the beings higher up in the hierarchy. If I were to decide their fate for them, the Pattern would be disturbed."

    I cocked my eyebrow. "Pattern?"

    He nodded. "Dark pokemon have the gift of seeing the Pattern. It is the strings of Destiny and Fate that link everyone and everything together. The psychics have a partial understanding of the Pattern, but Darks are the only ones who can accurately predict the outcome of a certain event, given they are not too involved with the event in question.

    "Which leads me to my next point -you cannot kill your trainer. Not yet. We must wait until the Pattern no longer uses him in the Design."

    I growled. I was already confused by the fact that he was telling me of something ancient and powerful, something I was supposed to be able to see and use (yet I didn't think I could) and now he was telling me I couldn't kill my former trainer until the "Pattern" thing no longer used him. Eclipse growled softly to get my attention.

    "Remember, you are not a deity. You do not have the right to decide which humans deserve life and which deserve death. Do not mistake yourself for something greater than what you really are. Yes, your trainer abused you. Yes, it is ethically wrong. But, there is nothing you can do about it now. Trying to get revenge for what happened so many years ago is the equivalent to taking poison and waiting for your former trainer to die."

    That shut me up and forced me to think. Why had I attacked him? Well, duh, because I hate him. But why couldn't I just walk away? What was I trying to prove? That I had become independent of him and no longer thought he was a god? Or maybe…

    "Hey, Xena? Can we leave?"

    I looked behind me to see Tai darting his head about, obviously scared out of his wits. He was gulping about every five seconds, and was shaking. He slowly made his way to my side, and then glared at Eclipse.

    "Hey, Socrates, are you done yet? I want to get the hell out of here," the jolteon demanded, while simultaneously trying to look intimidating while being scared witless.

    Eclipse merely smiled. "Are you afraid, Jolteon?"

    A shaky "No" came from Tai. Eclipse's smile remained and then turned to his side, where he poked the Shadow, and a swirling vortex appeared.

    "This will lead to the overhang," Eclipse explained. "You first, Thunder Dog."

    Tai glared at the umbreon and then made his way slowly to the portal, where he glanced at me for reassurance. I gave him my "You're-being-a-retard-for-being-scared-of-that" look and he rolled his eyes in response. He then jumped in and disappeared.

    I made my way to the portal when Eclipse began to speak.

    "I must tell you…" he began softly, "…that if you continue on this path, it will lead you to more pain than ever."

    Since he was to my left side, I turned to face him, completely astounded and appalled of what I had just heard. "What?" I asked of him, and he turned to open a different portal.

    "The path that you are on now," he repeated, as if that would clarify everything. "There are two fates of which I cannot see… It is too clouded. Too uncertain. There are too many variables that could change… but one thing I am certain. There is one line that ends abruptly. One life that will cease to exist -and it will be someone close to you." He stared at me. "I believe you already know this, don't you?"

    I snarled. "What are you talking about? I don't know any of this Fate crap."

    He smiled knowingly. "It's in your blood to know. You're an absol. Even if you shun your Dark element to full capacity, you would still be able to sense when natural disasters are coming. Especially since you're so strong. You've been feeling the little ripples, haven't you? The little quivers in the atmosphere that always indicates that something is going to happen. Something bad. You know it, don't feign ignorance."

    I began to walk towards him slowly. My facial expression matched my mistrust of this "Pattern". "And who, exactly, is involved in this little 'mishap' that's supposed to happen, hm?"

    He narrowed his eyes. "Don't mock me. You know I speak the truth. But I guess you would see the Pattern a little better if you relied more on your Dark element than smothering yourself with lies and deceits. You shun your Dark element. Why? Is it because you believe you're evil?"

    I jumped and tried to catch him in my claws, but he disappeared before I even landed. He reappeared behind me. "There's no way that you could catch me that way. The Void is the center of Dark and Shadow. Normal or any other type attacks simply won't work. Now, if you don't mind, I must leave."

    I couldn't help jumping in front of him. "And where do you think you're going?" I yelled, angry at the fact that he wouldn't shut up about the fact that I rely more on Fire and Ice attacks than Dark. "Aren't you going to help the others with Kaiyou?"

    He disappeared and then reappeared by the most recently opened portal. "No," he replied. "That would upset the balance. My part is done. Now, go back to your Jolteon friend, he's on the verge of chaos. He doesn't trust me. Especially alone with you." And with that, he leapt through the portal and left me alone in the Void.

    I sighed and then turned to my own portal, which was swirling lethargically. I shrugged and then leapt through it, not eager to find out what was on the other side.

    Tai, as Eclipse told me, was going insane. He was shouting when I stepped through the wall, and when he saw me, he tackled me.

    "The HELL have you been?" he shouted, standing above me as I tried to get back up. "I thought that stupid Umbreon -Eggplant or whatever his name was-"

    "Eclipse," I muttered.

    "…Whatever," Tai said dismissively. "I thought he had done something to you because I had told you that he could trap you in that freaky Void thing and-"

    "Shut up, Tai," I muttered again. I had just been struck with a large headache. "Your voice is annoying me."

    He gawked at me. "Well, that was rude," he commented, and then came over to my side. "Does Xena have a headache?" he asked in a baby-talk voice, to which I merely glared at him.

    I then felt something. Like a pulse. I lifted my head and scanned the room, to find everyone was standing still and listening to my former trainer talk. Tai was about to say something, but I hit him in time to shut him up so I could hear what the human had to say.

    "And now, with no further delay, I present to you, the key to Groudon's awakening and our triumph over Aqua. Kaiyou! AWAKEN!"

    I trotted out to the floor and saw the great beast give a mighty spasm when my former trainer pulled a lever, which made a nearby Raichu begin to perform a thunder. The electricity was channeled by two wires connected to the Raichu's cheeks, which ran into the tube and ended at Kaiyou's heart. My eyes were glued to Kaiyou, because, for some reason, I couldn't take my attention away from him.

    My former master gave a signal and the Raichu stopped the electrical flow. The room was silent.

    Kaiyou opened his eyes.

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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 8

    A Predicament

    Kaiyou opened his eyes.

    "Holy shit," Tai whispered. I agreed.

    The Dark clone's great head lifted a little, and he surveyed the room with his deep, crimson eyes. Again, I found that I could not tear my gaze away from him. Then, he discovered that there was glass encasing him and then, with a mighty wave of energy, shattered it to pieces.

    The wave forced its way through all of our bodies, and from what I could tell, it was painful for everyone, save for me. What little damage had been done to me was gone, and I felt more powerful than ever.

    But that was when Kazu screamed.

    "KAZU!" Tai yelled, and turned in the direction of his brother.

    The jolteon, without a second thought, ran to the entrance hall where the other pokemon were staying. I watched with an air of aloofness as Tai ran to his younger brother and began to try and drag the bleeding espeon away from Kaiyou. The jolteon looked at me for a minute, as if he was silently asking for my help, but I didn't move. I couldn't move. He glared at me and continued in his work.

    I saw Kazu. He had blood all over his body, mostly around the jewel on his head and his side, where I would later find out that that was an old scar from a kabutops's scythe when the espeon was very young. Tai had told me it would never completely heal, and that spot was a weak point in his furry purple hide.

    I wanted to help him. But I couldn't move. Against my will, my head turned towards the Dark Legendary. He was standing on all fours, staring at me. When we made eye contact, he gave the slightest of nods, and then turned back to the humans who were congratulating themselves.

    My former trainer began to speak. "You see his power? You see how he makes the pokemon retreat from his mere AURA? He is the greatest pokemon that ever existed, better than Mewtwo, better then Celebi, better even, than Lugia HIMSELF! He will be the ticket to our reign of-"

    Suddenly, he stopped short. His body was bent backwards a little, as if something was pushing him down. He began to make choking noises, and started have convulsions all over his body. I looked up to the new legendary to see his deep crimson eyes glow a deathly bright red.

    Then, Kaiyou spoke. (You think I will bend to your will, human? Do you really think that I, a new Legendary, will disgrace myself in following your little scheme when I know what will happen if I do? Groudon must NOT be awoken. Niether should Kyogre. These two Titans should remain dormant, until the right time comes. Not now. Not until the Earth needs to renew itself.)

    Kaiyou's hold on the human broke, and my former trainer fell to the floor with an unnatural thump. Kaiyou then looked to me, and I found myself walking towards him, and stopped at his side. Shoko saw this, and became infuriated for some reason.

    "Demi!" he cried, "Get away from him! You don't know what he can do! He's almost killed Kazu! GET AWAY FROM HIM!"

    Kaiyou half snarled. (What do you take me for, dragon? An insane murderer given new powers? I will not hurt her. She acts like this because I am a Dark deity, to be quite frank. You would do the same for Moltres, Entei, or Ho-oh.)

    The flygon, Skye, snarled. "You're no legendary! You're a clone, like that Mewtwo! You have no right to call yourself a deity!"

    Kaiyou narrowed his eyes at the sand dragon. (Think what you wish, desert dragon, I care not. I have more important things to do than be pulled into trivial squabbles.) He then looked at me again, and, again, I was unable to control my movements. He began to walk forward when a yellow blur rushed up from the floor, and would have hit Kaiyou had the Dark Clone not ducked. The yellow blur rose from the floor and shook itself off.

    Kaiyou turned his great body to look at Tai full in the face. (Yes, jolteon? You wish to speak to me?)

    Tai rose and snarled. "You're going to pay for what you did to Kazu!" he shouted, taking a step forward and sending sparks everywhere. "He's nearly dead, and it's ALL YOUR FAULT!" The jolteon launched himself forward, but Kaiyou disappeared into the shadow and reappeared again when Tai had flown past and landed flat on his face. I would have laughed if the situation weren't so grave.

    Kaiyou narrowed his eyes again. (Your brother will be fine. That is of course, if you stop trying to fight me and start trying to save him. Your trainer is on her way. She will prolong his life until she is able to get him to professional help. There, he will be fully recovered. You don't have very much time now. He is dying without you there.)

    I could tell Tai was torn. Should he believe the clone and run to his brother or try and kill the clone before any more pokemon could be hurt? Finally, he ran back to Kazu, occasionally slipping on the slick floor.

    I looked up and saw Kaiyou smile, but, looking past his ebony and golden head, I saw something horrible.

    "KAIYOU!" I shouted, "WATCH OUT!"

    He looked up and then saw the army of fighting pokemon and newly added Sableye fall from the ceiling and began to beat on him. Somehow, this prevented him from going into the Void, and collapsed under all of the attacks.

    "NO!" I shouted, and then tried to tear my way through the army with my aerial ace. Unfortunately, a machamp caught me in the side with a mega kick, and I flew through the air. When I hit the floor, my eyesight went dark. The last thing I recall was the sound of Kaiyou's bestial voice screaming in pain.

    It still echoes in my ears.

    I don't know how long I was out. All I know was that, apparently, Shayla did come and rescue us all, and we were flying to the nearest pokemon center via private jet thanks to a rich trainer who owned the milotic Shiro.

    I opened my eyes to see Saji's grim face above me. When he saw that I was fully awake, he asked softly, "How do you feel?"

    I didn't know the answer myself, so I rolled over (I was on my back) and responded with a muffled "Fine." He sighed and I looked at him and became aware of the weariness that had taken over his features.

    But of course, I knew why he was like that. "How's… Kazu?"

    He looked at me for a moment and then looked towards the door to the room we were in. "He's sleeping, from what I understand. Shayla and Tai are both in his room… they haven't left him since they got on. Shoko's out flying with Amburna to try and relieve some stress. I was to make sure you woke up."

    A bitter smile formed on my face. "Nice to know they care."

    He almost glared at me, but then he stopped himself. "We are concerned. But Kazu's hurt worse. You know that."

    The scizor, who had been sitting on the steel floor with me, stood up. "You can go and see Kazu if you want. I'm going to go outside with the others." With a slight nod of the head, he turned and walked out the door. I looked out the window to see Shoko and Amburna flying, and talking from the look of it. I sighed and shook myself, to try and wake my body back up. I ventured out of the room and followed Tai's musky scent to another steel door lined with about thirty others in a long hall. I pushed my way through and found Shayla and Tai sitting beside a bandaged and beaten Kazu, who looked unconscious and was lying on a white futon. I slowly made my way towards the group. Tai noticed me first.

    At first he just looked at me with no real emotion in his chocolate brown eyes. After staring at me for a while, he looked back down to lay his head on his brother's side, and didn't look at me again. Shayla, apparently having noticed the jolteon's movements, looked behind herself and smiled softly when she saw me. "Hey, girl," she said. I winced when I heard her strained voice. "Come in. There's plenty of room."

    Awkwardly, I slowly made my way into the room, where I could see Kazu more clearly. He was sleeping, (or unconscious, I couldn't really tell) and he had bandages wrapped around his head and around his middle. There were red splotches where the blood had leaked through. Kazu was lying on his left side, exposing the side wound. Tai's head was placed on Kazu's front leg, and the jolteon was staring out the window, apparently looking at nothing in particular.

    I sat down across from Tai, facing his brother's back. "How is he…?" I asked softly.

    Tai looked at me, then back out the window. "Hell if I know. All I can tell is that he's still bleeding and I can't do a bloody thing about it." His face grew more melancholy. "He's dying, I can smell it."

    I winced. So… was it Kazu's life that Eclipse warned me about? Was it the espeon's life that ended so abruptly? I hung my head slightly and stared at the floor. I felt horrible. I didn't even get to warn either of the brothers of Eclipse's prediction. Then maybe this wouldn't have happened. If I had listened to Eclipse, then….

    "Stop beating yourself up, Xena," Tai mumbled. I looked up at him to see him staring at me with an emotionless face. "It's not your fault. You didn't know, and neither did I. No one's to blame here."

    I sighed. "If only that were true," I mumbled. That got the jolteon's attention.

    "What are you talking about?" he asked, lifting his head off of Kazu's shoulder, but placing a little paw to replace it. "There's no way you could have known."

    I walked away from him to the window and sat there. "Eclipse… he told me-"

    "Shut up about that damn umbreon, Demi," Tai snapped, cutting me off. "I hate him and everything he has to say. He couldn't have possibly said anything of importance."

    I glared back at him. "He did. Now if you would just shut up and let me talk, you would know." Tai's face snarled, but then he put his head where it had been on his brother's form and then muttered, "Fine. Talk then."

    I sighed and then turned to the open window, which revealed a beautiful sky. I paid no heed to it. "Eclipse told me, after you went through that portal in the Void, that someone close to me would die. He didn't know who, but he said that it was one of two people. He didn't say who the two people were, exactly, but apparently…." I looked at Kazu and then placed my gaze to the floor. "I should have told you sooner, but… I guess I…"

    I heard Tai scoff. "That's rapidash shit. He didn't know anything… He probably just guessed. There's no such thing as a Pattern doo-hickey, so there's no way that any Dark can see it and interpret it."

    I looked at him. "How did Kaiyou predict Shayla coming then…?"

    He glared at me. "He's a legendary. Maybe not a real one, but damn close. All legendaries have special powers -Celebi can jump time, Lugia can summon storms, Rayquaza can live in space or something. Maybe he can predict like the psychics can, or maybe he just saw her coming out the window, I don't know. All I know is that Fate is a bunch of crap. So is Luck." He stopped for a moment and then looked away from me. "You can't rely on any of them because they're not real."

    He picked himself off of the futon and looked down at Kazu. "There's nothing that could have predicted this," he muttered, staring at his younger brother. "Nothing scientific, nothing ethereal." He then looked up at me and gave me a stern stare. "So don't you swallow any of that umbreon's shit, you hear me? I don't want to hear about him anymore. His name alone makes me want to vomit."

    "Why do you hate him so much?" I whispered, mostly to myself than to him.

    Tai stared at me. "Because… I hate umbreon. I hate them all. They think they're so high and mighty, that they know all of the secrets of the universe. I hate them because… because they're Dark….and that makes them evil…"

    I cocked an eyebrow. "So I'm evil?"

    He shook his head. "I thought you would be, but you're different, I guess. You're not all that bad, once the Xena thing has been peeled back." He looked at me cautiously and then became nervous. "I-I mean, you're not… evil… just really bitchy, and mean, and-"

    "I get your point," I muttered. Why was he so nervous all of the sudden? He was only talking to me… Nothing big….

    He swallowed. "But, still… Mom had always told us, me and Kazu, when we were really little, that we should never evolve into an umbreon. That would mean that the little dark side we all have would grow and consume us, and then we would become evil…" He looked down to his brother. "I never really questioned that… When I got older, I guessed her hatred for umbreon had come from the fact that my father was killed by one." He looked up at me. "She's a vaporeon and my father was a flareon. The umbreon that had killed him was… well, hunting. The umbreon's trainer said that the umbreon mistook my father for something else, but I could never figure out what."

    My face fell. "That's horrible," I murmured, thinking about my own parents. To my current knowledge, they were safe and sound and living quietly on the route from Fortree to Lilycove. Both of them. I saw Tai shrug.

    "The umbreon that killed my father was put down immediately, but still… After that, my mom was, and probably still is, under a dark cloud. Nothing could cheer her up. It devastated her even more that Kazu and I were leaving with Shayla, and that almost made me want to stay home. But she told us to go, and when we tried to stay, she used water gun to get us out of the house." A small smile came over his face. "She never was a selfish one." Then he gave a small cough. He looked around the room and muttered, "Dammit, I'm homesick now…" He yawned and stared at Kazu for a moment.

    He then lied back down and placed his head on Kazu's shoulder and went back to staring out the window. I lay down myself, closed my eyes, and waited until we got back onto the ground.

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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 9

    Mossdeep Gym

    We had gotten onto the ground of Mossdeep safely, and transported Kazu to the pokemon center fairly easily. And, just as Kaiyou predicted, Kazu was alive and well in a couple of hours. By that time, he was even sitting up and cracking jokes at Tai's expense. Of course, Tai would get him right back.

    The nurse in charge told us that we would have to leave Kazu overnight, just in case they had missed something, so we went ahead and made arrangements to spend the night in the pokemon center. Niether Shayla, Tai, or anyone wanted to leave the espeon by himself.

    Shayla had asked Nurse Joy if Tai could sleep with Kazu, but the nurse wouldn't allow it. So in light of that, Tai stole her keys and locked himself in with his brother, much to the nurse's dismay, since the jolteon had stolen all of the keys in the facility. When Nurse Joy found out, I could hear the eevee brothers laughing from inside of their "fortress" as Tai had called it. After banging her fists on the door and demanding her keys back for an hour, she gave up and stormed back to her desk.

    It was now dark and everyone -save for me, of course, was asleep. Shayla was on the top bunk, Saji on the bottom bunk, and the rest of us were on the floor, resting on futons. I knew that it was well past midnight, because I began to hear the faint cries of the dark pokemon feeding and calling to each other. And, because of the absence of sleep, my mind began to wander.

    Kaiyou was the first thing that came to my mind. Was he dead now? Had Team Magma decided to let their fighting pokemon beat the Dark Legendary to death? I sincerely hoped not. Maybe they were going to try and domesticate him… From the way my former trainer talked about him, Kaiyou seemed too important and powerful to just dispose of so carelessly. I really hoped he could get away and live like he should -out in the wild like a true Legendary.

    The thought of Kaiyou then made my mind turn to Eclipse and his prophecy. I wasn't too stupid to simply discard all that Eclipse said, not like Tai did. There was still the possibility that Kazu was one of the "lines" involved, but I doubted Shayla would be so stupid as to risk Kazu's health so early after recovering. But…Now that I think about it, there weren't two lives in danger when Kaiyou awoke. At least not anything fatal. Only Kazu was really threatened. So… that couldn't have been what Eclipse warned me about. This thought unnerved me. I didn't like the thought that someone else might die. Not that I wanted Kazu to die… I just…

    I didn't want Tai to die.

    I stared at the ceiling for a moment. Why had I just thought that? Why did Tai's name come up? Why wasn't it Amburna or Shoko or Saji or Kazu? It was true, I didn't want any of them to die, but why had Tai's name popped into my head…?

    I shook my head free of the train of thought. I didn't want to get into that. Trying to decipher one's own feelings is like trying to make Team Magma and Aqua drinking buddies. It wasn't possible, and if attempted, it would cause a lot of bodily harm.

    I sighed and forced my mind to think of the two eevee brothers. It must have been hard on them to see their father's dead body and then to look up and see a fellow eevee-form with their father's blood on his lips. Even more so to leave their mother all alone without even her mate to keep her company.

    I sighed and my mind went back to earlier this afternoon, when Kazu was announced as "healthy". I remembered how Tai's face lit up, and he then started running around the room, singing some strange song that I had never heard before. And… I was happy for Tai. He had thought that his brother was going to die, only to find out that the espeon in question would be himself in just a few hours. The fact that Tai was happy for Kazu, somehow, made me happy in itself. I don't know why -I had rarely concerned myself with the fates of others beforehand. But somehow, seeing the jolteon worry himself almost to insanity like he had on the plane… As the thought came to my head, Tai's emotionless face and Kazu's broken and bloody body appeared in my mind and I shuddered. I couldn't stand to see either of them like that again.

    And as I lied down on my soft futon next to the sleeping Amburna, I berated myself. What was wrong with me? Was I getting soft? Why would I care about an annoying jolteon's mental health, or an espeon's physical health? Why would I care? I was an absol, a darkling. I shouldn't care about anyone. Only myself and my family.

    I rolled over on my back and frowned in the dark. It disturbed me to no end that I would concern myself over the two eevee brothers. And not only them, I had gotten fond of Saji, Shoko and Amburna. What was happening to me…? This hadn't happened before, with my former trainer. No, the only one I remotely got along with was the nidoking. I wasn't on speaking terms with the others.

    I sighed and looked to my right, where Amburna was sleeping soundly. For no real reason, I took in everything I could about her -her scent, her look, her heartbeat, everything. I hadn't noticed it before, but I could tell she was close to evolving. That was wonderful news, but I couldn't quite see beautiful Amburna as a dragonite. I paused in my thoughts for a moment. I then realized that my mind was wandering. I growled to myself to try and calm myself down.

    I rolled onto my left side and looked out the window, which presented a wonderful, glowing moon. Suddenly, I became homesick. Right now, if none of this had ever happened, I would be hunting for rattata with Hicha by my side. I would crack a joke, and then he would sulk. I sighed again and sat up. I missed him so much…

    But, what if this had never happened? What if I got the chance to go back, to go along a different path that night? Would I trade all of this -my friends, an actual loving trainer, the ability to travel- for a sense of normality? I succinctly remembered being bored most of my time in the forest. But still… was this right for me? After all, I was a darkling…

    I growled again. There's that damn wall again, I thought. Why did my element have to play such a big role in my everyday life? Why do so many people and pokemon alike shun Darks? Why do I do it myself…?

    I moaned and plopped back down on my pillow. I pushed all of my worries and cares to the back of my mind and began to dream about kicking all of the machamp in the world into a pit of lava.

    The next day, we all ate (the eevee brothers still locked up in the room; they had somehow gotten food) and, after Shayla apologized about a million times to the nurse, we left and set out into the city.

    I took a deep breath of fresh air. It was an unusually beautiful morning, and now that I had gotten used to a different sleeping pattern, I was finally refreshed. I looked over to my comrades, who were all enjoying the beautiful morning. I smiled without any reason, and took a look at the new city.

    It really was a pretty little town. There were trees planted in choice areas, and their green foliage went perfect with the sea's light blue. The houses were small, cozy, and not too abrasive to the eye. The only thing that really jutted into the sky was the space center, but it's window-covered exterior reflected the sky's hue, so it was a pretty sight in itself.

    I looked up and saw Shayla with an unusual determined grin on her face. Confused, I trotted over to the charizard and asked why she was like this. He merely laughed.

    "You realize where we are, right?" he asked, looking down at me to lock eyes. "We're in Mossdeep, where Shayla needs to get her next badge. You should come in handy -I hear that the gym here is psychic."

    My face fell and my opinion of the town fell. I hated gyms. I looked around my team, analyzing which ones Shayla would use. Maybe Saji -he knew faint attack, me, of course, Tai knew bite, Amburna had pure power on her side, Shoko would have to sit out if there was any threat of water or rock… My gaze fell to Kazu, who was limping slightly beside his older brother.

    I sincerely hoped he wouldn't have to battle so soon after a close call like that. "What about Kazu?" I asked. "He isn't going to fight, is he?"

    Shoko scoffed. "Of course not. Shayla's not that cruel or stupid. Kazu's going to be on the sidelines, cheering everyone else on." He looked ahead of us, and a gleam of light entered his eyes. "Ah hah! Here's the gym." He then pointed and I glared at the building. I had always hated gyms…

    It was a rather large gym, one of the bigger ones. Like most gyms, it was white on the outside. I perked my ears in the direction of the gym and heard sounds of battle raging inside. So some other poor bastard had come before us…?

    Shayla smiled and motioned us all inside. Shoko, Tai and Saji were getting themselves into a battle frenzy -a state of mind where a pokemon is so hyped up about battling, that their attack and special attack gets raised a little. From what I remembered of Tai's thunder, he wouldn't need much hype to cause a lot of damage.

    We entered the gym, and I almost gaped. The ceiling was high above us, where the many spotlights were placed. They illuminated the gym well -brightening the light blue tile underneath my feet. There were a few trainers scattered about, lurking in the shadows of the gym. My eyes went to the Gym Leader -or I should say Leaders- standing proudly on a purple-carpeted podium. Shayla saw them and then went towards them.

    One of the trainers in the shadows rushed out. Shoko knew that Shayla didn't like to be bothered with little punks trying to show off, so he turned in the direction of the incoming trainer and growled. He showed his own sharp fangs and began to blow little tongues of flame from his snarling mouth. The trainer stopped dead in his tracks and ran the other way.

    I nearly laughed. No other trainer dared come to challenge Shayla. By the time we reached the Gym Leaders, they both wore an expression of amusement.

    The boy spoke first. "Welcome Challenger. This is-"

    "Mossdeep Gym," the girl finished. I rolled my eyes. I hate these kinds of people. "You must pretty confident to-"

    "-show off your pokemon so freely." The two twins then took a look at all of us and then back to Shayla. The boy spoke first again.

    "My name is Tate and-"

    "-I am Liza. You do know we use psychic types here?"

    Shayla nodded. "Of course. You really think I would be so dense as to walk in a gym not knowing what I'm doing?"

    The twins smiled simultaneously. "Very well," Tate said. "We shall-"

    "-begin our match now."

    The twins then lead the way to the center of the gym, where the battlefield was placed. They took their places and Shayla took hers. We took to the sidelines. A judge walked out, and then called out the rules. "Each trainer may use two pokemon in a two on two battle. Niether the challenger or the gym leaders may substitute pokemon. No time limit. Begin!"

    He rose his green flag into the air, and the twins let their poke balls fly. Shayla turned to us and shouted, "Demi! Amburna! You're up!"

    We looked at each other and then rushed out on the field right when a solrock and lunatone materialized from their poke balls. I stared for a little bit -I hadn't seen either pokemon in real life before. I looked to Amburna and she looked to me -this would be an easy match.

    Apparently, the twins figured that on their own as well. They were shocked at the sight of both of us, but then they settled into their battle faces. They began to shout orders at the same time. "Solrock, solarbeam the dragonair! Lunatone, calm mind!"

    I turned to look at Amburna, who wore a bored expression. Both of us knew she could take these two out on her own -I wasn't needed at all. Shayla knew this too, and commanded Amburna to use surf and me to use crunch in case Amburna missed.

    Amburna began to glow a bluish hue and then a roar began to sound from outside the gym. The roof began to leak for a few seconds, and I moved back a couple of spaces. The twins had no idea what a surf attack inside a gym would look like. Suddenly, the roof caved and thousands of gallons of water poured in, and were pushed in the direction of the twins' pokemon by Amburna's power. The two pokemon were swept away by the powerful force, and landed against the wall of the gym, putting nice dents into said wall. Then, the water began to settle, and with another flash of Amburna's blue aura, the water vanished.

    The twins were in shock and awe. They had been totally wiped out in one, decimating blast. They both looked up at Shayla, and held out her newly won badge.

  10. #10
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 10

    Calling

    We all walked away from the gym with an air of pride. Tai was jovially congratulating Amburna, who merely thanked him about five times between each of Tai's gasps for air. I watched this with a small smile on my face when my feet stopped. My head jerked out towards the ocean, where something disturbing was coming from. I guessed it could have been a hurricane, but, no, it didn't feel like a natural disaster. It felt… more like a call for help…

    Kaiyou?

    "Demi!" Shayla called, looking over her shoulder with an amused face. "Aren't you comin' girl? We're going to go see the space station."

    "Yeah, and see if there's a way to send Tai to the moon and leave him there for the little green men to feast on! He's fat enough!" Saji shouted. Tai glared at the scizor angrily.

    "I am not fat!" Tai shouted, and then tackled Saji to the ground. I ignored the two and leaned in the direction of Shayla and the others, but the pull, the call for help made me stay and look out over the glistening blue ocean again. It was more powerful now- as if it didn't want me to leave. Shayla began to walk over to me, and placed her hand on my white head.

    "Come on, girl, I don't want you to get left behind," she said softly. I kept staring out over the ocean. I knew it was Kaiyou. And I had to help him. If he did what Team Magma told him to do… then… all of Hoenn, if not the whole world would be destroyed…

    Hang on, Kaiyou, I found myself thinking, Just don't awaken Groudon… Try your hardest to not obey them…

    I found myself thinking,
    I felt a ripple of power -Nature's power- flow through me. I looked to the sky. So there was a storm coming. A big one.

    "TAI!" Shayla shouted, simultaneously jerking me out of my reverie, "STOP TRYING TO EAT SAJI!"

    "I'm not trying to eat him!" Tai shouted back. He had his little paws on Saji's back, preventing the scizor from going anywhere. I could see little bite marks on Saji's steel leg armor, proving Tai wrong.

    Shayla sighed deeply and walked over to the quarreling two, and I followed slowly behind her. Kaiyou was calling out to me… He must be in real trouble. But… I had no way of getting to him without help from the others… And I don't think they'll be too happy about rushing to the aide of the Legendary who almost killed Kazu… I thought grimly to myself. I then sighed and ignored the pleas of help that were slowly fading and then, stopped completely.

    The space center was magnificent. It was huge- the ceiling was high above us. It was also busy -the glistening, new computers and equipment were blinking and beeping, people were diligently working about, and even a few alakazam were computing and checking data. We were all simply amazed.

    Then, one of the workers turned and saw us. It was an elder man, who had a shiny scalp, once black sideburns, and small, oblong glasses. He wore the uniformal white lab coat and black slacks. He smiled when he saw Shayla, and got from his seat to her.

    "Shayla! When did you get to Mossdeep?" he shouted, holding his arms out to hug her. She smiled back, and hugged him back.

    "Yesterday," she replied, breaking the hug. "I've already beaten the gym."

    The man laughed. "That's my niece! How many attacks did it take?"

    Shayla's smile got bigger. "One."

    The man laughed again, and then stopped when he looked over my comrades and me. "Where's your houndoom?"

    Shayla looked up at him, surprised. "Oh, Lahami?" Shayla's face fell slightly. "She didn't really like traveling… And then, after Cianwood Gym, she didn't want to travel at all. So, I let her stay home with Mom, Dad and Shiara. From what Mom tells me, she's a lot happier now."

    The man's eyes smiled. "I'm happy she's okay now too. She always seemed… sad. Almost like Shiara. And I bet Shiara's happy to have company now."

    Shayla smiled. "Yup!"

    I turned to Kazu, who was standing beside me. "Who are these people…?" I asked softly, and he chuckled.

    "The man in front of you is Shayla's uncle on her father's side. He's really nice -I like him. Lahami is the houndoom that used to travel with us. She hated leaving her home and was under a dark cloud for the whole time we were together. She didn't like being in new places -she told us that she always felt nervous around new people. And Shiara -Shiara's my and Tai's mom, a vaporeon."

    I nodded in understanding and tuned back in to the humans' conversation. So Shiara was the eevee brothers' mother. She sounded pretty.

    "So who's this?" the man said, looking at me. "I don't believe I've seen her before." Shayla smiled.

    "This, Uncle Clyde, is Demi," Shayla announced, holding her hand out to me. "I caught her about a week ago in a forest. She fainted Tai in one hit, with an earthquake attack. I later found out that she's been owned before, by a tamer from the sounds of it." Her face began to snarl at the memory. "The local Nurse Joy told me that he abused and abandoned her in the forest some seven years ago and has hated trainers ever since."

    The man looked at his niece and then to me, a pensive expression on his round face. "She doesn't seem to hate you, Shayla. That's good."

    Shayla looked down at me, a small smile on her own face. "Yeah. It is."

    I shifted uneasily under their stares. It didn't matter that they were both friendly, it was just that I was the center of attention, and I felt as if I was expected to do something. I retreated slightly, and then Tai came to my rescue.

    "Jolt! Jolteon jolt jolt!" he cried while hopping up and down. (In Poke speech, he said, "Hey! It's time to look at me now!") The man laughed broadly, and then went to Tai.

    "Alright, you rascal! I'll pay attention to you." The man knelt down and began to pet Tai's yellow spiky head, to which he replied, "Jolt jolt." ("Damn straight.")

    I nearly thanked him out loud, but then that would draw attention back to me. After the man had gotten done with petting Tai, he showed us the whole facility. I was actually bored -it was interesting at first, but then it got monotone… and I stopped paying attention. I let my feet go on auto pilot, and let my mind wander.

    I heard the calls again. I cursed and tried to keep them out- to keep them away. It didn't work. Kaiyou's calls were getting too much to bear now. I gritted my teeth and furrowed my brow. I had to keep control.

    Kazu, apparently, saw me and whispered, "You feel them too, huh?"

    I raised my head. "What?"

    "The calls," Kazu said in a soft whisper. "I can barely feel them, but you, apparently, can feel them better than I can. Who is it?"

    I didn't know whether to tell Kazu who it was or not. After all, Kaiyou's aura did almost kill him. I hesitated and then said, "Kaiyou. The Dark Legendary cloned by Team Magma. You remember him, don't you…?"

    Kazu looked at me blankly. "Dark Legendary? No, I don't remember anything… All I can recall is a sharp pain going through me, and the next thing I know I was in the Mossdeep Pokemon center." He shook his head. "No… I didn't see anything… But that's what happened? There was a Dark Legendary?"

    I nodded slowly. "He's trying to get help… I don't know why. But… I don't think I'll be able to resist them for much longer."

    Kazu seemed surprised. "Resist? What do you mean by that?"

    "It's… hard to explain…" I responded. I couldn't really put it into words. Kazu made a "hmm" sound and we walked in silence some more behind the main group.

    HELP

    Suddenly, a pain in my chest exploded. I yelped involuntarily, and Kazu whirled around, frightened. Another pain seared up my back and down all four of my limbs. Then, an instinct lay siege to my thoughts, and before I knew it, I was running out of the space station into the grassy streets of Mossdeep. There was one thought running through my mind, that one word that drove me into the streets and the water.

    HELP

    I was half swimming by the time the others caught up to me. Shoko reached me first, by flying. He roughly picked me up and tossed me back onto shore where Amburna held me down. I found myself on my back in the sand, clawing at the air to get back on my feet.

    "What are you DOING?" Shoko demanded, looking incredulously down at me. "Why did you run out all of a sudden?"

    "Yes," Amburna said smoothly, "Why did you? Very strange."

    Shayla then appeared in my line of sight, panting and red in the face. "Wh-What's wrong, girl?"

    "I gotta go!" I heard myself shout. "I have to go!"

    Tai appeared above me. "Have you gone nuts, Demi? You just thought you'd take a little vacation off and swim to an island? What are you thinking?"

    I writhed in the sand, my feet still slashing at the air. "I have to go!"

    I then heard Kazu's voice to my left. "I felt something -a plea, a call. Something. I don't know what it is, and niether does she, from what she tells me, but I guess it just got out of hand and she started to go after the call. It's common with Dark and Psychic types… When one is in trouble, a telekinetic call is sent to their companions, and said companions go after the call and help whomever is in trouble."

    They talked more, but I didn't listen. The pain and the call were getting stronger, and I knew that I was closer to the one who was calling. I had to get to him. I had to. I had no other choice, and I didn't care who got trampled in my wake.

    "I HAVE TO GET HIM!" I shouted at the top of my lungs. I pushed Amburna off of me with the help of a thunderbolt. I got on my feet and dashed to the water, where I began to wade and swim at the same time. I saw a mountain-like figure jut up in the horizon in the far distance. That was where I was going…?

    No time to question. Must follow the call. Have to get there before he can't call anymore.

    My feet pounded against the tide and the water, and I began to get into deeper water. Shoko tried to pick me up again, but I used thunderbolt when he touched me.

    All things that prevent me reaching the call must be eliminated or scared away. Have to reach the call.

    I then felt pain course through me -not like it had with the call, this was different. This was-

    "Tai! Use thunderbolt again! Try and paralyze her!" I heard Shayla order. I heard Tai yell something and then I felt the pain again. I yelped and my head went underwater. I tried to swim upwards, but my legs wouldn't move.

    I'm paralyzed!

    My air was running out, and my legs still couldn't move. I tried using my tail -the only limb that worked- to help propel my body upward to the bright surface, but it wasn't strong enough. I shut my eyes against the stinging salt water, and tried again to swim. My left foreleg obeyed and I pumped it against the water, hopefully in the direction of air.

    I heard something to my right. I didn't know what it was -I had my eyes shut. But then I felt smooth, slippery skin wrap around my waist and shoulders. I was then hoisted up, and I felt air around me.

    I opened my eyes and gasped for breath. I saw Amburna's face above my own, and, because she was disrupting me in getting to the origin of the call, I growled.

    She turned to me and glared. "Don't you start with me. I'm not really effective against thunderbolts, but the fact that you pulled one on me is indecent. Be patient and we'll get to this 'call' thing."

    I struggled to get out of her grip, but she held me tighter, nearly cutting of circulation. She didn't say anything after that, but she started floating above the water, carrying me with her. We landed on the beach and I tried to run again, only to have my legs give out from under me.

    Tai pounced on me and planted himself horizontally on my back. "You ain't going anywhere, Xena. You've been paralyzed by one of MY thunderbolts. You won't be able to move for about five minutes."

    I growled again. The call was still pounding in my head, pulling me towards the water. These other pokemon were getting in my way. They had to be dealt with.

    "I HAVE TO GO!" I yelled, and I felt Tai shift on my back.

    "So we can tell," he said grimly. I felt him shift again and I heard him say, "Well, guys, she's lost it. Saji, you owe me three rare candies." I heard the scizor give a groan in the distance.

    I heard Shayla sigh and she came into my line of sight. "Girl, what's wrong…?"

    I was about to yell again when I heard Saji's voice say softly, "Holy shit."

    I turned to my right and saw hordes of dark pokemon following the same direction as I had been. More absols were jumping into the water, accompanied by sneasel, sableye, three tyranitar, mightyena, poochyena, a few umbreon, houndour and houndoom. Murkrow blackened the sky, and sharpedo and caravana helped the land darks cross the sea.

    "I guess Xena isn't the only one going nuts," Tai muttered. He got off my back and joined Shoko where the charizard was standing. I took this chance to try and make my escape, but my legs wouldn't cooperate again. I fell on my face in the sand.

    Shayla sighed. "This is wrong. Pokemon shouldn't be acting like this…" She turned to me again. "Why are you acting like this?"

    "I HAVE TO GO!" I shouted, and she sighed. She pulled out a full heal and used it on me.

    "What- What are you doing, Shayla?" Shoko cried as I regained feeling in my legs.

    Shayla stood up. "The dark pokemon are acting weird and I want to know why. Shoko, you carry Tai and me, Saji, carry Kazu, and Amburna, make sure she doesn't drown. Do not try and stop Demi." She got up and, at that moment, my legs were back to normal and I raced back into the water.

    It was a long time before I reached a place that I could really rest. The whole time I was swimming, either Amburna or a random sharpedo would help me swim if I got tired. But I had reached a place that confused me. I didn't have to go further along the surface. Actually, it felt like I was where I was supposed to be. But I kept feeling the call.

    I looked under me to see many sharpedo and caravana going down. That's where I need to go.

    I looked around to see the many darks that had made the trip out lost and confused. I guessed they couldn't see where they had to go. Shayla saw what I had seen with the sharpedo and called out to Kazu, "Kazu! Put an air shield around us all! We're about to dive!"

    I dived into the water and swam down. I accidentally breathed, but I found air in my lungs, not water. I found it strange, but the instinct overtook my rational side. I had to go down.

    I followed the sharpedo and caravana down to a small opening in a cave wall. I went through it and went up, towards the surface of the water.

    I looked around and saw all of the sharpedo and caravana trying to get on land. I pushed my way through them and ran up the small beach, my companions and trainer behind me. I ran up a small staircase and found a wall and another trail in front of me. I had to get past the wall. Determined to get to the origin of the call, I went through the void onto the other side of the wall and left my companions behind.

    I found myself in a dark, dank room, where a cage was placed on the far side wall. I walked towards it -this was where I was supposed to be. I heard a rustle in the cage and stopped. I sniffed the air. It was Kaiyou's scent, and some others, but… different. I heard a strange bitter laugh from within the cage and backed away a step.

    "I wondered if anyone could get to me," a voice said from inside the cage. "But it seems you were smart enough to figure it out."

    I squinted. That wasn't Kaiyou's voice. Not at all. His had a telepathic voice. Not a… human…

    I saw a pale human hand reach out to another wall where a string hung, which was attached to a lamp. The arm pulled, and the light turned on, which revealed not a magnificent black and gold Dark Legendary, but a black-haired human sitting on a white futon.

    I stared. He looked tall, and about in his late twenties. His clothes were modern -a white button-down long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a black leather belt, blue jeans and black hiking shoes. His hair was short and black, and two semi-long locks of hair hung down in front of his ears. His eyes were gold with flecks of red in them, and on his forehead was the same symbol Kaiyou possessed on his own forehead, only black instead of gold. I sniffed again and smelled fresh blood on him. His own blood. And there was a lot of it.

    After a few moments of me staring, he chuckled. "Yes, it's me, girl. I remember you now. You were the absol with me when I awoke. Nice to see you again."

    I gaped. Why was he human? Why…. "Why are you human…?" I asked, and he smiled.

    "This is my own special ability. I can take human form when I'm weak or outside of shadow for a long time."

    "You're… weak?" I asked, and his smile fell a little.

    "Yes. I'm sure you can smell the blood on me. I don't want to tell you what happened, though. That might upset you. Don't worry about my health, girl. I'll be fine."

    I was angered suddenly. "Who did this?"

    His gaze narrowed. "Team Magma, of course. They thought beating me half to death would convince me to work with them. When it didn't work, they beat me again and locked me up in here until I agree to awaken Groudon. The bastards… They don't know what they're doing…"

    When he mentioned the beating, I remembered the pain I had felt at the space station. So that's what it was… I thought. I heard Kaiyou shift and looked at him again.

    "Why can't you just enter the Void?" I asked, and he looked up at me. "I mean, you are a powerful dark. Shouldn't you be able to escape that way?"

    He shook his head. "Not in human form. And if I try to turn into my real form, the fighting and bug types above you will try and stop me, and probably succeed." I looked up to see primeape, machamp, scyther, beedril and countless others pacing above me on a mesh wire cat walk. I backed away, and Kaiyou chuckled.

    "Exactly. Team Magma isn't taking any chances with me." He looked up at nothing in particular and then said quietly, "You might want to get back to your trainer now. She's in a fight with about seven Magma members, and the dragonair has fainted. They're on the other side of the wall where you left them."

    I gasped. The others! How could I have left them behind like that! I ran the other way and flew through the wall. When I got out, it was mayhem.

    Shayla was actually fist-fighting with a female Magma member, and each of my comrades (except Amburna) were fighting on their own. I saw Tai fighting a mightyena, and then a net ensnared him. I began to run to him when I found a net in front of my face, and a Magma member standing above me. I used flamethrower and broke the net, and kept running towards Tai, who had just fainted. An arbok stopped me, and squeezed much like Amburna had when I was first going after the call. I saw a Magma member walk up to me with a baseball bat, and he swung hard.

    I felt pain, and then nothing at all.

  11. #11
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 11

    Caught

    I awoke on my side with a throbbing headache. I began to sit up, but my neck hurt too much. I softly yelped and lay back down on the rocky ground. I gritted my teeth against the throbbing pain in my neck and, as I soon discovered, my limbs. What had happened…?

    I opened my eyes at the memory of the human Kaiyou and the Team Magma member hitting me with a baseball bat. I frowned. How many times was that going to happen to me…?

    I sighed and took a look around me -I was in a wide-open space in the cavern. There were stalactites pointing down at the floor, and stalagmites reaching up to the ceiling. Team Magma members were stationed about the room, no more than ten occupying said cavern. My comrades were scattered about, most unconscious. I saw Shoko stir, but that was it as for movement. I took my gaze away from the sight of my teammates when I heard my former trainer's voice echo throughout the cavern.

    "Finally, finally our dream has come!" he proclaimed triumphantly. At his tone, I almost scoffed. Maybe if he weren't such a sadistic ass, he could be a preacher, I thought grimly. "You see the awesome sleeping form of the ancient pokemon Groudon before your eyes! Behold his magnificence! He alone is the one way we can achieve our goal of spreading the landmasses and conquering over water!"

    The few Team Magma members who were in the room cheered. I myself nearly retched. How could they think that a mighty legendary pokemon like Groudon would listen to them? Selfish, stupid, ignorant humans.

    I heard Kaiyou's human voice speak softly, and in a slightly cynical tone. I could almost hear the bitter smile on his face. "You don't know what you're doing, human. Groudon won't obey you. He'd kill you and then go and find Kyogre and start another cataclysmic battle. The orbs are just to make sure there's harmony between the two. And if you tear them apart, then Groudon and Kyogre will battle again and the world will be blissfully rid of pompous, feeble humans like you."

    My former trainer apparently did not take heed to this, because he kept on rambling on how Groudon was wonderful and magnificent and everything they needed to fulfill their life-long dreams of conquering over water and the oceans and Kyogre. I didn't pay attention, because it got old really quickly. I shifted my attention from my former trainer to the shackles around my feet. I frowned and used a light flamethrower on the metal.

    After my shackles were off, I slowly moved my body into a position to where I could see what was going on. My wounds didn't hurt that much, but I still wanted to be careful, so I made sure I wasn't moving too fast or shifting into an uncomfortable position. Once I deemed it good, I settled on my stomach and looked straight ahead, where I saw the backs of my former trainer, Kaiyou, and Shayla, who was tied up and out into a corner where she was being guarded by a Team Magma member. I frowned and then shifted my attention back to the two looking over Groudon.

    I saw Kaiyou shake his head. "Groudon is an important legendary with a sacred role," he said softly, as if he had been exhausted by the subject. "All he wants is a rematch with Kyogre, and that cannot happen. Not while the Earth still has enough resources to sustain life. Kyogre and Groudon are the planet's self-destruct system. Once it gets too barren and too polluted, then Groudon and Kyogre will destroy all life and give future generations another chance. To give the planet another chance to start over." He turned to my former trainer. "This is not the time!"

    The leader of Team Magma turned to Kaiyou and snarled. "Stop with that meaningless nonsense! Groudon WILL obey whoever holds the Blue Orb, and I am that one! He will obey ME and do MY will! You cannot change that, Kyogre-lover!"

    Kaiyou gave out a roar of frustration. "When will you humans get your heads out of your asses and listen to reason?" he cried. "Groudon is not a puppet that will bend to anyone's will! He would sooner obey a plank of wood with a frowny face than a human child, much less YOU!"

    "How dare you insult our leader, Clone filth!" shouted a Magma member further back in the chamber. "Our leader knows exactly what he's doing-"

    "Oh, shut up," Kaiyou retorted, turning back to face the Magma member. "Your leader doesn't know shit."

    The Magma member fumed. "How… DARE you…!"

    My former trainer held up his hand in a gesture of silence. "Stop bickering with him. You won't get us anywhere." He turned back to Kaiyou. "YOU owe your life to me, pokemon. You WILL obey me, or I shall find ways to persuade you."

    Kaiyou cocked an eyebrow. "Obey you? Pah! I would sooner be the lap dog to Giovanni than obey YOUR orders. Besides, what are you going to do, beat me?"

    My former trainer, to my despair, shook his head with a sadistic smile on his face, like the expression he always wore when torturing me. "No…" he said cruelly, eyeing Groudon. "No. Abusing you does nothing but waste energy. What I have in store will, in my belief, be much more effective."

    Kaiyou glared. "What do you mean?"

    My former trainer's sinister smile widened and he motioned to a Magma member off in the shadows, who had been standing beside a large cage, almost where Shayla was being held. The Magma member came into the light, holding something small, fuzzy and black in his arms. I took a sniff and then realized what it was. Kaiyou, from what I could tell, knew what it was too.

    My former trainer gently took the baby poochyena from his subordinate's arms. The poochyena shifted uncomfortably in the Magma leader's grasp and calmly brought out a gun from his waist and held it up to the pup's head. Kaiyou and I simultaneously lurched forward, but then we stopped ourselves.

    Kaiyou glared with so much animosity, I was scared of him. "Don't you dare…" My former trainer merely laughed off Kaiyou's warning.

    "I thought this would get your attention," the Magma leader said with the sinister smile on his face. "I have learned many things over the years about pokemon and humans. One of them is, if they don't mind damage being done to themselves for a righteous cause, then their downfall is damage to others. And knowing full well that you are the Dark Legendary, then I thought it fitting that a baby poochyena would be the life on the line. Now, what is it going to be, Darkling? Groudon or this poochyena? Don't think I won't do it, either. I've stripped pieces off of my own pokemon before -a stranger won't make me lose sleep."

    Kaiyou hardened his glare. "You sick bastard…"

    My former trainer narrowed his eyes. "Choose. Or must I choose for you?"

    The Dark Legendary didn't answer right away. "Say that I don't choose Groudon. You shoot the poochyena and then what? You'll kill everyone in here? And when you do, there'll be no one left but you and I, and I would have won by then. You have nothing to gain. All you have are empty threats."

    But my former trainer's sinister expression didn't waver. "Oh, but that's where you're wrong. See, I would have to kill everyone in here, and I know you too well. You won't have that. You're not the kind of person who can save his own hide by letting a few others die for it. So, each baby poochyena or houndour or sneasel or absol or human I kill in here you will feel. You'll break down by the time I get through them all, and then you'll beg me to stop. Your plan would work if you weren't so soft-hearted, Darkling."

    Since I was so engrossed in the conversation, I didn't notice Saji come up beside me, "The hell's going on?" he asked softly. I glanced at him; he was on his own stomach and performing an army crawl to get a little ahead of me to see better.

    "They're trying to make Kaiyou awaken Groudon, but he won't do it. And now that sick freak of a human is about to shoot a baby poochyena if Kaiyou doesn't obey," I heard myself say in a soft, loathing tone. Saji's face contorted into one of pure hate.

    Saji was about to say something, but my former trainer interrupted him. "Now, choose, Darkling!"

    Kaiyou was silent for a long time. His golden eyes were locked on the baby poochyena, who in turn stared up at him with adoration. Kaiyou's eyes fell, and he turned away. "I won't do it. Groudon cannot be awoken. If I do, billions will die."

    My former trainer's wicked face smiled even more. "Well, then you leave me no choice." He cocked the gun, and held it back up to the poochyena's head. And then he pulled the trigger.

    The sound of the gun was ear splitting, and I had to flinch away and cover my ears to keep them from exploding themselves. The poochyena's weak yelp was smothered by the immense crack of the gunpowder, but I still heard it. When the sound began to echo throughout the cavern, I turned back to the scene in front of me. The dead poochyena now lay lifeless on the ground, its head concave and a pool of blood around it. Saji shuddered beside me, and I held back bile. My focus went from the dead pup to Kaiyou, who was kneeling on the ground, holding his head.

    My former trainer, who's clothing was stained red, laughed. "I hadn't hoped for a twist like this!" he exclaimed happily while holding up his gun in the air. "It seems that this Legendary feels all damage done to one of his own element! Ha ha, you fool, do you really think you can survive all these pokemon and people dying when you feel and endure their pain?" To this, Kaiyou glared up at him.

    The Magma leader smiled again and waved his gun, to which a Magma member opened the cage and brought out a baby houndour. And now that the houndour had seen what had happened to the poochyena, the little pup fought against the hand of the Magma member. Alas, his efforts were for naught, for he reached the hand of my former trainer. The gun was then pointed at his little head, and he began to whimper.

    "Now, I shall give you another chance. Will you or will you not activate the Blue Orb and awaken Groudon?" he said confidently.

    Kaiyou stood up shakily and was about to say something when Saji began to yell.

    "How many pups have to die before you realize that that bastard isn't going to stop killing?" he yelled. Kaiyou turned back and glared, but Saji kept going. "He's enjoying it, dammit! He isn't going to stop because it's wrong! He'll keep going until all of the pokemon in here are dead! Will you sacrifice us all like that!"

    Kaiyou continued glaring. "I have no choice. If I do activate the Blue Orb, then we'll all die anyway." His face went from furious to a bitter smile. "So, it seems I'm caught, huh? Damned if I do and damned if I don't." He turned back to face Groudon and then took a look at the baby houndour, who was still trying to wriggle out of my former trainer's grasp. I heard him heave a heavy sigh and then his body began to darken, and a black aura encircled him. He was going to his true form!

    "NO!" I heard Shayla shout from her seat. "Kaiyou, you CAN'T!"

    "Quiet, girl!" my former trainer shouted. "He's finally realized that he can't disobey me! Don't encourage him to defy me, or I'll have your brains litter the floor like the poochyena!" Shayla stayed quiet.

    When I looked back to the Dark Legendary again, he was fully transformed in his true form. His golden and ebony pelt glittered in the lava's light, and his huge, lithe body. I then noticed his many wounds littering his body, marring his shining pelt. He stepped forward, and my former trainer began to ramble triumphantly, and he dropped the houndour pup on the ground, who skittered to Shayla.

    "Now, Dark Legendary, now!" he shouted. "Show us your power and activate the Blue Orb! Bring Groudon back into this world!" He held out the Blue Orb towards Kaiyou. The Dark Legendary looked at it, and then paused.

    Then, he growled. (Bastard human! I'll never lower myself to YOUR level!) Then, with deadly speed and force, he opened his mouth and clamped my former trainer in his jaws, and then swung him around. The Blue Orb fell to the ground. A Magma member tried to retrieve it, but Kaiyou flung my former trainer into the other man, and picked up the Blue Orb gently in his jaws.

    He looked to me, and yelled, (What are you waiting for? GO! GET OUT OF HERE! GET EVERYONE OUT!) I nodded quickly and tried to rouse my fainted comrades. Shoko, Saji and Amburna were awake, but the eevee brothers were out. Shoko and Saji carried them, while I cut Shayla loose.

    Shayla rubbed her wrists and looked around. "There's no way out!" she shouted over the commotion that Team Magma and Kaiyou were making. "The way we came is blocked! And we have to get all of these baby pokemon out!" She then pointed to the cage in which the poochyena and the houndour came out of. I looked back behind me to try and see if there was another way out.

    "KILL THE BASTARD!" I heard my former trainer yell. "KILL HIM! GET THE ORB BACK!" His body was now bloodied and broken -thanks to Kaiyou's jaws. I turned and saw Kaiyou trying to escape with the Blue Orb in his mouth. He was running along the edge of the lava pit, and was trying to avoid the many bullets that were being shot at him. From the blunt pain that I felt, he didn't avoid them all. And then, he disappeared into the shadows.

    I knew then that I had to take everyone into the Void and out in order to escape in one piece, especially since Team Magma was distracted with Kaiyou. I began to run towards the wall, everyone following me. I opened a portal and made it last long enough to allow everyone through. In ran in the Void, and then jumped out into bright light and onto rocky ground.

    As everyone came out behind me, I looked around and saw that were back on the ocean -apparently on a tiny little island. I narrowed my eyes. I could smell blood. I saw dark red drops on the ground and followed them. I then breached a little hill to see Kaiyou, his ebony and gold pelt stained with his own blood, struggling to climb over a particularly large boulder. In his tightly clamped jaws was the Blue Orb. I heard Shayla gasp behind me, and he whirled his great head towards us in alarm. He narrowed his eyes and then asked of us, (W-what is it? You need to get away from here. You're still too close to Team Magma. I may have crippled their leader, but that won't stop them for long. Now go, get out of here.)

    Shayla didn't take heed to this. "You're… you're hurt…" She set the cage full of dark pups and took a step towards Kaiyou. He flinched away from her.

    (Don't worry about me. I'll be able to heal on my own. Your pokemon need more attention than I do.) Shoko shook his head.

    "You can't climb over a big rock. Heck, you have what, seven or so gunshot wounds, all near the vitals? You need serious attention, uh… sir," the charizard said awkwardly. Apparently, Shoko didn't really know how to address a legendary properly. Kaiyou didn't pay attention to this.

    (I'm fine. Or at least I will be. Just get those pups out in a safe haven, alright, human?) Shayla frowned slightly, and then pulled out an ultra ball. Kaiyou flinched further away.

    "I know you'll probably disagree to this, but I think I'll be able to help you more if you… get into the ultra ball. That way, I can carry you more easily and we can heal you faster. Please, you're hurt and so are my other pokemon. They need attention, but not as much as you. Please, let me help you."

    Kaiyou glared and raised his bloodstained fur. (No way in Hell. You keep that thing away from me. I can't be captured. If I am, then he'll be pissed at me. I can't. No. You keep that ultra ball away from me.)

    Shayla pursed her lips. "You stubborn fool! Can't you tell that you're dying? Let me help you!"

    (I'd rather die than be owned by a human!) he cried, spitting the Blue Orb onto the ground so he could properly show off his bloody fangs. Of who's blood was on his teeth, I didn't know. He snarled and then added, (A Legendary? Accepting help from a HUMAN! How ridiculous is that! I'll NEVER go with you, girl!)

    Shayla's lip went up slightly, as if mimicking Kaiyou's present expression. "Oh really? Well, whether you like it or not, you're going to. Amburna, paralyze him! Shoko, keep Demi down!"

    I knew instantly what she wanted to do. I was about to run to protect my legendary, but Shoko held me down. And since he had his feet planted in the ground, he was impervious to my thunderbolt. And I couldn't reach him for any of my other attacks. So all I could do was watch as Amburna used thunderbolt and paralyzed my Lord. Kaiyou's legs gave, and he fell to the ground.

    Shayla threw the ultra ball, and in a shiny bright red light, he went in. The ball tipped and rolled for a little bit, but then a click sounded, and there wasn't anymore movement.

    Shayla had captured Kaiyou…

  12. #12
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 12

    A Short Interlude

    After Shayla had captured Kaiyou, we raced to the Sootopolis Poke Center, the cage of baby darks in Shayla's hands. The Nurse Joy had asked us about it, but Shayla didn't pay any heed to her as she darted for the PC. She had told us that she had to get Kaiyou out of the storage before Professor Oak found him.

    By this time, Tai and Kazu were awake. As Shayla furiously typed in commands at the computer, Tai limped up to my side. I frowned slightly; he wasn't acting like himself since he woke up. He was very… tranquil.

    "What's she doing?" he asked softly. "Did she catch something?"

    I nodded. He looked at me and then asked, "Well? What did she get?"

    A small frown formed on my face. "Kaiyou."

    "Oh… okay…" At first, he didn't seem to understand what I said. But then he did a double take. "WHAT! KAIYOU?"

    I sighed. "Yes, while you were still passed out. Shayla wanted to help him because he was hurt so bad, but he wouldn't cooperate. So… she caught him."

    Tai was about to say something when I heard a strange sound come from the PC. I looked up and saw an old man in the monitor. Apparently, that was the world-famous Professor Oak. I chuckled. He looked like he was about to have a heart attack.

    "Shayla," he half-cried, "What in the world have you sent me?"

    "Uh…" Shayla's voice was small and meek. Not at all what her normal voice sounded like. "Well… I really don't know what to tell you… but I need him transferred over to me. I'm sending Kazu over to you." She then turned to us and temporarily ignored the Professor's cries of panic. "Kazu, come on."

    Kazu, who had been standing behind me, stepped forward. I was sad; Kazu was now a good friend. I hated to see him leave. But now he'll be able to see his mom again, so I guess it works out, I thought. It made sense, though. Kazu was still a little weak from his injuries, and Shayla didn't want to risk more injuries.

    "Well, see ya, guys," he said. He waved good-bye with his tail and then disappeared in red light as he retreated into his poke ball. My focus went back to the PC, where the professor was still in hysterics. Shayla picked up Kazu's poke ball and set it down on a grooved steel counter.

    "I'm sending him over to you, Professor," she said calmly. "Now, will you send me the one I just caught?"

    "Send him to you?" asked the professor. "No! He must be examined! I've never seen one like this before! Why, he looks a bit like a mutated umbreon, but I have to investigate! And he's so strong -how did you catch him! He's stronger than any other pokemon I've ever run across, that's for sure!"

    Shayla's eye twitched and her voice went from meek to deadly. "Professor…"

    Professor Oak sighed. "Oh alright. But you have to let me study him further later on. Alright?"

    Shayla rolled her eyes. "Fine. Just send him to me."

    The professor heaved a deep sigh and then began to klack at his keyboard. The PC made some strange noises, and then Kazu's poke ball disappeared. In a second, a new one, an ultra ball appeared. I looked in the monitor and saw Kazu's poke ball arrive in Pallet town.

    "Well, gotta go, Professor! Lots of things to do! Take care of Kazu!" Shayla picked up Kaiyou's ultra ball and shut the monitor off as Professor Oak waved good bye. Then she turned to us. "I need all of you to get in your poke balls… I need Nurse Joy to heal you."

    She took out our poke balls and we retreated back into the red light until she called for us again.

    It was nighttime when we got back out. I felt refreshed like never before -that Nurse Joy really knew how to get a pokemon better. I looked around at my new surroundings -we were now in a forest. Shoko must have flown us here, I thought. I took a sniff, and then was struck with de ja vu. I pushed the feeling aside as I stretched out and purred a little. I felt great. Unfortunately, Tai heard me purr.

    "Wow, the Mighty Xena purrs?" he asked from his food bowl. "That's just simply amazing -I never thought she could do anything other than kick people's asses."

    I glared. So much for my good mood. "What's this? Tai, having more than three brain cells? I thought the only thing he could do was eat and be annoying."

    Tai shrugged. "Hey, at least I can do more than one thing."

    I sighed deeply and allowed Tai to win that particular battle. Shayla handed me my own bowl of food, and then went to a tree. A figure was lounging amidst the limbs, and I guessed who it could have been.

    "Kaiyou," Shayla said, "You really need to eat. You were healed a bit from the Poke Center, but you're still weak. You can't stress your body while it's trying to heal."

    I saw a glint in his human eyes as he glared down at my trainer from his perch on the tree. "I know. But I'm not going to lower myself to the level of eating 'food' that's processed from cardboard. Isn't that also straining myself -eating shit like that?"

    Tai growled. "She makes it herself, moron. And she doesn't use cardboard."

    Kaiyou's glare turned to the jolteon. "Oh? And how would she know what real food is supposed to taste like? What if I don't want to be served? What if I want to hunt? What does she know about anything? Tell me, jolteon, did you like the food she set before you when you first tried it, or did you have to lower your standard for food so you could eat it?"

    Tai growled again, and I noticed his fur became like spikes. "You know, you are really pissing me off! Why don't you get off that high horse of yours and eat? She makes due with what she has!"

    Kaiyou sighed and leaned back. "No need to get angry, jolteon. I'm just asking some questions."

    Amburna, who had been sitting near Shayla's spot near the fire, looked back at Tai and scowled. "Yes. He's just trying to rile you up. Don't get angry, that's just going along with him -you're doing what he wants you to do."

    Tai growled again and then spit a lugie near Kaiyou's tree. Then, he began to eat again, although he kept his fur in spikes. I looked up to Kaiyou, who then smiled slightly and then turned away. Shayla sighed and then sat back down.

    "Well, I have some meat rations if you want them, Kaiyou. If not, then you can go ahead and hunt. Just try to stay around here, I don't want anyone to see you. That might be a problem…?"

    Kaiyou had transformed into his true form and was eating Shayla's food. She stared at him blankly, and then asked, "What… What are you doing? I thought…"

    He looked up from his bowl. (What? I'm hungry. You really don't expect me to pass up food when I don't even have to work for it, do you?) Saji snickered -I guessed he got the joke. Tai didn't though.

    "Then why the hell were you telling us all that crap earlier, huh? Why didn't you just come down and eat and made it easier for all of us?" Kaiyou looked over to the jolteon.

    Then, I saw a slight smirk cross his face. (Why, to piss you off. It worked wonderfully. Now if you don't mind, I would like to finish my meal.) And with an air of calmness, he went back to eating. Tai was furious for the rest of the night. Of course, that just made me snicker all the more.

    It was now morning. After Shoko did a scout around the area, Shayla decided to leave us all out of our poke balls. Tai was still mad about the night before, but Kaiyou didn't seem to recall any of it. He was acting completely different than what I expected him to when I first met him. I thought he was going to be quite the rebellious Legendary, but he surprised me by being a gentleman, other than the night before, of course. I supposed he got over his loathing of being captured and was now "going with the flow", so to speak.

    He was walking ahead of the main bulk of the group in his true form. In the daylight, I could really see the damage that had been done to him. He was still limping a bit, but it was so subtle that I couldn't really tell which leg was hurting him. His coat wasn't as shiny and glossy as I remembered it the first time I saw him, because it was matted with dry blood and marred with wounds. Seeing him like that made me feel… sad…

    Tai came up behind me and smiled. "Aww… does Xena have a crush?"

    I blinked. Had he… just… "What?"

    Tai smiled knowingly. "Yeah, I can see it. You keep on staring at him like if you stop, you'll die. I know what that means. You're in lo-ove."

    My mouth agape, my eyes wide, I stopped in my tracks and stared incredulously into Tai's face. "With who, exactly?" I asked, a little perturbed that he suggest such a ludicrous thing like me being in love.

    "With the Legendary, of course," Tai said casually. "Or… is it someone else?"

    I shook my head. "You know when I said you had three brain cells?"

    Tai blinked. "Yes."

    "Well, I've demoted you to negative twelve. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard -me, having a crush! That's so… so…"

    "True!" Tai shouted. "I know it! I can see it in your eyes!"

    "In my eyes?" I nearly shouted. "No, what you're seeing in my eyes right now is annoyance. Shut up, will you? You're giving me a headache."

    Tai pranced around me happily. "Demi's in lo-ove! Demi's in lo-ove!"

    "Shut up, will you!" I cried. "I am NOT in love! And if you say that I am one more time, I'll beat your annoying ass into the ground!"

    He stopped his prancing and came face to face with me. "You'd like that would you? 'Cause then you get to see my sexy ass."

    I stared at him for a while. "You sick freak."

    Kaiyou, who had apparently been listening, chimed in. (Jolteon, she's not in love.) He looked over his shoulder, and then smirked in a way that made me feel a little uncomfortable. (At least not with me.)

    Tai's smile grew wider, if that was physically possible. "What's this? Now this is a wonderful twist! So who is it, Demi? Kazu? Shoko? ….Amburna?"

    "NO!" I shouted. "NO! NOT ANYONE!"

    Tai's smirk twisted into an evil grin. "I know who it is."

    I sighed deeply and glared at him. "Who?" I asked through clenched teeth.

    He leaned in close. "It's me, isn't it?"

    My face formed a scowl. For some reason, when he said that, my heart gave a jolt. Instead of showing it, I rolled my eyes and said without much enthusiasm, "Am I really that transparent? I want you, I need you, oh baby, oh baby." With that said, I brushed past him and Kaiyou and furiously stomped into the forest. I had never been so pissed off in my life.

    Behind me, I could hear Tai and Kaiyou chuckling.

    Stupid boys…

  13. #13
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 13

    Family

    I now knew where we were. We were traveling north along Route 120, or the route leading up to Fortree City. In other words, my home. We had even walked past a burrow that belonged to a friend of mine a few hours ago. When I had realized where we were, I got extremely homesick. I guessed Saji noticed and came up beside me.

    "Hey… Aren't you from here?" he asked. I nodded slightly and kept my gaze on the path ahead of me. In the corner of my eye, I saw another burrow that belonged to my cousin. And beside hers was my aunt's. I remember her as a wonderful, loving aunt who would always bring pecha, sitrus and chesto berries when she visited my parents' burrow. I missed her…

    I heard Saji sigh. "I didn't really have a home to be homesick of. Not for long, anyway. My parents had been captured when my younger sister and I were very young -a bug-catching contest was taking place, and both our parents were caught. Then another trainer came and took my sister. When Shayla came, I was alone, and didn't really put up a fight. Shoko was newly evolved, and he was really clumsy with his aerial attacks. So when he used a fly attack against me, I survived it because he only grazed me. And then…" He looked down. "Shayla wanted to test my powers a bit, so she challenged a bug trainer. My… my mother… I had to fight my mother… But, she didn't seem to remember me. I knew it was her, but… she…"

    I blinked. Fighting against one's own relatives is always tough, especially when you have to use your strongest attacks. I've never had to do it, except for Hicha, (but he doesn't really count) so I don't know how it feels. It must have done great damage to Saji.

    "I don't know how she learned it," he continued, "but she used a flamethrower on me. A flamethrower… She nearly killed me… Then, I got into a rage and used my wing attack. She was always frail -she was born with a weak heart. And… and then…"

    My eyes fell. "You… you killed her?"

    He didn't respond. Instead, the scizor sighed and turned to me. "If it weren't for that moment, I would have escaped Shayla and returned to my home, even though it was empty and cold. At least I would have been free. At least I would have had the freedom to roam around and breathe the air like I was supposed to, not from the enclosed space of an ultra ball. For a long time I hated it -living like I was." He sighed and shook his head.

    "My point is, Demi, do you like being on the team? Or would you rather live here, in this grassy, beautiful forest?" He made a sweep with his claw. "I know your parents still probably live here, and your siblings if you have any. Would you rather abandon the team and go back to living the way you had been before your old trainer caught you?"

    Not really wanting to answer that question, I looked up to him with a suspicious expression. "Why are you asking me this?"

    He looked down. "Because you're a rebel at heart, are you not? Otherwise, you wouldn't have the nickname 'Xena'. And, ever since I've met you, you've been… wilder than the rest of us. I guess that's because we're all pampered pets now. But…"

    I cocked an eyebrow. "Saji, do you really not like being a trainer's pokemon?" I asked. I couldn't really fathom any of Shayla's long-term pokemon disliking life with her; she was actually an agreeable human. The scizor laughed bitterly.

    "Of course. Most pokemon do. But why don't they escape? Because, by the time they're strong enough to gather the courage to destroy their own poke ball and possibly murder their trainer, they would be hunted for the rest of their life. If I attempted that… do you really think any trainer in their right mind would pass up the chance to catch a WILD scizor? Especially at my level? You saw the way Shayla jumped at the chance at catching you."

    I stared at the ground. "I don't understand. Why are you telling me this?"

    I heard him laugh and looked back at him. "Because," he said, "if the chance arises, I want you to get out. You're strong enough to fend off the best trainers. And here, in a forest you know like the back of your paw, it would be easy to escape an abnormally strong trainer. I don't like the fact you were captured after escaping your other bastard of a trainer, but now that you're in Shayla's hands for the moment, I guess it's all right. But once the opportunity arises, and you have a way out, take it. You're brave enough. Make up for my own cowardice and live like you should -like you were born to."

    I paused in my walking and stared at Saji's retreating back. I never knew he felt like that. Especially since he told me that living with Shayla was okay. I guess… he wanted to get to know me a little better before he poured his heart out to me, I mused. I sighed and began to walk again, pondering on what Saji had told me.

    I had mused for quite a while when I noticed we were in a very familiar place. I let my eyes roam over the familiar trees and bushes when my eye caught the sight of an entrance to a burrow. I didn't notice my feet stop. So, when Tai bumped into me, I was brought back to reality. He looked at me angrily and said, "Hey, you caught in quicksand or something? Move!"

    I didn't really pay attention to what he said, but I moved anyway, in the direction of the burrow, of course. I squatted down and looked inside to see if I could see the messy white fur of my brother or the unusual light blue fur of his mate's. I could see niether. I sniffed and smelled an absol down there, and it smelled like my brother. So, I called softly to him. "Vorren? Vorren, you there?" Then, I tried his mate's name. "Kisha? Kisha!"

    I felt Tai come up next to me and looked down in the burrow. "What's in here, buried treasure?"

    I slapped him away from the entrance of the burrow with my paw. "No, dumbass," I replied harshly. I turned back to the burrow and saw something stir. "Vorren?" I called.

    I then saw a pair of eyes look up at me, one the usual bright red, the other a deep blue. My heart leapt. Those were my brother's eyes!

    "Vorren!" I cried. Without thinking, I jumped down the burrow and crashed into my brother. He gave a yelp of surprise, and then turned to look at me with his unusual pair of eyes.

    "A… Ayako?" he asked. At my brisk nod, I could see his face break into a big smile in the dim light. Disregarding the proper way to greet a relative, he tackled me and began to lick my face. Then, I heard Tai's voice from above me.

    "HEY! What's going on down there!" he cried. I could hear the slight distress in his voice, and then he attempted to jump down the burrow entrance, but since he couldn't see, scampered his way back up. He then began to pace briskly in front of the entrance.

    Vorren stopped licking my face when he heard Tai's frantic voice, and allowed me to get up. When I got to my feet, I saw Vorren looking up at Tai, a slight frown on his face. "Why's a jolteon at the entrance of my burrow?"

    I felt my face flush. "Uh… Vorren? That's Tai… a… a comrade of mine. But never mind about him, where's Kisha?" My brother's mate was very nice and understanding, and I knew that if Vorren learned of my… state of being captured, she would cool him down before he would try to kill Shayla.

    His eyebrow raised. " 'Comrade'… ? What do you mean comrade?"

    I gulped. Vorren never knew I had been captured. Our youngest sister, Raven, had been captured when she was very young, and he never took well to it. I didn't know what my parents told him when I was captured, just that they probably didn't tell him the truth. "Um… nothing! Nothing at all, Vorren! W-where's Kisha?"

    He frowned. "In the forest. She's busy gathering and storing berries for the storm that's coming. Is there something you're not telling me?"

    I gulped again, and then the light to the burrow diminished as a shadow came over it. I looked up and saw Shayla's silhouette. Oh, shit.

    "Demi? Demi, are you okay?" she called. Vorren growled and leapt up the burrow, ready to attack Shayla.

    "Vorren, wait!" I cried. When I scrambled up the burrow, Vorren was facing Tai. He'll get slaughtered! I thought. I ran up to my brother and grabbed onto his marred, webbed tail with my teeth. "Vorren, stop! Don't fight him! He's more powerful than you think!" I cried. He turned back to look at me and shook my teeth off of his tail.

    "So you do know him? Is this your trainer?" he asked in disgust. "After Raven was captured, I thought you would be careful enough to watch where you went. And then Mom and Dad told me what happened to you -you got caught by an amateur tamer! Is this the trainer that you go so faithfully along with? Did you bring me out here so your trainer could capture me and Kisha too?"

    I didn't know what to say. After a few moments of awkward silence, a figure stepped out of the woods. Kisha, holding a leaf pouch full of berries, stared at us with blank, wide eyes. Shayla gasped at her beautiful blue fur. Vorren growled again.

    "Your human better not try to get Kisha or I'll rip the damn human's throat out, hear me?" he threatened at me. Tai's fur went up at the threat.

    "No one's trying to capture anyone," Tai said in a low voice. "Demi… Ayako wanted to see you, from what I can tell. Shayla didn't ask her to find you or anything. Your sister isn't acting under orders."

    "Bull shit," he replied deep in his throat. He turned to me. "You traitor! How dare you lead these punks to the burrow and try to have us captured! Are you after Mom and Dad too? Well, I won't allow it! I'll DIE before I see another member of this family be captured by one of those bastard humans!" With that said, he lunged at Shayla, teeth out and fangs bared.

    Shayla screamed, but then Shoko blasted a mouthful of fire at my brother, which caught him in the side and blew him off course. He landed with a heavy thud and groaned. I knew that Shoko was easy on him, but my brother wasn't even half of Shoko's level. I ran to my brother, but he slashed at me with his claws, which I easily avoided.

    "Get away from me, traitor!" he cried as he attempted to get up. I was frantic -I smelt the burnt flesh and fur of my brother, but I couldn't help him unless I wanted to get hurt. When he reached his feet, he glared at me. "So you let that fire lizard attack me?"

    I shook my head. "Vorren, I didn't think you would attack her… I mean, she's not-"

    "She's not what, Ayako? Not mean? She took away your name, dammit! She took away your freedom, your life! She took you away from your home and family and friends! And you let her have her damn charizard attack me?"

    I flabbergasted. I didn't know what to say to these accusations. How could I respond? Anything I could say would be thrown right back in my face with a vengeful edge by my brother. Thankfully, Kisha came to my rescue.

    "Vorren," she said softly in her mellow, calm voice, "don't scare her. I doubt she wants to see you captured today. Calm down." She began to walk towards him, but he stepped away from her but closer to me.

    "What are you talking about?" he nearly screamed. "That's what any trained pokemon wants to see!" He turned back to me and then tried to slash me, but I dodged that too. He growled in frustration.

    "Dammit, Ayako! Stand still so I can kick your ass!" he cried. He charged at me, but I jumped out of the way and he skidded into a tree. I ran behind Kisha for protection, but Tai didn't seem to think this wise.

    "What are you doing, Demi?" he yelled. "He's so weak, Shoko's EMBER almost caused him to faint! You could take him in a heartbeat!"

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Amburna whack the oblivious jolteon on the head with her lithe tail. "That's her brother. Maybe she doesn't WANT to faint him?"

    Tai muttered a soft, "Oooh…" when Vorren began to yell at me again. "Ayako!" he shouted, "Get out from behind Kisha! Don't use her as a shield!"

    I heard Kisha scoff, something she rarely does. "She has good right to, Vorren," she declared tersely. "You are acting like a psychotic maniac and all she wanted was to see you and I, even possibly introduce us to her companions. And here you are, shunning her like she betrayed the family!"

    "She did by leading that bitch of a human here!" he roared back.

    Kisha sighed deeply, picked up a berry from her fallen leaf pouch and threw it at Vorren's head. The berry struck its target. "You stubborn moron!" she cried. "How dense can you become?" She sighed again and shook her head. "Well, if you won't trust her, then I will. And, since you are being a complete imbisile, then take these berries to the burrow and put them in the store while I meet Ayako's companions and trainer." With a slight upwards toss of her head, she turned and began walking towards my team. A smile came to my face.

    Vorren growled and plopped onto his haunches. "I'm not letting you out of my sight with a trainer around," he replied. Kisha rolled her eyes and then went up to Shoko and began to converse pleasantly with him.

    I remained where I had been standing, not really wanting to move. I felt as if caught in the middle of some unseen battle, torn between my brother and my commitment to my team. Thank goodness Kisha was on my side, or else I wouldn't know where to go. Shayla walked towards me and then sat down beside me.

    For a moment, she didn't say anything, just watched as her pokemon talked with my brother's mate. She turned to me and then asked softly, "Do you know where Kaiyou went? He's disappeared all of a sudden."

    "Kaiyou?" I asked, and, after a moment, she nodded her head. I looked down at the ground. Actually, I hadn't seen him for a while. The thought that something had happened to him disturbed me a little, but I brushed off the worry. After all, not much could take him down, and he could use the Void when he wanted to get back. "He's probably brooding somewhere where Tai isn't blabbing his mouth," I answered, and Shayla chuckled.

    "Probably," she replied, and turned to look at my brother. Her smile fell, and was soon replaced with a somber frown. "Is he always like this?" she asked as her eyes took in his posture, which was reeking of "stay-the-hell-away-from-me-and-my-family". I gulped again and shook my head.

    "Only around trainers. Kisha's gotten him to be more adventurous, but not by much," I answered. I saw Shayla nod slightly and look back to Kisha and her team.

    "She's a really beautiful absol," she said loftily. "I've never seen one like her -a real rarity." For a moment, I tensed. It sounded as if Shayla wanted to catch Kisha. "Your brother's lucky to have a mate like her. And she seems very nice. Your brother better protect her."

    I smiled. I was about to say something, but a sound in front of me distracted me from it. I looked at Vorren, who was approaching Shayla and me looking not very happy. I tensed again and was about to defend Shayla (for some reason I felt compelled to) when he frowned slightly.

    He plopped down on the grass and stared at Shayla, who really didn't know what to do. Shoko and the others tensed as well, but Kisha just smiled and told them not to worry. Vorren looked from Shayla, to me, and then back to Shayla. He then bent forward and licked the back of her hand. This caught her by surprise, but then she smiled and scratched his head.

    "Well, hello. Nice to see you don't have a stick up you butt," she said playfully. His frown turned upwards a bit and then he looked at me.

    His smirk broke into a smile as he crouched down on the ground in front of me. Unbeknownst to me, a smile of my own grew on my face. I knew what he was doing. It was an old game we used to play. I crouched down as well. At this, he scooted his butt into the air, and I did the same. Then he tackled me, and the wrestling match began.

    I had never loved anything more than the memory of my brother and I playing out in the open fields when we were children. The sweet scents of the flowers, the soft feel of the grass, the cool air. It was one of the things that allowed my sanity while with my first trainer. And now, I was with him again, like it used to be when the family hadn't been torn apart by the humans.

    I had never felt happier…

    It was dusk and we were all crowded into my brother and Kisha's burrow. Shoko and Amburna poked their head in through the main entrance, and Saji poked hi in through the back way. Shayla sat outside, and Tai and I were in the burrow with my brother and Kisha. Thanks to the small, fluorescent mushrooms and mold within the burrow, we could see each other in the dim light. Vorren handed each pokemon present some ratata meat -an absol favorite. I gulped it down gluttonously, as did Tai, and the others ate theirs with patience. After the treat, I looked up to Vorren.

    "So are you storing up for the big storm coming?" I asked, and my brother nodded.

    "Yeah. It feels like a really big one, so we've had to stock up more than usual. I've talked to Dad about it, you know he's more adept at feeling these things than I am, and he said that it would last a few days, even a week! No prey will be out, at least not anything good, so we've had to stash some away in the cold hole."

    Tai turned to me. "Cold hole?" he asked, and I nodded.

    "Whenever a rather… strong storm blows in, absols like to stock up on meat, just in case. But of course, meat spoils easily so what absols like to do is dig a hole and put ice and such in it and put a rock over the mouth of the hole, to keep it cold. Then, when the meat's in there, it won't spoil as easily."

    Tai nodded. "That makes sense."

    Vorren nodded too. "Yup. Which is how we store so much meat at a time." He then paused. "But… I'm not so sure about this storm," he said quietly. I cocked my head and paid more attention to the ripples in the air. It didn't really FEEL different than any other storm I've been through, but it did feel… a little strange.

    "What do you mean?" Amburna asked softly. "What's wrong with it?"

    Kisha, who had been very quiet next to Vorren, spoke. "It… seems to have a will of its own, like it's controlled by something. I would say Lugia or Mewtwo are possibilities, but I can't recall anything major that would anger them into conjuring a storm. The balance of the three legendary birds Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos hasn't changed. Nothing has, except for this storm."

    Vorren looked at us all. "I want you all to be careful, all right? I don't like the feel of this storm. I don't like it at all. It's a ways away, but that gives you time to prepare. I would hate for one of you to get caught in a storm that feels like what this one does. It's not a Nature-made storm… it's made by something else. It feels ominous."

    Tai turned to me uncertainly. "Do you think that too, Demi?" I looked back at him, and. After some consideration, I nodded. His face fell and he looked sick.

    Vorren smiled. "Now, off of that subject. I think your human needs some sleep, it's very late for her, I'm sure. She's not nocturnal. Why don't you find a place to sleep? There's a town not too far from here that would be more than happy to give you some room, I'm sure."

    I smiled and went up to my brother. I locked scythes with him, and then Kisha in the formal way to say good bye. Tai somehow managed to make it up the burrow with the help of Shoko pulling him up, and I jumped easily out. Vorren poked his head out and swung his scythe around, a kind of wave to say good bye. I did the same to him, and we then headed to Fortree City.

    It was late and we were sleeping in the Pokemon center. Well, everyone else was, save for me. I had the top bunk to sleep on, but I didn't feel like sleeping at the moment. My mind was keeping me up.

    While I was musing, a dark dog-like figure stepped out of the shadow of the wall and transformed into a smaller human shape. I uncrossed my front paws and asked, "Where have you been? Shayla's been worried."

    Kaiyou looked up at me with his golden eyes. He looked tired. "No… Not after the telepathic note I sent her. She shouldn't be worried."

    "Where were you?" I repeated. He looked back up at me, and smiled.

    "If I told where I was, you wouldn't know. I was just… checking on something. Something that has to be monitored day and night, but I make do with what time I have. I was affixing a… a lock on what needs to be watched." He sat down on the carpeted floor and stole a pillow from Saji, who groaned and rolled over.

    "Kaiyou?" I asked. He looked up again. "When… When Shayla was about to capture you… You said that you couldn't be captured. That 'he' would get mad if you did." I saw Kaiyou's body flinch slightly. "Who is 'he'?"

    After a pause, he answered, "Why, 'he' is a pronoun."

    My face fell. "Yes, I know that. Of whom were you speaking of when you said 'him'?"

    His eyes looked about the room. "A guy I know."

    I grit my teeth in frustration. "Yes, I got that. What is the name of the guy that you know?"

    He sighed and lay down on the floor. "You know, Demi, I'm not going to lie to you." He then rolled over and said nothing more.

    I growled and picked up a pillow with my teeth and threw it at him. "What's his name?" I whispered harshly.

    "Who?" Kaiyou asked groggily.

    I slammed my paw down on the bed. "Whoever you were talking about when Shayla was about capture you!"

    I felt the wood beneath me jump. Tai had kicked my bed. I heard his groggy voice from below me, "Shut up will you? People are trying to sleep!"

    I rolled my eyes and focused back on Kaiyou, who was staring at me with a look of mischief in his eyes. I glared. "You're not going to tell me, are you?"

    He shook his head. "Nope. I'm not planning on it. Even if I did tell you, what good would it do you or I? There's no point in telling you. You wouldn't know who he was if I did. No, I think you being oblivious to the knowledge of his existence is fine for now."

    He rolled over and took the pillow I had thrown at him and put it under his head. He then sighed happily and pleasantly bid me good night.

    I grumbled under my breath and laid my head on my paws. I was now determined to find out who this "he" was and know why Kaiyou was so reluctant to talk about "him".

    My face formed a smile. Yes… I would just have to corner Kaiyou and get him to tell me.

  14. #14
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 14

    Interrogations

    I assumed I had fallen asleep and was now dreaming, because I stood on a barren mountainside in the dark. My feet didn't seem to obey my orders, so I let them take me where they wanted. My eyes were soon greeted by a friendly glow from a fire, and not too far away I noticed that there was a large statue with spindly spires in the distance. My feet decided to go near it instead of the fire, to which I objected. The statue didn't feel right.

    However, my feet didn't cooperate and kept on pushing me to the statue. As I was going, I heard gruff, male human voices in the direction of the fire.

    "That beast has got to go- it's evil," one voice said.

    "Yes, it will unleash the evil within the tomb while we sleep at night!" another, younger one said.

    "Quiet!" another said in a harsh whisper. "The beast will hear you. Now, here is what we must do…"

    Unfortunately, I didn't hear what they had to do, because my feet had taken me too far away to hear. Instead of the shushed, gruff men's voices, I heard lofty, feminine, telepathic laughter and… a familiar voice.

    My feet had taken me atop a large boulder, where I now could see the statue almost clearly. It was unnerving, and I suddenly had the instinct to run. But my feet remained planted, so I stood and watched what went on before me.-Kaiyou!- the feminine voice chirped. -Elder brother, where are you?-

    Kaiyou? I thought. Then, a sleek, manila-colored, dog-like pokemon rushed out from behind the statue. Her figure looked insanely like Kaiyou's, except less bulky and her legs were longer. Her feet and tip of her tail were dark brown, and the scruff of her neck was as black as Kaiyou's pelt at her forehead, but then gradually turned into the creamy color of her body at her shoulder blades. The tips of her ears were also the same color as her feet and tail. She was magnificent.

    Then, Kaiyou in his true form -looking much younger than I remembered him at the moment- jumped out from the shadows and pinned the other dog-like creature down on the ground. (Ha! Got ya, Yasille! You really suck at this game, don't ya?)

    She giggled and pushed him lightly, which made him retreat. -I suppose,- she said in a light-hearted manner. -But I'll beat you one day, elder brother!- She began to laugh again, when suddenly, she stopped.

    Kaiyou's ears raised. (What is it? What's wrong?) he asked. The cream-colored creature, Yasille, turned her head in the direction of the fire and men.

    -They're coming…- she said with fear in her telepathic voice, -They're coming with murder in the minds! Kaiyou, they want to kill you!-

    Kaiyou growled. (Pah. The ignorant humans… Let them come! Tonight, I shall make them pay for their insolence!) He began to go down the trail that I had come up, but Yasille blocked his path.

    -NO!- She cried. -You can't! I… I can't see what will happen! Kaiyou, I think they'll kill you if you fight them! You can't go down there!-

    Kaiyou shook his head. (And if I don't, then they may unlock Kuvai. You know I can't allow that. Kuvai can't be awoken. Yasille, you need to go. I don't want you getting hurt.)

    Yasille shook her head violently. -NEVER! I can't abandon you to these humans!-

    Kaiyou growled and then snapped at her. (Leave! Or must I fight you, too?)

    Yasille sighed and then began to run the other way. -Be careful, brother.- Then, in a flash of brilliant light, she disappeared. My eyes turned back to Kaiyou, who was standing in front of the strange statue. The humans had now gathered around him in a semi-circle, keeping him in one spot with their primitive-looking spears and knives.

    Kaiyou growled. (Why do you come? Must you endanger yourselves and others by coming to this place?)

    The first man who had talked at the fire spat on the ground. "To kill you, creature of Hell! We know you'll kill us the first opportunity you get with the fiend within the Tomb! You're the one that's endangering our lives!"

    The Dark Legendary looked shocked. (How foolish can you be? I'm PROTECTING you from what lives in here! It can't be disturbed!)

    They began to argue more, but then, my eyes went to the top of the statue, where I saw a silhouette creeping along the roof. I gasped. That was a human! I looked down and saw Kaiyou, who was engrossed in his argument. I looked back to the human and saw his weapon -a grossly wicked scythe. I could smell the poison it was steeped in.

    I tried to call out to Kaiyou, but my voice wouldn't come. I stood there, frozen in fear and watching with some morbid fascination as the human crept and crept until he could dive onto Kaiyou and stab at the Dark Legendary's long and vulnerable neck.

    The human on the ground arguing with Kaiyou then let out a shrieking howl, which seemed to be a signal of attack since the human on the roof dived down and stabbed Kaiyou in the back of his neck.

    The pain was immense. It burned its way all across my body, and if I had been able to yell, my cry would have been smothered by the shriek Kaiyou made. I looked up and saw that he was down on the ground, the scythe securely in his neck. Yet, he was still alive, for he tried to bite the humans nearby. However, they jumped back and began to stab him with their spears.

    I felt pain again and again. It was if they were stabbing me instead of Kaiyou ten feet away. I began to thrash, and I tried to run away. Then, darkness engulfed me, and I felt suffocated. I couldn't breathe. Panic ran through my body, and I tried to get air. I tried to find the surface of the murky ocean I was trapped in, but I couldn't. My claws found nothing but the same darkness, nothing to let me breathe.

    tome do kuvai… seshu tesh na reckal… ameba to nil rods…

    It was at that moment I heard something strange, a chanting of some foreign language I had never heard before. It was soft at first, but then it grew louder and louder until my ears began ringing as loud as the chanting. My head throbbed. My lungs burned. And I knew that I had to be dying.

    Then, horribly sharp claws clamped onto the sides of my body and pulled me down. I tried to scream, but I was out of air. I felt some of the claws move from my chest and then tightened onto my neck. I opened my eyes and saw bright, malicious, crimson eyes. My heart sputtered in horror. The eyes shone so brightly in front of me, I saw the thing's teeth illuminated near my neck.

    Then, it spoke.

    I AM KUVAI, THE DARK SHADOW POKEMON, CREATOR OF THE DUSKULL AND DUSCLOPS, CONSUMER OF HUMAN SOULS. IN LIFE, I WAS BUGANTI, A MIGHTY GROUND TYPE LEGENDARY. BUT THAT WAS 10,000 YEARS AGO, WHEN HUMANS BEGAN ARRIVING. IN DEATH, I AM A MERE SHADOW OF MY FORMER SELF, CAPABLE OF ANYTHING, EVEN DESTROYING THIS PITIFUL PLANET. AWAKEN ME, AND THE HUMAN RACE SHALL PAY.

    I saw the teeth move closer to my neck, and I screamed.

    I started in my bunk, and realized that I had actually been dreaming. I was panting, sweating, and my voice was hoarse. I looked frantically around the room and saw Shayla, Tai, and everyone else looking at me with worry. "Demi, what happened?" Shayla asked worriedly. I didn't answer her, and then Tai jumped onto my bunk and poked me with his paw.

    "Demi, you're shaking. Are you alright?" he asked. At his remark, I looked down and saw my legs trembling. I tried to make them stop, but they wouldn't. I shook myself and then jumped down from my bunk.

    "I…" I said shakily, "I'm fine. Really. D-don't worry about me. I'll… I'll be fine." I walked to the door of our room and looked to my left and saw Kaiyou sitting on the bottom bunk, looking pale. At a closer look I saw his arms shaking as much as my own legs had. I narrowed my eyes and looked into his pale face. His eyes met mine, and he seemed to say a silent apology.

    So… had I just dreamed one of his dreams?

    He looked away from me and walked to the window. I set a frown on my face and swore to myself to find out who and what this "Kuvai" thing was. By the look in Kaiyou's face, I was certain that he knew.

    The first time I tried to pry the information out of him was that morning, after we had eaten and set out for the next city. He was in his human form, walking slowly and calmly ahead of the main bulk of the group. Tai came up to my side with a worried expression on his face.

    "Hey, Demi, are you sure you're okay?" At my puzzled expression, he explained. "It seemed like you were having a hell of a nightmare last night." He leaned closer to me. "What was it about?"

    I had no intention of telling him what it was about. After all, I didn't understand most of it myself, and I felt compelled to keep it a secret until I could make sense out of it. I knew I had to talk to Kaiyou before I could tell anyone. So, I made something else up.

    "Well, Tai…" I began, "It was about… machamp."

    He blinked. "What?"

    I nodded. "Oh yeah. There was a whole army of them, and they were moving to attack me. That's pretty much all of it."

    His eyebrow went up. "I seriously doubt that even an army of machamp could make you scream the way you did."

    My face flushed. "I… screamed?"

    He nodded. "Yeah. It was really creepy -because that's what woke me up. And it was coming from you… and it sounded… strange… like you were terrified of something." He shuddered. "Damn, that was a blood-curdling scream…"

    I looked at his face, and then down at my feet as I walked. He… really sounded concerned about me. I seriously considered telling him what my dream was about, until…

    "I think I know what you're dream was about…" he said coyly. My head snapped to his direction, and the evil smirk he wore grew.

    "Oh yes," he continued. "I know what it was about."

    My heart went faster. I didn't really know why I was afraid if he knew, but that was how I felt. I dreaded what his next words might be.

    He closed his eyes and lifted his head. "You dreamt of a life without my presence, didn't you?" he asked. I nearly stumbled in my walking. "I can see it, Demi," he continued. "You can't stand to be without me. Really, I'm flattered, but seriously, I'm not going anywhere. You have nothing to fear."

    I growled and shoved him into a murky stream nearby. "Thanks for the reassurance," I mumbled. I ignored Tai's calls as I walked on and then cursed whatever deity was responsible for ever thinking of testosterone.

    It was a little later in the morning, and I was walking silently beside Kaiyou. Then Shayla told us she had to "do her business" and would be gone for a while. So, Kaiyou climbed up a tree (without much grace, I should add) and I sat down at the base of the trunk.

    "Who is Kuvai?" I asked quietly. He looked down at me, and I saw in his eyes there was something that was troubling him. Something that he wanted to tell me. But in an instant that look was replaced by feigned ignorance.

    "Kuvai?" he asked. "Never heard of him." Then, he added a little louder, "Is he your boyfriend?"

    Tai was there in an instant, almost as if Kaiyou had proclaimed that he had conjured food. Tai looked at me eagerly. "You have a boyfriend? Sweet! Who is he?"

    My mouth flustered for a moment, and before I could proclaim my innocence of the charge, Kaiyou supplied, "This dude named Kuvai," he supplied and then Tai began asking me question after question. Unfortunately, this made me incapable of asking Kaiyou about Kuvai, and he knew it, too. During Tai's interrogation, I looked up at Kaiyou angrily, and he smiled and leaned back on the tree branch he was sitting on.

    My second attempt was during lunch. I had gotten my food, as had everyone else. They were all eating hungrily, and then a plan formed in my head. I deserted my own bowl and snatched Kaiyou's sandwich and ran off with it.

    "Ayako!" he cried, "Give me back my sandwich!" He got up and began to run after me, but I was faster and quickly escaped him. When we were deep in the brush, I said softly, "I'll give you your sandwich back if you tell me who Kuvai is."

    Panting, he shook his head. "No. I have a better idea…" He walked out of the brush, and then called to the camp, "Tai! Demi says she doesn't want her food and that you can have it!"

    I heard a "sweet!" in the distance and I cried, "NO!" I abandoned the sandwich and ran to my bowl of food to try and salvage whatever I could. However, Tai had already eaten it when I got there. I cursed and then turned and saw Kaiyou with his sandwich in his hands, carefully brushing it off. He smiled and bit into his sandwich, and then I stormed off into the brush and hoped I could find something edible.

    I hate men.

    By this time, I was desperate. I wanted to know who Kuvai was, why he was trying to eat me in my dream, and what the strange statue was. I was fresh out of ideas, and so I decided to drop even lower and beg Kaiyou for information.

    Shayla had eaten some bad berries and was now dealing with them in the underbrush with Amburna trying to settle her stomach down. From the gagging noises I heard, there wasn't much success. So, with my mind set, I stormed up to Kaiyou (who was happily sitting in a tree) and stared up at him with determination etched on my face.

    He looked down and asked pleasantly, "May I help you?"

    My face changed from determined to pleading. I bowed and asked, "Oh, your Mighty Worship, please, PLEASE divulge your infinite knowledge to this lowly, undeserving servant of yours!"

    When I looked up, he was smiling. "You want to know who 'Kuvai' is, don't you?"

    My face broke into a smile. "Yes!" I exclaimed, and then his own smile broadened.

    He sighed and then said, "Ah, my humble servant, bring me some fresh spring water and then I will contemplate your request." My smile and heart fell.

    "What?" I asked, and he looked down at me, the smile still on his face.

    "Yes, you see, your Master of Infinite Knowledge, Wisdom and Power is thirsty, but doesn't want to get out of his tree, so could you, humble, humble servant, fetch him some?" His face was still in the same smile as before. He was serious. "While you are away, I shall think upon your question and if I should answer it or not."

    I left with no intention of "fetching him fresh spring water." I grumbled under my breath as I left, and paid no heed to the requests for ice with his fresh spring water.

    I walked back into camp and saw Shayla lying on a rock, groaning with Amburna beside her, who was stroking the human's stomach gently. A bucket that reeked of vomit lay beside the dragonair. And, at that moment, I discovered where to find my "Master of Knowledge, Wisdom and Power" some fresh water.

    I happily trotted over to the icebox, retrieved some ice cubes, dumped them into the vomit bucket, and then picked said bucket up via my teeth and the bucket's handle. I then added some water to dullen the stench, and squirted some freshener that Shayla kept onto the mouth of the bucket. It now smelt like flowery vomit instead of just plain vomit. I then grabbed a cloth and placed it over the top of the bucket to top it off. I smiled. My creation was complete. Amburna looked at me strangely.

    "Are you so hungry as to eat THAT?" she asked incredulously. I put the bucket down lightly on the ground. "You do know what that is, don't you?" the dragonair asked. I nodded.

    "Oh, I know exactly what it is," I replied. "It isn't for me, but for my 'Master of Knowledge, Wisdom and Power'." I then picked the bucket back up and left the dragonair completely befuddled.

    I reached Kaiyou's tree and he looked down at me in surprise. I guessed he hadn't expected me to return. I looked up at him pleasantly, and scooted the bucket towards him. "I have retrieved your fresh spring water, oh Master," I reported pleasantly. Kaiyou blinked, then smiled and then jumped down from his perch on the tree. He picked up the bucket and said, "Thank you, humble servant. You have done your Master proud." He then lifted the cloth, and then nearly gagged.

    I saw my chance and then headbutted the bucket, sending Shayla's rotten berries and breakfast all over him. I laughed triumphantly and ran off, leaving my angry Master behind. I was laughing so hard, I didn't hear his curses as I ran out of the brush.

    Even though I hadn't gotten any information out of him, I had a lot of fun. My plan for revenge had wonderfully succeeded. Tai looked at me strangely as I reentered camp, laughing the way I was. Kaiyou showed up a minute earlier with Shayla's tossed cookies all over his shirt, angrier than I had ever seen him. At seeing his face, I laughed again, and he threw a stick at me, but missed. Shayla saw him and then began to vomit again, to which Amburna sighed and asked for another bucket.

    Kaiyou had bathed for about two hours when Shayla was feeling good enough to walk again. He had saved his pants, but his shirt was completely gone. He decided against walking around in his true form because we were about to come up on a little town, and he feared that the public might try to capture him. He also didn't want to go inside his ultra ball -to which we all understood why- so he borrowed one of Shayla's denim over-shirts as we went through the town. For the whole time we were walking through town, he refused to talk to me.

    After about an hour in the town, I asked meekly, "Heh, um… sorry about your shirt."

    "I liked that shirt," he said tersely.

    I laughed nervously. "Yeah… um…"

    "What?" he asked a little harshly. "I'm not about to tell you about Kuvai. No. I told you before, you're perfectly fine with not knowing of his existence. And I'm not going to reveal his identity in this public place, out where anyone can hear me."

    I blinked. "So Kuvai… is he the thing that you visited last night? The thing that has to be monitored?"

    He didn't say anything for a moment. "Don't worry about it right now. Just…" He sighed and put his head in his hand. "Please… don't bombard me with questions right now. I'm not in the mood the answer them."

    He walked off and I stood there in the middle of the street, confused. Was this Kuvai person really so terrible to talk about? My face went to determination and I vowed to interrogate him that night, and I swore to myself that I would know everything Kaiyou knew about Kuvai.

    I decided to confront him on the matter when it became dusk of that night. We had already eaten supper and I had beaten Tai into the ground about twenty times because he wouldn't stop making fun of me because I had a nightmare (about him leaving me, apparently.) Kaiyou was in human form, (in his new white, button-down, collared shirt that Shayla had bought him) lounging in a tree overlooking a high cliff. There was a waterfall nearby, so the air was cool and sweet. There were flowers blooming around my feet, and there was a full moon tonight. It was truly beautiful.

    I shook that thought out of my head and placed my front paws on the tree and began to talk a bit forcefully. "Kaiyou, I know there's something you're not telling me, and I know that I had the same dream you had last night." He looked at me, but said nothing. "WHO is Kuvai?" I demanded.

    He looked down at his hands for a moment, then back to the cliff. " 'I am Kuvai, the Shadow Pokemon, Creator of the duskull and dusclops, Consumer of human souls.' " My heart skipped a beat. That was what the thing in my dream said! " 'In Life, I was Buganti, a mighty ground Legendary. But that was 10,000 years ago, when humans began arriving. In Death, I am a mere shadow of my former self, capable of anything, even destroying this pitiful planet. Awaken me, and the human race shall pay.' " He looked back to me. " 'Tome do kuvai… seshu tesh na reckal… ameba to nil rods…' "

    My lower jaw shook as I began my sentence. "H-how… How do you know that? Are… Are YOU Kuvai?" The possibility that he was the thing in my dream with those merciless red eyes… it truly terrified me.

    To my relief, he shook his head. "No, Ayako. I haven't lied to you about my name -I am Kaiyou. I am Kaiyou, Guardian of the Black Tomb. What you heard in your dream was an inscription upon the door of the Tomb."

    "Black Tomb?" I asked, to which he nodded. "That was the statue you saw- with the spires?" My mind flashed the image of the blood red eyes and the teeth inching near to my neck. "And Kuvai… is he in the Tomb?"

    Kaiyou nodded. "He is what I'm supposed to be protecting. He was what I was protecting when those humans killed me. You saw them. The bastards…" Hate filled his voice when he said the last word, but his face remained calm. He didn't say anything more, so I pressed him on.

    "And… that weird language… What does it say?" Kaiyou sighed and turned back to the waterfall.

    " 'We serve Kuvai… servants to the Dark one… we assist him eating you alive…' It's an ancient script of old ghost pokemon and evil spirits, who worshipped Kuvai. I suppose they've long died out since I was murdered." He jumped off of the tree and walked to its side and leaned on it. He faced away from me, and faced the sight overlooking the cliff. "When I went to the Tomb last, I couldn't smell anything remotely alive around it. I guess the humans gave up on trying to unlock it."

    I blinked. So that's where he disappeared off to…I thought. I sat down on the soft grass and then asked him, "Why is Kuvai so evil? What made him turn into Kuvai when he was Buganti? It doesn't make sense!"

    I heard Kaiyou heave another heavy sigh. I supposed he didn't like spilling his guts about something he had to keep so secret. He answered the question in my mind before I could speak it.

    "I feel that I owe you something since you… shared my dream. I hate saying all that I know about Kuvai… If he were awoken, I wouldn't know what to do, but I can't leave you to share my horrors every night like I do. So, hopefully, I can give you some peace about him." He looked over his shoulder to look at me. "Kuvai… Or Buganti, since he was still alive at this time, ruled over an underground city. It's very near the Tomb, and I doubt if it's being lived in right now. The humans living there loved Buganti until a rogue came and told them that if they didn't kill Buganti soon, he would devour their children and bury them in the rubble of an earthquake. They believed the rogue and then killed Buganti in his sleep.

    "I knew him then, and I feel that we were friends then. I had been away when the treachery happened, so I couldn't do anything about it. When I came back, I found him dead in his lair, freshly killed. I was furious. I killed the traitors, but still, I felt I needed to do more. I called upon Ho-Oh and told him what had happened. Ho-Oh then revived Buganti, but he was so possessed by hate, he couldn't return to his former form. So, he became Kuvai, a shadow of his former self.

    "Kuvai seemed to recognize me at first, but then he tried to attack the town as soon as he saw it. Ho-Oh and I put him in a deep sleep and sealed him in his lair -the Black Tomb. We both placed lock after lock on it, and then I assigned myself to guard it, to make sure his wrath wouldn't be placed upon the innocent. I doubt if even his or my legends even exist. The scene you saw in your dream happened roughly 3500 years ago. When I went back there yesterday, three of the four locks had been undone. Without Ho-Oh's help, I can't redo them, except for a little makeshift lock."

    I was stunned. I didn't really know what to think, what to say. However, my mouth was quicker than my mind. "Why couldn't you call on Ho-Oh again?"

    Kaiyou laughed bitterly. "The Legendary Birds are not all what you think, Ayako. They are pompous, self-centered bastards, save for Lugia. The others all care about power and showing off that power. No, unless I had a crowd of humans and pokemon around me, he wouldn't help me again. He only did what he did 10,000 years ago so that he could get more worshippers."

    "So… there's nothing you can do to make more locks?" I asked meekly. Kaiyou shook his head. I looked down to my feet, feeling a bit scared. There were only two more locks to break, and then the Black Tomb would unlock and then Kuvai himself would reek destruction upon the Hoenn region. I looked up to Kaiyou's back and asked, "So… you two were friends?"

    He paused a while before answering. "I like to think that. He was my friend, but I doubt I was his. He liked to be alone, and usually couldn't stand me being around him because he told me time and time again I was annoying." I heard a light chuckle. Then, in a deeper voice, he bellowed, " 'Kaiyou, you stupid mongrel! Get away from me! No, don't you dare throw those pastries at me! Kaiyou! I'm gonna kill you!' "

    I guessed that that was Kaiyou's impersonation of Buganti, so I said, "He didn't sound like he liked you at all." Kaiyou's chuckle grew louder.

    "I'm sure it does sound that way," he replied. "But of course, you never saw him after he said stuff like that. He would grumble and then I would follow behind him and then he'd look over his shoulder, see me there, and then smile a little." He paused. "But then he would whack me with his two tails."

    I chuckled. I guessed, after stretching the word "friends" they were. Kaiyou turned to me and smiled. "Now, you had better get some rest. I have a feeling that we're going to be traveling quite a lot tomorrow." He walked up to me and patted me on the head. "Good night, loyal one," he said softly.

    I looked up and then bowed slightly. "Good night, my Lord," I replied. I got up and walked back to camp and sat down on the soft grass underneath me. I was beside Amburna and Shoko, with the others across the way. The fire was in front of me, and I remember before falling asleep seeing two great red eyes through that fire.

  15. #15
    Game Completionist LightArrows.exe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freedom Price

    Chapter 15

    Illauna

    I was dreaming. I had to be. Otherwise, I wouldn't be seeing Kaiyou roaming around in his true form with Yasille by his side. Again, he looked rather young. If he were in his human form, I would guess that he would look sixteen or seventeen, not in his mid-twenties. The siblings looked tense. They were in front of the Black Tomb. Though, as I looked at it, it wasn't as… sinister as before. I took a closer look and saw a welcoming face on the statue. I blinked. Was it like that before Buganti was killed? I looked towards the two siblings and saw Kaiyou making his way to the statue. I followed, allowing my feet to take me where they wanted.

    Instead of going through the door of the Tomb, they went around to an underground entrance. I followed slowly behind them, curious. Kaiyou began calling in the dark, dank tunnel we were traveling through. He sounded distressed.

    (Buganti! Buganti, where are you?) he called. I listened, and heard no answer. Kaiyou called again, and Yasille shook her head helplessly.

    -My premonition was right- she declared in pain. -Lord, they killed him! They murdered him- Kaiyou turned and snarled at her.

    (No! I won't believe it! I won't believe it until I see his bloody corpse! To Hell with your premonition, I'm going to find him!) He ran off into the darkness of the tunnel, and Yasille objected.

    -You can't! You'll kill innocents! Kaiyou- Yasille cried, but Kaiyou paid no heed to his sister.

    I found myself running alongside Kaiyou. I looked up and saw his distressed face and smelt panic mingled into his scent. I fell behind a bit, and then my eyes were greeted with the light glow of fired torches. Were in a large, circular cavern, with strange-looking characters carved into the floor. I imagined they were some kind of chant that went along with Buganti, like the one that went with Kuvai. In the middle of the room was what I guessed was Buganti, except I couldn't really tell. All I knew was that it was huge, bloody and decapitated. It had spears, knives, any kind of pointy object sticking out of it. A pool of bright red blood had formed around it, and I nearly retched at the stench. Oh yes, whatever this thing was, was dead.

    Kaiyou took a small step towards the hulking dead thing. (Buganti…) he whispered. Yasille arrived to his other side, and took a step back.

    -Oh, no… We're too late…- she whispered, and then plopped down on the floor. She shook her head, and then kept whispering 'we're too late' over and over again. Kaiyou nuzzled his sister, and then discovered something.

    I noticed them, too. Small, bloody, human-like footprints made a trail around the dead creature and led out of the cavern to another tunnel nearby. I looked at Kaiyou and saw his fur raise and his teeth bare.

    (They killed him…) he said softly, (The villagers… They're the ones that killed him! The bastards -THEY KILLED HIM!) He let out a bestial roar and then ran around his friend's corpse and down the tunnel. Yasille cried for him to stop, but he didn't listen. I found myself following him down the tunnel. It opened up into another huge cavern, this one much bigger than Buganti's lair, and I saw a little city beneath me. There were people gathered in what looked like the town-square, dancing around what looked like Buganti's head on a pike, which was above a huge bonfire.

    Kaiyou roared to make himself known. His howl echoed throughout the cavern, and the music and dancing stopped abruptly. From far below, I heard an old woman's voice cry, "It's the Great Black Wolf! I told you he would come if you killed the beast-god! Now he's the one that will kill us all!" She ran from outside of the town-square to an altar below where Kaiyou and I were standing.

    "Please, Great Black Wolf, do not destroy this village! I know you are consumed by hate, but please! They know not what they do! They are fools! Ignorant fools! Please, spare them your wrath!"

    Kaiyou snarled down at her. (SILENCE!) he barked, (I don't want to hear you speak! Pray that I leave you something to live in, old crone! These traitors will PAY for their insolent crimes! I'll kill them! I'll kill every last ONE!) With that, he howled and then dove down to the city's level and began destroying anything that came within range of his jaws. Many tried to defend themselves against the Dark Legendary, but none prevailed. Kaiyou threw mixtures of sediment and human being into the walls of the cavern, he fed the fire with human flesh, and, to make sure no traitor left, he used a psychic wave throughout the entire cavern, destroying everything in its path. The old woman who had pled with him was still on the altar, shaking. Kaiyou turned to her, panting.

    The old woman began to wail in such a sad voice, I myself almost cried. Her voice was the single sound throughout the cavern, and it echoed into the other walls of the cave, almost making it stronger. Kaiyou's hindquarters buckled beneath him and he fell to the destroyed floor adjacent to the bonfire. He looked up and saw Buganti's huge head upon the pike, and sighed. He picked himself up, took the pike with his teeth, and softly put it on the floor away from the fire. Yasille then arrived beside me, and she began to softly weep.

    -Kaiyou… How could you…- she asked softly of her brother. Kaiyou didn't answer. Instead, he picked the pike up again, and half carried it, half dragged it to the ledge Yasille and I were standing on. When he arrived at the altar the woman was standing on, he paused, and then put the pike down. He then leaned a little closer to the old woman.

    She recoiled away from him. "No… I had nothing to do with it! Please, don't kill me! I didn't want Buganti killed! He was a good caretaker! I don't know why they believed the rogue!" She was weeping uncontrollably now. Tears were streaming down her face like rainfall. "Please! Please… I didn't… I didn't…"

    Kaiyou didn't make a move. (What rogue…?) he asked softly. This seemed to reassure the woman a bit, and her body relaxed by a hair.

    "A rogue came to our city not two days ago -while you were still away. I don't know his name… he never told us. All he kept on saying was that Buganti was evil -that we had to kill him as soon as possible before he killed us while we slept. I tried to tell them 'No! He's been good to us for as long as this city's been alive! He wouldn't do that!' They didn't listen… They didn't listen! Then, last night, they moved and struck! They killed him as he slept -they knew not much could wake him up if they were quiet enough. Then, they killed him and the rogue disappeared after they killed Buganti. I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry…"

    Kaiyou blinked and then picked up the pike again. (I'm sorry too… Please, for your own sake, get out of here. There's nothing for you here now. I've made sure of that.) he said bitterly, and then hopped up the ledge, leaving the old woman to decide what to do with herself.

    I assumed time passed, because now I was in Buganti's lair with Yasille at my right side and Kaiyou at my left. Ho-Oh, in all his glory and magnificence, stood before me looking perturbed.

    :Tell me, Darkling: he said in slight disgust, :Why should I revive him? Many pokemon are murdered by their trainers every day -should I revive them as well? I cannot treat anyone with special treatment in death. That would upset the balance, as you of all people should know.:

    (Ho-Oh,) Kaiyou said wearily, ( I know this, as you say. But… I know that it wasn't the right time. It wasn't his time to die!)

    :And how do you know this: the phoenix Legendary asked with a sneer in his telepathic voice. :Did your sister see it in one of her "visions": Kaiyou snarled at the comment.

    (How dare you mock her!) Kaiyou cried. (One of her "visions" is what led me here to find him dead!)

    Ho-Oh looked down at Kaiyou. :I would be careful if I were you, Darkling. You are asking for my help, and it would not be wise to anger or insult me.:

    Kaiyou snarled. (I am not trying to do so. I plead, I beg of you to be good enough to revive him. It was not his time to die!)

    Ho-Oh tossed his head. :And who are you to judge this? Are you the deity that decides when every pokemon and human dies:

    Yasille growled, which surprised me. -Don't mock my brother! If I recall correctly, my brother helped you win a battle against Moltres! If not for him, you would have lost many worshippers that day, and would have been humiliated by Moltres. Do you wish that to happen again-

    Kaiyou's eyebrows raised and Ho-Oh growled. :Fine, I'll revive the beast. Move over so I can do my work.:

    Ho-Oh scooted near the corpse of Buganti and began to glow red. The decapitated head reattached itself to its body, and the eyes opened. I retreated from the living corpse, but Kaiyou took a step forward.

    (Buganti? Buganti?) he called. The beast blinked its pasty eyes, and lifted its head. Ho-Oh stopped glowing and took a step back to examine his work. Yasille's eyes grew wide and she began to shake her head.

    -No! This isn't right! Something's wrong! Something's wrong- she cried. Kaiyou looked back at her, confused.

    (Yasille, What are you talking about?) Yasille was about to reply, but Buganti interrupted her.

    "Kai…you…" the great beast whispered. Kaiyou looked to his revived friend in hope, but Yasille took another fearful step back. Buganti saw her, and his alligator-like face broke into a smile. "Yasille! How I have longed to see you!" He began to walk towards her, but then he caught a glimpse of the tunnel to the destroyed underground city. His eyes flashed red for an instant. My own eyes widened. The red eyes he had right then were in my other dream.

    "The… city…" he whispered. Kaiyou suddenly found the danger in Buganti's awakening, and he put himself between the un-dead beast and the ruined city.

    (Buganti, my friend, you can't look at it! It'll-)

    Buganti swung himself around and slammed his two twin tails against Kaiyou's body, which sent the Dark Legendary into a cavern wall. Yasille ran to her brother, and she looked fearfully to Buganti. The beast roared and then began to speak in a strange language in rage. Kaiyou looked to his friend in horror. (Buganti, stop!) he cried.

    Buganti didn't listen. Instead, his body began to flinch and was ravaged by convulsions. Ho-Oh flew back from the beast, and then shouted in hate, :You see what you have wished for? Your "friend" is consumed by hate! He cannot return to his earthly form:

    I looked back from Ho-Oh to Buganti, who collapsed to the floor. I then saw a shadowy figure rise up from Buganti's back, and Yasille hid behind her brother. The shadowy figure then took a semi-solid form and glanced around the room with his malicious red eyes.

    And then he looked straight at me. I forgot about the rest of his shadowy figure and stared in horror at his eyes, which bore into me. Then, I was back in the murky ocean and then the claws grabbed me again.

    I screamed.

    It was the next day and we had gotten out of the wilderness and into civilization. We were now strolling about Mauville City, and then something made me a tad nervous.

    We had heard on some passerby's radio that the media had caught wind of Kaiyou's existence and apparently, practically every trainer wanted to catch him. The said Legendary was walking along with us in his human form. Some trainers were somewhat smart and kept their dark pokemon out to try and fish out the Dark Legendary. However, Kaiyou was confident in the fact that the trainers weren't as smart as to suspect a human of being a pokemon, and Shayla had to agree with him. So, instead of being safe in his ultra ball, he was strolling about in the open with the rest of us.

    Many dark pokemon noticed us as we walked into town and almost tackled Kaiyou out of sheer joy. I thanked the other Legendaries that most of them were on leashes. However, one houndoom got away from his trainer and began to lick Kaiyou like the Dark Legendary was made of peanut butter.

    "Gah!" Kaiyou sputtered out as the houndoom licked his face and neck. I saw a trainer -a "cool" trainer from the looks of it, run up and returned the houndoom to his poke ball.

    "I'm sorry, man," the boy apologized. He took Kaiyou's hand and pulled the Legendary up. "I don't know what got into him! Are you all right?"

    Kaiyou nodded. "Yes, I'm fine. Don't worry about what happened, it happens all the time. I'm used to it by now." The two shook hands and then we went about our way, leaving the trainer in utter confusion about what happened. Tai snickered.

    "Man, these guys really ARE stupid!" he whispered to me in delight. "Here Kaiyou is, standing right out in the open, and the pokemon recognize him, but none of the humans have the wits to see what their pokemon see!" He laughed. "This is great!"

    Kaiyou wiped his face with the back of his sleeve. "For you maybe," he said in a hushed tone. "But this is insane for me. I hope nothing big tries to greet me, like a tyranitar."

    Tai laughed. "Oh MAN! That would be funny as hell. I wonder what it would do first, tackle you down and lick you or give you a bear hug?"

    Kaiyou shuddered. "Don't even talk like that…"

    We found an open-air restaurant and sat down. Kaiyou ordered some chesto and pecha berry pie (to which I drooled) and Shayla and he began to talk.

    "Um…" Shayla tapped Kaiyou's arm. "I don't think I can call you by your real name," she whispered. "What should I call you?"

    He thought. "Lord and Master of the Universe," he replied with a straight face.

    Shayla's face fell. "Seriously."

    Kaiyou sighed. "Oh, fine. Be that way. Call me… Ishmael."

    Shayla rolled her eyes and sat back in her chair. "Why do you have to be like this?"

    Kaiyou cocked his head innocently. "Why, be like what?"

    Shayla didn't really respond. She just sighed deeply and then put her hand over her eyes. I supposed she wasn't quite ready for the real Kaiyou.

    Kaiyou smiled triumphantly and relaxed into his own chair. I began to smile myself- it was good to see Kaiyou relax like this. From what I experienced for the last two nights, he really couldn't afford to. Not with the Black Tomb to guard. And to think he had to watch a friend of his turn into a hideous, blood thirsty monster… I turned to my other comrades and tried to imagine the same thing happen to them. I couldn't.

    Suddenly, a sneasel jumped up from out of nowhere and clamped onto the back of Kaiyou's head. At first, Kaiyou didn't seem to notice. And then, after a few seconds, he tentatively put a hand to the back of his head to feel the sneasel. When his hand touched the sneasel, she happily licked Kaiyou's hand, which gave the Dark Legendary a start.

    "There's a sneasel growing out of the back of your head," Tai commented. Kaiyou gave the jolteon a stale look and then pulled the sneasel off of the back of his head and looked at her.

    The sneasel chirped in delight, somehow escaped from Kaiyou's grasp, and then attached herself to Kaiyou's lower torso. The Dark Legendary looked at her in question, and then I began to feel rumbling vibrations in the ground.

    In question, I looked around and saw what looked like a mountain heading toward us. "Oh, shit," Tai muttered, and Kaiyou looked down at him in question. Tai merely pointed to the rushing mound of rocky mass, and Kaiyou's eyes got really wide.

    The tyranitar put his arms around Kaiyou and lifted the Dark Legendary up in joy. Kaiyou coughed weakly and tried to struggle out of the tyranitar's grip, but to no avail. Tai was rolling on the ground, laughing his spiky yellow head off.

    I assumed Kaiyou was trying to threaten Tai, but the tyranitar's Vulcan Death Grip was cutting off the Dark Legendary's air supply. I began to laugh myself, and Kaiyou glared down at me. Of course, that only made me laugh harder since his face was getting so blue.

    "Gruzog!" I turned to the sound of the feminine voice and saw a girl run up to us. She had semi-long black hair, which she wore down, and had on a black leather jacket, black jeans and a black undershirt. I mentally guessed what her favorite color was.

    She put her hands on the tyranitar's rocky side. "Gruzog, put him down! You'll suffocate him!" The tyranitar, Gruzog, a little surprised by the news, looked down at his catch and stared at Kaiyou's purple face. Gruzog immediately let him go, to which the Dark Legendary collapsed to the concrete. The girl began to ramble an apology as Kaiyou remembered how to breathe.

    "Oh my Gosh, I am just so sorry! He's never done anything like this! I mean, sure, he's gentle, but he's never bear-hugged a complete stranger before! I don't know what's gotten into him! And Segalla too! She's usually shy towards strangers…" I looked up at her and saw a blank expression on her face. She was staring at Kaiyou. My heart quickened. Did she figure it out? my mind asked frantically. I followed the direction of her stare and saw that she was looking at the black symbol on his forehead that was slightly revealed through a gap in his black bangs.

    Her expression went from blank to suspicious. "What's that on your forehead, sir?"

    Kaiyou looked up and pointed to his forehead. "Oh, this? A tattoo I got while I had too much sake in my blood," he said coolly. He got off of the ground and then sat back down in his chair. "Though, I don't see why it concerns you, miss. It's a bit rude to ask things like that."

    Her face changed again, from suspicious to apologetic. "Oh, forgive me! I'm sorry!" She bowed, and then looked back up. "May I… know your names?"

    Shayla spoke first. "Of course. I'm Shayla, the jolteon is Tai," Tai jumped in the air excitedly, "the absol is Demi," I nodded my head, "the charizard is Shoko," Shoko happily growled, "the dragonair is Amburna," Amburna waved with her tail, "and the man in front of you is K… Ishmael."

    The girl nodded. "My name is Illauna. Pleasure to meet you all. The tyranitar is Gruzog, and the sneasel is Segalla. Though, I have to wonder, what kind of trainer are you, Ishmael, to attract the attention of my Dark pokemon when we were so far away?"

    Kaiyou smiled. "I'm a Dark trainer, and I guess I have a… an aura that Dark Pokemon like."

    Illauna cocked her head. "Is that so? My pokemon have been around hundreds of Dark trainers, and they never acted like this. Why now, for you?"

    Kaiyou shrugged. "I'm special."

    Then, I saw something catch Kaiyou's eyes. I followed his stare and saw that he was looking at Illauna's waist, where her other poke balls were. I saw his eyebrow lift and say, "Illauna, tell me… what other pokemon do you have with you? And how, exactly, did you get them?" He looked up at her with a well-hidden menacing expression.

    She didn't retreat. "Well, I will tell you, Kaiyou, when you tell me how you're pulling off an illusion like this."

    I gasped. She figured it out! I looked to Kaiyou, who's expression didn't change. Instead of freaking out like the rest of us were, he merely smiled. "Very good. There is some hope for the human race after all. I will tell you how I'm 'pulling off this illusion' as you proclaim, when you tell me how you captured Raikou and Articuno." He lifted his head and then sniffed. "I also smell Regice and Moltres on you. Have you come here for the other Hoenn Legendaries? Perhaps to complete your collection?"

    Illauna's eyebrow lifted and Shayla cleared her throat. "Not to ruin the mood, but I think we should discuss this in a more… private place. I doubt either of you would want any of this information to leak."

    They nodded. Kaiyou got up and lead the way into the nearby route to Verdanturf town, but before he did, I saw a glare in his eyes directed towards Illauna.

    "Alright girl, spill it," Kaiyou demanded harshly as soon as we were in the privacy of the forest. "How the hell did you capture Raikou, Articuno and the others? Raikou especially. Previously, I had highly doubted that there was a competent enough trainer that could actually catch one Legendary, much less four."

    Illauna looked up at him innocently. "I would think you would have known. I am Illauna. I've made a pact with the Legendaries: if I can capture them, I trainer them until they're at their highest potential and then release them back into the wild. What I get in return is info for my Pokedex and the chance to actually train the Legendaries." She took a sip of water from a water bottle. "This is to make sure they can't be captured again. I would have thought the others would have informed you."

    He raised the corner of his lip in a very wolfish manner. "I've been dead for 3500 years -I haven't caught up with everything yet, apparently."

    She looked at him coolly. "I know. I've read your legends. How you were protecting the Black Tomb until a group of humans ambushed you."

    Kaiyou glared. "Where, exactly, did you find this?"

    She smiled. "A library, of course. When I came here to find the Tomb, I found an old man saying that he knew about a long-gone Legendary. No one but me really paid attention to him, and then he told me about a book I could find about you and Kuvai, called The Black Book of the Tomb. I read it, and then, right after that, I heard rumors that Team Magma had used a dead Legendary's DNA to create a beast that would awaken Groudon."

    Kaiyou glared and then turned away while muttering something about stupid, senile old men ruining everything. Shayla turned to Illauna in question. "What are you talking about? Who's Kuvai? What's the Black Tomb? Kaiyou was dead? I don't understand."

    Illauna's eyebrow raised and she faced Kaiyou's back. "You haven't told her? Have you told anyone?"

    He glared over his shoulder. "The absol, because she… she got involved. As for the others, I saw no reason to divulge my entire life story to them, so I kept my mouth shut. And you would do good to do that as well, trainer, lest you would like to share my own nightmares like the absol to your left."

    She blinked and looked at me. "Are they really so terrible?"

    I looked at her and then to Kaiyou. He glanced at me, and then walked over to the trunk of a tree. I felt caught in the middle, so I decided to not say anything at all. As I looked away from Illauna, I saw Tai looking at me with a strange face.

    I saw Shayla shake her head. "No, Kaiyou didn't tell me, and niether did Demi." She sighed. "I guess they both have right to not tell me -it is their choice, and I don't want to know everything that each of my pokemon has done." She shook her head again. "But let's get off that subject! Illauna, where did you come from? What's your hometown?"

    Illauna replied something, but I didn't listen. All of the sudden, I was feeling slightly ill, so I decided to walk around or sit under a nice, shady tree. I got up and searched for a while, well away from the group. I found a wonderful tree -beds of clover grew under it, so it was comfy to sit on. The tree itself was huge -the branches were enormous and the shade could probably cover three or four houses. I sat near the trunk, and then I smelled Tai near me.

    I looked over my shoulder to see him standing there, the same strange expression on his face. It looked like… betrayal and worry mushed together. I sighed and then put my weary head on my paws. To be honest, I didn't want to talk to him that much. But, not really wanting to tell him that, I asked, "What is it, Tai?"

    I heard his footprints come closer to me. "So… you knew about Kaiyou's past? You know what had happened to him?"

    I blinked and stared at my black claws. "Yes. Why do you ask?"

    I looked over my shoulder to see his reaction. He shrugged a bit, and then replied softly, "I… thought you would have told us if you knew anything. To tell you the truth, I didn't really know about this Kaiyou guy. From the moment I saw him, I didn't really like him, since he looks so much like a damned mutated umbreon."

    I rolled my eyes and let my head fall to my paws. "Not this again."

    He sighed and lay down beside me. "I'm not going to go into it, and I don't really want to argue with you."

    I looked at him. "Then… what do you want? There must be a reason you followed me all the way here."

    He looked at me as if the answer was obvious. "I want to know why you didn't tell me about your dreams. I really was scared when you screamed so terribly that one night," he said. "You're Xena -you're not supposed to scream unless it's a battle cry."

    For some reason, I felt guilty. Why hadn't I told him? Because I didn't know how, or what his reaction would be. I thought rationally. I had also wanted to know everything before I divulged information about a topic that I didn't know very well. I sighed and put my head on my paws. "Sorry I worried you. But I'm fine now, really."

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tai's eyebrow cock. "Really? You woke me up again last night because you kicked me in my side. You didn't scream, but you looked like you were in trouble." He leaned closer to my face. "What, exactly, are these dreams of yours about?"

    I retreated a bit from him. Being that close made me nervous. "About Kaiyou. They're his dreams, after all. They're… they're mostly his memories -before he died."

    His cocked eyebrow inclined more. " 'Mostly'? Then what's the other stuff about?"

    The red eyes flashed before me, and I started a bit. I shook my head vigorously. I couldn't talk about Kuvai -I couldn't. I knew that if I did, my walls would break and I would collapse. I couldn't do that, especially in front of Tai. I couldn't lose myself in that horrible dream in front of him. "I… I can't," I said weakly. I let my face fall into the slight darkness between my forelegs. "I can't," I muttered again. I felt pitiful.

    I felt Tai's paw on my leg. "Come on, Demi. It's okay, you can tell me. I won't tell a soul."

    I shook my head again while keeping my face in between my forelegs. I saw the red eyes again, and then felt the thing's repulsive hot breath against my fur. I shuddered. "No," I muttered, "you don't understand. I can't tell you because… Because…"

    "Because… you're too afraid of it?" Tai asked. "You believe that talking about it will make it… come… true?"

    I blinked. That wasn't really it, but it was a small part. I didn't do anything to respond him, so he took my silence for a 'yes'.

    "Demi… Ayako," he corrected himself, "it's all right to tell me. I promise, I'll make sure that whatever it is that's haunting you in your dreams, I'll protect you from it." I looked up at him, astonished that he wasn't trying to irritate me or make fun of me. He smiled back at me with his goofy-looking grin. "Now, will you please tell me?"

    I sighed and looked at him. He was looking me straight in the eye, wearing an "I'm-ready-for-anything" expression. I felt that he needed to know -after all, he was going through all of this trouble to try and console me, something he didn't need to do at all. My eyes fell from his face and I stared at the base of the tree in front of me and began to talk.

    I started with Kaiyou's memories. After all, they weren't as bad as what always seemed to happen afterwards. I guess Tai listened intently, because he didn't move an inch as I talked. I talked about him being murdered by the humans, and about Yasille and the Tomb. I told him about Buganti and how he was decapitated by the very humans he protected and how Kaiyou destroyed them all. I spoke of Ho-Oh and how he revived Buganti, only to have the great beast turn into that shadowy figure named Kuvai.

    Then, I began to talk about the smothering, suffocating, murky ocean and the red eyes. I felt myself begin to shudder. The dream then took a hold on me, and I was there again, except I was still narrating. I saw the eyes and teeth, felt his hot breath on my fur. To this day, I still have no idea what I said when I spoke about that part of my dreams. Tai never repeated them to me.

    I felt my voice raise as the thing's claws dug into my flesh, and the thing's illuminated eyes and teeth drew closer to me. But, I didn't scream, and then the vision vanished. I blinked and began to pant harshly, as if I had really been suffocated somehow. I didn't look at Tai. I couldn't. We sat there for what seemed like forever when he made the first move.

    Slowly, he leaned down and looked at me. I kept my gaze toward the tree. "Ayako," he said softly, "It's all right. You're not dreaming now. I'm here with you, under this tree. And, should you have anymore dreams like… the one you just told me, you can always come to me now." He cocked his head slightly and brushed his right front paw against my cheek. "So no more tears or secrets, okay?"

    Tears? I was…crying? I looked at his now wet paw, and I then discovered that my whole face was stained with them, including the tops of my legs. I gave a slight start and started to frantically dry them off, but Tai's paw held down one of my own.

    "Ayako, it's all right," he repeated soothingly. For the first time in a while, I looked him in the face. "It's all right to cry about something like that. Hell, I would be bawling like a baby for weeks." I gave a slight tear-choked chuckle. He smiled and then lay down and then said, "You know, I had a really weird dream once."

    I was caught a little off-guard by his statement. "Yeah…?" I asked, to which he smiled.

    "Yup," he replied happily. "It was when I was really young, when I had just evolved into a jolteon. Everyone was still unevolved, except me of course. I had just eaten a huge sandwich packed with all of this foreign food in it -'Mexican' I think Shayla called it, and in my dream, there were all of these dancing foods!"

    The red eyes in my mind were replaced by dancing fajitas and enchiladas. "Really?" I asked without much conviction, but he just nodded enthusiastically.

    "Well, I was in a jail made of tacos because I had eaten a member of the High Council, and I was about to go on trial. Well, I was hungry so I ate my way through the jail, and then munched on a few burrito-security guards. Kazu then showed up and he told me that two big guards were heading my way -they were these huge chili-covered chimichungas. I ate one, but I was so full, I couldn't eat the other. So Kazu, since I was so huge by this time, rolled me around like the boulder from that one movie…" He paused to think of the name. " 'Raiders of the Lost Ark!' That was it!"

    He kept talking, but I really didn't pay attention. I merely stared at him graciously. I wasn't stupid -I knew he was trying to cheer me up. When he finished, he suggested we go back to camp. I shook my head and told him I would like to stay at the tree trunk a bit longer. He shrugged and then began to trot off, but I stopped him for a moment.

    "Tai!" I called. He looked over his shoulder. I smiled. "Thank you…"

    At first, I don't think he knew why I was thanking him. Then, his face broke out into a smile and then replied with a casual "Anytime, Xena". He then began to strut off to the beat of the tune he was whistling, The Andy Griffith Show.

    To this day, I can't recall a glimmer of a nightmare from that night. All I remember from that night's dreams was helping Tai escape the chimichunga guard with Kazu at my side.

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